Posts Tagged ‘camping’

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dan Crane: Promoting the Adirondacks to Death

View from Cat MountainTourism in the Adirondack Park is all the rage today. From the approval of the Adirondack Club & Resort in Tupper Lake to the governor’s proposed Adirondack Challenge, there is no shortage of ideas to promote the Adirondacks. The ultimate hope presumably being that people will flock to the area to experience the unique opportunities the Adirondacks provides.

They had just better bring their wallets.

In the race for the almighty dollar, it appears few are stopping to ponder whether increased tourism is a good idea for the Adirondacks. How will increased tourism change the nature of the Park? Will more people turn off those who already loyally visit the Park and favor its plentiful opportunities for solitude? Are hikers prepared for crowded trailheads and busy trails, muddied by the increased traffic and littered with rubbish from uncaring or careless hikers?
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Monday, January 14, 2013

DEC Forest Ranger Search And Rescues (Aug – Sept, 2012)

DEC Forest RangerWhat follows is the August and September 2012 Forest Ranger Activity Report for DEC Region 5, which includes most of the Adirondack region. Although not a comprehensive detailing of all backcountry incidents, these reports are issued periodically by the DEC and printed here at the Almanack in their entirety. They are organized by county, and date. You can read previous Forest Ranger Reports here.

These incident reports are a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry 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.

The Adirondack Almanack reports current outdoor recreation and trail conditions each Thursday evening. Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Backpacking: Battle of the Seasons

When I recently wrote about missing the winter camping experience, I never imagined there would be anything other than a tepid response. Who could possibly have a strong reaction to a middle-aged man reminiscing about his past winter backpacking experiences? I certainly did not expect any type of counterpoint to appear defending winter backcountry adventuring in all its frigid glory.

Yet, a recent Lost Brook Dispatch made an effective argument extolling the virtues of backpacking during the winter months, including a good-natured cajoling from author Pete Nelson for me to get back into the Adirondack winter camping game. This article serves as a counterpoint to his counterpoint, including a description of why I feel the warmer months offer a vastly superior backcountry experience in the Adirondacks than the colder months of winter.
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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Pleasures of Winter Camping

The family and I are just back from our annual winter trek to Lost Brook Tract and I have a joyful urge to write about how terrific winter camping is.  My timing is not intended to offer any sort of counterpoint to Dan Crane’s recent post; the last time I checked he and I don’t  coordinate our contributions.  But counterpoint it will be.

In fact, let me begin with Dan: Dan!  Dude!  Get back out there and pitch your tent, buddy.  There’s plenty of winter to go and I can vouch for the fact that there are perfect conditions in the back country right now – no doubt there will be for quite some time.

Why do we go backpacking in the Adirondacks?  I submit that if you were to make a list of the reasons you go into the wilderness for an extended period, you would find that almost all of them are more valid and better fulfilled in the winter (I know, I know… yeah, sure, but it’s cold Pete).  » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Christmas Turkey, Part Two

When I was a  teenager I had a small streak of juvenile delinquency.  This is not uncommon in young men of course and it comes in different flavors.  Some do a little drinking or drugs.  Some do a little stealing.  Some  might commit minor vandalism.  I didn’t do any of that stuff.  I liked to set things on fire.

One March in Cleveland when I was fifteen or so, after a particularly long  and snowy winter the weekend broke into the sixties, setting me and two of my like-minded friends, who were possessed with acute cabin fever, into a manic tizzy to play basketball.  Sadly the driveway was covered in slush from the thaw, splattering us with every aborted dribble.  We tried shoveling, sweeping, even hosing it down, but to no avail. Then we came to another solution. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dan Crane: Missing Winter Camping

The end of the year brings thoughts of turkey dinners, confectionary favorites, over-crowded malls, excessively decorated plastic trees, mind-piercing hangovers following nights of revelry and portly, old, child-obsessed elves dressed in red and white. The recent early winter snows, also commonly found at this time of the year, not only put me in the holiday spirit, it also has me pondering my past winter camping experiences.

Winter camping conjures up thoughts of crisp cool air slightly stinging the lungs, sunshine glistening off newly fallen snow and the crunch of compressed snow under the weight of snowshoe-covered feet. Unfortunately, winter camping, much like holiday celebrations, is not merely all fun and games, but also a physically and mentally challenging activity, requiring more than a little persistence and perseverance.
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Christmas Turkey, Part One

Over the years I have been urged from time to time to write down stories from my family’s many journeys in the Adirondacks.  Frankly I was never sure I’d get around to it.  But along came Lost Brook Tract into my life, inspiring me to the point where I could no longer resist.

I have written a year’s worth of Dispatches now, many of them drawn from our experiences.  However there is one tale in particular that others who know our adventures have repeatedly urged me to tell.  As it happens, it is a Christmas story and I have waited eleven months to tell it. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Winter Perfection on Pitchoff

So far this season my home of Madison, Wisconsin has been bereft of any semblance of winter.  Last Monday it was 65 degrees and I got sweaty playing with my dog while dressed in a T-shirt.  Amy and I completed our circuit of holiday parades – we do maybe a dozen of them all over southern Wisconsin – without once seeing a snowflake or having stiff fingers from the cold as we prepped our equipment.  That kind of track record is without an analog in these parts.

Last week the NOAA announced that 2012 will finish as the warmest year in US history.  According to USA Today’s report, every state in the lower 48 was warmer than average and eighteen states set records for warmest year ever including New York and virtually the entire Northeast.  Many Midwestern cities will set records this week for longest stretch of consecutive days with no snow.  Climate change is upon us and both the accumulating data and trend models show that it is warming more rapidly and more severely than previously predicted. Yet most Americans still don’t seem to care all that much about it and plenty of ignoramuses still deny it, following an ugly and embarrassing American trend of belittling science and knowledge.  Even on the Almanack one suspects there are more than a few readers who are as likely to believe in Bigfoot as in human-made climate change.  In their case – in all our cases – ignorance will surely not be bliss. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Final Draft of Taylor Pond Wild Forest UMP Released

The Proposed Final Draft of the Taylor Pond Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) was released today for public comment by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA).

DEC staff presented the Proposed Final UMP to the APA Board at their monthly meeting on December 13, 2012. At noon, the State Land Committee heard an informational “first reading” of the UMP. The Agency will now hold a public comment period to solicit comments related to the proposed UMP’s compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP). APA will accept written comment on SLMP compliance for the proposals contained in the draft UMP until noon on Tuesday, January 2, 2013. The APA Board is scheduled to render a determination of SLMP compliance for this UMP at the January 10- 11, 2013 Agency meeting. The final step in the process is approval of the UMP by DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

A New Edition Of A Trail And Camp Food Classic

A new edition of the trail and camp food classic The Hungry Hiker’s Book of Good Cooking by Gretchen McHugh has been published by McHugh’s husband John Sullivan of Chestertown.  Hungry Hiker was first published in 1982 by Alfred A. Knopf, who assigned Judith Jones its editor (Jones was also editor for Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and before that The Diary of Anne Frank).  The book was in Knopf’s catalog for 25 years. It sold 50,000 copies in 13 printings, inspired multitudes of back-country meals, and many imitators.

“When Knopf dropped the book in 2007, we started making plans to revise and republish it,” John Sullivan told me recently (he’s a neighbor, across the valley on Kipp Mountain).  “We were barely under way when Gretchen was diagnosed with Frontal-Temporal Dementia.”  She moved to a nursing home last spring and John decided to go ahead with the new edition in time for its 30th anniversary.  A new generation of readers, now schooled in the kind of 1970s self-sufficiency that served as background to this classic when it was published, will be glad he did. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

More Than A Year After Irene Some Trails Remain Closed

Adirondak Loj Road closed after Tropical Storm IreneMore than a year after Tropical Storm Irene wreaked havoc in the Adirondacks, two trails in the High Peaks Wilderness remain closed and several bridges are still out. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has no immediate plans to reopen the trails, but hikers can continue using them at their own risk, according to DEC spokesman David Winchell.

The trails in question are the Southside Trail along Johns Brook and the Cold Brook Pass Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass. Neither was ever especially well traveled.

“We’re not looking at doing anything with them right now,” Winchell said. “They’re on the back burner.” He added that DEC has not decided whether to permanently abandon the trails.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Yellow-Yellow Obituary

bear yellow yellowYellow-Yellow, roughly 20 years of age, of the Marcy Dam-Lake Colden corridor in the High Peaks Wilderness ascended to her heavenly den for an eternal hibernation after being slain by a hunter’s bullet on October 21, 2012 in the town of Jay (as reported by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise).

Yellow-Yellow was a shy, small female black bear, named after the color of the tags placed on each ear by New York State Department of Conservation wildlife biologists in the early 2000’s. She was known more for stealth and ingenuity than brawn, which eventually led to her notoriety. As bears go, she typically avoided contact with humans, being more thief than brigand.

Apparently, advanced age brought about an alleged increased aggressiveness toward campers and hikers with food, which is a common phenomenon among the animal kingdom as anyone observing geriatrics at a Denny’s around five in the afternoon can attest. Perhaps this aggressiveness played a role in her recent demise.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dan Crane: A Hantavirus Halloween

Halloween is that time of the year when ghosts, ghouls and goblins roam freely, with scary things that go bump in the night being the norm more than any other time of the year (with the possible exception of Election Day). The Adirondacks are not immune to these horrors either, with greedy land developers, unhappy hunting clubs and a multitude of other concerns terrorizing even the most steely backcountry adventurer.

Unfortunately, it appears another horrifying threat has reared its ugly head in the Adirondack backcountry. No, it is not Bigfoot, the Mothman or even Champie; it is the deadly hantavirus. News of this new threat arrived just in time for Halloween, as if Hurricane Sandy was not enough. But, is this a real threat, or is this just another case of media hype, an outgrowth of society’s rampant hypersensitivity? » Continue Reading.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Reducing Weight of Backcountry Meals

Exploring the Adirondack backcountry is hard work. Vaulting over downed logs, crossing streams on beaver dams, pushing through dense vegetation and constantly swatting away hordes of biting flies requires a massive amount of energy. Since this energy derives from food carried into the backcountry, it is important to maximize calories while simultaneously reducing its weight in the backpack.

Food connoisseurs may insist on a fresh and/or extravagant menu, even in the backcountry. These food snobs go to outlandish lengths to carry the oddest foodstuffs regardless of weight or practicality. In my many years of backpacking, I witnessed numerous strange selections in the wilderness, such as pounds of sandwich meat, jars of spaghetti sauce, bags full of raw carrots, cans of oysters and even a square egg maker (although no square eggs ever emerged). Most backcountry adventurers are practical folk, and thus avoid carrying a heavy food load, if possible.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dan Crane: Wilderness First Aid Lessons

Discovering an injured person in the wilderness is probably a common nightmare amongst those intrepid souls journeying into the Adirondack backcountry. The only situation more dreadful is actually being the one in need of assistance when there is not another person within miles.

A myriad of questions run through one’s mind when imagining such an emergency. What should I do? Help the injured person? Run for help? Just run and hide? Faint and let the next person to come along deal with two injured individuals?

The only way to deal with such an unpleasant situation is to be prepared. Preparations for an emergency event start at home, long before ever leaving for the backcountry. Familiarizing yourself with first aid texts, carrying a personal locator beacon and keeping a well-stocked first aid kit handy are just a few ways to equip oneself for a potential backcountry emergency. The single best way to prepare for such an event may be to attend a wilderness first aid class, which is exactly what I did recently.
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