The Snowshoe Trails Less Traveled

Photograph by Flickr user szapuckiThere’s a bit of a break in the frigid blast of the polar vortex this weekend, with temperatures expected to be around 20 degrees on Saturday. Snow showers are predicted for Friday and Saturday, so cross-country skiing and snowshoeing should be good in the central Adirondacks and High Peaks.

If you’re searching for new backcountry to explore, Long Lake Parks and Recreation has put together a series of snowshoe expeditions led by licensed guides Spencer Morrissey and Joan Collins. With Morrissey, the destinations are mountaintops; with Collins, the route is an old road through boreal forest where she will identify birds and animal tracks.

Mount Adams, on the brink of the High Peaks near Tahawus, has terrific views from a historic fire tower. On January 25, leaving from the Long Lake town offices at 8:00 a.m., Morrissey will take snowshoers on the 4.8-mile trip. Initially, the terrain is gentle but the trail eventually ascends the rugged, steep pinnacle with an elevation of 3,520 feet. This is a moderate to challenging climb and not recommended for kids under 12 unless they have real winter backcountry experience. For this and the trips listed below, space is limited; call (518) 624-3077 to reserve a spot. The fee is $20 per person.

On February 1, Collins will lead an easy to moderate three-mile nature trek along the Roosevelt Truck Trail, passing through deep woods where boreal birds, black bear, moose, fisher and other reclusive mammals live. The trail is off Routes 28N and the Blue Ridge Road in Minerva.

Sawyer Mountain, between Blue Mountain Lake and Indian Lake, is Morrissey’s hike on February 22. The 1.1-mile marked trail off Routes 28/30 climbs steadily to the summit, gaining about 630 feet in altitude from the trailhead. There’s a bonus peak on this hike: Little Sawyer, with extensive views. En route and on top you may glimpse the High Peaks, Moose River Plains and Snowy Mountain. Morrissey and his band of snowshoers will bushwhack to Little Sawyer after reaching the main peak.

Snowshoes are required for all of these trips, regardless of the snow cover. Participants must have appropriate winter attire, warm boots, hat, gloves, head lamp, chemical hand warmers and carry two liters of water plus lunch. Snowshoes may be rented in Long Lake from Hoss’s Country Corner (518-624-2481) and The ADK Trading Post (518-624-2357).

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