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Adirondack Explorer

Friday, December 11, 2009

Early-season skiing

We finally have enough snow to ski on some of the early-season trails, such as the road to Camp Santanoni in Newcomb, the Marcy Dam Truck Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness, the Fish Pond Truck Trail in the St. Regis Canoe Area, and the Hayes Brook Truck Trail in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest. Yesterday afternoon, I took a short ski on a new trail outside Lake Placid—a 2.5-mile round trip/loop through Henry’s Woods, a preserve owned by the Uihlein Foundation. The trail is graded and most of it is covered with crushed stone, so it’s skiable with about >>More

Monday, November 30, 2009

First ski of the season

Well, we didn’t get the 4 to 7 inches of snow in the forecast, but we did get a few inches–enough to make the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway skiable from top to bottom over the weekend. I did the road on Sunday with Ron Konowitz, one of Keene’s more prominent ski bums. When we got to the tollhouse about 10 a.m., there already were a half-dozen cars parked on the road’s shoulder. Locals often run into old friends and acquaintances on early-season ski trips up the highway, as usually there’s nowhere else to ski. On Sunday, Ron and I stopped >>More

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Finishing the 46

You might think climbing the forty-six High Peaks is no big deal. After all, more than 6,200 hikers have done it. But I’ve got news for you: those peaks are as big as they were when Bob and George Marshall and their guide, Herb Clark, climbed them. The Marshall brothers and Clark completed the first round of the forty-six in 1925, inaugurating an Adirondack tradition. What’s more, no matter how many people preceded you, when you climb the High Peaks for the first time, you see the mountains fresh, just as the Marshalls and Clark did. I was reminded of >>More

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dewey Mt. ready for winter

Cross-country skiers who live in or near Saranac Lake don’t have to travel far in pursuit of their pastime: Dewey Mountain, a small peak on the outskirts of the village, has ten kilometers of trails. Dewey’s lower trails are groomed by a snowmobile pulling a roller, but the trails on the upper part of the mountain are left natural, providing a taste of the backcountry experience. Dewey also has separate snowshoe trails. Locals ski at Dewey whenever they have a little time to kill—before work, after work, even after dinner (some trails are open at night). I like to ski >>More

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Running around Moss Lake

Trail running is a popular sport out west but not so much in the Adirondacks. I run on trails fairly often and rarely encounter another runner, so I was bit surprised to see a fellow jogger on a trail near Moss Lake last weekend. But in retrospect, I am not that surprised: The 2.5-mile loop around Moss Lake is nearly ideal for running. Most of the route follows an old woods road that’s used for cross-country skiing in winter. The run can be extended by taking a side trail to Bubb and Sis lakes—for a total of 4.7 miles. Moss >>More

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shingle Shanty decision a ways off

Don’t expect the state Department of Environmental Conservation to reach a quick decision on the Sierra Club’s request to force landowners to remove a steel cable that stretches across Shingle Shanty Brook. In a recent letter to the club, DEC Regional Director Betsy Lowe says the department plans to provide “a comprehensive response” to the request. “As you can imagine, this will take some time given the careful consideration required by the Department’s technical and legal staff, possible coordination with the State Office of the Attorney General, and the need to balance a variety of demands with limited resources,” she >>More

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A bad night out

Jack Drury, a wilderness-skills educator from Saranac Lake, posted a link on Facebook to a fascinating account of a man and his elderly mother who became benighted while descending Round Mountain in Keene Valley. He encourages all hikers to read it and learn from it. Even if you’re on a day hike, you should carry the ten essentials. Things could have turned out worse for this pair.  

Monday, November 2, 2009

Soloing Chapel Pond Slab

After days of cold rain, we received some sunshine in Saranac Lake on Sunday. On the spur of the moment, I decided to solo Chapel Pond Slab, perhaps my last rock climb of the season. By solo, I mean I climbed it without a partner and without ropes or protection. I did wear a helmet, and I let a friend know what I was doing. Some people see soloing as foolhardy, but if you stay within your comfort level, it’s not as big a risk as it might seem to a non-climber. In my case, I combined two easy routes. >>More