In the fall of 2019, I was hiking up Cascade Mountain for a story about High Peaks crowds, when I noticed something unusual on the way up. There were orange blazes painted on rocks and logs.
At first, I thought it was related to trail work, but the markings seemed too random for that.
When I got to the peak that morning, I ran into the summit steward, who speculated that it looked like someone was painting the trail so they wouldn’t get lost on the way down. Since then many people have speculated about the reasons for the paint job.
We now have the answer.
Gwen Craig recently wrote about who painted those blazes and why. (Hint: The blazes were painted by a hiker.) You can read all about that incident by following this link: https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/blazes-on-cascade-mountain.
Other outdoor rec updates
The snowpack is deep on ski trails right now, so there are plenty of options. In the northern Adirondacks, one of the best is The 37-mile Jackrabbit Trail, which stretches from Paul Smiths to Keene. Most people like to ski sections from one of the villages along the way, but people have skied the whole length from time to time. One of those skiers was Bill McKibben who wrote about his one-day adventure for the Explorer in 2005. Incidentally, the Jackrabbit is celebrating its 35th anniversary this winter.
For people interested in ice climbing, we’ve got a story about the magic of that activity. “The Adirondacks have close to 600 routes to ice climb when conditions are good. Fat ice forms over Pitchoff Mountain and the surrounding Chapel Pond area, creating an ice climbers heaven,” writes Sierra McGivney.
The Adirondack Mountain Club has temporarily closed the Adirondak Loj and High Peaks Information Center on its property near Lake Placid due to a COVID-19 exposure. The closure of the info center impacts hikers looking to get last-minute trip information or gear. Make sure you have everything you need, including either snowshoes or skis, if you plan to head into the High Peaks from their property in the near future.
Editor’s note: A version of this first appeared in Mike’s weekly “Backcountry Journal” newsletter. Sign up to stay connected with timely outdoor rec news and information, trip ideas and more.
Orange blazes on the Cascade Mountain Trail in 2019. Photo by Mike Lynch