Skiing and Exploring the Jackrabbit Trail

Deep Snow

It's spring and the Adirondacks are, predictably, unpredictable. Recently we've had a few amazing snow falls alternating with warm spring days. There's no guarantee how long the snow will last, or if another storm will grace us before the warm weather firmly settles in the mountains. For now, I'll take advantage of the snow that's still here, and although not the popular vote - I wouldn't mind a few more inches and another weekend spent skiing.

I'm already dreaming about next year as I remember the past few weeks' adventures... 

 Since the recent big snow (and it was a big snow!), Wren and I have been out as much as we can be in order to enjoy the white world it created. And so after breaking trail in Lake Clear after the snow, we took advantage of the work others had done on the Jackrabbit Trail, We followed the kicked-in path on its winding route through the woods, beneath the over-heavy boughs of conifers bent beneath the weight of the snow, and past the outlet for McKenzie Pond as we headed towards the pond itself.

The woods were quiet. We briefly heard the chatter of Black-capped Chickadees, but the hushed forest seemed to be holding on to its secrets as we went, and the only sounds we heard were our own as we worked through the soft snow. In buried places our breath came heavily, but the snow seemed to muffle every other sound. After all, the winter world is often silent.

Jackrabbit Sign

With layers of such deep and soft snow, Wren was forced to push her way through the powder, even though the trail had been initially started by those before us, and she was clearly tiring as we went on. So we turned rather than to wear her out – after all it didn't seem fair that I had the benefit of spreading my weight out over my skis while she trudged along. She was happy to start toward the car, and we both slept well that night.

Going Back for More

I waited a couple days before heading back to the Jackrabbit so the snow could compress with the warming temps and so that the trail could get tracked-in – helping Wren have an easier time of it. This delay almost immediately appeared to be a good choice when we returned - the skiers coming off the trail as we started at McKenzie Pond Road in Saranac Lake described the conditions as “ideal.” We would soon agree.

Glacial Erratic

While the scenery the second time around was not framed in snow-laden limbs and white conifers, the track was smooth and fast and the footing firm enough for Wren to avoiding sinking in too far. We cruised up and down the first few hills, stopping to talk with a friend we met on the way. Further down the trail, I bumped into someone else and we chatted away – while Wren waited patiently for me to stop yakking.

After the stream crossing, nearly a mile into the trip, the trail conditions became even better and we made quick time along the flat portion of the route which runs through a low cedar-filled wet woodland, before coming to the junction for McKenzie Pond. We chose both prongs of the junction, first checking out the view of the pond where I decided not to test the ice near the edge of the lake. It had clearly been melting and refreezing. The ice further out on the water looked fine. After that, we took the path which leads up the hill toward Lake Placid, stopping to turn around after we had covered a few tiers of the climb.

Wren.Jackrabbit downhill

After having three separate conversations on the way into the woods, the way out was quiet and we had the trail to ourselves – our solitude broken only by a few Black-capped Chickadees and a croaking Common Raven. We had earned a good dinner from our ski and we soon headed home to find some. After all, it was taco night!

Lots and Lots of Snow for Playing!

Our recent cold snap has hardened up the trail, but there is still plenty of snow in the woods, with snow in the forecast for the next few days which should refresh the surface. That should keep the skiing good for a bit longer – whether at the Jackrabbit Trail, or Dewey Mountain. Don’t miss out on winter fun and check out our dining and lodging pages to help plan your trip!


In related April Adirondack Adventure news:

Feelin’ ducky

Spring in your step

Rapids are calling

Reelin’ in the ladies

5 mud season hikes

Underground railroad stops here

Ice out, fish in

Maple, sweetener of the future!
Slow paddle to Oseetah

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About The Author

Alan Belford has spent much of his life outdoors exploring and learning about wildlife – particularly birds. Alan is often out hiking, paddling, running, or cross country skiing – with his Labrador retriever Wren at this side. A certified teacher and former cross country, baseball, and ultimate frisbee coach, he loves teaching others and has taught multiple natural history (specializing in ornithology) courses for both college students and the general public. He is a licensed guide in New York State, he has traveled widely both domestically and internationally, and he is also a published travel writer and photographer – focusing on outdoor and nature writing.

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