Sunday, November 22, 2020

Paul Smiths adds trap shooting team to extracurricular sports activities

Paul Smith’s College, the College of the Adirondacks, offers 27 different varsity sports, including woodmen’s sports. Its most recent addition to that lineup is the Bobcats trap shooting team. The sport of trap shooting dates back to the 1900 Summer Olympics; it was started at the school in 2019 with the financial assistance of numerous area businesses.

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Friday, November 20, 2020

Key things to consider when choosing Cross-Country Skis

As a new homeowner a few decades ago, I needed a ladder and foolishly bought a heavy-duty fiberglass 28-footer that could reach the highest point.   That was a bad move; other than once I’ve never needed to reach that high; the ladder is unwieldy and even fully retracted it’s too long for most jobs. Later and a little wiser, I acquired a lightweight 16-foot extension ladder which I now use for almost everything.

Many of my friends make the same mistake when they shop for cross-country skis, buying for the most extreme conditions they’ll ever encounter.   In the store they convince themselves they need wide, back-country skis with metal edges, in case of deep powder or an icy traverse.   They ski-trudge that heavy-duty gear on ordinary trails and easy roads like the one to Great Camp Santanoni.  They even take them to groomed Nordic centers.  Instead, their primary pair should have been a light-touring setup that’s good for almost everything except the rare extremes.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Rangers come to aid of 84 year old hiker with chest pains

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Nov. 10 at 4:36 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an 84-year-old male hiker from Rochester with chest pains on Mt. Jo. Forest Ranger Lt. Burns and Forest Ranger van Laer responded, along with the Lake Placid Fire Department and Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service. The hiker was treated by Lake Placid EMS and assisted to the ambulance. Forest Rangers were clear of the scene at 6 p.m.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Adirondack 46ers support crucial high peaks stewardship programs

adk mountain club logoThe Adirondack 46ers have increased their support of critical stewardship programs in the High Peaks Wilderness after another busy year in the Adirondacks. Last week they announced a $41,000 commitment to the ADK’s (The Adirondack Mountain Club’s) professional trail crew. This pledge was the second from the 46ers, announced shortly after a pledge of $75,000 to be distributed over three years from 46ers, effectively doubling down on their efforts to support the ADK Mountain Club’s stewardship program. The Stewardship Program is managed in partnership with the NYS DEC, and the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

Over the last 20 years, the 46ers have donated nearly $350,000 to the ADK’s trails program, $298,000 of which in the last 8 years alone, when visitor use has reached its peak.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Paul Smith’s VIC to open Dec. 5 for ski season

Weather dependent, the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Information Center plans to open its doors on Saturday the 5th of December for the winter season.
Ski passes are on now on sale (season passes available here), which gives users access to more than 40K of groomed ski and snowshoeing trails. Click here for details on the fees for day use and season passes.
Please note: You can opt out of shipping and pick up your pass at the front desk. You’ll need to sign a NYS ski waiver. If you’d prefer to print an application and mail it to us, you will find the form and address online as well.
With users’ help and cooperation, staff aim to keep the building open throughout the season. Details on what to expect when you arrive at the VIC are forthcoming.
Photo courtesy of Paul Smith’s VIC

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Documenting historic High Peaks hikes

Bethany and KatieIn September, Katie Rhodes and Bethany Garretson added their names to Adirondack hiking lore by doing an unsupported trip through the High Peaks in just over seven days.

According to fastestknowntime.com, a website that tracks and verified hiking challenges around the world, the pair are the first women to do this style of trip through the High Peaks, at this pace. Unsupported means they carried their supplies from the start to the finish and didn’t get any help along the way from anyone else. Supported speed hikers receive assistance from others on their trip.

They were at least the second pair of women to thru-hike the Adirondack High Peaks this fall. Sarah Keyes and Alyssa Godesky did a supported version of the Adirondack 46, with Godesky setting the women’s record in 3 days, 16 hours and 16 minutes.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Hiker injuries on Bear Den, Wright Peak

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Minerva
Essex County
Wilderness Search:
 On Nov. 7 at 12:30 p.m., Forest Ranger Quinn contacted DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch advising he was commencing a search for a lost hunter on Northwoods Club Road. Forest Rangers Kabrehl and Sabo were also contacted and responded to assist. At 3:34 p.m., Forest Rangers located the 19-year-old hunter from Wilton based on coordinates he provided, which placed him on the southwest side of Pine Mountain in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area. The hunter and Rangers proceeded out of the woods and at 5:30 p.m. The hunter was reunited with his hunting party and Forest Rangers cleared the scene.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Chasing waterfalls

How to celebrate a birthday on a chilly, rainy, late autumn day during Covid-19? Visit the waterfalls on the Grass River in the Tooley Pond Tract, of course.

It was not raining when Bruce and I left our house in Keene that mid-October day. A drizzling rain began falling after arriving in Saranac Lake, becoming more intense at Cranberry Lake. The rain had let-up some by the time we reached the trail to the first waterfall, Copper Rock.   

The Tooley Pond Tract includes a Forest Preserve parcel of 6,000 acres, including 20 miles along the South Branch of the Grass River in the northwestern Adirondacks. Our goal was to explore the six waterfalls along the route, an area an Adirondack Explorer article called “A cascade of riches,” noting that most of the falls cannot be viewed from the road. I first visited the falls shortly after reading this 2004 article written by Mark Bowie that welcomed readers on a waterfall hopping venture. Going again after all these years was on my bucket list. 

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Injured hunter in North Creek; search for missing hunters

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Johnsburg
Warren County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Oct. 26 at 9:37 a.m., Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured hunter on a ski trail near Gore Mountain in North Creek. Further information indicated the injury was a broken leg due to entrapment under a boulder. Forest Rangers Kabrehl, Donegan, and Quinn responded to assist. At 11:06 a.m., Rangers Quinn and Donegan reached the injured man, removed him from the boulder entrapment, and performed advanced wilderness first aid to a badly damaged leg with severe lacerations and a compound fracture. Forest Rangers and members of the North River Fire Department carried the 31-year-old hunter from Hudson Falls off the ledge in a litter to a location with ATV access. The hunter was transported to a local hospital for further medical treatment.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Share your favorite winter gear essentials

I was talking to digital editor Melissa Hart earlier this week about future projects, and one of the ideas we settled on was bolstering our web and social media content aimed at people who are new to outdoor activities and the Adirondack Park. I’m talking about topics such as essential gear and info that can aid with trip planning.

At the Explorer, we’ve always focused on this type of content, but now the demand seems even greater because of the continuing rise in new visitors to the Adirondack Park.

The timing to start rolling out this material is also good because this type of info is extremely important in the winter months, when the environment is less forgiving for outdoor users. If you have problems in the woods when it’s 85 degrees, things can get uncomfortable. However, if you get lost when it’s 15 degrees, things can get very serious quickly. So you better be prepared before heading out.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Missing teen, hikers, hunters in five separate incidents

forest ranger logoRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions involve lost hunters, missing hikers and more:

Town of Watson
Lewis County
Wilderness Search:
 On Oct. 22 at 7:08 p.m., Lewis County 911 transferred a call reporting a lost hunter to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch. The hunter’s friend contacted 911 reporting that his friend was disoriented and could not be reached by radio. Forest Rangers Evans, Thomes, and Lee responded to assist. Ranger Evans was first on scene and went into the woods, along with a Lewis County Deputy Sheriff, and the reporting party. Ranger Evans advised the responders located the lost hunter at 9:11 p.m. The 59-year-old hunter from Queensbury was escorted out of the woods to his vehicle and the Rangers were cleared from the scene.

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

The St. Regis Canoe Area: An Ideal Paddle

With few paddling days left this season, it makes sense that your final outing is one that will provide a lasting memory.

One trip worth considering is the Paul Smiths/St Regis Lakes route, which combines awesome natural beauty, fantastic architecture, history and some really cool stories.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Overturned canoe and lost hikers in Hamilton County

forest ranger logoRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Village of Saranac Lake – Harrietstown
Franklin County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Oct. 15 at 1:12 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of an overturned canoe in the Second Pond boat area on Lower Saranac Lake. One person was on shore and uncertain if her companion was still in the water or on shore looking for their dog. Forest Ranger Balerno and DEC Operations staff responded and confirmed the two subjects were out of the water looking for the dog. At 2:20 p.m., Forest Rangers Evans and Balerno located the couple from Oreland, Pennsylvania, and their dog, loaded the group onto a DEC boat, and returned them to their vehicle at the launch.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

2021 Empire State Winter Games Cancelled

eswg rail jamRegarding the 2021 Empire State Winter Games, a statement from Molly Mayer, Executive Director of the event:

After careful consultation with our sponsors, sport coordinators, and local/state officials regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our athletes, coaches, volunteers, spectators, and our longtime partners – we have made the difficult decision to postpone the 41st annual Empire State Winter Games in the North Country. Empire State Winter Games events originally scheduled for January 28 – 31, 2021 will not take place. The challenges and uncertainty that COVID-19 has presented prevent the organization from appropriately planning, organizing, and producing events safely in 30+ different sports.

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Sunday, October 18, 2020

Enjoying our environment

We’re wrapping up production of our November/December magazine issue, and we think Mike Lynch’s photography and writing in it should alert a lot of readers to recreational and environmental aspects of the Adirondacks that they hadn’t previously considered. For one thing, it seems that a lot of people who enjoy our mountains weren’t aware that they were home to salmon — either historically or right now.

Well, they are, and Mike made a number of trips to the Boquet River to see and photograph them running there. (Above is a long exposure he snapped of a landlocked Atlantic salmon cresting in the river.) Those fish, which the state has stocked but in some years will also reproduce naturally in the river, offer hope for a thriving wild salmon fishery in the park.

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