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Old 03-24-2009, 06:34 PM   #1
'dackMan
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What's the best 3 day/2night hike?

This is my first post. Hope I haven't broken any rules or disrupted the flow, but I have a question. My buddies and I are all over 55 years old. We just started hiking not too long ago. We summited Mt. Washington two summers ago and last year went to the Grand Tetons.

So far only a 2er (Cascade and Porter) but at this pace I should be a 46er by the time I'm 80!!

In 2 years time we are planning to hike Kilimanjaro to celebrate my 60th birthday (I know that's ambitious but we're all committed to the effort).

So here's the question: If we have only three days and 2 nights to backpack this Spring (last weekend of June), what would be our best option? We'd like to tune-up a bit, get our legs back and find some inspiration to propel us on to Tanzania. Any suggestions?
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Old 03-25-2009, 08:04 AM   #2
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The options are endless. If you want fairly flat and scenic I'd look at doing a section of the Northville-Placid Trail. Someone else can probably give you some options there.
If you want AMBITIOUS, do all or part of the Great Range. If you can spot a car in Keene Valley you can start at the Loj and do it as a through-hike. I don't have a map handy, but you'd have to pick your two campsites carefully, as you'd have to drop off the range to camp. There is one designated campsite high on the range (sno-bird), but that would make a real long day if you were doing an end to end.
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Old 03-25-2009, 09:04 AM   #3
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I would recommend hiking in along a flat trail and setting up a base camp from which several high peaks are accessible as day hikes.

For instance, you could hike into Lake Colden (beautiful spot) from Upper Works and grab a lean-to 15 feet from the water's edge with views of Avalanche Mtn and Mt. Colden. From there you can do peaks on the Macintyre Range on one day and one or more of Colden,Cliff, Redfiled, Sylight Gray, Marcy on the next day. If you spot a car you can hike out on day 3 via Avalanche Pass to the Loj and hike Phelps after leaving the weight at the dam.

A similar plan could be worked up in the Johns Brook vicinity, Panther Gorge, or in the Sewards. The thing to avoid is carrying heavy packs up over summits.

One essential piece of gear: head nets. The bugs'll be out in full force. If you sleep in a lean-to you'll want to sleep with the headnet over a baseball cap.

Here's my answer to bugs in a LT:
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Old 03-25-2009, 09:11 AM   #4
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I would recommend hiking in along a flat trail and setting up a base camp from which several high peaks are accessible as day hikes.

For instance, you could hike into Lake Colden (beautiful spot) from Upper Works and grab a lean-to 15 feet from the water's edge with views of Avalanche Mtn and Mt. Colden. From there you can do peaks on the Macintyre Range on one day and one or more of Colden,Cliff, Redfiled, Sylight Gray, Marcy on the next day. If you spot a car you can hike out on day 3 via Avalanche Pass to the Loj and hike Phelps after leaving the weight at the dam.

A similar plan could be worked up in the Johns Brook vicinity, Panther Gorge, or in the Sewards. The thing to avoid is carrying heavy packs up over summits.
Who are you, and what did you do with Neil?

I.e., when did you start making serious posts?
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Old 03-25-2009, 09:59 AM   #5
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Who are you, and what did you do with Neil?

I.e., when did you start making serious posts?
I had a talk with him.
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Old 03-25-2009, 10:52 AM   #6
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A non-high peaks option would be camping in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness area with hikes up Pharaoh Mt. Treadwell or just doing loops from camp.

Yeah, there might be some bugs around...
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:09 PM   #7
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I would recommend hiking in along a flat trail and setting up a base camp from which several high peaks are accessible as day hikes.

For instance, you could hike into Lake Colden (beautiful spot) from Upper Works and grab a lean-to 15 feet from the water's edge with views of Avalanche Mtn and Mt. Colden. From there you can do peaks on the Macintyre Range on one day and one or more of Colden,Cliff, Redfiled, Sylight Gray, Marcy on the next day. If you spot a car you can hike out on day 3 via Avalanche Pass to the Loj and hike Phelps after leaving the weight at the dam.

A similar plan could be worked up in the Johns Brook vicinity, Panther Gorge, or in the Sewards. The thing to avoid is carrying heavy packs up over summits.

One essential piece of gear: head nets. The bugs'll be out in full force. If you sleep in a lean-to you'll want to sleep with the headnet over a baseball cap.

Here's my answer to bugs in a LT:
Thanks - this sounds like just what we need!
When is "bug season?" Is there a time in the Spring when they are less of a problem or do we have to wait for full summer?
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:14 PM   #8
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From what I gather - end to end is more ambitious than we should attempt - so is there a particulary good stretch where we can spot a car and find 2 campsites without too much difficulty?
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:18 PM   #9
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I think June is safely considered to be Bug-Month. There can be some in May but they don't bight as much. After June the black flies tend to yield to deer and horse flies.
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:48 PM   #10
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looks like netting is the answer
May isn't an option for us and July, etc. swaps out one fly for another -
so, no matter how you cut it - you can't escape the bugs!
Thanks, again
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Old 03-26-2009, 12:51 PM   #11
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A non-high peaks option would be camping in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness area with hikes up Pharaoh Mt. Treadwell or just doing loops from camp.

Yeah, there might be some bugs around...
I second this idea.

My thinking is that if your purpose is to train for a Kilimanjaro climb you want to get used to climbing with a full pack on. Maybe starting out climbing fully loaded high peaks is over ambitious?

There are a few possible loops you could do either from route 74 or Putnam Pond that could involve a climb over Pharaoh Mt. (and possibly a sidetrip up Treadway) and spending the nights on beautifiul loony ponds.

Also...if your goal is Kilimanjaro try to get to the mountains a frew more times this year. Maybe the second trip head to the highpeaks.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:39 AM   #12
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I second this idea.

My thinking is that if your purpose is to train for a Kilimanjaro climb you want to get used to climbing with a full pack on. Maybe starting out climbing fully loaded high peaks is over ambitious?

There are a few possible loops you could do either from route 74 or Putnam Pond that could involve a climb over Pharaoh Mt. (and possibly a sidetrip up Treadway) and spending the nights on beautifiul loony ponds.

Also...if your goal is Kilimanjaro try to get to the mountains a frew more times this year. Maybe the second trip head to the highpeaks.
Thanks to both of you (Adk Keith and fvrwld) for your suggestions. In fact, we aren't sure yet which of the options being discussed will be best but we're working on it.

Can you possibly suggest something more specific? Best loops, best camp sites?

As for "a few more times this year" - well, it's not too likely we can do that as a group - we're spread out geographically from Chicago to NY to Boston, Long Island and Hartford so getting together is problematic - but individually we will certainly be hiking throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall. Thanks again for your thoughts and suggestions.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:48 AM   #13
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Im new to this forum but not new to backpacking. Generally most of my hiking/backpacking has been done along the AT and lower Catskills and Harriman.
I haven't been to the Adks in over 20 years and am interested in doing some backpacking up there, and also try to bag some peaks.
Looking to do a 3 day 2 night backing packing trip/loop that would bag me a peak or 2 as well in September
Any suggestions?
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:56 AM   #14
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Most peakbaggers base camp and tackle the peaks as day hikes from camp. Marcy Dam, Lake Colden, or the Johns Brook area all have numerous tent sites and lean-tos available for camping, and you would easily be able to summit at least a peak or two from any of these locations.

From Marcy Dam, Phelps or Colden make relatively easy day hikes, and both afford excellent views. From the Johns Brook area, Big Slide or Sawteeth make relatively easy day hikes, and again, both have good views from their summits.

Note that there are special regulations for the Eastern High Peaks. In particular, campfires are banned, and during your time frame, you must possess (and use) a bear canister for food storage.
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:03 AM   #15
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Id prefer a loop and not base camp. I just feel if Im backpacking for a 3 day weekend in the Adks and not at least bag one peak would be silly!
I am aware of most of the regs. The most I would need is a bear box depending on where I decide.
Im capable of hiking 10-15 miles a day easily.
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:22 AM   #16
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I'm a little confused about what you're asking for- the itineraries are suggest aren't loops, but you'd be able to "bag" 1 or more peaks by following them. BTW, the campsites I mentioned are backcountry sites that you must hike into to camp at.

Loops are kind of hard to come by in the High Peaks, especially if you're only looking to do 1 or 2 peaks. Camping above 3,500 feet is limited to designated sites only, and there's really only a couple of these sites in existence, so you'll more than likely be descending significantly at the end of each day to get to a legal site. If you only do 1 or 2 peaks as a loop, odds are that you'll just be looping back to the same place to camp at again on night #2 anyways. Also, if it is a nice weekend, vacant backcountry sites in the High Peaks can be hard to come by on Saturday afternoon, as they do fill up.

If you haven't done so already, I'd recommend picking up a map (either the National Geographic or the Adirondack Mountain Club's map of the High Peaks) and looking for yourself at the trail network and seeing what peaks and routes strike your fancy. It's a lot easier for use to help you if you've already got some semblance of the route you'd like to tackle.

With all that being said, some loop options that come to mind include:

Start at the Adirondack Loj, camp at Marcy Dam one night, climb up and over Mt. Marcy on Day 2, camp at Lake Colden on Night 2, and hike back to the Loj through Avalanche Pass on Day 3. Marcy is the tallest, but never exceptionally steep on the ascent from the north. You do need to be careful about weather above treeline, though- people have been known to get lost up there in inclement conditions during any month of the year. Heavy rain and thick clouds can easily obscure the trail.

As an alternative to the above, you could substitute Mt. Colden for Marcy, with campsites in the same locations as the above itineraries. This could possibly be a good "foul weather" backup option if the weather doesn't cooperate.

(And lastly, to your backpacking without peakbagging comment... the High Peaks only make up about 10% of the Adirondack Park in terms of public land, and about 20% of the Adirondack Park in terms of length of marked/maintained trails. There is a whole lot of amazing, beautiful, rugged, and challenging places to visit out that that many people miss because they get so focused on the High Peaks! )
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Old 08-04-2015, 11:04 AM   #17
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Thank you for you knowledge...I will be picking up a map...with the very limited research Ive done so far and what you've told me already has helped. Like I said, I definitely want to bag the peaks..but the trip I want to do isn't ultimately about scratching of peaks as it is about backpacking in the adks. My thought was to be able to at the minimum conquer at least one. I have so many questions and sorry if I come across a little green when it comes to the Adks. My knowledge is very limited.
I like the Mount Marcy hike/loop idea. I had looked into that loop a while back. Any and all suggestions are welcome!!
Doing the 46 is on my bucket list..but Im very open to hiking and backpacking all over the adks, not just bag the peaks..if that makes any sense!
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:46 PM   #18
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What about the Seward loop? It's 25-30 miles IIRC, without climbing peaks. Day one would be a hike in to one of the Ward Brook leantos, peak hike, camp at the leanto; Day two hike the Cold River, ideally as far as where it meets the Calkins Creek trail, and camp; Day three hike out the Calkins Creek. Would be busy, the second day hike is over 10 miles I think (unless you could push closer to Duck Hole after the climb).

The mountains in that range are Seward, Donaldson, Emmons, and Seymour, there's plenty of info out there about the climbs and the loop if you search.
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Old 11-08-2015, 09:22 AM   #19
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I'm a little confused about what you're asking for- the itineraries are suggest aren't loops, but you'd be able to "bag" 1 or more peaks by following them. BTW, the campsites I mentioned are backcountry sites that you must hike into to camp at.

Loops are kind of hard to come by in the High Peaks, especially if you're only looking to do 1 or 2 peaks. Camping above 3,500 feet is limited to designated sites only, and there's really only a couple of these sites in existence, so you'll more than likely be descending significantly at the end of each day to get to a legal site. If you only do 1 or 2 peaks as a loop, odds are that you'll just be looping back to the same place to camp at again on night #2 anyways. Also, if it is a nice weekend, vacant backcountry sites in the High Peaks can be hard to come by on Saturday afternoon, as they do fill up.

If you haven't done so already, I'd recommend picking up a map (either the National Geographic or the Adirondack Mountain Club's map of the High Peaks) and looking for yourself at the trail network and seeing what peaks and routes strike your fancy. It's a lot easier for use to help you if you've already got some semblance of the route you'd like to tackle.

With all that being said, some loop options that come to mind include:

Start at the Adirondack Loj, camp at Marcy Dam one night, climb up and over Mt. Marcy on Day 2, camp at Lake Colden on Night 2, and hike back to the Loj through Avalanche Pass on Day 3. Marcy is the tallest, but never exceptionally steep on the ascent from the north. You do need to be careful about weather above treeline, though- people have been known to get lost up there in inclement conditions during any month of the year. Heavy rain and thick clouds can easily obscure the trail.

As an alternative to the above, you could substitute Mt. Colden for Marcy, with campsites in the same locations as the above itineraries. This could possibly be a good "foul weather" backup option if the weather doesn't cooperate.

(And lastly, to your backpacking without peakbagging comment... the High Peaks only make up about 10% of the Adirondack Park in terms of public land, and about 20% of the Adirondack Park in terms of length of marked/maintained trails. There is a whole lot of amazing, beautiful, rugged, and challenging places to visit out that that many people miss because they get so focused on the High Peaks! )
Well I feel bad that I haven't been back here since my last post in August, but I have lots to add! So I took some of your suggestions for a loop and on 8/22 I headed to the Loj parking area and headed on my way. I hiked thru Avalanche pass and set up camp at the Uphill Shelter for the night. At the time I wasn't thinking "Aspiring 46r" I was just doing a 2 night backpacking trip. (Now I kick myself for not climbing Redfield) The next morning I embarked towards Marcy. At the crossroads I stared at the Skylight trail head sign, .5 miles...Again, I kick myself for not climbing that also! On I went up and over Marcy. My first 46r! Was beautiful and inspiring! I then headed down and set up at a tent site just past Phelps. I then climbed Phelps to end my day. Woke up the next morning and hiked out!
Well I must say from that point it was ON!
Ive now , in order done:
Seward Range
Dix Range
Cascade/Porter
Marshall/Algonquin/Iroquois
Wright/Street/Nye
Bringing me to 19..
Next up is Thanksgiving weekend...Big Slide/Tabletop/Colden
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Old 11-08-2015, 06:38 PM   #20
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You could do a variation of what we did a couple of years ago. We like late starts and early finishes so you could easily reduce the number of days.
Day 1/ night 1 Start at Upper Works and hike into Uphill Shelter/campsite.
Day 2 leave pack at campsite and climb Gray and Skylight. Return to campsite
Day 3 climb Cliff and Redfield. Their herd paths start very near the campsite so you could break camp later. Return, pick up your gear and go to the campsite between Hanging Spear Falls and Allen.
Day 4 climb Allen and hike out to the parking area near Upper Works.
If you really have only two nights and have a full day to start, you could probably combine my days 1 & 2, and 3 & 4, skipping Hanging Spear Falls and Allen.
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