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Adirondack Explorer

September, 2011

ADK plans to reopen Loj on Thursday

The Adirondack Mountain Club plans to reopen Adirondak Loj on Thursday and expects  that some trails in the eastern High Peaks Wilderneness will be available for hiking by then. Meantime, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation said on Tuesday that the department is evaluating which trails may be reopened. “It will most likely be tomorrow before we have completed that task and can provide a list of open trails,” David Winchell told me. Adirondak Loj and the trails in the eastern High Peaks were closed after Hurricane Irene. Raging floodwaters collapsed a section of the road leading >>More


September, 2011

DEC stationed at trailheads

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is preparing to deal with an influx of hikers on Labor Day weekend who may be confused about where they can and cannot hike. Forest rangers and environmental conservation officers will be stationed at trailheads for the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness, and Dix Mountain Wilderness, according to DEC spokesman David Winchell. As a result of damage to trails from Tropical Storm Irene, DEC has closed all three areas indefinitely. Winchell said DEC employees will direct hikers and backpackers to nearby Forest Preserve tracts that remain open. “We also will be patrolling >>More


September, 2011

ADK hopes some trails can reopen next week

The Adirondack Mountain Club hopes that the state will reopen some trails in the eastern High Peaks early next week. “We’re aware of a number of trails that can be safely hiked at this point,” said Neil Woodworth, ADK’s executive director. Woodworth refused to identify specific trails, saying it’s up to the state Department of Environmental Conservation to determine which trails should be reopened. “We’re hoping that the closure order of the eastern High Peaks can be lifted,” he said. Woodworth said ADK and other “interested stakeholders” have urged DEC to keep closed only trails that pose a hazard or >>More


September, 2011

First photos from Duck Hole

This spring, I paddled Duck Hole, a wilderness pond surrounded by high mountains. Getting there was not easy—the trip entailed four carries totaling about two miles—but it was worth it. I wrote about my adventure for the July/August issue of the Explorer in an article titled “Portage to Paradise.” Today that trip is no longer possible. And Duck Hole is no longer a paradise—unless you’re a mosquito. Yesterday I returned to Duck Hole on foot to see firsthand what’s left of this beloved pond since its dam breached during Tropical Storm Irene. The accompanying photos tell the story: Duck Hole >>More


August, 2011

31 guests stranded at Adirondak Loj

Since Hurricane Irene drenched the High Peaks region, more than thirty guests have been stranded at Adirondak Loj, unable to leave due to a washout on the only road to the rustic inn. The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), which owns the Loj, hopes that the road will open in a day or two, but with so much devastation around the region, nothing is certain. Neil Woodworth, executive director of the ADK, said a few guests opted to walk out, but most are waiting for the road to be repaired enough to allow them to take their cars. As of today, >>More


August, 2011

Bad news for the backcountry

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is starting to get assessments of storm damage in the backcountry in the High Peaks region, and the news is not good. “Every place we’ve looked bridges are gone, trails are eroded, and there’s lots of blowdown,” said Tom Martin, the department’s regional forester. And eroded may be an understatement. When DEC workers headed up the Van Hoevenberg Trail above Marcy Dam, Martin said, they found “a three-foot gorge where the trail used to be—it’s just gone.” The Van Hoevenberg is the most popular route up Mount Marcy, the state’s highest summit. Likewise, the >>More


August, 2011

After Irene, where can you hike?

With the most popular Wilderness Areas in the Adirondacks closed, many people are wondering where they can hike this Labor Day weekend. Forest rangers have yet to reconnoiter all of the backcountry, but it’s believed that the central and western Adirondacks largely escaped the wrath of Irene. Yesterday the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, the Dix Mountain Wilderness, and the Giant Mountain Wilderness would all be closed during the holiday weekend. The three areas probably encompass more than 175,000 acres. The western High Peaks—which constitutes more than half of the High Peaks Wilderness—remains >>More


August, 2011

DEC closes High Peaks trails

With Labor Day weekend approaching, the long-range forecast calls for sunny skies, but that will be of little consolation to people who hoped to hike in the High Peaks. Because of damage caused by Irene to trails and backcountry infrastructure, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has closed the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Dix Mountain Wilderness, and Giant Mountain Wilderness through the weekend. The eastern High Peaks Wilderness and the other two Wilderness Areas contain some of the Adirondack Parks’ most spectacular scenery and the majority of the forty-six High Peaks. In addition, the roads to the most popular High >>More


August, 2011

Marcy Dam bridge washed away

The rains from Irene washed away the bridge over Marcy Dam, one of the most well-traveled crossings in the High Peaks Wilderness, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. DEC spokesman David Winchell said the crossing is now impassable. He does not know when the bridge will be replaced. The bridge is used by hikers who access the High Peaks, including Mount Marcy, from Adirondak Loj via the highly popular Van Hoevenberg Trail. It crosses Marcy Brook as it spills out of Marcy Dam Pond. The Van Hoevenberg Trail reaches Marcy Dam after 2.3 miles. Hikers can still get to >>More


September, 2010

Your age in mountains per day

For all you strong hikers out there … I don’t know how old you are, but the ageless mountains can figure this out for me. First, tell us how many High Peaks you can climb in a day. Any strong hiker can climb one, and we won’t believe you if you say you can climb ten. So your answer must be between 2 and 9. Now follow these steps: Multiply this number by 2. Add 5. Multiply the result by 50. If you’ve already had your birthday this year, add 1760. If you haven’t, add 1759. Now subtract the four-digit >>More