Items tagged with 'Adirondacks'
Autumn is a prime hiking season -- the warm sun and cool air makes for comfortable weather, and of course, there's the foliage.
But this fall the state Department of Environmental Conservation has a request: Think about not hiking the popular High Peaks in the Adirondacks. From a DEC press release this past Friday:
This autumn hikers should properly prepare for hikes in the Adirondacks and hike on trails less populated than those in the High Peaks Wilderness, an opportunity that offers fantastic scenes of fall foliage for a more enjoyable backcountry experience, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos urged today.
"Autumn is a great time to enjoy the Adirondacks," Commissioner Seggos said. "As more people continue to enjoy the incredible outdoor excursions offered throughout the Adirondack Park, we encourage visitors to explore the hundreds of lesser known trails that offer the same high quality natural experiences as the more popular trails, and to be prepared to safely enjoy the Park's changing conditions."
Toward that goal, DEC is offering a dozen different hikes in the Adirondacks as alternatives.
We've taken the DEC's suggestions and put together a clickable map with with brief descriptions of each -- have a look.
Now that you're all fired up about becoming a 46er, let's get down to business -- the actual hiking.
No matter how prepared you are, how many trip reports you've read and how many flights of stairs you've climbed in practice, nothing prepares you for tackling big mountains quite like getting out there and hiking.
Here are a few places to start...
Once you start looking, you begin to see them everywhere. On Subarus and Honda SUVs, small and understated, the small, round sticker is easy to miss. The bubbly, hand-drawn font reads simply: 46er.
For the uninitiated, here's the short version: There are 46 "high peaks" in the Adirondacks, giant, looming mountains over 4,000 feet in elevation. Those brave or crazy souls who choose to hike all 46 of them form an exclusive club, called The 46ers.
For many of us, especially those without a lot of experience hiking, becoming a 46er seems completely unattainable. Like only the Bear Grylls type would be able to do it. But in reality, lots of regular people complete the 46.
And here's how to get started...
I was wondering if any of your readers have any advice for fun things to do with kids in the Lake Placid region. My family and I are heading up there in a couple of weeks and would love some extra input.
There are a bunch of things to see or do around that area, and we're guessing a fair number of them will work with kids.
So, got a suggestion for Sean and his family? Please share!
Earlier on AOA: The Wild Center (2011)
photo: Bennett V Campbell
From the "Jobs You Didn't Know Existed, But Now That You Do, You Really Want That Job" file: The state Department of Environmental Conservation posted photos on Facebook today from helicopter survey flights of moose in the Adirondacks (that's one of the photos above). It's part of the agency's ongoing effort to study the state's moose population:
Nine additional cow moose were recently captured, collared and released as part of a multi-year moose study. There are now a total of 21 moose, including 18 cows, fitted with GPS/radio collars. Their locations are monitored weekly.
DEC wildlife staff also flew helicopter survey flights throughout the #Adirondacks to locate and observe moose. ...
In 2015, more than 165 moose sightings were reported by the public. The map indicates the towns in which moose were reported. DEC encourages people to continue to submit moose sightings and moose sign, (tracks, scat and scrapings) using the form at the bottom of the Moose web page
Here's a DEC map of public moose sightings in 2015. You can see they're largely concentrated in the Adirondacks. But the animals do show up in the Capital Region from time to time, especially in Rensselaer and Saratoga counties. There was that moose in Halfmoon a few years back, and the moose spotted at the Saratoga Race Course a few years before that.
DEC has reported in the past that scientists have collected evidence indicating moose populations in New York State have grown considerably during the last few decades -- from as few as 50 to 500 or more in recent years.
Earlier on AOA: Mesmerizing moose
photo: NYS DEC
Some real things are so fantastic that seem unreal.
We were thinking about that while watching this video clip of an enormous moose in the Adirondacks. The scene is from Helldiver Pond in the (apparently aptly-named) Moose River Plains Wild Forest and was posted by Youtube user Steve Barnum. It's from 2013 -- we just happened to come across it today via a @NYSDEC tweet. (Here's an earlier video clip.)
The state Department of Environmental Conservation estimated there were 500-800 moose in New York State as of 2010. The agency is currently study the state's moose population, in part via radio collars it attached to a dozen moose last winter.
Early fall is breeding season for moose in this part of the country, and they often end up roaming places they wouldn't otherwise go -- like... Troy, where a moose wandered this past September.
This made us smile: There's a tiny, mobile cabin that you can via Airbnb for use in the Adirondacks.
From the listing for "The Green Lantern":
The Green Lantern is a timber frame, mobile cabin that we will transport anywhere in NYS's Adirondack Park so you can camp in style and comfort. Cabin has bed platform, windows, shelving and electricity. NYS campsites are equipped with bathrooms. ...
The Space Cozy cabin that smells like pine. Skylights, screen windows and Dutch door afford plenty of light and yet ensure privacy.
Guest Access This is a private mobile cabin that we will transport anywhere in the Adirondack Park in NYS that offers thousands of campsites. We can also deliver to a private property if you've got friends or family in the Park.
The cabin rents for $200 a night with a two-night minimum -- or $550 for a week (and $1800 for a month).
photo via Airbnb
A thing we didn't know existed: Summer camp for adults.
Camp No Counselors is offering three such weekends this summer at a camp alongside Paradox Lake in the Adirondacks. Blurbage:
Camp No Counselors is an all-inclusive sleepaway camp for grown-ups. Gather your crew of friends, forget about work for a weekend and create memories that will last a lifetime. Your days will be spent swimming in the lake, or bouncing above it on their incredible blob! You'll participate in every classic camp activity you can imagine, from wakeboarding and dodgeball to friendship bracelet weaving at Arts N' Crafts and even our own take on slip 'n slide. Since there are 'no counselors' and we're all grown-ups here, when evening falls, it's time to hit the open bar and shred the dance floor.
An article over at Fast Company has the backstory -- the idea started out with an informal gathering in 2013 and it's now turned into a business with camps at a few locations around the country. (The Adirondack camp seems oriented toward people from New York City -- the website details that buses will pick people up in the city.) Apparently there is a whole summer camp for adults category now.
Quickly scanning the CNC website, it looks like a weekend costs about $500, depending on how and when you register. And about registration: "For each Camp No Counselors getaway, we curate a group of 100+ adults to ensure a diverse environment and an unforgettable experience. If this is your first time registering, your acceptance is contingent upon the review of your application." Here's an interview with the founder that touches on the selection process.
So, it really is like being a kid again -- because some people won't get picked to play.
photo via Camp No Counselors website
Every now and then the idea of New York State hosting the Olympics pops up. And it's done so again this week, with leaders in the North Country banging the drum about bringing the winter games back and both Chuck Schumer and Elise Stefanik offering generally supportive statements. [Lake Placid News]
This is not a good idea.
Let us turn our attention to the medal stand of reasons why not...
One of the good things about the Capital Region is that you don't have to travel all that far to go hiking, experience some natural areas, or just kind of get away from it all.
We were reminded of that recently by the map above. It estimates noise levels on summer day around the country. The deeper the blue, the more quiet the place. And as you can see, both the Catskills and the Adirondacks (especially) offer some rather deep quiet.
The map is the creation of the National Park Service Division of Natural Sounds and Night Skies. Researchers have been gathering the information and making the models to study noise and light pollution, and how it affects animals (including humans). The map was presented at the recent annual AAAS conference (it's a big science conference). [AAAS] [Science] [AAAS]
The map's not really that surprising -- it appears to match up relatively well with maps of population density and light pollution. And in the Northeast, the Adirondacks are one of the least-populated places, and they have some of the darkest nighttime skies. And they're rather quiet, too, apparently.
Earlier on AOA: The closest darkest place
East Dix, one of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks, was recently renamed Grace Peak in honor of Grace Hudowalski, one of the original 46ers (she was #9). Here's the mountain on a map.
Hudowalski lived in both Troy and Albany, and Paul Grondahl recently had a nice story about her legacy and what she's meant to many Adirondack hikers.
From an Adirondack Forty-Sixer bio of Hudowalski, in reference to her first hike up Mt. Marcy:
Reflecting on that trip years later she said,
"It was tough. I was on all fours sometimes. I didn't think I was going to get there. But I had to get to the top - there was some reason. God knows what it was but I had to go on. And on the top just for a fraction of a moment, the clouds lifted while I was there and I looked down and there a mile below me was Lake Tear of the Clouds, the Hudson's highest source. And you know, that did something to me. I had seen something - I felt it. I never forgot the mountain and I never forgot that trip."
From that point on she said, "I never talked about anything but mountains. I talked about them, I wrote about them. I gave speeches about them."
Hudowalksi passed away in 2004 at the age of 98.
As Douglas Arnold, the Forty-Sixer who led the effort to name the mountain in honor of Hudowalksi, said to the Syracuse Post-Standard: "Everyone has a mentor, a coach, a parent or grandparent, friend, or teacher who influences the outcome of their life. These angels are remembered but rarely honored. Grace Hudowalksi was a mentor to thousands of people as she shared her enthusiasm for the Adirondacks with everyone."
photo via The Adirondack Forty-Sixers
Check out this trailer/preview for The 46ers*, a documentary about people who hike the Adirondack's High Peaks. The cinematography is beautiful.
"The 46ers" is a documentary feature about the men and women who hike all of the 46 High Peaks (over 4,000 ft elevation) in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate NY. The filmmakers set out to answer the question, "what transformers ordinary men and women into the legendary mountaineers known as the 46ers?" ...
The idea for the project came about in July, 2012 when director Blake Cortright summited Mt. Marcy, New York's tallest mountain. As he took in the surrounding view, he was amazed that this area hadn't been given better cinematic treatment. After an exhausting weekend hiking Marcy, Tabletop, and Wright Peak, Blake began to ask "why do people do this?" That started the idea for the project.
The project raised more than $14,000 on Kickstarter last year. The filmmakers are aiming for an "early 2015" completion, according to the project's website.
* There are 46 of the peaks, thus the name for the people who hike them all.
Lauren and George are planning a wedding in the Capital Region, and they're chronicling the planning process here on AOA. But this time, Lauren's talking with a couple about going a different direction...
When planning a wedding, not everyone decides to do a big bash in a ballroom with all of their family and friends. Some couples forgo a traditional wedding and opt to elope instead.
Local couple Nick and Sita chose to "sorta-elope" to Lake Placid -- and say they couldn't be happier with their decision.
Runners have strange ideas about what constitutes fun. Getting up early on a day off to run long distances. Going out even in rain and snow.
Running 196.2 miles with 11 other people over the course of roughly 24 hours.
The latter describes the Ragnar Relay Adirondacks, in which more than 200 teams of 12 runners each recently made their way from Saratoga Springs to Lake Placid on a non-stop relay. For fun.
They were three grown bears about 25 yards away. [Amy] Stafford wasn't scared. An experienced hiker and outdoors woman, she was glad for a chance to see a wild animal. She also knew what to do. She waved her hands, made noise, jumped around and yelled at the bears. The guidebooks say not to run from a bear, and she didn't. They ran off. Stafford started down the trail again, pleased with herself that she handled the situation well, and even managed to snap a few photographs. But then the bears came back. Stafford turned around again, yelling and smashing rocks. She played music on her phone as loud as it would go. Each time she yelled, the bears dropped back, only to creep up again. One seemed more curious than the other two. When they lost sight of her because she went down a hill or around a bend, Stafford could hear the bears running to catch up, sometimes behind her on the trail, sometimes alongside her in the woods.
Stafford told Hornbeck this went on for a mile on the trail, before it all came to a pointed conclusion. Yikes.
This is intense. From an article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise by Mike Lynch (map link added):
The DEC has heard of several incidents of nuisance bears between Wakely Dam and Stephens Pond in the town of Indian Lake.
In one encounter, which took place Wednesday, Sept. 18, three bears followed a woman hiking alone, according to the DEC. The woman made several attempts to scare the animals away, but they continued to follow her. One bear, in particular, got very close to the woman near Stephens Pond.
"Feeling threatened she stabbed the bear with a knife," according to a DEC statement.
The bears then fled, and the woman safely hiked to the state-run Lake Durant Campground.
Bears usually run off when humans attempt to scare them. In this case, the DEC tells the Daily Enterprise it might be a case of the bears getting food from hikers in the past.
As we've mentioned before: Don't feed the bears. Really. Not only is illegal, it also usually ends up hurting the bear.
Here's a DEC info page on how to avoid bears and what to do if you encounter one.
Some history: The last person in New York State to be killed by a bear was in 2002 in an odd incident in which a young bear dragged a 5-month-old human into the woods in Sullivan County. Before that, the last human death by the paw of a bear was in 1933 when an 11-year-old on Long Island was killed by a bear tied up in front of an inn. Of course there have been other non-fatal encounters, including a 2011 incident in which a woman in Greene County was knocked down by a bear. And in recent years bears have been wandering into more urban areas of the Capital Region. [CBS News] [Wikipedia] [TU]
Sean emails (emphasis added):
I'm looking for recommendations for a weekend camp/cabin rental somewhere up in the Adirondacks. My desires are simple - on a body of water. I'm not looking for anything fancy or expensive - simpler is MUCH preferred. We like to swim, kayak, hike, have campfires, grill and just relax. My wife and I are looking to begin what we hope to become a yearly tradition for our new family. Where have you, your families or your friends gone that you might recommend?
Do you have any tips for searching for something like this, whether through realtors, any site that's specific to this kind of search, etc? Three years of NY living don't provide me with the strong base of relatives / schoolmates / neighbors who I can mine for recommendations. Any thoughts / help would be greatly appreciated!
If have a specific suggestion, by all means please share. But what we really like about Sean's question is that he's asking how to go about finding a place like this. Sometimes that's the best way to help someone.
So, suggestions for how Sean should start looking into? This summer is nearing an end, but it could help him (and others) get a jump on next summer.
illustration from Adventures in the wilderness, or, Camp-life in the Adirondacks (1869) via archive.org
At the end of a long and winding road in the Adirondacks there is a trail to Mt. Marcy that includes a bit of history along the way. It was on this path that Teddy Roosevelt hiked during his last day as Vice President of the United States.
Today, you can take the same trail the Rough Rider/cowboy/future president walked over a century ago. Climbing the tallest peak in the state is enough of an accomplishment, but doing it in the footsteps of a president who once rode a moose like a horse? Well, that's just about as cool as you can get.
Andrea asks via Twitter:
Thinking of a weekend in the Adirondacks for some relaxation and day hikes with the dog. Recs for trails or places to stay?
She's looking to stay overnight, but not outside. And she's also open to the Catskills.
Got a suggestion? Please share!
There are a lot of interesting bits in this Smithsonian article about the history of the Adirondacks as a vacation destination -- specifically the influence of Adventures in the wilderness, or Camp-life in the Adirondacks, an 1869 book by William H.H. Murray that helped popularize the idea of vacationing in nature. And after a rough start (unprepared city people heading into the wilderness), the idea took off:
The Adirondacks were soon booming. By 1875, some 200 hotels and camps were operating in the mountains, with new stagecoach services rattling from the train stations and steamboats plying the lakes. By 1900, the Adirondacks' summer population had risen to around 25,000 from 3,000 in 1869. Attracted by the fishing and hunting but appalled by the crowds, the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Carnegies, Huntingtons and other fabulously wealthy industrialists built their own spectacular "great camps," where they could disport with their families in private luxury. The American vacation was born--quite literally. The scions of New York City took to declaring that they would "vacate" their city homes for their lakeside summer retreats, and the term "vacation" replaced the British "holiday" in common parlance. As fellow Bostonian Wendell Phillips put it, Murray's book had "kindled a thousand campfires and taught a thousand pens how to write of nature."
The article's author, Tony Perrottet, details the history of some of the great camps, and then visits some of the spots mentioned by Murray.
Murray's book -- a combination guide book/travelogue/ode to the outdoors -- is available in online archives. Skimming through it, he is both enthusiastic about the wonders of nature... and perhaps a bit understated about its complications. A section about bears is after the jump.
Winter is usually the season where people try to stay indoors as much as possible. The cold, wind, and snow usually drive us into our sweaters and onto our couches.
But not the Winter 46ers. This elite group of fewer than 600 people have climbed all 46 Adirondack High Peaks during winter (December 21 through March 21).
They are, in a word, hardcore.
It's off-season in Lake George. That means no kayaks, no swimming, no souvenir shopping, and no tourists. As you drive down Canada Street, most of the buildings are dark with signs in the window reading "Closed for the Season!"
But there is still beer.
The AOA-organized trip to North Creek on the Saratoga and North Creek Railway was this past Saturday. It was a nice time -- and we had some good wine and cheese at barVino. Thanks to everyone who came along.
Here are a bunch of photos...
So you've decided to you want to hike up one of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks. That's great -- the High Peaks are one of the best parts about upstate New York (if not THE best part, though I'm biased).
But when you climb your first Adirondack High Peak, you don't want to be THAT guy. You know him -- the guy with only one water bottle, jean shorts, Converse sneakers, and a camera. Not only will you look silly when the fully geared-up 46ers pass by you on the trail, you'll also feel ridiculous when you're thirsty, hungry, tired, and blistered halfway up the mountain.
After hiking 21 of the 46 High Peaks, you can now learn from the many mistakes I've made...
There's still a little winter left, and if you're looking for a way to make the most out of it, Lake Placid is less than a
two-hour three hour drive from the Capital District. Sure, Lake Placid is a bit of a tourist trap, but as a two time host of the Winter Olympics it comes by it honestly (only seven cities can make that claim).
Now, I'm not a fan of tourist traps. I'd rather let wild hyenas pull my toenails off than shop for cheap souvenirs or pay $10 more than I rightfully should for a steak. Lake Placid has some of that, but it also has real history and plenty of locals who are trying to survive and keep the magic alive. Yes, there's a faux outdoor outfitter outlet, but there's also a local movie theater and dozens of shops and restaurants that will give you an authentic Lake Placid experience.
Here are a few ways to get the best from your visit.
Forestry fact of the day: the Adirondacks are one of the areas with the most tree mass in the country, according to a map of "above ground woody biomass" created by the NASA Earth Observatory.
A clip from the map, of New York State, is above. The darker the green, the more tree mass there is.
The national map is posted after the jump in large format. You can see the large swath of forest that runs from Maine, through New Hampshire and Vermont, includes eastern New York, and then runs along the Applachians. And as dense as parts of the swath are, the long, narrow (relatively speaking) forests of the West Coast still trump the East for density of tree stuff (the trees are rather large out there).
Researchers built the map as part of an effort to better understand how much carbon is stored in forests -- and which way that amount is trending.
Earlier on AOA: The darkness just to the north
After Katie's question about places to stargaze, Jim commented today (emphasis added):
If you look at the night satellite photo of the North American continent, you see huge amounts of lights all along the East & West coasts. But - there is a big dark area, where there are few electric lights, which is great for stargazing - & that is the Adirondack Park. Head into the park, the more in the middle the better. We see great stars from Lake George on up. I remember a night we were on Little Tupper Lake (used to be in the Whitney estate) floating in canoes, seeing the Milky Way bright enough to be reflected in the water, listening to loons - & being stunned by the Perseids. Super dark sky, great show.
So we pulled the satellite imagery from NASA and annotated it. A small version is above. Much bigger versions -- of New York State and the United States -- are after the jump.
There's also another 2005 NASA map that highlights how low the human population density is in the Adirondacks.
Bonus bit: economists have been using this satellite imagery to study economic development.
If you've wanted to explore the Adirondacks but don't know where you begin, the Wild Center in Tupper Lake is a good place to start. You can learn about the history and biology of the largest park in the lower 48 states -- and being almost smack in the middle of the Adirondacks makes it an ideal starting point for a variety of day trips.
Also, they have otters.
The Saranac Lake Ice Palace really is a sight to see. Thousands of blocks of ice weighing in between 400 and 800 pounds a piece were used to build the structure and luckily, it's no hands-off exhibit.
The public is welcome to come in and sit on the ice thrones (the theme this year is "medieval"), climb the stairs, take photos with the animal ice carvings, and squeeze through the small tunnels and mazes.
It was packed on Sunday -- the last day of the carnival, but the word is that the ice palace will be up (pending melt) until the end of February.
Here's more information and videos about the construction of the palace -- and a history of the carnival.
More photos after the jump.
When I was in middle school I would watch my sister's high school Varsity soccer games with my cleats and shin guards in a bag nearby. I'd often fantasize that her team would be down a player and look to the crowd for help. I would be the one they chose, I'd play my heart out, and score the winning goal.
And then, of course, I'd be a starter for the high school team as a 7th grader and go on to the Olympics after that.
Flash forward to the 2006 Winter Olympics: I watch the track events religiously on TV. I proclaim to friends and family that I want to be a skeleton slider (it's the belly-down, head-first, single-person sled race).
But I never had the opportunity to try it -- until this past weekend when I went down the skeleton track in Lake Placid.
This was my chance to be discovered.
The skeptic in me wanted to immediately dismiss the authenticity of Lapland Lake's "Finnish" theme. But after taking in the picturesque setting, sampling the Lohilaatlkko (salmon casserole) and hearing cheesy Finnish versions of American pop music playing outside the lodge - I was sold, er myyty.
Not only does Lapland Lake have world-class cross country skiing, but it makes you feel like you've been transported to the Lapland -- just 60 miles from Albany.
The resort is run by former U.S. Olympic cross country skier Olavi Hirvonen and his wife Ann. Olavi's parents are from Finland and he spent quite a few years living there. His passion for skiing and all things Finnish pour out of this place.
If you're thinking about planning a trip, there are a few things to keep in mind (like where to find the reindeer)...
The AOA elves are back to help you with your holiday shopping. For the next couple of weeks we'll be bringing you fun, interesting, local gift ideas for the holiday season.
OK, this one is for that person in your life that has absolutely everything. You know the type. It's also good for the particularly eco-conscious person.
Carbon reduction certificates from the Adirondack Council.
Because what says love more than helping preserve clean air?
Obama to visit Capital Region, man accused of carjacking in Troy, pilot hailed for emergency landing, he's a LEGO weirdo
President Obama will be speaking about the at HVCC on Monday about the economy. He's expected to highlight the college's role in training workers for high tech jobs. HVCC has a special program set up to train workers for the GlobalFoundries chip fab. There had been rumors Obama would appear at the GloFo site, but apparently time constraints ruled that out. (The president has to make it NYC later that afternoon so he can appear on Letterman.) Apparently Paul Tonko and Scott Murphy have been lobbying for Obama to make a visit here. There are no details on tickets for the event, yet. [TU] [TU] [Troy Record] [Post-Star] [CBS6] [Fox23] [WTEN]
Kirsten Gillibrand is catching criticism for her vote to continue federal funding of ACORN. The org has been in the spotlight after its employees were caught telling people how to cheat the tax and mortgage systems. A pundit says Gillibrand's support of the org is probably intended to help her win votes in New York City. [TU] [NYDN] [Fox23]
In a new Marist poll, 70 percent of respondents said David Paterson was not a viable candidate for governor in 2010. [Daily Politics]
Troy Police say a man fleeing from a thwarted home robbery hijacked a car from a woman at a car wash in Brunswick. A resident of the house where the alleged incident began said he chased the suspect off with a baseball bat. The suspect then allegedly ran to the car wash, told the woman -- who was vacuuming her car -- to get her young son out of the back, and then sped off. Police say they caught him in Troy. [Troy Record] [WNYT] [TU] [CBS6]
Wind turbines in Adirondacks, NY Dems worried, mayor posts bail for friend, mom told to stop breastfeeding in public
A plan to build wind turbines in the Adirondacks is catching opposition from local environmental groups -- aesthetics and mountainside ecological damage are among the concerns. [Post-Star]
New York Democratic Party leaders are watching the Clinton-Obama race and starting to wonder if the two candidates should "get their act together" (Charlie Rangel's words) and work something out. [NYT]
Remember that story about the two guys who accused Troy cops of roughing them up unnecessarily after a chase into Menands last month? One of those guys got arrested again Monday night. [Troy Record]
The mayor of Saratoga Springs is defending his choice to post bail for a local luxury home builder who's been accused of fraud. (It seems the sons of the two men are friends.) One of the people who says they've been defrauded says the mayor's face will soon be meeting egg. [TU]
An Albany woman says an employee at the New York State Museum told her to stop breastfeeding in public there. It seems the employee doesn't actually know the rules, though -- the museum has no prohibition against breast feeding anywhere in the building. [WNYT]