Posts Tagged ‘Bushwhacking’

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dan Crane On Becoming An Adirondack Guide

P5159195 Guides License BadgeThe name is Fool. Bushwhacking Fool. Licensed to guide.

Guiding is a time-honored occupation in the Adirondack region and beyond. Guides, with their vast backcountry skills and knowledge, can safely navigate others through remote areas, saving the time and expensive of learning through trial and error. Years ago, guides were highly prized by the urban elite wishing to experience the wilderness on its own term, albeit with many of the luxuries of the day. The advent of guidebooks, like the Adirondack Mountain Club’s series, greatly diminished the importance of personal guides as they allowed many to go it alone in the most remote areas.
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Absence From The Backcountry

Sunshine PondAbsence makes the heart grow fonder.

Although this statement’s author remains shrouded in mystery, its profoundness cannot be understated. Despite its original intent, probably pertaining to lovers, it can equally apply to once familiar places or things now long absent. For me, as spring emerges from an obstinate winter, it applies to the Adirondack backcountry, whose absence has left a void in my life for the past year.

An unfortunate and mysterious injury to my left knee, nearly a year ago, forced upon me a compulsory convalescence lasting more than five months. During much of this time, simply walking was mildly painful, let alone anything as arduous as bushwhacking. Sadly, this period of recovery coincided with prime backpacking season, lasting into the late summer of last year. A recuperatory period followed for many months, leaving me finally feeling capable of braving once again the beauty and rigor of the remote and trail-less backcountry. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Going Solo: Organizing Backcountry Gear

Camping_Equipment_(542927498)I read with pleasure Dan Crane’s recent post “The Anxiety Of An Empty Backpack.”  I always thought it was only women who had problems deciding what, and how to pack.  Friends have told me that my motto is to “Make every trip an expedition!”

Many women have anxiety about traveling alone, but filling a 40-50 lb pack with gear and going out into the “howling wilderness” by themselves can be another matter altogether.  Since packing for a backpack can seem so onerous, time-consuming, and just plain confusing,  I came up with short-cuts over the years to save time, and to lessen the ever-present fear of leaving something important behind. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

GPS in the Adirondack Backcountry

Moshier Reservoir at dawnWhere am I?

An age-old question asked by more than a few explorers, navigators and backcountry adventurers. In the past, a map and/or charts combined with a sextant, compass or other such instrument could calculate one’s location. In the digital age, a new instrument has emerged, the handheld GPS receiver, and backcountry navigation will never be the same.
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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Magic of Surveying

Surveying Tools, 1728Today I begin a series of Dispatches on surveying, one of the greatest and richest interactions between humans and their natural environment, rife with beauties,  drama and challenge.  And magic.

There are many perspectives from which to tell the story of the history of the Adirondacks.  Indeed the numerous Adirondack history books available to the curious reader feature a wide variety of approaches.  Some are essentially chronological in nature; some are cultural; some are political.  I especially enjoy the many historical writings about the region that are thematically organized around the personalities of the unequaled cast of characters whose fates were intertwined with the Adirondack Mountains.  From To Charles Herreshoff to John Brown to Ned Buntline to Thomas Clark Durant the variety of people and their various enterprises is remarkable.
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Reducing Weight of Backcountry Meals

Exploring the Adirondack backcountry is hard work. Vaulting over downed logs, crossing streams on beaver dams, pushing through dense vegetation and constantly swatting away hordes of biting flies requires a massive amount of energy. Since this energy derives from food carried into the backcountry, it is important to maximize calories while simultaneously reducing its weight in the backpack.

Food connoisseurs may insist on a fresh and/or extravagant menu, even in the backcountry. These food snobs go to outlandish lengths to carry the oddest foodstuffs regardless of weight or practicality. In my many years of backpacking, I witnessed numerous strange selections in the wilderness, such as pounds of sandwich meat, jars of spaghetti sauce, bags full of raw carrots, cans of oysters and even a square egg maker (although no square eggs ever emerged). Most backcountry adventurers are practical folk, and thus avoid carrying a heavy food load, if possible.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dan Crane: Wilderness First Aid Lessons

Discovering an injured person in the wilderness is probably a common nightmare amongst those intrepid souls journeying into the Adirondack backcountry. The only situation more dreadful is actually being the one in need of assistance when there is not another person within miles.

A myriad of questions run through one’s mind when imagining such an emergency. What should I do? Help the injured person? Run for help? Just run and hide? Faint and let the next person to come along deal with two injured individuals?

The only way to deal with such an unpleasant situation is to be prepared. Preparations for an emergency event start at home, long before ever leaving for the backcountry. Familiarizing yourself with first aid texts, carrying a personal locator beacon and keeping a well-stocked first aid kit handy are just a few ways to equip oneself for a potential backcountry emergency. The single best way to prepare for such an event may be to attend a wilderness first aid class, which is exactly what I did recently.
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Adirondack Mountain Club Revamping Guidebook Series

HIgh Peaks Trails guidebook published by Adirondack Mountain Club.The Adirondack Mountain Club has issued the fourteenth edition of its popular High Peaks Trails guidebook, and some might say it’s bigger and better than ever.

No one can dispute that it’s bigger. The new edition measures 5½ inches wide by 8½ inches tall, whereas the previous edition measured 5 by 7. This continues a trend toward larger: the twelfth edition measured roughly 5 by 6¼.

It’s part of ADK’s plan to revamp its Forest Preserve series of guidebooks. For years, the club has published six guidebooks that together cover the entire Adirondack Park (in addition to a separate book for the Northville-Placid Trail). ADK is reducing the number of books from six to four, meaning each book will cover more territory. Hence, the larger format. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hiking: The Agony of the ‘Death March’

Almost every outdoor recreationist has endured a long, arduous hike at some point. Sometimes these difficult hikes take on an added sense of misery due to blistered and sore feet, heavy downpours or especially voracious mosquitoes. When each step becomes a struggle, the miles seem to drag on without end and the trail becomes the central focus of the universe then the hike becomes a bona fide “death march”.

A death march, although miserable, is much less severe than the portentous term implies. A slightly less ominous term used to describe this phenomenon is the forced march. By any name, it remains one of the worst hiking experiences, and one to avoid if possible.
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Hal Burton’s Peak

When I first set out to explore Lost Brook Tract one of my burning curiosities was to discover what views there might be.  After all I knew the land was situated on the side of a high ridge surrounded by significant mountains; surely there had to be some great sights.  Like everyone reading this I love my Adirondack views, so I could hardly wait to go hunting. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dan Crane: Managing New State Land for Bushwhacking

The recent announcement of the largest addition to the State Forest Preserve in 117 years in the former Finch Pruyn lands is excellent news for anyone seeking additional outdoor recreational opportunities in the Adirondacks. These new properties make over 69,000 acres of backcountry available to the public for the first time in over 150 years, including such exotic-sounding places as the Essex Chain of Lakes, OK Slip Falls and Boreas Pond.

The many new opportunities for recreational opportunities on these properties is often cited, typically including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, etc. The implication is these new areas will be highly managed for human recreation, with a plethora of trails, campsites, signs, bridges and so on. Despite all the new outdoor recreational opportunities cited, one activity always remains noticeably absent: bushwhacking.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dan Crane: Backpacking on a Shoestring Budget

Anyone who has ever walked into an outdoors store, or perused an online backpacking retailer, knows that backcountry adventuring can be really expensive. Modern high tech fabrics, over-engineered designs and trendy manufacturers are a recipe for one humongous bill on a credit card. It can be so disheartening to anyone on a budget, that probably more than a few people have left a store feeling woefully inadequate.

A lack of funds should not deter anyone from exploring the Adirondack backcountry though. Instead, it is an opportunity to show some ingenuity since there are many different strategies for getting some outstanding gear on a shoestring budget. Buying at the right time, taking advantage of a good deal, purchasing used equipment, and making your own gear are just a few ways to prepare for outdoor adventures without breaking the bank. Although, there may be a few cracks.
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Adirondacks Most Remote Spot: Not That Remote

It’s been said by photographer Gary Randorf, Clarence Petty, and others, that ninety-five percent of the entire Adirondack Forest Preserve, Wilderness included, is within about five miles of  one of the more than 5,000 miles of roads  in the Adirondack Park.

That statistic has been newly confirmed by two wildlife ecologists who say they have identified the most remote  spot in New York State, located in the High Peaks Wilderness – just 5.3 miles from the nearest road, and a less than a half-mile from the popular Northville-Placid Trail.

Rebecca and Ryan Means of Florida have been on a mission to identify, travel to, and document the most remote locations in all 50 states and recently came to the Adirondacks – with daughter Skyla in tow and Adirondack Explorer writer/photographer Josh Wilson along to report – to find ours. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Whiling Away the Hours of a Backcountry Rain Delay

“Rain rain go away, Come again another day.”

Most likely, every backcountry enthusiast has uttered this popular nursery rhyme at one time or another when an unanticipated rainfall altered their hiking or backpacking plans. This is especially true for the Adirondacks, where pop-up showers are the norm during the summertime, even a dry one like this year. These storms can lead to flooded trails, difficult stream-crossings and possibly even assemblies of paired animals. Most importantly, they can result in a hiking rain-delay.

If the storms are heavy enough and last for hours, rain delays can pose quite the conundrum for those trapped in a tent, lean-to or other shelter. How does one spend their time when in a confined place for a considerable length of time, while waiting out a wet day? » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dan Crane: Evolution of a Bushwhacking Fool

Bushwhacking, or off-trail hiking, requires many skills, acquired over many years. Few people begin their backcountry career as a bushwhacker, i.e. bushwhackers are not born, they evolve.

Typically, one commences as a mere hiker, transitions to a backpacker as the desire to travel farther afield gains hold, and, if the skills, temperament and desire form the correct concoction, finally becomes a bushwhacker. At least, that is how I got started. » Continue Reading.


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