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Old 08-03-2017, 10:25 AM   #4
tenderfoot's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Rochester NY
Posts: 418
We love Heart Lake Wilderness Campground/ Adirondack Loj. So your intent is to set up a base camp there but also sleep on the trail? So your packs will not be day packs but will have the gear for setting up a remote campsite?

Phelps is a popular day trip but there are overnight designated sites as well.

Mt Jo, right off Heart Lake would be a good idea for day 1. Climb it and return to Heart Lake and see how the troops handled it. It is not a high peak but can give you an idea of what ADK trails are like.

Heart Lake has a nice beach but there are some nice rivers with swimming holes (Opalescent). You may wish to think about hiking into Lake Colden or Flowed Lands from the Loj. There are designated sites around there, swimming holes, and peaks to climb.

A few things to think about (if you have not done so):
  • Plan on bringing a water filter or treatment device and the ability to carry enough.
  • The designated sites can fill up fast on a weekend in Summer. Have a Plan B (and C).
  • Plan on sharing a lean to if your party is less than 8.
  • Flat spots for tents can be scarce
  • Check the rules on bear barrels, campfires and non-designated site camping (150')
  • It will be cooler than you expect; especially if you try a peak.
  • Plan on taking great photos
  • Plan on having a great time

The way I did it was we started camping overnight at Heart Lake, which has a much more wilderness flavor than other campgrounds in the area IMHO and day hiking. That way at the end of your day you know you have a site, you know you have a beach, you know you have a flush toilet and a water spigot. Some of the sites are remote enough that you can't see your car, you can't see other sites - a real wilderness feeling.

later trips we would backpack - hike in with everything and set up camp, and day trip a peak or two while leaving our site set up. And we have worked our way into using a designated site if available, but having the equipment for a non-designated site too.
Eyes on the Forest, not on the Trees
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