Friday, August 21, 2015

Imagine the Adirondacks Without Hemlocks

By Cathy Pedler

Sometime after 4am I woke up. I left the tent and stepped into the beams of the setting full moon and walked a short distance to the shore of Polliwog Pond. The dawn was just beginning to show above the old hemlock stands, mist swirled above very still water, and then the loons began to call to each other in their old, melancholic song. In those few moments as I stood in the simultaneous light of the moon and the dawn and listened to the loons call, I was transported.  I was in an ancient place.

That moment was pivotal for me this summer. It is hard to describe such moments and the impact they have on our thoughts and decisions.  In that moment the reality of what could be lost lodged deep.

The day before, I had walked up away from the waterside site, where I was camped with colleagues and friends on a week-long Leave No Trace course, to a height of land where I recognized its old growth forest structure. Most of the trees here, and at our campsite on the shore below, were hemlock.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

ADK Working on Kaaterskill Falls Safety Project

By Wes Lampman

Now in their seventh week, Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) Professional Trail Crews have been hard at work this summer moving stone for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Kaaterskill Falls Safety Project.  It is anticipated that it will take fifteen weeks in total to complete the project but more time may be needed. Over 200 rock steps will eventually be installed to complete the staircase. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Leave No Trace In the St. Regis Canoe Area

By Seth Jones & Ryan Doyle

Adirondack Mountain Club ran a Leave No Trace Master Educator course in the St. Regis Canoe Area from July 29-August 9.  We had an incredibly diverse group of student participants with much to share, including university professors, youth educators, conservation professionals, and even a staff member from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.  An outdoor activity could barely be mentioned that hadn’t been embraced by one of our students.  They brought personal and professional experiences from all across the US and around the world including the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, Asia, South America and New Zealand.  We all practiced becoming better educators, heightened our own skills and ethics, and developed action plans to use our knowledge and skills for making positive change.
“I really enjoyed the, “Ethics discussion.  It got me thinking about how to connect with people better and how to turn their beliefs into action.” Joey Parent, Assistant Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Outdoor Adventure Program

“Excellent content delivered by experienced & knowledgeable educators.”  Mike Wright, School Staff Instructor at Reed’s School UK

You can gain the skills necessary to better educate other outdoor recreationists in Leave No Trace through one of ADK's Leave No Trace courses

In the St. Regis Canoe Area

Lesson in camping and hiking on durable surfaces.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015 ADK Johns Brook Valley Teen Adventure

By Seth Jones

It wouldn't be a true adventure into the Johns Brook Valley without a thunderstorm.  Heavy, sideways rain with rumbles of thunder motivated all of us to walk a little bit faster to our lean-to across the brook from Johns Brook Lodge (JBL).  Our Johns Brook Valley Teen Adventure group stayed there for three nights while building hiking and low-impact camping skills.  Luckily the rain stopped long enough for us to hike up to New York's third highest mountain, Mt. Haystack.  It was a strenuous hike for our group but the views and sense of accomplishment were well worth the arduous trek.  The following photos capture a few moments during our adventure.

Taking a break before summiting Haystack
On the way to Haystack

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Gray to Marcy: A Costly Bushwhack Is Closed Definitively

By Chrstine Bourjade

Times are a changing and so is our awareness. In previous decades a number of climbers standing on Gray Peak’s summit have succumbed to Marcy’s spell and headed directly for its majestic dome one-mile away. Long ago it was a relatively easy decision since the herdpath from Lake Tear to Gray was a rather rough affair and no one was looking forward to the return. As years went by, a semblance of a herdpath developed all the way to the Marcy tree line. Always a long and winding route with numerous false paths, it never was a time saver or a relaxing trek. And it certainly did not justify the ensuing trampling of vast sections of “Adirondack high country”.

All the while, increased traffic and light maintenance turned the barely .5-mile designated route from Lake Tear to Gray into an easy look-a-like-trail which takes no time to climb and descend round-trip. Consequently the direct route to Marcy has lost most of its appeal as a shortcut. This is welcome coincidence because the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking climbers to return to Lake Tear and reach Marcy by way of Four-Corners. Summit Stewards are regularly removing the cairns illegally placed by hikers wanting to help others or themselves to find the way at Marcy treeline. Since September 2014, there is a large sign near the summit of Gray informing of this herdpath closure for the unaware and/or stubborn.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Discovering the Ausable: An Aquatic Stewardship Program

By Seth Jones

Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) partnered with the Ausable River Association to offer it's first ever Teen Aquatic Stewardship Program this year. Participants, ages 14 to 17, learned about watersheds, developed basic paddling skills, were introduced to basic limnological sampling, compared the water quality of Heart Lake and Mirror Lake, sampled benthic macroinvertebrates in the Ausable River, learned about regional wildlife at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, paddled Lake Champlain, and visited the Ausable Chasm.  Students also spent the week camping in one of our lean-tos at ADK's Wilderness Campground.  A big thank you goes our to The Mountaineer and to Stewart's Shops for sponsoring this free program.

Learning about watersheds on top of Mt. Jo.

Practicing paddling strokes.