Here is your look at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks for this weekend from John Warren of the Adirondack Almanack.
We’re expecting some unsettled wintry weather through Sunday morning. Some light rain, sleet, and/or snow flurries are possible, especially on Saturday and Saturday night. The Northern and Western Adirondacks are expected to see the worst of it, and at higher elevations, which already have some snow and ice, there could be additional accumulation by Sunday morning. Hikers should plan to encounter snow and ice above about 3,500 feet and should carry traction devices and use them when necessary. In addition to below freezing temperatures at higher elevations, it will be blustry this weekend with winds to 20 mph. Be sure to check the latest forecasts before heading out into the woods or onto the waters this weekend.
Due to recent rains, trails will be wet and muddy this weekend, especially in low-lying areas and along drainages in the central and western Adirondacks.
Rivers and streams are running about normal for this time of year, with the North creek streamgage just over three and half feet and the Lake Champlain gage at Whitehall at 94 and half feet.
Water temperatures remain cold. Arbutus Lake in Newcomb is about 46 degrees; Lake Champlain is about 54 and Warner Bay on Lake George is about 55 degrees. The docks have been removed, or will be removed soon at DEC boat launches, including those on Lake Champlain.
Beginning Saturday, state law requires life jackets be worn by anyone on boats less than 21 feet in length. Falling into cold water raises considerably the risk of drowning. Of the 18 fatal boating last year in New York State, more than a third involved paddlers and row boats during seasons when water temperatures were cold. In nearly all of those incidents, the victims were not wearing a life jacket.
It’s the regular big game hunting season, so although accidents involving non-hunters are relatively rare, hikers may want to wear bright colors and keep pets leashed.
The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is now closed until the end of mud season. The trails through the Elk Lake easement tract, including the trail to Panther Gorge in the High Peaks Wilderness and the southern approach to Dix Mountain are also now closed, but will reopen December 8th.
The Student Conservation Association has made major improvements on the Hurricane Mountain trail from Route 9N including rebuilding the bridges and rerouting the trail to avoid areas flooded by beaver activity. The reroute adds about three-quarters of a mile – the trail to the summit of Hurricane is now about three and half miles.
Crane Pond Road in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, which is technically closed though that is not enforced by DEC, is virtually impassable after it enters the wilderness area. Several four-wheel drive vehicles have been stuck in the mud of a wetland area and have had to be pulled out.
And finally this week, the Adirondack Park Agency is currently holding a series of public meetings to discuss changes for the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan which guides management of the constitutionally protected “forever wild” lands in the Adirondack Park. Information about the meetings can be found online.
Listen to the audio version of The Adirondack Almanack's weekly Outdoor Recreation Conditions Report by visiting our friends at North Country Public Radio.