Sunrise Saturday will be at 6:08 am; sunset at 7:49 pm. The Moon will rise on Saturday at 1:45 pm and set at 11:55 pm. On Saturday there will be a First Quarter Moon with 50% of it visible surface illuminated.
FLASH FLOOD WATCHES: Forecasts are calling for rain Thursday night into Friday across the region that could be heavy enough locally to cause flash flooding. On Thursday afternoon Flash Flood Watches were issued in counties bordering the Great Lakes, including Lewis County. The watch areas could turn to warnings and spread east into the Adirondacks by daybreak Friday. Be aware of the possibility of flash flooding along small rivers and streams in backcountry areas this evening.
ENTER THE BACKCOUNTRY PREPARED: Always carry proper safety equipment – including plenty of food, water, extra clothing, and a map and compass – inform someone of your itinerary, and be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods. Just before entering the backcountry check the latest weather forecasts for Adirondack region at Burlington and Albany, and the High Elevation, Recreation, or Lake Champlain forecasts.
CONDITIONS OVERVIEW: Trails may be wet and muddy, especially in low areas and along water. Forecasts are calling for rain Thursday night into Friday across the region that could be locally heavy at times, enough to cause ponding in poorly drained areas and possibly a local flash flood, but within bankfull rises in rivers and streams. The front moving through our region Thursday night and Friday morning will stall somewhere near the Lake Champlain Valley, and could feed on warm and humid air from the south to cause some moderate rains there and in the Eastern Adirondacks, especially on Sunday afternoon. There is a chance for thunderstorms early Friday and on Sunday. Friday evening through Sunday will remain warm and humid with a high near 80. Expect winds 10 to 20 mph with gusts over 30 and winds across higher terrain 25 to 35 mph with gusts over 45 Thursday afternoon into Friday morning; 5-10 mph Friday Afternoon through Sunday 10-20 on summits and higher in and around storms. Expect busy trails and parking and camping areas associated with July and August in the Adirondacks.
LIGHTENING SAFETY REMINDER: The possibility of encountering thunderstorms is elevated tonight, Friday, and Sunday. There is NO safe place outside in a thunderstorm, follow local weather closely and avoid storms. Hundreds of people are killed or permanently injured each year by being struck by lightening. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance and should seek safe shelter immediately. If you are caught outdoors away from the safety of cars or buildings, then avoid open fields, hill-tops, and isolated trees, and stay away from water. You should never be above treeline or on water when there is lightning.
AVOID DEHYDRATION: DEC Forest Rangers and other field staff have recently had to assist numerous people suffering from varying degrees of dehydration. Dizziness, confusion, weakness, cramping and nausea are signs of dehydration. Be sure to carry plenty of water. It is better to drink moderate amounts of water often than large amounts of water occasionally. Rest and drink water often – especially in warm weather – to avoid dehydration.
RIVERS AND STREAMS RUNNING NORMALLY: Waters Thursday were at their normal levels for this time of year, but localized heavy rains forecast for Thursday night and Friday morning could dramatically raise the levels of smaller streams and contribute enough water to larger rivers and streams to improve paddling in areas where it has been marginal this summer. The Hudson River is running about 2.86 feet on Thursday afternoon at the North Creek streamgage, levels below about 3 feet make rafting there more difficult. The Lake Champlain gage at Whitehall is at 95.57 feet. Check local streamgages on the USGS website for waters where you intend to recreate.
FIRE DANGER LOW: The fire danger for the Adirondacks is LOW – use care with open fires. It is illegal to leave an even smoldering fire unattended. Fires are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks.
WATER TEMPERATURES: Most water temperatures rose back into the lower-70s this week, with some warmer waters in the upper-70s. A properly worn life jacket will likely keep a person’s head above water and support their body should swimming ability fail or they become unconscious due to unexpected immersion. The Coast Guard estimates that 80% of all boating deaths might have been prevented had a life jacket been worn.
The following water temperatures were reported on Thursday:
Ausable River is in the upper 60s
Lake Champlain is about 75 degrees
Hudson River in Newcomb is about 71 degrees
Arbutus Lake in Newcomb is about 71 degrees
Warner Bay on Lake George is about 79 degrees
BLUE GREEN ALGAE WARNINGS: With the warmer temperatures more blue green algae blooms have been reported recently in Lake Champlain. In the Main Lake along the shore of Alburgh, north of the RT 129 bridge to Isle LaMotte (a plume of cyanobacteria is coming through the bridge and moving north, mostly offshore) and at Leddy Park in Burlington. Also in Missisquoi and St. Albans bays. A confirmed blue green algae bloom was reported last week in Friends Lake, Warren County; three weeks ago in Lake Placid two weeks ago, and suspected a (but unconfirmed) bloom was reported in Schroon Lake two weeks ago. Do not swim, bathe, or drink the water, or use it in cooking or washing, and do not allow pets in algae-contaminated water. There may be other waterbodies with blue-green algae blooms that have not been reported.
BITING INSECTS: Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects: wear light-colored loosing-fitting clothing, long sleeve shirts, and long pants; tuck shirts into pants, button or rubber band sleeves at the wrist, and tuck the bottom of pant legs into your socks; pack a headnet to wear when insects are thick.
USE BEAR-RESISTANT CANISTERS: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. The use of bear-resistant canisters is recommended throughout the Adirondacks.
DO NOT RELY ON TECHNOLOGY: Do not depend on electronic technology in the backcountry. Cell phone coverage is spotty at best and often non-existent. GPS signal can be poor under heavy tree cover. Batteries expire quickly in cold temperatures. Plan and prepare before entering the backcountry and always carry a map and compass for navigation or at least as a backup – and know how to use them.
KEEP DOGS LEASHED: Dog owners are reminded that dogs must be leashed in the Eastern Zone of the High Peaks when on trails, at primitive tent sites, at lean-to sites, everywhere above 4,000 feet, or at other areas where the public congregates. It is recommended dogs be kept leashed in most areas for the safety of your dog, the protection of wildlife and as a courtesy to fellow hikers.
LEAVE NO TRACE – CARRY IN – CARRY OUT: Learn and practice the seven Leave No Trace principles. Carry out what you have carried in. Do not leave gear, food, or other unwanted or unneeded items at lean-tos and campsites. Do not litter.
GROUP SIZE RESTRICTIONS: DEC regulation limits organized events of more than twenty people, camping in the same spot for more than three days, or in groups of more than ten people, unless authorized under a temporary revocable permit.
RECENT CHANGES IN THE ADIRONDACK BACKCOUNTRY
These are recent changes (within the last two weeks) to outdoor recreation roads, trails and facilities around the Adirondacks.
** indicates new or recently revised items for this week.
HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION
Including Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks
** Raquette River Trail: The section of the Raquette River Trail in the western High Peaks between Hemlock Hill and Palmer Brook that had been washed out has been repaired and is usable by hikers and horses.
Lake Placid: Reports of a blue green algae bloom was confirmed in Lake Placid two weeks ago. Do not swim, bathe, or drink the water, or use it in cooking or washing, and do not allow pets in algae-contaminated water.
High Peaks Parking: The overflow parking area at Marcy Field is open. The shuttle will be running between the parking area and the Garden Trailhead from 7 am to 7 pm each day every weekend and holiday through October 18th. The Town of Keene has begun charging for parking at The Garden Trailhead.
Calamity Brook Trail: The High Water Bridge over Calamity Brook on the Calamity Brook Trail between the Upper Works and the Flowed Lands is unusable due to a broken cable.
Lake Colden to Mt. Marcy: The suspension bridge over the Opalescent River on the trail from Lake Colden to Mt. Marcy is closed. It is unusable because one cable broke. Currently, and under most conditions, the river can be easily forded at that location. Caution should be used immediately after heavy rains and other times of high water.
** Poor Man’s Downhill Mountain Bike Shuttle: The Poor Man’s Downhill shuttle bus for mountain bikers will be operating this Sunday, August 23 (between 1 pm and 4 pm) and also on September 6 and September 20. The shuttle will take mountain bikers from the downhill trailhead off Route 86 of the to the uphill trailhead off Route 431. The Poor Man’s Downhill is a multi-use trail on the northeast side of Whiteface Mountain. The trail begins just below the toll booth for the Whiteface Mountain Veteran’s Memorial Highway and ends 1,150 feet lower and nearly 3 miles away in the hamlet of Wilmington. Riders can meet the shuttle at LeepOff Cycles, 5549 Route 86.
Lake Arnold/Feldspar Lean-to Trail: The trail between Lake Arnold and Feldspar Lean-to is very wet and muddy but passable. The trail has dried up enough that the bog bridging is usable – immediately after heavy rains flooding may occur that makes the bridging difficult to use. Expect to get your feet wet and muddy when traversing some portions of the trail where bog bridging is not present. Use Avalanche Pass/Lake Colden Trail or Mt. Colden Trail to travel between Lake Arnold and Feldspar Lean-to if you want to avoid this trail.
Opalescent River – Uphill Lean-To: A 10-foot section of trail near Uphill Lean-to along the Opalescent River above Lake Colden was washed out during heavy rains last weekend. Hikers can get around it by going through the trees but should use caution when doing so.
Newcomb, Long Lake, Indian Lake, Fulton Chain, Speculator, West Canada Lakes
** Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: DEC staff recently completed constructing a new lean-to on the southeastern side of Big Island on Raquette Lake. The new lean-to replaces the dilapidated middle lean-to which was removed earlier this summer.
Essex Chain: The public should not travel on the Goodnow Flow Road beyond the intersection with the Chain Lakes Road North. The Goodnow Flow Road becomes a private road shortly after the DEC sign for “Essex Chain Lakes and Hudson River Access” sign at the intersection with the Chain Lakes Road North. Motorists, bicyclists and others should turn left at the sign on to the Chain Lakes Road North.
New Mountain Biking In Essex Chain Complex: DEC has opened nearly 20 miles of dirt roads in the Essex Chain Lakes Area to mountain bikers. The roads provide access to Deer Pond, Jackson Pond, Pine Lake, and take you past Third and Fourth lakes. Also accessible via mountain bike is the Cedar River at the location of a proposed bridge, and the Polaris Bridge (the Iron Bridge) over the Hudson River (though no biking is allowed across the river). The routes offer two loops, one a 2.5 mile ride around Deer Pond and the other about a 15 mile ride utilizing Essex Chain Road North through the middle of the Essex Chain of Lakes, Deer Pond, Cornell, Woody’s, and Goodnow Flow roads. More information, including a map, can be found here.
Hudson Gorge Wilderness – Ross Pond Trail: The Ross Pond/Whortleberry Pond/Big Bad Luck Pond Trail is extremely wet and muddy after the intersection with the OK Slip Falls Trail. Wear proper footwear – gaiters are suggested.
Northville-Placid Trail – Jessup River Road: A bridge on the Jessup River Road, approximately 0.5 mile before the Spruce Lake Trailhead, is damaged and closed to motor vehicle traffic. Hikers seeking to access the Northville-Placid Trail and Spruce Lake can park along the road before the bridge provided they don’t block traffic and walk across the bridge using caution. This will add approximately one mile for a round trip. This section of the Jessup River Road is soft.
Lake George, Champlain, Washington Co
** Lake Champlain Wind Advisory: A lake wind advisory is in effect. Expect winds this afternoon and tonight 15 to 25 knots and waves 1 to 3 feet. Occasional showers and isolated thunderstorms after midnight. Locally heavy rainfall possible. On Friday expect winds 5 to 15 knots decreasing to around 5 knots in the afternoon. Wave 1 to 2 feet will subside to a foot or less in the afternoon. Numerous showers in the morning and scattered showers in the afternoon. Locally heavy rainfall possible in the morning.
** Friends Lake Algae Bloom: A confirmed blue green algae bloom was reported last week in Friends Lake, Warren County. Do not swim, bathe, or drink algae contaminated water, or use it in cooking or washing, and do not allow pets in algae-contaminated water.
** Lake Champlain Algae Blooms: Blue green algae blooms have been reported recently in Lake Champlain in the Main Lake along the shore of Alburgh, north of the RT 129 bridge to Isle LaMotte (a plume of cyanobacteria is coming through the bridge and moving north, mostly offshore) and at Leddy Park in Burlington. Also in Missisquoi and St. Albans bays. Do not swim, bathe, or drink algae contaminated water, or use it in cooking or washing, and do not allow pets in algae-contaminated water.
Schroon Lake: Reports of suspicious algae blooms were reported on Schroon Lake two weeks ago. Although those these have not been confirmed to be the toxic, it’s best to avoid algae blooms.
** Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: There has been an increase number of sightings of timber rattlesnakes on the eastern side of Lake George by hikers and other recreationist. Be alert, pay attention to the trail ahead of you and areas adjacent to the trail. Rattlesnakes do not always rattle just because you are close. If you spot a rattlesnake keep away or move slowly away. The snake will likely want to move away from you don’t block its escape. Do not harass or harm the snake – it is unsafe and illegal to do so.
Lake George Wild Forest (Western): Buttermilk Road Extension is washed out and remains closed to all motor vehicle traffic.
Shelving Rock Trails: Heavy blowdown is present above 1,200 feet on Erebus Mountain Trail, Fishbrook Pond to Lake George Trail and other lesser used trails in the area.
Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila
** Saranac Lakes Lower Locks: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is notifying boaters that the Lower Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain are fully operational. DEC staff are present from 10 am to 8 pm to electronically operate the locks. Outside of these hours the locks are manually operable to the boating public.
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: Barnes Pond Road and its gate are closed to public motor vehicle traffic until the beginning of the 2015 hunting season.
St. Regis Canoe Area: Campers on Little Green Pond no longer are required to get a permit from the Adirondack Fish Hatchery. Regular state land camping regulations now apply – a permit is only required if campers will be camping four or more nights. This permit can be obtained from the local forest ranger.
** Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Crews are working on improvements to the Ranger Trail on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain for the next several weeks. That is the “old” Poke-O-Moonshine trail. Hikers may encounter work operations, especially during the week. Please be respectful of the crew’s work and cooperate with directions given regarding safe passage through the work area.
General warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Additional detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation information can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].
The DEC Trails Supporter Patch is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.