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  • Getting started

    Well I've been lurking around here for a few months and finally decided to start making plans to do more hiking this year.

    I went into EMS today in Saratoga,was looking for the high peaks book they advertised,but they were out of stock unfortunately. Decided to poke around a bit. I found an EMS Trail 50 pack on clearance for $56,looked like a decent pack overall. Look forward to using it this year.

    I've been hiking around the woods the last 3 years during hunting season with my sons old school back pack loaded with lunch,emergency gear,extra shells,2 thermos' and drinking water. This should be an improvement over that setup to say the least.

    Went to Barnes and Noble and found the ADK Mountain club book 'High Peak Trails'..will have to read through it and get familiar with the trail heads etc,..
    I'd like to do a few High peaks this well as some of the other trails and smaller peaks a bit more local to Saratoga. Hadley Tower Mt. with maybe an excursion over Bear onto Gill Mt. in Stony Creek,seeing that the mountain was named after my family. As well as whatever else strikes my fancy.

    I'll probably look into decent footwear next and then add different things as I go along.
    This forum is great for all the depth of knowledge and experience for the do's and dont's. Very helpful for newbies!
    Hunt when you can, Fish when you can't.

  • #2
    Consider also the Discover the Adirondacks series of books. You can order direct from the publisher.
    "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman


    • #3
      Thanks..I saw the series you mentioned at the book store..will have to look them up..maybe send the wife to the local library.
      Hunt when you can, Fish when you can't.


      • #4 I have a few questions for the more experienced hikers of the high peaks.
        I have been looking at some of the mileage accumulations in the book I'm reading.and its stating approx. 10.3 miles one way to the peak of Giant. But it also lists most of the peak hikes as 'day hikes'.
        I have never charted the actual mileage that I hike through the woods during hunting season. My grandfather usually states that it 10-12 miles a day,but I have no idea if thats accurate.
        My question is how would you compare the hiking I do during hunting season,which consists of 3 layers of clothes,approx. 15#pack plus rifle,and the fact that the hiking during the season is predominantly bushwacking over mountains and valleys for most of the day, to the trail hiking up the distances listed for the high peak trails?

        Hiking 20+ miles in a day seems like a pretty serious trek to me. I've done several shorter hikes locally like Hadley fire tower and a few other smaller mountains shorter distances. I'm just wondering what exactly I should be preparing myself for.

        Any input would be appreciated,perhaps how long I should expect it to take?

        what should I pack/be prepared for?

        I was told to try Cascade and Porter first,Thoughts?

        I plan on waiting until warmer weather,probably later in spring to try one or two.
        Hunt when you can, Fish when you can't.


        • #5
          It's a very personal thing (speed; do-able distance; elevation; roughness), so maybe you should start with some medium hikes and get a feeling for how your parameters match with trail descriptions and trip reports by others. If you've done a bunch of substantial hikes in the hunting you mention, you could try something harder than Cascade (which is one of the easiest ones).

          But you might want to be careful adding up your mileages, too. Most of the trails to Giant are much shorter than 10.3 miles. I think the longest is from Rte 9 and my trail guide says it's 8 miles. I mention this because for me, anyway, mileage is more of a limiting factor than elevation or terrain. If I'm pushing my limits already (I used to say 20, but I think it's more like around 18, now anyway), and I turn out to have underestimated by several miles, the end of the trip can be quite unpleasant....

          If you buy the ADK guide to High Peaks Trails, the start of each section has a listing of hikes with distances, and several recommendations grouped into Easy, Moderate, Harder (or some such words) -- that might be very useful for you.

          If you're more used to flat hikes "through the woods", be prepared for rougher trails, much more climbing (pacing yourself may be more important), weather exposure higher up (rain protection; extra layer). Do not rely on cell phone reception. Anyway, there are lots of online lists of recommended gear.
          Have fun!


          • #6
            I have the adk guides book...I must have miscalculated while adding. Your info lends to my question/concern in that, if I plan a day hike and find out it was more, I dont want the trip to be a disaster.
            Perhaps I should look up some friends that are avid hikers and learn the do's-dont's from them along the way. I think right now the psychological aspect of seeing 20 miles of walking is spooking me. Probably just have get out there and do it to set my mind at ease.
            I exercise with cardio etc,.. several times a week and I imagine that should be a plus to start out with.
            Thanks for the insights and recommendations..I'll look into it more.
            Hunt when you can, Fish when you can't.


            • #7
              Some general rules of thumb that I use for planning trips:

              The average hiker with a pack will move about 2 mph across mostly level terrain in the woods.

              On rugged terrain (uphill or downhill), this generally decreases to about 1.5 or 1 mph.

              In terms of time and effort, every 1000 feet of elevation gained is equivalent to 1 mile across flat terrain. So you can expect a trail that is 1 mile long and gains 1000 feet in that distance to take you 1 hour. A trail that is 4 miles long and gains 2000 feet in that distance will take you 3 hours.

              You also have to factor in breaks, too- that above method does not include stopping for water/snacks/lunch, which beginner hikers usually take more time for. So you need to add a little bit of time to your overall estimates.

              I would say that 10 miles for a day hike is a pretty good limit to place on yourself when you're just starting out. 20 mile days are certainly doable, but I agree that you'll want to be in better hiking shape and have a better sense of your own pace and abilities before you attempt one.


              • #8
                I'm looking forward to consistant hiking trips starting this year. I think its more practical useful exercise than going to the gym and using equipment...and I love being in the mountains. I'm not big on being cold and the couch potato comes out in the winter..but I need to start living my life a bit more than just plugging in the hours at work and vegetating on the couch on the weekend.
                Maybe I'll see some of you out there at some point!
                Hunt when you can, Fish when you can't.


                • #9
                  I had hiked relatively short distances all of my life and could figure on 2-3 mph in the woods on a trail but when I started carrying a tent and a sleeping bag and food and all of the ancillary stuff I found that 1 mph was about all I could do and I got pretty sore from the backpack. Once I had done it a few times and learned how to minimize the weight I carried and how to pack the backpack so it balanced well I got so that I could generally cover 2-3 MPH again with a pack and with much less discomfort. I would just try a few relatively short hikes where you can look up the mileage and keep track of the time and see what seems to be comfortable for you and as you do it more no doubt it will become easier. I have always found that I enjoy a day much more when I do a little less than I could have rather than pushing myself too far.


                  • #10
                    Don't forget a camera so you can take tons of photos and share them with all of us here at ADKforum.