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Old 09-23-2016, 03:18 PM   #1
duffamily12979
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Any tips for Hikers in our "Rookie" season

My wife and I and another couple are going to try giant this weekend. We started this summer doing Lyon Mountain ( gave us the fever to try more) and we have completed Cascade and Porter. Is Giant a good stepping stone for us? Any tips/advice from those that have climbed it already?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-23-2016, 03:47 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. This is a great place to ask questions and learn more about adventures in the park.

Giant was my first High Peak. I loved the experience and the views from the summit were great. I was instantly hooked on hiking and continue towards the goal of hiking the 46.

This hike taught me the value of carefully planning the trip. We intended to hike the Zander Scott Trail, which is the shortest route to the summit. But as we were driving down 73 out of Keene Valley we came to the first trailhead sign (Roaring Brook) and pulled in without checking to see if it was the one we wanted. Starting from Roaring Brook added 1.4 miles to the trip. Doesn't sound like much but when we had to make a decision about adding Rocky Peak Ridge, we didn't feel like we had the energy. If we had started from the Zander Scott trail we probably would have made the attempt.

We also learned about water. This was another reason we chose not to tack on RPR. We didn't bring enough water and didn't think we could add the miles since we were about out. I now have a way of filtering water and check to see if there are sources to pump more along the way. If there aren't I make sure to take more water with me.

My advice would be to hike Giant from the Zander Scott trail (or Ridge Trail as some call it) which is across from Chapel Pond. In addition to being shorter, it is a more enjoyable hike. There are spots with open rock that you can take breaks and enjoy the views as you climb.

If you are interested in completing the 46, I would give serious thought to adding RPR. You basically will re-climb Giant to do RPR in the future. RPR has great 360 degree views and is one of my favorite summits.

Giant will be more difficult than your Cascade and Porter hike. But unless you were completely whipped from that trip, it should be doable.

Enjoy the hike and let us know how it goes.
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Old 09-23-2016, 04:12 PM   #3
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Thank you for the response and tips jkauf73. I am hoping I can talk the others in my group into doing RPR , but if not, we will have to tackle it again in the future. I appreciate the tip regarding Hiking ridge trail and the tip regarding parking and knowing what trail to take. Thanks again, Mike
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Old 09-24-2016, 07:43 PM   #4
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We hit the zandar scott/ridge trail about 8:30 this morning. Cool but clear morning, easy parking. WE took out time and visited a couple of camping sites and stopped to enjoy the view and snap pictures at the many good viewing points on the way to the summit. We did not make the trip to RPR this time, we are going to come back next year and try to camp and make the trip to RPR. Met many great hikers including a nice group from NOLS, stopped and visited their campsite on the way down. All around a great day. Need tips on making the trip down not so painful, my toes are killing me. I do not believe my shoes fit properly, seems my feet are moving forward in my shoes? I am wearing a good pair of North Face mid hikers, I feel my issue is fit related? Have to say we love our new found passion of hiking!
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Old 09-25-2016, 08:21 AM   #5
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Not sure if you use poles. I find them helpful. Glad to hear you found a new hobbie though. I encourage you to schedule a few more between now and Thanksgiving - I really enjoy hiking in the cooler weather.

And I hear Rocky Peak Ridge is an enjoyable hike from New Russia without going over Giant again.
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Old 09-25-2016, 08:40 AM   #6
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I second the trekking poles. I also lengthen my poles a few inches on the descent for added stability. Also, I keep ibuprofen in my backpack just in case.

To add to the foot pain, it is likely your feet swelling. I bought my boots half a size bigger, but I still get sore feet after long hikes with elevation gain, especially coming down. The ibuprofen can help reduce the swelling. I also sometimes carry a lightweight pair of comfy running shoes in my pack. Sometimes just being able to swap out shoes for a bit helps.

Last edited by SaraHikes; 09-25-2016 at 08:45 AM.. Reason: Additional info
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Old 09-25-2016, 08:48 AM   #7
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As you progress you will need to have a means to refill water and filter it as you will surely run out on the longer hikes, especially on warmer days. In the winter, I find that I don't need to drink as much, but in the spring, summer and early fall, for sure! Make sure you let someone know where you are hiking, where you are leaving from and how long you think it will take you. Know how to use a map and compass. Have a basic medical kit with you. Have TP and a shovel to dig a cat hole to bury waste if duty calls. Join an ADK group to get connected to other like-minded individuals and maybe go out on a group hike or two. Do not rely solely on electronic means for navigation. Cell coverage is pretty bad for the most part. Seems to be a bit better in Lake Placid area, but oftentimes just on the mountain tops. Carry a second pair of socks and other clothes to change into if you get sweaty and have a change of footwear for the drive to and from the trailhead. I really look forward to getting those boots off at the end!
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Old 09-25-2016, 12:30 PM   #8
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Just a quick note about "toe bang" on the descent, if that is what you are referring to: I find that lamb's wool stuffed into the front of the boots helps immensely (the stuff that dancers put in their shoes; you can find it in most drug stores and it is fairly cheap). Also, re-tying your boots in specific ways before and during descents helps. You could look up advice for different methods online, but I find that untying the boot, banging my heel against the ground to make sure my foot is as far back in the boot as possible, and then tightening the middle of the shoelace more than the toe-side and the heel helps stabilize the foot and reduces pain...
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Old 09-25-2016, 03:47 PM   #9
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Thank you for the response tenderfoot, we are using poles, I prefer using only one.I am hoping the group will be up for a few more hiking days. We are going to schedule another on October 8th, I am with you , I enjoyed hiking in the cooler temps yesterday. I would rather be cool than be overheating and the other plus is lack of bugs!
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Old 09-25-2016, 03:50 PM   #10
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Thank you for the response sarahikes! Great tips regarding pole length and bringing another pair of shoes on the hike, I had extra shoes and socks in the car, though they do no good until I reach the car! WE do keep a good first aid kit, my wife is an RN and keeps us well stocked. Happy Hiking!
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Old 09-25-2016, 03:55 PM   #11
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Thanks for the response gebbyfish! Any preference for type of device/process of getting drinking water? We need to get maps , I do know how to read a map and use a compass, but have never used those skills in an area as vast as the adirondacks! Thank you for the tips regarding TP and shovel, we do carry tp, need to add a shovel...just in case! Happy Hiking!
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Old 09-25-2016, 03:57 PM   #12
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Thank you for the response tohiker! I am going to try both tips. My toes were killing me yesterday on the descent. I should have stopped and re-set my feet in my shoes, makes perfect sense to me. Happy Hiking!
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Old 09-25-2016, 05:57 PM   #13
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If you're bring TP, be sure to carry a baggie to carry it out in.
Bringing a map and compass provides you an opportunity to locate peaks you can see from the summit. And that's good practice in using them. For a map, I strongly recommend the new High Peaks one published by the ADK. The National Graphic one covers a larger area but doesn't have as much detail.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:27 PM   #14
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Thank you for the response MTV hike! Notes well taken! My christmas list is growing by the day.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:53 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by duffamily12979 View Post
Thanks for the response gebbyfish! Any preference for type of device/process of getting drinking water? We need to get maps , I do know how to read a map and use a compass, but have never used those skills in an area as vast as the adirondacks! Thank you for the tips regarding TP and shovel, we do carry tp, need to add a shovel...just in case! Happy Hiking!
Many water filtration choices. Chemical (iodine drops or tabs) are easy but be sure to wait the prescribed time and be careful about not getting untreated water on mouth of drinking bottle. I use Sawyer squeeze - very lightweight, economical and easy to use (can't let it freeze though). Water filtration pumps are reliable, but more expensive and slightly more complicated to use. It's kind of personal preference which route you go. Many have a few different filters.

EMS has lightweight plastic trowels to use when nature calls. I've found a dead stick also suffices for digging. Happy Hiking!
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Old 09-25-2016, 07:58 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by duffamily12979 View Post
Thanks for the response gebbyfish! Any preference for type of device/process of getting drinking water? We need to get maps , I do know how to read a map and use a compass, but have never used those skills in an area as vast as the adirondacks! Thank you for the tips regarding TP and shovel, we do carry tp, need to add a shovel...just in case! Happy Hiking!

I started with the Lifestraw, but switched over to an MSR Minworks for filtering. I carry both, just in case one fails. I do a lot of that! The ADK map is very good and has the unmarked paths detailed on the map. The Nat Geo map is pretty nice as well. I carry both. For a shovel I picked up the "Deuce of Spades". A bit pricey, but very lightweight.
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Old 09-26-2016, 10:30 AM   #17
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Thanks for the tips MMaute and gebbyfish! I have to admit I laughed out loud regarding the deuce of spades! Great name!
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:11 AM   #18
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I'm glad you had a successful hike.
I understand the pain you felt coming down. Based on input from this forum, I just bought a pair of poles to see if that helps. I also take Ibuprofen when I first get to the summit in an attempt to be proactive knowing there will be pain coming on the descent.
I use the Katadyn Hiker Pro filter. It works well and pumps a significant amount of water in a short time. The downside is the size and time it takes to clean properly after each hike. I bought this type due to typically hiking with a family group of 5-6 people. I can quickly filter water for all of us and my kids and nieces don't need to buy/carry a filter.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:23 PM   #19
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I use Vibram Five Fingers Ascent shoes for the flat and uphill portions of a hike. I like the barefoot feel they have plus the tread on them is great. I would not suggest them for down hill portions of hikes. They jam in between your toes something fierce. But during the spring and fall I use standard hiking shoes, and boots in the winter. I get the same issue with my feet and I found that if you switch stances and you come down, it helps reduce the pain. Instead of walking straight down I sometimes go with a modified French technique. I use trekking poles to walk with but turn my feet sideways. After a while I switch to the opposite side and then if I hit a flat area I switch back to walking normal. It just spreads the pressure out to the sides of your feet and gives your toes a rest.
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Old 09-26-2016, 02:04 PM   #20
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Thanks for the response/tips Jkauff73 and l33thoneybadger. I am doing a lot of reading today and I am going to try getting new insoles and tying my shoes differently. I am anxious to try it.
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