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.
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.
The date of the first day of spring varies greatly, as the starting point of this anticipated time of the year depends upon how this season is defined. For those that rely on the calendar, spring begins on Wednesday, as this is when our tilted planet is at a particular position in its orbit around the sun.
For individuals more attuned to meteorology and climatology, spring officially starts on March 1st, as this is when a change in weather patterns traditionally commences. For many back-yard naturalists and people interested in something more noticeable, the sighting of a robin marks the onset of spring. » Continue Reading.
Well, we had a nice March thaw. I’m not sure it really made things better, but it sure was pleasant to have a couple days of sunshine and warmth. I was even able to let the fire go out for about thirty-six hours, marking the longest period I’ve gone without a fire in the wood stove since January.
While I enjoyed shoveling in just a shirt with no gloves necessary, I was still a little upset at having to shovel. Needless to say, I have had more than my fill of shoveling this winter. The driveway is passable, but not in good shape. The ruts I made when the snow was soft are now essentially the tracks I have to take to get in and out of the cabin. I basically have no say in how I get up and down the driveway, but so far, I’ve still been able to drive it. I don’t mind hiking, but if it can be avoided, it seems silly to hike. » Continue Reading.
There’s a gentle thud as another icicle falls off the roof and lands in the soft, heavy snow on the ground. It’s not that warm today, but warm enough to sit out on the porch and read for a while. I needed a winter hat to sit out there, though the sun was warm when it poked out from behind the clouds.
There’s a noticeable difference in the amount of snow on the ground. It’s not really melting, but it is disappearing. Almost like the surface of the snow isn’t changing, but just sinking closer and closer to the ground. The days haven’t been very warm, but we’re starting to get those days when it feels a little humid out. This is the snow’s way of saying goodbye I presume. » Continue Reading.
There is a pronounced silence in our forests throughout the winter, except for the occasional sound of a flock of chickadees and the wind blowing through the canopy. Those forms of wildlife that remain active during this season of cold and snow are forced to concentrate all of their energy on finding the limited amount of food present and maintaining a suitable internal temperature, rather than on expending effort generating a noise. As winter’s grip gradually relents in early March and the problems of survival ease, one of the first voices to be heard again in both wilderness settings and residential sections of the Park is the angry chatter of the red squirrel. » Continue Reading.
It’s forty degrees, the icicles are dripping snowmelt off the roof, and it’s snowing out. Today seems to be a perfect example of the paradox of the season. March starts tomorrow, and the end of winter is in sight. But there’s a pretty solid likelihood of getting a bunch more snow, as well as days and nights that are bitterly cold.
This, for me, is often the toughest time of the year. I’m still enjoying the winter skiing and snowshoeing, as well as the sight of the white woods. But as we get deeper into March and closer to my birthday, I start getting antsy for spring to be here. Last year, there wasn’t really a part of the winter like this, seeing as it was so warm and light on snow. I mean, I went canoeing on my birthday in late March last year. That was definitely a first for me. » Continue Reading.
A few weeks ago, in a piece about old-time weather forecaster Billy Spinner, I mentioned insects on our sidewalk near Christmastime, which is certainly out of the ordinary in my life’s experience. In another piece in December, I mentioned the value of keeping a journal. The two subjects came together recently when I was pondering how the winters of my youth seem so different from those we are experiencing today. Of course, we can’t trust our memories, which again demonstrates the value of a journal.
Now don’t get all excited thinking that I’m trying to prove climate change or global warming. I do know that through my teen years (mainly the 1960s), little time was spent wondering if we would have a white Christmas each year. It was basically a given. » Continue Reading.
Climate change; global warming; superstorms; extended droughts; the hottest year ever; December tornadoes; on and on it goes. Changes are happening everywhere. Even here at home this year, worms and bugs on our sidewalk in mid-December! There have been so many devastating storms and floods and fires. We do benefit from modern forecasters using the most advanced technology to predict the weather, helping us to avoid any big surprises, or to at least prepare.
The same was true of weathermen seventy-five years ago: they did their best to predict what the weather would bring―days, weeks, and even months in advance. But they weren’t alone in doing so. Competing against them were country prognosticators who sometimes did better than the latest technology. » Continue Reading.
The sun is slowly creeping up over Whiteface, turning the sky into a mixture of pastel blue, deep purple and burnt orange. The icicles hanging down in front of the big window reflect the colors as the first chickadees of the morning start to come to the bird feeders. Herbie and Ed are both on the couch, heads darting back and forth. The view out the window looks like a Bob Ross painting. Soft lines and happy little trees everywhere.
The January thaw is upon us here in the Adirondacks. It’s a nice little break to have temperatures above freezing, but the rain that’s coming surely is not welcome. Over the last couple of days, I’ve lost almost a foot of snow to the warm, humid air, but I’m not complaining about that. There’s still plenty of the white stuff on the ground.
So much snow, in fact, that my driveway is no longer drivable. I’ve been parking at the bottom for over a week now. There’s obviously a pretty big downside to this, but also a few perks. I’ve gotten good at not forgetting anything when I leave, and shoveling a hundred yards of driveway is definitely preferable to shoveling a quarter mile of driveway. Also, the driveway is steep enough and snowy enough for me to ride the sled down to the car. So even when I have to haul groceries or water up, I at least get a sled ride in exchange. It’s really not a bad trade. » Continue Reading.
When I recently wrote about missing the winter camping experience, I never imagined there would be anything other than a tepid response. Who could possibly have a strong reaction to a middle-aged man reminiscing about his past winter backpacking experiences? I certainly did not expect any type of counterpoint to appear defending winter backcountry adventuring in all its frigid glory.
Yet, a recent Lost Brook Dispatch made an effective argument extolling the virtues of backpacking during the winter months, including a good-natured cajoling from author Pete Nelson for me to get back into the Adirondack winter camping game. This article serves as a counterpoint to his counterpoint, including a description of why I feel the warmer months offer a vastly superior backcountry experience in the Adirondacks than the colder months of winter. » Continue Reading.
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