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slowandsteady 08-22-2017 09:29 PM

Eclipse day on Crane with the New Jersey Yoga Team!
I have always remembered the Barbara McMartin article on the Crane Mountain loop and how it was one of her favorites, so I figured it would be as good a place as any to check out the eclipse from. I tried to time the hike so I would be on the summit at max coverage, so I didn't even start up until noon. I took the loop clockwise, heading toward Putnam far at 1st and ascending from the west side of the pond. It is MUCH easier going up from this side, the descent from the summit to the lot is gobs steeper and rockier, parts of the trail down reminded me of a less rubbly "devil's half mile" up Haystack.

Made it to the top with perfect timing, and a very nice man let me use a welding glass to get the full effect, made the event really memorable. My phone camera is not up to the task of photographing over my shoulder directly into the sun. Everything about Crane (except it's remoteness) was great, the pond, the weather Monday, no black flies, nice breeze at the top, etc...., except for the NJ "Yoga Team."

There were 20+ of the Garden State yoga-ites crammed into the large Chevy Transit van I saw at the trail head. They stayed in a large, illegal, traffic jam causing group up and down the mountain, leaving banana peels, apple cores and other (probably organic) garbage strewn about the trail. At the summit they were SO LOUD-somehow not what I expected from a yoga group. Luckily the summit has many ledges where other hiking regulars could have fun discussions about our NJ group- I pictured them having MTV NJ Shore like arguments: "Your downward facing dog is sh*t, ya think you're better then me, do ya?" I have nothing against Jersey or Yoga, but the idea of a "team" of them struck me as funny, which I needed because their trail etiquette was sh*t too. There are just too many groups like this, I like the idea of the stewards at the trail heads, but maybe a huge nastygram sign at every popular trail head might help too. End of rant-S&S

Trail Boss 08-23-2017 07:19 AM

Did you speak to them about the littering?

slowandsteady 08-23-2017 11:13 AM

I spoke to someone who seemed to be in charge (and yes she was wearing yoga pants)-they seemed genuinely shocked that there are group size limits and that biodegradable garbage should be hauled out. Part of me thinks you should have to take a LNT class before they let you in ADK park. :beatdead:

Trail Boss 08-23-2017 12:27 PM

It's a common misconception among new hikers that the backcountry, unlike the city, has few if any regulations let alone standards of behavior. The NJ/yoga aspect isn't germane; ignorance about backcountry rules and ethics is widespread.

The key is education and to engage people in a conversation. I've found most people are simply unaware of the rules yet are open to learning. For the few who aren't receptive, or know the rules but choose to ignore them, I typically just remind them of the amount of the fines involved (and move on).

So how was the eclipse? Did you have glasses to view it? I just stood outside my home with a pinhole camera to observe the l'il bite taken out of the sun. 60% coverage wasn't enough to make much of a difference in the ambient lighting but it was fun to "be" in the moment. 2024's solar eclipse will offer much better viewing for the Northeast; smack dab in the path of totality.,7

slowandsteady 08-24-2017 01:45 PM

The 2024 eclipse center goes right over my house almost literally, although I like the idea of climbing Lyon or St. Regis to see it from there. The welders glass I borrowed on Crane worked quite nicely

Trail Boss 08-24-2017 02:51 PM

FWIW, welder's glass is available in different grades. According to this advisory, it needs to be at least Shade 12, preferably 13 for proper protection.


Experts suggests that one widely available filter for safe solar viewing is welders glass of sufficiently high number. The only ones that are safe for direct viewing of the Sun with your eyes are those of Shade 12 or higher. These are much darker than the filters used for most kinds of welding. If you have an old welder's helmet around the house and are thinking of using it to view the Sun, make sure you know the filter's shade number. If it's less than 12 (and it probably is), don't even think about using it to look at the Sun. Many people find the Sun too bright even in a Shade 12 filter, and some find the Sun too dim in a Shade 14 filter — but Shade 13 filters are uncommon and can be hard to find.

gebbyfish 08-24-2017 03:23 PM


Originally Posted by slowandsteady (Post 261628)
I spoke to someone who seemed to be in charge (and yes she was wearing yoga pants)-they seemed genuinely shocked that there are group size limits and that biodegradable garbage should be hauled out. Part of me thinks you should have to take a LNT class before they let you in ADK park. :beatdead:

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think size limits apply specifically to the High Peaks region and not elsewhere.

Trail Boss 08-24-2017 03:55 PM

You're correct. The High Peaks Wilderness area has a day-hiking group limit of 15 people.


1) In the Eastern High Peaks Zone or Western High Peaks Zone, no person shall:
(i) be part of a day use group containing 16 or more people;
Outside of this area, the park-wide regulation of 20 people takes effect (you need a permit to exceed 20 people).

(ac) On State lands, no person shall sponsor, conduct or participate in any organized event of more than 20 people unless otherwise authorized by the department. Examples of organized events include, but are not limited to: sponsored hikes; archery and fishing tournaments; snowmobile, bicycle, horse and orienteering races, runs, rides or competitions (including biathlons and triathlons); encampments; and re-enactments.

gebbyfish 08-24-2017 04:00 PM

I know it may not reflect good stewardship to bring a busload of yogis on a hike, BUT even a big group(20) is within the letter of the law outside of the High Peaks. Thanks for finding the specific laws TB! I was looking for it on the DEC site between patients and hadn't been able to find it!

slowandsteady 08-24-2017 05:24 PM

FWIW think their number was 22-23. TB thanks for the info on the welders glasses. By the time the next eclipse rolls around I want to have the gear I saw on the PBS eclipse special they had last night (fantastic btw), the good camera with the right filter, and some kind of glasses. I'm sure I'm not the first one with this idea but some northern peaks (Lyon, Debar, St.Regis, Azure) are almost dead center in he zone of totality.

Tabe 08-25-2017 08:05 PM

20 hopefully women in yoga pants and not a single pic.What is the world coming too?wink wink!

Trail Boss 08-25-2017 11:19 PM


Originally Posted by Tabe (Post 261723)
What is the world coming too?


DSettahr 09-05-2017 01:06 AM

I don't think that the regulation cited could be construed to apply to "any group of more than 20 people." It's fairly evident that the regulation was meant to apply to only certain types of activities requiring a level of organization that goes beyond a mere "day hike." (Else why would it list so many different examples of what constitutes an "organized event" and not just say "day use group," as with the High Peaks-specific regulation?)

I think that most rangers would be hesitant to ticket any group exceeding 20 people (especially a group that was over that number by only a couple people) who were just hiking. Sure, an instructor-lead yoga session on the summit certainly could give the group the necessary level of organization to be in violation of the regulation, but with the way the regulation is written, I think it'd be a hard sell to get most judges to agree that it applies to hiking alone.

For those that like to impart education upon other groups while hiking, I'd be careful to avoid explicitly saying "any day use group over 20 people can be ticketed." If any such group happens to follow up with the DEC, I'd bet that the official response would be more or less what I've written above. And the disconnect between what you've told them and the official response will lead them to question what else you may have said.

A better tactic, I think, would be to remind such groups that areas like the Adirondacks are destinations where people tend to go to avoid crowds, and that large groups, even well-meaning ones, can generate exponentially greater levels of social and physical impact upon backcountry resources (one large group can cause more impacts than the combined impacts made by multiple small groups). Remind trip leaders also that from a leadership standpoint, small groups are infinitely easier and less stressful to manage. (I've noticed that there is a threshold, around 10-12 people, beyond which no one in the group, not even the supposed leaders, seems to be able to accurately say exactly how big the group is. If they don't know how many of them there are, how do they know they haven't lost someone?)

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