Outdoor Weekend Conditions
Our weekly look at outdoor conditions around the Adirondacks.
Fall is quickly turning toward winter in the Adirondacks. The leaves have mostly fallen, but there is one last chance to take in the leaf change in the Lake Champlain valley, where the leaves are just past peak.
Backcountry users should be prepared with cold weather gear. Temperatures have been falling into the 30s and colder overnight at higher elevations, although there is no lingering snow or ice.
That could change toward the end of the weekend and into early next week if predictions hold true for a large storm associated with Hurricane Sandy. Boaters and backcountry users should pay close attention to weather reports regarding that storm, which could bring strong winds, heavy rains, and possibly snow at higher elevations.
For now, rivers and streams around the region are running at normal levels, but storms and wet weather can dramatically raise the level of mountain streams and local rivers.
Water temperatures of smaller, colder waters continue to fall into the lower 40s; the Ausable River at Wilmington is in the mid-40s. Lake Champlain and Lake George water temperatures remain 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 continue to be a concern through November, so use bear-resistant canisters at home, camp, and in the back-country.
DEC has issued an alert after Hanta Virus antibodies were confirmed in a man who may have contracted the virus at the Uphill Lean-to in the Eastern High Peaks. Although hanta virus is extremely rare, and has never been recorded in the Adirondacks, DEC will be checking and cleaning lean-tos in the area. Campers and hikers should help avoid attracting wildlife by following good house-keeping practices.
Cook away from your campsite, plan portions to avoid leftovers, keep food in storage containers except when cooking or eating, be neat and clean while cooking and eating, clean your hands, clothing and dishware immediately after eating, never leave food unattended, use bear resistant food canisters year-round to store food, garbage and toiletries, and carry out all garbage.
Hunting seasons have begun and the regular big game season began last weekend. 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.
A reminder that 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 remainder of regular big game hunting season.
State Police have issued a call to those hunting or bushwacking in the Piercefield – Tupper Lake corridor along Route 3 to be on the lookout for signs of Colin Gillis, of Tupper Lake, who was last seen in March walking on Route 3 between Tupper Lake and Piercefield.
Over in the Jay Mountain Wilderness, that’s in the towns of Jay and Lewis, Essex County, a newly built two and half mile trail to the western end of the Jay Mountain Ridge is now available for public use. The trail bypasses the steep and eroded sections of an existing herd path that had been the main route to the summit of Jay Mountain.
The new Jay Mountain Trail starts at a new trailhead, with a new parking area, at the intersection of Jay Mountain Road and Upland Meadows Road in Jay about 300 feet from where the old herd path entered the woods.
At the end of the new trail, a short spur to the north leads to an overlook that provides a spectacular 360 degree view. Hikers can continue along the ridgeline for about a mile and a half to the summit.
It’s a great time to get outside in the Adirondacks, just keep an eye on the weather for Sunday and into early next week.
John Warren edits the online news journal Adirondack Almanack and reports Adirondack outdoor conditions for North Country Public Radio.
PHOTO CREDIT: Dale Willman
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