Thursday, June 28, 2018

Hot, Humid Adirondack Outdoor Conditions This Weekend (June 28)

CompassThis weekly report of outdoor recreation conditions in the Adirondacks is compiled each Thursday afternoon and fully updated by Friday afternoon.

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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. Take the free online Leave No Trace course here.


SUN AND MOON SATURDAY: Sunrise Saturday in Lake Placid will be at 5:15 am and sunset at 8:43 pm, providing 15 hours 29 minutes of sunlight. The Moon will rise at 10:27 pm Saturday night, and set at 8:21 am, Sunday morning. It will be about 96% illuminated.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER: Showers are expected with embedded thunderstorms Thursday across the Southern Adirondacks. Locally heavy rainfall is possible mainly along and east of the Hudson River, with isolated flooding of urban, small stream, and poor drainage areas possible. A prolonged period of hot and increasingly humid weather is expected Friday into early next week. There is a chance of thunderstorms Monday into Wednesday. Before entering the back-country check the latest National Weather Service local weather watches, warnings and advisories here and Mountain Forecasts here.

HOT WEATHER PRECAUTIONS: Be prepared for hot and humid weather. A heat wave (at least 3 consecutive days with highs in the 90s) appears likely for most valley locations, starting on Saturday and carrying into next week. Make plans to reduce strenuous activities in the afternoon hours, and seek shade and other heat-relieving locations. Wear loose non-cotton clothing; carry and drink plenty of water; rest often; and protect yourself from the sun with a hat, sunglasses and sun block.

LIGHTNING WARNING: There is NO safe place outside in a thunderstorm, follow local weather closely and avoid storms by hiking in the morning when thunderstorms are less likely to occur. People are killed or permanently injured each year by being struck by lightning. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance so 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.

BE PREPARED! Start slow, gain experience. Always carry proper safety equipment – including plenty of food, water, extra clothing, a flashlight, 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 or launching a boat check the National Weather Service watches, warnings, and advisories here. Follow Adirondack weather forecasts at Burlington and Albany and consult the High Elevation, Recreation, or Lake Champlain forecasts.

BUSY SUMMER SEASON: This is the busiest time of year for the Adirondack backcountrys, especially in the High Peaks. Trailhead parking areas and interior campsites in popular areas will likely reach capacity early. Consider visiting less popular areas of the Adirondack Park to avoid the crowds of this busy summer season. Avoid parking on the shoulder of busy highways. Be aware of pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, and other roadway users. Do not block driveways, roadways or roads from emergency vehicles or local residents.

BUG SEASON: Black flies, mosquitoes, deer flies and/or midges are active, especially in the evening. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.

BEAR AWARENESS: All food, toiletries and garbage should be stored in bear-resistant canisters to avoid negative encounters with bears throughout the Adirondacks. The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30.

WATERS: Waters are mostly below normal levels for this time of year. Boaters and paddlers should be on the look-out for debris in area lakes and waterways, and be aware of obstacles exposed at lower water levels.

The following stream gage readings were observed on Thursday afternoon. Follow the latest river forecasts here.

Moose River at McKeever – 2.01 ft (6/28): 1.97 ft (6/21)
Raquette River at Piercefield – 4.25 ft (6/28): 4.74 ft (6/21)
AuSable River at Ausable Forks – 1.41 ft (6/28): 1.50 ft (6/21)
Hudson River at North Creek – 2.88 ft (6/28): 2.88 ft (6/21)
Schroon River at Riverbank (Route 11) – 1.88 ft (6/28): 1.93 ft (6/21)
Lake Champlain at Whitehall – 95.74 ft (6/28): 96.57 ft (6/21)

WATER TEMPERATURES: Water temperatures feel slightly over the last week, though remain mostly in the 60s, though some colder, deeper waters remain in the 50s. PFDs are recommended for all persons in small boats, kayaks and canoes and paddlers should be aware of the colder water temperatures than are typical for this time of year and wear cold water protection if necessary. Anglers fishing from shore or wading should wear a personal flotation device.

The following water temperatures were reported Thursday:

Ausable River (Wilmington) – 60 degrees
Lake Champlain (average) – about 63 degrees
Lake George (Warner Bay) – 68 degrees

AVOID MINES AND CAVES WHERE BATS ARE PRESENT: DEC has urged outdoor adventurers to suspend exploration of cave and mine sites that may serve as seasonal homes for hibernating bats. Human disturbances are especially harmful to the State’s bat population since the arrival of the disease known as white-nose syndrome, which has killed more than 90 percent of bats at hibernation sites in New York. All posted notices restricting the use of caves and mines should be followed. If you encounter hibernating bats while underground, DEC encourages you to leave the area as quickly and quietly as possible. Anyone entering a northern long-eared bat hibernation site from October 1 through April 30, the typical period of hibernation for bats, may be subject to prosecution. Learn more here.

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 carefully before entering the backcountry and always carry a map and compass – and know how to use them.

KEEP PETS LEASHED: Keep your pet under control. Restrain it on a leash when others approach. Collect and bury droppings away from water, trails and camp sites. Keep your pet away from drinking water sources. 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. Dogs should be kept leashed everywhere in the Adirondack Park for the safety of your dog, the protection of wildlife and rare plants, and out of courtesy to fellow recreationists.

GROUP SIZE RESTRICTIONS: Large groups have significantly more impact on the trails, natural resources and other users. DEC regulation restricts group size in the High Peaks Wilderness to no more than 15 hikers (day users) or 8 campers (overnight users) and encourages this practice to be followed in other areas. Outside the High Peaks Wilderness, DEC regulation requires a temporary permit be issued to authorize organized events of more than twenty people; camping at the same location for more than three nights; or camping in groups of more than 10 people.

VOLUNTEER FOR TRAIL WORK: No matter what your sport, if you’re a trail user consider contributing your efforts to one of the many organizations dedicated to maintaining the region’s network of thousands of miles of trails.


* indicates new or recent items.

Including Dix Mountain, Giant Mountain, Hurricane Mountain, Jay Mountain, McKenzie Mountain, Sentinel Range Wildernesses, Lake Placid, and Wilmington
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

** Mud: Be prepared to encounter mud. Avoid widening trails and damaging sensitive areas by traveling through – not around – mud on trails. Wear water-resistant hiking boots and expect them get dirty.

** Nuisance Bear: A nuisance bear with an ear tag has been active in Eastern High Peaks recently. DEC is asking campers to avoid Slant Rock Lean-To this weekend. The bear is approaching hikers and campers in attempt to obtain food. Pack all food, toiletries, and garbage in a bear resistant canister as required by regulation. If approached by a bear: Do not throw your pack at them, if they are rewarded with food, they will continue this behavior; Raise your arms over your head to look bigger, yell loudly at the bear as you slowly back away – do not run; If available, bang rocks or metal objects together for noise. Avoid negative encounters with bears. The use of bear-resistant canisters is now required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters. DEC encourages the use of bear-resistant canisters and other practices to avoid negative encounters with bears throughout the Adirondacks. (6/29)

* Gulf Brook Road Closures: Gulf Brook Road, which provides access to the Boreas Ponds, is temporarily closed on weekdays for repairs and improvements through the end of July. DEC crews, assisted by crews from the Essex County Department of Public Works, will be completing repairs on the road between the Blue Ridge Road and the Fly Pond Gate. While work is underway the road will be closed to public motor vehicle use. Horses, bicycles, and pedestrians will be allowed on the road but must use caution and follow all instructions of workers when approaching or within active work areas. The road will be open to motor vehicles each weekend from 5 pm Friday through sundown on Sunday. Until the repairs are complete, only four-wheel drive SUVs, pick-up trucks, and other high clearance vehicles should use the road. Drivers should use caution, drive slowly, and watch for oncoming vehicles. (6/28)

Boreas Ponds – Gulf Brook Road: Gulf Brook Road is open to public motor vehicles, on weekends only from 5 pm Friday through sundown on Sunday, as far as Fly Pond Gate (Parking Lot #8 on Interim Access Plan Map) which is approximately 3.2 miles from Blue Ridge Road, 2.5 miles from LaBier Flow, and 3.5 miles from Boreas Ponds. The road is in very rough shape after the long, hard winter – four-wheel drive SUVs, pick-up trucks, and other high clearance vehicles are recommended.

Bradley Pond Trail: A new section of Bradley Pond Trail to Sanatanoni Mountain has been constructed near the beginning of the trail to avoid the two crossings which had unusable bridges. The new trail section crosses Santanoni Brook on a newly constructed bridge and then joins the old trail a short distance later. (6/15)

Bradley Pond: Bradley Pond Lean-to has a 3ft by 6ft hole in the roof. The lean-to can still be used but should be avoided if it’s raining. DEC is developing a temporary fix for the 2018 season and will fully repair the roof during the off season. (6/15)

The Garden Trailhead: Now through the month of October parking at the Garden Parking Lot costs $10 ($13 Canadian) per day. A town of Keene attendant will be at the lot from 7 am until 7 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. Paying the fee is a self-serve process during the week. The town of Keene’s shuttle between Marcy Field parking lot and the Garden Trailhead will be operating from 7 am to 7 pm on Saturday and Sunday this weekend. There is a $10 ($13 Canadian) round trip fee to use the shuttle.

Garden-Porter Mtn. Trail – Cascade Mtn.: The Porter and Little Porter Trail from the Garden in Keene are closed this 2018 hiking season due to the decision of a private landowner. A reroute is being planned, but will not be completed this hiking season. As this will limit access to Cascade via Porter – further crowding the Route 73 Cascade trailhead – approach Porter Mountain via the trail from Marcy Field until the reroute is complete.

Bear Canisters Required: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30.

Owls Head: Owls Head in Keene is open to hikers mid-week only again this 2018 hiking season. The public is prohibited from parking on the private road leading to the trailhead between 4 pm Friday and 7 am Monday. The trail to the summit of Owls Head is not an official DEC trail nor is there an easement for public use of the trail. Public use of the trail is at the landowner’s discretion.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Due to heavy winter snow and recent storms with strong winds, expect to find blowdown (trees, limbs, and branches) on portions of many trails. Blowdown may be heavy in some areas. (5/10)

Giant Mountain Wilderness: Lower Washbowl Cliffs remain closed to allow peregrine falcons to mate and select nesting sites.

* Fat Bike Trails: Trail stewards responsible for bike and fat bike trails in the Wilmington-Lake Placid-Saranac Lake ask riders to abide by trail closures posted on TrailHUB.

Ouluska Brook Bridge: The bridge over Ouluska Brook on the Northville-Placid Trail has collapsed into the brook. Crossing the brook is possible only during low water conditions.

Including Aldrich Pond Wild Forest, Bog River Complex, Cranberry Lake Wild Forest, Five Ponds & Pepperbox Wildernesses, Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest, William C. Whitney & Round Lake Wilderness
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* Lows Lake: DEC is overseeing a maintenance project on the Lows Upper Dam to bring the dam into compliance with New York Dam Safety Regulations. Construction activities will impact recreational users of the portage from Hitchins Pond to Lows Lake, as well as private landowners and users of the Sabattis Boy Scout Camp. Work is scheduled to occur Monday through Friday and is expected to last through summer 2018. Members of the public wishing to access Hitchins Pond and Lows Lake will continue to launch at Low’s Lower Dam, located near the end of State Highway 421. Recreational users should continue to use the existing designated portage around Low’s Upper Dam. From Hitchins Pond, travel northwest past the old homesite; Stay within the designated traffic area (delineated with orange construction fence) at all times as you make your way through the work area. Continue to the dock on the right side of the Bog River Flow. (6/21)

Five Ponds Wilderness: A ten-mile section of the Oswegatchie River from High Falls downstream to the Inlet Hand Launch (Inlet Road) has numerous fallen trees across the river which may make passage difficult. Paddlers should portage around downed trees whenever possible. (5/31)

Five Ponds Wilderness: An 800-foot portion of the High Falls Loop (part of the Cranberry 50) has been rerouted to avoid a dangerous log crossing of a beaver dam. The new route has been signed and blowdown has been removed. It is located approximately 0.6 mile east of High Falls. (5/31)

Cranberry Lake Wild Forest: Lost Pond Trail and Cranberry Lake 50 Connector through the Conifer-Emporium Conservation Easement Tract has re-opened. The trails had been closed/re-routed this winter to bypass a logging job. (5/17)

Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest: Low’s Lower Dam Road, which provides access to Lows Lake, and Otterbrook Road, which provides access to campsites along Horseshoe Lake beyond the Low’s Lower Dam Road, are both open to motor vehicle use. (5/17)

Pepperbox Wilderness: Jakes Pond Trail is temporarily closed beyond the bridge crossing the West Branch of the Oswegatchie River due to a logging operation on private property. This trail can alternatively be accessed from the Croghan Tract Conservation Easement. (5/17)

Five Ponds Wilderness: An 800-foot portion of the Plains Trail (part of the Cranberry 50) has been rerouted to avoid a dangerous log crossing of a beaver dam. The new route has been brushed out and marked with red trail markers.

Pigeon Lake Wilderness: There is an area with significant blowdown on the Norridgewock Trail about 1.5 miles south of Beaver River Station. A rough and temporary reroute has been flagged with pink flagging. All users should exercise caution when traveling through this area.

Including Grass River Complex, Raquette Boreal Complex, Whitehill Wild Forest
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Seasonal Roads: All seasonal access roads are open on the Forest Preserve Lands and Conservation Easement Tracts in the Grass River Complex, Raquette Boreal Complex, and Whitehill Wild Forest. (6/1)

Including the Saranc Lake and Paul Smith’s Area, DeBar Mountain Wild Forest, Kushaqua Tract, Santa Clara Tract, Saranac Lakes and the St. Regis Canoe Area
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Santa Clara Tract: Four Mile Road is open to the parking area and hand launch for the Quebec Brook; Howe Road Access Road is open to the Lake Ozonia and Dexter Lake Outlets; Pinnacle Road, which provides access to the Pinnacle Trailhead; and Madawaska Road, which provides access from State Route 458 to the Madwaska Flow Parking Area are both open. (5/24)

Saranac Lake: The Lake Flower Boat Launch is open but due to a clean-up project removing contaminated sediments from Lake Flower’s Pontiac Bay no parking is available on site. Parking for vehicles with boat trailers is available in the parking lot across the road from the boat launch through the 2018 boating season (at the former Nonna Fina’s restaurant), from 7 am to 9 pm. Limited parking has been designated for vehicles with boat trailers only, which must travel through the lot in one direction. Overnight parking is prohibited. Car top boats users can use the Ampersand Bay Hand Launch on Lower Saranac Lake or Lake Colby Hand Launch.

Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract: North Branch Road and Mud Pond Road remain closed (5/24). Lyme Adirondack Forest Company, the private landowner of the Kushaqua Conservation Easement Tract, is conducting a timber harvest in the area of the Loon Lake Mountain Trail. Be prepared to encounter logging trucks and heavy equipment at any time on the trail and the easement lands in the area during this active harvest operation. (3/9)

Including Chazy Highlands Wild Forest, Lake Champlain Islands Complex, Sable Highlands Tract, Taylor Pond Complex, Wilmington Wild Forest, Five Mile Conservation Easement Tract, Gold Mine Conservation Easement Tract
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Poke-o-Moonshine Climbing Routes: Taylor Pond Complex: Rock climbing routes located left and right of the nose on the Main Face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain are closed to allow peregrine falcons to mate and select nesting sites. These are described as routes 33 through 91 n Pages 45 – 69 in Adirondack Rock Volume 1, A Rock Climbers Guide, Second Edition. All other rock climbing routes on Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain are now open. (6/28)

Sable Highlands Tract: The gate on Barnes Pond Road is closed and road is closed to public motor vehicle use until the opening of big game season.

* Fat Bike Trails: Trail stewards responsible for bike and fat bike trails in the Wilmington-Lake Placid-Saranac Lake ask riders to abide by trail closures posted on TrailHUB.

Including Black River Wild Forest, Fulton Chain Wild Forest, Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness, Independence River Wild Forest, Pigeon Lake Wilderness

These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Black River Wild Forest: Loop Road at North Lake is open for public motor vehicle use to Campsite 19. The road remains closed beyond this point due to a major washout at Golden Stair Creek. (5/10)

Black River Wild Forest: Stone Dam Trail north of Stone Dam Lake to its intersection with the Chub Pond Trail is overgrown and can be hard to find and follow.

Black River Wild Forest: The bridge across the inlet to Little Woodhull Lake on the Little Woodhull Lake Trail is out. The stream may not be passable in times of high water. Nick’s Lake Outlet Trail to Remsen Falls may be rough and grown in. Nelson Lake Loop Trail has several blowdown trees. The gate at the end of the Wolf Lake Landing Road has been vandalized. Motor vehicle access beyond the gate is prohibited except by permit. Most blowdown has been cleared from the first two miles of Twin Lakes Trail from the Farr Road, the trail is in poor shape beyond to the marsh.

Independence River Wild Forest: The Erie Canal Trail Bridge over Otter Creek has been damaged and is closed indefinitely. The 10 Mile Crossing Road gate at Otter Creek and the Mt. Tom Trail East gate are both closed (3/9).

Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness: Moose River Mountain Trail has heavy blow down and is difficult to follow at times. East Pond-Lost Creek Trail between East Pond and the Big Otter Lake East Trail is rough, grown in and may contain blowdown. The trail is difficult to follow at times.

Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness: Blackfoot Pond Trail off of the East-Pond Lost Creek Trail remains rough, grown in and may contain blowdown. The trail is difficult to follow at times. The sign at the junction of the trails is missing, the turn off to Blackfoot Pond is not readily marked or noticeable. DEC will be replacing the sign soon.

Including Blue Mountain Wild Forest, Township 19 Easement, Township 20 Easement, Blue Ridge Wilderness, Moose River Plains Complex, Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Easement, Sargent Ponds Wild Forest, West Canada Lakes Wilderness
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

O’ Neil Flow Road/ Blue Mountain Wild Forest: O’ Neil Flow Road is open for public motor vehicle use. Be on the lookout for logging operations (6/14).

** Town of Long Lake: On June 25, 2018, the Long Lake Highway Department began a paving project along Dock Road, Keough Road and Becker Road. A gravel surfaced road will be in place until work is complete in 2019. The Long Lake Highway department anticipates one week of no parking on the shoulders along Dock Rd, Keough Road and Becker Road. This includes areas from the Long Lake Town Hall to the State Boat Launch. It also includes Dock Road along the stretch from the Long Lake Marina and Hardware Store to the NYS State Boat Launch and Keough Road. This schedule is subject to change without notice. Note that cars parked along the shoulders of these roads will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Moose River Plains: Rock Dam Road remains closed at this time. (5/31)

Jessup River Wild Forest: The Oxbow Trail is closed.

Wakely Mountain Fire Tower: remains closed until further notice due to safety concerns with the Wakely Mountain Fire Tower. The fire tower was closed to public access in December 2016 due to structural deficiencies.

Including North Creek, Indian Lake, Newcomb, Camp Santanoni, Essex Chain Lakes, Hoffman Notch, Hudson Gorge, Jessup River, Siamese Ponds and the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

** Essex Chain Lakes Complex: Access to the western portion of the Complex, including the Deer Pond Parking Area, the Fifth Lake MAPPWD route, and the campsites along Cornell and Deer Pond Cornell Roads, will be closed to public use and motor vehicle access, beginning at sunset Sunday, July 22. The closure will remain in effect until the end of August. DEC is replacing three motor vehicle bridges, one each on Woody’s Road, Cornell Road, and Deer Pond Road, to facilitate safe passage along these corridors for the future.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: Two foot bridges have collapsed. The 55-foot bridge over the East Branch Sacandaga River on the Botheration Pond Loop Trail has collapsed and cannot be crossed. Do not attempt to scramble over it. During low water, rock hopping is possible. A 30-foot bridge on the Puffer Pond Trail over a tributary to the Thirteenth Lake south of the lake collapsed earlier this year and cannot be crossed.

Including Hammond Pond Wild Forest, the Lake George Valley, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, Lake Champlain, Split Rock Wild Forest, and Champlain Area Trails Society Trails
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

* Potash Mtn Climbing – Lake George Wild Forest: Two rock climbing routes on Potash Cliff on Potash Mountain are now closed to allow peregrine falcons to nest and raise their young. Routes 18 (Haley’s Nose) and 19 (Goes Both Ways) as described on page 86 of Adirondack Rock Volume 2, A Rock Climbers Guide, Second Edition, are closed. In addition, the 4th class scramble to access the Pitch 1 ledge of most routes, is closed. All open routes must be led ground-up.

Shelving Rock Mountain: Travel along the base of the cliff between the Main Wall and the Carhartt Wall on Shelving Rock Mountain is prohibited to allow nesting peregrine falcons to their young. Use the lower Main Path and Carhartt Path to travel between the two walls. All climbing routes on the Main Wall and the Carhartt Wall are now open. (6/28)

Sleeping Beauty Mountain: All rock climbing routes on Sleeping Beauty Mountain are closed to allow peregrine falcons to mate and select nesting sites. Once nest sites are identified DEC will reopen routes that will not interfere with nesting activities. (6/28)

Including Ferris Lake Wild Forest, Shaker Mountain Wild Forest, Silver Lake Wilderness, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
These are recent changes, older changes for this area can be found here.

Crane Mountain Climbing Routes: The Amphitheater section and the Main Face of the Black Arches Wall on Crane Mountain remain closed to allow peregrine falcons to nest and raise their young. All other routes on the mountain are open. (6/28)


DEC Trail Supporter PatchBe sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety webpage and Adirondack Trail Information webpage for more information about where you intend to travel. Check the Adirondack Almanack Outdoor Conditions Reports each Thursday afternoon. A map of the Adirondack Park can be found here; active alerts are updated by noon Friday here.

This weekly report of outdoor recreation conditions in the Adirondacks is compiled by Adirondack Almanack founder and editor John Warren for publication each Thursday afternoon. John’s condensed version for radio can be heard Friday mornings on WSLP Lake Placid, and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The NYS 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 help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.

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One Response

  1. scottvanlaer says:

    Requesting campers avoid staying at Slant Rock this weekend. Active bear. We will be in the area but the best temporary measure is to remove the attraction, people and their food. Thank You