Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Winter wandering in the Adirondacks

Posted by Frum Hiker on February 8, 2007

The snows never came to Albany but luckily I could check the snow depths in NY state on this website and noticed that the closest regions of the state with enough snow for some cross country skiing were around Indian Lake. For some reason I had the whole day off and decided I would try and find some lakes to ski on in the North Country. I loaded up my car with my ice skates, snowshoes, cross country skis, some brownies, and a ton of extreme winter gear and took off, destination unknown.

Traveling with some mussar shmuz at first and then on went the Dead and then Bluegrass as I got deep into the North country. The wind was howling at a good 35 mph and was shaking the hell out of my car as I drove up 28 north towards Blue Mountain Lake in the middle of the Adirondacks. Snow was blowing across the road causing momentary whiteouts every couple minutes followed by a slush trap and some shaky skidding tires. Jerry sang about the Cumberland Blues and on I went, shifting up and down around the sharp curves as I sped past the snowy wonderland of birch and conifers. The snow depth drastically changed as I drove west. Closer to the lake effect bands that were produced by Lake Ontario I thought.

I pulled into the parking lot by Lake Durant, a favorite of mine due to the lack of cottages surrounding the lake and more importantly the lack of any boat launch caused this lake to always be free of boats in the summer and ice fishermen in the winter, and occasional snowmobile track could be made out in the snowdrifts. I donned my winter gear, thank God for windproof fleece and put on my skis and started sliding along some buried deep road. I skid for half hour or so and then hopped onto the lake and skid across the wind blown crusty surface. With the islands of pine in the middle of the lake and the looming presence of Blue Mountain in front of me with its bare slides I was in heaven. No cars could be heard over the howling wind and every time I looked back my tracks were gone under a rush of blowing and drifting snow. The wind was very cold and I was going right into it and luckily I had goggles, I was sweating from all the work and felt good to be getting a workout as well as being in the wilderness during such conditions.

After about an hour and a half, I got back in my car and drove north east towards Newcomb. I switched to an Essex county road and it wasn’t nearly as well kept as the other roads. The road was covered in this brown muddy slush causing my car to skid around the bends. The scenery was superb, and though I couldn’t see the high peaks region directly to th north of me I could see the lower mountains to the south, covered in snow with the occasional frozen waterfall.

I drove till Elk Lake Rd, I had seen this road on my trail map and had never been on it, it is dirt and goes due north to a trailhead that goes into the high peaks region. I drove on it and it was a muddy snowy road. The snow depth increased as I felt my four wheel drive struggling at some points, so I threw it up a gear to keep my revs low, to prevent skidding. I ended up at Elk Lake and the snow was about 15 inches deep. I decided I would try these new snowshoes my cousin had just given me. I walked out onto the lake and could see some higher mountains breaking through the clouds. The snow on this lake was powdery and was not blowing like on Lake Durant. I fooled around for a while and decided to keep driving, I wasn’t satisfied with snowshoeing- it just wasn’t any fun, maybe the snow had to be deeper?

I ended up on some county road after going under I-87 and the road all of the sudden became a snowmobile trail, I just kept on it for about 10 miles until it turned into a rough dirt road. I drove like a maniac on all these little dirt roads in the Mineville area. They were covered in a thin layer of rock hard grippy snow, and combined with the dirt it made them real fun. I was coming around turns, half skidding, and then throwing it down a gear to see my ties spitting mud and slush from the rear. I felt like a rally car racer. I was truly having a blast and drove on these roads for a long time.

After getting some gas in Ticonderoga, I ended up taking Route 9N south all the way to Lake George. Route 9N is amazing for those of you who have a manual car with good suspension. There are many places to pass, no cops and great banked turns. It is a great road to bomb. So in Lake George I walked out onto the ice and contemplated taking my car out. There were tire tracks, but usually there are some pickups with guys ice fishing off the tailgates, being that there were none, I just doned my ice skates for the first time in ten years and skated around a bit. I sucked real bad, and my feet started hurting, but it was very fun, and brought back fond memories.

I filled up my car in the cheapest gas station I know of in the north, Route 9, Cumberland Farms by the south Glenns Falls exit is always cheapest, sure enough it was $2.26, way cheaper then the $2.51 in North Creek and a bit better then the $2.39 in Ticonderoga.


One Response to “Winter wandering in the Adirondacks”

  1. Chris said


    Great site! i\’m looking forward to reading more.

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