The weather was colder and wetter this week with some snow on mountain summits. The leaves have mostly fallen, except in warmer areas like the Lake Champlain valley, where the leaf change is still near peak.
Backcountry users should be prepared with cold weather gear. Temperatures throughout the region have been falling into the 30s overnight, even colder at higher elevations. There has been lingering snow and ice on higher summits, although it has now mostly melted.
Early backcountry skiers were itching this week for enough snow to try the Whiteface Highway, but the last few miles remained bare.
Rains at lower elevations this week have left some trails wet and muddy in places, especially low-laying areas.
Rivers and streams around the region are running at normal levels. Water temperatures of smaller, colder waters continue to fall into the lower 40s; the Ausable River at Wilmington is in mid-40s. Lake Champlain and Lake George water temperatures are holding steadily in the upper 50s.
Remember wildlife are on the move, and this is the peak period for vehicle collisions with moose and whitetail deer, so be alert at dawn and dusk.
Bear encounters will continue to be a concern for at least a few weeks more. Expect to encounter bears through November, and use bear-resistant canisters at home, camp, and in the back-country.
Hunting seasons have begun and the regular big game season begins on Saturday. 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.
The two trails that cross the Elk Lake Lodge Lands – Elk Lake Trail to the southern High Peaks
Wilderness and Hunter Pass Trail to the southern Dix Mountain Wilderness – are closed through the regular big game hunting season.
For the first time since the state purchased the conservation easement on the Santa Clara Tract the public can now access those former Champion Lands year round. Previously the Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands were closed during the big game hunting season.
Although the logging road to Madawaska Flow and the Quebec Brook Primitive Area remains closed Pinnacle Mountain, Deer River and the other areas north of Route 458 and west of the Blue Mountain Road are accessible.
The Adirondack Explorer’s Adirondack Almanack is online at www.AdirondackAlmanack.com.