The old trail was familiar. I walk it monthly. The loop meandering along the state and private land line was only two miles long. It showed some blazes on the trees left by the hunting parties and solo hunters who have hunted this section for generations. Less than a mile in, bordering state land, I walked confidently in an October afternoon because it was a familiar route. I wore a blaze orange vest because it was hunting season. Watching for the faded blazes on the trees was unnecessary. The past footfalls of others were easily followed. Someone had recently walked here. The beech leaves were beautiful this time of the year.
At more than 6-million-acres, the Adirondack Park is the largest publicly protected expanse of wilderness in the continental United States. Within its boundaries are approximately 2.6 million acres of public land, containing more than 3,000 lakes and ponds, over 1,500 miles of rivers, hundreds of mountain peaks (42 of them at elevations over 4,000 feet) and more than 2,000 miles of clearly marked and maintained hiking trails.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminds visitors to recreate responsibly in the Adirondacks this spring to help protect State lands for future generations. Spring is an excellent time to get outdoors and enjoy warming temperatures, but it can also pose many risks to outdoor enthusiasts, wildlife, and natural resources. DEC encourages visitors to public lands to recreate responsibly to protect themselves and the resource.
Practice the Seven Principles of Leave No TraceTM: Leave No Trace™ principles provide a framework for safe and sustainable recreation. Based on outdoor ethics rather than rules, the principles provide guidelines that can be tailored to a variety of outdoor activities and an individual’s specific experience. Before heading out to visit State lands, DEC encourages outdoor adventurers to review and familiarize themselves with these principles to help be prepared, stay safe, and minimize damage to shared lands and waterways.
Follow the Muddy Trail Advisory: Hikers are advised to avoid hiking on high elevation trails above 2,500 feet until further notice. Despite recent warm weather, high elevation trails are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. These steep trails feature thin soils that become a mix of ice and mud as winter conditions melt and frost leaves the ground. Sliding boots destroy trail tread, damage surrounding vegetation, and erode thin soils, increasing the likelihood of washouts; rotten snow and monorails are a safety hazard even with proper equipment; and high elevation and alpine vegetation are extremely fragile during this time.
Well, it froze every morning this week, and even spit some snow, but nothing stuck here. They had spring skiing at both Whiteface and Gore Mountains this weekend which must have been a late season for both. I worked around the yard, saw a few blackflies in the air, and they bombed me a few times. Better get out those hummer feeders soon, as last year they came here on May 4. That’s not an early date, but more than a week earlier than the year before. They almost always get here before Mother’s Day, and I’ve had to thaw out the feeders more than once to keep them going. Even with these cold temperatures some of the little wildflowers have popped out such as trout lily, coltsfoot, and spring beauty.
Hikers advised to temporarily avoid high elevation trails and prepare for variable conditions on low elevation trails.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today urged hikers to postpone hikes on Adirondack trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. DEC advises hikers on how to reduce negative impacts on all trails and help protect the natural resources throughout the Adirondacks during this time.
High elevation trails: Despite recent warm weather, high elevation trails above 2,500 feet are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. These steep trails feature thin soils that become a mix of ice and mud as winter conditions melt and frost leaves the ground. The remaining compacted ice and snow on trails is rotten, slippery, and will not reliably support weight. “Monorails,” narrow strips of ice and compacted snow at the center of trails, are difficult to hike and the adjacent rotten snow is particularly prone to postholing.
As an extension of our recent post about an Old Forge grandmother, Beth Pashley, avid hiker and talented photographer, The Adirondack Almanack will be featuring snippets of Pashley’s hiking adventures on a year-round basis including her visually-striking and artistic nature photographs. Pashley was inspired to embrace the great outdoors with her grandchildren starting at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, dubbing the family bonding time as “The Grandma Chronicles.”
Spring has sprung in the Adirondacks, and although the coming of springtime signals a time of renewal and helps many to come out of the “winter blues,” early Spring also means gray skies, soggy yards, and mud, lots of it.
What better time to showcase the serene beauty of the Adirondack region, while highlighting the artistic talents of one Adirondack grandmother who found rejuvenation, peace and serenity in the mountains, igniting a newfound adoration for hiking that she hopes will span across many generations in her family.
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
We publish commentary and opinion pieces from voluntary contributors, as well as news updates and event notices from area organizations. Contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The information, views and opinions expressed by these various authors are not necessarily those of the Adirondack Almanack or its publisher, the Adirondack Explorer.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.