The weather forecast looks good and cooler temperatures and changing leaves will make for some great outdoor adventures.
Leaf color in the High Peaks and Northern Adirondacks, including Tupper Lake, is expected to at about 35 percent of peak this weekend, about 15-20 percent at lower elevations and warmer areas on the northern perimeter of the Adirondack Park. Observers at lower elevations in Eastern Essex and Northern Warren counties, including the Schroon Lake area, are predicting about 10 to 15 percent leaf change, about 25 to 30 percent toward Hamilton County, Old Forge, and Speculator, with more toward the north.
Although the first part of this weekend is forecast to be somewhat warmer, temperatures have turned cooler now, especially overnight when temperatures can drop into the 40s and 30s, and even below freezing at higher elevations. Remember days are shorter, so carry a flashlight with fresh batteries.
The fire danger remains moderate, and an open burning ban remains in effect. The drought situation is easing somewhat, but abnormally dry conditions remain through most of the South-central and Southern Adirondacks and moderate drought conditions toward the Southwestern Adirondacks.
Western Adirondack waters, including the Raquette River, are running a bit below normal for this time of year; rivers and streams in other areas have mostly returned to normal, and some draining the eastern slopes and High Peaks, including the Boquet and Ausable are running well above normal. A Vermont kayaker died in a New Hampshire river this week, a stern reminder to know whitewater conditions and stay within your abilities.
Water temperatures continue to fall, smaller, colder waters are in the lower 50s; the Ausable River at Wilmington is in mid-50s. Water temperatures at larger lakes are falling slower: Lake Champlain is about 66 degrees, and the water temperature at Warner Bay on Lake George is about 70.
Remember that Lampricide treatments have begun on some waters flowing into Lake Champlain, so be aware of water advisories and avoid treated waters.
Bear encounters continue to be a problem, especially in the High Peaks and in the Inlet-Old Forge corridor, but elsewhere as well. Expect to encounter bears. All food, toiletries and garbage should be stored in bear-resistant canisters at home, camp, and in the back-country.
Moose and whitetail deer are also on the move and we’re entering the peak period for vehicle collisions with these animals. Motorists should be alert, especially at dawn and dusk when deer and moose are most active. The moose festival in Indian Lake is this weekend, and with the roads open and dry in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest, it’ll be a great weekend to see moose in the wild.
In the High Peaks, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Professional Trail Crew has built a new bridge over the Opalescent River between the Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold. That bridge was washed out by Tropical Storm Irene last year.
The Department of Environmental Conservation has announced that the Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John's Brook Outpost in the Johns Brook Valley and the Cold Brook Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass will no longer be maintained. Both trails were little-used and were damaged by Tropical Storm Irene.
Over in West Canada Lake Wilderness, on the Northville Placid Trail, Lean2Rescue will be relocating Spruce Lake Lean-to #2 uphill about 100 yards during the first weekend of October. Volunteers will need to contact Lean2Resuce before participating.
And finally this week, hunting seasons have begun, so you may meet hunters on the trail. These are fellow outdoor recreationists practicing traditional sports. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare, but hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail.
Those are the local outdoor conditions in the Adirondacks for this weekend, for North Country Public Radio, this is John Warren from the Adirondack Explorer’s Adirondack Almanack, online at www.AdirondackAlmanack.com.