Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recent Adirondack Search and Rescue Operations

What follows is the September 2013 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.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Guide to the Saranac Lake 6er Challenge

saranac6Jessica Seem brought her two sons to the Adirondacks for vacation this summer after reading on the Internet about the Saranac Lake 6er challenge. They drove 260 miles from central Massachusetts and spent the next several days climbing six smallish mountains near the village of Saranac Lake.

Thanks to a tourism initiative begun by the village in May, hikers who climb all six peaks earn a patch and the right to ring the 6er bell at downtown’s Berkeley Green. The peaks range in height from 2,452 feet (Baker Mountain) to 3,322 feet (McKenzie Mountain). In between are Haystack, Scarface, St. Regis, and Ampersand mountains.

Seem and her sons—Elliot Walsh, ten, and Casey Seem, seven—finished their 6er round on Baker on the edge of the village. “Ampersand was my favorite,” Elliot said. “It was nice and scrambly, and the view was great.”

Younger brother Casey had been reluctant to climb all six until his mother promised him an ice-cream sundae. Asked what flavor he planned to get, he replied, “Whatever they have!”

Mayor Clyde Rabideau said he is pleased with the popularity of the 6er challenge. “It’s catching on,” he remarked. “It’s family friendly.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Free Family Fun Day at Camp Chingachgook Saturday

For over 100 years Camp Chingachgook has been offering children and families options for enjoying nature on Lake George. Off-season the camp has opened its facility to the public for site- specific activities, but for the first time Camp Chingachgook is hosting a free family fun day, October 26 from 10 am – 4 pm, utilizing the whole camp property.

According to Camp Director Billy Rankin they used to offer various specialty days like High Ropes Day or Climbing Day throughout the season. In an attempt to simplify things and create a more family-friendly atmosphere, they created three seasonal events: Winter Wonderland, Spring Fling and the Fall Family Fun Day. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Making Gear Repairs in the Backcountry

Wet blowdown near unnamed pondExploring the Adirondack backcountry is an arduous activity, demanding as much from the participant as from their equipment. Although this remains true for traditional trail hiking, it is even more so for its less conventional sibling of bushwhacking. Regardless, even the most durable gear can break, fall apart, pop, unravel or disintegrate at the most inappropriate moment, requiring some type of repair job that at the very least allows for a humbling exit from the backcountry.

The best offense is a good defense when it comes to any backcountry gear. Purchasing high quality gear, well made with durable materials, is crucial for reducing the possibility of failure in the field. Simple, yet functional equipment, with as few bells and whistles as possible, further diminishes any chance of catastrophic failure. Less stitching to unravel, less seams to become unsealed and less parts to go kerflooey at an inopportune time are a good thing.
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

DEC Opens Trail to Loon Lake Mountain Fire Tower

LoonLakeFireTowerA 2.8-mile trail to the fire tower on the summit of Loon Lake Mountain in the northern Adirondacks is complete and open to the public, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced.

The new trail includes a parking area and trailhead on the west side of County Route 26 in the Town of Franklin in Franklin County, approximately 4.7 miles north of the hamlet of Loon Lake. The trailhead and the lower portion of the trail are on the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands (CEL), while the upper portion is on forest preserve lands in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest.

The trail rises more than 1,600 feet from the trailhead to the 3,355-foot summit of Loon Lake Mountain. The open bedrock summit provides views of Lyon Mountain, Whiteface Mountain, the High Peaks Wilderness Area, Debar Mountain and other nearby summits. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hiking Hamlet to Hamlet: Wadhams to Essex

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAActing on its vision of people hiking on trails between local communities, Champlain Area Trails (CATS) is hosting a hamlet-to-hamlet hike this Sunday, October 13 between Wadhams and Essex.

“CATS’ goal is to have hiking trails that link our communities so people can enjoy the Champlain Valley’s amazing landscape and patronize businesses in our hamlets,” said Chris Maron, CATS executive director in a statement sent to the press.  “To recognize our progress and have a fun Columbus weekend activity, we’re hosting this hike that will start at Dogwood Bakery and end at Lake Champlain Yoga & Wellness on Main Street in Essex where refreshments will be available.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Wildlife and People: The Bear Facts

Bear Warning SignIn the Adirondacks, all forms of wildlife have a natural fear of humans. This is the primary reason why hikers, campers, and individuals sitting on their back porch don’t generally see many creatures, despite being outside for long periods of time.

Should a healthy animal detect the presence of a person, it inevitably hides or immediately flees in order to avoid being seen. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 7, 2013

More Access For Sable Highlands Easement Lands

sablelmapA number of new facilities and access opportunities on the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands in Franklin and Clinton counties (former Domtar Industries lands near Lyon Mountain) are now available for public use, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. DEC and its partners have constructed new parking lots, opened some roads for motorized use, and installed informational kiosks. Roads and trails have been opened through private lease areas to provide access under sporting leases to areas open to public use.

The Sable Highlands easement lands include more than 28,000 acres of lands distributed over 14 public use areas, all of which are open and available for public access and recreation in accordance with the April 2009 Interim Recreation Management Plan. More than 56,000 acres of the Sable Highlands easement lands are leased by the landowner to hunting, fishing and recreation clubs for their exclusive private use. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Exploring the Backcountry During Hunting Season

Hunter campsite near Threemile Beaver MeadowThe late summer and early fall weather has been ideal for exploring the Adirondack backcountry. The mostly sunny days and clear cool nights are near-perfect conditions for bushwhacking through remote and wild areas, regardless of the season. With the weather and my hording of vacation time this year, the stars seemed aligned for an interesting late season adventure.

Except for one tiny detail, it is hunting season. That time of the year when bullets and arrows fly, causing wildlife, in addition to a few hikers and bushwhackers, to flee for their lives. In my opinion, a hail of bullets and/or arrows whizzing by one’s head is uniquely qualified as the easiest way to ruin a backcountry trip.
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Adirondack Art: OK Slip Falls Inspiration

OK Slip FallsI climbed steadily over rocks and boulders, some the size of large pieces of furniture, for half a mile as I worked my way up OK Slip Brook. Sometimes in the thick growth along the shoreline, sometimes rock-hopping right up the brook itself. After a good 30-40 minutes, I came around a bend, crossed several sections of the brook at a gravelly section, and the falls came into sight ahead.

OK Slip Falls – around a 250 foot drop – sun coming in from the side, dark rocks, a small drop visible at the top, then the water comes over a ledge and drops almost the entire way, cascading into a pile of jagged boulders at the bottom. The sound of the graceful curtain of water dropping down was mesmerizing. A gust of wind brought a flurry of golden leaves fluttering down into the steep walled ravine, glowing brightly as they passed in and out of bands of sunlight. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Adirondack Backcountry Ethics: Building A Fire

Fireplace along the Oswegatchie RiverFire has held great fascination for man ever since Prometheus stole it from the Greek gods and put it in our hands. Or so the myth goes.

This allure for combustion extends to the backcountry, where every popular campsite contains either a well-maintained fireplace or a makeshift fire ring.

Even wilderness enthusiasts loathe abandoning this love of fire, despite all the adverse impacts that accompany it. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Commentary:
Preserving and Promoting Adirondac and the Upper Works

Signage at Blast FurnaceToday I conclude my series on Adirondac the the McIntyre Mines.  The deserted village of and the remains of the operation at Upper Works make for an evocative Adirondack destination.  Though this abandoned settlement’s historically significant mining heritage is known among locals, history buffs, and High Peaks backpackers who use the Upper Works trailhead, it is by no means widely known, or even somewhat known.   There are great benefits to be had if this fact changes.

When the Open Space Institute purchased the Tahawus Tract from NL Industries they put a terrific plan in place to designate the area containing Adirondac and the 1854 blast furnace as a historic district.  Work began some years ago to stabilize and preserve the furnace, the one original village building, McMartin House (or MacNaughton Cottage)  and the cemetery.  However the work has taken years and  I hear through the grapevine that funding is an obstacle.  As a result the implementation of the historic district has been slow.  » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Dan Crane: Where Have All The Good Campsites Gone?

Not a good campsite along Crooked LakeWoolgathering is a frequent activity while I bushwhack through the Adirondack backcountry. My recent trip exploring between the South Ponds and Crooked Lake was no exception in this regard. My thoughts often revolved around how this area may be the loneliest part of the Five Ponds Wilderness, as evidence of recent visitors was scarce to non-existent. Instead of enjoying the seclusion, some nagging concern kept intruding upon my thoughts; I could not quite put my finger on its exact nature other than it involved an absence of some feature in the backcountry. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pete Nelson: Reflections on the Great Range

Elbrus MarcyLast week, I wrote about a recently completed backpacking trip with my brother-in-law Dan and my nephew Jonah over the Great Range.  This week I wanted to offer a few observations that did not fit into that narrative (aside to the editor: see John, I’m learning!).

Climbing High Peaks is not as common a pursuit for me as it once was.  Lost Brook Tract occupies my focus now, along with the Central and Western Adirondacks.  Indeed, although I am close to being a 46-er, I suspect I will never get there, as finishing a list just to say I did it lacks the allure it might have had when I was younger.  I will certainly do the Seward Range at some point, but the remaining four peaks – Street, Nye, Couch and Panther – do not call to me. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

To Live and Die in the Adirondacks

Pleasant Last Resting PlaceThere are plenty of reasons people enjoy spending time in the Adirondack wilderness. The reasons include the mental, spiritual and physical benefits of being surrounded by and immersed in the diversity of life. Few think about the flip side of life, as the backcountry is full of dangers, many of which can easily lead to, gulp, death.

For the grim reaper often wears hiking boots.

This struck me after reading about an incident where a hiker passed away in the High Peaks Wilderness recently. A 63-year old man, apparently in good health, collapsed and died a mile below the summit of Mt. Marcy just over a week ago. Unfortunately, this is not the first time such an incident occurred, as deaths often occur in the Adirondack backcountry. Whether these deaths come from over exertion or just some accident, thankfully, they do not happen too often.
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