According to a press released issued by the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC), on September 10th at 12:09 pm, Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from a man reporting his horse was stuck on a trail in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area.
The horse, named Chance, had slipped on a small bridge, fell, and became trapped underneath. Forest Rangers Arthur Perryman, Benjamin Baldwin, and Charles Kabrehl responded to assist in freeing the horse. The Rangers said the bridge was temporarily dismantled to allow the horse to leverage itself back on its feet. » Continue Reading.
The Pharaoh Lake Trail, part of the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area, extends 3.3 miles from the Pharaoh Lake Road Trailhead to the intersection of trails at the outlet of Pharaoh Lake. The trail ascends 235 feet from Mill Brook for 1.1 miles but gently rises and falls at either end. » Continue Reading.
Long-distance hiking, peak bagging, and trail hiking are great ways to experience the out-of-doors, yet they’re also “been there, done that” pursuits for most hikers. More than 10,000 people have hiked the Adirondack Forty-Six, dozens thru-hike the Northville-Placid Trail each year, and adjectives used to describe High Peaks Wilderness Area have changed from pristine and wild to impacted and confining. Taking pride in being the black sheep of the hiking community and loving land where there are few traces of mankind, there is no Pacific Crest Trail in my past, no popular peak bagging list in my future. For me it’s all about pursuing unique forms of recreation that take me through the backdoor of beyond. Thus my latest conception: “name bagging.” » Continue Reading.
Snowshoeing in the Adirondacks has a long history. Originally a means of travel, it is now a popular recreational pastime. The French called snowshoes raquettes because the paddle-shaped contraptions of earlier times resembled rackets. They were used by hunters and trappers.
Today’s snowshoes are more rugged and lightweight than the wooden raquettes of yore. They’re usually made of aluminum, plastic, and nylon and come equipped with crampons that allow us to climb over ice, bare rock, and deep snow — that is, almost anywhere except up a tree. » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the backcountry.
What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of a recent mission carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
Although I’ve been working in Albany with the Adirondack Mountain Club over the past two years, the Adirondack Park is relatively new to me. It’s not new to my family. I am beginning to discover a long familial history with the Adirondacks.
My father recently found an old photo album documenting trips from Philadelphia in 1900 and 1903 when my great-grandmother visited Schroon Lake and hiked Pharaoh Mountain with her family. They traveled to NYC and then made their way north on the Hudson by riverboat.
This summer I traveled back to the area my family visited 115 years ago. I walked to the shore of Schroon Lake for the first time and paddled Lost and Berrymill Ponds in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. » Continue Reading.
For nearly 25 years the Crane Pond Road has existed as an illegal and controversial 2-mile-long road in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness area. This summer, there were regular reports about cars and trucks getting stuck in a mud wallow at a degraded point where the Crane Pond Road cuts through a wetland. In August, I encountered a group stuck there with their jeep when I walked the road.
In September, state agencies celebrated 50 years of the National Wilderness Act. The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) had presentations about the Wilderness Act and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) attended various ceremonies to pay homage to Wilderness. Both agencies elegized the importance of Wilderness.
The failure to close the Crane Pond Road belies their pretty words about Wilderness. Natural resource degradation has reached a point where the Crane Pond Road is now a public safety hazard. » Continue Reading.
I’ve been patiently waiting for a clear night and conditions were perfect last Friday. Cool temps and open skies. Pharaoh Lake is a great place for stargazing. The Milky Way is visible from the northern end of the lake. The crescent moon had set about an hour before I took this photo.
The High Peaks are visible from the summit of Treadway mountain in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. Spend some time exploring as there are incredible views of Pharaoh Lake just past the summit. The hike is 7.8 miles round trip from Putnam Pond Campground, off Route 74 west of Ticonderoga.
I keep coming back to Pharaoh Lake. It’s full of campsites and lean-tos, great swimming too. I finally had the chance to stay at Watch Rock. With a large lean-to and Pharaoh mountain close-by, this spot is very popular. There are several spots to sit along the site. This picture was taken during a break in a summer storm.
The sky was full of drama Saturday night. The Pharaoh Lake Wilderness is a good choice for anything from a one night trip to a full week in the woods. Pharaoh Lake itself has several camping spots and lean-to’s. This is looking towards the eastern part of the lake.
Recently I was asked to present a talk about the life and careers of Paul Schaefer, the 20th century Adirondack conservation coalition leader. The location for my talk was Niskayuna, where beginning in the late 1920s into the early 1980s Paul built and restored hundreds of homes, including his own, out of natural, recycled materials – stone, slate and timbers from old buildings then facing the wrecking ball. The host for the lecture was the Niskayuna Town Historian, fitting because Paul was also intensely interested by American history.
A healthy collection of American Heritage can be found on the shelves of his Adirondack cabin. During my talk I mentioned that Paul and his siblings, growing up after 1910, were constantly outside, and among their outdoor pursuits were days exploring for arrowheads and other implements of the Mohawk, a member of the Great League of the Haudenosaunee. I then described the outlines of Paul’s remarkably successful career defending and extending the wilderness of the Adirondacks, from its wild rivers, to its highest peaks and the wildlife rich valleys threatened from inundation by large dams. Some of this history is found in Paul’s first book, Defending the Wilderness (1989, Syracuse University Press). » Continue Reading.
When it comes to sheer number of routes one can take through the Adirondacks, rock climbing has got to have more opportunities than any other outdoor sport. Any guide that hopes to cover every single one is going to be a tome, and coming in at more than 670 pages, the newest edition of the seminal Adirondack climbing guide, Adirondack Rock, meets that description.
Adirondack Rock includes 242 cliff areas, many of which have never before been documented, and nearly 2,000 routes and variations. The guide’s authors, Jim Lawyer and Jeremy Hass, spent years visiting new and seldom visited climbs around the Adirondacks. Among the regions they turned their focus to was the Lake George basin, long neglected by regional climbing guides. » Continue Reading.
Two decades ago, some Adirondackers forced the state to back down from a decision to close Crane Pond Road inside the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness.
A few weeks ago, I went to Crane Pond Road to take photos for a story that will run in the next issue of the Adirondack Explorer. The dirt lane became a cause celebre two decades ago when the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) tried to close it. » Continue Reading.
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