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.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Become a Backcountry Monitor: ADK Offering Forest and Water “Citizen Scientist” Projects

Paul Gallery

The Northeast suffered the tragic loss of the American chestnut tree to an invasive species. This prevalent hardwood species was decimated by the mid-twentieth century, and now the largest plot is a sixty-acre tract in Wisconsin that supports 2500 trees.  Since those days our understanding of invasive species control and prevention has greatly increased. However, the threat of losing important native species to invasive infestations is always present and we can’t afford to relax our guard.

Accordingly, ADK has initiated two new backcountry citizen science projects to help New York State protect its valuable natural resources from the threat of invasive species. The programs offer both terrestrial and aquatic surveys to keep vigil over the forests and waters of New York State. Working with organ­izations like the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP), the state Department of Environ­mental Conservation (DEC), Cornell Uni­versity, the Adirondack Water­shed Institute of Paul Smiths College, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, the New York State Natural Heritage Pro­gram, and the Office of Parks, Recre­ation and Historic Preser­vation, ADK will host training sessions and provide guidance for citizen scientists to monitor the special places they care about on our public lands.   

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Johns Brook Lodge Turns 90

By Seth Jones

Johns Brook Lodge (JBL) has been part of Adirondack Mountain Club’s (ADK) identity from its very beginning, welcoming guests to experience the Adirondacks 3.5 miles up the Johns Brook Valley.  90 years ago, on July 1, 1925, JBL opened its doors and ever since it has been a place where hikers can come together to further develop their relationship with the mountains and with their fellow hikers and gain inspiration to become stewards of the Adirondacks.  It’s described in a 1925 High Spots (predecessor to Adirondac) as a, “mecca for mountain climbers! Like a jewel in the valley lies Johns Brook Lodge, surrounded on every side by gorgeous mountain peaks, including the Wolfjaws, Gothics, Saddleback, Basin, Haystack, Big Slide, Tabletop and Marcy, all of them over 4,000 feet high.”  I think those who have had the chance to visit JBL would still describe it as a “mecca” ninety years later. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rain, Riddles and Rock

On top of Gothics

By Colette Piasecki-Masters

Photos by Seth Jones

There were eight of us.  We walked single-file in a driving rain with forty-pound packs on our backs, heading into a three-night outing.  I could feel rain soaking into my skin through my expensive, high-tech raincoat, and suddenly remembered I'd had this problem before and meant to do something about it.  Worse yet, this was my idea of fun.  How did I get here?!

I'd done it before.  In the summer of 2013, I enrolled in the Adirondack Mountain Club's (ADK) Teen Backpacking Adventure along with my cousin and a friend.  It was by far the highlight of that summer.  We knew that any subsequent trips could never beat the initial amazing experience-but we just had to go again.  After our second trip (the one with the rain), we realized we were completely wrong.  The adventures only got better.

Friday, June 19, 2015

It's Time to Clean, Drain and Dry

By Paul Gallery

On September 2nd, 2014 Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a piece of legislation that would prohibit New Yorkers from launching watercraft without taking reasonable steps to prevent the spread of invasive species. You can find an excellent synopsis of the law here but let’s focus on how we as recreators can keep New York State water bodies free of invasive species.

It doesn’t take more than one photo to realize how damaging invasive species can be, especially to sensitive water ecosystems. Established populations are difficult and work intensive to eradicate therefore it is preferable to use preventative methods for control. This legislation is exactly the type of preventive measure we need. So how do recreators do their part to keep New York’s lakes, rivers and other bodies of water healthy?