Rockwood State Forest

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

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.