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Heading back to the land of ice and snow

After a brief thaw, snow cover has returned to the North Country, and with it comes a host of activities from skiing and sliding to snow forts and snowball fights.

Unfortunately, across much of the region, there has not yet been enough snow cover to accommodate snowmobiles. In Ray Brook, the railroad tracks in my backyard have remained untracked, except for the passing wildlife.

When it comes to Adirondack winter tourism, white brings the green! Although the list of recreational options is severely limited by a lack of snow, it pays to remember that there is still a lot of winter left and there are still a lot of opportunities available.

Currently, the majority of the region's lake and ponds have good ice cover, and I've received numerous reports of some nice fish being taken on the early ice.

Cross-country skiers, snowshoers and skaters have been busy, as have the ice climbers and backcountry skiers. Fortunately, the weather has been cold enough for communities to maintain municipal ice rinks, and elsewhere, the pond hockey season is in full swing.

The Northville-Placid Trail

Although I'm not much of a computer geek, I recently came across an interesting new Web site created by Tom Wemett, a self-professed "NPT fanatic."

The Web site, www.nptrail.org, is dedicated to the Northville-Placid Trail, (NPT), which originally spanned nearly 133 miles of the Adirondack backcountry. The trail, which was designed and constructed by Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) volunteers beginning in 1921. It was completed in 1923 as one of the ADK's first projects.

The NPT still serves to connect a variety of Adirondack communities and habitats, from lakes to mountains, valleys to swamps and all points between. But, unlike the more mountainous trails that dominate the High Peaks area, the NPT is primarily a 'valley romp' that travels primarily through the river valleys and lowland forests surrounding the ponds and lakes of the region.

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