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Adirondack Explorer

February, 2010

Adirondack ski video: Descent from McKenzie Pass

The Jackrabbit Ski Trail offers lots of great skiing over its twenty-four miles, but the best part is the six-mile stretch from Whiteface Inn Road in Lake Placid to McKenzie Pond Road outside Saranac Lake.  The highlight is a mile-and-a-half downhill run from McKenzie Pass to McKenzie Pond. On Sunday, I did a round trip to the top of the pass from McKenzie Pond Road. It took me nearly forty-five minutes to climb the hill (after skiing two miles to its base) and just five minutes to descend. That might seem like a lousy pain-to-pleasure ratio, but the schuss makes >>More

January, 2010

Banff Film Festival in Lake Placid

Ever dream of mountain biking in the French Alps, rowing across the Atlantic, or jumping off a cliff? Probably not. But other people have, and you can watch their adventures at the Banff Film Festival at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, starting at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. In all, eight films will be shown, ranging from four to forty-six minutes in length. Advance tickets are available for $18 at High Peaks Cyclery or the arts center. If tickets are still available on the night of the show, they will be sold for $21 at the box office. High Peaks >>More

January, 2010

Question about Slant Rock

We received the e-mail below this afternoon. Since I have never camped at Slant Rock, I cannot help the writer. Does anyone know the answer? “I was hiking in the Adirondacks with several friends two weeks ago. We stayed two nights at Slant Rock lean to on the trail from the garden trailhead in Keene Valley past Johns Brook Lodge toward Basin Mountain. During and after the hike we were and are all engaged in a raging debate about which way the front of the Slant Rock Lean-to faces and what mountain it looks directly across at. Can you clear >>More

January, 2010

Expect blowdown and ice

This afternoon I went up Baker Mountain, a small peak outside Saranac Lake, to test a pair of crampons (Black Diamond’s Sabretooths, pictured here). I thought the crampons would be overkill on the trail, but it turned out I needed them. Thanks to all the rain on Monday, followed by subfreezing temperatures, parts of the trail were sheer ice. I encountered a couple of snowshoers and a guy wearing Kahtoola MicroSpikes, and all were having a much harder time than I was. (I like MicroSpikes, but they were overmatched by today’s ice.) Monday’s storm also brought strong winds. I saw >>More

January, 2010

My other blog

Some of you may know that I also contribute to Adirondack Almanack, a compendium of blogs, news, and links created by John Warren, a writer and journalist with a strong interest in local history. If you like Outtakes, I think you’ll enjoy Adirondack Almanack as well. I post every Monday afternoon. Following are links to my recent posts: Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Oseetah Marsh The Jackrabbit Trail and Other Epic Adventures Guilty Pleasures: Skiing Adirondack Backcountry Glades The Problem with the Wright Peak Ski Trail When Things Go Wrong: Building Emergency Snow Shelters Clarence Petty’s Last Words of Wisdom In the >>More

January, 2010

How to scare a bear

State wildlife biologists experimented for years with different methods to keep bears from stealing campers’ food in the High Peaks Wilderness. Finally, the state decided to require all campers in the eastern High Peaks to store food in bear-resistant canisters. This not a problem unique to the Adirondacks. The latest issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management includes a study conducted in California’s Sequoia National Park of the various ways people try to scare away “problem” bears: yelling at them, spraying them with pepper, throwing things at them, shooting them with rubber bullets, etc. “Aversive conditioning was most effective when >>More

January, 2010

Trying to save the VICs

Paul Smith’s College will host a meeting of elected officials and other interested parties next week to try to keep the state-run Visitor Interpretive Centers from closing. Governor David Paterson has proposed shutting the two VICs, located in Paul Smiths and Newcomb, to save money. They would close by next January. The college leases to the state the land occupied by the Paul Smiths VIC—more than 2,700 acres.  “We recognize the importance of the VIC to the community,” said Kenneth Aaron, a college spokesman, “and we want to find a way to keep it open.” He acknowledged that the college >>More

January, 2010

Governor proposes land moratorium

In his proposed 2010-11 budget, Governor David Paterson has recommended a moratorium on land acquisition and closure of the Adirondack Park Agency’s two Visitor Interpretive Centers. “This is an all-out attack on the environment by the governor. This threatens to destroy the Environmental Protection Fund,” said John Sheehan, a spokesman for the Adirondack Council. The EPF is used to pay for a variety of environmental initiatives, including land acquisition and preservation. The fund was allocated $255 million in the last fiscal year and $212 million in the current year. Paterson proposes cutting it to $143 million. The Executive Budget Briefing >>More

January, 2010

Bauer opposes boathouse regs

The Fund for Lake George is opposing boathouse regulations proposed by the Adirondack Park Agency, saying they will do nothing to benefit water quality of Lake George and might prove counterproductive. Among other things, the regulations would outlaw roofed docks, which are popular around Lake George. “Decks on roofed docks will be transferred to the shoreline, which will frustrate efforts to encourage robust shoreline vegetated buffers, smaller lawn and impervious areas, decreases in the use of seawalls, and improved stormwater management,” Peter Bauer, the fund’s executive director, wrote the APA in a letter dated January 17. “A deck over a >>More

January, 2010

Mountainfest report

Last weekend, I saw a slide show in Keene Valley given by Steve House, one of the best mountaineers in the world. He’s an entertaining speaker, self-deprecating and down to earth despite his penchant for high places. Unfortunately, I missed the slide show given the the night before by Eric Weihenmayer, a blind climber who has ascended the highest summit on each of the seven continents–including, of course, Mount Everest. I heard it was a great show. Both men were guests of the Adirondack International Mountainfest, which is put on each year by the Mountaineer in Keene Valley. The Mountainfest, >>More

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