Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blistered Reflections on the Northville-Placid Trail

By Seth Jones

I was in so much pain.  I could feel my boots grind the raw skin on the back of my heel with every step forward.  While on level terrain it was at least tolerable but any miniscule incline was excruciating.  Luckily, I was about to stop for the day but I was worried about what I would find when I took off my boots.  I was close to 50 miles into a thru-hike of the Northville-Placid Trail (N-P Trail), a 135 mile, north-south foot path that traverses the heart of the Adirondacks, from Northville, NY to Lake Placid, NY. I was taking 8 days to thru-hike it with a friend Tyler Socash, a former Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) guide and native of Old Forge, NY.  I had heard stories about the N-P Trail for years but had never taken the time to hike it. Now, with blister-ridden feet, I was worried if I would be able to make it the entire distance but that idea kept being pushed to the back of my head.  Despite my issues, I was really enjoying the trail and was determined to complete it. With 2014 marking the 90th anniversary of its completion, I felt that this would be a perfect opportunity to discover a piece the Adirondack’s past and to see if this trail still held any value 90 years later.

Friday, September 19, 2014

5 Favorite Fall Foliage Hikes

View from Mt. Jo

By Seth Jones

Peak fall foliage is just around the corner here in the Adirondacks and I’ve received an increasing number of inquiries on what my favorite fall foliage hikes are.   It is hard for me to narrow them down to just a few but I picked 5 of my favorites that are close to the Lake Placid area.
1.    Mt. Jo
Mt. Jo is probably my favorite place to see fall foliage.  Part of it has to do with its convenience to where I work at the Adirondak Loj, but it also has one of the best displays of color during the fall season.  Sugar maples, red maples, yellow birch, quaking aspen and beech trees surround Heart Lake making the top of Mt. Jo the perfect place to observe their display of color.  Mt. Jo is a pretty short hike at 2 miles round trip (via short trail) with close to 700 ft. of elevation gain over rugged, rocky terrain.  Without too much effort you can have a great vista with fall colors and High Peaks in the background. This is also a great hike for the whole family.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Those Piles of Rock

By Devon Reynolds

July 20th, a blustery, grey Sunday, found me just above tree line on Cascade, repairing a tumbledown cairn. As a summit steward, I do a variety of trail work, from packing rocks into loose soil to stabilize it against erosion, to lining the trail with stones to guide hiker’s footsteps. Cairn construction, however, is my favorite trail maintenance. It takes patience and skill, and the resulting stone towers, rising in silhouette against the sky, have a stark and unforgettable beauty.

There are several factors that go into choosing a site for a cairn. Those lovely silhouettes are no accident—cairns are placed where they will be most visible to hikers, on the lips of ledges so they will contrast with the sky rather than blending into the rock around them.  A cairn must also be built on relatively flat ground, a difficult thing to find on Adirondack summits!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

ADK Starts Colden Trail Project

Trail on Colden before bog bridges

By Seth Jones

If you’ve climbed to the summit of Mt. Colden over the past decade you've probably experienced that the trail on the summit had become mostly comprised of boot sucking, Adirondack mud. What is different about this muddy Adirondack trail is that it traverses through New York’s rarest ecosystem, the alpine ecosystem, a fragile plant community that is only found on 16 of New York’s highest summits. To help protect this special natural resource, Adirondack Mountain Club with the support of The Adirondack Forty-Sixers and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has started a three year trail project on the summit of Mt. Colden.
2014 bog bridges

Friday, August 15, 2014

Biking the ididaride! Adirondack Bike Tour

By Sonja Stark, PilotGirl
Conditions on Sunday were absolutely perfect for a 75-mile bike tour through the Adirondacks called, quite aptly, ‘The ididaride!’ The weather was beautiful and sunny, the roads were clean of debris, the relief tents were stocked with ripe bananas, peanut butter and salty potato chips and everyone’s spirits were high.

ADK Mountain Club Development Director Deborah Zack sounded the call of the start of the tour. We shoved off at 8:30a with my GoPro camera rolling on the thunderous momentum of 475 bikers from all across the state, even the country, snapping their shoes to their pedals and waving goodbye. It would be roughly 6 hours and 40 minutes before I’d make it back again…. though at the time, I doubted the odds of being in one piece or even alive.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ADKhighpeaks Foundation Supports Summit Steward Program

By Julia Goren

Summit Steward on Cascade
It takes a lot of feet to protect alpine plants on our summits. There are the feet of the Summit Stewards, calloused and sore, climbing up and down the peaks every day. (Every day! Fun fact: 2014 stewards Jen Maguder, Drew McDonald, Tyra Olstad, Devon Reynolds, and Kayla White will individually climb Marcy and Algonquin approximately 25 times each this summer, hiking about 1,000 miles for the alpine plants.) There are the feet of the hikers, often hot, sweaty, and blistered, carefully walking on the rocks rather than on the plants. (Collectively this adds up to over 40,000 feet a summer on Marcy, Algonquin, Wright, Cascade, and Colden!) And then there are the feet that strap into snowshoes on the first weekend in March, collectively climbing the 46 on one day, to raise money to support the summits. These feet belong to individuals with names like ADKJack, Mavs00, AlpineLamb, RockON, Neil, topofgothics, and WannabeALjr. Never heard of them? These are just a few of the individuals making up the online community of the ADKhighpeaks Foundation.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Farewell to Thea

Thea Moruzzi

By John Million

It is with a mixture of regret and happiness that the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) must announce the departure of ADK Education Director Thea Moruzzi. We are happy for Thea as she has secured a sixth grade teaching position at Lake Placid Middle School and now will share her incredible talents with the students of our little town. And of course it is sad for ADK to lose such a valuable and dedicated employee.

Thea started seasonally with ADK in 1997 and worked at Johns Brook Lodge (JBL) for three summers. She was actually the first JBL Hutmaster I inherited when I arrived as North Country Facilities Director in 1999. I quickly realized she was self-reliant, dependable, and someone I could count on to give me her best judgment on a variety of topics, always with ADK’s best interests in mind. I often sought out her opinions then and I have continued to do so over the fifteen years we have worked together.