While it is unlikely to be a surprise for anyone who has spent much time outdoors this summer, the month of July was the hottest ever recorded in the lower 48 states. The month's record heat broke the previous record established in 1936, during the infamous Dust Bowl years of the 1930s.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average temperature topped out at 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to the record heat, there have also been new records established in 2012 for weather extremes such as drought, heavy rainfall, unusual temperatures, damaging storms and wildfires.
According to scientists at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C, the current year "is out and beyond those Dust Bowl years. We're rivaling and beating them consistently from month to month."
Last month's average temperature was 3.3 degrees warmer than average for the 20th century. In fact, three out of the five hottest months on record occurred during the month of July in 2012, 2011 and 2006. July 1936 and 1934 rounded out the top five.
The period from August 2011 through July 2012 was the warmest 12-month period on record since 1900, according to NOAA.
However, it was not just the record heat that plagued the nation. The U.S. Climate Extreme Index, which measures unusually high and low temperatures, severe drought, downpours and tropical storms and hurricanes, set a new standard during July 2012, with an index of 37 percent that nearly doubled the average of about 20 percent.
While a new single-month record may not appear to be such a big deal, it raises greater concern when combined with the fact that the first seven months of 2012 have been the hottest on record.
In search of the most remote spot
I recently came across a story detailing the ongoing efforts of a young couple from Florida who have been attempting to discover the most remote location in each of the 50 states.
Their pursuit, entitled "Project Remote Northeast," brought them to the Adirondack region in search of the most remote location in New York.
While some will argue the site chosen is not the most remote location available in the Adirondacks, a determination was based primarily on a standard of "remoteness," as measured by the distance from an established road.
Some may be shocked to discover the site of New York's remote spot was just a mere 5.3 miles from the closest road.
The determination confirms a proliferation of roads in the park, which has been estimated at .9 miles of road for every square mile of land. In previous articles, I have detailed similar search efforts based on a "6-mile standard," and yet even I was surprised to find the remote spot in the Seward Range was even closer.
The site, located about a half-mile from the Oluska Pass lean-to on the Northville-Placid trail, is just 5.3 miles from a dirt road that ends at the Blueberry Parking Lot beyond Coreys.
I've camped in the lean-to several times. There is a wonderful story written on the wall of the lean-to that details the terrors a hiker suffered when "metal munching mountain mice of Oluska Pass" chewed holes through his canned goods and left him hungry.
It is indeed a remote site that's just a short hike from Noah Rondeau's Cold River City.
However, surely there are many other sites that could be considered "beyond remote." I can think of several such locations in the Five Ponds Wilderness and the Silver Lake Wilderness, as well as in sections of recently purchased lands near Newcomb and Indian Lake.
While hikers and climbers regularly get off the beaten track, hunters are likely the most commonly active "off-the-trail travelers."
As a result, I am very interested in what readers have to say. Where is the most remote place in the Park, the far beyond? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.