By Phil Brown Perhaps you’ve heard of Richard Louv’s best-selling book Last Child in the Woods, in which he laments that modern kids grow up cut off from the natural world. Makes you wonder who that last child in the woods will be. I think I found him. His name is Eli Bickford. He’s twelve years old. And he’s from Brooklyn. Though he lives in the city, he spends every summer at his family’s cabin in Keene Valley. When he was seven, he climbed his first High Peak (Nippletop). The next summer he climbed ten more of the High Peaks. >>More
Volunteers create scenic loop that’s ideal for winter fun. By Tom Woodman The trail reaching into the Siamese Ponds Wilderness from near Thirteenth Lake can be a bustling, merry place on a good weekend in ski season. Residents of the homes around the lake and visitors to nearby Garnet Hill Lodge augment the supply of day-trippers, so there can be a healthy stream of people gliding into the woods from the Old Farm Clearing Trailhead. The main trail connects to a variety of side trips of varying difficulty as it makes its way 10.8 miles through the wilderness to a >>More
Upland development mars the mountain scenery in the town of Keene. By GEORGE EARL The hike up the Brothers, three adjoining peaks near Keene Valley, affords striking vistas of the Great Range to the southwest—an uninterrupted expanse of forested slopes and rocky summits. But the view north, toward Little Porter Mountain, is broken by a cluster of big houses on a rocky cliff. While hiking the Brothers in May, I counted about a dozen conspicuous houses along the ridge just below the summit of Little Porter. Some are perched atop rock faces that have been leveled with dynamite to make >>More
What goes up must come down. But not always easily. Take Tower of Power, a spicy, twenty-five-foot route at the Nine Corners bouldering ground in the southern Adirondacks. Bouldering is simply rock climbing without rope, close to the ground. But close is a relative thing.
Kayakers feud with tourist company over paddling rights on the Ausable River. By BRIAN MANN For the first time ever this year, whitewater paddlers have enjoyed the right to plunge through the Ausable Chasm in the northeastern Adirondacks, testing their skills against waterfalls and rapids that had been off-limits. “Coming over that first drop, you’re entering this magical place,” said Andrew Ludke, a kayaker from Pennsylvania who was one of the first to make the run. “You pit your personal skills against that of the river and that of the natural environment.” The chasm is one of the most captivating >>More
What must be done to create a world-class bike path in the Adirondacks. By ALAN WECHSLER Someday, the Adirondacks could boast of a tourist attraction not found anywhere else in the East: a long-distance rail-trail that would enable bicyclists to take multiday trips through protected wild lands. The route could be used by others as well: trail runners, hikers, and, in winter, snowmobilers. The rail-trail could extend as many as eighty miles, starting in Thendara, near Old Forge, and ending in Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, or Lake Placid. Along the way it would traverse remote tracts of the forever-wild Forest >>More
The Explorer tests the navigability of a posted stretch of the Beaver River. By PHIL BROWN The Beaver River starts at Lake Lila and flows for eight miles through largely wild country to Stillwater Reservoir, and in so doing it connects two of the Adirondack Park’s most popular destinations for canoe camping. But you don’t have to end at Stillwater. You could continue down the Beaver through a series of smaller impoundments, linked by carry trails, until you’ve left the Park altogether. Nor do you have to start at Lake Lila.
Three guys play Robinson Crusoe on Lake Champlain’s forgotten island. By BRIAN MANN A few quick strokes with the paddle draw me out from the Port Kent beach, my kayak threading through the tar-black pilings of the ferry dock. It’s hot and still. Lake Champlain is glassy calm, and the Green Mountains lie against the eastern horizon under a summer haze. Behind me, I can hear the laughter and chatter of my son, Nicholas, who is fourteen, and his friend, Peter Curtis, who’s thirteen. The two boys are crewing a tandem kayak, still trying to work out their rhythm. It’s >>More
By WINNIE YU It is day two of the Hamilton County Birding Festival, and my husband, Jeff Scherer, and I are riding with Joan Collins and Judith Harper in the Moose River Plains. The plains are notable for the large diversity of habitats, which include bogs, open plains, boreal forests, hardwoods, and mountaintops of spruce. A convoy of cars—toting twenty-six people in all—winds its way through the fifty-thousand-acre tract on roads that were once used for logging by the Gould Paper Company. The participants hail from all over the East, from as far away as Virginia and Ohio. Collins and >>More
State legislators tried to clarify paddlers’ rights as far back as 1989—and they’re still trying.. By PHIL BROWN The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “You cannot step into the same river twice.” His idea was that everything is always in flux, nothing stays the same. Heraclitus never set foot in Albany. More than twenty years ago, Buffalo Assemblyman Bill Hoyt, a passionate wilderness paddler, introduced a bill to codify the public’s common-law right of navigation. If enacted, it likely would have mitigated the confusion over the public’s right to paddle on rivers that pass through private land in the Adirondacks >>More