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Adirondack Explorer

April, 2017

Royal Robbins And The First Ascent Of Half Dome

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the early life of Royal Robbins, the legendary American rock climber who died last month. At the time of his death, I had been reading To Be Brave, the first volume of his autobiography. It ends when Robbins is still a teenager. His second volume, Fail Falling, covers the years 1950 through 1957, when Robbins emerges from a somewhat troubled adolescence to become one of the most celebrated climbers in the country. Robbins started climbing seriously and perfecting his art with fellow climbers from the Sierra Club in southern California. Most were older >>More


April, 2017

Paddling (And Spelling) An Adirondack River

With the arrival of spring, the Adirondack Explorer is shifting its recreational focus from skiing and snowshoeing to paddling and hiking. The May/June issue, which we are finishing this week, includes my account of a canoe trip on the Grass River that Carol MacKinnon Fox and I did last year. Or were we on the Grasse River? Both spellings are in common use. National Geographic’s “Trails Illustrated” map for the region uses the Grass spelling. The Adirondack Park Agency, however, spells it Grasse in the State Land Master Plan. The U.S. Board on Geographic Names decreed in 1905 that the >>More


April, 2017

Cuomo Touts Spending Plan For Adirondacks

Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Lake Placid on Friday morning to tout his budget for the Adirondacks and the rest of the North Country. Cuomo said his administration has spent tens of millions of dollars to promote tourism throughout the state as well as the Adirondacks. That investment, he added, resulted in a $9 billion increase in the tourism economy. The governor, who often vacations in the region, said the Adirondacks and most of upstate had long been ignored by state legislators, most of whom hail from New York City or Long Island.  “They might as well be talking about >>More


April, 2017

DEC Says Man Kept Bobcat Locked In Shed

Wildlife photographer Larry Master is writing about bobcats in the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer and submitted a great photo to go along with text. After reading about these beautiful creatures—the last wild felines in the Adirondacks—I was disturbed to learn that a man had been keeping a bobcat locked in a shed at his home in Jefferson County west of the Adirondack Park. The state Department of Environmental Conservation says two conservation officers, Kevin Holze and Peter Jackson, went to the home on March 29. A neighbor told them the bobcat was in a shed outside the home. >>More


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


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