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.
In the Peanuts comic strip, the precocious, blanket-toting Linus waited faithfully for The Great Pumpkin all night on Halloween in spite of being disappointed every year. Perhaps his unwavering belief in the mythical pumpkin was spurred on by the fact that almost every year brings the world a bigger “great pumpkin” of the sort one can measure and—at least potentially—eat.
Of the approximately 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins grown annually in the U.S., only a very few are grown for size. Primarily within the last thirty years, giant pumpkin enthusiasts (that’s regular-size people, giant produce) have developed varieties that attain jaw-dropping proportions. From a nearly 500-lb. world record in 1981 to a half-ton in 1996 and a 2,000-lb. record in 2012, today’s giant pumpkins would be a dream come true for Linus. » Continue Reading.
Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio. The report can also be found at Mountain Lake PBS.
Exploring the Adirondack backcountry is an arduous activity, demanding as much from the participant as from their equipment. Although this remains true for traditional trail hiking, it is even more so for its less conventional sibling of bushwhacking. Regardless, even the most durable gear can break, fall apart, pop, unravel or disintegrate at the most inappropriate moment, requiring some type of repair job that at the very least allows for a humbling exit from the backcountry.
The best offense is a good defense when it comes to any backcountry gear. Purchasing high quality gear, well made with durable materials, is crucial for reducing the possibility of failure in the field. Simple, yet functional equipment, with as few bells and whistles as possible, further diminishes any chance of catastrophic failure. Less stitching to unravel, less seams to become unsealed and less parts to go kerflooey at an inopportune time are a good thing.
» Continue Reading.
In 2008, an exhibit at the Goodsell Museum in Old Forge honored the train stations used by the railroads of the West Central Adirondacks. The first railroad in the region, nicknamed the “Peg Leg Railroad” or “Wooden Railroad”, did not quite extend to the Forge Tract as planned. But a more “green” option, in both literal and modern metaphorical terms, provided the additional distance not permitted to this railroad. The vehicle of the landowner’s choice was a steamer that, in the event of a boiler fire, would have sufficient water available to quench the fire.
Julia deCamp’s father Lyman R. Lyon originally owned all of Township 8, John Brown’s Tract, a replica map of which you can buy at the Goodsell Museum. Lyon conveyed a two-thirds portion that eventually was acquired by the Sacketts Harbor Railroad Company and subsequently mortgaged in the 1850s. A few corporate owners and receiverships later, this portion was acquired by Thomas C. Durant for his Adirondack Company that built the railroad from Saratoga Springs to North Creek. » Continue Reading.
Bill Ingersoll’s recent post about the November 5 vote on the NYCO Minerals-State Land Exchange (Proposition 5 on the upcoming ballot) makes good reading – as do the comments.
His interpretation, that the land exchange stripped-down to its essence represents a straight commercial transaction that lacks any public need or benefit, is one Adirondack Wild shares, but Bill made an especially articulate case.
One of the interesting comments to Bill’s post comes from my colleague Dan Plumley. Dan notes that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s characterization of “Lot 8,” the 200-acre section of Jay Mountain Wilderness the company wants to mine for wollastonite, is plain wrong. Dan’s opinion is informed by observations he and I made during recent field visits to Lot 8. We were impressed by the forest environment there, which I will get to in a moment. » Continue Reading.
A 2.8-mile trail to the fire tower on the summit of Loon Lake Mountain in the northern Adirondacks is complete and open to the public, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced.
The new trail includes a parking area and trailhead on the west side of County Route 26 in the Town of Franklin in Franklin County, approximately 4.7 miles north of the hamlet of Loon Lake. The trailhead and the lower portion of the trail are on the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands (CEL), while the upper portion is on forest preserve lands in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest.
The trail rises more than 1,600 feet from the trailhead to the 3,355-foot summit of Loon Lake Mountain. The open bedrock summit provides views of Lyon Mountain, Whiteface Mountain, the High Peaks Wilderness Area, Debar Mountain and other nearby summits. » Continue Reading.
Joe Hackett has spent time in prison. Yes, the well known local guide, columnist, and scout for Seventh Avenue has spent years in jail, not as a inmate, but as a recreation coordinator at Camp Gabriels, a former New York State Minimum Security prison shuttered a few years ago by the state.
Once a tuberculosis sanatorium, the 92-acre facility was sold to the state in 1982, which operated it as a 336 bed-prison until 2009. There many of the prisoners worked on forestry and community service-related, projects, yet not-withstanding, it was prison far, far from home and family for the men housed there. For them the “Dacks” was a cold, hostile and distant place.
The prison was built, as were most in the North Country, as an outcome of the ‘War of Drugs’ and in particular Rockefeller Drugs laws that resulted in mass incarceration and a resultant building boom here because most urban and suburban voters did not want prisons located in ‘their back yards.’ Under the leadership of the late Senator Ron Stafford, such projects were welcomed for the many solid salaries they offered and, as a result, New York Corrections is the largest employer in the North Country.
I am not one that searches out various ways to be frightened. I have to dial down my 10-year-old’s enthusiastic Halloween decorating, not for lack of creativity, but because I don’t want to be terrified entering my own house.
I’ll compromise with a few fake spider webs draped across the porch because we more often than not have the real thing hanging around anyway. As far as activities go, the Great Adirondack Corn Maze in Gabriels manages to thrill all ages and fear levels of my family. » Continue Reading.
Migration is the seasonal movement of an animal population in response to changing environmental conditions. While birds are best known for employing this survival strategy to cope with winter, many other forms of wildlife also engage in some form of relocation during autumn to deal with prolonged bouts of cold and an absence of food. Among the migratory reptiles in the Adirondacks is an abundant and widespread snake familiar to anyone that spends time outdoors – the garter snake.
As daylight wanes and the temperatures cool, garter snakes begin to travel to various sites that afford protection from the intense cold that settles over our mountainous region in winter. Typically, garter snakes rely on specific crevices that extend deep into a rocky outcropping situated on a south-facing slope. Also, garter snakes are known to utilize selected abandoned woodchuck, fox or skunk dens that exist deep enough into a hillside to get near or below the frost line. » Continue Reading.
The discovery of the body of a missing Massachusetts man in the High Peaks recalls the discovery of a body in North Hudson nearly 40 years ago this month.
He would claim that his chains, padlocks and handcuffs would shackle him to salvation. He would be forced to do as Jesus had done – fast for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. It was a quest to purify his body and his soul.
But his desert wasn’t exactly the howling wilderness Jesus had wandered, it was a patch of woods in North Hudson, about a half-mile from the Northway . » Continue Reading.
Scott Haworth, forty-six, of Chicopee was discovered by hikers about 4 p.m. Saturday about a quarter-mile from the Round Pond trailhead on Route 73 in Keene. He was about three hundred feet off the trail.
Haworth, an experienced hiker, was last seen on September 5 at Valley Grocery in Keene Valley. His car was later found at the Round Pond Trail parking area. An extensive search of the area and various trails by forest rangers and State Police had failed to locate Haworth. » Continue Reading.
As we near Election Day, I’m reminded of a man from a remote corner of the North Country, an individual who was once the right-hand man of a future president—and not just any president. Not everyone loved him, of course, but Franklin D. Roosevelt is one of the few to consistently appear near the top of any list of our greatest leaders. The man I’m referring to was known professionally as M. William Bray (Bill to his friends). He’s a native of the town of Clinton, which borders Canada in northwestern Clinton County.
If you don’t like population explosions, avoid Clinton. Their 67 square miles added 10 new residents between 2000 and 2010, bringing the count to a whopping 737: 11 people per square mile. Many of them live in the hamlet of Churubusco. Such a sparse population provides little chance of producing influential citizens, but Clinton beat the odds. » Continue Reading.
I don’t recall ever crying before at an annual meeting. I am pleased to catch up with people, I am excited to see members and friends gathered together in one place in support of our Adirondack and wild mission. I am proud of the efforts of my colleagues and our members as we talk about our accomplishments together over the past year, and anticipate the challenges in front of us.
But tears flooded my eyes at The Grange in Whallonsburg this past week when Bonnie MacLeod displayed the best of Gary Randorf’s photography set to some o f the most beautiful string music I have ever heard. » Continue Reading.
As a nature writer and photographer, I spend a lot of my time peering closely at leaves, twigs, and flowers, seeking what lurks in their midst. So it was that I discovered Phymata, the Ambush Bug. I was walking slowly through a meadow, bent over almost double as I carried a tripod-mounted camera instead of a magnifying glass. Spotting a fly on a daisy, I approached slowly, finding it odd that the insect didn’t move away from me. Puzzled, I looked closer and found a small, bulbous-eyed bug, his mouthparts embedded in the fly.Ambush bugs lurk in the foliage, waiting for prey to come near. When they spot a victim they leap from cover, impale the hapless creature with a penetrating beak, pump liquefying enzyme into its body, and slurp up dinner.
Although their specialty is disguise, their appearance, revealed, is daunting. If they were blown up to the size of a car, they would put a Bradley Fighting Vehicle to shame. Armored and massively muscular, they easily capture and overpower prey many times their own size. Of course, a little perspective is in order: this is a bug that could easily fit on the real estate of my smallest fingernail, with plenty of room to maneuver. » Continue Reading.
Drifting: Two Weeks on the Hudson (SUNY Press, 2011) is a candid account of the author Mike Freeman’s two-week canoe trip down the Hudson River which offers an introspective and humorous look at both the river and recession-era America.
New to fatherhood and fresh from ten years in an Alaskan village, Freeman sets out to relearn his country, and realizes it’s in a far greater midlife crisis than he could ever be. With an eye on the Hudson’s past, he addresses America’s present anxieties—from race, gender, and marriage to energy, labor, and warfare—with empathy and honesty, acknowledging the difficulties surrounding each issue without succumbing to pessimism or ideology. » Continue Reading.
The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) is seeking proposals for local grants to support the implementation of the long term management plan for Lake Champlain, Opportunities for Action. The LCBP anticipates awarding about 50 local grants totaling $395,000 to a variety of projects form eduction, the environment, to the region’s heritage. Funding for these awards originates from the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the National Park Service.
The deadline for submitting LCBP grant proposals is November 14, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. » Continue Reading.
Featured Adirondack Events – chosen by Adirondack Almanack contributors.
Outdoor Conditions in the Adirondacks – for those headed into the woods or onto the waters this weekend.
We’ve also gathered the best links to regional events calendars all in one place: