The remnants of Hurricane Sandy left blowdown, high waters and wet and muddy trails around the region. The storm continues to bring widespread cloudiness, occasional showers, breezy conditions, and some snow and ice at higher elevations, were conditions are more severe. A chance of some snow is forecast for this weekend, but it will no doubt be a few more weeks before we can start seriously thinking about the ski season.
Backcountry users should however, be prepared with cold weather gear. Temperatures have been falling into the 30s and colder overnight at higher elevations and there is some snow and ice above 3,000 feet, so carry traction devices and use them when necessary. Also, expect to encounter blowdown on and over trails, especially at higher elevations.
Water levels in streams and brooks are running high, and low water crossings may not be accessible. Rivers and streams in the central and eastern Adirondacks, including those in the High Peaks, such as Johns Brook, and the Bouquet, Ausable, Saranac, and Hudson rivers are all running well above normal for this time of year. Remember that localized storms and wet weather can dramatically raise the level of mountain streams and local rivers and make crossings difficult.
Water temperatures of smaller, colder waters are in the lower 40s. Lake Champlain and Lake George water temperatures remain in the upper 50s. State law now requires life jackets be worn by anyone on a boat less than 21 feet in length until May 1st. Falling into cold water can cause hyperventilation and hypothermia, which can lead to drowning – so now is the time to wear a PFD, especially in small boats.
Wildlife remain 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 continue to be a concern through November, so use bear-resistant canisters at home, camp, and in the back-country.
Hunting seasons have begun so 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.
Finally this week, work on the Route 86 bridge over the west branch of Ausable River continues, so motorists should expect delays and consider alternative routes.
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.