Almanack Contributor Marty Plante

Marty Plante

Marty Plante was born and raised in New York City, but now lives in a log cabin in the Adirondacks. He has hiked and paddled on four continents, but feels most at home in the North Country. Marty can be found in the Adirondack woods playing with his skis, hiking boots, snowshoes and disturbingly large collection of canoes.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Hudson River Whitewater Derby Set To Celebrate 60 Years

Hudson Whitewater DerbyResidents of Manhattan are accustomed to seeing a somewhat polluted mile-wide Hudson dotted with commuter ferries and cruise ships. Here in the North Country, we see a different face of the Hudson. During spring, as the river swells with crystal-clear snow melt and April showers, the Upper Hudson has some of the best whitewater runs in the East.

Each year since 1958, the Hudson River Whitewater Derby is held on the first full weekend of May from North River to Riparius. This year’s event, on May 6-7, will mark its 60th anniversary, making it one of the oldest continuously run whitewater events in the country. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Flatwater Paddling: Raquette Lake’s South Inlet

Lunch spot a turnaround point for South InletMy canoe was starting to look lonely. That was my excuse to go paddling.

Skimming through my collection of paddling guidebooks, I decided on South Inlet, a tributary of Raquette Lake. With deep water and no discernible current, the inlet is one of the more reliable places for a mid-summer paddling trip, when many of the North Country’s waterways have dried up. And unlike other streams in the area, there are no beaver dams to carry over, making this a great trip for children and those with a limited sense of adventure. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Skiing To Big Bad Luck Pond

adirondack skiingWhat better way to mark Friday the 13th than a trip to Big Bad Luck Pond?

Recent warm weather had transformed the snow from delightful dry powder into heavy wet stuff  – “mashed potatoes” to Eastern skiers.   The going was slow, but I managed the six mile round trip in three and a half hours.  The trail was obviously designed with hikers in mind.  The sharp turns make it a challenge for skiers, so advanced intermediate skills are needed. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tahawus: An Adirondack Ghost Town for Halloween

Tahawus Ghost Town in the AdirondacksIt seems that every big city now has a “ghost tour,” but here in the Adirondacks we have our very own ghost town.  And what could be more appropriate than a Halloween tour of a ghost town?

Iron ore was discovered on the banks of the upper Hudson in 1826 and two businessmen, Archibald McIntyre and David Henderson, soon developed a mining operation that they conducted with varying success for the next three decades.  To house the workers, a nearby village was built and named McIntyre, then renamed Adirondac around 1840.

McIntyre’s Adirondack Iron & Steel Company came to an end in 1858, and so did the village.  Reasons for their demise include the difficulty in transporting iron from such a remote mountain location, impurities in the ore that made it difficult to process, a downturn in the global economy, a devastating flood that washed out the dams, and McIntyre’s death.  The settlement of Adirondac again changed names, now being called simply “the deserted village.” » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Flatwater Paddling On The Boreas River

Marty Plante on the Boreas RiverLike the Roman god Janus, the Boreas River has two faces. The lower part, from Lester Dam to its confluence with the Hudson, has some of the most exciting and difficult whitewater in the Adirondacks. During the spring runoff, when water levels are high, it provides a wild ride through Class 3 and 4 rapids while it makes its way to the Hudson.

But that’s not my destination for today. Instead, I’m headed for the Boreas’s other face: Lester Flow, the tranquil quietwater section that flows downstream of Cheney Pond. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New State Lands: Paddling the Upper Hudson River

Marty Plante on Ord Falls, Hudson RiverMount Marcy to the left;  NY City to the right.

As I entered the upper Hudson from the outlet of Lake Harris, the sign was more utilitarian than it appeared at first glance.  The coffee colored water was completely still, with no discernible current, and boaters exiting the lake could easily become confused about which way to go.

I had wanted to paddle this section of the Hudson ever since I read in the Adirondack Explorer last year that the adjacent land had been acquired by the State.  Starting at Lake Harris in Newcomb, two trips are now possible.  The shorter one ends near the Hudson’s confluence with the Goodnow River, the other near the confluence with the Indian.  My attempt to round up a group of paddling buddies last autumn was thwarted by low water levels.  This year’s snowmelt and April showers raised the level, but the access roads to the two take-outs had been closed by the DEC due to muddy conditions.  A fortuitous combination of events finally gave me the opportunity I sought:  the access road for the shorter trip was opened, the water level was just right, there was a one-day break in the rain, and my darling wife consented to spending four hours in the car shuttling my boat and me on her day off from work. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Whitewater: Paddling the Schroon River

Bob on the Schroon RiverSince ski season ended, I had been looking forward to my first whitewater canoe trip of the season.  The spring showers and melting snow had conspired to raise the river levels to dangerous levels, but they have now receded.   For our inaugural trip of the season, Bob, Horst and I decided to run the Schroon River. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 31, 2014

The Wrong Way to Ski Wright Peak

Ron ascending Wright Peak“We can’t go wrong with Wright” was Ron’s proposal for an early spring backcountry ski destination. At seven miles, round trip, a ski tour to the summit of Wright Peak is one of the shorter trips in the High Peaks. But shorter isn’t easier and, as we soon found out, things can go wrong.

Our plan would require a combination of skills: we would start by cross-country skiing on the rolling terrain of Algonquin Trail, a narrow hiking trail starting at the Adirondak Loj parking lot. When the pitch became too great, we would put climbing skins on our skis for awhile, then replace our skis with crampons for the final push to the summit. For the descent, we would ski down the newly-fallen powder on the Wright Peak Ski Trail using alpine techniques.

As we approached the top, the towering trees of the lower elevations were replaced by the dwarfs of the Krumholtz zone, where the stunted and deformed trees looked like a bonsai garden.

At tree line, we met a couple of Canadian skiers who warned us of the treacherous winds and ice-covered rocks above. Rather than hike over the top of the mountain, Ron suggested that we follow the contour around the peak, traversing between the Lilliputian trees until we intersected the ski trail on the other side. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 24, 2014

A Lucky Backcountry Ski Trip Near Irishtown

Sign - 723compressedBetter late than never. I had wanted to ski the Irishtown Trail on St. Patrick’s Day because, well, it just seemed appropriate. But as Robert Burns observed, the best laid schemes of mice and men don’t always go as planned. My trip was postponed by a few days, but the delay was a blessing in disguise, since the trail was now topped by a few inches of fresh dry powder from a post-St. Patty’s snow shower.

Starting on Route 28N, the trail traverses Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest for six miles, passing several ponds, and terminating at Irishtown. My goal, though, was to turn around at Stony Pond, a four-mile round trip that climbs about 700 feet. Beyond the pond, the trail is frequented by snowmobilers who access it from Irishtown, and skiers are advised not to compete with them for the trail. For a longer trip, a better option is to ski on the frozen surface of Stony Pond, circumnavigating its shoreline. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: Skiing The Botheration Trail

Siamese-Ponds Botheration Trail headI had lots to do on Saturday, but just couldn’t say ‘no.’  The blue sky and 40 degree weather was too much of a siren call, so I grabbed my skis and headed to the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area.   This may be my last chance to ski for the season, so the errands will just have to wait.

The Siamese Ponds area is deservedly one of the most popular spots in the southern Adirondacks for backcountry skiing, containing routes for skiers of all abilities.  My late start and the impending darkness meant that today’s choice would have to be short and fast, so I picked Botheration Pond as my destination.  I started at the Old Farm Clearing parking lot, where skiers compete each weekend for the 30 or so parking spaces, but today there are only a few other cars.  I won’t see any of their occupants though – for the next two hours, I’ll share the trails with only chickadees and an occasional squirrel. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hickory Mountain: Skiing The Old-Fashioned Way

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI put the Pomalift disc between my thighs and waited.  Within a second, I was airborne and launched six feet forward, then settled back to Earth.  At Hickory Ski Center, sliding up the mountain can be as exciting as the trip down.

The first thing you’ll notice about Hickory is the large percentage of skiers with telemark gear or powder planks.   Snowboarders are welcome, but you’ll rarely see them.  This is a skier’s mountain.  No matter what they have on their feet, almost everyone here is an expert or aspires to be one.  That’s a hint.  Hickory is for those that have developed their skills at lesser venues, not for neophytes. » Continue Reading.