The New York State Ski Blog

Blog: Backcountry

High Peaks, NY: Adirondack Asphalt

Cascade concrete. Sierra cement. West Coast skiers have endearing nicknames for the moisture-laden snow that doesn’t ski like champagne powder but can come down in fountains.

Wright-Ski-Trail

While the northeast sees every imaginable kind of winter precipitation, our mountains tend to get icy before they get heavy. Not this past week. Now we’ve earned our own coinage: Adirondack Asphalt.

Winter Storm Damon was touch-and-go for much of the region as sleet, ice, freezing rain, and plain old rain foiled the hopes for a 100% snow event. Luckily, on our side of Lake Champlain, the Adirondack High Peaks stayed almost entirely snow to the tune of two feet.

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Shanty Cliffs, NY

If you go west on Route 8 out of Wevertown NY, about five miles past the Eleventh Mountain trailhead, you’ll find a parking area near the confluence of Shanty Brook and the East Branch of the Sacandaga River.

Shanty-Cliffs-NY

From there you can catch nice glimpse of Shanty Cliffs and begin hiking toward the outcrop that hovers 700 feet above the road. This past weekend I was with former DEC forest ranger Steve Ovitt, looking for a hike that would let us enjoy the peaking foliage.

We started by walking down to the river for some easy, beautiful views. Then we set off up the west side of Shanty Brook.

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Hooper Garnet Mine, NY

Garnet mining is an important part of the history of the Gore Mountain region. And, right in our neighborhood, is an old abandoned garnet mine; the Hooper Mine on Garnet Hill.

Hooper-Garnet-Mine North River NY

The garnet from this area was (and is) prized for the way it fractures, making it very valuable for abrasives like sandpaper. In 1878 the Barton family began mining on the backside of Gore Mountain.

Twenty years later Frank Hooper started his mining operation near Balm of Gilead Mountain.  Hooper’s mine wasn’t as rich as Barton’s, but to some extent, he made up for it with ingenuity.

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