News Archive

News

February 4, 2011

ADK Winter Outing an Experience Worth Trying

By John Barron

Deep Snow at the Chateaugay State Forest

Deep Snow at the Chateaugay State Forest.
Photo: Bob Ensminger

Every season the ADK tries its best to stage an all-club outing. The Spring and Fall Outings are organized by a different chapter and happen in a different part of the State every year – provided a chapter step forward to organize, which usually does happen. Summer Outing is always a paddling trip, in or near the St. Regis Canoe Area. Winter Outing is almost always held on the Tug Hill Plateau, which is known for abundant snow. As 2011 began, I had been on only one seasonal outing – Fall Outing 2006, which the Laurentian Chapter organized; it had been very enjoyable, and I resolved to go on Winter Outing 2011 to learn what it was like.

Winter Outing is organized on a rotating basis by the Black River, Onondaga, and Iroquois Chapters. Each of those chapters does the organizing for two consecutive years, and then the lead passes to the next. This year was Black River’s first year of the current cycle, so my first contact was with registration organizer Janine Johnson, who cheerfully signed me up right away.

Tug Hill is known for an abundance of snow, but I had no idea what this meant until I arrived near Lacona, south of Watertown. Suddenly the trees were covered with big plumes of powder snow, and the roads were lined with huge snow banks. The powder provided perfect ground conditions, to accompany the sunny, cold weather that characterized the weekend.

Mad River Clubhouse

Mad River Clubhouse

I arrived at the Mad River Club about 5 PM. It is a hunting lodge consisting of a large open upstairs room with a big wood stove and a well-equipped kitchen. Downstairs, people set up mattresses or cots and sleeping bags on the concrete floor of a basement dormitory. Shower facilities are extremely limited, but those who wanted one could obtain one. Some trails begin right at the door, and I became one of many who spent an hour or so exploring the snowy fields and woods on snowshoes before returning to the lodge for hot chili and cookies. All the food was provided by the organizers, including trail lunches, and the standard of quality and quantity was high throughout. Lights out was at about 10:30 PM, and I’d say everyone slept soundly, even though it was cool – well, cold – in the dorm.

Saturday group of skiers at Winona State Forest

Saturday group of skiers at Winona State Forest

Morning brought a substantial breakfast and a choice of four outings: two snowshoeing, one skiing, and one amenable to either skis or snowshoes. I opted for the ski trip, which consisted of two halves with a return to the lodge for lunch. We spend the morning on the trails of Winona State Forest, which is the venue of the annual 50 km Tug Hill Tourathon. The trails are compacted but not track set, and this led to an excellent and not too strenuous morning for a large group of skiers. After lunch I joined a much smaller group of generally more-experienced skiers for a few hours of ungroomed trail skiing at Chateaugay State Forest (not to be confused with Chateaugay in northern New York). This short but challenging trip revealed the full depth of the powder snow; it was an experience.

Skiing on the Winona Way

Skiing on the Winona Way

Supper on Saturday was a feast. There were appetizers, soup and salad, a choice of roast beef or turkey with several vegetables, delicious cakes, and wine included. Later on we enjoyed the music of an energetic two-man local band and several people took to the floor for dancing. People drifted off to bed at their own pace. Some seemed to wonder if the band might keep those wanting to sleep awake, but I don’t think that was so. I went to bed before the party ended, fell asleep the minute I crawled into my sleeping bag, and slept the sleep of the just all night.

Morning brought the same kind of nourishing breakfast as Saturday’s – hot oatmeal, ham, and pancakes, as well as the last of the cake from the evening before, which was very popular. By this time many people knew each other by name and were very much among newly-found friends. Home towns extended as far away as Buffalo and Ohio at least, so I wasn’t the farthest from home by any means. I exchanged contact information with several of my new friends and expect to see them again.

The band

The Band

Last minute planning and sign up for the Sunday outings took place, and led to the only slight miscue of my weekend. I chose to go on what had originally been planned as an off-trail ski along the Salmon River, but in view of the great depth of new snow was revised to visit a parcel of detached Forest Preserve near Booneville. There was no time to draw revised maps or give written driving instructions; instead there was to be a convoy of about five cars. I was the last, and the driving speed on the snowy back roads proved a little fast for my comfort level. There was one reassembly point a couple of miles from the lodge, but within the next five mile or so I fell enough behind the car in front to reach a Y-junction with no one in sight. I tried both branches for a half mile or so, in both cases to a point where there was visibility a long way ahead, but without luck. I’d become detached! I waited at the Y-junction for about five minutes, then made my way back to the Mad River Club to possibly join one of the other groups instead but it was now too late. Well, I missed about two or three hours of skiing and about an hour an hour and a half of extra driving; I got home earlier as a consequence, so it wasn’t too great a loss.

Saturday night dancing

Saturday Night Dancing

The camaraderie of this weekend is extraordinary, and I highly recommend it. There are trips for every level of ability, and accommodations are made cheerfully and without apparent effort to the needs and abilities of all the participants. Ron Filhart, who was primary organizer of the weekend as well as on-trail leader of the two ski trips I took part in on Saturday deserves a whole lot of credit for an excellent event.

Participants who don’t want to sleep at the Mad River Club have two options – staying at local motels of which there are a lot, or camping outside (this year several did, despite bitterly cold weather overnight). Try it yourself next year; I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

All photos by John Barron except as noted.

News Archive

Jul 1, 2017: North Country Cycling Guide

May 31, 2017: Marie Fernandez de Alaiza Completes 46

Apr 1, 2017: Great Lakes Water Levels

Mar 15, 2017: Extended New Brunswick Outing Proposed

Jan 1, 2017: Boreas Ponds

Jan 1, 2017: 2017 Photo Contest Announced

Dec 2, 2016: Camp Colby Scholarships Available

Nov 29, 2016: Winter 2017 Outdoors-Indoors Schedule Announced

Nov 21, 2016: Wilderness Thru-hiking to Wilderness Advocacy

Nov 16, 2016: 2016 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Oct 1, 2016: Membership Survey Preliminary Results

Oct 1, 2016: John Omohundro Passes The Torch

Sep 8, 2016: 2017 Extended Outings Proposed

Apr 1, 2016: Solarize

Mar 29, 2016: 2016 Photo Contest Announced

Mar 17, 2016: Teen Trail Project Scholarships Available

Jan 6, 2016: Perry Yaw Commemorative Quilt

Dec 2, 2015: Trail Work Day Attracts Huge Turnout

Dec 2, 2015: Outdoors-Indoors Schedule Announced

Dec 1, 2015: 2015 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Sep 17, 2015: RRAC Explained

Sep 17, 2015: Oswegatchie Blueway Open Houses Scheduled

Jul 1, 2015: Perry H Yaw Jr

Jul 1, 2015: Ididaride Annual Biking Event

May 5, 2015: SUNY Potsdam Wilderness Education Mountain-A-Thon Training Exercise

Apr 1, 2015: Spring

Apr 1, 2015: Educational Affiliate Program Expands

Jan 1, 2015: Call for Distinguished Volunteer Nominations

Jan 1, 2015: 2015 Photo Contest Opens

Nov 27, 2014: 2014 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Nov 27, 2014: 2014 Photo Contest Winners Announced - Copy

Nov 17, 2014: St Lawrence Flatlands UMP Hearing

Oct 1, 2014: Chapter Offers Outing Leadership Training Course

Jul 1, 2014: Jean Hardy, 1926-2014

Jul 1, 2014: ADK and Trails

Apr 14, 2014: 2014 Member Nature Poetry

Apr 4, 2014: Stone Valley Management Plan Finalized

Apr 1, 2014: Educational Affiliate Program Gathers Momentum

Mar 24, 2014: North Country National Scenic Trail

Dec 30, 2013: Stone Valley Management Plan Review

Dec 6, 2013: 2014 Photo Contest Opens

Nov 12, 2013: 2013 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Oct 1, 2013: Spring Outing Retrospective

Sep 6, 2013: Finch Pruyn-Essex Chain Action Alert

Aug 22, 2013: Ragnar Relay Race

Jul 1, 2013: New Trails for Stone Valley

Jun 27, 2013: North Country Trails Membership

Jun 19, 2013: Spring Outing A Great Success

Apr 2, 2013: Laurentian Loon Shirts

Apr 1, 2013: Brian Baston, 46r

Dec 21, 2012: New Chapter Officers Elected

Dec 6, 2012: 2013 Photo Contest Opens

Nov 27, 2012: 2012 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Jul 17, 2012: Raquette River Documentary

Apr 1, 2012: Acadia Trip Sept 2012

Jan 21, 2012: Stone Valley Trail Maintenance A Mammoth Undertaking

Jan 1, 2012: 2012 Photo Contest Announced

Nov 19, 2011: Peter Blood and Toni Towle Finish the 46

Nov 19, 2011: Moose Talk At Fall Potluck (1)

Nov 16, 2011: 2011 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Nov 9, 2011: Sherman Craig Nominated To APA

Oct 16, 2011: Mt Arab Vandalised

Oct 1, 2011: GPS Group Forming

Jul 23, 2011: Allegany State Park Action Alert

Jul 2, 2011: Stone Valley Trail Report

Jul 2, 2011: Red Sandstone Trail Report

Jul 2, 2011: Friends of Higley Flow Capital Campaign

Jul 1, 2011: JBL Seeks All-Season Hosts

Apr 29, 2011: JBL Seeks Volunteer Hosts

Apr 1, 2011: Outings Announced

Feb 25, 2011: 2011 Fall Outing

Feb 4, 2011: Tug Hill Winter Outing

Dec 9, 2010: 2010 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Nov 21, 2010: Omohundro Whalen Distinguished Volunteers

Sep 22, 2010: Nominees Announced

Sep 22, 2010: Fall Potluck to Feature Permaculture Talk

Sep 22, 2010: Bylaw Changes Proposed

Sep 15, 2010: Dogs on Chapter Trips

Aug 16, 2010: Raquette River Information Center Opens

Jul 27, 2010: Raquette River Information Center To Open

Jun 2, 2010: Sacred Tools Exhibit

May 26, 2010: Plants of St Lawrence County

Apr 13, 2010: Chapter Basket Donations Needed

Mar 23, 2010: Second Annual Photo Contest Announced

Mar 22, 2010: Laurentians Invited To Colorado

Mar 21, 2010: Spring Potluck To Feature Northern Canoe Route

Jan 1, 2010: Calling Kids For Camp Colby

Nov 8, 2009: 2009 Photo Contest Results

Oct 1, 2009: Brian Mann To Address Annual Meeting

Oct 1, 2009: Archivist Needed

Jul 1, 2009: Raquette River Awareness Week

May 23, 2009: Tom Wheeler Elected 46ers President

Apr 30, 2009: Cutters Receive Award

Mar 31, 2009: Spring Potluck

Mar 30, 2009: Photo Contest

Mar 29, 2009: Hospitality Coordinator Needed

Mar 21, 2009: Gloria Daly Completes Winter 46

Mar 16, 2009: Lyle Montgomery Completes Winter 46

Dec 23, 2008: Chapter to Sponsor Campers at Camp Colby

Nov 2, 2008: Anna Gerhard-Arnold Recognized

Oct 1, 2008: Roy Horst to Speak at Fall Potluck

Sep 13, 2008: Tom Wheeler Receives Award

Aug 3, 2008: SLC EMC hosts NYS Conference on Environment

Jun 10, 2008: Lows Lake Floatplanes Action Alert

Mar 22, 2008: Winter On The Red Sandstone Trail

Mar 15, 2008: Nancy LaBaff Completes Winter 46

Mar 1, 2008: Environmental Protection Fund Being Raided

Feb 15, 2008: Red Sandstone Trailworker Tshirt

Nov 28, 2007: Hearings on National Scenic Trail

Nov 26, 2007: Laurentian Chapter To Sponsor Campers

Nov 11, 2007: Annual Meeting Highlights

Sep 27, 2007: Clarence and Paul

Sep 26, 2007: Neil Woodworth To Visit

Sep 25, 2007: Red Sandstone Trail Report

Jul 1, 2007: Legislature Passes EPF Enhancement Act

Mar 22, 2007: Call for Adirondack Stories

Mar 17, 2007: Mud Season Potluck Features Stuart Mesinger

Jan 25, 2007: Chapter Endorses Grace Peak Proposal

Jan 15, 2007: Public Comment Requested

Jan 1, 2007: Paddle The Rideau

Jan 1, 2007: Calling Kids For Camp Colby

Nov 28, 2006: Dick Mooers Named Distinguished Volunteer

Oct 2, 2006: Laurentian Chapter Hosts 2006 Fall Outing

Sep 1, 2006: Update on SLC ATV Trail Plan

Aug 30, 2006: Teens Complete Stone Valley Trail Work

Aug 28, 2006: Stone Valley - A Community Resource

Aug 28, 2006: Keeping Stone Valley Trails Open

Aug 25, 2006: White Hill Draft UMP Released

Aug 25, 2006: ATV Plan Comment Period

Jul 1, 2006: Raquette Boreal Forest Plan Moves Forward

Jun 6, 2006: Piercefield Dam Whitewater Release

Apr 21, 2006: Natural History Museum Seeks Volunteers

Apr 2, 2006: Peter OShea Addresses ADK

Mar 29, 2006: Laurentian Chapter To Host Fall Outing

Feb 28, 2006: High School Trails Program Seeks Participants

Jan 4, 2006: Chapter at Remington Gala

Dec 16, 2005: Camp Colby Youth Summer Camp

Dec 1, 2005: Paddlers Rights

Nov 12, 2005: Higley Flow Leanto Dedicated

Nov 6, 2005: Sandy Hildreth and Eileen Wheeler Honored

Oct 16, 2005: Stone Valley Trail Maintenance

Oct 4, 2005: Laurentian Chapter Hosts 2006 Fall Outing

Oct 3, 2005: Annual Meeting November 6

Oct 2, 2005: Friends of Mt Arab Seeks Volunteers

Sep 12, 2005: Proposed Bylaws

Aug 25, 2005: Musings On The Word Laurentian

Aug 25, 2005: Higley Flow Leanto

Aug 25, 2005: An Adirondack Diet

Aug 20, 2005: Bear Canisters

Aug 15, 2005: Firetowers

Aug 10, 2005: Executive Director Visits

Aug 5, 2005: National Trails Day

Aug 1, 2005: New Publicity Coordinator