Warmer temperatures and some rain this week have melted most of the snow at lower elevations. The snow and ice that remains, mostly above 3,000 feet, is hard and icy so carry and use traction devices. At lower elevations, some trails will be wet and muddy as temperatures warm during the day.
This week’s rains and snow melt has returned rivers and streams to normal levels for this time of year. Waters that drain the High Peaks and western Adirondacks have running at above normal levels, so some low-water crossings may not be accessible in those areas.
There is less than an inch of ice on Lake Colden. Ponds, small lakes, bays and higher elevation waters are frozen or are freezing over, but no ice is yet safe to cross.
The Lower Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain will be shut for the winter on Monday. Each year the lower locks are shut down to prevent damage – they will be reopened after the ice goes out in the spring. Also, a reminder that the gate for the Moose Pond Waterway Access Site in the town of St. Armand, Essex County, is now closed until after spring mud season.
There is no longer enough snow for backcountry or crosscountry skiing, and skiing has ended on the Whiteface Memorial Highway. There is some downhill skiing available at facilities with man made snow. Whiteface and Gore are both reporting about 20% of their terrain open. Oak Mountain in Speculator, which is under new ownership this year, has been blowing snow feverishly in order to open on Saturday, but call ahead to confirm.
Although nights have been cold, climbable ice has not yet formed and this week’s weather left even the few early routes unclimbable.
The two trails that cross the Elk Lake Lodge Lands – the Elk Lake Trail to the southern High Peaks Wilderness and the Hunter Pass Trail to the southern Dix Mountain Wilderness have reopened to the public. The Clear Pond gate remains closed until the end of mud season, however.
The bridge over the Hudson River on the East River Trail is out. There is a low water crossing nearby, but will require wading , and may be risky when waters are high.
In the Moose River Plains the Limekiln Lake and Cedar River Road gates have been closed; they will be reopened for snowmobiling when there is enough snow.
Finally this week, Wildlife remain on the move, and the peak period for vehicle collisions with moose and whitetail deer continues, so be alert at dawn and dusk.
Those are the local outdoor conditions in the Adirondacks for this weekend, for North Country Public Radio. The Adirondack Explorer’s Adirondack Almanack is online at www.AdirondackAlmanack.com.