Spring has hit New York’s North Country. In Canton, there is no snow on the ground. Songbirds sing, the sky is blue, and the grass is slowly turning green. Melted snow seeps into the slowly thawing ground. Once saturated, it seeps out and seizes the muddy boot treads and brave sandals that churn it up.
I don’t know anyone who can avoid the stuff. Whether you work outside, are an avid gardener, have little kids, or like to run and hike, you are bound to get muddy. On one hand, we all know this, yet the outside world imposes pressure to clean up, look presentable, and keep the dirty stuff outside. We preserve our living room and kitchen inner sanctums, tidy and neat, in contrast with the seasonably messy, outside world.
If you can deal with a little bit of mud, there is plenty to do outside during this season. Summer, fall, and winter are tourist seasons, but no one comes to the northeast for mud season. Why not take advantage of the minimal crowds and venture forth?
For those interested in whitewater paddling, rivers are running. This is typically the best time of year for the sport, as pressure and water volume build with the sudden onset of snow melt. When the ice finally bursts, rivers flood and release an astonishing amount of water. My friends who are paddlers say this season will be relatively mild with high water, because the snow melted steadily, before the rivers thawed.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has asked hikers to avoid high elevation trails in the Adirondacks until mid-June. Muddy trails are vulnerable trails; rock work and structural support is easily dislodged during the spring. Avoiding vulnerable trails helps conserve the amount of work for the summer trail crews and keeps trails open during the rest of the year.
If you still want to hike, the DEC published a list of recommended spring hikes at lower elevations. Some of these even include high peaks.
- Debar Mountain Wild Forest: Azure Mountain;
- Giant Mt. Wilderness: Giant’s Washbowl and Roaring Brook Falls;
- High Peaks Wilderness: Ampersand Mountain, Cascade Mountain, Big Slide, the Brothers, and Porter Mountain from Cascade Mountain – avoid all other approaches;
- Hurricane Primitive Area: The Crows and Hurricane Mountain from Route 9N;
- McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Haystack Mountain and McKenzie Mountain;
- Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area: Pharaoh Mountain; and
- Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Baker Mountain, Panther Mountain and Scarface Mountain.
For more information about Mud Season Hiking in the Adirondacks, check out this site:
Perhaps the most popular mud season activity in the Adirondacks is fishing. Trout season began on April 1, but lingering ice cover on small ponds and lakes drives anglers to focus on rivers and creeks. The stretch of the Salmon River that runs through Pulaski is renowned for its spring steelhead trout runs. The DEC also published a list of great fishing spots around the Adirondacks, listed by county and body of water. For more information about where to fish for what legally, visit their website.
In the meantime, enjoy the unseasonably sunny weather, and don’t let the mud bog you down.
Tags: outdoor recreation