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Old 06-20-2006, 08:30 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: West Sand Lake, NY
Posts: 5,857
Beginner's ADK Hiking Guide

The intent of this thread is to provide basic hiking information for beginning hikers. Most of the answers to questions from members new to the Adirondacks and new to hiking in general can be found somewhere in this thread. This information has been skimmed from 2.5 years of threads here at ADK Forum and condensed for easy access. This forum's membership is the author of this post.

"Beginner's" Peaks:

The following hikes are considered the least strenuous of the ADK 46 4,000' mountains:

1 - Cascade and Porter from Route 73.
2 - Phelps from the ADK loj.
3 - Wright from the ADK loj.
4 - Lower Wolfjaw from the Ausable Club.
5 - Big Slide via The Garden or John's Brook.

The following suggested hikes are less strenuous than most of the 46 highest peaks but still offer nice vistas and are good for gaining experience mountain climbing:

1 - Mt Jo from the ADK loj.
2 - Sleeping Beauty, Black and/or Buck Mountain from the eastern shore of Lake George.
3 - Treadway Mountain from Putnam Pond camp ground.
4 - Hadley Mountain.
5 - Blue or Goodnow Mountains in the Central Adirondacks.
6 - Ampersand Mountain from Route 3.
7 - Noonmark from 73.
8 - Hurricane from 9N.

"Beginner's" Hikes:

The following suggested hikes are over mostly level trail in well traveled parts of the park. I mention these for those completely new to hiking and are considered easy because of terrain and short distances:

1 - Putnam Pond to Grizzle Ocean, Clear Pond, and others if so inclined.
2 - Copperas Pond
3 - The Garden to John's Brook Lodge.
4 - Marcy Dam from the ADK loj.
5 - Hike into Whitehouse in the Southern Adirondacks.
6 - Black Mt. Pond and/or Lapland Pond on the eastern shore of Lake George.

These lists are by no means comprehensive but do offer a beginning hiker a few choices to get started.

Warm weather survival gear and what to bring:

First, review this thread for some very basic lists for what to bring. These lists are more geared toward overnight backpacking but can get you acquainted with many of the key items people bring with them when hiking in the wilderness.

Essential warm weather daypack items are:

* 2+ liters of water
* purification tablets or good means of filtration
* plenty of salty, carbohydrate and protein filled snack foods
* a main meal/lunch
* water resistent hiking boots with good traction
* flashlight or headlamp
* change of socks, warm hat, and warm shirt
* hooded rain coat and/or rain hat (even if the forecast looks good)
* comfortable daypack
* toilet paper (1/4 roll should suffice)
* bug repellant (with deet)
* basic first aid kit
* waterproof matches
* pocket knife
* emergency blanket
* walking stick or trekking poles (aids in providing balance during the descent)
* detailed map/trail guide of region
* compass
* basic knowledge of how to use a compass
* appropriate clothes for the weather conditions

The rain coat can double as a wind breaker, as sometimes it's cooler and breezy on top even when warm at the trailhead. All of these items should weight less than 20 pounds and assure you will not lack any necessities during the hike.

In the summer it's okay to hike in cotton clothing, but be aware that cotton does not help you retain body warmth when wet. So if there's a chance of rain and temps colder than 60F you may want to bring wool or synthetic clothing (nylon, fleece, polypro, etc). Wool and synthetics offer some insulating properties even when wet.

Winter weather conditions require much more preparation and quality gear to accomplish safely. You will want to ask for advice early into your winter hiking adventures. Finding a friend with prior winter experience is a plus, it may save you some cold toes and could even save your life. Generally groups of 3 or more are recommended in case someone has to go for help someone else can stay with the injured/sick hiker.

Winter conditions can be found 8 months out of the year above 3500' in the Adirondack Mountains. We had snow as early as the first week in October last year, and as late as early June this year. Be prepared for the unexpected and don't be afraid to turn around if conditions deteriorate. The mountain will still be there next time. It's not uncommon for even experienced hikers to turn aorund, sometimes very close to the summit. Safety should be a high priority when heading into the wilderness.

Last edited by Kevin; 04-10-2008 at 10:39 AM..
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