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?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Successful National Trails Day® in Wanakena

By Wes Lampman

Photos by Brendan Wiltse and Seth Jones

National Trails Day® in Wanakena was a huge success with close to one hundred volunteers working on trails in the Cranberry Lake Wild Forest and Five Ponds Wilderness Area. Most of the projects focused on improving the Cranberry Lake 50 Trail that traverses around Cranberry Lake and passes through the villages of Wanakena and Cranberry Lake. ADK trail volunteers started on a new reroute of the CL 50 that will remove over two miles of road walking on Route 3. Over a mile of the reroute was completed and volunteers also carried in lumber that will be used for treads on a foot bridge. Three wilderness privies were installed along the CL 50 along with a new primitive campsite. Other trail projects included new waterbars and drainage ditches on Cat Mountain, benching and sidecutting on the Gilbert Tract Ski Trail, and close to two hundred feet of dimensional lumber bog bridges was constructed on the Moore Trail in Wanakena. The post work day celebration was enjoyed by all with delicious food and beverages provided by the Pinecone Grille and excellent folk music by Rik Palieri. 

Thank you to all of our partners and sponsors that helped make this event possible!

Heading out to a work site by boat.  Photo by Brendan Wiltse


Carrying in new box privies.  Photo by Brendan Wiltse

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mike Douglas, Gary Koch and Jim Mosher: 30 YEARS of lean-to stewardship and still counting!

By Christine Bourjade

The lean-to is wonderfully expressive of the spirit and traditions of these vast mountain lands. To approach one after a day of adventure is to find a mute, yet impelling invitation to chum with Nature, to enjoy intimate communion with the woods and to become an active participant in the great drama of the out-of-doors.”

Paul A. Schaeffer - High Spots Oct. 1931


The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), in cooperation with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), established the Adopt-A-Lean-To Program in April 1985. The first appeal for volunteer stewards offered eight lean-tos, expanded to 16 in 1986 and to 24 in 1987. Ten years later, 136 lean-tos had been adopted. Today, the program comprises of 175 structures found all over the Adirondack Park and cared for by no less than 240 individuals.  Between 1921 and 1937, the first wave of lean-tos appeared on the Northville-Placid Trail (N-P Trail) and Adirondack High Peaks trails. During the 1950s and 1960s a second wave of structures and replacements were installed.

The adopters concur: their very first visits were tests, as “their” lean-tos were in a sorry state and the surroundings more garbage pit-like than pristine wilderness. They took on the challenge with a new energy after the State replaced the mostly dirt floors with wood and installed new roofs. Soon campers raved at how well the shelters were cared for.

Friday, May 29, 2015

On the Trail with ADK: Essex Chain Lakes

By Paul Gallery and Seth Jones

The Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area is a recent purchase by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Head out with the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and see what it is like to explore this primitive area!




Monday, May 18, 2015

Paddling the Upper Hudson and Opalescent River

By Seth Jones

When I read Phil Brown's article on paddling the upper Hudson and Opalescent Rivers, part of the new state land acquisition called the MacIntryre East Tract, I knew I had to check it out.  The trip did not disappoint me and is one that I would recommend to any paddle enthusiast.  I followed Phil's suggested itinerary that you can find in this Adirondack Almanack article.  The upstream paddle on the Opalescent River was a challenge at times but the float down was worth all the effort to get upstream.  At lower water levels it might be a challenge to make it all the way to the railroad bridge that crosses over the Opalescent which is where I decided to turn around.

If you get a chance this summer you should check out this beautiful new piece of state land.  Here are a few photos from the trip:

Lake Sanford