Oh the perils of winter camping – at least when you use modern equipment. I read the article, “A Winter Trail Too Far,” (posted Jan. 29, 2020 in the Adirondack Explorer) with great interest. My sympathies to the brave team hiking the Northville-Placid trail in winter. Hearing about the toil of breaking trail, frozen clothes, iced-over boots and the physical exhaustion from days in the cold made me realize how inadequate modern equipment is for winter.
Cooking stoves are crucial backcountry gear. They allow for cooking those high-calorie meals, the lifeblood of any hiker after spending hours trudging through forest, field and/or wetlands. However, stoves are only as good as their fuel, for without some type of combustible material, they are just a useless trinket cluttering up your backpack.
Determining the amount of fuel to carry is often more art than science – not enough, you have to force down soggy uncooked oatmeal, too much, and you beat yourself up for carrying the extra weight. Fortunately, Solo Stove has solved this dilemma by creating an attractive line of stoves that burns a fuel that is so readably accessible in the Adirondacks that there is almost never a reason to carry it. » Continue Reading.
A new store that caters to outdoor sports enthusiasts has opened in Wanakena, a tiny hamlet near Cranberry Lake with a population of less than 100.
The Trading Post at the Pine Cone Grill opened this winter to fill the gap created by the closing of the Wanakena General Store, which sold groceries and basic outdoor supplies.
Rick Kovacs, who owned the Wanakena General Store, shut down in October saying he couldn’t make enough money in the winter months. He had owned the store for about six years, and said one had been at that location for about 60 years. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Explorer has just published its second pocket-size guidebook, 12 Short Hikes Near Old Forge.
The book is similar in format and price ($9.75) to the Explorer’s first guidebook, 12 Short Hikes Near Lake Placid, which was published last year.
For the second book, we chose a dozen hikes to summits, ponds, and rivers in the vicinity of Old Forge and Inlet. Each chapter includes detailed trail descriptions, GPS coordinates and driving directions for the trailhead, hand-drawn maps by local artist Nancy Bernstein, and photos by a variety of veteran photographers. We also rank the difficulty and scenic beauty of the hikes. » Continue Reading.
Few backcountry gear decisions seem as daunting as picking a shelter. Some prefer to sleep John Wayne style (under the stars), others prefer lean-tos, but most carry a shelter of some sort on their back – tents or tarps.
Tents are easier to set up (though I’ve seen exceptions), but are often heavier to carry. Compared to tarps tents offer less ventilation, critical when sharing the space with an aromatically challenged companion. Free standing tents are easier to set up and move – an important consideration in locating a good tent site while bushwhacking. On the other hand, tarps are better in rain. Erecting the tarp over your gear in an emergency can keep you and your gear drier. An open tarp provides more ventilation, which also allows for quicker drying.
A tarp system reigns supreme in the weight department, but smaller poles and hi-tech fabrics on new tents continue to chip away at the weight differential.
My history with shelters reads like something out of “A Christmas Carol”, with ghosts of shelters past, present and future. » Continue Reading.
Never leaving a man behind is a common motto in the military world; it is even incorporated into the U.S. Army’s Soldier’s Creed. The saying is equally apropos for Adirondack backcountry adventurers, whose hobby has some commonality with the military way of life, except for the lack of gravitas. Although the prospect of leaving behind a comrade is unmatched in seriousness, it is not the only situation where leaving something behind in the backcountry arouses feelings of loss and guilt.
Despite the appropriateness of the motto in the backcountry, it rarely has much bearing on most adventures. Although groups separate on occasion, sometimes with disastrous results, this is not a common occurrence for most people. At least, I hope it is not; otherwise, rescuers would be constantly crawling throughout the backcountry, and/or bodies would be more common than deflated Mylar balloons. » Continue Reading.
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