Unpredictable winter conditions will exist throughout the Adirondacks this weekend. A mixture of mud, water, ice and some snow will be found on trails at lower elevations, while there will be snow and ice at higher elevations, more above 3,000 feet. Exposed rocks and bedrock are icy especially on windblown summits so pack and use ice crampons. Wear appropriate clothing, dress in layers, and have plenty of food and water to avoid hypothermia.
A mixture of mud, water, ice and some snow will be found on trails at lower elevations. Wetter areas will include those along waterways and wetlands and in low lying areas where day time temperatures reach above freezing.
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.
Big game hunting seasons have ended but some small game hunting season, and some trapping season remain open. It’s still a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail.
Gore and Whiteface ski areas are open with a minimal number of trails. Mountains relying on natural snow remain closed, as are the region’s cross-country ski areas and snowmobile trails.
There is some good news for fans of winter. The Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretative Center has nearly doubled their winter sports trail system. To help defray the cost of improvements and grooming equipment, there will be a fee, although access to the VIC trails will remain free at other times of the year. Three categories of trails, for snowshoeing, classic and skate skiing are expected to be maintained and marked – the trails will be open daily from 9 to 5, once there is snow.
And snowmobilers will take heart in knowing that the Mossy Vly Snowmobile Bridge on the Carpenter Hill Trail, an important snowmobile connector trail in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands, has been replaced by the DEC. Carpenter Hill Trail connects the Mud Lake Road and the Jessup River Road in the Town of Lake Pleasant. The Perkins Clearing Easement Lands are west of Route 30, north of Speculator.
Looking elsewhere around the region, access to trails has reopened in a number of areas.
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.
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 although users can still travel the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land on foot, snowshoe or skis.
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.