Friday, November 15, 2013

Adirondack Park Recreational Web Portal Planned

BrochuresA group of Adirondack Region organizations are partnering to develop an inventory of recreational opportunities in the Adirondack Park to be made available as a web portal and travel app. The new webpage and app is expected to launch at the peak of ski season in early 2014.

The Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages (AATV), in partnership with the Capital Region’s Center for Economic Growth, the Mohawk Valley’s Central Adirondack Partnership for the 21st Century (CAP-21), and the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (ARTC) are currently working to compile an inventory of tourism amenities and opportunities available in the Adirondack Park that will form the basis of the new website and app. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Getting Lost in the Adirondack Backcountry

Lost in the Five Ponds WildernessA pleasant hike in the Adirondack backcountry suddenly turns into a disaster. The heart quickens in the chest, the echo of the frequent beats drowning out the surrounding natural sounds. A thin sheen of sweat covers the skin, producing a clammy feeling and chills. Breathing becomes labored as if just summiting a faraway peak. A frantic feeling overcomes you, as if mortal danger is imminent.

What is going on? Is it a heart attack? A panic attack? Aliens?

Nope. It just means you made a terrifying discovery, as everything around you looks unfamiliar, and you no longer know where you are. You are lost. All the physical indications are there, the racing heart, the profuse sweating, the difficulty breathing, and the sense of impending doom. Every rock, tree, bird and chipmunk looks threatening. What choice do you have but panic, right?
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Polar Plunge: Supporting Special Olympians

cZ9QdLUrJust when you think its time to pack away the swim gear and pull out the skis, its time for the annual Polar Plunge benefiting the Special Olympics. I am not one to actually take the required dip, but hold vigorously to my role as spectator when it comes to braving any Adirondack water in November.

From the Finger Lakes to Lake Champlain and Lake George to Staten Island there are 14 Polar Plunge events scheduled with ones in Plattsburgh and Lake George on November 16. Lake George’s Polar Plunge will kick off from Shepard’s Park while the Plattsburgh participants will brave a chilly Lake Champlain from City Beach.

According to Special Olympics Development Specialist Erin McCartan this is the seventh year of their Lake George plunge and the fourth for their Plattsburgh event. Partnering with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, the Polar Plunges are one their biggest fundraiser throughout the year. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Backcountry Skiers Continue Push For Glades

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI overslept yesterday, so rather than cheat my employer out of a few hours of labor, I decided to take the day off and ski the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway.

It was my first ski of the season. November 12th isn’t my earliest start to the ski season, but I was feeling pretty good about it.

Not surprisingly, I ran into Ron Konowitz, president of the Adirondack Powder Skier Association. It was Ron’s thirteenth day on skis.

We talked for several minutes about the association’s campaign to maintain ski glades in the Forest Preserve. Adirondack Almanack reported on this initiative back in May. Since then, the association has been meeting with environmental activists and government officials to drum up support.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Adirondack Ski Season Preview

Early season snowmaking at WhitefaceThis is the time of year when skiers’ anticipation is at its peak.  The first snows have already whitened the higher elevations of the Adirondacks, signaling winter’s approach.

If you’re a die-hard skier, you’ve lined up your season pass and tuned up your equipment.  You wear your pajamas inside-out and you’ve flushed a tray of ice cubes down the toilet (trust me, it works) to ensure a winter of bountiful snow.

Maybe you’ve even had a bonfire to sacrifice a pair of skis to Ullr, the Norse god of snow and skiing.  All that’s left now is waiting for the chairlifts to start spinning.  Ski areas in the region have been busy too, working on improvements and upgrades all summer and fall.  Here’s a quick look at what they’ve been up to. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Public Lands: How Does Your Town Rank?

adkHamletBuffersSortI’ve often heard people say that there’s either too much or not enough public land in the Adirondacks.  I thought I’d crunch some numbers and let readers explore the data for themselves:

I put together a map visualization that shows the relative proportion of public land, trails and lean-to’s around the interior hamlets of the park.  The land classification figures are probably very accurate, as they are derived from the Adirondack Park Agency’s Land Classification and Land Use map.   If you notice some strange numbers for biking and horse trails its because these trail types have not been as diligently classified in the DEC trails database as hiking and snowmobile trails.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Essex Chain Lakes Video ‘Day One of Forever’ Released

When Susan Bibeau and I paddled the   Essex Chain Lakes on October 1, the  day it opened to the public, we ran into a crew on the shore of Third Lake who were recording a video for the Nature Conservancy, which had sold the Essex Chain Tract to the state, making it part of the forever-wild Forest Preserve.

I asked Connie Prickett, the conservancy’s spokeswoman, to send me a link to the video when it was done, and now she has. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Phil Brown: A Taste Of The Climbing Bum’s Life

Phil Brown nears the top of South Peak at Seneca Rocks.For young climbers, the road trip is a rite of passage. Eschewing such mundane concerns as food and work, they cross the country to visit revered climbing locales such as the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, Red Rocks in Nevada, and Joshua Tree and Yosemite in California.

I was never a young climber. I took up the sport in my fifties. I couldn’t just quit my job and become a nomadic climbing bum. And so I did all my climbing in the Adirondacks, except for one afternoon at a small cliff in Little Falls.

In October, though, I went on a small version of the road trip. For years, I had been promising my friend Scott that I would visit him at his home in Kentucky. So I decided to drive down and do some climbing along the way. In all, I climbed in five places (in order): Ragged Mountain in Connecticut, the Gunks in downstate New York, the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, and the New River Gorge and Seneca Rocks in West Virginia. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dan Crane:
Pssst, I Got A Couple Adirondack Propositions For Ya

The View from the new Jay Mountain Trail (DEC Photo)This time of the year marks a period of change. With the falling leaves, the coming of cold temperatures and their accompanying snowfall, the change is literally in the air. Along with these natural changes, comes the possibility of political change as well, brought about on the high-holy day of any democracy, voting day. In New York State, voting day often includes a number of propositions to amend the state constitution, two of which just happen to involve the Adirondack Park this time around.

Politics often lacking any semblance of imagination, the two propositions are simply names Proposal #4 and #5. Both of these proposals involve land exchanges in the Adirondacks, although under vastly different circumstances.
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recent Adirondack Search and Rescue Operations

DEC Forest RangerWhat follows is the September 2013 Forest Ranger Activity Report for DEC Region 5, which includes most of the Adirondack region. Although not a comprehensive detailing of all backcountry incidents, these reports are issued periodically by the DEC and printed here at the Almanack in their entirety. They are organized by county, and date. You can read previous Forest Ranger Reports here.

These incident reports are a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry and always carry a flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

The Adirondack Almanack reports current outdoor recreation and trail conditions each Thursday evening. Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio.
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Guide to the Saranac Lake 6er Challenge

saranac6Jessica Seem brought her two sons to the Adirondacks for vacation this summer after reading on the Internet about the Saranac Lake 6er challenge. They drove 260 miles from central Massachusetts and spent the next several days climbing six smallish mountains near the village of Saranac Lake.

Thanks to a tourism initiative begun by the village in May, hikers who climb all six peaks earn a patch and the right to ring the 6er bell at downtown’s Berkeley Green. The peaks range in height from 2,452 feet (Baker Mountain) to 3,322 feet (McKenzie Mountain). In between are Haystack, Scarface, St. Regis, and Ampersand mountains.

Seem and her sons—Elliot Walsh, ten, and Casey Seem, seven—finished their 6er round on Baker on the edge of the village. “Ampersand was my favorite,” Elliot said. “It was nice and scrambly, and the view was great.”

Younger brother Casey had been reluctant to climb all six until his mother promised him an ice-cream sundae. Asked what flavor he planned to get, he replied, “Whatever they have!”

Mayor Clyde Rabideau said he is pleased with the popularity of the 6er challenge. “It’s catching on,” he remarked. “It’s family friendly.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The 2012 American Camping Report Released

Number of Camping TripsThe 2012 American Camper Report provides detailed data and analysis on camping trends throughout the United States. The report presents information on overall participation, preferences, buying behavior and the future of camping.

The report makes a broad definition of camping to include everything from ‘Glam Cabin Camping’ to sleeping overnight in the backyard with your kids, but it has some interesting data none-the-less. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Free Family Fun Day at Camp Chingachgook Saturday

For over 100 years Camp Chingachgook has been offering children and families options for enjoying nature on Lake George. Off-season the camp has opened its facility to the public for site- specific activities, but for the first time Camp Chingachgook is hosting a free family fun day, October 26 from 10 am – 4 pm, utilizing the whole camp property.

According to Camp Director Billy Rankin they used to offer various specialty days like High Ropes Day or Climbing Day throughout the season. In an attempt to simplify things and create a more family-friendly atmosphere, they created three seasonal events: Winter Wonderland, Spring Fling and the Fall Family Fun Day. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lake George to Lake Champlain: The LaChute River Trail

Lachute River in Spring (Tony hall Photo)The hill that separates the outlet of Lake George from the creek that opens into Lake Champlain is among the oldest portages in continuous use in North America.

The Native Americans gave it a name: Ticonderoga, “the place between waters.”

Up and down its slope have passed explorers and naturalists such as Isaac Jogues and Peter Kalm, travelers such as Thomas Jefferson and, of course, the armies of the French, the British and the Americans as supremacy over North America and its strategic waterways shifted from one nation to another. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Rescue At Rogers Rock on Lake George

Rogers Rock rapRogers Rock on Lake George is one of the most scenic cliffs in the Adirondacks, a spectacular place to climb on a crisp, clear fall day when you can see for miles up and down the lake.

My friend Mike Virtanen and I enjoyed just such a day last Sunday when we climbed Little Finger, a 490-foot route that follows a long crack that splits the slab. The slab rises straight out of the lake. We got there by canoeing from the Rogers Rock State Campground.

Little Finger is the most popular route on Rogers Rock (the guidebook Adirondack Rock gives it five stars), so given the beautiful weather, we feared others would have the same idea. Sure enough, when we got to the launch site, we met two other climbers with designs on Little Finger. Since we had climbed it before, they offered to let us go first.

Their climb would not end as well as ours. » Continue Reading.


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