It was a mild, late-December day, and snow had finally blanketed the ground. I wanted to see winter in the mountains — boulder creases highlighted by mini snow piles and rock walls draped in rippled ice. I found what I was looking for in the rugged depths of High Falls Gorge. From state Route 86 the gorge doesn't look like much. One can see the split in the earth, and it's clear from the...
The last time I spoke to Wendy Hall on the phone she was distracted by a crow named Russell, which was loudly squawking in the background. Russell has an affinity for perching in her hair and often follows Wendy, who started the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation Center with her husband, Steve, as she cares for the other animals there. I like to stop by the refuge a few...
On the right day, even the popular Copperas Pond feels like a secluded backcountry oasis. Go there, as I recently did, when the snow is blowing and the temperatures struggle to stay above zero. It's possible, even a mere half mile from the road, for the intrepid afternoon explorer to feel alone with the mountains, trees, and animals. Perhaps there's a hermit in all of us....
It's all about the look of what's on the hook. From a brook trout's perspective, it's a waste of precious energy to go after something that isn't a sure thing. Potential fodder has to be the right shape, color, and size, and it has to move the right way. Those variables change every day, throughout the day. A recipe for fly fishing might look like this: Take one part science and one...
I normally go hiking at least once a week, but when the days are longer that number jumps to three or four. My wife and I have been busy renovating a house, though, so my average trail days have plummeted to one every few weeks. With that in mind, it didn't take long for me to decide how I'd spend an extra day in the Adirondacks. In fact, my response was immediate: Go on a hike. And what better...
Don't count Whiteface Mountain out yet. Yes, this winter has lacked the normal snowfall depths we've come to expect in the Adirondacks, but that doesn't mean it's time to pack up the skis or snowboard. There are dozens of trails open, and when you pair that with the amazing Springfest Maple Weekend lineup, March is looking like a great month to be on the slopes. ...
Wilmington is a vacationer's paradise with its fine selection of motels, cabins, bed and breakfasts, and rental properties. I've stayed in the beautiful cabins at the Wilderness Inn II, and several people who rented rooms at the nearby motels during my wedding weekend had great things to say about the accommodations, but I'd never been in one of the local rental properties until recently. Curious...
Whether you're roughing it or enjoying the woods in style, if you're in the Whiteface Region you've come to the right place. The campgrounds here can get you the wilderness experience you seek — even if that means getting breakfast delivered to your tent. Wilmington Notch State Campground If you want a primitive camping experience with some basic amenities thrown...
Everything in the Whiteface Region is big, right? There are big mountain rivers, big mountain views, and the biggest vertical drop in the East. I wasn't surprised to learn that it's also home to one of the biggest beer selections around! Cheers to the North Pole About a month ago I wrote a blog on some of the wonderful and diverse camping opportunities in the region. You can...
The 4,865-foot Whiteface Mountain, New York state's fifth highest peak, is an Adirondack landmark that's difficult to miss. The enormous landmass rises some 10 miles north of most of the other High Peaks — Adirondack mountains higher than 4,000 feet — so its distinctly sharp profile is uncluttered by neighboring peaks. That means the 360-degree view from Whiteface's large, rocky...
Last week I embarked on a mission to find and observe sports fans in their natural habitat: the sports bar. I am not a sports fan, so sports culture and the various species of sports fans found within have always mystified me. It was time to put my curiosity to rest and take to the field to document their habits. Wilmington or bust I headed into Wilmington last Thursday in...
There are a lot of rocks in the Adirondacks — one of the most exposed expanses of anorthosite granite in the world occurs here — but what about that other kind of rock? Kid Rock. Is there a connection between the man who helped pen “Bawitdaba” and the Adirondacks?  It turns out, there is. I found six degrees of separation between Kid Rock and Whiteface Mountain, a popular peak that's...
I know people who have lived in the Adirondacks their entire lives and have never seen a bobcat. I also know people who have caught fleeting glimpses of the creature while going about their business. Just the other day, a friend was telling me about the bobcat he saw while driving home from work along Adirondack Loj Road in the High Peaks. It was winter, and he came around a bend to find the...
For me, Whiteface Mountain is home to a veritable bucket load of bucket list items. Hike a High Peak? Check. Ski the biggest vertical drop in the East? Check. Get married on top of a mountain? Check.  But even after all of that, Whiteface still holds a few of my unchecked bucket list items. I still haven’t hiked to the top in the winter and I still haven’t skied down the Whiteface...
In the Whiteface Region, we relish getting close to the outdoors no matter the season. Winter turns our mountains into a slippery, frost-covered playground for snowshoeing, boarding, skiing, climbing, and fat tire biking. If you’re looking for snow and ice there’s no avoiding the cold, but that doesn’t mean you have to be cold. I learned how to dress for the winter by trial...
We were halfway down Excelsior, an intermediate-level trail that begins at the gondola on top of Little Whiteface Mountain, when Luke Meissner's radio crackled. A young skier had taken a nasty fall near the bottom of a trail called Easy Street and couldn't get himself off of the mountain. Stopping at the crest of a serious drop off where several trails intersect, Luke quickly consulted...
My wife and I have a lot in common, a fact I like to think was a major contributor to our marriage. Besides things like a mutual appreciation of nature, art, and other cultures, we both like to do things ourselves. If something needs to be fixed, we try to fix it before hiring someone to do it for us. Part of that mentality comes from a desire to learn new things, and part of it comes from a...
The next time you're mountain biking in the Whiteface Region, consider this: Those winding paths, with their heart-rate-increasing obstacles and gentle dips and turns, were all constructed by hand. Imagine moving half-buried boulders with a steel pole, or building berms with a pick and shovel, and you'll start to get the idea. Josh Wilson calls it fun — it's rewarding work...
It was a good night. My band, Crowfeather, was getting ready to play at Pourman's Tap House in Wilmington, and the room wasn't empty. It's what anyone who's about to perform wants to see: Every time I looked up, the room looked slightly more crowded — friends and strangers mingled, and the energy level was high. The time had come, so I sat behind my drum kit and...
I’m always looking for new corners of the Adirondacks to explore — considering how many corners this place has, I expect to be busy for a very long time — so me and my wife, Anna, our dog, Belle, our friend Emilee and her dog, Roscoe, embarked on a hike to Cooper Kiln Pond, followed by a side trip to the beautiful and accessible Wilmington Slide. This hike can be done as a...
In case you haven’t heard, the forests around Wilmington and Whiteface Mountain have become a destination for mountain bikers of all skill levels in recent years. New trails are added every year, and the ever-expanding networks get better and more interesting with each passing summer.  Right now there are more than 25 miles of mountain biking trails in the Wilmington Wild...
Wilmington is full of surprises. On the surface, it looks like a quiet, well-kept village, but there’s a lot more beneath the surface. Wilmington is also a place where the towering mass of Whiteface Mountain dominates the horizon, mountain biking enthusiasts cut trails across steep slopes, and bands begin playing when the craft beers start flowing. The next time you visit, don’t call...
Whiteface Mountain is big. The summit is 4,867 feet in elevation, and there are 86 trails — totalling over 22 miles — to choose from. So what are you looking for? We talked to life-long skier and ski instructor Marcy Fagan to get the inside scoop on her favorite runs at the Face. Take a look at the handy guide below, try some of Marcy's suggestions, then have fun exploring the rest of...
Before the Olympics, before the Veteran’s Memorial Highway, before it was even a mountain, Whiteface was buried under an imposing sheet of ice. That was 10,000 years ago, and the immense weight of a glacier was slowly receding and shaping the Adirondacks. As the last Ice Age came to a close, glaciers retreated north across what is now New York state, carving mountains and valleys as...
Andrew Weibrecht is serious about alpine skiing. The Lake Placid native has earned two Olympic medals in the Super G event — the bronze in 2010 in Vancouver and the silver in 2014 in Sochi — as well as placing high in a number of World Cup events. This year he'll once again represent the U.S. on the world stage as he skis in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeonchang, South Korea. I...
The cliffs beckon I don’t know how many times I've gazed up at the massive cliffs just past the entrance to Whiteface Mountain Ski Center and thought about how great the view must be from up there. I always figured it’d be easy to cut through the woods and bypass the rocky crags, then swing around to ascend the gentler backside of the mountain. Then my friend Emilee...
Whiteface Mountain — it’s big, it’s bold, it’s beautiful. At 4,867 feet in elevation, Whiteface is New York’s fifth highest mountain, and its pointy peak is also the most accessible. How you get to the top is up to you, but the payoff from the open rock summit is the same — expansive views that include Montreal to the north, Lake Champlain to the east, and a big collection of High Peaks to the...
Roland and Octavia were about halfway down the mountain when raindrops began tapping upon what little fall foliage was left on the trees. The trail became muddy, the rocks and roots slick, which slowed their descent considerably. Now they were on Route 86 heading east toward Wilmington, the heat blasting as Roland eased the car into the darkness ahead. Wet and exhausted, there was nothing that...
Now that I have a daughter, I have realized the importance of forming a bond with Santa Claus, the mystical being who makes fancy toys and brings them to good girls and boys around the world. I’m not one for rubbing elbows with celebrities, but this is a serious matter — how could I best ensure my sweet Lucina gets all of the presents she deserves? I had to do something, so I reached out to a few...
Did you know that in the Whiteface Region, there are two outstanding cheesemakers within a 20-minute drive from each other? Cheese lovers shouldn’t miss either one — the farms are as different from one another as their cheeses are delicious — and both offer Airbnb rentals, so it’s entirely possible to get the full night-at-the-farm experience.  I recently toured Asgaard Farm &...
Imagine waking up outdoors and cooking breakfast on a real stove, then sipping on a cup of fresh-brewed coffee as you listen to the birds welcome the start of a new day. You slept on a real mattress so you’re ready for your next adventure, and that will be easy to get to — once you’ve eaten breakfast, all you have to do is fire up the van and you’re off. That’s how Amanda and Jim Grant,...
As soon as the temperature rises above freezing in the Adirondacks, it feels like it’s time to break out the shorts. Our winters are wonderful but they are also long, so it’s not surprising people head for the trails as soon as the snow starts melting.  Gear up Spring hiking in the Adirondacks isn’t all bright wildflowers and budding trees. Streams swell from the snowmelt making them...
Over the past few years, mountain biking has emerged as the go-to summer activity in the Whiteface Region. Thanks to the work of the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA), state Department of Environmental Conservation, and dozens of volunteers, miles of trails designed for knobby tires have been created and are being maintained in the area. There are stand-alone routes, like the fast and fun Poor Man...

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