By Alex Garry
Hiking in the Adirondack Park for most is a ‘bucket list’ item to achieve. The Adirondack park spans 6 million acres and is the nation’s largest publicly protected area, greater in size than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined.
How lucky are we, that these historical mountains are right outside our door?! There are 46 high peaks within the Adirondack Mountains – which means these peaks are above 4,000 feet in elevation. The highest peak being Mt. Marcy which stands at 5,344 feet above sea level – WOAH! These types of peaks are not for the beginner hiker, but more for the advanced hiker and experienced mountaineer. If extreme hiking is a point-of-interest for you, here is a great packing list from the Adirondack Mountain Club...
• Boots – must be water resistance, comfortable, good traction, durable, and adequate support.
• Socks – Heavyweight wool socks perform the best. Best to also be worn with a lightweight liner to prevent blisters. Always carry extra!
• Layers of Clothing – NO COTTON! While comfortable to wear, cotton absorbs and retains water, drawing heat away from the wearer. WOOL is a favorite material of woodsmen for centuries, very durable, and retains its insulating qualities when wet. FLEECE is a synthetic material that draws moisture from skin without actually absorbing water, which makes for great insulation.
• Top Base Layer – a long-sleeved synthetic material or mid-weight.
• Insulating Top Layer – Light fleece or wool shirt, sweater or jacket.
• 2nd Insulating Top Layer – Additional fleece, wool shirt, sweater or jacket.
• 3rd Insulating Top Layer – Heavier synthetic, fleece or wool jacket.
• Rain Jacket – Must be waterproof, fit over all layers and with a hood.
• Bottom Base layer – Long-underwear bottom works best and bring an extra!
• 2nd Insulating Bottom Layer – Fleece pants or heavier long-underwear.
• Hiking Pants – Durable, quick-drying synthetic pants are ideal.
• Rain Pants – Any rain pants must be waterproof and fit over all layers.
• Sun Hat – Wide-brimmed hats or baseball caps protect eyes and face from sun.
• Sunglasses – Glasses offering 100% UV protection.
• Winter Hat – Fleece or wool hat provide warmth in rain, at night, or emergency.
• Equipment – These would be required for overnight stays.
• Sleeping Bag – Synthetic-filled bags will perform best.
• Sleeping Pad – Insulates from the cold ground.
• Compression Stuff Sack – makes the sleeping bag easier to pack in a frame pack.
• Backpack – Internal-frame will perform the best. *fill and practice carrying before you go!
• Waterproof Bag Liners – To keep belongings dry, line your pack with a heavy-duty garbage bag.
• Water Storage – Two or three 1-liter plastic water bottles or a bladder-bag.
• Eating gear – Small Tupperware-style bowl with lid for easy cleaning and leftover storage. Spork will suffice for a utensil, cups are optional.
• Flashlight – Headlamps are lightweight and very functional. Always have backup!
• Personal Toiletries – Due to limited space, bring sample-sizes. Avoid fragrant substances as they attract insects and animals.
• Whistle – Three blows is an effective rescue call.
• Lighter/Matches – In a waterproof container. To light stoves and fires.
Other Recommended equipment; navigation Equipment, Pocket Knife, Emergency Space Blanket, Nylon Cord, First-Aid Kit, Trekking Poles, Insect Repellent, Sunscreen, Towel or Bandana, and maybe a Camp Chair.
For more information on what to hike and hiking the Adirondacks in general, visit the Adirondack Mountain Club’s website at adk.org.
Don’t have all those items on the list? Then maybe exploring some of the smaller mountains in the southern Adirondacks would be more your pace. You never want to get ahead of yourself out in the wilderness and need to seek emergency assistance. We’re also so lucky in the fact that nestled between these high peaks are amazing day hikes and adventures!
Similar to the 46 High Peaks (46’er) there is also the opportunity to become a ‘Lake George 12ster’ or a ‘Saranac Lake 6er!’
The Lake George 12ster provides a great experience as to what the Adirondack have to offer. These 12 peaks have nearly 40 miles of trails, and up to 9,000 feet of elevation incline. To become a 12ster at your own pace or tackle them all in a 24-hour marathon!
The 12 peaks are and their elevations;
• Black – 2665’
• Erebus – 2527’
• Sleeping Beauty – 2347’
• Buck – 2334’
• Five Mile – 2256’
• Huckleberry – 2232’
• Thomas – 2031’
• Brown – 1966’
• Cat – 1956’
• Fifth Peak – 1813’
• French Point – 1756’
• First Peak – 1586’
Please visit this website for more information, http://www.lakegeorge12ster.com/
The Lake George Land Conservancy offers the Round the Lake (RTL) Challenge, which includes more than 30 “missions” that incorporate scenic and historic elements as well as other forms of outdoor recreation such as canoeing and kayaking.
The RTL Challenge is free and designed to give people first-hand experiences with Lake George watershed’s natural, historical and cultural resources. Learn why it’s so important to protect the land that protects the lake by completing these RTL missions. The number of missions is ever increasing as the LGLC makes more preserves and trials available to the public.
Visit lglc.org for more information on this, the annual Hike-A-Thon that takes place July 5, and more hiking and land preservation information!
Sample missions include:
• Hiking the trails of Tongue Mountain, Sleeping Beauty, or any of LGLC’s parks and preserves;
• Canoeing or kayaking Jabe Pond and Northwest Bay;
exploring Gull Bay and the exhibits at Up Yonda Farm;
• Participating in the LGLC’s annual Hike-A-Thon;
• Walking the LaChute River Walk Interpretive Trail, and visiting museums and historical roadside markers.
In Northern Warren County you can receive a pin if you visit at least six of the Chester Challenge trails. The Chester Challenge offers a variety of family-friend trails that can be fun for different ages and fitness levels. You’ll find hikes that take anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours in the Chester Challenge. Visit www.townofchesterny.org for more information.
The Saranac Lake 6ers are a great introduction to hiking in the Adirondacks. Along the way you’ll find outstanding views of mountains and water. Here’s a list of the peaks and their elevations;
• Baker – 2425’
• St. Regis – 2874’
• Scarface – 3054’
• Ampersand – 3353’
• Haystack – 2878’
• McKenzie – 3822’
Please visit this website for more information, https://www.saranaclake.com/saranac-lake-6er
Still not into all that extreme hiking?! Don’t worry there are still amazing trails and day hikes within the area that are good for the casual hiker and if you’re hiking with kids. Right within the Lake George Area is; Prospect Mountain, The Pinnacle right in Bolton Landing, Hadley Mountain in Lake Luzerne, and The Pilot Knob Preserve.
Please visit the Lake George Land Conservancy’s website for further information about our great local hikes!
Many thanks and Happy Hiking!