The wild winter weather is continuing. Friday it was so warm that even several hours after the sun went down, there was still a steady drip-drip-drip coming off the roof. In the forties Saturday, the season just can’t seem to make up its mind.
That’s not to say that it has been an easy winter. And to me, there has been a recurring theme out here at that cabin that demonstrates this better than anything else. I have had a steady supply of small rodents around the house looking for food. » Continue Reading.
Winter is really upon us now, finally with some snow to go along with the bone and soul crushing cold. It’s a mixed bag for me, us getting a bunch of snow. With snow comes a lot of hardship, and also some benefits too.
One of the immediate benefits of the eight or so inches of snow is that my cabin is much better insulated. The old pink fiberglass insulation in the attic is more for show at this point than actual insulating value, but the snow on the roof just bottles up the heat from the stove and makes the cabin much more comfortable.
However, I may think the cabin is more comfortable simply because I now have a third of a mile to hike up to it. Not being able to drive right to the cabin raises a whole host of issues. I can’t use the car as a generator to watch TV and keep the chickens warm. I can’t warm up the car before I leave when it’s thirty below outside. If I forget something in the car, it’s getting frozen and staying there overnight most likely. » Continue Reading.
I can freely admit that I am not an expert in basically anything, but let me give you some advice: Don’t share your four-hundred square foot anything with a dog, a cat, three hens, and a rooster. Now, nothing against the chickens, but they are noisy. And stinky. And no matter what, the rooster will crow whenever he feels like it, regardless of your sleep schedule.
With temperatures predicted to be about thirty below zero without the wind chill, I decided that the time had come to let the chickens have a nice warm night inside. Now, keep in mind that the chickens had not ever been inside my cabin. Nor had Pico ever been separated from them by nothing more than a blanket. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep last night. » Continue Reading.
Many years ago, I lived in San José, California where the weather forecast went something like this: Sunny for three weeks, one day of rain, followed by many more weeks of sun. There was a sameness to the weather that bordered on the banal and never made me wonder what was going on.
Not so here in the Northeast. The mercurial nature of our weather keeps us wondering from day to day – often hour to hour – when it’s going to change. The uncertainty is never more present than in the winter, when at times we’re blessed with that trifecta of miserable driving conditions: snow, sleet, and freezing rain.
Why is it that a day could start with a delicate snowfall and suddenly shift to a clattering sleet and end in an icy glaze – but the mercury doesn’t move? Or the temperature will be 30 degrees in both Elizabethtown and Plattsburgh, but snow will fall in one and freezing rain in the other? Clearly the thermometer is telling only part of the story. » Continue Reading.
After four nights at Lost Brook Tract with Amy, two adult sons and our irrepressible dog Henderson, I’m raring to go for another year of Almanacking, though my contributions will be a little less frequent as I bear down with more purpose on the book I’m undertaking.
This stay at Lost Brook Tract was the best ever. The weather conditions and quality of light were the most beautiful I’ve ever experienced in the Adirondacks, to which the photo can attest. It was truly luminous. There was less snow than in past years but no less winter. The temperatures ranged from a positively balmy 35 degrees on the first afternoon to properly Adirondack zero-and-below readings the last two days. For New Year’s Eve I served a bottle of Prosecco we’d carried in. It was frozen. That’s cold. I can report that thawing Prosecco by positioning it next to a flaming birch log flattens it into tepid watery juice faster than any other method I know. Oh well, we had hot chocolate too. And the salmon pasta was “spiced” with a little rye, which thanks to its higher alcohol content resolutely maintained its golden liquidity to the bitter end. » Continue Reading.
As is my new custom, I’m sitting at the table looking out the big window at the winter weather, and I’m sweating. The new stove is amazing, but way too large for my little cabin. A wealth of heat is not necessarily a bad thing, but having the cabin feel like a too-hot summer is a little disconcerting.
I open one of the windows a little more, since all the windows that can open, are already open. I’m greeted with sounds that are both welcome and unwelcome at the same time. The sound of snow and ice dripping off of the roof is nice, but the sound of freezing rain is unpleasant. I woke to a half-inch of ice covering everything. I can also hear the small rushing stream out back. It typically only flows in the spring, but now it sounds like constant traffic. It’s eerily out of place.
Around noon I went out and started my car. I wanted to get as much ice off as possible before the second round of sleet and freezing rain began. It was only a little below freezing, but because it was thick and took me most of an hour with the defroster and an ice scraper. The radio playing in the car told me to stay off the roads for unnecessary travel, but I was out of beer. » Continue Reading.
Winter seems to have come early to the Adirondacks, as below zero temperatures and periodic bouts of measureable snowfall have been a part of our weather pattern since the last few weeks of November. The arctic air that has regularly swept across the region has made a sizeable dent in everyone’s wood pile, placed a strain on car batteries and forced many to wear Christmas sweaters on a daily basis.
The intense cold has also pushed the frost line down in numerous spots, which greatly impacts the existence of those creatures that attempt to survive this season by burrowing into the soil. It is difficult to determine how deep the frost line has advanced, as this critical feature of the winter environment varies greatly from one spot to another. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued an advisory today reporting that the recent snowstorm provided great conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry. Backcountry visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.
Snow depths range from 8 – 20 inches or more. The deepest snows are in the western and southwestern Adirondacks and the thinner depths in the northeastern section. Snow depths are deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet. » Continue Reading.
At least one Common Loon and four Red-throated Loons were blown down in a windstorm on Sunday, November 24th. The Biodiversity Research Institute’s (BRI) Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation received its first call Sunday afternoon concerning a Red-throated Loon that was in the Catamount Mountain parking lot, which was brought to the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge & Rehab Center. A second Red-throated Loon was found at Mt. Van Hoevenberg the following morning. Then a third loon was found up by Mountain View Lake and a fourth in the Old Forge area. And finally, a Common Loon was found on a road in the Glens Falls area.
Red-throated Loons breed in Canada and Alaska. They are much smaller birds than the Common Loons that summer here in the Adirondack Park. They must have been migrating to the coast for the winter when they encountered the strong winds on Sunday and got blown down. » Continue Reading.
The first snow of this winter season has been reported across the Adirondack region. A band of lake effect moisture brought some snow to the higher elevations of the western and southern slopes of the Adirondacks and an Almanack reader on our Facebook page reported that as much as 2.5 inches fell near Old Forge today.
Flurries and minor accumulation were reported in the High Peaks, including at Whiteface. Snow was also reported in Paul Smiths, Lake Placid, Indian Lake, Newcomb, Schroon Lake and into northern Warren County, including Warrensburg and at at Gore Mountain. At least some flurries were reported in Malone and in Clinton County. Considerable snow was expected in Lewis County and the Tug Hill region. » Continue Reading.
A surface level cold front with severe thunderstorms, heavy winds and rain is moving through the Adirondack region. The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for Warren, Washington, Saratoga and Fulton counties, and Wind Advisories and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings elsewhere in the region.
Severe thunderstorms are expected with winds in some areas exceeding 58 mph and the potential for small tornadoes through 5 pm tonight.
The storms affects are already being felt locally. Take shelter as the line of severe storms passes. Remember, there is NO safe place outside in storms like these. Hikers should not be above the treeline. Boaters should return to shore now. » Continue Reading.
The National Weather Service has issued a Freeze Warning for tonight for the entire Adirondack region, including parts of Northern New York and extending as far south as northern Herkimer, Hamilton, and Warren counties. The warning includes the communities of Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Lake Placid, Old Forge, Inlet, Speculator, Indian Lake, North Creek, and Warrensburg.
A low pressure area has moved through the region, and a high pressure area has moved in bringing clear skies Thursday. Temperatures are forecast to drop into the upper 20s in the Freeze Warning area from midnight tonight through 8 am Friday. Expect widespread frost tonight. Sensitive plants and crops will likely be killed if left outside unprotected.
This July during our Adirondack residency I took some time away from Lost Brook Tract to accompany my brother-in-law Dan and his nine year old son Jonah on Jonah’s first hard-core backpacking trip, a two-day traverse of the Great Range followed by the McIntyre Range the next day. I was filled with anticipation for the two-fold effect awaiting Jonah: the immediate joy and the lasting legacy. At nine I would have passed out with excitement from such an adventure, from being on the grand and imposing rock of that range. But then, as veteran hikers know, the hard work and toil attendant to scaling such rugged ups and downs, the persistence of the pack weight sinking into you, the slow, sustained rhythm that sees you steadily progress through high Adirondack forest, these things work deeply into your body, into your muscle memory and your larger psyche where they embed themselves and cure there, strengthening your experience to a level that leaves you changed forever. To imagine these effects working on my young nephew brought me immense pleasure. » Continue Reading.
The daily round of intense rain that has plagued the region for the past several weeks has elevated most area waterways to abnormally high levels for this time of year, impacting many forms of animals. For one group of insects, the early summer flooding is particularly devastating, yet anyone that enjoys being outside at the start of this season can only view this widespread mortality as the silver lining to the persistent rains.
From late June through mid July, deer flies can be most annoying to hikers, campers, canoeists, and individuals that work in the garden, yet this year there seems to be a definite reduction, or complete absence of this annoying pest. » Continue Reading.
They were predicting we’d get more than six inches, perhaps a lot more. They were wrong. We got only two or three, which prettified the woods, but it wasn’t enough to turn the season around for backcountry skiers.
There is still hope: the National Weather Services predicts Saranac Lake, where the Explorer office is located, could get three to five more inches over the next few days. Again, not enough to turn the season around, but we’ll take it. And who knows? Maybe this time we’ll get more than predicted. » Continue Reading.
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