Adirondack Gadabout (outdoors), by Joe Hackett

Turkey tracks can be seen in the snow.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Waiting for spring to appear

Over the course of the past week, I’ve enjoyed a few days skating on the local lakes and ponds which were recently resurfaced by another cycle of thaw-rain-refreeze. I also had an opportunity to enjoy a few days of skiing in the backcountry, where the deep woods offered shelter from last ...

Fishermen huddle around their pop-up shanty during last week’s Lake Colby Classic on Lake Colby in Saranac Lake.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Recaptivating youth interest in outdoors

I spent a majority of the past week skiing through the local woods, where I found snow conditions ranging from bare ground to bulletproof, with a few pockets of crust and dust and just a hint of fresh powder. Although I’d like to get in one last ski trip this season, the current ...

An icy brook makes its way through a hemlock forest.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Unplug to restore vital connection to natural world

Child’s play may help all of us to live a longer, happier and healthier life. In current times, it is astounding to realize the rapid transformation I’ve endured — from being a smart-aleck kid on the corner to the old codger down the road. The late, great comedian Robin Williams ...

Although snow cover is meager, many of the mountain streams and brooks have retained ice.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Land-use debates pervasive across the country

Last year, organizers of the annual Outdoor Retailer Expo, which is likely the largest outdoor equipment trade show in the world, threatened to pull the plug on their popular trade show. The popular event has long been the anchor of Salt Lake City’s convention-based economy. The Outdoor ...

Scarface Mountain in Ray Brook provides backcountry travelers with a variety of options.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Conditions just right for backcountry skiing

It appears the winter season will remain in command of the land for a spell. A series of recent storms has delivered some of the finest backcountry ski conditions of the season, and it appears the snowpack will remain intact long enough to provide entertainment for the 15th annual ...

Weighing assumed risk during adventurous travel

It was bound to happen sooner or later. It is an occupational nuisance that continues to linger in the back of my mind whenever I take to the woods or waters. Although I’ve always managed to heed its call, I’ve never allowed it to scare me off. It is a notion known as “assumed risk,” ...

Running into an old production buddy on the trail

While seeking alternatives to my usual jaunts on the Jackrabbit Trail and the various loops around Scarface Mountain, I set my sights on a long loop from the Fish Hatchery in Lake Clear to St. Regis Landing. The trip was intended to incorporate woodland trails, mixed in with old log roads and a ...

Looking back to simpler, colder times

Winter’s great white carpet has again unfurled across the Adirondack landscape, encapsulating everything in its path. As snow continues to accumulate in my side yard, there is a silly grin that always seems to sneak across my face. I can feel it coming on, triggered by vivid recollections ...

The St. Regis River is lined with snow as it flows out of St. Regis Pond.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Seven Carries by skate and ski

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time skiing, skating and exploring the local woods. In the deep woods, there is still a solid base of snow that allows skiers to travel off track or trail without worrying about trashing their equipment. This is especially evident in the ...

Discovering new horizons south of the border

It’s been many years since I first traveled with my wife to visit the Mayan ruins of the Yucatan Peninsula, near Chichen Itza, Mexico. It was the early 1980s and tourism was still in its infancy in the eastern portion of the Yucatan State. At the time, the hotbed of activity centered ...

This marten was a regular visitor to Joe Hackett’s hunting camp this season. Although it was very cautious visitor, it was sure to be around whenever there was a scrap of food left over.				        (Photo — Joe Hackett)

Hunting camp provides more than just an escape

The annual big game season was again hampered by warm weather and the lack of a consistent snow cover this year. It is a situation that has become a steady trend in recent years. Another hunting season has passed with less than a full week of snow cover for tracking. The long held, technique ...

Ice picks, like the one pictured, are essential safety tools for traveling on ice.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Know your ice and travel with caution

The fresh snow squeaked under foot as I walked briskly toward the trailhead. In the nearby forest, trees popped, moaned and groaned as the frozen tree sap expanded, condensed and buckled under multiple layers of tree bark. In the near distance, I could hear similar groans and cracks ...

Winter’s reach is well on its way to settling in, as seen in this photo from the Cascade lakes.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Winter season rumbles in with a blast

The rumble of passing snowplows has steadily increased over the last week as a series of snowstorms continued to pass through the region.   The rolling thunder of the blades is an annual call that summons outdoor travelers to dust off the gear, locate the long johns and the gloves and wax ...

The lack of local snow cover was evident in this November photo of the village of Lake Placid taken from the east side of Scarface Mountain in Ray Brook.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Stalking whitetails in snowless woods

There was a time, not so long ago, when a brisk, cold blanket of snow covered the local landscape for a fair share of the year. I’m old enough to remember such times, when the rumbling thunder of passing plow trucks could be heard throughout the majority of our evening ...

Snow lovers celebrate fresh season

Skiers, boarders, snowshoers, sledders and hunters celebrated as the first major winter storm of the season delivered more than a foot of fresh powder just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The winter season offers some of the most satisfying outdoor experiences available in the ...

Last weekend’s snowstorm plastered the woods with a heavy, wet layer of snow.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Hunters welcome fresh snow with open arms

The first “dumb snow” of the season has finally arrived, and it wrapped the local landscape in a cold, white sheet. The storm provided the first significant snowfall since the opening weekend of the hunting season. This is what I call a dumb snow, as it illustrates the travel routes of ...

This 16-point non-typical buck weighing 200 pounds was taken by Paul Smith’s College junior Nick Georgelas.
(Photo — Michael Wallace)

Deer hold the advantage so far this season

The current big game hunting season has been rather slow to date. The warm weather systems, combined with a lack of snow cover, have provided deer with a true home-field advantage. I’ve been in the woods nearly every day since the season opener, at times only for an hour or two. Despite ...

The “hunter’s moon” rises over the mountains on Oct. 15. A historic supermoon will be in the sky Sunday and Monday.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Look to the sky for clues of animal movement

Back in the day, calendars were used to mark the passing of time by noting particular events and activities that were pursued during the various seasons. They also correlated the various phases of the moon with current natural events and activities that the new moon provided. Distinct ...

This hunter’s “drop camp” was established back in the woods atop a large glacial erratic.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Bolster youth interest with outdoor education

Although the annual New York big game hunting season is currently in full swing, there appears to be a distinct lack of both deer and hunters in the local woods. Although I’ve seen a few whitetails, including an impressive buck that handcuffed me during the snowy season opener, ...

A pursuit firmly woven into our fabric

Hunting is an activity that permits enthusiasts to interact with the natural world in a manner that is difficult to achieve through any other means. It is a traditional, all-natural pursuit that allows woodsmen to utilize basic instincts that have been refined over the long course of human ...