Rockwood State Forest

Rockwood State Forest
Click the Photo for the Song of the Month---Richochei "Perfect Like You"

Monday, April 7, 2014

G Lake

The road going in was icy in the morning where the sun had not hit it yet. Be prepared for a long slow climb to the lake. I skied the perimeter of the lake where the windblown snow was still covering everything. Otherwise 98% of the lake was ice and a soft layer of ice on top. Still solid, but not for skiing. Full tour took 4 hours, but I did take a few good breaks to soak up the sun. Mid-40's and so enjoyable. The road on the way out was just perfect spring corn.

With this tour I'm wrapping up the year. There were few better ones.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Toast (End of Season)

Rockwood is toast for the season in my opinion. I skied the northside trails to the gate near the lake and back after work today. The snow is there, but it's dirty and potato-ish if you aren't skiing in previous tracks. I was able to follow snowshoe tracks, then snowmobile tracks and I stayed out of the soft stuff. As a quick ski, it was fun, temps were in the 40's and all I wore was a light sweater.

But my days at Rockwood are done for 2013/14. Up north in the mountains there will be another 3 weeks of snowcover I'm guessing. Not finished completely with skiing just yet, but close, and it was a great winter, one of the best.

Friday, March 28, 2014

St. Regis Canoe Wilderness

On a bluebird day being in the St. Regis on skis is like someone handing you a pound of freedom on a happiness roll. We had a great long tour, about 12miles, and the snow conditions couldn't be better; the lakes were dry powder but firm enough for my skinniest of skis for speed. Bill Ingersoll, Paul Sirtoli and I dropped out for the day and drove to Tupper Lake and then to the trailhead at Little Clear Pond. The tour took about 7 hours with a nice half hour lunch. Highlights were skiing the tall, narrow esker between Mud Pond and the St. Regis River, remote Fish Pond and it's lean-to, and the wild rolling ride on the truck trail on the way out. Paul wants to make it an annual tradition, and I don't see why we shouldn't. 28+ inches of barely consolidated snow in the woods, but we had tracks most of the way. The lakes were wind-blown firm with 2" of powder.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Stewart, Indian and Otter Lake Loop (Kane Mountain Trailhead, Canada Lake)

   The marked trail to Stewart Lake has plenty of steep, so I put on skins right from the start and climbed like a billy goat. Skins off, I had a great ski in an old snowshoe track on the marked trail to Indian Lake. I toured the lake and explored a nice flat draw toward Frie Flow, which was really fun through open meadows and back.

   I found another set of tracks that led me with ease downhill through a spectacular rocky draw back to Stewart Lake. I crossed Stewart with bluebird skies and decided to push on with making this as much a loop as possible. So I skied and skinned to the saddle of the Camelhump and passed great outcrops for climbing in that area.

   The descent was difficult. I traversed probably 10 times to ease the steep descent, but there's so much snow in the woods (28"+) it was only the young beech trees causing difficulties on the way down. I kept the skins on during the descent and it helped, but I was ripping on some of the downhills nonetheless.

   Instead of bombing down to Otter Lake, I skirted the edge of the Camelhump through nice open woods until I returned to the Stewart/Indian trail and skied out. I went over and did a loop of Otter Lake for kicks. Overall, a great day, since the snow on the lakes is perfect, temps nice, and the bluebird skies inspiring. I hit only about 5 sticky spots where I clumped up for a bit. Skied my Black Diamond Polar Stars and Alico double boots, and changed my socks at lunch which felt really good.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ferris Lake Wild Forest--Backcountry Ski Loop

   Here's a fun ski loop in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest that combines a primary snowmobile trail and true backcountry trail breaking. Paul Sirtoli and Carl Anderson and I met at the northern entrance to Powley-Piseco Rd where we found plenty of new snow. The road was freshly groomed for snowmachines, which we expected, but as the only approach to our backcountry stash it would have to be skiied.

    With the temperatures around 9 degrees, we skied south for several miles, passing the trailhead for Sand Lake, until little Mud Pond showed through the trees. We bombed down a long wooded hill, traversing as we went over a base of 24" of snow, with a powder layer of about 6". Just perfect.
    Finally we were away from the roads and crossed Mud Pond to its south side, clear of the outlet stream. The beauty of this little tour is the open meadows along Mud Pond, and the large open meadows all along the outlet of Mud Pond, all the way to Sand Lake. The meadows can be skied with as little as 18" of snow cover, but we had a solid 24"-28". Only the tallest alders and of course young balsam and hemlocks stood above the snowcover.
     No tracks ahead of us, just pristine rolling snow through open meadows, we turned back east toward Sand Lake, two miles away. The outlet of Mud Lake was our guide, but it was hardly discernable in the area due to the snow covering it.
     Big spruce, hemlock and balsam line the meadows. We broke out onto Sand Lake, a big gem in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest, and crossed it to a big outcrop with a campsite. No  rock showing today, we easily skied up the drifted snow over the outcrop and back down, just for fun. Then we crossed the lake again on an inch of powder over a huge base and found the trail from Sand Lake back to Powley-Piseco Rd
      The ski out up the Powley Road was swift, as it was still firm snow and fast on the groomed snowmobile trail. The round trip time for this one was 4 hours, with a short lunch. To explore this area on foot or by Hornbeck in the summer would be a challenge. On skis, it was a pleasure.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New Snow A-Coming

Conditions were great at Rockwood when I hit it yesterday after work for a workout. Temps were in the 40's and it was just nice and comfortable. The packed trails had just enough give to them for pleasant skiing. I spent about an hour out, mostly down near Big Bowl.

Today, it will snow. Weatherman says 8-18", which is a huge spread, but it'll be nice to put a fresh coat on things.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thanks to the Southern Man

Pretty much everything was telling me not to go out after work. It was 16 degrees, overcast, very windy and we haven't had appreciable snow in a week. I went anyway.

Trails are hard, but the ski track is good and especially fast. People have been staying out of the ski tracks and using a parallel set for snowshoeing. No harm to anyone and it works.

I skied in on D-spur and continued right out of Rockwood and down to the powerlines that cross Old State Rd. I wanted to see how far I could go before really getting into someone's backyard or being accosted by dogs or something. Nothing to report, except it looks like I could have kept going right across Old State and beyond.

Next I went to Big Bowl and did some turns in the glades there. Just some fun.  I skied back to my jeep and found both locks on the hatch and driver-side door frozen up. Could not open the Jeep, so 20 minutes later in the dark I waved down a passerby who made a point of saying I was lucky he was from the South for his kindness. I called my team and they scrambled, but I finally got the hatch open ten minutes later.  I never lock the Jeep except I had another set of skis in there.

Plenty of snow around and flurries are helping. Skied my old Karhu XCD-GT's and leathers. 4;30 to 6:00pm.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

With a Twist

 I like to be creative when I ski, I get a better kick out of it. It doesn’t take much effort, much less than the physical effort of skiing, so I try to inject some creativity into my days out.

 The first thing that comes to mind is mixing up your tour or in other words devising a tour that has a lot of changes and surprises, and demands on your skills. Let’s not forget about trying to make the tour aesthetically pleasing too, in other words, get up close to nature and learn and enjoy. I try not to ski with my head down just running hard, but to take in things as I run. Think of it as experiencing all you can on your tour. There will be times when you are running and stomping hard up a hill, then mad shooshing with your telemark through a dropping bend, and later skirting an old fieldstone wall with thoughts of bloodied knuckles on farmers hands. Or the way a squirrel stored a hickory nut in the chinks of that wall 75 years ago, where now the wall is busted by a big old tree.

 No tour is good without plenty of diversity. I want to know I have some noble hills to climb, and I want to know I have a long lake crossing with the potential for a tailwind or a headwind. Nice stuff.  I want to change up a tour also. How about sneaking in two reps of the same little loop with a decent downhill rip, before continuing  through. This is something akin to how whitewater boaters will play several times in a particular eddy with a chute nearby. Not sure it they call it a chute, but they’re taking time to play some within the scope of their days run.

 You have to be imaginative. One little twist on a tour leads to another. I’ve stopped during tours and done a little mindfulness of dried leaves rustling curled up, crispy, and yellow like old newspaper on beech trees from last summer. Next thing, I'm commited to the best of my abilities to climbing off-trail to sew together two lakes I’ve never skied together in the same day, that I’ve discovered I can sew into a new loop.

 It’s easy to go to the guidebooks and run a classic tour start to finish and get a kick out of it. I think it’s better to add the smallest degree of nuance to it, to make it new like Ezra Pound said about good writing, to make it a new tour, the first time anyone has done it just so, ever.

 I try to spend a little time creating good tours like this, and most of the time it starts to flow just after my first attempts to be creative on my skis. Maybe it’s getting creative like this that people need to get something more from ski touring. Nature alone may not present enough feedback. By applying yourself to the terrain and surroundings, you are certain to trigger imaginative ways to make each tour something a little more special than just a day of kick and glide.

Some days I'm dull and couldn't be imaginative to save my ass. I think for most of us those kinds of days are few. In the end, as I once heard said, there will be more good days than bad in the end.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Trickster

Wow, Spring is a month away! Not long at all before the lakes reopen, says Coyote. But it's just a trick, all that warmth this past weekend. We'll be skiing and snowshoe hiking for another month at least. Nothing wrong with that.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Good Luck-Spectacle Lake-Third lake

This loop proved to be fun, and it would really be a blast if you could catch it with new snow on the snowmobile trails. We saw some rain Thursday which put a crust on the snow cover, but on top of it there was a little new snow for a total of probably 20".

I skied in to Good Luck down some easy drops, then crossed the lake on beautiful firm snow. The trail to Spectacle Lake starts in the far southwest corner and it's marked with this tiny little sign. The footpath leading up to the snowmobile trail has a few good climbs, but I did a lot of traversing to ease the ascent.

It was good to see someone had snowshoed to Spectacle Lake. It's a marked snowmobile trail, but the groomers don't touch it, so no snowmobiles use it either. Not too much up and down on this one, just good skiing.

Got on Spectacle Lake and the wind kicked up. I only found some slush near the shorelines. I had the lake to myself and it felt great skiing on firm snow. Once across, I skied into the marshy area where the snowmobile trail swings next to the lake. Once on the snowmobile trail I made great time to Third Lake.

The wind was behind me on Third, but the slush was more prevalent. I stuck to the shoreline and actually had a nice shoosh all the way to the eastern end. Next, there's an easy but long climb over the shoulder of West Lake Mountain and a nice descent to an intersection where I headed north back to Good Luck. On this stretch are a few good climbs that required a herringbone. I traversed down to Good Luck and skied across, got up on the footpath and skied out. The hardest part of this trip is this last 15 minutes to the road, as I was tired and it's all short little uphills. More traversing did it. Slow and steady wins the race.

Nice day, 35 degrees or so, but the clouds were there for most of it until I was crossing Good Luck on the way out, then I had blue skis and whispy clouds cruising over with the wind. 10:30 til 3:30 for the loop, with two short stops. I skied my widest skis thinking I'd run into soft snow, but between the packed snowmobile trails and the snowshoers who broke out the Spectacle Lake trail I had no trouble. The crust and snow on top of it on the lakes saved me some serious work, since my skis were on top of it except for a few soft spots.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fast Evening with Snow Showers

I met a nice couple in the parking lot and later in Big Bowl, and we talked about the Adirondacks and the new section of the NPT in Benson among other things. I mentioned they should come to an ADK Foothills meeting, second Wednesday of the month at the Gloversville SC, and I hope they do. We both enjoyed the skiing. I came out of Big Bowl and did two loops of the C-Connector Valley trail with all those neat downhill runs. I did a face plant on one of them due to the depth of the snow. Later I got on a trail I've never been on before, and I thought I had seen them all at Rockwood. You can just see it at bottom center on the Trail Register Map. I climbed slowly and then dropped down the craziest steepest hill I know in Rockwood and it put me right at the Barrier Sign in my header picture above. It was dusk and getting dark and I skied out from there via D South Rd, Camp Road past the old chimney and down the Chimney Loop trail which is a nice run out after an evening of skiing, and then out to my Jeep.

I was listening to this song before skiing, and thanks to the kindred spirit who turned me onto it...It's groovy! Highlighting the http and a right-click will take you there.

 Richochei, Perfect Like You

As I was packing up it started dumping snow, like lake effect, and I had a pretty intense drive home in it. Temps were just right at 30 for just a light shirt. I skied my old Karhu XCD GT's that are 62/55/60 and I nearly covered them in red kick wax as the snow is pretty wet from the warmth today. Lots of red seemed to do the trick and I had plenty of kick. The trails are in great shape, even the main one's. Had fun on the Karhu's with three pins and my Asolo Snowfield boots. 4:30 til 6pm.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

....Shoosh It Real Good!

We should have plenty of fresh snow for the weekend to play in, and the temps look nice. I'll be out of town, but some after-work skiing next week looks promising.

We should have 16" with a good base under it when this storm passes through. The southern Adirondacks have about 2' today. Heading up to Lake Placid for Friday thru Monday, but looking forward to great conditions for the remainder of the week.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Now's the Time to Play

Fulton County -- Precipitation Reports
Town Amount Type Since On
Broadalbin 11.50" Snow 7:00:00 AM 2/6/2014
Greene County -- Precipitation Reports
Town Amount Type Since On
Ashland 8.00" Snow 2:00:00 AM 2/5/2014
Halcott Center 10.00" Snow 2/5/2014 2/5/2014
Purling 9.00" Snow 5:00:00 AM 2/6/2014
Halcott 8.00" Snow 2/5/2014 2/5/2014
Hamilton County -- Precipitation Reports
Town Amount Type Since On
Wells 12.75" Snow 2/5/2014 2/5/2014
Hoffmeister 13.00" Snow 6:00:00 AM 2/6/2014
Piseco 12.50" Snow 2/5/2014 2/5/2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Northside Trails

Yesterday, I was able to ski from 4 til 5:30pm on the north side of Rte 29 at Rockwood. What a blast. The snow is just perfect, cold, and fast. I skied most of the trails east of the gated North Loop road going in. There's a bunch of trails on the Northeast map that are just as wide open as the trails on the south side of Rte 29, except less-traveled. Other than North Loop road and B Road., I was laying down first tracks. The snow is just so quick and sounds like fingers on silk under the skis.

Someone has flagged the entire B Road. with orange flagging tape. And then I skied north to the old Wilderness Center. From there I got on the blue-flagged trail that heads southwest and after a nice long run on that it brought me back to B Road. Sweet. I tooled around on some other trails until dusk.

About 15 degrees but no wind, so I was just in bibs and a thick sweater and watch cap. Skied a pair of Karhu XCD GT's (62-54-59) which my friend Mark gave me recently, with Rottefella Tele 3 pin bindings. With green wax, it was just speed and the flats were effortless, the downhills silky fast.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Return of the Snow

  I went out Thursday afternoon and found the southside trails, the main roads, have been rutted up by a four-wheel drive vehicle. Not sure if there was actual logging going on. I doubt it. The side trail were okay, but packed out and crusty.

 The main trail going in was really messed. Anyway, the side trails were skiable, but the snow coverage was an 1" or 2" over a hard base. I skied around for a half hour and then walked over to the Northside trails, and things were much better. I was basically breaking trail through a few inches and the only thing about the Northside trails is that they are not as nicely maintained. So I had a few blowdown to go around. But overall, the Northside was the place to be, with unbroken snow, while the southside trails were packed out, or with bareboot holes or four wheel tracks.

  With the new snow we got Saturday into Sunday, things will be even better. I'm looking forward to further explorations on the Northside of Rt29.

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Powder Snow on Top of 3" Base

Fulton County -- Precipitation Reports
08:00:00 AM
07:00:00 AM
Caroga Lake
05:00:00 AM
Fish House
05:00:00 AM
06:00:00 PM