January, 2014

Ski Trail to Moose Pond in Decent Shape

Another cold but brilliant day in Saranac Lake. I skied to Moose Pond on my lunch hour, a pristine water body with knockout views of Moose Mountain and Whiteface Mountain. As usual this winter, I was worried about the amount of snow cover and so was glad to discover that the trail has been skied a lot in recent days. There were well-packed ski tracks all the way to the pond. Snowshoers also have been using the trail. I want to thank them for hiking to the side of the ski tracks. The Moose Pond trail is an old woods >>More


January, 2014

A Cold Day on Baker Mountain

The temperature in Saranac Lake was 25 below when I woke up this morning. By my lunch hour, it had warmed to 2 below, so I decided to hike up Baker Mountain on the outskirts of town. Despite the temperature, the hike was pleasant. The sun was out, and there was virtually no wind. I was dressed appropriately, so the cold didn’t bother me at all. If anything, I was a bit warm from the exercise when I reached the summit. Baker is a favorite hike of locals. Usually, I run into one or two parties, but today I saw >>More


January, 2014

Fresh snow helps, but we need more

We got several inches of light snow over the weekend, so I went to the Jackrabbit Trail on my lunch hour to check out the ski conditions. I skied the two miles from McKenzie Pond Road to McKenzie Pond. The woods were beautiful, with fluffy snow adorning the branches of the evergreens. The trail looked nice, too. Unfortunately, there was little or no base underneath the fluff. For the most part, this was not a problem. In several places, though, roots and rocks lurked beneath the surface. The diciest spots were on two small downhills on the return trip. Both >>More


January, 2014

On Old Beer Cans And History

Yesterday I skied to Burntbridge Pond deep in the Cranberry Lake Wild Forest. About four miles from the road I came across a historical artifact: an old Black Label can hanging from a branch. It reminded me of a humorous essay by Mike Jarboe, “Happiness in a can,” that we published in the Adirondack Explorer in 2000. Mike wrote about scavenging for old beer cans at a dump below Death Falls near Raquette Lake. “Ah, nature: the crisp, invigorating Adirondack air, the sound of Death Falls roaring behind us, and mounds of 40-year-old Utica Club and Carling’s Black Label cans,” >>More


January, 2014

Western Adirondacks Best Bet For Nordic Skiers

The Tug Hill region east of Lake Ontario got clobbered by a lake-effect snowstorm Tuesday.  I was hoping we’d get a decent snowfall in Saranac Lake, but we received little more than dusting. The woods on Baker Mountain looked pretty this morning, but they would have made for ugly skiing. The western Adirondacks, however, picked up several inches of fresh snow. Chris Tapper, business manager of Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company in Old Forge, said the Old Forge area got about five inches of light snow. The area now has about eight inches on the ground, and Tapper said most trails >>More


December, 2013

Have a brewski in honor of Ron Kon

Adirondack Brewery in Lake George has come up with a clever marketing campaign that features regional athletes and outdoor enthusiasts on its packages. The one shown here recognizes Ron Konowitz, the only person known to have skied all forty-six of the High Peaks. Ron, who lives in Keene, is president of the Adirondack Powder Skier Association, an organization that is pushing for more ski trails in the Adirondacks and for the right to maintain natural ski glades. Ron, a retired schoolteacher, also is the coordinator of the local fire department’s rescue squad.


December, 2013

Lost hikers, stranded climbers, and other rescuees

Region 5 of the state Department of Environmental Conservation has released its ranger report for October and November. The report appears below, unedited. Essex County Town of Keene, High Peaks Wilderness On Tuesday, October 1, 2013, at approximately 4:10 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a hiker had been separated from her hiking partner. Patricia Yakaboski, 43, of St. Augustine, FL, was hiking Porter Mountain with her partner when they became separated. Ms. Yakaboski hadn*t been seen in one hour. A DEC Forest Ranger and a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer responded and began checking the trailheads >>More


November, 2013

DEC Closes Trail In High Peaks Wilderness

Editor’s note: Since this post was written, the bridge and trail have been opened. I hope you’re not planning to climb Mount Adams this weekend. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has closed the trail that offers the easiest access to the 3,520-foot summit in the High Peaks Wilderness. DEC spokesman David Winchell said the trail will reopen, probably within a few weeks, after the department finishes work on a new bridge that spans the Hudson River at the start of the trail. The old bridge was destroyed during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. This summer, the Student Conservation Association >>More


November, 2013

A Taste Of The Climbing Bum’s Life

For young climbers, the road trip is a rite of passage. Eschewing such mundane concerns as food and work, they cross the country to visit revered climbing locales such as the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, Red Rocks in Nevada, and Joshua Tree and Yosemite in California. I was never a young climber. I took up the sport in my fifties. I couldn’t just quit my job and become a nomadic climbing bum. And so I did all my climbing in the Adirondacks, except for one afternoon at a small cliff in Little Falls. In >>More


September, 2013

Odd News About Wildlife

This is a day for strange wildlife stories. First I read in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that hiker on the Northville-Placid Trail stabbed a bear that had been following her. The bear took off; she’s all right. Read the story here. Then I read on the Times Union’s website that a bull moose had wandered into a backyard in Halfmoon, a suburb of Albany. State officials tranquilized the animal and planned to release it in the southern Adirondacks. Read the story here. Finally, the Associated Press reports that a deer in Ellenburg jumped through one window of a moving vehicle >>More


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