FacebookTwitterInstagram Youtube
Adirondack Explorer

Sunday, October 4, 2015

12 Short Hikes Near Keene Valley

Keene Valley was, the first time I saw it, jaw-droppingly astounding. All those peaks and ridges, jagged, monumental, stretching high into the sky, more and more dramatic as we drove up from the south. It was a beautiful day, many years ago, and a friend and I had a vague idea about scaling a mountain or two. Maybe we’d go over The Brothers to Big Slide and down. Well, we hiked and climbed a long way, but we were greenhorns, rather unprepared, and we never made it all the way around. One of us injured a leg; the other had >>More


Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: ADK’s New Topo Map Of The High Peaks

The Adirondack Mountain Club has largely stopped making maps, with an important exception: it recently published a color topographical map of the High Peaks that is waterproof and folds to fit in your pack or back pocket. ADK used to put paper topo maps in the backs of its guidebooks. For the past several years, however, it has instead bundled its books with waterproof maps produced by National Geographic. So now we have two High Peaks maps: National Geographic’s “Lake Placid/High Peaks” and ADK’s “Trails of the Adirondack High Peaks.” Both maps are designed to accompany ADK’s guidebook, High Peaks >>More


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Driving An Electric Car In Winter

Back in September I wrote a series of three articles about the efficacy of driving electric cars (EV’s) in the Adirondacks. My overall conclusion was that electric cars had a definite, practical future in the Adirondacks. All of my driving experience however, was in summer and early fall, which accounts for only about a quarter of an Adirondack year. The $64,000 question then, was how would an electric car perform under real winter conditions? With the January we’ve had in Wisconsin I’m ready to report. The bottom line?   I find that the standard critique of electric cars in the winter, >>More


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Backcountry Photography: Which Camera To Carry?

Imagine hiking for hours alone through an idyllic Adirondack setting, the sky is an azure blue, the birds are singing, the sun is shining, the black flies are biting, ideal conditions for spending time in the great outdoors. When the trip’s destination finally appears, whether it is a seldom-visited lake, marsh, swamp or mountaintop, the thought of capturing this rarely glimpsed view becomes overwhelming. If only you’d brought that camera. The cameraless scenario is increasingly rare as cameras become smaller and are included in all sorts of devices that many find essential to modern living. It was not always like >>More


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Solo Canoe Comfort And Quiet Waters

The year after I bought my Hornbeck Canoe in 1991, my friend, Linda, rented a camp on Third Lake, near Old Forge. One weekend I loaded my new canoe on top of my car and drove to her camp, excited that I could spend the weekend in the Adirondacks. I thought, Oh, Great. This is my opportunity to test out my solo canoe on the Adirondack waters. I wanted to learn as much as I could about my new canoe and how it handled in different situations. In a solo canoe like mine, the paddler sits on a seat in >>More


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Backcountry Gear Choices: Tent Or Tarp?

Few backcountry gear decisions seem as daunting as picking a shelter. Some prefer to sleep John Wayne style (under the stars), others prefer lean-tos, but most carry a shelter of some sort on their back – tents or tarps. Tents are easier to set up (though I’ve seen exceptions), but are often heavier to carry. Compared to tarps tents offer less ventilation, critical when sharing the space with an aromatically challenged companion. Free standing tents are easier to set up and move – an important consideration in locating a good tent site while bushwhacking.  On the other hand, tarps are >>More


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Backpacking Gear Choices: Which Knife?

Youth, inexperience and ignorance were in abundance when I first started backpacking in the Adirondacks many years ago. My knowledge of the proper gear and foods was seriously lacking, not to mention the total ignorance of how to pack effectively all that stuff for a multi-day backpacking adventure. I was not completely clueless though, as I could hike and identify birds. So there was that. In those early days, my pack weighed in at nearly one-half my meager weight. The pack was too big for me, and it was overflowing with overweight gear. Its weight made my first trip an >>More


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review: New Edition Of ‘Adirondack Rock’ Superb

The second edition of Adirondack Rock is out. If that doesn’t seem like a big deal, you must not be a climber. Local climbers have been eagerly awaiting the second edition, and it’s now evident that their eagerness was justified: although the first edition, published in 2008, is an excellent guidebook, the new one is a major improvement. Most important, it contains 1,240 new climbing routes and adds a number of cliffs not found in the first edition, including Sugarloaf Mountain (acquired by the state this year), Shelving Rock on the east side of Lake George (72 routes), and Silver >>More


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: Driving an Electric Car in the Adirondacks

Last week I discussed the general concept of electric cars in the Adirondacks and the possible types of electric car one might choose. I suggested that a pure electric car – that is, one with no gas engine backup – would not yet be practical in the park because the odds that one would use up their range and be potentially stranded are too high. But an electric car with gas backup is completely workable – and considerably better in terms of fossil fuel use than a hybrid. This week I’d like to report on our experience driving a Chevy >>More


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Commentary: Electric Cars in the Adirondacks

Our most recent time in the Adirondacks had an interesting dimension for Amy and me. In early August, right at the height of our busy performing season – during which we are almost constantly on the road – our beloved Subaru WRX blew its engine. Thrillingly for us it was just out of warranty, guaranteeing that the curve to fix it, both in time and money, would be a long and brutal one. Having an immediate need to hit the highway for several weeks straight, we were faced with three choices: rent (ouch), buy a used car and hope for >>More