Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Being at Garnet Hill presents a myriad of opportunity to commune with nature. There is so much to do and see here in the Adirondack wilderness that it can be mind boggling.

Yesterday's temperatures were really cold, like Adirondack winter cold, finally! A clear atmosphere and the polar plunge of a cold-snap atmosphere makes for clearly beautiful conditions. While doing trailwork, I ventured down to the lake for the first time this season for a look-see. It is such a stunning setting down there, the basin of this big mountain valley ringed by Big and Little 13th Lake Mountains, Hour Pond Mountain and the Balm of Gilead Mountain. Directly across the lake from the beach, the waterfall is freezing up nicely -- at that spot you can blast a hearty "whoop" down-lake, and the echo bounces around off of these mountains and comes back around behind you! Try it. Yesterday I was a little timid to venture out too far, but far enough to take in the beauty, winds, and sounds. Beautiful sounds of the wind ripping past, spiraling up mini snow-cyclones, glistening in the cold dry air. Sounds of the ice cracking and shifting, the snap of the plates adjusting, slightly shifting like a slumbering giant.

With zero sound and light pollution here, the night sky is often filled with a plethora of stars. Setting my alarm for 3:15am brought me out for the peak of last night's Quadrantid Meteor Shower! Walking the trail system at night by starlight is beauty to behold. The world seems to be held in a state of frigid suspension. But there are subtle shifts and movement, animals, a world alive outside your periphery. With a clear atmosphere and temperatures below zero last night, every little sound seemed amplified. The squeak of snow, crackling or twigs, the loud snap of standing trees splitting in the bitter cold as their frozen sap or moisture cracks them. That snap is crisp, loud, startling -- it echos. The woods alive all around, meteors periodically streaking silently across the sky overhead.

On Sunday, January 1st we hosted our first event of the season. The Empire State Ski Orienteering Club held it's second annual event here. Ski-O folks are a hearty bunch, and dedicated to their craft. Set up with numbered "controls" to find in a sequence, you are given a topo-map with no trail names and it is up to you to navigate the controls in the most time-efficient manner. Aims Coney sets a real mind bender of a course -- you are presented with too many options and your decision making ability and comprehension of terrain and skiing skill is thoroughly tested, sometimes enough to make you snap.

Real winter has returned to the North Country. Seasonal temperatures abound, and we are looking to receive new snow here right through the weekend. Stay tuned...

Pan of 13th Lake.

Applying a hard day's kick-wax.

Ski-O chest harness w/map holder and compass. Clocked in and ready to go.

Your winners. These kids have big boots to fill, and they're doing it nicely (look at the size of their boots!).

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