Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Life in the Wild

I noticed that guide and outdoor writer Joe Hackett had a column last week in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise asking whether there is any true wilderness in the Adirondacks. This is a question – entailing in turn the question of what we mean by wilderness – which I took up in several Dispatches some months ago.  I’ll not return to those arguments now except to restate that yes, I think there is unquestionably true wilderness in the park.  I know because I have lived there.

I am just settling into the experience of being on Lost Brook Tract with Amy for much of July, just feeling ready to write about it.  It has taken me some days: this was a deeply moving time in my life.  If there has been one over-arching theme in my reflections it has been that our stay there did not in any way feel like a vacation – indeed we did not intend it as a vacation.  We intended to just live there.  And so we did.  It could have been three weeks or three years for all I felt.

» 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.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Kuma’s View

The lowest point of Lost Brook Tract is about 3,300 feet above sea level.  From there it rises along a steep ridge to a summit which tops out at 3,631 feet according to the United States Geological Survey which recently approved our proposal to formally name it.  I have previously written about my exploration of the land leading to the summit and of eventually cutting a modest trail to it from the low point of our land where the lean-to is located.

The trail I created winds along and across the glacial ridges that define our land, past outcroppings and rills and mossy glades to a flat rock protruding out from the top of the headwall.  This spot has a jaw-dropping sixty mile vista we have named Amy’s Lookout.  It is a few dozen feet below the true summit. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gear: Homemade Backcountry Alcohol Stove

Being handy is just not my thing. I cannot fix my car, beyond changing a tire or checking the oil. Building things out of wood or metal is as easy for me as is going to Mars. Furthermore, in any incident where pulling a MacGyver is required, I am lucky if I can manage a MacGruber.

Certainly, there is no way I could ever hope to build my own outdoor gear. Yet, I managed to build my a backpacking stove a few year ago. And, it turned out to be the best and most lightweight stove I ever used in the backcountry. Moreover, it has never exploded, or engulfed anything into flames unintentionally – yet.
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Pushing Too Hard

If all has gone according to plan, while you are reading this Saturday morning I will be having breakfast with my friend Vinny.  Vinny sprained his ankle on a trail run some weeks ago and has been nursing it back to health.  As many of you surely know, a sprain can be a tricky thing, more severe and with a longer healing time than a broken bone, so it is taking some time.

I’m hoping that by this morning I will find Vinny has recovered sufficiently to be able to join us for a hike into Lost Brook Tract.  But this is no certain thing, for there have been setbacks.  Vinny wrote me a couple of weeks ago to tell me that he had “pushed too hard” with some sort of activity and was paying the price.  Those of you who have met Vinny through my previous Dispatch should not be surprised to hear this.  Vinny doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy to sit around and knit afghans with his ankle elevated, peacefully waiting for it to heal up. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cabin Life: The Best Meal Ever, And The Worst

A cast-iron pan, a quart pot and a tea kettle.  It’s hard to believe that I spent six months pretty much just using those three utensils to make all of my meals.  And it’s not that I had been eating out a lot or eating unhealthy meals, but with only a little propane stove to cook on, I got by with the bare minimum of dishes.  Plus it was really hard to wash dishes with no running water.

Another writer told me to use spray bottles to do the dishes.  Put warm, soapy water in one and clean in the other to save on water, since I was filling a five-gallon jug every couple of days and hauling it to the cabin.  It was a great idea and definitely saved on water, but I found that using the spray bottle to rinse was just not effective.  The wash bottle was great, but I still just ran the spigot on the jug to rinse. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Back Country Pantry

I hope you got the idea from the Dispatch two weeks ago that I put a premium on cooking real food over saving weight when I’m in the wilderness.

It’s no contest; I love to eat well when I camp, no matter the circumstances.

Admittedly Lost Brook Tract affords me a real advantage because we have a lean-to and a fire ring with which to maintain a permanent base camp.  In fact during our first summer trip there, in addition to lots of tools, supplies and the makings for Shay’s Privy, we hauled in a primo cooking setup.  It consisted of a large, heavy-duty two-burner stove, tubing, a propane gas distribution pipe and a screw-on lantern at the top.

Some hiker noticed my load at the trail head when I hauled in the propane tank, one of those deals you usually see mounted on the front of an RV.  Their look of scorn and derision was forgotten as soon as I fired this deal up for the first time. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dan Crane: Smarter (and Larger) than the Average Bear

My two previous Adirondack Almanack articles about black bears combined with Pete Nelson’s last Lost Brook Dispatch about a black bear named Tractor, started me thinking about my own harrowing bear experiences in the Adirondacks.

Unfortunately, none of my encounters was as exciting as being yanked out of an outhouse, or reminiscent of the black knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Nevertheless, one such encounter with a monster of a bear is interesting enough worth sharing. Given the bear’s large size and craftiness, it might even be the legendary Tractor. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Homage to a Legendary Black Bear

Our participants, before Tractor, from a trip collage. Part of a "Death Card" is visible in the collage.

Currently I am in the midst of writing about food.  This week’s column was to be about a back country pantry for a longer trip, but thanks to Dan Crane’s recent column on bear attacks and the plethora of comments it generated I decided to switch the order up a little.  Today’s topic will still be food in the back country, but combined with another subject, a subject to whom I have long owed a written account.  This subject is a big one… well, was a big one…

Eleven years ago in the summer of 2001 Amy, my three sons and I planned our most ambitious family backpacking trip ever, eleven days in the back country.  The route was to take us all over the High Peaks, some of it on the trail and some of it bushwhacking. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (June 21)

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

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 Adirondack Almanack also publishes weekly a Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

DEC Region 5 Forest Ranger Report (Spring 2012)

What follows is the Spring 2012 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.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cabin Life: Pico’s Adirondack Journey

Pico.  What a lucky mutt.  As far as anyone can tell, he is half border collie and half Australian shepherd.  Seems good to me, and he really doesn’t care what you call him.

A couple of weeks after I moved to Florida, I realized that living with my brother was the first place I had ever lived where I could have a dog.  So I went out and got a dog.  I checked the local shelters and there were no border collies, so, I went on to Petfinder.  There were border collies galore on the site.  Most people think they want a border collie until the dog begins outsmarting them and gets bored and starts destroying things. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dan Crane: Black Bears Attack, Or Do They?

My recent article here at the Adirondack Almanack about a man attacked on the toilet by a black bear appeared to elicit several comments suggesting that carrying firearms is a viable protective measure for possible bear attacks in the Adirondacks. It was never my intention to insinuate this; I just thought it was an amusing backcountry-related story.

Before I find myself liable for any incidents involving bears and firearms, it may be instructive to examine black bear behavior and the possibility of suffering from a fatal attack in the Adirondacks. I certainly do not want to be responsible for the backcountry becoming a new “wild west,” with everyone packing heat, and eager to use it at a moment’s notice.
» Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cabin Life: The Rewards of Trail Work

Memorial Day weekend is over.  It was beautiful weather, the campground was full, and I’m exhausted.  After working three fourteen hour days in a row, I’m glad the campers are gone, even though we didn’t really have any problems with the crowd.  Lots of guys talking about fishing, wondering where to get ice and firewood, and wondering how long they can extend their weekend.

I like working in the campgrounds, even though dealing with the public is often unnecessarily stressful.  Drive slow, be quiet and keep your dog on a leash.  It’s not that much to ask, but many people find it difficult to follow those simple rules.  But what I love about my job is the chance to be on the trail crew.  They pay me to hike, and I have to pinch myself every time. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dan Crane: Bear Attacks Man in Outhouse

Is nothing sacred? It is getting as if you cannot even take a dump in the woods in peace anymore.

A recent bear attack in Canada may have literally scared the living crap out of a man, in a story that should give every backcountry enthusiast pause before squatting in the woods again. Beware; reading further may just ruin one of nature’s most pleasurable experiences in the outdoors for evermore.

Recently, a Canadian man was attacked by a black bear, while minding his own business in an outhouse in central Canada. The bear pulled him right off the crapper by his pants, which were, naturally, down around his ankles. The man apparently fought back with nothing but his will to live, and some extra toilet paper. Luckily, his companion heard all the yelling and shot the bear before it had a chance to do any serious damage. » Continue Reading.


Page 30 of 40« First...1020...2829303132...40...Last »