Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Should Campfires be Banned on the Adirondack Forest Preserve?

The Giant’s Washbowl seen from Nubble Cliff Recently, I was returning from Nubble Cliff in the Giant Mountain Wilderness when I passed a tent on the southeast shore of the Giant’s Washbowl and heard someone breaking branches or dead trees, presumably gathering wood for a campfire.

Campfires are an Adirondack tradition. Who doesn’t like a fire when sleeping under the stars? Nevertheless, I couldn’t help thinking that this was not good for the environment. Rather, it was destructive. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

UPDATE: Missing Hiker’s Body Found Amid Busy Week of Adirondack Rescues

DEC Forest RangerUPDATED 5:45 PM, Wednesday, 8/2: The body of Ralph W. ‘Skip’ Baker, 50, of Rochester, the hiker missing in the Adirondack High Peaks since Sunday, was found about 11 am Tuesday, August 1, 2017 in a ravine near the east branch of the AuSable River in the town of Keene. Mike Lynch at Adirondack Explorer has the latest on that recovery.

The incident comes on the heels of another busy weekend for Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks during which they conducted several other successful searches, and several rescues. These included a 13-year old boy who survived a 25-foot fall at Shelving Rock Falls on the East Side of Lake George; three rescues by helicopter, including an overnight rescue from Bushnell Falls; and a carry-out from near the top of Bald Mountain.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. You can find all of DEC’s Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Reports here. » Continue Reading.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Being There: Forest Bathing and River Walking

riverwalk“We just completed our nature therapy training in May,” Helene Gibbons said when I met her last week at Origin Coffee in Saranac Lake. “We learned how to guide people to open their senses to the forest, to become immersed in the sights, smells, sounds and textures of the natural world.” As Helene is a yoga teacher, I saw how she could apply similar principles to meandering through the woods. She’s been guiding students through yoga poses and leading them into meditation for years.

“Suzanne Weirich and I traveled to Chicago for a seven day training at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois,” she continued. “With this Forest Therapy Guide Training we’re ready help people immerse themselves in the natural environment, called Forest Bathing.” » Continue Reading.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Vermont’s ‘Seven Days’ Adirondacks Issue 2017

seven days coverFrom the west coast of Vermont, we really enjoy our sunsets — thanks, ‘Dacks!

Once a year, Seven Days’ ventures across the lake to see what we can see.

This time, we explored Craigardan, a new artist retreat with an agricultural twist, in Keene. In Essex, we met two farmers whose CSA caters events from the ground up. In Chazy, we explored reminders of philanthropist William H. Miner’s contributions to the North Country.

We walked the High Peaks with summit stewards — and witnessed the poop problem along the trails. (Eww.) And, in the age of President Donald Trump and congressional mayhem, we had to ask whether New York Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik might lose her seat if we lose Obamacare. As in the rest of the nation, opinion was divided.  At least we can all agree on the excellence of sunsets. » Continue Reading.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Choosing a Trail Running Shoe

Thinking of taking up trail running? The most important piece of equipment is, of course, your shoes.

Drew Haas, an avid trail runner and manager at the Mountaineer in Keene Valley, went over some options with us for the July/August issue of the Adirondack Explorer — with this caveat: “What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the next.”

In general, trail-running shoes are more durable and more protective than street-running shoes. Trail shoes should have a protective plate in the forefoot so you don’t feel every rock you land on. » Continue Reading.

Friday, July 28, 2017

16 Adirondack Hiking Challenges: A Bucket List

Since Bob and George Marshall and their guide, Herb Clark, climbed all forty-six of the High Peaks in the 1920s, more than ten thousand hikers have followed in their footsteps.

You can read more about some of the hiking challenges easing pressure on the High Peaks in the latest issue of the Adirondack ExplorerSubscribe here or download the app.

Here is a list of other hiking challenges in the Adirondack Park. Most have websites or Facebook pages that can be found by googling their names. Unless otherwise indicated, finishers qualify for a patch: » Continue Reading.

Friday, July 28, 2017

BluMouLA BuFuRa Paddle Race in Blue Mountain Lake

For the third year, the Blue Mountain Lake Association will be hosting racers of the BluMouLA BuFuRa along the beautiful shores of Blue Mountain, Eagle, and Utowama lakes. This community event pulls together paddlers of all levels and abilities for three races of various lengths. The 14-mile, 7-mile, and a 1.5-mile courses direct participants throughout the bays and channels of the three bodies of water.

According to Blue Mountain Lake Association Race Organizer Andy Coney, the race is open to any canoes, kayaks, guideboats, SUPS and shells. There has even been a war canoe in past events. Registration begins at the Blue Mountain Fire Station on July 30 between 8:30- 10 am with a mass 10:30 am start across the street, at the Blue Mountain Lake town beach. » Continue Reading.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

High Bear Activity In Dix Mountain Wilderness

black bearDEC has warned campers and hikers that black bears have been active stealing food from campers, hikers, and rock climbers in two locations in the Dix Mountain Wilderness.

Campers and hikers are encouraged to keep all food, toiletries, and garbage in a bear resistant canister to avoid attracting black bears.

Campers are also advised to avoid cooking and eating after dark. Prepare and eat food away from the tent site.

If approached by a bear, do not give it food. Make noise and try to scare it away. Call the DEC Regional Wildlife Office at (518) 897-1291 to report encounters with bears. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tyler Socash: Social Media and the Adirondack Backcountry

social media in the high peaksWhile navigating the spellbinding terrain along the Pacific Crest Trail, I found it difficult to resist the temptation to take photos.

Each endless vista around each corner was more jaw-dropping than the last! As I hiked onward, smartphone in hand, impermanence was weighed against the magnitude of the moment. “After all, you may never see these places again,” reminded my sage hiking partner. I had to contemplate whether looking at the staggering scenery through an electronic screen was detaching me from the present experience. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

11 Recent Adirondack Search and Rescue Operations

DEC Forest RangerNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pete Nelson: Don’t Overreact to High Peaks Use

Overuse in portions of the High Peaks is a real and growing problem, exacerbated by trends in social media and the expanding desire to count-off summits.  It has been documented extensively here in the Almanack.  But in the last few weeks these discussions have reached a rolling boil with a bit too much hyperbole for me.   A range of ideas has been raised, a number of them falling under the general concept of limiting access to the High Peaks, including permit systems, licensing schemes, daily caps and so on.  Some of these limiting suggestions have been accompanied by exclusionary rhetoric with which I strongly disagree, along the lines of “Why are we trying to get more people here?” or “I like my (town, street, access) the way it is, without all the visitors.”  I agree that increasing use in parts of the High Peaks is a real issue, and I have written about various aspects of the problem for several years.  But the exclusionary sentiments I’m starting to hear are where I draw the line. » Continue Reading.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Dan Crane Reviews The Solo Stove Lite

Cooking stoves are crucial backcountry gear. They allow for cooking those high-calorie meals, the lifeblood of any hiker after spending hours trudging through forest, field and/or wetlands. However, stoves are only as good as their fuel, for without some type of combustible material, they are just a useless trinket cluttering up your backpack.

Determining the amount of fuel to carry is often more art than science – not enough, you have to force down soggy uncooked oatmeal, too much, and you beat yourself up for carrying the extra weight. Fortunately, Solo Stove has solved this dilemma by creating an attractive line of stoves that burns a fuel that is so readably accessible in the Adirondacks that there is almost never a reason to carry it.
» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

NYS Forest Ranger Ranks Stagnant While Workload Rises

Forest Ranger Rob Praczkajlo covers the district just east of the High Peaks Wilderness, namely the towns of Jay, Elizabethtown, and part of North Hudson. Due to the high rate of search and rescue operations in the adjacent High Peaks, he is just as likely to be found there as he is patrolling his own district.

The High Peaks district had more than 100 emergency incidents in 2015 and they do not occur in a vacuum. They are not handled exclusively by the half dozen rangers stationed there. Rangers from all parts of the Adirondacks, and the Forest Preserve they protect, are affected by the drain from so many incidents. The following chronicles one week in July for Ranger Praczkajlo. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Climbing Moss Cliff In The Wilmington Notch

Don Mellor climb Nestlings, a variation of Touch of Class, on Moss Cliff Why would a climber want to visit something called Moss Cliff? Though the name conjures up some dank, low-angled slab wrapped in a living green carpet, the reality is quite different. This best of Adirondack cliffs is not so mossy. In fact, it’s among the cleanest, driest, most appealing rock walls in the Northeast — in my opinion, the most Adirondack of all Adirondack crags.

The name probably comes from a misreading of the 1953 USGS topographical map that put the unflattering label on a dirty slab about a mile to the west of the clean and elegantly sculpted wall that we now call Moss Cliff.

Moss Cliff isn’t hard to find. You’ve all seen it looming high above the Ausable River on the Sunrise Mountain shoulder of Whiteface. Zooming by at 55 mph, however, doesn’t give you the chance to pick out the climbers, the colorful little dots who have been playing out the evolution of climbing, out of sight, but in plain view if you ever stop to look. » Continue Reading.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Efforts Underway To Address Crowds In The High Peaks

hikers on Big Slide Mt on a prime autumn dayhikers on Big Slide Mt on a prime autumn day The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) owns land with trailheads for some of the most popular mountains in the High Peaks Wilderness, but you wouldn’t know that from their recent promotions on social media and traditional print publications. That’s because the club does not want to exacerbate overcrowding in the High Peaks.

Instead of encouraging people to climb Mount Marcy and Algonquin Peak, ADK is teaching people backcountry ethics, including Leave No Trace principles. “People are coming no matter what, so we don’t need to promote it, and what we need to promote is how to recreate responsibly,” said Julia Goren, ADK’s education director and summit-steward coordinator.

The education campaign is just one of several ways that ADK, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and other organizations are addressing the overcrowding issue. » Continue Reading.

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