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.
Town of Indian Lake Hamilton County Wilderness Rescue: On April 9 at 2:30 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from New York State Police B Command advising of a lost hiker in the OK Slip Falls area. The hiker stated she became disoriented while hiking out and was standing near a river. Forest Rangers Scott and Miller responded. Ranger Scott tried to call the woman, but due to limited cell service, texted her with instructions. Not knowing if the subject received the instructions, Rangers Scott and Miller searched the trail and found the 56-year-old woman from North Creek heading back in the correct direction. She had received the text message, but could not send a reply. The Rangers and hiker proceeded back to trailhead.
In case you missed last week’s Adirondack Park Agency meeting, here are a few highlights.
The APA is collecting public comments on the Hinckley Day Use Area unit management plan proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Specifically, the APA will look at how this plan meshes with the Adirondack State Park Master Plan. DEC is proposing a revamp of the area, including new multi-use trails, additional camping opportunities and a pavilion at Price’s Point. Click here for more info, including how to comment.
By the metric of public use the High Peaks Wilderness Area, and nearby Giant, Hurricane and Sentinel Range Wilderness areas, are major successes. The crowds hiking in the High Peaks are at an all-time high. The current dismal state of many of the hiking trails does not seem to be a major deterrent to the throngs of people eager to hike one of the High Peaks.
For many people hiking a mountain like a High Peak is no sure thing and is, and should be, a challenge. There are plenty of highly used and popular smaller mountains throughout the Adirondacks that provide stunning views, but the allure of hiking a High Peak is immense.
New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) has announced they are seeking two trail crew supervisors and eight trail crew laborers to work in the backcountry of the High Peaks Wilderness as part of the DEC High Peaks Trail Crews. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 5 Forest Rangers piloted a preventative Search and Rescue initiative during the President’s Day holiday weekend in the High Peaks Wilderness.
Staff from Adirondack Mountain Club and volunteers from Keene-Keene Valley Backcountry Rescue partnered in the effort to directly interact with hikers entering the backcountry. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) have announced plans for managing use associated with the popular Cascade Mountain Trail this Columbus Day holiday weekend.
The trailhead parking lots and the shoulders of State Route 73 in the vicinity of the Cascade Mountain and Pitchoff Mountain Trailhead will be closed to public parking beginning in the late afternoon on Thursday, October 4, through Columbus Day. Hikers will be directed to the Cross Country Parking Lot at ORDA’s Olympic Sports Complex beginning Friday morning and throughout the holiday weekend. Only designated shuttles from the Sports Complex will be allowed to enter the Cascade Mountain Trailhead area.
On September 16th I hiked Cascade Mountain and wrote about the experience. On that day over 500 people hiked Cascade. I returned the next weekend (on Saturday September 23rd), with a friend and survey sheets and clipboards to ask hikers a series of questions. The interviews took about two minutes and many people graciously answered questions. At busy points, we were both talking with groups as others walked by us. This was a rough survey, undertaken as much to learn about what is necessary for conducting this kind of survey as it was for getting some basic data from the hikers on Cascade Mountain. » Continue Reading.
I hiked Cascade Mountain from the Route 73 trailhead on Saturday September 16th. I went to see the crowds, the condition of the trail, and the general scene of what is believed to be the most popular High Peaks hiking trail. In 2015, over 33,000 people signed in at the trailhead register. In 2016, over 42,000 people are believed to have hiked the summit. Near the top there is now an electronic counter.
My whole trip took about five hours in the middle of the day. Many passed me by on the hike up and many others were hiking down the mountain during my ascent. I stayed on the summit about 90 minutes, which was gloriously sunny with the lightest of breezes. On the summit I counted people twice, with each count topping 100. » Continue Reading.
The growing number of hikers in the High Peaks in recent years has heightened concern for the fragile alpine vegetation found on many of the summits.
If the number continues to increase, summit stewards charged with educating hikers may find themselves overwhelmed, said Julia Goren, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s education director.
“I don’t think we’ve lost ground yet,” said Goren, who heads the summit-steward program. “But I do think it’s not hyperbolic that we’re kind of at a tipping point where there’s not much more we can take before there’s going to be some kind of loss. One summit steward can’t talk to six hundred people in a day and make sure that people are respecting every patch of alpine vegetation.” » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association (AsRA) has launched an expanded porta-john program throughout the Ausable River watershed to address the persistent problem of human waste disposal. Each year, over a million people visit the Ausable River watershed according to AsRA; seventy-six percent of these visitors participate in outdoor recreational activities. These large numbers pose a challenge in terms of the proper disposal of human waste. In short, the watershed has a poop problem.
The High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program has reported a 64% increase in visitation to the high summits of the Adirondacks over the past six years. This increase has coincided with a shift towards a larger percentage of day hikers versus overnight users. In many cases these visitors are not prepared to, or informed how to, properly dispose of their waste. As a result, summit stewards, forest rangers, and other backcountry professionals have reported an increased incidence of feces and toiletry products being improperly deposited on, or directly adjacent to trails. » Continue Reading.
Last Wednesday was the day that my wife Amy and I finally closed on our Adirondack house in Keene. The morning of the closing I awoke to a cloudy, fogged-in day and an overwhelming need to get my head right and reconnect to this place I have so come to love. I decided to hike up Big Crow, a substantial promontory that rises from one of the ridges of the Hurricane Mountain complex, directly behind our new house. Big Crow has a lot of open rock and a rise of several hundred feet facing the Keene Valley, promising a huge view of the High Peaks beyond. As I began my ascent visibility was a few dozen yards at best. This circumstance is my favorite for an Adirondack climb: I knew the clouds would break as the morning progressed, to spectacular effect. I determined to take in the theater from the summit no matter if it took all morning. » Continue Reading.
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