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Soft sunrise light after a cold windy night, northern Lake George Sunrise light behind Pitchoff and cascade from the Adirondak Loj Road.

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The hills and valleys of the Adirondack Park have pretty consistent snow cover throughout the first two months of the year. Days begin lengthening soon after the December solstice, but it’s close to the end of February before the sun is tracking along a higher arc from east to west and days feel longer. Clear, arctic air often plummets across the region from central and northern Canada, accompanied by strong north winds and prolonged subzero temperatures at night. Steady winds from the west may bring copious amounts of lake-effect snow to the western Adirondacks as the cold air passes over Lake Ontario. When warmer air from the southern and western US mixes with the cold, it creates weather systems that can pull moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream. If a storm tracks to the Adirondack’s south and east, the region may get heavy nor’easter snows, while a track over the park or to its west will bring a mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and possibly just rain. The woods are peaceful, quiet, and cold . . . Bears and chip-munks sleep through it all, hibernating in a den; deer yard up to conserve energy while hanging near a food source. With deep enough powder snow, ruffed grouse spend cold nights in snow tunnels, taking off with a quick flapping of wings if you walk too close. One actually brushed me with its wing tip as it blasted out of the snow by my feet. Many days, the only sound besides the chickadees calling to each other, is the gunshot like report from trees splitting as they freeze solid when temperatures are in the teens and twenties or more below zero. Prolonged Arctic cold freezes lakes, streams, and rivers with perhaps feet of ice. Snowshoe, outhouse, and car races are held on frozen lakes during winter carnivals in locations where the ice is safe enough for groups of people and vehicles. Those who live here are well prepared for the winter, with large stacks of firewood by the house, snow tires on their AWD vehicles, and plenty of insulating clothing layers to stay warm for hours at a time while enjoying winter activities like snowshoeing, skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, or some of the Olympic activities in Lake Placid.

Shelving Rock Brook detail.

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Elk Lake preserve.

© 2016 Rizzoli International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


Bear along Raquette Lake..

Hearthstone Campground, Lake George

Elk Lake mist soft morning light.

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Lincoln Pond sunrise.

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Whallons Bay sunrise, Lake Champlain.

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Elk Lake soft light.

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Fawn pair at Brant Lake.

Rockwell Falls, Hudson River—narrowest spot on the Hudson.

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Boreas Ponds / High Peaks. Mill Creek Falls cascades, Lake Luzerne. Yellow swallowtail, near Round Lake.

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Wiawaka dock Lake George.

Moose River.

Mallard family near Hulletts Landing Lake George.

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Boreas Ponds sunrise light.

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Mill Creek cascades, Lake Luzerne.

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© 2016 Rizzoli International Publications. All Rights Reserved.


The Adirondacks