Friday, December 12, 2014

Slide Climbs: The Icy East Face Of Giant

Sunset on the summit of Giant Mountain.Giant Mountain offers a diversity of ascent options, but I’ll admit to playing favorites. Ascending the Ridge (Zander Scott) Trail and climbing the expansive East Face sets the stage for a day with breathtaking views on approach and a challenging slide climb as the main event. The steep dominant ledges that traverse much of the face set this apart from many other slides.

I’ve scaled the great scar several times over the years so finding new ways to breach the crux becomes part of the fun as I plan each outing.  For crying out loud, the beast is over ¼ mile wide and 1,200 high so the choices are as diverse as one’s imagination and comfort level.

Giant’s proximity to Route 73 also makes it a good option when seeking a late start as my partner, NP, and I had planned. My trips often begin at 5 am.  Here I can begin hours later and still return before dark. We parked near Chapel Pond and ascended the Ridge Trail under a bright morning sun. Conditions were perfect with temperatures hovering around 10 degrees at elevation.  There were stunning vistas from the southwest ridge. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Brother Yusuf Burgess: A Trailblazer is Stilled

Brother Yusef is amazing.  Our hopes are with him.Last weekend the people of New York State lost a leading citizen, the children of Albany lost a dear friend and the Adirondacks lost a trailblazer. On Friday, December 5th, Brother Yusuf Abdul-Wasi passed away unexpectedly at the age of sixty four.  His substantial contributions to the Adirondack region were only a small part of his many undertakings.  But from the perspective of the ongoing work to make the Adirondack Park a more inclusive, welcoming and life-changing place for everyone,  we have suffered an incalculable setback.

Brother Yusuf was a tireless doer, a walker of the walk who gave the experience of the outdoors to countless urban children.  He was also a man of courage and staying power who struggled through war and personal adversity and emerged as a voice of dignity, commitment and wisdom. His story is a great American story and his accomplishments were many (you can read a brief article about his life here). » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Interim Stewardship Plan For Essex Chain Complex Issued

Essex Chain Lakes Complex Map Dec 2014The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released a Stewardship Plan to guide interim management for public access and use of newly acquired lands in the Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex in the Central Adirondacks. The Stewardship Plan outlines a range of recreational activities that may occur in the Essex Chain while DEC develops a long-term Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Complex area. This new Stewardship Plan supersedes the 2013 Interim Access Plan.

The Stewardship Plan is now in effect and can be viewed on DEC’s website via pdf. Under the plan, additional access to the Essex Chain Lakes includes: » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Commentary: Should We Manage Wilderness?

Lost Brook Tract in WinterA couple of weeks ago my friend Dave Mason sent me an interesting article from the New York Review of Books. The article was “It’s Time to Live with the Birds”, a review of a book by Ecologist John M. Marzluff entitled Welcome to Subirdia: Sharing Our Neighborhoods with Wrens, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Other Wildlife. Let me quote an excerpt from the review:

“Marzluff and other urban ecologists find a gradient in bird life. A few tough survivors hang on in the urban core; the open country outside has many birds. In between—in leafy, variegated suburbia—there is the richest mixture of bird species of all. This finding is counterintuitive. One would have imagined that what he calls the “urban tsunami,” the global shift of populations into cities, would result in homogenized biological deserts with only a few starlings, house sparrows, and pigeons for bird life. That fails to take into account many wild animals’ elemental will to survive, and their capacity to adapt rapidly to new opportunities.”

The book’s argument is that suburban environments constitute a new class of ecosystem that could be studied and leveraged for the benefit of many species. Despite that, I’m not likely to take my next hike in search of a wilderness experience in Barrington, Illinois. But Marzluff’s work reminds us to consider – from an admittedly odd context – that the best way to care for a wilderness might be to leave it alone. Whatever changes and challenges the area faces, Nature itself, with its relentless motive to adapt, will find a better way then well-intentioned human beings who try to manage it ever could. » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 5, 2014

A New Online Alpinism Fitness And Training Forum

High Peaks ForumADKHighPeaks.com has gained popularity in recent years due to a well-organized format and plethora of hiking/scrambling information contributed by a broad base of members. For those unfamiliar with their layout, a variety of sub-forums (trip reports, general hiking information, ADK 100 Highest, Slide Climbing Reports, New England Hiking etc.) are organized by broader categories (hiking, Adirondack Slides, Special Interest, etc.).

The newest sub-forum, Fitness and Training, is an exciting new addition to the Foundation’s site located under General Hiking – those serious about training won’t want to miss this. Steve House and Scott Johnston, authors of Training for the New Alpinism, are the mentors for the sub-forum. They bring an incredible depth of knowledge to the table and offer forum members a rare chance to interactively tap into the collective knowledge of two experts in the climbing and training fields. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Adirondack ‘Great South Woods’ Ideas Sought

Great South Woods AdirondacksAn effort latter this month hopes to gather public input about how to diversify and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities in the what organizers are calling the “Great South Woods” – a more than 2 million-acre area of public and private lands in the southern Adirondack Park that includes parts of Oneida, Herkimer, Hamilton, Fulton, Saratoga, Warren, and Essex Counties.

The driving forces behind this new initiative have been Bill Farber, Chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Adirondack Search and Rescue Incidents In November

DEC Forest RangerThis Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Report is issued by DEC and is a reminder that conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen.

Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcounty and always carry a flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing.

Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Dix Slide

15730394509_bb38cbc986_b

The trail to Dix Mountain from Round Pond is named one the steepest in the Adirondack High Peaks. I worry about early winter slush but on Saturday we had good conditions. Temperatures stayed well below freezing all day. Just before the infamous climb up the mountain you reach a slide. The view is incredible and one of my favorites in the park. It’s about 13.5 miles round trip from the Round Pond trailhead off Route 73. Give yourself plenty of time because there is a lot to explore.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Solitary Runner in the Adirondack Park

welcom_wil_signThe winter blanket covering Wilmington last weekend looked decidedly more threadbare, even crusty, than the crippling snows covering Buffalo. Maybe the new season here couldn’t decide exactly when to begin – and so it heaved a resigned sigh rather than a consummate barbaric yawp. YAWP! I whooped aloud in the pre-morning haze, hoping to give unto winter what winter had yet to give unto us.

I set out to run as the sun topped the mountains off the back of my right shoulder. Powerful pinks and streaking yellows skirted the elevated horizon, only to be devoured by a familiar cloud cover. From Route 86, I hit the crossroads, the sign to Santa’s Workshop beckoning me up the Toll Road while the knowledge of a hot drink at the Little Supermarket urged me further into town.

I ignored both.

Instead, I kept on the straight trajectory, running up Bonnieview for as long as I felt like it. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Finding Comfort In A Solo Canoe

west canada creek with BruceThe summer of 1988 I attended a Syracuse University computer software workshop at the Minnowbrook Conference Center at Blue Mountain Lake. During an afternoon break from the workshop, two colleagues and I went for a walk starting at a parking lot on Lake Durant, a small state-owned lake near the village of Blue Mountain Lake. A woman with a small canoe on top of her car pulled up to the lake near where we were walking. She parked, opened the door, unfastened the canoe straps, and lifted the canoe off her car, handling it with ease. She placed the canoe in the water and paddled across Lake Durant. She did this all within five minutes.

“I want that.” I shouted, feeling the freedom that comes from observing such independence. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Commentary: New Loppet Structure Is Off Course

Loppet2This season’s Lake Placid Loppet Cross Country Ski Race has been scheduled for March 1, 2015. This year the Loppet is being relaunched by ORDA as the marquee event of The Lake Placid Nordic Festival (February 27 – March 1).

Entry fees have skyrocketed. Early registration, (and you better sit down for this) is $99! After Jan 1st it increases to $125. There are discounts for season pass holders, local clubs, and junior entries. And there is a added slate of events, parties, free clinics, discounts on rentals, etc. You can read about it here on the Loppet Page. Last year’s entry fees started at $60. So the $99 fee is an increase of 65%! Why the huge increase? » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

2015 Empire State Winter Games Registration Open

Empire State GamesOrganizers of the 2015 Empire State Winter Games have announced that athlete registration is now open on the event website. Competitors and teams are asked to log on to www.empirestatewintergames.com to officially enter the winter sport festival. Over 1,400 athletes participated in 2014.

The annual winter games will begin with a torch run through the northern region on February 4th and 5th, culminating at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, site of the Opening Ceremony and Parade of Athletes. The gathering of competitors will occur February 5th at 6 pm in the Herb Brooks Arena, and will feature the keynote address by 1994 United States figure skating Olympian Karen Courtland-Kelly of Lake Placid.  Competition starts February 6th. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

St. Regis Mountain: Bring Your Skis And Snowshoes

StRegisLast winter, my daughter Becky and her fiancé, Joe, wanted to climb one of the Saranac Lake 6, so we snowshoed up St. Regis Mountain.

Although I like St. Regis – with its marvelous views of ponds and lakes—I am not an enthusiastic snowshoer. I mean, snowshoeing is OK, but I like cross-country skiing a whole lot more.

As we walked through the woods, I kept thinking, “This would be a great ski trail.” The terrain is gentle enough that on our way off the mountain we encountered a guy in MicroSpikes running up the mountain.

Becky and Joe, though, thoroughly liked the snowshoe trip. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Solitary Runner in the Adirondack Park

downhill_hurricane_rdMore or less around this time, three years ago, I started to train for the 2012 Boston Marathon. Something like 117 degrees on the pavement, 95 or so ambient temp, that race was one of the hottest on record. It was the year before the dreadful bombing. And it took me practically six hours to complete. (I had trained to do it in four and a half.) Needless to say, I run slow and steady. Notwithstanding the suffocating heat of April 2012, I run a 10-minute mile—no matter what. When I think I’m sprinting: 10-minute mile. When I feel like I’m dragging: 10-minute mile. When I’m just perfect, trouncing along at a comfortable clip with a wacky spring in my step, dancing hands, and a bobbing head: 10-minute mile.

I enjoy the leisurely pace, most often because I run through rural landscapes, soaking in their (to me) intrinsic and needed sublimity while also stepping up and down and up and down into quickening challenges. Also, because I have very little drive for social, human-to-human competition. I compete only with myself or the raven croaking overhead, with how far that next tree or bend in the road or rocky outcropping appears on the horizon. Overcrowded, organized races are an anomaly for me, typically run because my brother asked me to or because I feel the notorious tug of the “I ought to’s” as part of a community or simply because I could bring a free beer back for my husband! I’m a self-described recluse (albeit along with said husband and three dogs); I choose solitude over socializing, introspection over conversation. Thus I choose to run… alone. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lorraine Duvall: A Trip To The Essex Chain Lakes

Lorraine & culvert--Photo by Jeri WrightI had been pining to experience the waters of the Essex Chain Lakes ever since hearing of the purchase by the Nature Conservancy in 2007. But now that the Lakes are open to the public seven years later my ability to carry a boat, even a lightweight Hornbeck solo canoe, is limited. I could have done it at the age of 68, but not 75. I wanted to do it with my canoe buddies, who were even older than me, ranging in age from their late seventies to ninety.

We are a group of six women from the High Peaks region who like to independently explore the wild waters in our solo boats. Our paddling explorations began 11 years ago during a camping trip on Little Tupper Lake, returning the last day during a hurricane. Every year since we’ve scheduled trips around hip and knee replacements and family caretaking duties – ranging from three day camping excursions on Lows Lake and Lake Lila to one day trips on Henderson Lake to an afternoon on Lake Everest in Wilmington. » Continue Reading.


Page 40 of 108« First...102030...3839404142...506070...Last »