Dec 09, 2011 — John Warren, of the Adirondack Almanack, joins us Friday mornings with information about local outdoor and backcountry conditions.
The fire danger is low.
Winter conditions exist throughout the Adirondacks. Snow, ice, and cold temperatures can be expected. Night time and morning temperatures are below freezing at all elevations. Be prepared by wearing appropriate clothing, and carrying plenty of food and water.
Some trails remain muddy, particularly in lower elevations along waterways and wetlands and low lying areas where daytime temperatures reach above freezing. Wear appropriate footwear and hike through muddy areas to avoid widening the trails.
The region's rivers and streams are running at or just above normal for this time of year and ice has begun forming on some waters, especially 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 deer hunting season, although some small game and waterfowl seasons remain open.
The end of the regular deer hunting season means that Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands has reopened to the public, as has the Elk Lake Trailhead and the trails accessed from it.
Cross-Country ski areas remain closed, as do the region’s snowmobile trails. The two state ski areas remain open, but operating on just one lift each.
Looking as some of the local trail conditions, the Hurricane Mountain Road has reopened to all traffic, and so the Crows Trailhead and O'Toole Road Trailhead are now accessible.
Access to Catamount Mountain has been restored with the reopening of Forestdale Road and roads leading to the Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest have reopened so the trailhead there is now easily accessible.
In the Whitney Wilderness, the Lake Lila Road is closed for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers can still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land, but the land on either side of the road is private.
A winter gate, which will be closed when it snows, has been installed on the Connery Pond Truck Trail. When snow is present users should park at the parking area along Route 86 west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable River.
Finally, 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.