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Adirondack Explorer

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Prepare for winter

There’s snow in the High Peaks now, so if you plan on hiking to a summit, you’d be smart to pack a pair of Yaktrax, MicroSpikes, or similar grippers for your feet. On Sunday, my daughter Martha and I encountered snow and ice on the trail from Crow Clearing in Keene to Hurricane Mountain, which at 3,694 is not even a High Peak. This trail ascends the north side of the mountain, so it doesn’t get much sun. Hikers who came up the trail from Route 9N to the south told us they did not find snow until just below >>More

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A taste of winter

We awoke in Saranac Lake this morning to find an inch of snow on the ground. We’ve seen flurries a few times in the past two weeks, but this was the first accumulation at lower elevations. It won’t be long now before people are skiing the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway. The highway has had enough snow to ski before this, but it was plowed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority. Starting today, that won’t be an issue. ORDA keeps the toll road open for tourists only through Columbus Day, which was yesterday. For many Adirondack skiers, winter starts with a >>More

Monday, October 5, 2009

Skiers prepare for winter

Six of us turned out Saturday to trim and clear the Wright Peak Ski Trail. We started where last year’s crew left off and worked our way up almost to the ridgeline. Thus, nearly all of the steep part of the trail should be in good shape this winter. We also cut out sections of two large trees that had fallen across the trail that leads from the Old Marcy Dam Trail to the Algonquin hiking trail (see photo above). This shortcut is used by skiers going to and from Wright Peak. Although the Wright Peak Ski Trail is closed to >>More

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