On the Mend

Three weeks post surgery and I’m really beginning to feel better. Still a touch sore on the inside of my right knee where they went in to repair my meniscus and remove some small amounts of arthritis. Basically I pretty much haven’t done a stitch of exercise since Christmas Day when all this went down and it shows. Man are my calves sore!

My body wants to consume food as if I was still running 30 miles a week and the scale well that thing and I haven’t been friends for a while now.  None the less yesterday was a beautiful day with bright sunshine, a light breeze and some cool spring temperatures. Going stir crazy I decided to head over to the Vestal Rail Trail and do some walking.

I wound up walking 4 miles with minimal discomfort and a tiny bit of soreness. This is huge in the process of healing! On April 11th I return to see my doctor for a checkup and his thoughts of when I can start slowly testing the waters of running again. My fingers are crossed that come end of April I can return. It will take me a while to get back into shape but I’m all about baby steps and doing this process right.


Finished my 4 mile walk on the Vestal Rail Trail March 27th 2019.



Saranac Lake New York

Ever since I laid eyes on the Old Town Cayuga 146 (14′ 6″) kayak I was in love. However I was just simply too fat to fit in the boat. Old Town stopped making this boat a few years ago and they are almost impossible to find used. Early this spring I discovered that St. Regis Canoe Outfitters of Saranac Lake use them in their rental fleet and occasionally they will sell one or two.

As luck would have it a Cayuga 146 complete with rudder did come available and I immediately reserved it and made my trek north. The weather in Saranac Lake today was absolutely perfect, a cool 38 degrees this morning when I woke. I picked up my boat right after they opened and shortly I was on Lake Flower.

Paddling along gazing at the serenity, making a few adjustments to my seat a gentleman in a beautiful Eddyline kayak came up upon me and asked me where I was headed. I promptly said “I Have no clue”.  He introduced himself as “Dave” and offered for me to tag along. Dave would guide me along from Lake Flower, Oseetah Lake to the lower locks & dam where Oseetah and the Saranac River meet. According to my map we paddled about 9 miles down and back. As an added bonus to me this section is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, adding a few miles in my ongoing quest to complete the 740 mile route in pieces.

I love this boat! Super comfortable, fast and tracks pretty darn well and has a ton of storage for a multiple day camping trip. One last impression was that I’ve been using my 17lb Hornbeck canoe for sometime now so this 50Lb kayak was an eye opener.

Looking forward to getting some more miles in this sweet thing here real shortly.

Lower Locks & Dam Oseetah Lake to Saranac River September 3rd 2016
Lower Locks & Dam Oseetah Lake to Saranac River September 3rd 2016
Dave & I Oseetah Lake Adirondacks September 3rd 2016
Dave & I Oseetah Lake Adirondacks September 3rd 2016
Dave & I Oseetah Lake Saranac Lake NY September 3rd 2016
Dave & I Oseetah Lake Saranac Lake NY September 3rd 2016
Oseetah Lake Saranac Lake NY September 3rd 2016
Oseetah Lake Saranac Lake NY September 3rd 2016
Saranac Lake NY September 3rd 2016
Saranac Lake NY September 3rd 2016



Sunset Tupper Lake, NY September 24th 2015. Image © Joe Geronimo
Sunset Tupper Lake, NY September 24th 2015, Image © Joe Geronimo.

On a recent morning before going to work I was reminiscing in my mind of a trip to the Adirondacks I had taken not to long ago. The trip was a memorable one to say the least. Fresh in my mind was the vivid sunset I had laid witness to while in Tupper Lake, NY that evening. I’d have to say it was one of the most breath taking I’ve seen in my lifetime.

I was fortunate to be able to make several images of that sunset during its many stages. However one image in particular I never really liked so it never made it to the editing process. Over the past several days that particular image has grown on me and I’ve found myself going back to look at it repeatedly. I finally realized what it is I have come to love about that image. Its not perfect, and neither am I or anyone else for that matter. It reinforces to me that even though we as humans are not perfect there is something to love about everyone.



New York State buys Boreas Ponds:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo visits Boreas Ponds in the Adirondacks which is among 69,000 acres that were acquired by the state. (I obtained this image via Google).
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo visits Boreas Ponds in the Adirondacks which is among 69,000 acres that were acquired by the state. (I obtained this image via Google).

The state paid $14.5 million for the tract, according to a deed filed April 5 in the Essex County clerk’s office. The state has yet to announce the sale, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation refused to answer questions about how public access will be managed. In the past, DEC has suggested that the public will be allowed to drive to within a mile or so of the ponds via a dirt road.
A source told the Almanack that the road to the ponds is gated (and probably will remain so for the duration of mud season) and that the ponds are still frozen. The Nature Conservancy confirmed the sale after the Almanack broke the story. Its news release linked to a video of Boreas Ponds.
The conservancy’s website also offers breathtaking photos of Boreas Ponds. The Nature Conservancy bought all 161,000 acres of the Finch, Pruyn lands in 2007. It later sold 89,000 acres to a Danish pension fund. The state owns a conservation easement on these lands that permits logging but prohibits subdivision and development.

In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would purchase, in stages, 65,000 acres for the Forest Preserve, including the Essex Chain Lakes, OK Slip Falls, parts of the Hudson Gorge, and Boreas Ponds. The other properties have already been acquired.

“We are grateful to Governor Cuomo and his team for recognizing that investing in nature is an investment in New York’s future. From providing cost-effective natural water filtration and carbon storage to bolstering the tourism economy, protecting these forests and waters is an investment that will produce very big returns. We look forward to continuing to work with the state and Adirondack communities,” said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy.

DEC and the Adirondack Park Agency now will have to decide how to manage and classify the Boreas Ponds Tract — decisions sure to be controversial.

Environmentalists want most of the tract added to the High Peaks Wilderness, whereas local officials favor a Wild Forest classification. The main difference between Wilderness and Wild Forest is that motorized uses and bicycling are banned in Wilderness Areas.

The Adirondack Council and Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) are sponsoring a petition drive dubbed Be Wild NY to persuade the Cuomo administration to add to the High Peaks Wilderness not only the bulk of the Boreas Ponds Tract, but also the Dix Mountain Wilderness and some smaller parcels of former Finch, Pruyn lands. If this is done, the High Peaks Wilderness, already the largest Wilderness Area in the Adirondack Park, would grow to roughly 280,000 acres from 204,000 acres.

But North Hudson Supervisor Ron Moore, whose town includes Boreas Ponds, told the Adirondack Explorer last fall that he wants the tract classified as Wild Forest to facilitate public access and maximize its recreational potential. For example, he wants people to be allowed to bicycle on old logging roads in the area.

“We’re not looking to destroy the environment,” he said. “We’re looking to use an existing infrastructure of roads. We want as many people to enjoy the area as possible.”

Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council, maintains that the Wilderness classification will attract a variety of outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, paddlers, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers, and boost the local economy. He added that the tract could serve as a new gateway to the popular High Peaks Wilderness.

Controversy also has arisen over the status of Gulf Brook Road, a former logging road that leads to Boreas Ponds. Environmentalist groups agree that much of the road should be left open to allow the public to drive as far as LaBiere Flow, an impounded section of the Boreas River about a mile from Boreas Ponds. From there hikers could walk and canoeists could paddle and portage to the ponds.

Some wilderness advocates, such as Bill Ingersoll, publisher of the Discover the Adirondacks guidebooks, maintain that the road should be closed. This would require people to hike about seven miles to get to the ponds. In contrast, Moore contends that the public should be able to drive beyond LaBiere Flow to within three-quarters of a mile of Boreas Ponds. The disabled, he said, should be able to drive to within a quarter-mile of the ponds.

Gulf Brook Road also figures in a disagreement among environmentalists over where to draw the line between Wilderness and Wild Forest.

Protect the Adirondacks contends that Gulf Brook Road is the logical boundary. Under this scenario, it would also serve as a snowmobile trail in winter connecting North Hudson and Newcomb.

The council, ADK, and Adirondack Wild favor a plan that would extend the Wilderness boundary south of Gulf Brook almost to Blue Ridge Road, a major county highway. The snowmobile trail would then be cut between Blue Ridge Road and the Wilderness Area.

The hitch with this plan is that Gulf Brook Road would then penetrate the Wilderness Area. In order to allow people to drive to LaBiere Flow, the road would be classified as a Primitive Corridor.

Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, contends that creating a Primitive Corridor would weaken the protections for Wilderness in the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. “If we’re going to have a motorized road, it should be in a Wild Forest Area,” he told the Explorer last fall. He also said that using the road for the snowmobile trail would obviate the cutting of thousands of trees.

Janeway counters that the Be Wild NY plan maximizes the amount of land to be classified as Wilderness and that state regulations would limit the number of trees cut for the snowmobile trail.

Other issues are whether a lodge on the south shore of Boreas Ponds, built by Finch, Pruyn as a corporate retreat, should be removed and whether a concrete dam at the foot of the ponds should maintained.

Author: Phil Brown Adirondack Explorer


Gear Review: LL Bean “Ascent” Packaway Jacket

I’ve been an LL Bean fan and customer for years. As a matter of fact my life contains a vast majority of their clothing and gear. In my opinion LL Bean’s customer service is legendary, so when I needed a jacket for layering I turned to Bean. February here in New York has been extremely cold, with Jack Frost nipping at the noses of most in the Northeast. In retrospect a perfect environment to put my new remarkably light LL Bean “Ascent” Packaway jacket to the test.

The Jacket: 

This jacket boasts 60-gram remarkably light PrimaLoft One insulation. Ultralight ripstop nylon shell is treated to shed water and block wind. A highly compact alternative to fleece, packing into its own hand pocket.

Improved fit is trimmer through the body and upper arms with the ultralight ripstop nylon gliding easily under layers for a smooth fit that won’t restrict your motion. Shell resists wind and weather, has a drawcord hem and elasticized cuffs to seal in body heat, rated at -15 degrees.

Center back length, size L: 27″. Imported. Machine wash and dry.


Slightly fitted, best with lightweight layer, falling at hip. I wear a size large but decided to order an extra large for additional layering as I plan on using the jacket snowshoeing in the High Peak’s of New York’s Adirondack Park. Here weather conditions could change within minutes.

Test Dates:

Friday February 13th 2015 was sunny and cold with the temperature at 3 degrees and a wind chill of -13 degrees. With the wind at a moderate 11 mph I snowshoed around the local park for 3 miles averaging 2.9 mph. This particular park is open with no shelter what so ever. The jacket performed flawlessly. It did what it said, blocked the wind and kept me extremely warm, I was very impressed and extremely excited. I thought the jacket fit just right, I was unrestricted in my movements and after the first mile or so I had to slightly unzip it as I began to sweat a little.

Sunday February 15th 2015 was sunny and cold with the temperature at 0 degrees and a wind chill of -22 degrees. The wind was howling at 22 mph today and I went for a 5 mile snowshoe hike at a place called the “IBM Glen” where I averaged 3 mph. The first and last parts of my hike were .35 miles each across an open wind swept and snow drifting golf course. The wind was pushing at me so hard I had to use my poles to keep me upright. Again this jacket performed flawlessly! In truth I was utterly impressed because it was brutally cold out. Once in the woods I did receive some shelter from the wind. Like I said the jacket fit just right and I was unrestricted in my movements.

On both days I wore the exact same clothing to make sure this test was as accurate as possible. The layer closest to my body consisted of an Under Armour Cold Gear compression long sleeve shirt, followed by an LL Bean “Expedition Weight” base layer, topped with LL Bean’s linden green Ascent Packaway jacket.


I truly love this jacket and its versatility. I felt very warm during the weather conditions on both days. I like the fitted style and feel of this jacket and I strongly believe it does what it says it does, blocks the wind and sheds water. This jacket is perfect for layering during the winter and can stand alone during the Spring and Fall months.

I have no affiliation with LL Bean or was I given this jacket. Just like you I am a consumer and I think I should get what I pay for. With that said I highly recommend this product.

If you are looking for a light weight versitile jacket look no further than LL Bean’s “Ascent” Packaway Jacket. http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/86465?feat=ascent-SR0&page=ascent-packaway-jacket

Sunday February 15th 2015.
Sunday February 15th 2015.