Tuesday, February 23, 2021

What in the blazes?!?

cascade blazesIn 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

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Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is a staff writer and photographer for the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly news magazine with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues.

Mike’s favorite outdoor activities include paddling, hiking, fishing and backcountry skiing. In 2011, he paddled the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine.

From 2007 until 2014, Mike worked as an outdoors writer and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake.

Mike welcomes story ideas and can be reached at [email protected]




5 Responses

  1. Bill Ott says:

    Use survey tape.

  2. Eric says:

    Or in this case just walk on the obvious , eroded , and compacted trail .

  3. rye says:

    “OK, Enough!”
    We’ve all seen this story repeatedly for the last month +.
    Time to move on and report on something, or anything more important than spray paint on rocks.
    He screwed up, he apologized, move on.

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