Oh the perils of winter camping – at least when you use modern equipment. I read the article, “A Winter Trail Too Far,” (posted Jan. 29, 2020 in the Adirondack Explorer) with great interest. My sympathies to the brave team hiking the Northville-Placid trail in winter. Hearing about the toil of breaking trail, frozen clothes, iced-over boots and the physical exhaustion from days in the cold made me realize how inadequate modern equipment is for winter.
Town of Piercefield St. Lawrence County Wilderness Rescue: On Sept. 17 at 10:25 a.m., DEC’s Central Dispatch received a call from a relative of two campers on the Bog River after one of the campers injured their back and had difficulty moving. Forest Rangers Baldwin, Lee, and Hogan responded to assist. At 12:20 p.m., Rangers Baldwin and Hogan located the campers and began the walk out to the road. At 1:07 p.m., Ranger Baldwin transported the campers back to their vehicle. The 66-year-old man from Honeoye Falls who had suffered the back injury stated he would seek further medical attention on his own.
The ADK Iroquois Chapter has created a unique challenge that requires participants to camp in 18 of the 21 designated wilderness areas within the Adirondack Park.
Statement from ADK: Ideally, these types of initiatives would undergo wider scrutiny, not just by the ADK Board, relevant committees and staff, but also by partner organizations, such as the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Regrettably, this challenge was not. We are hoping that the Iroquois Chapter will delay a launch so the challenge can be discussed in more detail.
It was a warm clear morning when I met Ben at 4 a.m. to go hiking in the High Peaks of New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The weather was forecasted to be sunny, dry and very hot (100+°F).
We had a great drive up to the trailhead and arrived around 6:30 a.m., it was already around 80°F.
Our plan for the day was to hike up over Blueberry Mountain and summit Porter, one of the Adirondacks’ designated 46 high peaks. We made good time getting to the shoulder of Blueberry where we stopped to take a break. Ben said he wanted to make a video to send to his old college friends back in Ohio. He said to go on ahead and he would catch up to me. I went ahead about 100 yards and found a nice rock outcropping facing towards Whiteface where I stopped to have a snack and take a couple pictures.
Town of Peru Clinton County Wilderness Rescue: On the morning of Sept. 13, Ray Brook dispatch received a report of three stranded paddlers on Valcour Island on Lake Champlain. The three boaters spent an unexpected night out due to bad weather. Ray Brook called the paddlers to advise the group that they were not in danger and to get more details about their whereabouts. Rangers Bronson and Russell responded to the boaters using a stationed motorboat from the DEC dock at Peru and located the three paddlers secure on Bluff Point. The paddlers and Rangers were back at the Peru Boat Launch by 10 a.m.
Whether the time has come to install a permit system for hiking/backpacking in the High Peaks Wilderness has been in the news lately, and a topic for debate in this recent commentary by Dave Gibson.
Here are a few recent comments that came in via email:
“Sustainable Trail design, rather than our 100+ year old trails. One way trails on the 2-3 busiest peaks, one trail up a separate trail down. One half the foot traffic, and, except for the summit, hikers won’t be passing each other all the way up and down, especially since most people hike at roughly the same pace. Now the real problem is that this will take MONEY. We need a lot more Rangers as well, so that some of them can go back to their core duties, not just rescues. Gov. Cuomo is good at promoting tourism in the Adirondacks, but woefully lacking in the financial support this extra traffic requires. This is the People’s park, we all deserve to enjoy it, it soothes the soul. — John Marona
Thank you to reporter Gwen Craig of the Adirondack Explorer (and Times Union) for her recent articles about recreational user pressures created by all of us entering the High Peaks Wilderness from the private lands of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR)/Ausable Club off of Rt. 73.
Town of Waverly Franklin County Wilderness Rescue: On Sept. 5 at 4 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting that his wife had injured her ankle about a half mile from the trailhead of Azure Mountain. Forest Ranger Lt. Harjung responded along with Forest Rangers Balerno and Evans, the St. Regis Falls Fire Department, and EMS. Once on scene, Lt. Harjung splinted the injury and the group started slowly making their way down the trail. The injured hiker was able to get down off the steeper slope with the assistance of hiking poles and leaning on the shoulders of rescuers. The responders then placed the subject in a litter and carried her the remainder of the way to the trailhead. The hiker declined additional medical treatment and said she would seek treatment on her own.
I revisited Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain last spring, making it at least four ascents I have done of it, thus far, from both the north and south trails. The views of the Lake Champlain region from the summit never fail. Poke-O-Moonshine, located in the Town of Chesterfield in Essex County, just 3/4-mi north of the Town of Lewis boundary, is a peak on the Fire Tower Challenge and whose east-facing cliffs are popular with rock-climbers.
This write-up is more of a historical “brief” on this peak, as there is a bit more history surrounding it than provided here. For those interested in the history of Poke-O-Moonshine in regards to fire observation and its tower, see Martin Podskoch’s book “Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, The Northern Districts” (2003).
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting public comments through Oct. 2 on a Draft Unit Management Plan (UMP) for Fish Creek Pond Campground and Day Use Area in Franklin County. The DEC encourages public input on the draft plan, in order to help guide future management of the facility over the next half a decade.
“DEC is working to connect more New Yorkers with the outdoors. This UMP addresses vital infrastructure improvements that will enhance the camping experience, recreational access and tourism at this signature DEC campground. In addition to camping, Fish Creek Pond Campground provides abundant opportunities for boating, paddling, fishing, and hiking,” Acting Regional Director Joe Zalewski said about the plans.
Missing Old Forge teen claims she was chased by bear, spent night in tree
The weighty canon of Adirondack bear lore grew a little thicker recently, when an Old Forge athlete put her running shoes to good use to scamper out of the path of a momma bear intent on protecting her cubs.
What happened next is sure to be retold many times in a region that values its bear culture — from the famed Bear Fight Up in Keene to the hiker whose camp was ripped apart because his lunch included a salmon sandwich.
Labor Day weekend offers a perfect socially distanced outdoor activity – the annual nighttime lighting of Hurricane Fire Tower. People are invited to hike up and see the lighting at close range, or view it from afar. A lantern beacon will shine out from the 101-year-old tower at 9 pm on Saturday, Sept. 5, and can be spotted for miles around.
Hurricane Mountain – visible from many spots in Keene and Elizabethtown, to Lake Champlain and Vermont, as well as surrounding smaller peaks – was a key survey peak for legendary Adirondack surveyor Verplanck Colvin.
As Northwood School in Lake Placid gets back in session, the campus has closed access to the Cobble Hill Trailhead.
With the parking lot currently off limits to outside visitors, Northwood has worked with the Adirondack Land Trust to have an alternative trail to the Cobble hiking trails. The above map shows how people can access the trail from Mirror Lake Drive.
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