November, 2011

Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch

When I wear my outdoors-writer hat, I always want to know the distances of my hikes, paddles, trail runs, ski trips, and what have you. In 2009, I finally broke down and bought a GPS watch, the Garmin Forerunner 405. Now when I take a hike, I can see precisely how far I traveled and how long it took, and when I get home I can upload data to my computer, via the Garmin Connect website, to view a lot more statistics: average pace, best pace, calories burned, maximum and minimum elevation, and so forth. I also can view a >>More


November, 2011

La Sportiva Raptor trail-running shoe

If you’re used to running on roads, you should try running on a wilderness trail. There’s something atavistic about racing through the woods that appeals to our primal nature. Trail-running shoes differ from ordinary running shoes in that they usually have stiff, knobby soles to protect against sharp rocks and provide better grip. A few years ago, I had a chance to test the La Sportiva Raptor. I put about 130 miles on the shoes and loved them. I used them not only for running, but also for some all-day outings that combined approach runs with mountain climbing. My feet >>More


November, 2011

Skier’s Backcountry Bible

In 1987, David Goodman got a dream job for a ski bum trying to survive as a freelance writer: the Appalachian Mountain Club hired him to write a guidebook for backcountry skiing in New England. The following year the club published Classic Backcountry Skiing: A Guide to the Best Ski Tours in New England. Unlike most ski-touring guidebooks, this one focused on down-mountain runs rather than rolling terrain, and it came out just as telemark skiing was enjoying a rebirth. Goodman later expanded his horizons westward, and in 1999, AMC split the book into two volumes, one covering New Hampshire >>More


October, 2011

DEC reopens 5 trails closed since Irene

Five trails that had been closed since August 29, the day after Tropical Storm Irene, have been reopened, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced this morning. Four of the trails start in the vicinity of the Ausable Lakes in the privately owned Adirondack Mountain Reserve: The Carry Trail between Lower and Upper Ausable Lake (trail #54 in the Adirondack Mountain Club’s High Peaks guidebook). Trail from the Carry Trail to the Colvin Range Trail (#55 in the book). Trail from Warden’s Camp at the foot of Upper Ausable to Sawteeth Mountain (#57) Trail from Warden’s Camp to Haystack Mountain >>More


October, 2011

Cougar advocate to give talk

An advocate of reintroducing the cougar to the Adirondacks will speak at the Whallonsburg Grange at 7 p.m. Thursday. Christopher Spatz, president of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation, has argued in the pages of the Explorer and elsewhere that reintroducing the cats would restore the Adirondack Park’s ecological balance. Spatz will discuss cougar biology and behavior, recent studies of cougar populations, and the much-publicized case of the cougar that migrated from South Dakota to Connecticut. The talk is sponsored by the Northeast Wilderness Trust and the Champlain Valley Conservation Partnership. For more information, call 802-453-7880 or e-mail Rose Graves at rose@newildernesstrust.org.


October, 2011

Scientists pin down cause of bat disease

A study published in the journal Nature confirms that the disease decimating bat colonies in New York and many other states is caused by a fungus known as Geomyces destructans. Known as white-nose syndrome, the disease causes lesions on the bats’ skin and a white growth on their muzzles. Since its discovery in a cave near Albany in 2006, it has spread to sixteen states and four Canadian provinces. The disease has so devastated bat populations that some species are in danger of extinction. Earlier this year, Winnie Yu reported in the Explorer that the number of little brown bats >>More


October, 2011

Climbing the new Saddleback slide

The new issue of the Explorer (November/December) will include a two-page spread on climbing five new slides created by Tropical Storm Irene in the High Peaks. I’ve blogged about my climbs of four of them (see links below), but I have yet to write about my climb of the long slide on Saddleback Mountain. I climbed it two weekends ago with Ron Konowitz. It’s steep enough in places that I would recommend rock-climbing shoes or approach shoes. You can easily reach the Saddleback slide via the Ore Bed Brook Trail in Johns Brook Valley. Starting from the suspension bridge near the >>More


October, 2011

Climbing the ‘new’ Trap Dike

On Sunday I climbed the Trap Dike for the first time since Tropical Storm Irene triggered a landslide above and inside the dike. The slide swept away nearly all of the trees inside the canyon and created a new exit, a slab of clean white rock that can be followed to the top of Mount Colden. Before Irene, the guidebook Adirondack Rock awarded the Trap Dike five stars, its highest rating for the overall quality of the climb. Since Irene, the climb is even better. The Trap Dike must be approached with caution: it’s considered a third- or fourth-class climb >>More


October, 2011

Keene seeks volunteers for Irene cleanup

The town of Keene is looking for volunteers to help with the post-Irene cleanup. The town plans to undertake a number of cleanup projects every weekend through November 5. This Saturday, people will be removing mud from the basement of a house on Styles Brook Road, according to Joe Pete Wilson Jr., the town’s volunteer coordinator. Because of the mud, the homeowner has been unable to turn on the heat since the storm. Next weekend (October 15-16), volunteers will clean mud and debris from the Keene Library and pick up debris at the community center’s playing fields. On the following >>More


October, 2011

DEC reopens trail to Panther Gorge

The state has reopened the trail from Elk Lake to Panther Gorge but warns that hikers still may encounter blowdown. The 10.2-mile route leads from the private Elk Lake to Four Corners, a trail junction that lies amid Mount Haystack, Mount Skylight, and Mount Marcy. The trail had been closed since August 29, the day after Tropical Storm Irene roared through the High Peaks. Several trails remain closed. The following list of closed trails is a news release issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation: Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trails: The first (northernmost) two cross over trails between the East River Trail and >>More


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