The view from the false summit of Catamount

Knowing When to Stop

This weekend on a hike up Catamount with the usual pack of young teens I was reminded of an important lesson that I have learned, sometimes forgotten, and relearned: Know when to stop.

This weekend on a hike up Catamount with the usual pack of young teens I was reminded of an important lesson that I have learned, sometimes forgotten, and relearned: Know when to stop.

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Night Sky

Falling into the Night Sky

Do crisp fall nights make you think of pumpkin spice and wooly sweaters? OK. For an Adirondack Dad, this is a great time for a night walk under a starry sky.

There is no outdoors as big as the night sky. Cool, low-moisture nights open those skies amazingly. Do some of research before you go, or bring a star map, or a night-sky app, and you can add a bit of education to the experience.

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Baker Mountain summit with Brigid

Hiking honestly … or trying to

So what about lying to your kids on a hike.

I don’t mean the normal: “Oh, I think we’re close to the top now,” when you and they know you’re not much more than half way. That’s an inspirational half-truth.

Or my oft-repeated, “If you fall down you don’t get ice cream,” which no one takes seriously.

What about a perfect fall weekend, clear and crisp, when dozens of families crowd onto the trail up Baker Mountain, a friendly little climb that starts in what is almost downtown Saranac Lake.

And about three-quarters of the way up I see mom, standing over a young girl, maybe 6 or so, pleading, “Just 100 more steps and we’ll be at the top … only 100 more little steps.”

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Beach Sunset

Hello Blog, Farewell Summer

My blogging has been very lazy lately … sorry.

But the summer, now nearing an end, has been wonderful. And honestly, I don’t feel too guilty about not blogging when I have been out having so much  … here are some images.

See for yourself.

Hopefully, I’ll be better about updating my blog this fall. In the meantime, get outside and have some fun with your kids. That’s where I’m headed right now. Enjoy!

Spring Song

Lets’s face it, spring can be a difficult time of year in the Adirondacks.

Mud makes our hiking uncomfortable, mosquitoes are out and blackflies are getting started. More and more we have to worry about ticks, bird breeding sites, over-population on the trails. And for me, the end of the college semester brings a flood of work that washes away my will to post to this blog.

My antidote is a not-so-quiet meditation on the spring song of our Adirondack wetlands, woodlands and lakes. Spring peepers join with with a chorus of trilling and and buzzing to create a white-noise like wall of sound these evenings.

Stay to the end of this recording to hear the loon that zoomed through, just off camera: another classic Adirondack sound. And what sounds like a bit of dog barking is actually a grumpy Canada goose bedding down for the night.

A screenshot of Brian Mann's Adirondack Outings page.

Enjoying the winter that remains

Although the bright March sun is waking up the trees and sucking up the backcountry snow, there is still plenty of winter in the mountains.

Unfortunately, work and weather has kept me pinned down in Plattsburgh. Yeah, it’s not much of an excuse. I’m sure my bias against spring snow is part of it. You see, I’m a waxer who hates the challenge of the crazy snow conditions this time of year brings.

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Winter Olympics Logo

Loving the Olympics and Adirondacks

Because I am someone who loves the Adirondack outdoors, I also love the Winter Olympics. Why?

Skiing, skating, sledding … these are the most Adirondack of organized sports. Our mountains, lakes and valleys are ready made for downhill, skating and cross-country.

Heck, we’ve had two Olympics in Lake Placid, near the heart of the High Peaks.

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A mountain lion in winter, but not in the Adirondacks.

No lion in our mountains, but our future?

Look around the Adirondacks and you find plenty of peaks and other natural features named for panthers, cougars, catamounts and lions. Are there big cats behind every tree and rock?

No, in fact the federal government last week moved the mythical Eastern Mountain Lion from protected status to extinct.

The last mountain lion in the Northeast was shot in Maine 80 years ago. You need to look decades earlier to find a time when the region last sustained a significant breeding population.

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