The joys and perils of backcountry skiing

On Sunday, I skied the Marcy trail from Adirondak Loj with Mike Lynch and Chris Knight, two reporters from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. We followed snowshoe tracks nearly to Indian Falls and then broke trail as far as the junction with the Hopkins Trail, 1.2 miles from the summit. We turned around there.

Nate Jeffrey and his best friend. Photo by Phil Brown.
Nate Jeffrey needs a big pack to carry all his essentials. Photo by Phil Brown.

The 6.2-mile ski back to the Loj was fantastic. The week’s snowfalls had left plenty of powder on the sides of our skin tracks—so much that I felt comfortable bombing the Corkscrew, the steep, twisty descent from a ridge. During our descent, we saw only one party of snowshoers between the Hopkins Trail and Marcy Dam. Apparently, the High Peaks don’t get as much use on Super Bowl Sunday.

When we reached the dam, we encountered Nate Jeffrey, one of the caretakers at the forest ranger’s cabin on Lake Colden. The Explorer ran a profile of Nate in its November/December 2009 issue. On Sunday, Nate was on his way back to civilization after spending six nights at the cabin. He was skiing with a huge backpack that contained, among other essentials, his dog (see photo to the right).

Nate mentioned that the night before two skiers had to bivouac in the Dix Mountain Wilderness after getting lost the woods. Mike and Chris, being reporters, immediately recognized this as a good story. Sure enough, you can read about it in today’s Enterprise. Click here to see the online version.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Timothy Dannenhoffer says

    What a cool guy! I saw him at the ADK High Peaks Info Center 3 days ago with his dog in his pack! He told me when he get’s out of hand he throws him into spruce traps!


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