Ice anglers and others thinking of traversing the frozen surface of waters in the Adirondacks and other locations should be aware that due to the recent number of days with warm temperatures and rain, ice has thinned.
Areas of ice around inlets, outlets and shorelines of largely open water or thin ice should be avoided. Rivers, streams and most channels of moving water through lakes and ponds are also open or covered with thin ice and should be avoided. » Continue Reading.
Skating out into Bolton Bay, Ted Caldwell stops to lift a custom-made, kite-shaped canvas sail rigged to ash spars jointed where the mast and boom cross. He hoists it above his head, then brings it down so that the boom rests on his shoulder. Tilting the sail into the wind, he moves off with a steady glide. Within minutes, Caldwell himself is barely visible, a swiftly moving swatch of white canvas against Dome Island.
This is what we observed a few years ago, when a long, hard freeze and little snow produced 2 ½ weeks of black ice, the ideal conditions for skating, ice boating and skate sailing. » Continue Reading.
Construction of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ice Palace began Friday, January 27th. Construction involves harvesting ice from Lake Flower, transporting it to the shore and assembling it according to a blueprint. Construction on the palace will continue until the start of the carnival on February 3. The 2017 Winter Carnival will take place February 3rd to the 12th.
The Ice Palace is built by volunteers, organized by a group informally known as the Ice Palace Workers 101 (IPW 101). The public is welcome to volunteer and roles are assigned based on comfort level, skill and ability. » Continue Reading.
A Franklin County angler died after his utility-task-vehicle broke through the ice on Union Falls Pond, according to state police.
Gregory N. Manchester, 59, of Franklin drove his vehicle onto the ice on Sunday to go fishing. He was reported missing the following morning.
A state police helicopter flew over the area and spotted his UTV partially submerged. State forest rangers followed footprints to a seasonal cabin and found Manchester lying on the floor, suffering from severe hypothermia. He was unresponsive.
More than thirty years ago, Don Mellor was in a plane flying over the High Peaks region, taking photos for his rock-climbing guidebook, when he spotted a large streambed in Chapel Pond Canyon. He returned the next winter with Steve Wisenand, one of his students at Northwood School in Lake Placid.
The streambed was now a huge mass of ice, about eighty-five feet high. With Mellor leading, they climbed the frozen flow with ice axes and strap-on crampons, then the only kind available.
They named the route Positive Reinforcement, an allusion to the behavioral theory of the psychologist B.F. Skinner, whose utopian novel Mellor had assigned to his English students. The name also is a tip of the helmet to Positive Thinking, a classic ice route on Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain.
Positive Reinforcement was the first ice-climbing route in Chapel Pond Canyon. Since that winter day in 1982, climbers have established nearly twenty additional routes in the canyon, yet Positive Reinforcement remains one of the best and most popular. Though it’s considered only moderate in difficulty, many variations are possible, some harder than others. » Continue Reading.
The bare ground of the trail wound through dead leaves and patchy snow. At a short overhang in the trail, I noticed spiky threads of ice growing up from the soil in crunchy clusters. A careless boot revealed how fragile these formations are; the fine ice threads crumbled readily. This was needle ice, a common sight in the woods this winter.
Curious about the phenomenon, I got in touch with Dr. James R. Carter, a professor emeritus from Illinois State University. Dr. Carter has spent the last ten year observing these ice formations. His photographs and descriptions of different examples of needle ice are available here.
Carter explained that while needle ice somewhat resembles frost, it is a completely different phenomenon. Frost forms when water vapor is deposited onto a growing ice crystal; the water molecules move directly from the gas phase to the solid phase without ever becoming a liquid. Needle ice, on the other hand, forms from liquid water when a process called ice segregation occurs in the soil. » Continue Reading.
The Lake Champlain Basin Program will present a talk about ice boating on Lake Champlain by Andrew Sajor, an ice boat sailor and earth science educator. The free program begins at 6:30 pm on Thursday, February 25, 2016 in the Lake Champlain Basin Program Office and Vermont Fish and Wildlife Building, 54 West Shore Road, Grand Isle, Vermont, located just north of the Grand Isle ferry entrance. Homemade desserts will be served. For further information, contact the Lake Champlain Basin Program at the LCBP at (802) 372-3213. Photo: An ice boat outing on Mirror Lake.
Lake Placid twice hosted the Winter Olympics, in 1932 and 1980, and continues to capitalize on its history, attracting a variety of winter-sports events such as the Winter Empire State Games and international skiing and sliding competitions.
The Adirondack Park has spawned a number of Olympic athletes. Drive through tiny Vermontville and you’ll see signs celebrating that it is home to Billy Demong, who won the gold medal for Nordic combined in 2010. » Continue Reading.
On Wednesday Edward Vandercar, 66, of Schroon Lake, was reported missing to the New York State Police in Schroon Lake. A search by State Police, the Department of Environmental Conservation, State Forest Rangers, and members of the Schroon Lake Fire Department was launched.
On Thursday morning a Trooper located snowshoe prints leading out onto Schroon Lake from the Horicon State Boat Launch. The Trooper was able to follow the print that led to an area of the lake that had open water. » Continue Reading.
Construction on the palace will continue until the start of the carnival on February 5.
The Ice Palace is built by volunteers, organized by a group informally known as the Ice Palace Workers 101 (IPW 101). The public is welcome to volunteer and roles are assigned based on comfort level, skill and ability.
The construction of the Ice Palace is a community effort by those dedicated to keeping this tradition alive. Volunteers are subject to cold temperatures and inclement weather, all while handling ice and snow. » Continue Reading.
Last night, the floodlights were on at my favorite skating lake. Several children wearing plastic skates and shiny helmets were gliding on the ice, shepherded by young parents. A father pulled a Nordic-looking sled with upturned runners, his bundled-up cargo insisting, “More!” each time he stopped. They were enjoying one of winter’s greatest gifts: the smooth, frozen surfaces of our northern lakes and ponds.
The gift is ephemeral. Some winters, our skates never leave the basement. Other years, the snow holds off and there’s black ice before Christmas. We skate as much as we can, knowing our days of clear ice are numbered. As winter progresses, rain may turn the surface to water — but the temperature plummets again and the resurfaced plane draws us back. » Continue Reading.
During a mild winter in our northern forests, there are those of us who cheer our lower heating bills and those who scan the forecast, hoping for cold and snow. In a classic El Niño year like this one, when we often get unseasonably mild weather well into February, there are winners and losers in the natural world, too.
El Niño refers to a natural warming of Pacific waters. This phenomenon occurs every three to seven years, when prevailing trade winds, which drive the direction and force of ocean currents, slow down. As a result, cold water from the depths doesn’t get mixed with surface water, the ocean’s surface temperature rises, and global weather patterns can be altered. This year’s strong El Niño is being complemented by a low pressure system in the far north – called the Arctic oscillation – that’s keeping polar air trapped around the North Pole. » Continue Reading.
These are one of the stranger ice formations found in the woods; crystallofolia are delicate ice formations that form from water emitted along a stem during a hard freeze in late fall/early winter. From Latin crystallus for ice and folium for leaf these are commonly called “frost flowers” or “feather frost”.
A typical example looks like a small puff-ball of cotton candy, a few inches across, made up of clusters of thin, curved ice filaments. The petals of frost flowers are very delicate and will break when touched. They usually melt or sublimate when exposed to sunlight and are usually visible in the early morning or in shaded areas. » Continue Reading.
Scientist Curt Stager walks along the edge of the woods, his flashlight shining into the shallow water of a leafy, roadside pool on a dark night in Paul Smiths. It’s late April, and he’s out looking for spotted salamanders, wood frogs, and spring peepers that have migrated to shallow vernal pools to breed. After poking around for a minute, he lets out an excited shout: “There’s a salamander! There he is! He’s early!”
In the water is a dark, four-inch-long creature with bright yellow spots. In the same pool not far away, wood frogs float on the surface. In another week, pools like this will be a filled with breeding frogs and salamanders, which will leave behind egg sacks that hatch into larvae.
Spotted salamanders spend most of the year underground, so seeing them is rare except during these annual breeding migrations. Their journeys are triggered by the first rains of spring. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to Almanack founder and editor John Warren.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.