Posts Tagged ‘camping’

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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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Adirondack Mountain Club Revamping Guidebook Series

HIgh Peaks Trails guidebook published by Adirondack Mountain Club.The Adirondack Mountain Club has issued the fourteenth edition of its popular High Peaks Trails guidebook, and some might say it’s bigger and better than ever.

No one can dispute that it’s bigger. The new edition measures 5½ inches wide by 8½ inches tall, whereas the previous edition measured 5 by 7. This continues a trend toward larger: the twelfth edition measured roughly 5 by 6¼.

It’s part of ADK’s plan to revamp its Forest Preserve series of guidebooks. For years, the club has published six guidebooks that together cover the entire Adirondack Park (in addition to a separate book for the Northville-Placid Trail). ADK is reducing the number of books from six to four, meaning each book will cover more territory. Hence, the larger format. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hiking: The Agony of the ‘Death March’

Almost every outdoor recreationist has endured a long, arduous hike at some point. Sometimes these difficult hikes take on an added sense of misery due to blistered and sore feet, heavy downpours or especially voracious mosquitoes. When each step becomes a struggle, the miles seem to drag on without end and the trail becomes the central focus of the universe then the hike becomes a bona fide “death march”.

A death march, although miserable, is much less severe than the portentous term implies. A slightly less ominous term used to describe this phenomenon is the forced march. By any name, it remains one of the worst hiking experiences, and one to avoid if possible.
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dan Crane: Managing New State Land for Bushwhacking

The recent announcement of the largest addition to the State Forest Preserve in 117 years in the former Finch Pruyn lands is excellent news for anyone seeking additional outdoor recreational opportunities in the Adirondacks. These new properties make over 69,000 acres of backcountry available to the public for the first time in over 150 years, including such exotic-sounding places as the Essex Chain of Lakes, OK Slip Falls and Boreas Pond.

The many new opportunities for recreational opportunities on these properties is often cited, typically including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, etc. The implication is these new areas will be highly managed for human recreation, with a plethora of trails, campsites, signs, bridges and so on. Despite all the new outdoor recreational opportunities cited, one activity always remains noticeably absent: bushwhacking.
» Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cabin Life: Lying in the Hammock

I love lying in the hammock.  There’s a cold beer on the upright log next to me and Pico is lying on the other side.  Shamelessly, I use Pico as a push off to swing the hammock.  He weighs enough to absorb the push, and seems to be content with the petting.  Luckily he hasn’t attempted to join me in the hammock yet.

There are a couple of spider silks strung between two branches, and the afternoon light is glinting off of them.  When the light breeze blows, they disappear and then reappear as a shimmer in the middle of nothingness.  I can’t see where the silks tie into the leaves, but the suspended middle of the strings is visible more often than not. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Children and Resilience

I was sitting with my middle son Zach the other day, talking about Adirondack memories.  Zach is twenty, in college and interested in writing and film.  He is tall, thin and quiet.  He knows a lot about the current culture and one would find him perfectly modern but he also knows his way around the woods in the most primitive conditions.   I think of our three children Zach has the strongest connection to these mountains: they tug at his gut just as they do mine. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dan Crane: Backpacking on a Shoestring Budget

Anyone who has ever walked into an outdoors store, or perused an online backpacking retailer, knows that backcountry adventuring can be really expensive. Modern high tech fabrics, over-engineered designs and trendy manufacturers are a recipe for one humongous bill on a credit card. It can be so disheartening to anyone on a budget, that probably more than a few people have left a store feeling woefully inadequate.

A lack of funds should not deter anyone from exploring the Adirondack backcountry though. Instead, it is an opportunity to show some ingenuity since there are many different strategies for getting some outstanding gear on a shoestring budget. Buying at the right time, taking advantage of a good deal, purchasing used equipment, and making your own gear are just a few ways to prepare for outdoor adventures without breaking the bank. Although, there may be a few cracks.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DEC Continues Firewood Checkpoints

Seven people were ticketed for transporting firewood more than 50 miles without certification of heat treatment at three checkpoints held by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police in the Adirondacks on Friday, August 17.

“DEC and its partners continue to educate campers and others about the importance of the firewood transportation regulation and preventing the spread of invasive insects,” said DEC Regional Director Robert Stegemann. “The level of compliance with the regulation indicates that the public is getting the message. We must make every effort to protect the forest preserve and private woodlands in the Adirondacks from invasive insects, including enforcement of the regulation for those who don’t comply.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adirondack Search and Rescue Report (June-July 2012)

What follows is the June/July 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. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Adirondacks Most Remote Spot: Not That Remote

It’s been said by photographer Gary Randorf, Clarence Petty, and others, that ninety-five percent of the entire Adirondack Forest Preserve, Wilderness included, is within about five miles of  one of the more than 5,000 miles of roads  in the Adirondack Park.

That statistic has been newly confirmed by two wildlife ecologists who say they have identified the most remote  spot in New York State, located in the High Peaks Wilderness – just 5.3 miles from the nearest road, and a less than a half-mile from the popular Northville-Placid Trail.

Rebecca and Ryan Means of Florida have been on a mission to identify, travel to, and document the most remote locations in all 50 states and recently came to the Adirondacks – with daughter Skyla in tow and Adirondack Explorer writer/photographer Josh Wilson along to report – to find ours. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Life in the Wild

I noticed that guide and outdoor writer Joe Hackett had a column last week in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise asking whether there is any true wilderness in the Adirondacks. This is a question – entailing in turn the question of what we mean by wilderness – which I took up in several Dispatches some months ago.  I’ll not return to those arguments now except to restate that yes, I think there is unquestionably true wilderness in the park.  I know because I have lived there.

I am just settling into the experience of being on Lost Brook Tract with Amy for much of July, just feeling ready to write about it.  It has taken me some days: this was a deeply moving time in my life.  If there has been one over-arching theme in my reflections it has been that our stay there did not in any way feel like a vacation – indeed we did not intend it as a vacation.  We intended to just live there.  And so we did.  It could have been three weeks or three years for all I felt.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dan Crane: Evolution of a Bushwhacking Fool

Bushwhacking, or off-trail hiking, requires many skills, acquired over many years. Few people begin their backcountry career as a bushwhacker, i.e. bushwhackers are not born, they evolve.

Typically, one commences as a mere hiker, transitions to a backpacker as the desire to travel farther afield gains hold, and, if the skills, temperament and desire form the correct concoction, finally becomes a bushwhacker. At least, that is how I got started. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Kuma’s View

The lowest point of Lost Brook Tract is about 3,300 feet above sea level.  From there it rises along a steep ridge to a summit which tops out at 3,631 feet according to the United States Geological Survey which recently approved our proposal to formally name it.  I have previously written about my exploration of the land leading to the summit and of eventually cutting a modest trail to it from the low point of our land where the lean-to is located.

The trail I created winds along and across the glacial ridges that define our land, past outcroppings and rills and mossy glades to a flat rock protruding out from the top of the headwall.  This spot has a jaw-dropping sixty mile vista we have named Amy’s Lookout.  It is a few dozen feet below the true summit. » Continue Reading.


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