The Adirondack Park Agency has tentatively approved new criteria for ski trails intended to enhance the experience of backcountry skiers in the forest preserve.
If winter returns, I’ll be ready. Green Goat Maps has just published a Winter Trails Map for the Saranac Lake/Lake Placid region. The full-color topographical map shows trails suitable for cross-country skiing (shown in red), snowshoeing (green), and riding fat bikes (indicated by icons). The long-distance Jackrabbit Ski Trail, which extends from Paul Smiths to Keene, gets its own color (orange). The Barkeater Trails Alliance, which maintains the Jackrabbit, helped develop the map. The map also uses colors to differentiate Forest Preserve classifications: dark green for motor- and bike-free Wilderness, lighter green for less-restrictive Wild Forest, and dark green with >>More
On Saturday I set out to ski the two miles to McKenzie Pond on the popular Jackrabbit Trail. However, the sign at the trail warned that a bridge over McKenzie Brook was “flooded and impassable.” I knew that the bridge had been a few feet underwater after a recent thaw, but that was a week ago. I wanted to see for myself if the bridge was still impassable. So I stuck with my plan. Earlier in the week, I had skied a few times at Dewey Mountain and enjoyed down-mountain runs in dry powder. On Saturday, alas, the temperature had >>More
I just got back from touring the Andalusia region of southern Spain with Carol Fox and my daughter Martha. On one day we took a wonderful hike into the Sierra Nevada where we saw goats roaming the treeless hills. Although the mountains are not far from the Mediterranean Sea, they are snow-capped. The highest top 10,000 feet. I wore a T-shirt on that hike. I felt a little guilty about soaking up the sun while friends back home, especially in the Adirondacks, were suffering through below-zero days. OK, so I didn’t feel guilty. However, as I perused posts on Facebook, >>More
We got three to four inches of snow Sunday night, just enough to lure me out of the office for a backcountry ski on my lunch hour on Monday afternoon. I went to the Bloomingdale Bog Trail, an old railroad bed that needs only a few inches to be skiable. The base was thin, but overall the skiing was quite good. The trail starts off Route 86 outside Saranac Lake and extends about eight miles to Onchiota. On Monday, I skied about two miles up the trail, just far enough to get a good view of the bog, and then >>More
DEC proposes trail improvements in Sentinel Range Wilderness.
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
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
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
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