Dec 02, 2011 — John Warren, of the Adirondack Almanack, joins us Friday mornings with information about local outdoor and backcountry conditions.
The fire danger is low.
Snow cover from last week's winter storm has all but melted away, but winter conditions remain, including cold temperatures and snow above 3,000 feet. Be prepared by wearing appropriate clothing, and carrying plenty of food and water.
The snowmelt has raised the levels of region’s rivers and streams to above normal, with the exception of those in the northwest part of the Adirondacks, including the Raquette River, which is currently running below normal for this time of year.
Some trails are muddy, particularly in lower elevations, along waterways and wetlands and low lying areas. Wear appropriate footwear and to stay on the trail - hike through muddy areas and puddles to avoid widening the trails or creating “herd paths”.
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.
This will be the last weekend of the regular deer season, although late muzzleloader season will open Monday in some areas.
Adirondack deer hunters and DEC wildlife biologists are blaming this season's warm weather, lack of snow cover, and above average seasons over the past several years for a lower-than-anticipated deer take so far this year. According to DEC, the statewide deer harvest could be down as much as 15%.
The end of the regular deer hunting season means that Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands will reopen to the public on Monday, as will the Elk Lake Trailhead and the trails accessed from it.
Although last week’s winter storm brought enough snow to get Gore Mountain and Whiteface up and running, Gore closed during this past week and both mountains are struggling with the weather. Whiteface is expected to continue to have a small number of trails open this weekend; it will best to call ahead if you are planning on heading to Gore.
Cross-Country ski areas remain closed, as do the region’s snowmobile trails.
Looking as some of the local trail conditions, in the Wilmington Wild Forest Flume Trail System, the River Trail has been repaired.
In the Blue Mountain Wild Forest blowdown has been cleared from the Blue Mountain, Tirrell Pond, and Northville-Placid trails.
Finally this week 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.