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

The Early Life Of Legendary Climber Royal Robbins

Royal Robbins, one of the country’s legendary rock climbers, died last month at age 82. He made his reputation climbing big walls in Yosemite and influenced the sport’s history with his promotion of climbing ethics. It so happens that I was reading To Be Brave, the first volume of Robbins’s autobiography, when he passed away at his home in Modesto, California. Published in 2009, To Be Brave covers his early childhood into his teenage years. Robbins grew up in southern California without a father and started down the path of juvenile delinquency. When he was 12, he and two friends >>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

State: Rail Trail Doable Despite Deed Questions

Uncertainty about deeds held up for months the lawsuit filed against the state over its plan to remove tracks and create a 34-mile rail trail between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake. The state thought it owned the entire rail corridor but discovered it does not have title to two parcels: a half-mile stretch near North Country Community College in Saranac Lake and a shorter stretch at the end of the line in Lake Placid. Although the state now holds an easement allowing public access to both parcels, the easement will terminate if the tracks are removed. In court papers, state >>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

Trail Advocates Join Adirondack Rail-Trail Lawsuit

Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates filed a friend-of-the-court brief this week in the lawsuit over the state’s plan to remove 34 miles of railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake and create a trail for bicycling, hiking, snowmobiling, and other pursuits. ARTA joined the suit on the side of three state agencies being sued: the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Department of Transportation, and the Adirondack Park Agency. The Adirondack Railway Preservation Society, based in Utica, contends the plan to divide the state-owned Adirondack Rail Corridor into an 85-mile rail segment and a 34-mile trail segment is illegal. DEC and >>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


March, 2017

All This Fresh Snow Is Wonderful, But …

When the snow finally stopped this week, we had about three feet of powder in Saranac Lake. On Thursday afternoon, I decided to check out the ski conditions on Baker Mountain, a small peak on the outskirts of the village. My idea was to ski up the hiking trail and then descend through the woods. With this much snow, I wouldn’t have to worry about careering out of control and slamming into a tree. Baker is a favorite of local residents (for hiking, not skiing), so I figured the trail would be broken in, and indeed it was. I followed >>More


March, 2017

Snowshoer Rejects Plea Deal In Sex-Abuse Case

A snowshoer from India charged with abusing a 12-year-old girl in Saranac Lake has rejected a plea bargain, choosing instead to put his fate in the hands of a grand jury. In a case that has attracted international attention, Tanveer Hussain, 24, of Kashmir faces charges of first-degree sexual abuse, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. Hussain’s attorney, Brian Barrett of Lake Placid, said Hussain was offered a chance to plead guilty to the misdemeanor and return home, but his client refused. Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague confirmed the deal was offered. St. Armand >>More


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