Adirondack Explorer

Adirondack Explorer May/June 2020

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Seven issues a year devoted to the enjoyment and protection of the Adirondack Park. In-depth writing and vivid photography bring the Adirondacks to life in tales of recreational adventure, coverage of environmental and policy issues and exploration of the communities that make up this unique six-million acre park.

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Adirondack Explorer
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5 min.
adk chief to focus on core mission with you in trying times

New Adirondack Mountain Club Executive Director Michael Barrett said one of his jobs will likely be refining the venerable club’s mission and educating the public about it. He suggested that could mean focusing more on core missions. “I’d rather do fewer things really, really well than be spread too thin,” he told the Explorer. Some people view ADK as an environmental advocacy group, he said, while others know it as a hiking club or stewardship and educational organization. The group also publishes a magazine and runs a lodge with a restaurant. “It scares the heck out of me that I’m a caretaker of a lodge, a restaurateur, a publicist and a travel agent, but I am,” he said. “Obviously, any changes that are made are in tandem with the board.” Like his predecessor, Neil…

1 min.
brief bio: nolan fedorow

Age: 33. Birthplace: Albany. Residence: Wanakena. Occupation: Co-owner and operator of Otto’s Abode (store/gallery) in Wanakena. Accomplishments: I drove the Zamboni at Swinburne Ice Rink in Albany for one season. It’s been nearly impossible to beat that. Favorite hike or adventure: I’m obsessed with my home turf. Anywhere in the Five Ponds Wilderness is a favorite. But walking up the rapids of the Oswegatchie River on the Moore Trail in Wanakena—especially in winter when ice forms and morphs—takes the cake. Business philosophy: Mood music. Why I love the Adirondacks: Man, smell those trees! Memorable wildlife experience: I rescued a duck from a snapping turtle once—quite the battle. I was a watershed steward on Cranberry Lake for Adirondack Watershed Institute and heard some gurgling coming from behind me. The snapper had the duck by its leg, but a partially…

5 min.
sharing loon lake mountain

Loon Lake Mountain (3,279 feet) in the Debar Wild Forest doesn’t exactly roll off most hikers’ tongues as a must-do climb. I hope it never does. It’s one of my little secrets, though the peak is not small. The 2.8-mile trail climbs 1,651 feet, of which 1,200 feet comes in the last, eroded 1.5 miles. The reward is a superb view, which includes Whiteface Mountain to the east, with no one sharing my lofty picnic spot. FROM THE PHIL BROWN CLIMB First climb. Lest you think me selfish, I have shared this hike with friends and relatives on occasion, such as one of my crushes as a teenager, back in the 1970s. Full disclosure, he introduced me to the mountain on a casual date, with the promise of showing me a fire tower…

3 min.
the routes less traveled

The following is a list of lesser-used Adirondack Park trails where hikers may seek to spread out for some social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. The Department of Environmental Conservation recommends engaging in low-risk hikes near home. SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS Twin Lakes Trail Located in the Black River Wild Forest, this hike is nearly 6 miles round-trip and leads to the Twin Lakes Outlet. Some hikers on online forums have reported the trail being muddy, so make sure to have good footwear. The trailhead is located on Farr Road in the Town of Ohio. Brewer Lake Trail Located in the Black River Wild Forest, this hike to Brewer Lake is over mostly flat terrain and is about 4 miles roundtrip. The trailhead is located on Route 28 southeast of McKeever and across from Otter Lake. Broomstick Lake…

8 min.
reversing acid rain’s dirty work

For several months, 760 bags of pulverized limestone sat waiting in the woods with a sheet of paper stuck to a nearby tree that said: “DO NOT DISTURB” In late February, a group of state workers and college students came to the pile of 50-pound bags, now frozen together and covered by still-falling snow. They pulled off green tarps and pried the bags apart, loaded the bags into plastic sleds and hauled them down a small hill and out across Benz Pond, a 25-acre fishing spot in the northwestern Adirondacks. Then, with pocket knives and box cutters, they gutted bag after bag until they’d dumped 19 tons of lime onto the frozen pond. All this because, for over a century, Americans burned coal to make power, steel and cement. Smoke from the coal fire drifted into…

10 min.
bushwhacker’s paradise

Some take the road less traveled. The truly adventurous don’t even need a road. In the Adirondacks this translates into bushwhacking, an eye-poking, pack-snagging, boot-sucking, map-and-compass romp into the wilds, boldly going where no person has gone before—or if they have, it’s easy to convince yourself otherwise. In an age when everything explorable has been explored, bushwhacking satisfies modern souls that channel Magellan, Drake and de León. At its most hard-core, it’s a game of wits, determination, stamina and sheer cussedness. It also satisfies that most basic of human instincts, curiosity. For all the millions of acres of state land in the Adirondack Park, the number who willingly prowl off-trail in the backcountry is miniscule. “There really is no bushwhacking community,” said Spencer Morrissey, an outdoor author and Adirondack bushwhacking legend, who has climbed…