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This weekend in the Adirondacks

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John Warren, of the Adirondack Almanack, joins us Friday mornings with information about local outdoor and backcountry conditions.

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Reported by

John Warren
Adirondack Correspondent

The fire danger is low and the level of the region’s rivers and streams have returned to normal, for this time of year. 

Ice has begun forming on water bodies, especially in smaller ponds, higher elevation waters, bays and backwaters. At this time no ice is safe but paddlers should be aware that ice may restrict their travel.

A winter storm this week left between 8 and 14 inches of snow throughout the Adirondacks and has finally brought winter conditions.  Snow, ice, and cold temperatures can be expected, so be prepared by wearing appropriate footwear and outerwear including a hat and gloves or mittens. Dress in layers of wool and/or fleece - not cotton – and bring plenty of food and water to help reduce the threat of hypothermia.

Snow cover is deeper at higher elevations, and along the eastern and mid-northern parts of the region. Pack snowshoes and crampons and use them when conditions warrant. The use of snowshoes or skis is required in the High Peaks Wilderness when snow is 8 inches deep or more, and encouraged elsewhere to prevent "post-holing" and avoid injuries. 

And a reminder that hunting and trapping seasons are underway – regular deer season will wrap up next weekend - so backcountry users may want to wear bright colors and keep pets leased and on the trail as an extra precaution.

The winter storm brought enough snow to guarantee Gore Mountain and Whiteface will be open this weekend, and for a short time at least, there is enough snow enough to make the Whiteface Highway and some early season backcountry routes ski-able including Whiteface Landing, some portions of the Jackrabbit Trail, and at least temporarily the Ausable Club Lake Road and Marcy Dam Truck Trail. Warm weather is returning, so conditions are expected to deteriorate quickly.

Cross-Country ski areas remain closed, as do downhill mountains with the exception of Gore and Whiteface. At Whiteface, the Upper Valley, Lower Valley and Fox trails are expected to be open, serviced by the Face Lift chair. Crews are making snow on upper Excelsior, which will open if conditions permit. At Gore, there will be a continuous run from the Northwoods Gondola to the base, along Foxlair, Sunway, and Quicksilver.

A reminder that backcountry users may still encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down, especially in the High Peaks. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails so users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant.

And remember to learn and practice the Leave No Trace Philosophy.

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