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This weekend in the Adirondacks

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The remnants of Hurricane Irene brought disastrous flash floods and epic damage to local infrastructure, homes, businesses, roads, bridges, and trails. John Warren, of the Adirondack Almanack, has more in his Friday morning report on local outdoor and back country conditions.

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Reported by

John Warren
Adirondack Correspondent

Damage is widespread across the Eastern Adirondacks, especially along the Ausable and Bouquet Rivers, into the Keene Valley, and in the Eastern High Peaks.

State Route 73 remains closed between Route 9 and Keene Valley and in the Hamlet of Keene and there are a large number of other roads closed, particularly in central Essex County.

Trails in the Eastern High Peaks, Giant Mountain and Dix Mountain wilderness areas have been closed through the Labor Day weekend and beyond due to dangerous conditions and extensive damage to trails and interior infrastructure in those areas.

Dangerous conditions exist and back country travel is difficult, and in some places impossible, throughout much of the Eastern Adirondacks.

Hikers and campers should expect to encounter flooding, damaged or washed out bridges, dams, boardwalks and ladders, trails buried by landslides or heavily eroded and blowdown. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant.

There are dozens of new landslides, some several miles long, and the threat of additional slides continues. New and expanded slides have been reported on Wright Peak, Basin, Haystack, Upper and Lower Wolf Jaw, in the Dix Range and on Giant Mountain, Armstrong, Sylight, Macomb, and Cascade. One of the more dramatic occurred at the Colden Trap Dyke, where a major avalanche occurred this past winter.

Campgrounds at AuSable Point, Putnam Pond, Little Sand Point, Point Comfort, Poplar Point, and Lake Durant are closed, although some may open today or tomorrow. It’s best to call ahead to confirm the status of those campgrounds.

The Adirondack Mountain Club's Adirondack Loj and John's Brook Lodge will be closed this weekend. The access road to Adirondak Loj is closed.

The bridge over Marcy Dam went out, the dam itself was breeched, and the Marcy Dam Truck Trail has four major washouts.

Marcy Brook jumped its banks along the Avalanche Pass Trail from Marcy Dam causing widespread damage to foot trail. There is approximately 18 inches of mud in Avalanche Pass and the boardwalks along the shore of Avalanche Lake are no longer passable.

The dam at Duck Hole also went out and the pond has been drained, ending paddling access into the High Peaks. The condition of lean-tos on the Northville-Placid Trail along the Cold River dowstream from Duck Hole is unknown since they all lie within a few feet of the River and may have been damaged or destroyed by floodwaters.

Also unknown is the status of two suspension bridges on the Northville-Placid Trail, one over the Cold River and one over Moose Creek. The southern section of the Northville-Placid Trail from Upper Benson north to Long Lake fared much better. A reminder though, that the bridge over West Canada Creek still requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers.

Other trails in the High Peaks which were heavily damaged include the Van Hoevenberg (Mt. Marcy) Trail and the Klondike Notch Trail, where the first bridge on the western end was washed away.

A slide on the Orebed Trail above the ladders took out approximately 1/2 mile of trail, but it’s not known if the ladders were impacted.

All bridges encountered on the Indian Pass trail from Upper Works were destroyed.

There is significant blowdown on trails in the Wilmington Wild Forest, although volunteers have cleared the Hardy Road Trail system. In the Flume Trail System, the River Trail impassable for first quarter mile due to washouts. The bridge at the Wilmington Reservoir has been undermined and is not safe for use.

The Western High Peaks suffered only minimal impacts, the Seward and Santanoni ranges are reported in good condition and the Coreys Road is passable.

Damage from the storm was limited to some minor blowdown on most carries and trails over in the St. Regis Canoe Area, so that would be a good bet as well.

The Moose River Plains received only minor damage, and Wakely Dam has recently reopened.

The Western Lake George Wild Forest was moderately impacted, especially in the Hudson River Recreation Area were several roads have been washed out. There are a number of problems with bridges in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, but the Spectacle Pond trail is open.

Most trailheads along the main roads in Washington County are accessible although some roads in that area will require high clearance vehicles.

Since the Southern, Central, Western and Northern Adirondacks were generally minimally impacted this would be a good time to explore the rest of the Adirondack Park.

Those are the local outdoor conditions in the Adirondacks for this weekend, for North Country Public Radio, this is John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack, online at www.AdirondackAlmanack.com.

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