Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pete Nelson: Reflections on the Great Range

Elbrus MarcyLast week, I wrote about a recently completed backpacking trip with my brother-in-law Dan and my nephew Jonah over the Great Range.  This week I wanted to offer a few observations that did not fit into that narrative (aside to the editor: see John, I’m learning!).

Climbing High Peaks is not as common a pursuit for me as it once was.  Lost Brook Tract occupies my focus now, along with the Central and Western Adirondacks.  Indeed, although I am close to being a 46-er, I suspect I will never get there, as finishing a list just to say I did it lacks the allure it might have had when I was younger.  I will certainly do the Seward Range at some point, but the remaining four peaks – Street, Nye, Couch and Panther – do not call to me. » Continue Reading.



Friday, August 23, 2013

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights


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Friday, August 23, 2013

Adirondack Events This Weekend (Aug 23)

Visit the Adirondack Almanack each Friday to find out what’s happening around the Adirondacks.

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:

» Continue Reading.



Friday, August 23, 2013

The Lake Placid Community Helps Build A Band Shell

Designs for the new  band shell at Lake Placid's Mid's Park, courtesy of the Paul White Memorial Bandshell Fundraising Campaign.Construction is set to begin this fall on a new band shell in Lake Placid’s Mid’s Park.

This community project, led by a small group of dedicated volunteers and supported by the generosity of countless full-time and seasonal residents, has been in the works for years, and the rubber is finally ready to hit the road, according to Bill Billerman of the Paul White Memorial Bandshell Fundraising Campaign.

The Lake Placid village Board of Trustees recently accepted a bid from Murnane Associates of Plattsburgh to construct the band shell. Billerman said the two sides are negotiating a contract, and work will likely start in September. » Continue Reading.



Friday, August 23, 2013

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


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Thursday, August 22, 2013

To Live and Die in the Adirondacks

Pleasant Last Resting PlaceThere are plenty of reasons people enjoy spending time in the Adirondack wilderness. The reasons include the mental, spiritual and physical benefits of being surrounded by and immersed in the diversity of life. Few think about the flip side of life, as the backcountry is full of dangers, many of which can easily lead to, gulp, death.

For the grim reaper often wears hiking boots.

This struck me after reading about an incident where a hiker passed away in the High Peaks Wilderness recently. A 63-year old man, apparently in good health, collapsed and died a mile below the summit of Mt. Marcy just over a week ago. Unfortunately, this is not the first time such an incident occurred, as deaths often occur in the Adirondack backcountry. Whether these deaths come from over exertion or just some accident, thankfully, they do not happen too often.
» Continue Reading.



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rockfall Brings Changes to Wallface Climbing Route

Heilman aerialVeteran climber Don Mellor regards Free Ride on Wallface in the High Peaks as one of the better rock-climbing routes in the East, but when he scaled it last weekend it was not the same.

Mellor discovered that thousands of pounds of rock had fallen from the belay station at the end of the sixth pitch, known as the Lunch Ledge.

“What’s left is an arch propped up by blocks,” he said.

Not trusting the stability of the arch, he climbed ten feet past it (and to the left) to set up a belay in another spot. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Aug 22)


This weekly Adirondack outdoor conditions report is issued on Thursday afternoons, year round.

Get The Weekly Outdoor Conditions Podcast

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.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

» Continue Reading.



Thursday, August 22, 2013

August Art News From Around The Adirondacks

TFortune at ViewThere is a lot of movement in painting this summer, as painters migrate around the Adirondacks for a series of special events—and for opportunities to paint the rich landscapes around them.

Saranac Lake watercolor painter Tim Fortune led a large gathering of aficionados through the “walkabout” at the annual Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors (ANEAW) at View in Old Forge on Saturday. This is the 32nd year of the show, which has grown to be one of the most respected and best attended in the country. Artists from all across North America make summer pilgrimages to participate and to see the opening.
» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Adirondack Wildlife: The Gray Fox

Grey-Fox-Website_49The end of August through mid-September is the time in the Adirondacks when the urge to be independent becomes strong enough in fox pups to cause them to vacate their parents’ territory and seek out a place they can claim as their own. As the near adult-size animal travels for many dozens, to a hundred miles or more searching for a suitable setting without a current resident, it may occasionally be glimpsed, especially around dusk and dawn, walking across a road, meandering through a backyard, trotting along the edge of a field or quietly weaving its way into a brushy thicket.

The red fox is traditionally associated with northern regions, and it is the fox most commonly seen within the Blue Line over the last two centuries. However, the geographic range of the gray fox has been steadily expanding into higher latitudes during the course of the past several decades and is now just as likely to be seen as the red fox in many locations in the Park, especially in lowland valleys where the climate is less severe. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Slide Climbing: Dix Mountain’s New Lobster Claw Slide

Kevin "MudRat" MacKenzie photographs the new Lobster Claw Slide on Dix Mountain.Several periods of heavy rain during June and July of 2013 caused local flooding and damage across New York and Vermont. The rains also added a new slide to Dix Mountain’s already impressive collection.

Two swaths of stone were exposed on the west side of Dix’ curved southern ridge. Converging below, the debris cut a channel of devastation through the forest toward Dix Pond (see inset in picture below). If you’re in the mood for a fresh adventure in a remote location, this may be your ticket to an exciting day in the Adirondack backcountry.

» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Adirondack Folk “Songs To Keep” Concert Tour Underway

Porter1The “Songs To Keep” documentary, album, book and concert tour are underway, raising awareness of rare Adirondack North Country folk songs. Collaborating with TAUNY (Traditional Arts in Upstate New York), the Adirondack History Center Museum and SUNY Plattsburgh Feinberg Library’s Special Collection, Mountain Lake PBS is helping to bring the Majorie Lansing Porter Song Collection to light.

Along with an album recorded from the collection, a songbook, manuscript and traveling exhibit, the PBS documentary will bring all aspects of this previously unavailable historic assembly of regional folk songs to the public. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Brian Mann On The Future Of Local Journalism

prison time media project banner largeSo here’s the sad truth about my life as a journalist working in the Adirondacks.  I wake up pretty much every day here in Saranac Lake wanting you – scratch that, needing you – to do three contradictory things at once.  First, I need you to care about what I do.  Whether I’m reporting on environmental issues, paddling down a river, or pulling together a year-long investigative series about America’s vast prison complex, I need you to share my conviction that these things matter.  In a world of Kardashians, infotainment and blink-and-you-missed it Twitter feeds, those of you who filter past this first step are already the rarest, purest gold.

The second thing I need you to do is put up with the fact that it’s part of my job to be kind of a jerk.  Not always, and not unnecessarily, at least I hope.  But kind of a lot of the time, it’s important for me to be pretty unlikable.  Ben Bradlee, the legendary editor at the Washington Post, was asked once about the backlash he faced for his reporters’ work on Watergate.  He said that their job wasn’t to be liked, but to scrap and dig and prod until they found the truth.  I’m not in Bradlee’s league, obviously.  I’m a small town reporter in rural Upstate New York.  » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Commentary: Give The People Wilderness Peace and Quiet

Essex ChainWith good reason, a large coalition of organizations interested in preservation of New York State Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondacks is today trumpeting a four to one margin in written comments made to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) that supports banning motorized vehicles from newly acquired state lands.  The second most popular option was allowing motorized access.

An analysis by PROTECT’s Peter Bauer here at the Adirondack Almanack three weeks ago reached a similar conclusion. The APA received about 3,600 comments, totaling nearly 5,000 pages, and petitions totaling about 2,500 signatures. Although not included in the analysis of written comments received, eight public hearings were also held (only three outside the Adirondacks), at which around 200 people spoke – they were largely divided. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Phil Brown: The Best Trek In The Adirondacks

Will high in dikeTrap Dike or Eagle Slide? Like many hikers, I long wavered as to which is the better adventure. After climbing the dike last week, though, I’d rate it the best hike/scramble in the Adirondacks.

For me, the question was settled by Tropical Storm Irene. In August 2011, Irene’s deluge triggered a new slide that leads from the Trap Dike to the summit of Mount Colden and scoured the dike itself clean of vegetation and rubble.

As a result, from Avalanche Lake, hikers climb roughly three-quarters of a mile over clean rock, ascending 1,850 feet.

» Continue Reading.



Monday, August 19, 2013

Adirondack Birds: The Science of Wing Sounds

wing_musicAs the summer bird chorus wanes, we might remember that song can arrive in unexpected ways. Drumming heads, clacking bills, and dancing feet create nonvocal sound. Even flight, that foremost avian feat, creates music of its own.

Wings can sing – sound is created by the asymmetry, anatomy, and arrangement of individual flight feathers as they vibrate through the air. A number of birds use wing song to communicate, both with their own species and as a way to thwart predators. » Continue Reading.



Monday, August 19, 2013

Fred’s Kerslake’s Remarkable Pigs (Part Two)

PB1 FK PosterThe three mains stars hogging the limelight from Fred were pigs Jerry, Peggy, and Pete, whose antics were irresistible. Recognizing the possibilities, booking agents sought them for summer tours and winter vaudeville circuits. Rave reviews followed in Buffalo, Chicago, Philadelphia, and a host of other stops in between. Audiences couldn’t get enough of watching pigs play leapfrog, read, and count―it was both bewildering and hilarious at the same time.

Professionals were taking notice as well. Among them was Germany’s Carl Hagenbeck, who pioneered the displaying of animals in their natural habitats rather than in caged enclosures. Hagenbeck emphasized properly selecting animals with the right temperament for training or display (choosing only a few prospects from a large group), and then using what was described as “constant patience, firmness, and kindness” to train them. Still, there’s no denying that whips were used to tap or give a quick sting to an animal during training. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cabin Life: Installing A First Solar Panel

The PanelWell, it’s finally happened, I have electricity.  Granted, it’s not much electricity, but it’s a start.  I don’t need enough to run appliances or a whole house, just enough so that my phone and computer don’t go dead, and hopefully a light or two to read by.

A few months ago I got an e-mail from a reader who said he had an old solar panel lying around and didn’t need or want it anymore.  It was mine, he said, if I just came and picked it up.

You never know who you’re meeting through an e-mail, so I was a little wary.  So, fighting the urge to tell everyone where I was going and with whom just in case I didn’t make it back, I drove the little ways to his camp.  I did bring my girlfriend with me, you know, for protection.  » Continue Reading.



Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Visit to the Great Range

IMG_6635This July during our Adirondack residency I took some time away from Lost Brook Tract to accompany my brother-in-law Dan and his nine year old son Jonah on Jonah’s first hard-core backpacking trip, a two-day traverse of the Great Range followed by the McIntyre Range the next day.  I was filled with anticipation for the two-fold effect awaiting Jonah: the immediate joy and the lasting legacy.  At nine I would have passed out with excitement from such an adventure, from being on the grand and imposing rock of that range.  But then, as veteran hikers know, the hard work and toil attendant to scaling such rugged ups and downs, the persistence of the pack weight sinking into you, the slow, sustained rhythm that sees you steadily progress through high Adirondack forest, these things work deeply into your body, into your muscle memory and your larger psyche where they embed themselves and cure there, strengthening your experience to a level that leaves you changed forever.  To imagine these effects working on my young nephew brought me immense pleasure. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, August 17, 2013

Amy Ivy: An August Garden Report

DSCN4621Early August was the peak of the gardening season in northern New York. In spite of the challenging start to summer we had with the endless days of rain and cool temperatures, many gardens were able to put on a huge spurt of growth in mid-July when the sun finally appeared. Most crops are later than usual and production is down but plants that survived the first half of the summer are making up for lost time now.

Tomatoes are the most popular crop in home vegetable gardens and this has been a particularly difficult year for them. I was just about to call my eight plants a total loss in early July when the sun came out and they finally put out some new, vigorous growth. My plants still aren’t much to look at but they are setting fruit. The lower leaves are spotted and turning yellow from a common disease, Septoria leaf spot, which is widespread this year. It weakens the plant but usually does not kill it and you can still get a decent harvest. » Continue Reading.



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