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Old 11-26-2003, 11:23 PM   #21
Jeff
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Hiking Safety

Everyone is encouraged to get out and experience the Great Outdoors, especially the Adirondacks. But not everyone has the same skills and/or experience. There are some basic guidelines that ALL should follow. Here are some tips presented by the N.Y.S. Dept. of Environmental Conservation Hiking Safely and Backcountry Hiking and Camping Rules

Last edited by Jeff; 08-26-2004 at 11:27 PM..
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Old 11-27-2003, 09:34 PM   #22
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I was heading up Dix a few years ago on a pleasant sunny spring day going up through hunters pass I think. I was wearing a baseball cap that I wore a little too low because I walked past the point where the trail made a sharp right hand turn up the mountain. I continued on this herd path for a few hundred feet when I noticed it faded away to just a forest floor. I "WAS" not one to back track when hiking so I just looked to my right and started to climb up through the brush and climb up the cliffs untill I was spent of energy. At this point I realized that I was not going to make it up this side of the mountain and had gone way off trail and had to some how get back to the trail. I pulled out the map and compass and started to find out where the heck I was. I took a compass reading from the map and managed to get down to a small ravine near the trail. I decided to take another compass reading and walk in one direction for 10 minutes and if I couldn't find the trail I would come back to the place where I started from. Well, I walked right back onto the Hunters Pass trail just below where it hits the Dix trail. I was tired but I would not go back until I did Dix! I did it, and the march out to Dix Pond leanto was a death march!! I was dehydrated, Hungry, And very tired! I drank four liters of water and ate like crazy, I slept for a few hours and just before dark I decided to go home and not do the trailless peaks. After this trip I never go into the back country without my filter and everything I need to survive in case I get stranded. I went back this past winter to do some of the others up there but that's another story. I still need East Dix and Hough.
Alive to fight another day!!
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Old 12-03-2003, 08:23 AM   #23
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Like others I have several worst case scenarios...but I'm on the tail end of a 8 month recovery so I thought I would tell this tale. I really don't know what or how many things went wrong.
I wanted to do a 50 mile multiday guided snowshoe hike up in Labrador. Medically I got the ok ..good and strong.( A few years previous I went into the Maine "100 mile wilderness" knowing I wasn't running on all cylinders and upon completion had it resolved).
Last Feb 03 I thought it best to do some training hikes and shoot for the 50 mile shoe this season (04). I made a couple of pulks(sleds) and did an overnighter..temps were about -25..things went ok, but the sled hung up a lot and it was extremely strenuous (mistake?) somewhat like hugging a tree and trying to throw it to the ground.
Next Week: my wife and I set out for a 25 mile 3 day snowhoe. Temps still around -25. Two people one sled. The 1st day went ok... but strenuous.
Day 2 was a bust. Heavy floundering in deep powder...and long hrs of route finding. My wife went ahead downhil to reconoiter a section..and on the return up hill she was essentialy swimming her way through the powder to no avail..I dug out the rope and threw her a line etc.. It was time to regroup. We off loaded half the sled and retraced our steps. We were not lost but exhausted. Time for plan B. We made multiple trips with our gear and repacked the sled...Total distance that day for 8 hrs of flat out effort..2miles.
Plan B: we made camp.. all was well, but that night was my 1st clue we were overdoing...I'm sleeping but my hearts racing 90 miles an hr..it thinks we're still hauling!!
We are still within our time frame if we push it to the Max and do 13+ miles through deep powder the next day. Good stormy sleep dinner, breakfast, melt snow...we are good to go. We have some powder gatorade but go easy on it and go for the water as it taste much better (mistake?). We drink the last of our water as we ford a good sized stream. We rig a string and fill our water bottles I opt not to boil it as I don't want to break out the stove (mistake?) I Think that Giardia is not a winter problem I thought it died below freezing. (I think we droped in some iodine tablets)
We hike out about 11 pm exhausted but succesfull...So I thought!
(later in the season a solo skier and his dog do a shorter variation of the same hike... he is rescued and air lifted out ..it cost him both his feet)

Things are good ..we head for Quebec a few days later for vacation and some shoeing. I should say things were good for about 5 days..I came down sick while doing a day mnt climb/shoe though the previous day I felt fine.

Back in the states I am diagnosed with Giardia...but I don't have the big symptons...and I am not tested for it ..it is just assumed. My wife who did everything the same is fine..no problems at all.
Then doctors said it was from electrolytes.potasium etc ..not enough gatoriade?.......then as I move to another hospital...perhaps my heart caught a virus...?
Finally they do not know...however after a lovely ride in a ambulance I am brought to a hospital that knows the solutions..but not the cause.
After several sci- fi procedures it seems all the parts are ticking away smoothly...I was not laid out the whole recovery time..I got a couple of day hikes in and some kayaking .

Lessons learned...I think you can actually do damage running low on electrolytes. Dehydration etc
I think you can do damage straining to much...like trying push over a house.... lift a car..

I'll probably skip hauling a tobogan 50 miles in Labrador...but then again it is snowshoe season...and after all they say I'm ok.!!

Cept they don't know what went wrong .......
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Old 12-15-2003, 05:31 PM   #24
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Redfield February 17, 1996

I believe my worst winter climb was Redfield, winter of '95-'96. A group of 3 men and myself were attempting to climb Redfield via right up through Uphill Brook. When suddenly the ice went snap, crackle, Pop and the ice gave way and I started floating on a piece of ice. The next thing I knew I slid off that piece of ice and plunged right through the ice up to my waist in water and never touching bottom. It took the 3 men with me to pull me out of the brook, as I never would of done it alone. In winter hiking always hike with a party of a minimum of 3 in worst case senarios as this. Had I not of had these gentlemen with me, I never would of survived. They got me to the safety of the land, and immediately had me change into drier clothing, boots, etc. I hiked out the 7 or so miles packless as the gentlemen took my belongings so that I didn't have anything to slow me down so that I could make it back to the ADK Lodge as quickly as possible. I learned valuable lessons on using my own judgement of the feelings of ice underfoot after that experience, rather than someone else telling me the ice was safe. I have always been weary of brook and river ice crossings after that. I did recieve mild frostbite to my toes.
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Old 12-16-2003, 02:30 PM   #25
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Cascade and Porter

I would have to say Cascade and Porter about 3 years ago in late August. I took my girlfriend at the time and it was her first hike. All went well until we were descending to the parking lot. This is where I got the brilliant idea to go ahead and get to the car first and get it warm since it was a rainy cold day.

We were about a mile from the car and I figured it would take her about 45 minutes to get there. Well, after a while I am waiting and it is getting dark and she is not back yet. I then set off after her. I was screaming yelling her name and nothing but stillness. My adrenelin started pumping and I was now running up the trail. After about 15 minutes I found a sighn that she was close.

I knew she was diabetic and I needed to find her fast. About 15 minutes later I found her. I had candy with me that I grabbed from the car and she started feeling better. Come to find out she took a pee break and got turned around and started heading back up the mountain. I guess I take the Adirondacks for granted and figured anyone had the comman sence to continue down hill and not head back up.

If you all have done Cascade it is virtually all up hill to the summit from the 73 trailhead. I just figured she would know to keep coming down hill. I definately know now that someone who has never been in the back country you should never leave them even if it is only a mile from the car.

I got lucky here!!! I was stupid I know that but there was a valuable lesson learned on my part and it will never happen again!!!!!

Thanks for listening!!!!!
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Old 01-25-2004, 05:02 PM   #26
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I originally wrote of this over at the OTHER forum.....

This is long, but some who've been lost may find it interesting...

I did a classic stupid move this summer.
It started out my wife was gone to visit her parents for the weekend, (normally she knows where I am).
I decided on a Saturday afternoon to do a quick 12-13 mile R/T on the AT in PA to pick up a 7 mile section of trail (I am section hiking it). I started out at 2:30PM, knowing I had an easy 6 hours of daylight and that I could dayhike faster than 2 MPH and that there was also an old shortcut tote road on my map that was a direct beeline back to where the section of trail curves way out, cutting off a 1.5 - 2 miles on the return.

So, I get to my turnaround point at 5:35PM - 5 minutes later than my final turnaround time - The sheer number of rocks on the trail slowed me down as I am hiking (This is PA) So I simply rationalize that the shortcut trail will easily save me that 5 minutes.

As I head back I get to the old tote road intersection, (which is basically now a gouged section of deep erosion with much rockhopping) and I follow it uphill for about 1.25 miles and about 500 feet elevation gain. I am looking for a cutoff trail from it and come upon several deer paths, but nothing that looks more "trail like” The old road I am following suddenly turns off North, in the wrong direction and starts heading 90-100 degrees from where I need to go - The map doesn't show this, so I follow for 15 minutes before I realize it doesn't turn back and I am well past the herd path cutoff I am looking for.

Now daylight is a premium and I remember the dogs haven't been fed at home and start feeling a little tense and angry with myself for getting into this situation. I backtrack to the point where the road turned and examine my map much more closely and think I have an option other than following the old road back to the AT and coming out well in the dark with only my Photon light. I can bushwhack for about 1/2 mile and should come out on the AT.

I decided to BW. I took a bearing from the map (My compass was already set for declination) and then started my route using my compass to point to trees and walking to them and then finding the next tree. After about 20 minutes of puckerbrush, vines, ticks, rocks, hills and valleys, I feel like I am ready to panic. I can't find a trace of trail and for sure I should have come across the AT by now. The sun is now a sharp angle across the sky and sunset is little more than 1.5 hours away.

I decide to start running through the woods in the direction I feel I should go, but after a minute, I stop, feeling overwhelmingly like an idiot for doing everything wrong. I decide to walk over to a big rock and sit down, take stock and calm myself down.

As I am sitting there I count off my mistakes - they were:
- I left no itinerary with anyone
- started to late and assumed no trail problems to slow me down
(Rocks, rocks, rocks),
- Took a shortcut through woods I was not familiar with,
- Did not have headlamp (only my small photon) which could
cause me to trip on rocks and break my leg in the dark.
- Took even another shortcut by bushwhacking,
- Started running and panicking a little, which could cause injury,

After thinking this stuff through, I realized my pluses were:
- It was hot weather - I could bivy for the night with my
backpack, foam seat pad and a big plastic bag I carry,
- I had 1/2 bottle of water and 2 old cliff bars,
- I still had my Photon Light along with my ten essentials
- My wife wouldn't be home panicking and calling the SP at
Midnight,
- I knew "roughly" where I was in around a 50 Square mile area
of hills, game lands and state wilderness area,
- The dogs would survive a night in our kennel,

SO after I calmed down I laughed at getting myself in this predicament, (The same nervous laugh I used during my first day of Boot camp in the Army). I realized that I wasn't that bad off and I could work my way back in the AM and get on the Tote Road and follow it back to the AT and head home the way I came in.

So after sitting there for 5 minutes and thinking about this, I decide to look for a spot to make a small fire for the evening. As I round a big tree a few steps away, I see a Boundary marker about 50 feet off around 30 degrees from the direction I was traveling. I walk to the marker and see a faint deer path heading in the direction the trail should go, I decide to walk along it for 5 minutes and see where it goes (I still had an hour of daylight, but was now at peace with my decision to just sleep in the woods) - After 2 -3 minutes of following it, I come to an old AT blaze, I stop and turn to survey the area and see another further up I then realize I am now at a junction of the deer path and an old section of the AT where it had been rerouted. I followed the old AT for 5 more minutes and WOW!! It came out at the shortcut junction I had originally intended to come out on.

I was jubilant and ecstatic at my luck and quickly pulled out my map to understand where I had been. I ended up hiking out and getting to the car in twilight.

I late found out that when the trail is rerouted, only the blazes at the reroute points are blacked out, in many cases the blazes on the rest of the old route are left undisturbed.

Did I learn? Yes. I also realized how easy it is for someone to start to panic, thinking of all the things that could go wrong, rather than assessing what is available to make things go right.
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Old 01-25-2004, 06:19 PM   #27
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Absolute worst case happened _after_ a trip (canoe trip). I was tired, and lunch made me even sleepier. I nodded off for only a second, drifted into a guard rail, and flipped the car with two passengers (one was my son). Car was totaled, but no one seriously hurt, although all were shaken up quite a bit. Definitely a lesson to be learned here...

As for worst actual hiking experience, it has to be breaking my wrist (I am a pianist by profession) from slipping on a large wet root on the trail to Noonmark.
That was years ago, and I'm still hiking and playing the piano.

There was one other incident that involved leaving from the wrong trailhead, but it was so incredibly stupid I'm too embarrassed to tell the complete tale! Suffice it to say that the worst thing that resulted was a wasted day.
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Old 01-27-2004, 01:34 AM   #28
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algonquin bites back!

There's a blister on my big right toe the size of a Ford Pinto. Most of my toe is numb, and what feeling I do have, is like having an army of worms crawling around inside, each with little pins poking at every living cell they see. The rest of the toe is black. That goes for the left one too, cept not so bad.
Sometimes I have sharp piercing pains that would make Rambo tell Charlie every secret he has, including that time with the midget and the baby oil.
But pain was also my friend. Pain told me that some kind of life was going on down there in footland, and that 'god willing' I wouldn't be wearing a toe necklace. Here's what happened.
Three days ago, my buddy 'The KID' and I drove up to the ADK LOJ to do a little truck camping. It was probably 20 below zero outside. I crawled into my icebox sleeping bag in the back of the truck, and as soon as I got barely warm, I noticed that I had left the inside light on in the cab.
The worse was yet to come.
I drempt about ice cubes, an evil 'Frosty the Snowman', Siberia, demented penguins, and a big giant snowflake that ate the world.
Woke up about as warm as a popcycle and we started out on our hike to climb Algonquin.
About two miles in, my buddy started complaining that both of his feet were numb. I was feeling pretty good at this point, and being the good hiking buddy I am, gave up my nice-well insulated, warm as can be winter boots. I also threw in my one and only toe warmer packet for good measure. I had a pair of ASOLO boots that my crampons fit onto, and slipped my feet into that stiff frozen leather. But I was feeling alright, the day was beautiful, (clear) and I was looking forward to the great views.
Towards the top, My buddy snapped a pic of me looking at the WARNING sign about proper gear. I had on boots with about as much insulation as a school after the asbestos crew came through. It was only -35 degrees out on the summit. No need to worry..
Above the treeline, it was like climbing through hell, moments after Hell froze over.
My buddy and I scrambled to he top, and felt OK. I came up with a brilliant plan!
"Why not do a little jaunt over to Iroquios?" My buddy wasn't too thrilled with the idea. But I was in 'peak bag mode' and what the hell, it's right there! The only problem was to get there and back turned out to be almost as bad as climbing Everest, blindfolded and wearing a swimsuit. But who cares, we are tough young bucks, with nothing to loose but a life or two!
In the col between the two peaks, I met a guy who said these words to me. "Your nose is white" I reached up to touch my honker and it was froze solid!! Panic sunk in! It already repelled the ladies, :P a bad case of frostbite wouldn't help the situation! I pulled up my turtleneck over my beak. That guy saved my nose! Thanks buddy! The thing I learned was that freezing happens at the speed of light in conditions like that. Conditions that you wouldn't even knew existed. The guy then explained to me that he was up there to look for his brown hat that he lost a week earlier. It must of been one hell of a F'in hat!!!
I got to the top of Iroquios, ten minutes after my buddy and stood there long enough to snap a few pics, mind you that I just held the camera out, there was no time to look through the view finder. This situation was getting really serious. I was scared. I also thought of why I was even there. I mean, what in the hell does a 'Winter 46' patch mean? Was it going to get me laid on a daily basis? Was I going to sew it on my pack and be the envy of every hiker? What was it good for, if you are dead? I started back down, back towards Algonquin. My water was frozen solid. My cookies had been mashed together and froze into a big unedible ball. I wasn't looking forward to tree line and above.

Going up took every thing I had. I was in a state of panic. I was messing up, slipping, disoriented, out of breath. Then something happened to me. A feeling unlike I have ever witnessed before. Nope, no enlightnment, no sense of inner peace. Nope, what I felt was that my arms were totally electrified. It was like the feeling when your arms fall asleep in the night, cept amplified ten times. It was very discomforting, almost like a sign that all is lost. I fell down and began to crawl toward the summit. Death was knocking on my front door. To stop here and give up was an open invite for the grim reaper, and he had a horrible way to die in mind for me. I paused. I stopped, I closed my eyes. I pictured myself on a beach in Hawaii,
kicking back soaking up the rays, checking out the girls in bikinis through my 'mirrored trooper shades'. A brief meditation. Maybe that's all it took for me to continue. Everything that I thought before was turned to dust. My gray beard hairs, my rusty old car with no brakes, my troubles were so meaningless.
I pushed onward. I got back the summit of Algonquin and felt a sense of relief. Nothing but downhill from here. Downhill including my physical well being too!
Once at treeline, I remember that my feet were frozen to the bone, but I didn't care at that point. I just wanted out ASAP!Some might say what I did next was as stupid as going over to Iroquios. In the back of my pack was a torpedo!

This was no ordinary torpedo. It was black with JAWS teeth painted on the front. On the back were the words "Kiss my ass!" flames were drawn on the side. It was my personal sled. And this thing was going to get me off of New York's 2nd highest mountain in record time. My buddy had one of his own. There was nothing stopping us. The trail was like a giant bobsled run. We were now bats going out of hell.
Once back to the LOJ, I looked forward to a warm fire and some good chow. I had cheated death, and had a new positive outlook. I hoped that it would last for awhile!
About 1/2 hour later, P A I N decided to throw a party. I was the host. My frostbitten toes were about to thaw out. P A I N brought along some Hells Angels, some PCP, some Tequilla, some Crystal Meth and crack. This party was going to go on for days, maybe weeks and it was going to get UGLY.. REAL UGLY!
4:21 AM I was in the emergency room. I had lied awake all night in utter agony. I had one hell of a scary case of frostbite on my two big toes. Would they get amputated? Would I walk like a cripple? Would I hike again? Good thing I had just finished the book 'How to stop worrying and start living" by Dale Carnegie. I only worried 99% as much as I would of before the book! Speaking of books, this is turning into one. Alot of I'S I'S I'S in here, and I'm getting sick of myself
SO on that note, I bid you all a good bye. Be careful out there. Even if you think you are experienced, you aren't. What happens is that people push themselves to harder and harder things, thinking that they are invinsible. I won't loose my toes, but I won't forget the pain or the scars. Winter sucks too! (had to throw that in) c-ya out there in spring! Mike 'BIRD' MAMMY

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Old 01-27-2004, 02:14 PM   #29
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My ex-husband of 7 years was severely frostbitten on the heel of his foot many years ago after a climb to Street Mt. on a cold -20 degree climb. His heel turned black and had monster fluid sacs that formed. We soaked the feet a couple times a day and drained the fluid from the foot with a sterilized needle and kept it wrapped in clean bandages. It took several months for the foot to start healing when the black skin finally peeled and new skin formed. He never seemed to have a problem with cold feet after which was very surprising. His major mistake was when his feet got cold we didn't turn around, then eventually he said the feet were warmer which really they weren't they just got so knumb he didn't feel them anymore and then it was to late. I remember being mortified at the sight of his foot when we got home. He also was to stubborn to get medical treatment but fortunately we did okay on our own.
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Old 03-07-2004, 06:42 PM   #30
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Gothics trip

Building Character up Gothics
names are changed

June 2002 two friends of mine and my dad and I sent off on a backpacking trip that would result in a lot of learning. Some would call it a disaster, but if you will look closely at disaster however bad, result in learning experiences. Katie a fun 17 year old Junior in High school with energy and enjoys the outdoors. Julie is a 18 year old going to the air force and knows a lot about the outdoors. The plan was to hike for five days in the Adirondacks, climbing six mountains above 4000’: Armstrong, Wolfjaw, Gothics, Marcy, and possibly Brothers and Big Yard.
My dad drove us up to Keene Valley on a Tuesday. Katie, Julieand I started hiking to Wolf Jaw Lean-to, which was about five miles, but seemed like a lot more. The trail was rough with a lot of mud, rocks and logs in the trail. At intersections in the trail we left signs to my dad who was going to follow us to the lean-to since he is slower. On the hike Heidi was starting to lag behind from Danielle and I. Every so often we would wait for her to catch up because we liked hiking at our pace.
Finally we arrived at the lean-to at around six o’clock. We were exhausted so we took off our boots and changed our sweaty clothes. We didnt know where dad was. He is old, so he has a slower pace. We thought he had lost the trail or just hadn’t arrived yet. I had carried his tent. We were planning on hiking another three days and meet him back at base camp so I didn’t want to be carrying his tent the next few days. So when my dad still hadn’t arrived at around ten o’clock we discussed what to do with the tent, we figured dad had stayed at a lean-to a mile back on the trail. So we decided that we should go back and return it.
We were going to have a hard, long day the next day so I decided to wake up at three in the morning and hike two miles to return the tent in the dark. So I hiked the trail back and took the wrong trail at first, so I had to backtrack and it took longer. I used my head lamp to see the trail because it was pitch-black. I came upon one of our signs and on it, dad had written,”staying at JBL” (John’s Brook Lodge). I arrived at John’s Brook Lodge where I went into a room and asked if there was a old man there, they told me to go next door. I did, and found dad sleeping in the bunk. So I gave him the tent I had been carrying and told him where we were and when we would meet him, I also gave him a cell phone in case we needed to contact him. This was about 4:30 in the morning. So then I hiked back to the lean-to and arrived there at 6:00am.
Julie and Katie were waking up so I brought the bear bag down. We ate some oatmeal and hot chocolate because it was cold. We also packed our supplies up and pumped water for our journey ahead. We started hiking up Lower Wolf Jaw Mountain, taking breaks every so often. Julie was beginning to lag behind and she told me she wasn’t feeling good. She had a stomach ache and pretty bad too, little did I know it was just the beggining. The trail was very rough and difficult to climb with 40-60 pounds on your back. There was large boulders to climb up and sometimes ladders to ascend. Sometimes you need a rope to pull your pack up the rock while you climbed up. The trail up Wolfjaw, is rough! This was a tough trail to deal with when you are healthy. On the top of Wolf Jaw when Julie was going to the bathroom, Katie thought that if we took out some of Heidi’s heavy gear she would hike faster (HA HA yeah right). So we took some out and put it into both our packs. After our short break of eating gorp and drinking water we started out again to Armstrong Mountain. The whole time the mosquitoes were the worst I had ever seen them. There were about 100 surrounding your face and I put on pants just to ward them off. I ate about 20 of them because every time you opened your mouth, one would fly in. Julie was getting sicker and was lagging way behind. To help Julie we kept taking more and more out of her pack and putting it into ours.
At lunch time on top of a mountinent Julie started crying because she felt bad that she was supposed to be the leader and now she is letting us down and making us do all the work. Katie and I told her it’s okay and the important thing is to keep hiking and not give up. We would get back to the lean-to. At lunch we decided to call Julie’s mom on our cell phone. Heidi’s mom called the search and rescue team and wanted them to pick her up with a helicoptor. So we ended up talking to the search and rescue team and found out they didn’t have a helicopter but they said they would send some guys up their to help us down. Katie and I tried to convince Julie that we didn’t need any help and we just had to get down and get out. Julie’s mom said she was going to pick her up that night. I really dislike cell phones now because we spent two hours talking and waiting for calls and Julie’s mom called the rescue team even though they couldn’t help us. Heidi was so sick she wasn’t thinking straight. We should have taken the phone from her and told the ranger we would get down and get Julie home and they couldn’t do anything but we figured she is the leader and older so she knows best. We started hiking some more, with Katie in the lead and Julie in the back, I stayed with her, making sure she was okay. Kaite and I kept taking more and more out of her pack, mostly into mine. I kept singing this song that goes, BOOM, BOOM ain’t it great to be crazy, BOOM BOOM ain’t it great to be mad, Julie wasn’t too happy with this song but was too sick to say anything. I also told her not to feel bad because she was helping us build character and muscle.
Up Gothics which is a really tough climb, I ended up caring Julie’s pack and my pack, about 80 pounds. This was extremely difficult but I knew I had to do it because Julie had to get down to get water and go home. I also let Julie wear my bug head net because she needed it more than me. The hike down from Gothics was horrible, especially if you are sick. There was a rock cliff face with cables that you used to stable yourself as you slid down on your butt. When we reached the bottom we found a stream and pumped a lot of water for we had drunk all of our water and were dehydrated. We were eating celery and carrots to get the water in them to quench our thirst. Even though we needed the water, we didn’t want to stop because the bugs were from hell, you just wanted to see without a bug going in your eye and talk with out crunching. As we went down “the trail” from Gothics we were horrified with what we saw. I tried to make Heidi feel better with a enthusiastic, “O look isn’t this trail going to be fun”. There were slimy moss covered boulders, which you slid on your butt down, only to hug a tree in order to stop yourself from sliding down the rock face and breaking your leg. This experience put a new meaning into tree-hugger. This was a very interesting experience. I kept encouraging and helping Julie A few parts we bush-whacked but that was tough too because it was so thick. Finally we made it down from the worst of it and the bugs were disappearing for it was getting later. We kept hiking on the trail that never seemed to end.
We made it to my dad’s lean-to at 8:00pm and all three of us were exhausted. I was extremely tired because I had woken up at three the previous morning. Dad wondered what happened, for we hadn’t planned on meeting him for another two or three days. We told him about Heidi getting sick and her mom was going to pick her up at the garden (parking lot). He suggested that I take Heidi’s pack to the garden and wait with her for her mom, for she was sick and shouldn’t hike alone. I agreed because I wanted to help her. So I left my pack at the lean-to, loaded up mine and borrowed Katie’s head lamp. Julie and I hiked the four miles in about two hours in the dark. We talked about the trip and how Julie felt really bad that she had been a disappointment to us and she wouldn’t be prepared for air force. I told her this was a one time occurrence and this wouldn’t happen again, everyone has their bad trips. We ended up arriving at the parking lot at 10:00pm. Julie and I waited for her mom for two hours. Finally Julie’s mom came at midnight and Julie introduced me as the energetic fifteen year old, Elizabeth. So Julie left and I was going to hike back to the lean-to.
I turned on Katie’s head lamp and it was very dim, so I started playing with it to work but it went out. I knew I couldn’t hike the trail in the pitch dark so I decided to sleep in the woods overnight. I was so worried about dad worrying about me that I didn’t want to do this, but I knew I should, so I did. I was only wearing a pair of light pant and a sweaty T-shirt under a long sleeve shirt so I got cold during the night and didn’t sleep very well. It gets cold in June in the Adirondacks. I woke up at dawn, around 4:00am and started to hike back to the lean-to, this warmed me up. I arrived back at 6:00am and dad and Katie were very glad to see me. I told them the whole story. My dad told me that I made the right decision to stay in the woods overnight but he was worried about me. I slept for another two hours in a warm sleeping bag. At 8:00 Katie, dad and I woke up and made breakfast. The ranger that talked to Julie came by and asked if she was okay. We told him the whole story and he was glad to hear that everything was okay. We also apologized for causing the inconvenience and he told us that this happens a lot. Kaite and I took a nice cool swim in the local brook before setting off down the trail. We had lunch in the parking lot and I showed them where I slept in the learned to keep on trudging even when you are exhausted, to put one foot in front of the other.

Lesson: I learned to be energetic and enthusiastic and to help those in need. We are friends and need to help each other. I also learned to put a sense of humor into a serious situation to make it easier. I learned never, never, never let a sick person talk on a cell phone in the ADK or dont bring one. I also learned to check your route, if streams or not, and bring plenty of water, we should have each had 3 quarts. I learned to make sure headlamp has good batteries and be prepared with warm clothing. Also never full pack Gothics! And if your friend is sick, keep her moving, and dont call her mommy!
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Old 03-07-2004, 08:29 PM   #31
Emily
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Wow!

That's one heck of a trip! Hope you have better ones in the future. It sounds as if you learned a lot though. Congratulations, you're one heck of a fifteen year old! Doubt if I could keep up with you!
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Old 03-07-2004, 10:33 PM   #32
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"worst" experience in the ADK

Alright - time for my worst experience...which I actually hesitate to call worst because I learned more on this trip then I think I've ever learned.

Preface –
I've been hiking since I could walk and camping even before that. At the time of this trip (1999) I was 13 years old (I'm almost 18 now). This is also the story that I used on my college applications.

The Story -
I attended a YMCA camp in the ADKs for several years and was a dedicated participant in their tripping program. I signed up to do a 9 day trip I the high peaks in the summer of 1999. When I arrived at camp, I was delighted to find that my friend from past summers Ben was among those who would be on the trip, as well as three guys from Virginia (where I was born). One of the two leaders (we’ll call him Jim) of the trip had a ton of hiking experience while the other (we’ll call her Julie) didn’t have any. We grumbled about that but there wasn’t a whole lot we could do.

Day One - Ausable Club to Wolfjaws Lean-to via Lower Wolf Jaw –
The first mistake is that we never packed lunch for ourselves on the first day. So by the time lunch time rolled around we were starving. The second was that we chose what I am pretty sure is the hardest route to Wolfjaws. Why we climbed over Wolfjaws notch I have no idea, but we did. About .2 miles below the notch half of us ran out of gas and were too tired and hungry to keep climbing so the other half of us leapfrogged packs to the notch. From there it started raining as we climbed down to the Lean-to. When we hit the LT we realized that a whole days worth of food had been left at camp. D’oh.

Lesson #1 – Always make sure lunch is packed.
Lesson #2 – Always make sure ALL food is packed.

Day Two – The Lower Range from the Wolfjaws Lean-to –
That day started out ok but quickly turned bad. We were going to climb Gothics first via the Ore Bed Brook Trail but when we reached the Ore Bed LT we couldn’t find the trail on the other side of the creek (having been back there since – we were so blind…). Looking at the map we had – we saw that the LT was on Ore Bed Brook and that if we followed the brook, we’d recross the trail at some point much higher on the mountain. Too bad it isn’t on Ore Bed Brook – it’s on a tributary. So we climbed the brook with Julie complaining that this wasn’t a good idea. We ignored her. After climbing for awhile we came across the foot of a rock slide. Julie was convinced that this would lead to the trail and we stupidly listened. So up the rock slide we went (none of us had ever gone slide climbing before) and we lunched at the top with a good view of Saddleback, Marcy, and Algonquin. We then descended and backtracked back to the LT.

Lesson #3 – Make sure you’re damn sure you can’t find the trail before you go making up routes.
Lesson #4 – If someone says they don’t feel good about what’s happening, turn around.

Day Three – What A Mess
Julie woke up and decided she wasn’t going anywhere. All day. And since we couldn’t split the group up, neither did we. That is until she decided that she wanted to hike out. She didn’t think being in the woods was for her. So we went down the JBL to see if we could get word out to Camp that we were hiking her out, but we couldn’t. We hiked back up to Wolfjaws where words were exchanged between myself and Ben and Julie. It ended with me and Ben telling Julie very politely to go #$%@ herself and storming off. At that point Jim stepped in and said enough is enough. We hiked down to either Deer or Bear Brook that night in the dark – once again against everyone’s better judgment since no one was comfy hiking in the dark.

Lesson #5 – Getting into huge fights usually won’t get you anywhere.
Lesson #6 – Once again – if not everyone is 100% with what’s going on – don’t follow through with it.

Day Four – We’re Free!
We hiked her out to Keene Valley where we got a resupply of food and a new counselor. We finished off the trip by being driven to the Loj and hiking into a new Base Camp at Marcy Dam.

Lesson #7 – The Keene Valley Grocery is amazing.

---

After all that – I definitely learned a lot. I basically saw what poor leadership in the woods is like and just how out of hand situations can get. And I’ve used many of the lessons I learned on subsequent trips. And I also learned that I like night hiking and slide climbing. So I guess the whole trip wasn’t a waste.

peace,
Oysterhead
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Old 04-24-2004, 09:17 PM   #33
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OK, now I'm finally ready to tell of my biggest blunder after starting this thread. My friend and I were looking to go on a float trip (raft trip) for a whole week when we found one in Peters Creek flowing into the Kahiltna River then into the Susitna River in Alaska. This begins in the foothills just south of Mt.Denali (McKinley) and ends up at almost sea level for a net drop in elevation of 2,860 ft over about 70 river miles. We thought it looked good and did what research we could but couldn't find anyone who had done it before so we went ahead with our plans anyway. We were planning on combining this with a late season Moose hunt (mid September) and planned on doing the hunting after getting to a lower elevation so as to avoid running rapids with a heavy boat. It turned out that the place we were going to rent the raft from wouldn't have any available so we decided to take my small Zodiac that has an aluminum floor and not inflate the keel so as not to draw as much depth for the shallow upper part (big mistake #1). We then thought we should take a small 10 H.P. outboard so we could be more mobile after getting to the Susitna River which is a rather large river (big mistake #2). We thought to take oars for the boat but forgot to take paddles for back-up (big mistake #3). We did great as far as packing light but for 2 guys for a week it still added up and this is one of the areas where we should not have taken the outboard and gas can that added about 80 lbs to our overall load. We made arrangements to have a friend drive us the 134 miles from Anchorage to our put in point as well as arrangements to be picked up by another friend with a big aluminum river boat as there are no roads anywhere near where we would end up. As we were making our way north from Anchorage in the dark early morning hours in a dismal rain we noticed that it was starting to turn to snow and the semi's heading south were caked with the stuff. We stopped at a roadhouse we all knew for breakfast and were slipping and sliding on the snowy parking lot, went inside, looked at each other and hit fists together stating that it was going to be a great trip. After breakfast we headed to the gravel road that wound 27 miles back to where we would put the boat in the water and said our farewells then before departing our ride said we needed something else as he pulled 3 cases of beer from the back of his truck and left them on the ground next to our gear. We assembled and inflated the little Zodiac (less air in the keel) and carried it to the creek as it was just getting light when we noticed that the water was a lot lower than we anticipated as the cold weather must have froze up some of the smaller tributaries. We loaded our gear and the unexpected beer, pushed off heading around one bend in the now very small stream after another. The banks couldn't have been more than ten feet apart with an average water depth of two feet as we came around one particular bend and noticed the drop in elevation and increasing rocks in the water. I tried to dig in hard with an oar to avoid some sharp looking rocks just peeking from the waters surface when the oar caught on a large unseen rock and snapped the oar in two. We then pulled to shore on the inside of a bend where it was actually a small beach and assessed our damages from the first two hours of our trip. In addition to the broken oar we discovered that there were about 8 holes in the bottom from dragging on the sharp rocks as opposed to it bumping into them when it is inflated. So we repaired the holes and while we waited the two hours for the glue to set we carved two paddles from spruce trees with an axe. We pushed off and remarked at how much better the boat handled with the keel inflated and also had the outboard off the transom (rear of the boat) so as to distribute the weight better. The rest of the day was great as it cleared and warmed up melting the last of the snow. We even saw a few Moose and a Black Bear about an hour before stopping for the night. The next day we started out after a good breakfast and realized the water was much higher from the melting snow the day before as well as the creek getting larger from other smaller creeks running into it. The creek was now about 25 feet across and descending quickly so the water was moving swiftly. Then as we came around a sharp bend we noticed a large sweeper (fallen tree) across most of the creek on the fast side and tried to paddle across but the axe carved tree trunks offered little help in the faster water. The sweeper was as far off the water as the height of our boat less the stuff lashed on top and we got swamped as the boat flipped over dumping both of us and a lot of our stuff into the very cold water that was about 6 feet deep in the pool below the sweeper. We saved as much as we could but lost most of our food and my friend’s rifle as well as ruined the Canon F-1 and Canon FTb cameras I had along. We made a fire and dried off, inventoried our remaining food and found that all we would have to eat for the next five and a half days was lots of pancakes, dried beans that needed to be soaked before cooking, a few cans of mandarin oranges, a big jug of syrup for our pancakes, some cans of kippered herring and a few odds and ends along with almost all of our beer intact (we were saving it ). We also lost the gas can for the out board and a cooler with dry ice and all of our meat but still had both fishing rods and our tent and sleeping bags were in a float bag nice and dry . We modified our hand made oars by lashing other sticks to them so as to be more effective since there was no turning back or calling for help and the bad water was still a day or two ahead. Modifying our oars was one of our better decisions as we came to the top of the first canyon where the water really moved along between two 150 foot rock walls for the next 3 miles. We noticed that our communication was much better as we paddled without hardly a word but each knew what to do and where we needed to go. Later that day it started to rain and we made a hasty camp on a high gravel bar without dinner. We both fell asleep quickly. We awoke to a very cold morning and were hungry as hell so I started making the pancakes. Since we had lost our filter and didn’t want to take the time to boil water I used beer instead as we had enough of it and still hadn't drank any. Just as I was going to start dribbling the batter in the pan I heard Fred yell to wait as he collected some blueberries. YUM! We ate a lot of blueberry beer batter pancakes with Log Cabin syrup that morning and calculated that we were a full day behind schedule. A few hours later we came through another canyon that meant the end of Peters Creek and the beginning of the much bigger faster silt laden waters of the Kahiltna River. As our boat passed from the crystal clear water of our now familiar creek into the opaque glacial silt grey water of the Kahiltna we both noticed how much smaller our craft seemed and how much lower in the water it seemed to sit. As we tried to adjust to our new surroundings we also noticed the very large cut bank below where the water was crashing into six foot high haystack waves and if we wanted to make it needed to get across to the inside of the bend to avoid the chaos of the haystacks. This was no longer about fun but now our bid for survival even though we made it feel like a real good adventure at the time. We then noticed that we were taking on water late in the afternoon so decided to find a good place to make camp so we could make proper repairs to replace the quick patch job we had done a few days earlier and that we were definitely not going to be hunting the next day as originally planned. We found a great place with a nice high sandy beach and a rock outcropping for protection to camp. The sky had cleared completely so we also knew that it was going to be a very cold night. We collected as much firewood as we could. After I finished with my repairs to the boat Fred came back from a short walk to look at some black rocks downstream and informed me that they were coal. We went and collected a bunch of them to put in our fire later in the hopes of keeping it going all night. We caught Rainbow Trout from where a clear stream fed into the big grey river which we had for dinner along with some beans we started soaking earlier that day, mandarin oranges and candy bars from old MRE's for dinner. We also decided to lighten our load and drink up some of the beer since we knew the biggest water (class IV with no way around it) was to be navigated the next day! With full stomachs, a warm fire and case of beer later we were relaxed enough to get a good nights sleep. After only twenty minutes of travel we could hear the big water that awaited us. We decided to pull the boat ashore as soon as we saw the first waves and walk downstream to plan our course. Not far down from the first waves was a big rock cliff on the far side where the river made a sharp right turn and narrowed to one fourth the width it was previously. At this point the water crashed into a giant rock that rose at least ten feet above the river and took up three fourths of the width of the river. The effect of this made the water shoot up furiously and completely covered the big rock in a geyser like effect with a big boiling pool below. We decided to line the boat from shore with a rope to avoid getting caught up in the seething mess and walk past this section. We then got back in the boat and spent most of the day navigating class III / IV water and paddling like mad men. At several points the boat either got stuck on a rock or caught between rocks and water rushed in from behind but we were very lucky. The next day we got picked up by the big river boat. Just by chance my brother was along to for company and had seen a got a Moose earlier that morning. Go figure!
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Old 04-25-2004, 07:56 AM   #34
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OK, now I'm finally ready to tell of my biggest blunder after starting this thread.
Wow, so are you sticking more to the mountains now, Mtgoat?
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Old 04-25-2004, 12:37 PM   #35
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Wow, so are you sticking more to the mountains now, Mtgoat?
That is the general plan.
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Old 04-25-2004, 08:26 PM   #36
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It's having and surviving experiences like yours that makes better backpackers.
All in all, I would much rather be out in the wilds with someone who has had situations that have tested their limits to survive and/or people who have gotten lost for a few days. I KNOW they are prepared and that if a bad situation arise they are not going to panic. I also know that they are unlikely do try something foolish and jeopordize their hiking partners.

There is a confidence in those who have survived and a look in their eyes that says "I can cut it", yet you know that they realize that the worst can happen at any time and that one mistake can get them killed.

As much as we can teach people about common sense, navigation and urviving in the woods, until someone has experienced the adversity, they never quite understand.
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Old 04-25-2004, 11:08 PM   #37
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It's having and surviving experiences like yours that makes better backpackers.
All in all, I would much rather be out in the wilds with someone who has had situations that have tested their limits to survive and/or people who have gotten lost for a few days. I KNOW they are prepared and that if a bad situation arise they are not going to panic. I also know that they are unlikely do try something foolish and jeopordize their hiking partners.

There is a confidence in those who have survived and a look in their eyes that says "I can cut it", yet you know that they realize that the worst can happen at any time and that one mistake can get them killed.

As much as we can teach people about common sense, navigation and urviving in the woods, until someone has experienced the adversity, they never quite understand.
That's not true just for surviving in the woods; that's surviving in life too.
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Old 04-26-2004, 07:37 PM   #38
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That's not true just for surviving in the woods; that's surviving in life too.
I must admit that even though Fred and were were great friends prior to our trip we have been more than brothers ever since. Recently he loaned without the expectation of return $700 to fly from Tx to AK so I could see my daughter in the hospital.
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Old 04-26-2004, 09:34 PM   #39
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Friends are like that. Consider yourself lucky to know someone like that.
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Old 04-26-2004, 10:57 PM   #40
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Fine Steel is forged in heat.
Lasting friendships are forged from sharing adversity.

Men who fought side by side in battle have bonds that only death can break.
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