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Hikers cautioned on Memorial Day conditions

Hikers cautioned on Memorial Day conditions

Snow and ice still remain at higher elevations
Hikers cautioned on Memorial Day conditions
Alpine landscape near summit on a climb of Gothics Mountain, an Adirondack 46er.
Photographer: Shutterstock

ADIRONDACKS -- The state Department of Environmental Conservation is warning people headed to the High Peaks this weekend to be prepared for a taste of winter at the unofficial start of summer.

April was unusually cold and snowy, and higher elevations are still thawing out. DEC is advising hikers to be prepared for ice and rotten (or soft) snow at altitudes above 2,500 feet, especially on north-facing slopes -- in other words, on  the higher levels of almost every mountain in the High Peaks Wilderness.

"DEC is advising people of snow and ice, still, up high, and that hiking in high elevations can be as erosive and damaging with thinning soils from melt-off as hiking on muddy trails can be," said DEC regional spokeswoman Erin Hanczyk.

DEC last week urged hikers to walk through muddy patches of trail, rather than hiking around them, which over time widens the trails and damages the environment.

The season of biting Adirondack black flies, meanwhile, is already underway at lower elevations, according to a DEC advisory. Once they're out, they're typically hard to avoid until sometime in late June.

It's tough to totally foil black flies, but DEC's advice includes: Wear clothing that fully covers your body, use bug spray, and bring/wear a bug net. Also, wear light-colored clothing, since black flies are more attracted to dark colors.

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