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This weekend in the Adirondacks

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John Warren of the Adirondack Almanack checks in each Friday morning with a look at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks for the weekend.

The weather remains unsettled and unpredictable - remember, always check the weather forecast before heading into the backcountry and always be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods.

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Reported by

John Warren
Adirondack Correspondent

Plan to encounter the range of winter weather conditions from rain, ice and snow showers today, to daytime temperatures in the 20s this weekend as arctic air moves in. Saturday and Sunday wind chills on summits will be in the single digits below zero.

At least some snow and ice are present at all elevations. Expect from 2 to 4 inches of snow in most lower and middle elevation areas, with 4 to 6 in upper elevations, and more on summits to the north west. Generally snow tends to be deeper toward the Northwest part of the park, with little to no snow in the Lake George and Lake Champlain valleys and in the South Central Adirondacks.  Traction devices will be needed in summit areas and are recommended elsewhere. Even in the Lake George region, where there is relatively little snow, the Tongue Mountain Range trails, along the popular Cat and Thomas mountain trails, are icy and you’ll want some traction devices.   

Rivers and streams are running about normal levels for this time of year, but will be rising with the wet weather and snow melt we’ve been experiencing. Expect higher waters in the High Peaks than has been the norm recently.

Ice has formed on smaller lakes, ponds and backwaters, although the warm weather this week will worsen the conditions of available ice. Some bays are beginning to freeze on larger lakes, but mostly large lakes remain open. 

No ice should be considered safe, however, some early season skating and ice fishing has been taking place on smaller lakes.  Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.  This is a very dangerous time to be on ice, so use extreme caution.

Whiteface and Gore Mountain are now open on a daily basis, but will have only  20-30% of their terrain open this weekend.  Oak Mountain, near Speculator, will open this weekend. McCauley Mountain opened last weekend, the earliest opening day in 25 years and will be open this weekend, as well. McCauley is planning to open on a daily basis, next weekend. Mount Pisgah, Hickory Mountain, and Big Tupper have yet to open. 

The widespread rain has ended skiing on what smoother terrain was available in the Central and Northwestern Adirondacks. The upper reaches of the Whiteface Memorial Highway will probably be skiable this weekend and Mount Van Hovenberg and Lapland Lake may open this weekend, but you’ll want to call ahead.

Taking a look around the region, logging operations at Ampersand Park have closed the Raquette River Trailhead gate on the Corey’s Road this winter. It’s nearly 3 miles to the Truck Trail Trailhead from there, so plan accordingly.

Gates to the roadways in the Essex Chain of Lakes Tract will be closed after next weekend. The Town of Newcomb will be plowing the Goodnow Road this winter, and there are some parking areas along that road from which the public can ski and snowshoe.

Over near Lake George the Jabe Pond Road is impassable to motor vehicles, thanks to a heavy build-up of ice. Blowdown has been removed from the trail up Sleeping Beauty mountain.

In the Siamese Ponds Wilderness blowdown  has been cleared from the Sacandaga Trail and  Second Pond trails. On the Halfway Brook Trail the washout at Barton Mines Road has been temporarily repaired, as has the washed-out crossing near the Vly.

Finally this week, although many snowmobile trail systems are scheduled to open Monday, with the end of the regular big game hunting season, unless next week’s wintry weather is snowier than expected, we’ll need more a lot more snow to kick-off the trail riding with a solid base.

John Warren reports from the Adirondack Almanack, online at www.AdirondackAlmanack.com.

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