Sep 16, 2011 — John Warren, of the Adirondack Almanack, joins us Friday mornings with information about local outdoor and backcountry conditions.
Although a few trails remain closed, the High Peaks, Giant, and Dix Mountain wilderness areas have all been reopened along with State Route 73, an important access road into the High Peaks trail heads.
DEC and volunteers from a number of organizations have cleared some 130 miles of trails, and continue work to reroute and clear blow-downs from the remaining trails damaged by Tropical Storm Irene.
Some hazardous remain, however, and backcountry travel remains difficult, if not impossible, in certain areas of the Eastern High Peaks.
Hikers and campers in less-used areas should expect to encounter flooding, damaged or washed out bridges, and trails blocked by landslides and blow-downs.
A number of trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and newly eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails so users should be competent enough to navigate with a map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant.
The level of the region's rivers and streams remain high, except those on the western slopes of the Adirondacks such as the Black, Independence, and Oswagatchie, which are at normal levels for this time of year.
Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters could contain logs, limbs and other debris that can conceal navigation hazard-signs that would normally be easily seen and avoided.
Cooler temperatures have arrived in the mountains. Nighttime and morning temperatures could dip into the 30s or colder, especially in higher elevations.
Be prepared by packing extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat. And remember, the sun sets earlier this time of year so plan trips accordingly and always carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.
Some hunting seasons are underway, or will begin shortly. Hikers should be aware that they might meet hunters while hiking on trails, and recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists.
Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare, but hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution.
DEC workers and volunteers have been busy clearing blow-downs but there are still reports of heavy wind damage on the Northville Placid Trail between Stephen Pond and Long Lake, and between Benson and Silver Lake. Also be reminded that the bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail requires very careful crossing that may be too precarious for some hikers.
In the Dix Mountain Wilderness the main Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trailhead at the Ausable Club remains. Closed trails there include those to the Colvin Range, the loop trail to Bear Den Mountain, Dial Mountain, and Nippletop, as well as all of the trails and roadways around the Ausable River and Lower Ausable Lake. Trails from the trailhead on the Ausable Club Road are open, including those to Noonmark Mountain, Round Mountain and Dix Mountain. Also closed is the Deer Brook Trail from Route 73 to Rooster Comb.
If you are headed to the Johns Brook Valley, you should also know that the Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to Johns Brook Lodge is closed due to landslides, although all other trails from the Garden are open. The Orebed and Wolfjaw Trails from John's Brook Valley to the Range Trail are closed. As is the Cold Brook Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass, and the trail between the Elk Lake Trailhead and Panther Gorge.
The Indian Pass Trail is clear of blow-downs to the Wall Face Bridge, but the bridge is out, as are all the bridges on the Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works although the trail has been rerouted to low water crossing in many locations.
In the Giant Mountain Wilderness the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead remains closed until the Department of Transportation removes heavy equipment blocking access to the trailhead.
Over in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, crews are working to clear blow-downs so many of the trails are passable, but the trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake have extensive damage and would probably be best avoided for now.