Adirondack Gadabout (outdoors), by Joe Hackett

Nature therapy as old as mankind itself

The Barkeaters, who originally ranged across the Adirondack region and throughout New England, had a widely varied diet that was adjusted according to the season to take advantage of annual migrations and breeding seasons. Their diets typically included a mix of berries, tubers, fruit and ...

Power Moon ushers in the bitter cold of winter

The arrival of the recent full Power Moon served to kick off the winter season with temperatures that dropped into the double-digit below zero range. While pixie dust sparkled in the cold evening air, a huge full moon lit up evening scene. Trees groaned and popped in the nearby woods, as frost ...

Encountering an inexperienced, motley crew

It appears winter has arrived in time for the holidays. Fortunately, local trails already had a generous base of snow, which allowed both nordic and alpine skiers to hit the trails. There’s been plenty of snow for non-skiers as well, which was painfully evident as I watched a group of ...

The Old West rides again in the Adirondacks

It appears the winter season has finally arrived in the North Country, just in time for the looming holiday season. Although the snowpack has yet to set up a firm base, there is enough snow cover to ski in the woods, especially in the upper elevations, on tote roads and on the golf ...

Eagerly waiting for the first big snow of the year

With the conclusion of the annual big game hunting season in the bank, outdoor enthusiasts will be forced to seek alternative adventures until there is enough ice and snow to kick off the season for snowshoeing, ski touring, snowmobiling, free-skating, ice skating ice climbing, backcountry ...

‘Banner pines’ provide woods walkers with a reliable natural compass as the elongated limbs of tall pines generally point to the west, due to the prevailing westerly winds.
(Provided photo — Joe Hackett)

Nature’s compass never runs out of battery

Women are known to have a better sense of direction than men. It is a fact that has been proven scientifically. Of course, I believe this is due to the fact that  women tend to be better listeners, more attentive and generally more in tune with their surroundings. They are also willing to ...

The Bog River Ski Trail in Tupper Lake is covered in snow Monday.
(Photo provided — Matt Abrams)

Snow falls in time for holiday season

The first significant snowstorm of the new season finally arrived just in time for the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Hopefully, the snowcover will stick around long enough for a nice kick off the ski season. Snow has remained a rare commodity in the woods this season, and I expect it ...

Tried and true: Get out in the woods and stay there

With the conclusion of the annual big game hunting season looming on the near horizon, it’s time for hunters to redouble their efforts. The rut is now in progress, and bucks will continue to travel far and wide looking for love in the old familiar places. As the rut unfolds, hunters ...

A doe feeds on low-hanging apples in this trail cam photo.
(Photo provided)

Hunters need to think outside the box

Each breath appeared to crystallize in the cold morning air as I trudged across a long, open field on the way to camp. The view was only slightly infringed by the steam of my own breath. The entire landscape was illuminated by a brilliant full moon that hung high in the dark sky. ...

Big-game hunting season is a time like no other

While traveling from Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake earlier this week, I happened upon a most welcome sign. In fact, I discovered several signs that offered historic reminders of the popularity that Adirondack big-game hunters enjoyed from the 1930s through the 1970s. I actually recall visiting ...

A lone whitetail doe stands on watch while assessing the danger poised by the scent of humans in the cool morning air.
(Provided photo — Joe Hackett)

Muzzleloader season to kick off amid rainy forecast

Foul weather always seems to mark the opening day of muzzleloader season, which will kick off over the weekend of Oct. 14. Hunters should prepare accordingly by weatherizing their firearms to ensure a reliable discharge despite the foul, wet weather that’s typical of the season. It is ...

Autumn brookies typically display colors that reflect the fall season.
(Provided photo — Joe Hackett)

Loon migration is a sure sign of transition

Whether you choose to spend your time in the company of a lake, river or pond, or upon a lonely mountaintop deep in the forested wilderness, the first few weeks of October always usher in the high holy days of the sporting season. It’s a time of ever-changing landscapes backdropped by dark ...

Flyrodders work their craft on a remote section of the Raquette River, where the tumbling waters provide plenty of oxygen, and plenty of fish.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

User conflicts are unnecessary and avoidable

In recent days, I’ve fished my way through a variety of ponds, lakes and streams in search of species of all sorts. On Upper St. Regis Lake, we landed both largemouth and smallmouth bass, a few northern pike and a very healthy land-locked Atlantic salmon that danced across the still ...

“Gunner,” a German Shorthair Pointer, recently contracted Lyme disease, which is an affliction that has been steadily increasing across the North Country.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

A cautionary tale for this time of seasonal transition

Autumn has finally arrived despite recent efforts to restore the summer season with a brief Indian Summer. Fortunately, the mountain breeze has already tinged the air with a sweet pungency of decay. Birds have already begun flying south on their annual migration as the local hills and ...

A loon on Henderson Lake with Wallface Mountain in the background.
(Provided photo — Joe Hackett)

Lost hikers, Teddy Roosevelt and more

Last week’s column focused on the search and eventual rescue of a soldier from Fort Drum who had become lost on St. Regis Mountain while hiking. The missing soldier, a member of the famed 10th Mountain Division, was eventually located on the second day of search efforts. He had managed to ...

Hunting is a skill that requires a heavy dose of practice, patience, preparation and endurance. 
(Provided photo — Joe Hackett)

New season in the woods and on the waters

At this time of year, the ever-diminishing length of daylight hours triggers a natural hormonal responses in all wild creatures — ranging from whitetail deer to brook trout, wild turkey and the always entertaining woodcock, an odd shaped bird that can be found dropping out of the sky as ...

“Keene Lake” at the base of Spruce Hill in Keene, reappeared for several days after Tropical Storm Irene ripped through the area in 2011.
(Provided photo — Joe Hackett)

Destructive forces of nature

After witnessing the incredible power and natural force of heavy rains, blizzards, floods and electrical storms, I can empathize with residents of Texas and other southern states who have recently weathered the great damage natural events can deliver in the blink of an eye. Tropical ...

Hikers take a moment to enjoy the summit of Mount Marcy.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Stars aligned to start educational programs

As the summer season begins to wind down, traffic in the woods and on the waters will slowly begin to diminish. Although outdoor travelers are likely to find company wherever they travel, the end is in sight. With a new school year looming on the near horizon, many families will too busy ...

Singer/actress Joanne Shenandoah enjoys a moment with a young Mohawk actor while working on a documentary filmed on location at Elk Lake in North Hudson.
(Photo provided)

Making men out of boys and boys out of men

Over the course of my 40-plus year career as an Adirondack guide, I have served in a wide variety of roles — ranging from outdoor educator, counselor, cook, companion, navigator, caretaker, backwoods contractor and as a pack mule/porter. Naturally, every one of the roles also included ...

Grouse on the trail
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Fly-bys come in unexpected forms

It’s been an interesting week in the woods, with hordes of deer flies replacing black flies while the mosquitoes and no-see-ums continued their annual bloodletting. Deer flies were orbiting my noggin as I passed over the carries, and I simply couldn’t defend myself while balancing a ...