Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ADK Starts New Conservation Internship

Paul Gallery

By Seth Jones

This fall, Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) created a new internship opportunity at ADK’s Public Affairs Office in Albany, NY.  ADK’s Conservation Intern is the vision of long time (over 40 years) member Jack Freeman, an active member in ADK’s Conservation Committee and Chair of ADK’s Archive Committee.  Jack’s vision was to have a graduate student shadow ADK’s Executive Director, Neil Woodworth, in order to train and provide practical experience for the next generation of conservation advocates in the way that ADK has historically been known for.  Since 1998, ADK has had an office in Albany so that it could exert an even greater influence on the legislature through lobbying efforts.  According to Neil Woodworth, “ADK’s advocacy program has achieved a great deal of political influence and is seen as a major stakeholder in policy related to not only the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves, but all the public, wild lands and waters throughout the state.” It is because of this success that Jack wanted this wealth of knowledge transferred to future conservation advocates. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

For a Good Time…Plan Ahead and Prepare

 By Ryan Doyle

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

One of the busiest hiking weekends of the year concluded this Columbus Day.  Education Programs Coordinator Seth Jones set up a Leave No Trace-themed table on the porch of the High Peaks Information Center (HPIC) to provide information and interact with hikers.  Seth has a broad variety of skill sets and knowledge, so his conversations were as all-over-the-map as the hikers’ destinations.  One thing he noted was the number of unprepared hikers.  The weekend presented challenging trail conditions with snow and ice in higher elevations and single digit wind-chill temperatures on summits.  Some folks were dressed for the weather.  Others were dressed for the weather…at the trailhead, and unaware of what lay beyond the trail register.  HPIC staff see this on a regular basis.

Monday, October 6, 2014

2014 School Outreach: Fall at Heart Lake

By Seth Jones

Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) just completed its fall portion of the Three Seasons at Heart Lake School Outreach Program which is funded by the Marie L. Haberl Grant.  This fall, ADK educators worked with six schools in the Adirondacks, providing this program for over 240 4th graders.  The fall program focuses on being prepared for your hike, making naturalist observations and hiking to the top of Mt. Jo.  The following are a series of pictures of this program.

Adirondack 4th graders get transported to ADK's Heart Lake Program Center for a day of programing.

Students make naturalist observations on the shores of Heart Lake.

Friday, October 3, 2014

No Sleep 'Till the Finish - A Day at Ragnar Adirondacks

Race Start at the Hall of Springs     Photo: Ragnar Relay

By Rob Rezin

Breakfast and coffee would have to wait. It was dark and foggy – really foggy – at 4:45AM on Friday September 26th when we arrived at the boat launch on Saratoga Lake. It was just cold enough to be a nuisance and the street lights didn’t offer much, so we switched on our headlamps and headlights and got down to business, setting up Exchange #1 for the race. There were only three of us – Alex, Jane and myself – with four stations to occupy. I was given my manual, tool box, and less than thirty minutes to get trained and organized – as the first exchange, it was up to us to set the bar, operating a smooth transition from the first to second runner from each of the 330 teams.

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!