Two short videos from a recent ski near one of my favorite spots, Chateaugay Lake in the northern Adirondacks.
Our January thaw, followed by ice and sleet, has put a stop to most backcountry gliding for now. But with luck we’ll have a storm soon and I’ll get a bit more skiing in.
Right now I’m off to find some skateable ice. Here’s hoping the winter gives you some outdoor fun.
Watching winter storm “Hunter” — thank you Weather Channel, like winter storms needed names — drop a dense snowy blanket outside my dining room window, should I be glad this isn’t a “bombogenesis,” “snowpocalypse” or “snowmageddon?”
We love to be afraid of the weather, maybe in the same way we love horror films. We all like a good scare. But bombarded with media messages of weather fear, that occasional scare has become a constant drone of weather worry. We’re inured to it; our children are basted in it.
What’s the problem? Fear leads to bad decisions. Worry wears us down and inures us to real dangers.
And there are dangers out there to judge, to weigh, to consider.
Take a quiet ski on your own first, then have some noisy fun with the kids.
Cross-country and kids aren’t a natural match … but that’s usually because we want to turn out kids into little adults, making them ski the way we do.
Cross-country also lacks the “cool” factor of downhill skiing. It’s like trying to get your kids to kayak when there is a jet-ski tied to the dock.
But if we focus on the fun instead of the destination, skiing can be a great family activity, a fit for 5-year-olds, 15-year-olds and 55-year-olds.
A couple of small snowstorms, sandwiching a minor ice event and followed by plenty of cold, have left our woods skiable, sparkling and frosty.
With hopes that this base will carry us through the ski season, I’ve again sought out secret, quiet spots for my first skis of the season. Continue reading
Too early to ski?
Sure, if you are a eager backcountry type you’ve driven and hiked to find snow.
Me, I’ll wait till the snow finds me, although I am tempted to take a trip to the Whiteface Toll Road for an early season session.
Too late to hike? Sure, many of you hike all winter.
Me, once the temps dip and the trails get icy, I keep my hikes on the flat lands of the Champlain Valley. Thanksgiving is often my cutoff, although a brisk hike up Lyon Mountain can make the turkey taste better.
So what to do in the between-times?
Geocaching is the perfect outdoor fun in the fall/winter, winter/spring transitions.
This time of year is all about transitions.
The leaves fall. The temperatures drop. Family hikers leave the peaks behind for you technical types and instead embrace the lowland trails. The first snow paints the peaks.
And the snow geese appear.
They stop in the protected bays of Lake Champlain, gathering by the thousand. They rest on the sandy beaches and scavenge in nearby fields, cleaning up the chopped corn the mechanical harvest misses.
Brigid and a friend hiked Silver Lake Mountain with me over the holiday weekend.
This little 1-mile climb with striking views of Silver Lake and Taylor Pond is a perfect hike for a busy weekend when traffic in the High Peaks is so intense that some trailheads were temporarily moved.
More musings on the trail later in the week.
Friends Eniola and Brigid gulp some water halfway up the first climb at Silver Lake Mountain.
Friends Brigid and Eniola taking a break at a favorite photo-op spot on the Silver Lake Mountain trail.
Snacking at the top of Silver Lake Mountain.
Snacking at the top of Silver Lake Mountain.
Brigid studies the trailhead logbook as Eniola looks on. She is checking the “out” box as we head for the car.
A solar eclipse in stages.
Now that the “Great American Eclipse” and all that solar hoopla is over, let’s turn our attention to the April 8, 2024, solar event: The Great Adirondack Eclipse.
On the afternoon of that early spring day, a total solar eclipse will be viewable from almost all of the Adirondacks and northern New York.
Draw a line from Plattsburgh to Watertown and you’ll have the path of totality.
So if you are in Saranac Lake, Lake Placid or hiking in the High Peaks that day, you’ll see it. Of course the path of totality also includes Burlington, Syracuse and a big swath of the central and southern United States as the eclipse track heads through Dallas and into Mexico. But in the interest of marketing, let’s ignore that.
September and October are a time of valley fog in the Adirondacks.
The waters are still warm enough and the nights are already cool enough that our mornings are sometimes bathed in white mist.
I’m sure, if you know ocean fogs, those impenetrable white banks that block highways and lead to massive pileups, you will think our fogs are tame. And they are small scale.
Of the several Dennis Aprill hiking books, my favorite is “Paths Less Traveled.”
“Paths Less Traveled” by Dennis Aprill
As I mentioned in my earlier post, influential Adirondack outdoor writer Aprill died in 2010. His books are mostly out of print, but you can pick up reasonably priced used copies at area bookstores or through online booksellers.
In this book, Aprill includes two short chapters about kids and hiking.
First, in his “Hiking with Children” chapter, Aprill gives some of the usual advice: slow down, bring snacks, carry a basic first-aid kit.