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Adirondack Explorer

May, 2017

Lots Of Adventure In ‘Explorer’ Outings Guide

Have you ever taken in the vista from Iroquois Peak? Paddled up the Opalescent? Skied across frozen ponds near Fish Creek? Followed Don Mellor on an ice climb above Chapel Pond? You can read about all those adventures and more in the forthcoming Adirondack Explorer’s Annual Outings Guide, an anthology of recreational stories from past issues of the magazine. The regular Explorer comes out every two months, but in between the May/June and July/August issues, we publish the outings guide. Each guide describes a variety of recreational outings—hikes, paddles, ski tours, rock climbs, raft trips. Subscribers who collect the guides >>More


April, 2017

Adirondack Ski Season Draws To A Close

On Sunday I spent the day skiing in the backcountry. On Monday I hiked up Baker Mountain looking for wildflowers. Yep, it’s mud season. Although I had two good ski days last weekend, my season is at an end. I skied the Whiteface Memorial Highway on Saturday and several trails in the High Peaks on Sunday. I found plenty of snow at higher elevations, and die-hard skiers know that it’s likely to remain for a while. I’d probably get out a few more times myself if my schedule allowed it. Overall, it was a pretty good winter. We had two >>More


April, 2017

Spring Skiing On Mount Marcy

The equinox occurred on March 20. The baseball season opened on April 2. Nevertheless, spring has not arrived on the top of Mount Marcy. I skied Marcy this past Monday and found good conditions from Adirondak Loj all the way to the summit (see videos below). With this week’s rain and warm weather, conditions won’t be as good this weekend, but the snow at higher elevations will be around for quite a while. The last signpost on Marcy, about a half-mile from the top, was mostly buried, with just a foot or so sticking out of the snow. Hikers and >>More


March, 2017

Adirondack Spring Skiing On Bloomingdale Bog Trail

We lost much our snow base around Saranac Lake in recent weeks. For my lunch-hour ski on Thursday, I was rattling my brain for a smooth trail or frozen pond, someplace where you can ski without a lot of snow. I settled on the Bloomingdale Bog Trail, which starts a few miles north of the village. Because it follows an old railroad bed, the trail is wide and flat. In winter, the bog trail is used by snowmobilers, so the base that was left was well packed. Yet the top few inches had been softened by the warm sun, creating >>More


March, 2017

Adirondack Pond Skiing After A Bitter Cold Night

When I got up Thursday morning, my weather app claimed it was 18 degrees below zero in Saranac Lake. Though skeptical, I’ll concede that it was damn cold when I stepped outside. I had to drive to Malone to look over court documents filed in the lawsuit over the state’s plan to split the state-owned Adirondack Rail Corridor into a rail segment and a trail segment. As I approached Paul Smiths, I passed Church Pond—a beautiful sheet of white beneath a brilliant blue sky. I promised myself I’d stop on the way back and go for a ski. After a >>More


March, 2017

Dog-Poop Problem At Lake Placid’s Henry’s Woods

Henry’s Woods on the outskirts of Lake Placid is a popular destination for hikers even in winter. I stopped there Tuesday afternoon for a lunch-hour ski trip, figuring the trails would be well packed and slick. Indeed, since the big snowstorm last week, the trails have seen a lot of use from skiers, snowshoers, and bare-booters. Oh, and dogs. As is my wont, I skied the Loop Trail counterclockwise, with a detour on the Plateau Trail. In all, the trip is roughly three miles. The conditions were pretty good. The trail was packed, with room to snowplow, but it was >>More


February, 2017

Skiing Mt. Marcy In Five Minutes

  I had hoped to ski Mount Marcy last week, but work and travel got in the way. I expect we’ll have other chances before the winter ends. Meantime, I put together a five-minute video of a Marcy ski trip from a few years ago. It contains snippets shot with a helmet cam while descending the summit cone and various sections of trail: just below treeline, the Marcy Plateau, the ridge below the plateau, the Corkscrew, the chute above Indian Falls, the ski trail below Indian Falls (where I fell), and the hiking trail along Phelps Brook. If you’re curious >>More


February, 2017

Dreaming Of Skiing Mount Marcy Again

Last week we enjoyed the best backcountry-ski conditions we’ve had in a while. I am using the editorial we; I didn’t enjoy them because I was sick all week. By Saturday, I was feeling good enough to venture out to Dewey Mountain for a few hours, where my girlfriend Carol and I explored the ungroomed trails near the summit. Unfortunately, the temperature that day soared well above freezing, and so the fluffy powder that fell last week had consolidated into mashed potatoes. Still, I was glad to be skiing at all. The next day we skied on a snowmobile trail in Wilmington on >>More


January, 2017

A Frustrating Winter For Backcountry Skiers

It’s been another frustrating winter for backcountry skiers. We haven’t had a big storm. Just as the snow starts to build up, we’re hit with a rainy thaw. That was the case again this week. Following an icy rain, we got a few inches of heavy, wet snow in Saranac Lake. This afternoon I skied the trails at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center to check out the conditions. The groomed trails on the lower slopes were in fine shape, as expected, but I was more interested in the ungroomed trails at the top, which are one indication of backcountry conditions. Again, no >>More


January, 2017

Powder Play In The Five Ponds Wilderness

I have not been delighted with the skiing conditions in the Lake Placid area this winter. There is decent snow, especially at higher elevations, but we haven’t had a big storm. As a result, rocky trails at lower elevations often lack adequate cover. And so last weekend I found myself driving west in search of deep powder. I found it in the Five Ponds Wilderness. My girlfriend Carol and I skied from Wanakena, a hamlet on the Oswegatchie River, to Glasby Pond about five miles away. As soon as we hit the trail, we were in heaven. Snow weighed down >>More


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