May 17, 2013 — This is John Warren from the Adirondack Almanac with your look at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks for this Victoria Day weekend.
Because it’s a Canadian holiday weekend, expect trailhead parking lots and camp sites to fill early, especially in the High Peaks. This weekend and next would be good times to seek recreation opportunities in other, less visited areas of the Adirondack Park in order to avoid the crowds.
Warm and dry weather is returning to the region in time for this weekend and the fire danger remains elevated, so remember to use caution with open fires.
Lower and middle elevations trails are drier now, but higher elevations still have snow and ice and DEC is continuing to advise hikers to avoid trails above 3,000 feet to protect trails and vegetation.
Although waters continue to run at normal spring levels as snow-melt continues in the High Peaks, rivers and streams elsewhere are running well below normal for this time of year. The water temperature of Mirror Lake is in the lower 60s; the Ausable River at Wilmington is in the upper 50s; the Lake Champlain water temperature is in the lower 50s; and the temperature at Warner Bay on Lake George is about 59 degrees.
Bears are becoming active in the backcountry. The use of bear-resistant canisters is required in the Eastern High Peaks and recommended throughout the Adirondack region. Any food and toiletries should be stored in bear proof canisters.
Black fly season has begun, so from now until the end of summer be prepared to encounter biting insects. Your best bet there is to wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, especially in the evening when biting insects are most active.
Because of the prescience of peregrine falcons, DEC has closed all climbing routes on Moss Cliff in the Wilmington Notch, at the Lower Washbowl cliffs in the Chapel Pond area, routes on the Main Face of Pok-O-Moonshine between and including Shark Week and Lichenstorm, and routes on the Main Wall of Shelving Rock between Snake Charmer and Wake and Bake. DEC has reopened Upper Washbowl cliffs to climbing.
Gates to some roads typically closed during mud season have reopened, including the gate at Clear Pond on the Elk Lake Road, South Meadow Road, and the Connery Pond gate. The road access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead in the Jessup River Wild Forest has reopened, as have all roads in the Perkins Clearing – Speculator Tree Farm Easement Lands.
In the Moose River Plains, the Cedar River Road is now open to the Cedar River Flow, but the Limekiln Lake and Cedar River Gates remain shut and the Moose River Plains road system remains closed. DEC plans to open those gates by Thursday May, 23rd, however the Otter Brook Gate is expected to remain closed until the following Thursday, May 30th.