Return To The High Peaks

July/August 2011

The article is based on contrasting a hike in 1977 and 2010 and noting a great number of changes in the High Peaks. In particular;

  • The trails are in better condition
  • No camping or shelters above 3500 feet
  • Bear Cannisters
  • More hikers
  • The summit have more flora
In general I find that the Adirondack High Peaks are in better condition now, even with two to three times as many hikers then thirty years ago.

The article also includes interviews with people from the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), the New York State Department of Environment and Conservation, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the 46er's.

This article draws from the journal
Return To The High Peaks
July 30th-31th, 2010

“I remember sitting on the deacon seat of an old lean-to, cooking my supper on a wood fire. The wood was damp and so the fire smoldered, but my pot was already covered with soot and could get no blacker. Even so, I was pleased I had anything to burn, since it had rained off and on for days, maybe even weeks. But for a few hours the sun was shining. My tent and sleeping bag were hanging on trees to dry behind the lean-to. The roof of the lean-to was a patchwork of sleeping bags from other hikers. Sunlight reflected on the pond and life was good.

This is a scene most Adirondack hikers will be able to identify with -- except that the pond in front of me was Lake Tear of the Clouds at 4,300 feet above sea level. The year was 1977. ...

Lake Tear in the Clouds Lean-to- 1977

Muddy trails in Panther Gorge - 1977

Lake Colden from Algonquin - 1975

Lake Colden from Algonquin - 2010