Adirondack Gadabout (outdoors), by Joe Hackett

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. ...

An Adirondack angler stops to enjoy the view from Giant Nubble after an afternoon of trout fishing in Giant Washbowl.
(Photo provided — Joe Hackett)

Tougher access can lead to better fishing

It’s official, the spring season is now firmly entrenched. Wild flowers are blooming and the trout are jumping. Black flies are in my hair and behind my ears. Fortunately, the mayflies have been back on the local waters, and so have I. In fact, I’ve just returned from a creel survey of ...

Spring in the Adirondacks is a birthing season for many wild creatures, including snapping turtles which build nests and lay eggs near the shores of rivers, lakes and ponds.
(Provided photo — Joe Hackett)

Nature provides a time-tested cure

The human sensory system evolved in a completely wild all-natural world, which may explain why our brains are more relaxed when we are in natural spaces. Humans are hard-wired to look at, hear, feel, taste, touch and smell nature. We seek it on the ground, in the open air and under the ...

Marsh Marigolds are currently blooming in local bogs and wetlands, which is a sign that the fishing season is ready for a breakthrough weekend.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Who will fill the boots of the old-timers?

As noise from vehicles and similar human contraptions continue to intrude on our everyday life, the solitude and silence of wild lands continues to attract travelers to the region. The opportunity to fully escape evidence of the modern world is no longer achievable in more than 95 percent ...

Ken Seymour has been visiting this same fishing hole for more than 70 years, and the little brook continues to provide enough fish for a regular meal.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

We are all equal in the eyes of a fish

The burgeoning spring season has rapidly reclaimed the local landscape, bringing blooming wildflowers, fresh fish and a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities. Although the mountain trails remain muddy and the waters remain dangerously cold, trout, salmon, pike, bass and ...

Tafoni are small honeycomb-like features often found in caves like this one.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Tick-free existence comes to an end on Cobble Hill

As warmer, spring-like weather patterns continue to be resisted by a combination of snow squalls, rain and cold weather, it’s important to recognize and be prepared for some of the hazards that outdoor travelers are likely to confront at this time of year. Most outdoor travelers know ...

Take your time and move slowly through early season

In recent days, I’ve spent a good deal of time in the woods and on the waters. Despite the muddy trails and a few flash rainstorms, the spring season has remained relatively bugless to date. However, I expect combined crops of black flies and mosquitoes will soon be in the air. The ...

Fishermen stay relaxed as they cast a line in a local pond.
(Photo — Joe Hackett)

Brookies, turkeys and a five-star challenge

The burgeoning spring season has rapidly reclaimed the land from the remaining depths of winter. Although snow remains in the upper elevations and in the thick evergreens, the lakes and ponds are fully open and trout are on the prowl. Brook trout and salmon have been feeding heavily on ...

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 ...