Hiking in the ADKS

Deb Morris Adirondacks, Blog, Seasons

The weather is warming and the trails are drying out, which means hiking season has officially begun! Here in the Adirondacks, there’s no shortage of hiking trails to choose from. However, with the freedom of exploring the mountains also comes variations of danger, which all novice hikers prepare for, and so can you! 

  • Never go off the trail – this should be common knowledge for almost anyone, but believe it or not, people are constantly veering off the beaten path and disappearing into the woods. According to Outside Pulse, approximately 2,000 get lost while hiking each year in the United States, and one of the leading causes is due to veering off the premade trail-path. Sometimes they can be hard to see or you may trip and fall off the trail, and sometimes people decide to explore on their own. Whatever the reason, it’s the number one rule for hiking – follow the path and read the signs. 
  • Check the weather the day of, and cancel if it looks bad – another reason hikers tend to stray off the path is being unable to see it due to weather! Sometimes the weather can be crazy and unpredictable, but it’s always a good idea to check ahead up until the hike itself. This means that if it says clear skies all night, and then an hour before the hike there’s a lightning storm, it’s probably a good idea to cancel. You can always reschedule another hike, but you can’t reschedule another life. Keep in mind that spring hiking in the high peaks means you’re likely to encounter snow and ice, even if the weather is warm at the base.
  • Hike with a friend, or tell someone where you’re going – even if you’re the best hiker in the world and want to climb to the top of a mountain to simply be alone, make sure at least one person knows where you are! If by chance you do go missing, if your designated “check in” person doesn’t hear from you within a certain amount of time, they’ll call for help. Because you told them where you’d be, rescue would be able to find you quickly; whereas if you simply went on a hike alone and got lost, chances are, the mountains aren’t the first place authorities would search. Always, always sign your name and time to the check in book at the trailhead.
  • Wear the correct outfit, not the most fashionable outfit – as hot as Instagram influencers look in their cute outfits on top of a mountain, it’s probably not the greatest attire for a hike for many reasons. It’s best to protect the skin – for example wear long pants or long sleeves if you can. If it’s too hot or you don’t feel comfortable dressed like that, remember to apply and reapply sunscreen and bug spray. After your hike, you should always check for ticks (even where you had clothing on) and make sure you have no rashes from mysterious plants you may have brushed up against. For ideas of good hiking attire, there are outdoor clothing stores that sell clothing for specific types of hikes/outdoor activities! 
  • Pack the “ten essentials” – you should be hiking with a backpack to hold the ten most important things you need for a hike/hiking emergency. According to the official New York trail rules, the ten essential items to pack on an outdoor hike/camping are: 
  1. Appropriate footwear
  2. Water (and a purifier)
  3. Form of navigation that works off the grid, like a compass
  4. Enough food to keep you sustained (protein bars, nuts, peanut butter)
  5. Sunscreen 
  6. Bug spray
  7. Extra clothing (including a rain jacket)
  8. First aid kit (essentials in a zip-lock bag will work)
  9. Flashlight (not your phone) 
  10. Tools such as a knife or lighter