Monday, July 30, 2018

River & Rail
 
~Article written and pictures taken by Linda M. Grace
Publicity Clerk, Old Forge Visitor Center
 
 
The sky was a perfect blue and bright with the sun. The warmth of the sun’s rays felt good to our vitamin D deficient skin after so many cloudy, rainy days of last summer. It was perfect day that begs to be used for some outdoor fun. So, a friend and I decided to do the River and Rail Trip offered by the family owned and operated outfitter, Tickner’s Canoes in Old Forge. We bought our tickets early to ensure our spots on the train. We each had our own kayak but Tickner’s does have kayaks and canoes for rent. The staff at Tickner’s was very helpful and knowledgeable as they answered questions and they even helped us launch our boats.

 
The Green Bridge

The mystical beauty of the Moose River always captures my attention, whether driving over it on the Route 28 bridge or the Green Bridge, or walking across the TOBIE Trail bridge. I was looking at these bridges from a different point of view as I was passing under them as a part of that esoteric flow.


 

The curvy path of the Moose River winds around tufts of small, grassy islands that could be hiding refuges for wildlife. On one such island, we saw two turtles poised on a log as if they were just getting ready to kiss.


It is a pleasant paddle to where we must get out before the Lock and Dam. We decided to have our lunch on the grass there. As we ate, we heard the train across the river and watched and waved at its passengers as they went by. Later that day, we rode a returning train overlooking other paddlers and onlookers. It's a great Instagram picture opportunity and, for those of us who are still “old school,” it’s as pretty as a postcard. After lunch, we do the quick carry around the Lock and Dam to continue our trip downstream.  


Lock and Dam
 

Part of the mystique of the Moose River is how curvy it is - an adventure just waiting around each bend. Of note, it is these very waters that the 1800’s steamboat, the Fawn, used to travel as it carried passengers up to another river to the dam. The Fawn passengers, opposite to us, would start their day riding the train to McKeever to the Lock and Dam, where they would continue their travels on the Fawn. From there the passengers would load onto another steamboat that would carry them to the Fulton Chain of Lakes.
 
 
 
 
 
The current pushed our kayaks ever so gently. We held our paddles on our laps, and laid back in our boats, allowing the water to carry us along as we soaked up the sun. It was a pleasant, relaxed way to spend our Saturday.
 

 
 
 
 
This was our first time doing this trip, so we had started a little earlier than the suggested time; because we weren’t really sure how long it would take us to get to where the train was to pick us up. But we felt confident to make it by time, so we paddled at a slow, comfortable pace. Along the way, there are old paddles serving as sign posts to let paddlers know how many more miles they have to go.
 
The Moose River with the railroad beside it.
 
 

Most of the trip, we were silent, enjoying the peace of the woods on both sides of us. But sometimes, the magnificence of it all fairly overwhelmed us and we shared how blessed we were to be able to enjoy such splendor. We both work a lot and are very busy outside of work as well. Making time to do this trip involved some planning and meant leaving other things to do for later. But we agreed that spending a day like this is good for our well-being.

I remember reading that between 1885 and 1954, people suffering from tuberculosis were sent to the Adirondacks to breathe in the fresh mountain air as part of their treatment. Healing, peace, fresh air…seems good for whatever ails you!

 
The carry
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The miles on the river were easily maneuvered and it wasn’t long until we had the option of riding through some mild rapids or to take our kayaks out for a carry. We chose the easy, flat carry. It was a pleasant walk and felt good to stretch our legs. Then a fast vertical paddle across the river brought this part of our tour to an end.

The canoe topped shelter
 
 
An interesting little shelter is set up by the trail up the embankment to the railroad loading dock. We were about an hour early for the 4pm train pick up, so when a train heading south stopped, they informed us they were on their way down to Otter Lake. Since we were there early, they said they would give us a ride instead of making us wait for the return trip. They helped us load our boats and we went on our way.

 


The ride to Otter Lake was a pleasant one, as the tracks run through some charming woods. A lot of the way it also travels alongside the Moose River. 

 


It was nice to continue to see the water’s glistening magical effect from the train’s windows. The train has seating choices of seats with tables and enclosed windows or open air cars where the windows are open. The train also has a small CafĂ© Car offering drinks and light food choices.  It was a unique experience seeing the Lock and Dam from the train and the brightness of the day helped me get some good pics of this.

 
 
 
 
At the railroad station in Thendara, Tickner’s van was there waiting to pick us up. We helped unload our boats and put them on Tickner’s trailer. Everyone was pleasant and happy. It was an easy, family-friendly paddle that is approximately six miles in length. All that basking in the sun left me sunburned, but very content. Now when I look out over the Moose River from the various Bridges, I will have fond memories of this day on the River and Rail. And my friend and I are making plans to do this trip again in a few weeks! We’ve decided that it might just be an annual tradition.
 
 

 

Tickner’s Moose River Paddling Trails     

113 Riverside Lane, Box 26
Old Forge, NY 13420
315-369-6286
http://ticknerscanoe.com/

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Black Bear Mountain
View from Black Bear Mountain. Some of the High Peaks are in this view.
 

I remember my first time hiking up Black Bear Mountain. I did not have much experience hiking mountains, which made the climb a little intimidating.   Like many hikes, people gave me their opinions of this mountain trail and some descriptions made it sound extremely hard, like they were lucky they survived the day. Others claimed it was easy. But everyone agreed that it was a nice day trip. I figured I’d just have to do it and see for myself.  

After signing in at the trail register, my dog and I started a lovely walk up through the woods.  It was fall and the trail was vibrant with oranges, browns, reds, and warm golden tones.

The beginning of this trail is an easy gradual incline that is hardly even noticed.  Some spots were muddy, but the trail is well marked and easy to follow. The joke among my hiking friends and me is, “You haven’t really been on a true Adirondack hike unless you come back with muddy boots.”  

 The trail came to a “Y” and I decided to take the right turn and follow the yellow trail discs.  This way is the harder of the two ways up, but shorter (3.8 miles round trip).  If you decide to go straight and follow the blue disc markers, you will find it an easier climb, but muddier and longer (4.4 miles round trip). Or you may decide to do the two trails as a loop making it a 6.3 mile trip.







 I continued to enjoy the delightful woods and flat wide trail with some muddy spots. Eventually, the trail began a rockier, but not difficult, gradual incline. When I looked up at the rock boulders closer to the top, I thought they looked huge, but I managed to scramble and pull myself up. It was well worth the climb as I admired the beautiful view.

 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The trail actually goes to the right of this, so you can avoid this scary looking boulder.
 
 
Since that first time, I have been up Black Bear many times.  I have since had the experience of harder mountains; I am surprised at how much easier it now seems.  But the view from the summit still amazes me. On clear days you can see some of the high peaks off in the distance.
 Lately, I had the chance to take a friend up Black Bear Mountain for her first time hiking to the top. It was marvelous all over again as I saw her astonishment and appreciation of the scenic view.


Black Bear Mountain’s parking area is located on Route 28, between Inlet and Eagle Bay. The parking area is part of an old road paralleling the highway and it is a shared parking area for Rocky Mountain.

 
The sign for Black Bear Mt. on the side of Route 28.

 

 

Friday, May 11, 2018

 
 
 

Why wait? Spring is here! Six Must-Dos in Old Forge
 


Like the rest of the North Country, Old Forge has wrestled itself free of winter’s snow and ice. We had a great season of skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling, and it seems winter itself had so much fun that it did not want to let go. Old Forge is now brimming with rushing water, popping buds and springtime events and activities. The 20th annual Adirondack Paddlefest is first on the calendar, May 18,19, and  20, presented by Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company. Mountainman owner John Nemjo created Paddlefest as the kick-off event of paddling season, and it now has bragging rights as “the largest on-water canoe, kayak and SUP sale in the country.” Spring weather can be iffy, but Paddlefest has hosted thousands of paddlers in sunshine, showers, heat and even snow. There are free demonstrations and excursions, as well as free parking and shuttles.  But the star feature of Paddlefest is the “Try before you buy” paddling. One ticket gets you on or in new gear all weekend. For more information, visit the Mountainman website at http://www.mountainmanoutdoors.com.
Photo of Paddlefest taken by Michael Farmer
 
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Old Forge, the Paddling Capital of the Adirondacks, has plenty more inviting us to celebrate springtime.  The knowledgeable and capable guides at local outfitter ARO Adventures are happy to provide exciting whitewater rafting action.  ARO, New York’s largest rafting company, has been treating paddlers to whitewater fun for 34 years on the Moose, the Hudson, and the Black rivers. Spring is big water adventure-class action on the Moose River in Old Forge and the world renowned Hudson River Gorge. In late spring the Black River opens and continues throughout the summer with family friendly tours. To view all ARO trip options, visit the ARO website at http://www.aroadventures.com.
photo credit: Kurt Gardner
  
The Town of Webb mountain bike trails are now unfrozen, and ready for some great pedaling! And some areas have just the right amount of mud from spring runoff. The bike loops designated throughout the Webb Trail System provide double-track backcountry riding between Old Forge, Eagle Bay and Big Moose. Looking for single-track? The Maple Ridge trails lead from the TOBIE Trail in Old Forge (pictured below, left) and connect to the McCauley Mountain trail system, with a flow trail and beginner single track riding. Get a free map at the Visitor Information Center in Old Forge, or download a map from our website at http://www.oldforgeny.com/recreation.html#biking.
photo taken by Michael Farmer
photo credit: Kurt Gardner

 Weather doesn’t always do what we want it to do, but don’t let inclement weather keep you from having fun. Old Forge has many shops and restaurants gearing up and ready for visitors. Visit our website to see upcoming local events and get a list of great restaurants, unique Adirondack shops, accommodations, and more! http://www.oldforgeny.com
    
 
photo taken by Michael Farmer

 
  The Strand Theatre is way more than just a movie theater. With its unique vintage building and displays of film making equipment and memorabilia, it’s a film history museum.  Come in and enjoy a variety of movie choices on one of the four screens, often opening at the same time as premiers in NYC.  For a list of what’s showing, visit http://strandoldforge.com.   


 

photo credit: Kurt Gardner


 These are just six of the many possibilities for spring time fun! Every week of the new season there are new opportunities popping up!

 



 

 
 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018





Making Memories While Cross-Country Skiing


~Article written and pictures taken by 
Linda Grace 
Publicity Clerk, Old Forge Visitor Information Center
~


I have had the feeling of gliding inside a snow globe, when cross-country skiing at the Thendara Golf Course on a clear blue day.  The open sky allows the sun to glitter through the tree-lined course and reflects off the white, untouched snow.  But the day that my friends and I head out, it is not a picture-perfect day.  It wasn’t too cold, but the skies were grey and less than ideal, but you don’t need a perfect day to have a great adventure.  Fun and friendship were calling and the display of the sky and landscape gave us a magical feeling.


We decided to be ambitious and cover both loops which add up to about three miles of fairly easy to moderate skiing.  We started out on the left trail heading to the upper nine. This is the easier loop of the two and it is a perfect run for beginners and families. It winds along the outer perimeter of the golf course with a few small hills. This is all open and on windy days, there is virtually nothing to block the wind. But on calm or mild days, like the one my friend and I were enjoying, the open landscape can give you a freeing sensation.

One time, I did this loop with a beginner skier.  She said that this loop was good place to start since it was groomed real well and fairly flat. She said, "The beauty and tranquil quiet...(the fact that) there is no worry an embarrassing fall or another skier running you over.  This is a perfect place for a first attempt..."


My favorite loop is on the lower nine. It is the trail that heads right (east), from the parking area. This trail is longer at about 1.75 miles with a few easy ups and downs, which provides thrills on the downhill launches. My friends and I laughed as we whooshed down the first of these hills and my dog chased playfully alongside me.  We become quiet and spell-bound while skiing among the wonderful snow covered spruce trees and then back out in the open where we could see the expansive sky and landscape. It is truly a trail that gives you the best of both worlds. 


We breathed in the fresh crisp air as we followed the trail as it overlooks the nearby Moose River and its snow-covered bridge.  We talked about summer when we paddled down the Moose River and used the bridge for a canoe/kayak carry around the rapids.  Such conversations of summer reminiscing mingle in with the many winter adventures which have been made while skiing on the golf course.  

We glided around a bend, flew down another small slope and then raced up the next hill. Sometimes, when we are in the present, we do not realize that we are making a memory that will be cherished again and again. But, somehow, I became aware that this IS one of those moments that I will hold dear.  
The Moose River Bridge

To get to the Thendara Golf course from Old Forge, drive south on Route 28 and turn right on Fifth Street. Although it is free to ski here, these ski loops are groomed by a local volunteer, and donations are welcome and appreciated. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


~Written by Linda Grace~
{formally Linda M. Heistman}
Publicity Clerk, Old Forge
Visitor Information Center


Picture by Kurt Gardner

On Monday, we received our first significant snowfall (up to six inches in some areas). This snow was soft and not quite right for cross-country skiing yet, but Monday night’s cold temperatures created a thin layer of ice on Old Forge Pond. The frigid air is also starting to drive the frost into the ground. It got me thinking of how, very soon, we will see conditions for early season winter recreation including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. 

The crisp, cool air brought me to life as I shoveled the snow off my front steps. I thought of how wonderful it feels to glide along on skis, breathing in clean, fresh air and taking in the snow-covered beauty of the landscape. I am longing for the side to side skating motion and the through the woods and up a hill workout. I am also looking forward to the fun of snowshoeing -- a great way to take a hike in the winter.


Picture by Michael Farmer



I pictured the well-groomed trails where many happy memories of skiing or snowshoeing have been created and will provide many more fun times ahead. I dreamed of the beautiful Thendara Golf Course with its snow globe-like, wide-open views of the sky and trees. It offers fairly easy to moderate skiing and beside-the-trail snowshoeing. It is a great spot for family recreation. 

Picture by Kurt Gardner

Maple Ridge offers the skier or snowshoer groomed trails that lead through the wonderland of snow-covered woods. The sparkling sun shining through snowy pines makes it seem like you are moving through a magical fairyland.  These trails also offer some historical interest and the terrain is up and down making this adventure a little more challenging. 

Picture by Michael Farmer

The approaching winter will soon be a reality and I have my skis and snowshoes all ready to go! How about you?