Posts Tagged ‘explore more’

Saturday, January 15, 2022

A fresh start to a new year

first day hike at Paul Smiths VICWe had been instructed to bring snowshoes, which we did out of a sense of honor, but on the first day of 2022 there was really no need. We would be tramping over skinny snow, the Weight Watchers version of the real thing, the typical plump mounds and drifts reduced to an unhealthy parchment stretched thin to cover what it could of stones, stumps and tufts of grass.

Because I had snapped a photo of the thermometer at the time, social media was good enough to remind me that on the first day of 2018 the temp was 24 below. So the 37 degrees registered by the car thermometer in the Visitor Interpretive Center parking lot at Paul Smith’s College represented a 61-degree swing for which we were not entirely ungrateful.

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Saturday, December 18, 2021

New use for logging trails in Lewis

thrall dam in lewis

Adirondack communities have always been resourceful; they’ve had to be, necessity being the mother not just of invention but of 180-degree course corrections. When there were no longer enough children to support the Inlet Common School, community members turned it into a learning venue of another sort, where community members of all ages will share their expertise with others.

Similarly, Adirondack towns have customarily squirreled away a few hundred acres that they logged every so often to earn a few bucks to make up for a paucity of state support. But now, some of these towns, such as Keene and Lewis, are discovering these lands have more value as recreational venues.

As the Adirondack region looks for solutions to overcrowding some of these towns are recognizing that they can help by luring hikers away from trails that resemble mosh pits with roots.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Keeping an eye on bird migrations

bird banding

Endemic to the Adirondack Park are a number of brilliant birders and I’m pretty sure they all roll their eyes when they see me coming, because I’m not much good with biological IDs of any kind, and I’m always peppering them with dopey questions like, “What bird is small, black and white and has a song that kind of goes ‘chickadee-dee-dee.’”

Birds are fascinating for their appearance, songs and habits, and as with most outdoor things, I know just enough to be dangerous.

This week a creature of avian disposition crossed my path and I silently wondered what kind of bird is blue, with a little rust and is about the size of a bluebi …

Oh, right.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021

A trick of nature

wolf pondIt might not have been the biggest Halloween trick in the history of the Adirondacks, but as Dizzy Dean would say, it was amongst ’em.

For years, if not decades, ’dak-o-philes had drooled over the prospect of paddling Boreas Ponds, a Shangri-La (blackflies notwithstanding) that stood out even in a park filled with natural wonders.

Locked away by timber interests longer than anyone had been alive, then subject of a lengthy, impassioned battle over access, the Gulf Brook Road finally opened to the ponds in the fall of 2019 — and was promptly washed out six weeks later on Halloween by a monster rainstorm.

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Sunday, November 21, 2021

Accessible Adirondacks: Exploring the Clintonville Pine Barrens

columnist sweatshirtI have this T-shirt that says “COLUMNIST:” Because Badass Miracle Worker Isn’t An Official Job Title.”

I didn’t say I was proud of it, I said that I have it.

Anyhow, when visiting the Sugar House Creamery in Upper Jay last spring, the shirt caught the attention of Mike Hirsch, the opinion page editor of The Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Exploring wild places

In a week where we were again reminded that development pressures are always with us, it seemed a good time to visit a spot where the reverse is occurring. On a wooded glade bordered by wetlands near the hamlet of Essex is the Brookfield Headwaters Trail, which loops eight tenths of a mile over old farmland that is embarking on a 200 year journey toward becoming, once again, an old growth forest.

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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Adirondack gold

fall foliage

A relatively quiet summer hiking season in the High Peaks wrapped up with a zany holiday weekend that, according to Town of Keene officials, included jammed trailheads, full shuttles, lost children, a dog bite and, why not, a group that wanted to parachute from a helicopter onto Marcy Field (they were told this might not be the best weekend for it).

Being fortunate enough to live here year ’round, I got out on a couple of trails this week after the crowds had gone, feeling a bit like a cockroach coming out after the lights have been turned out for the night. A favorite of mine is Clements Pond, a slip of a trail scarcely 15 minutes from the popular Cascade but worlds away in terms of use.

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Monday, October 18, 2021

Exploring Cranberry Lake

wanakena bridge

When the air is crisp and the leaves are the color of lollipops and hikers descend on Keene Valley like seagulls on a sub, thoughts in this quarter inevitably turn to Cranberry Lake in the Adirondack’s northwest quadrant.

Cranberry Lake in the autumn has the feel of an outpost on civilization’s edge — a port from which the last ship has sailed for the year, leaving behind a skeleton crew of people to keep systems operational through a long dark winter.

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Friday, September 3, 2021

License to backpack: Trying out permits

tetons traveling

Explorer staffers have begun traveling to other parks this summer to learn what lessons they may hold for managing popular trails and attractions. These stories will appear in the magazine later this fall and winter, and will focus largely on New England. This week, though, I’m mixing personal travel with some research, meeting my son at Grand Teton National Park for some backpacking on a permit that I reserved months ago.

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Thursday, August 12, 2021

Safety in numbers: Outdoor Afro’s Adirondack outings

Outdoor AfroA couple of weekends ago, I paddled along with a group of mostly first-time Adirondack canoeists as they watched loons and enjoyed the soothing waters of Little Green Pond and Little Clear Pond — adjacent water bodies near Paul Smiths and the St. Regis Canoe Area wilderness. It was a rare occasion in this park when I stood out for the color of my skin — white. And that was by design.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Marijuana in the Adirondacks

marijuanaThe Explorer’s website, AdirondackExplorer.org, recently published a story contemplating the potential for marijuana to drive new tourism business in the park if local governments are open to allowing dispensaries. Under New York law, communities will have until the end of the year to decide whether they want to prohibit such businesses. Opting out would mean no local sales, but it wouldn’t make marijuana possession illegal under state law.

Beyond our core issues of the environment and outdoor recreation, we at the Explorer track rural economics affecting the park and its communities. So the questions surrounding new business and taxation are sure to generate intriguing stories as this new market emerges. Will cannabis and the Adirondacks, as one source in the story suggests, provide the sort of “match made in heaven” that some nature lovers seek? Will legalization and sales create new problems in a park already attracting millions of visitors? Time will tell.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

A newsy issue

silver fliesThis issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine will be a doozy.

It will offer readers thorough explainers surrounding the recent court ruling against “community connector” snowmobile trails; the struggle by small Adirondack communities to fund proper water treatment; Essex County’s remarkable job of being a statewide leader in preventing COVID in the face of a serious tourism rush; a program to fight one non-native species with another; the pressures leading the Whitney estate’s owner to subdivide and sell that coveted Adirondack woodland; even a fascinating look at how and why (and at what cost) Adirondack communities ship all of the park’s garbage elsewhere.

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Monday, May 17, 2021

A bag of hammers

lean-to rescueThis spring, I paddled out across Kiwassa Lake to see the volunteers at Lean2Rescue put the finishing touches on a newly restored lean-to shelter. They had moved it, piece by piece, from Middle Saranac Lake, so they could replace the roof and some rotting logs at the base. And they left in its place a new lean-to for Middle Saranac.

This is what these guys do. They told me I could do it too, if I had an IQ in the range of a “bag of hammers.” It’s their joke for the mania that drives them to head out into the wilderness to move 400-pound logs around. What they do is no joke, though. It keeps a certain local architectural heritage alive, and gives paddlers and backpackers shelter in the woods.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The last patrol

Scott van Laer

The May/June Adirondack Explorer now landing in subscribers’ mailboxes contains two profiles of forest rangers, Julie Harjung and Scott van Laer, by reporter Gwendolyn Craig. Both of these rangers have worked the woods for 25 years and are now retiring. Gwen visited van Laer as he wrapped up is work, and shot the short video that you can view here.

These stories honor the work these public servants have done to keep us and every Adirondack visitor safe and educated. Gwen revisits their careers, including the lives they saved, the rescues that sadly turned to recoveries, the work that van Laer did in advocating for the ranger corps, and the paramedic experience that Harjung put to work in training colleagues and others to become wilderness first responders.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Alone in the woods: A place of hermits and hermit thrushes

Noah RondeauThere’s an abundance of serendipity in these parts, and in our work.

Often, related themes and stories emerge like magic, to make it appear to readers that we had planned them to run side-by-side in our magazine. Sometimes we do that, but others, like in our upcoming May/June issue, the stars just align. And one of the stars of this issue is an old-time hermit named Noah John Rondeau. (The photo of him here is courtesy of the Adirondack Experience museum in Blue Mountain Lake.)

He lived in the same Adirondack woods where hermit thrushes are now returning for spring, and where hikers and backpackers will soon flock to seek refuge from another pandemic summer. If you’ve been following our online series about the struggle to form the Adirondack Park Agency 50 years ago, you’ve had a preview of the history story in which he’ll make an appearance in print. The writer, author Brad Edmondson, presents him as a sort of bridge from the old and truly wild North Country — squatting on public lands in a time when no one really cared — to the modern, regulated park. He died just as the Northway’s fresh pavement was about to deliver a surge of new visitors.

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