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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You’ve got one week of Adirondack vacation … and it rains. Sound like a nightmare?
Well, if you are stuck in a tent, it could be tough to turn a flood into fun. Even in a cottage, cabin or camp, you might be tempted to throw the kids into the car and head for the nearest mall.
Don’t. Rain can be a fun opportunity. Looking on the bright side of cloudy weather is a necessity this summer, when it seems to have rained every other day.