Adirondack Gadabout (outdoors), by Joe Hackett

Hidden in a local swamp this old water pump station is slowly rusting away.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Hand of man is evident everywhere

It is easy to forget that the lands surrounding many Adirondack communities were nearly denuded a century ago. While it’s no longer as apparent as it once was, there’s plenty of evidence of man’s thumbprint all over the Park. Open fields are one of the most evident signatures of man. ...

Joe Hackett is ready for anything as he skids a boat across the snow on the way to go fishing.
(Photo provided)

First cast of the fishing season 

As I gaze out the window of my home in Ray Brook, there are a dozen wild turkeys strutting around the side yard, pecking for leftovers near the bird feeder. The resident red squirrels beg to differ as they threaten the large feathered interlopers with a barrage of chatter and whistles. In their ...

Spring fishing on Ray Brook.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Celebrating opening day with ski boots, brookies and boats

The annual trout season opened on April Fools’ Day, with a majority of the lakes and ponds in Adirondacks still locked in ice. Ice jams continue to clog many of the rivers and streams as well. Spring thaw usually arrives some time between the middle of May and the middle of June, ...

Fishermen anticipate ice-out to come soon and the trout to follow after the April 1 season-opener.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Chilly waters greet anglers for season-opener

As always, the New York trout season will begin with the sunrise on April 1. The season opener will coincide with April Fools’ Day, which is appropriate since only a fool would expect to catch anything beyond a cold from the icy mountain flows that are still overflowing their banks with ...

Stream crossings have become more difficult as a result of hidden hazards under the deep snowpack.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Waiting for opening day with skis on

Despite the recent delivery of another batch of snow, it appears the spring season is underway. Although there’s always the likelihood of yet another dumping or two, the birds, the trees and other such natural indicators reveal the new season is ready to be ushered in. While ...

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 ...