LGLC’s Communications and Outreach Manager Sarah Hoffman says, “We officially opened Amy’s Park in July with a guided hike. It is a wonderful and rare property for this area. It is very family-friendly and a great place to explore with young kids.”
According to Hoffman though the 500-acre property does not have views of the lake, it is home to a beaver pond, natural plants, grasses and all the wildlife that comes with it. It is a beautiful addition to the other LGLC properties. » Continue Reading.
What 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 owners of 319 acres of farmland and woods in the Champlain Valley have taken steps to protect the property in perpetuity and open it to the public for hiking and cross-country skiing.
Dick and Leanna DeNeale donated a conservation easement on their property to Champlain Area Trails (CATS), a nonprofit organization that has created twenty-three miles of hiking trails in the Champlain Valley since 2009. » Continue Reading.
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.
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. » Continue Reading.
Adirondack Trails with Tales: History Hikes through the Adirondack Park and the Lake George, Lake Champlain & Mohawk Valley Regions (Blackdome Press, 2009) is by Albany writers Barbara Delaney and Russell Dunn, licensed guides and authors of books on the great outdoors of eastern New York and western New England. Trails with Tales is an effort to connect hikers with the history around them. The guide includes detailed directions, maps, photographs, and vintage postcards.
The book guides readers through sites made famous by Adirondack guides, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, colonial settlers, and combatants in the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars. Abandoned iron mines and the ruins of tanneries, famous Adirondack great camps and old resorts, lost villages, Native American battlegrounds, and the homestead of John Brown, catalyst for the Civil War are covered, as are the scene of America’s first naval battle and marvel at geological wonders like Indian Pass, Canajoharie Gorge, Chimney Mountain, and the tufa caves of Van Hornesville. » Continue Reading.
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.
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.
From April 15, 1976: “As we hiked upstream, we were treated to the view of rocky landscapes and numerous rapids, interspersed with waterfalls and calm pools. We could see the high mountain nearby. Following the stream towards the base of this rocky mountain, we discovered the remains of an old log cabin. Only a few feet of the cabin walls were still standing, and the remnants of an old stove lay scattered about the area. A water bucket lay next to the lines of a beaten path, which led to the stream only 30 feet away. I found a beat-up hatchet with about half of the leather wrappings around the handle still intact.”
What you just read, plus dozens of other details not included here, are lost memories, except for the part about the hatchet. Hmmm … lost memories, but they’re being written about? Guess I’ve got some explaining to do. » Continue Reading.
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.
More 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. » Continue Reading.
I grew up appreciating Adirondack water primarily in the form of its lakes and ponds. Our family began vacationing at Blue Mountain Lake nearly sixty years ago and by now I feel as though I know every island and every inch of its depths and shoreline.
There are many other bodies of water that became at least somewhat familiar to me in my boyhood: Eagle and Utowana Lakes, Long Lake, Piseco Lake, parts of the Fulton chain, Minnow Pond, Stephens Pond, Cascade Pond, Rock Pond (one of the many), the Sargent Ponds, Lake Durant, Tirrell Pond, Indian Lake, Heart Lake. As an adult I have come to even more intimate terms with many more, primarily in the High Peaks and Saint Regis areas. » Continue Reading.
At times, it seems as if the entire world is going digital. The Digital Revolution is in full swing, ubiquitously deploying its combined forces of computers, tablets, smart phones, Internet, Wi-Fi, etc., penetrating every aspect of our modern lives. Its newest weaponry, Facebook, Twitter and numerous other social media websites continually distract us from the real world, whiling away the moments of our lives.
Luckily, there are still a few refuges from the constant information bombardment of the 21st Century. The Adirondack backcountry is one such place, where the Information Age has only a small footprint in the form of handheld GPS, an intermittently functioning cellphone or a personal locator beacon. Here the backcountry exists much as it did long before digital gadgetry took up arms against our sanity.
The bottom line: we can market the heck out of Childwold, N.Y. as a tourism destination, but the visitors will stay in Lake Placid anyway.
Marketing alone is not the solution to the sustainable tourism problem.
In a recent post by NCPR’s Brian Mann, he revisits the idea that there is a lack of a coordinated tourism marketing effort for the Adirondacks. He cites the “balkanization” of the region, “with no central governing organization to shape how and where dollars are spent”.
Catamount Mountain (now doesn’t that seem redundant?), the one rising from the shores of Taylor Pond north of Whiteface, has always been one of my favorite climbs. Exposed rock can be so alluring, just one of the many elements that draws in people who love the outdoors. And Catamount has it all for the average hiker/climber―beautiful woods, a conical peak with great views, a dike to climb through, and lots of open rocky expanses.
We visit such places for our own personal reasons. For me, at the beginning of more than four decades of hiking, the most powerful attraction was the rocks―ancient and bare, and preserved in their natural state, allowing a glimpse of undisturbed wildness. Only they weren’t as undisturbed as I thought.
Solitude, peace, and oddly enough, danger, were also elements that drew me to Catamount. Every time I ascended the steep, open rocky areas or skirted cliffs and drop-offs, it struck me how dangerous the place could be. I wondered how it was that more accidents weren’t reported over the years. » Continue Reading.
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