Retired Forest Ranger Steve Ovitt aims to connect North Creek with the wild lands around the community. By BILL MCKIBBEN To really understand this story, you have to bear in mind two distinctive things about North Creek. One, it butts up against the mountains much tighter than most Adirondack communities. Start on the path that runs beside Town Hall (within sight of the Hudson), and within minutes you’re climbing steeply up Gore Mountain, entering one of the largest wilderness complexes in the Park. Two—and this negates the first advantage— North Creek is one of the few Adirondack hamlets bypassed by >>More
Tuesday started out beautiful. Mild temperatures. Not a cloud in the sky. After voting, Will Roth and I drove from Saranac Lake to Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain to climb one of the cliff’s mega-classic routes, Gamesmanship. There was just one other party at the cliff: two guys were roping up for Gamesmanship as we arrived at the base. Two parties, with more than 300 routes to choose from, and both opted for Gamesmanship. That says plenty about this 575-foot route. The guidebook Adirondack Rock awards it five stars, its highest rating for the overall quality of the climbing. The route is also >>More
The Adirondack Explorer‘s November/December issue is in the mail, but Mike Lynch’s story on deteriorating trails in the High Peaks is already gaining attention on the Adirondack Almanack, the Explorer‘s online journal. The article, headlined “Trails showing their age,” notes that a combination of poor design and heavy use has led to severe erosion on trails. Older trails tend to go straight up a slope. In some cases, erosion can be mitigated by rerouting the trails to create switchbacks. Unfortunately, at higher elevations, where the soil is thin, cutting into the slope to create switchbacks may not be possible. In a comment >>More
Observers say more money is needed to repair and maintain an antiquated network of hiking routes. By MIKE LYNCH When many of the High Peaks’ trails were cut more than a century ago, the work was done by guides and hired hands. Keene Valley’s Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps created the first trail up Mount Marcy in 1861; Verplanck Colvin’s survey workers cut routes up Algonquin and Dix in the late 1800s; and Henry Van Hoevenberg developed a trail system for the Adirondack Lodge (as it was then spelled). The early trails opened up the High Peaks to more people and laid the groundwork for today’s trail system, but some of the original trails continue to >>More
A coterie of climbers tames the cliffs at one of the wildest, remotest, and most sublime locales in the High Peaks. By ALAN WECHSLER Four and a half hours after our 4:30 a.m. departure from the Garden trailhead in Keene Valley, my two climbing partners and I dropped our packs and looked around. We were surrounded by cliffs: free-standing pillars, tiered walls, slabby slides, and vertical stone faces, some more than three hundred feet high. There were caves, hidden talus fields, and giant fins of rock. Vertical cracks abounded. I gaped in wonderment at one of the most remote and beautiful rock-climbing destinations in the Adirondacks. “There are so many lines here,” I >>More
Though on private timberlands, County Line Flow and Fishing Brook are open to the public as a result of Nature Conservancy deal. By PHIL BROWN The Adirondack Park has its share of uninspired names for lakes and ponds. Think of all the Mud Ponds, Grass Ponds, Deer Ponds, and Moose Ponds scattered over our topo maps. Perhaps no toponym is more prosaic than County Line Flow. Yes, it’s accurate, more or less. County Line Flow lies in Hamilton County less than a mile from the Essex County border. But the name hardly does justice to the charm of this small >>More
Guideboat makers carry on a craft born in the Adirondacks in the mid-1800s. By MIKE LYNCH Building a traditional Adirondack guideboat is a complex task, with ribs carved from spruce-tree roots and with thin hull planks held in place with several thousand tiny tacks. It can take many weeks to complete one. “I grew up working with wood one way or another, and these are by far the most complex, demanding things, by a long shot, I’ve ever built,” said Rob Davidson, who started building guideboats a few years ago after moving to the Adirondacks from Oregon. Most builders spend about three >>More
A sharp rise in hikers climbing some of the region’s highest mountains has lead to the degradation of natural resources and raises a variety of other issues.
Following a disappointing winter for skiing, I came into May looking forward to the next season of outdoor enjoyment. But spring turned out as contrary as winter, with the first days of warming sun followed by spells of bone-chilling cold.
Citing unanswered questions, state’s highest court sends trespassing suit against Adirondack Explorer back to lower court for a trial. By KENNETH AARON The six-year-old navigation-rights dispute between Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown and a group of property owners has been sent back to State Supreme Court Justice Richard T. Aulisi for a full trial, which is unlikely to take place before next year. A decision in May by the Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest tribunal, reopens the question of whether the public has the right to paddle a two-mile-long waterway connecting two pieces of the state-owned William C. >>More