Adirondack Gadabout (outdoors), by Joe Hackett

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 ...

Fears and phobias often intensify in remote areas

Hylophobia is defined as the fear of forests. It is considered to be a specific phobia related to dendrophobia (a fear of trees), nyctohylophobia (the fear of dark wooded areas or of forests) and xylophobia which is the fear of wooden objects and/or forests. Over the course of human history, ...

This abandoned camp was discovered along the bank of the Raquette River. It is one of several old camps that were established on leased lands before the river corridor was acquired by the state.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Sights and smells of camp life provide refreshing respite

Camps are not intended to provide a permanent residence. We go to camp to get away from home, phones, computers and the rash of everyday responsibilities that intrude on our lives. The term is often used to describe a specific physical location, as well as a state of mind. Camp is ...

An angler’s flyrod bows under the weight of a fleeting trout on the line.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Nature finds a way, even in urban environments

Living in the Adirondacks makes it easy to overlook the wealth of outdoor offerings the area provides. There is increasing evidence that indicates human health is linked to exposure to natural areas where clean water, clean air and beautiful, peaceful surroundings provide opportunities for ...

Enjoy your own companionship while alone

Although the summer has provided a fair share of sun and mild temperatures this season, it has also produced a spat of extreme weather incidents all across the North Country. High winds have snapped limbs and felled trees, while drenching rains have left the rivers and streams swollen and the ...

Joe Hackett hoists a nice largemouth bass he took on a flyrod popper.
(Photo provided)

Early season high water and wet travel

As the seasonal shift from spring to summer continues, water levels on the local rivers and streams remains quite high. A deluge of rain that hit the area early last week again forced the closure of several hiking routes in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. The recent closures come fast on ...

Hatcheries are the lifeblood of sport fishing industry

The Seth Green State Hatchery located on Spring Brook in Caledonia County, New York, is the oldest fish hatchery in the country Established in 1864, the hatchery continues to provide brook, brown and rainbow trout as it has for more than a century. There are currently dozens of other ...

Outdoor travel comes with certain level of risk

For many outdoor travelers, the risk of passing through wild, remote areas is an important component of the experience. By definition, it involves traveling to remote or exotic locations to engage in physically challenging outdoor activities that may present a reasonable risk to life and limb. ...