Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pitchoff Mtn. Balanced Rocks: 05/27/2013

Clearing skies reveal snow-capped High Peaks following Memorial Day 2013 Nor'Easter: Marcy, Colden, Wright, Algonquin, Iroquois.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.We’ve all heard the clich├ęs about the unpredictability of Adirondack weather, but the Nor’Easter that deposited up to 3 feet of snow on the higher elevations of Whiteface, Marcy and the rest of the High Peaks over Memorial Day weekend is one for the record books. We had planned to be in Lake Placid for the Adirondack 46ers annual dinner and award ceremony Sunday evening and to hike with the kids on Monday. Our timing couldn’t have been better: by late Sunday afternoon the storm cleared, yielding spectacular views of white peaks, green valleys and blue skies.

Snow-capped Cascade Mountain rises above Upper Cascade Lake

I had Pitchoff’s Balanced Rocks overlook on my short list of possible hikes. At just over 3 miles round-trip with 900 vertical feet of climbing, it’s well within our kids’ ability range. The Balanced Rocks sit at around 3000’ elevation, high enough that we’d encounter some snow (bonus!) but low enough that it shouldn’t pose much of a problem.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mountain biking at Spier Falls

I’ve been out on my bike quite a bit since the end of ski season, so it seems like it’s time for a mountain bike trip report. This is from last week, my first-ever time riding the Spier Falls trails at Moreau Lake State Park.

Riding the Western Ridge trail at Spier Falls.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
Western Ridge trail

To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure I had the skills for Spier Falls. The reputation is that the riding is great, if you survive. You can read what others have to say about Spier Falls here. In a nutshell, the riding is rocky and technical, comparable to some of the advanced trails at SMBA but with one added twist: a lot more vertical.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Adirondack ski areas by the numbers: 2012-13 season

Gore's snowy summit on March 23, 2013.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.The National Ski Areas Assocation (NSAA) released preliminary numbers last week indicating that ski areas in the Northeast bounced back with a 20% increase in visitation over the disappointing 2011-12 season. Gore and Whiteface rebounded strongly too, as I reported in this article that appeared in the Adirondack Almanack yesterday.

Jon Lundin, ORDA’s Public Relations Coordinator, summed up the season: “This past skiing and riding season was an outstanding one for ORDA’s ski resorts. The resorts’ crews did an outstanding job with snowmaking and Mother Nature cooperated and provided plenty of snow cover on her own. It was great to see the skiers and riders back on the mountains enjoying the winter fun.”

Here are the numbers:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Connecting the dots: Two new local trails

New York State’s recent acquisition of 200 acres adjoining Moreau State Park was highlighted last week in both the Saratogian and the Times Union as an important link in an eventual long-distance Palmertown Ridge Trail that would link Moreau State Park and Saratoga Springs. That trail could ultimately connect to the Zim Smith, creating an “alternative Northway” spanning Saratoga County north to south. Very cool. Here’s a look at two more recently opened trails that enhance another long-distance trail network just outside of Saratoga Springs.

Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park,Protected LandsWilton Wildlife Preserve and Park, Frawley Trail. Last summer and fall, volunteer trail crews marked and cleared more than a mile of trail connecting WWPP’s Fox parcel trailhead on Route 50 (see accompanying map or click here) to Ruggles Road. The new trail traverses land (the Frawley parcel) that was added to WWPP in 2011 and represents a key linkage that could ultimately be made between WWPP’s core parcels (Fox, Old Gick Farm, Camp Saratoga and Opdahl Farm) and additional protected parcels south of King Road (the Neilmann and Kalabus-Perry parcels and other adjoining protected lands).