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Thread: Planning first trip ever to ADK's - thoughts?

  1. #1
    Senior Member iagreewithjamie's Avatar
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    Planning first trip ever to ADK's - thoughts?

    Hi all,
    I'm planning a backpacking trip with a couple of buddies the last week of June. We're looking for 5 days and 4 nights.
    I'm the most experienced hiker out of the lot, and could tackle most anything - the other two are in good shape, but not people who hike every weekend.
    As a result, I've been looking at trips that offer flat-ish miles with heavy packs, that encounter many cool and interesting things along the way, and that provide access to hit summits as dayhikes.

    I started planning in NH since I'm familiar with that area, but was encouraged by the folks at Hike-NH to consider the ADK's for backpacking, and to come here for guidance.
    The trips I have in mind for NH include the Desolation loop with day hikes up to Carrigain and the Hancocks, camping off-trail or at tentsites.
    Other idea is the Pemi, camping around and hiking Owl's Head, possibly visiting Redrock or the north ridge.
    Other idea is Dry River Wilderness - assuming that trail is in decent shape, it would be ideal: flat hike in, access to Ike, Pierce, Monroe, Isolation, rivers, falls, tentsites, etc.
    You get the idea - hike in with packs, set up camp, day hike, move to the next spot.

    So, for someone who has never been to the ADK's, what can you recommend that might fit the bill?
    I haven't found anything like wmgonline that assists with visually planning this type of trip for NY, so I'm at your mercy.

    Thanks in advance.

    -Jamie
    Nothin' on the top but a bucket and a mop
    And an illustrated book about birds.
    You see alot up there, but don't be scared:
    who needs actions when you got words?

  2. #2
    Member MylesLI's Avatar
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    Two routes will offer that:

    The John's Brook Lodge trail out of Keene Valley is an easy hike and branches in many directions for different climbs

    The second would be Heart Lake, just outside of Lake Placid (the home of the ADK LOJ) also easy hikes that lead to many summits

    Black Flies will be biting!! Bring bug spray and a bear cannister and you will HAVE A BLAST!! The Adirondack Mountain Club has all the maps and info you want. If you go out of Keene Valley make sure you stop at the Mountaineer...the premier shop for gear, last minute items, experienced advice and good vibes

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  4. #4
    Senior Member dailey7779's Avatar
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    Another route to check out is starting at Upper Works and hiking into Flowed Lands and grab a lean-to / tent site. Then you can day hike Iroquois / Algonquin / Wright (It's the Franconia Ridge of the ADKs) or Colden. You can also head up a little further and stay at the Uphill or Feldspar Lean-to or tent site and then hike Colden, Cliff, Redfield, Gray, or Skylight. Skylight is beyond awesome for views.

    If you head in from the ADK Lodge Road, park on the South Meadow Road (no parking fee) and take the South Meadow Truck Trail into Marcy Damn and stay there at a tent site or Lean-to. From there you can day hike Phelps, Table Top, Colden, or Marcy.

    Here's a picture showing some of the lean-to's and what not.

    Have a blast!

    -Chris

  5. #5
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    And if you have two vehicles, or set up with the local shuttle service, there are other cool possibilities.

    Especially nice would be a trip through Klondike Notch. Start at either end. Spend a couple nights and climb a couple peaks, then hike on through the notch and do the same on the other end.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    Not sure if your planned destination is set on the popular High Peaks region. Note that the High Peaks is a small fraction of the 6 million Adirondack acres available to you (approximately half is open to public access). There are many hundreds of miles of trails and deep wilderness off-trail opportunities to be had, without the heavy traffic crowds you will find in much of the the congested High Peaks. Camping and general use restrictions (such as no fires allowed) are greater in the HPs as well. Look around with some searches online, there are many resources available to help you decide.

    There is a wealth of information on the NYSDEC web page, including regulations and guidelines for you to follow.
    http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7872.html

    Once you do decide on an area to explore, I can highly recommend choosing one or more of the Discover the Adirondacks series of guidebooks. See the coverage here:
    http://www.hiketheadirondacks.com/pa...ondacks_Series

    Unfortunately the High Peaks edition is sold out from the online web page, but you might find it in the usual gear shops and bookstores around the area. A new HP edition is slated to be released in about a year from now.

    Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in sale of the guidebooks, but the author is a friend.
    Last edited by Nessmuk; 04-01-2015 at 05:41 PM.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  7. #7
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Note that bear canister are actually REQUIRED for overnight stays in some parts of Adirondacks: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7225.html.

    You can rent them at some places if you don't have one, you can find more info here: http://www.adk.org/page.php?pname=dec-regulations

    This actually gets a bit more complicated - some bears in ADK region learned how to open some canisters so they are not recommended for use there: http://www.bearvault.com/bearvault_productnotices.php and this apparently has been discussed on VFTT to some extent: http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthrea...Vault%AE-alert

  8. #8
    Senior Member iagreewithjamie's Avatar
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    Wow. You guys rock - I knew I could get some great info here.
    I found the new guide book and map on Amazon for $25 total - not a bad deal at all.
    http://www.amazon.com/High-Peaks-Tra...ADK+high+peaks

    These peaks are so interesting. Rows of high peaks with deep valleys nestled in between. Much different than the Whites - seems like in NH, the most remote sections are the vast expanses in between old volcanic peaks, not really long gorges between really long ridges. Looks like the terrain is considerably different, too. Was this section of the ADKs ever logged like NH was?
    Nothin' on the top but a bucket and a mop
    And an illustrated book about birds.
    You see alot up there, but don't be scared:
    who needs actions when you got words?

  9. #9
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    The Adirondacks were logged extensively, but a very long time ago. Most of the major clearcutting and subsequent forest fires were over 100 years ago. Some areas were preserved, and most areas have regrown, but there is still only a little of what would be called "old growth" forest.

    The are many differences in hiking the Adirondacks vs. the Whites, but I think the two biggest ones are:

    >No Presi range. The Adirondacks has a number of peaks with open, above treeline summits. And leaving out the presis, the peaks of the 46 and the 48 are about the same elevation. But the Adirondacks does not have a range where there are large areas, not just isolated peaks, that push well above 5000'.

    >No highways through the major passes. This results in much longer approach hikes, before you really start to go uphill. The highways through Pinkham, Franconia, etc., really change the access. In the Adirondacks, the equivalent would be highways through Indian Pass, Avalanche Pass and the Ausable Lakes.

  10. #10
    Senior Member akafuzzjones's Avatar
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    If you want to stay in the high peaks area you have plenty of options for that length of time - you can go in and stay at the same place for all four nights or move around each night. Some of the best spots that offer the most options are the lean tos on the west side of Lake Colden (can get to Marshall, Iriquois, Algonquin, Wright and Colden), the Feldspar lean to (can get to Marcy, Gray, Skylight, Cliff, and Redfield), and the Ore Bed lean to t(gets you close to the peaks of the upper Great Range - Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback, Basin, and Haystack).

    While the routes to many of the lean to and tent sites are reasonably easy many of the summit climbs involve steep ascents/descents. I'm guessing that with all of the snow they've gotten it will still be wet at that time of the year too so the flat sections of trail may be pretty muddy. There are few places in the Whites that get the boot-sucking mud that is common there.

    While the National Geographic map of the area shows you the lean to sites it doesn't have all of the tent sites, for that you want to get the ADK High Peaks Region Map that is available from the Adirondack Mountain Club.

    A site with good information is:

    https://m.alavigne.net/Outdoors/Feat...ts/Adirondacks.

    While I haven't used this page it seems like it is the closest thing to the WMG Online that's available for the Adirondacks:

    https://m.alavigne.net/Outdoors/Feat...s/Adirondacks/
    Reaching the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory. (Ed Viesturs)

    NH 4K Grid #69
    Three-Season: ADK 46 #10140, NH 48, New England 67, and Northeast 115
    Winter: ADK 46 #10140W, NH 48, New England 67, New England Hundred Highest #120, and Northeast 115 #92
    Others: CO 14ers 28/58, Catskills 7/35, and Northeast 8 Ultra 5/8
    Trail Adopter: Caps Ridge Trail from Trailhead to Summit of Jefferson
    Organizer: Random Group of Hikers (www.meetup.com/rndmhkrs)

  11. #11
    Senior Member akafuzzjones's Avatar
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    Almost forgot to mention another great site - use the link at the bottom of post above by Chris (dailey7779) lots of no-nonsense information and great pictures.
    Reaching the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory. (Ed Viesturs)

    NH 4K Grid #69
    Three-Season: ADK 46 #10140, NH 48, New England 67, and Northeast 115
    Winter: ADK 46 #10140W, NH 48, New England 67, New England Hundred Highest #120, and Northeast 115 #92
    Others: CO 14ers 28/58, Catskills 7/35, and Northeast 8 Ultra 5/8
    Trail Adopter: Caps Ridge Trail from Trailhead to Summit of Jefferson
    Organizer: Random Group of Hikers (www.meetup.com/rndmhkrs)

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Can you provide some more details? IMO, the bugs of the whites pale in comparison to the ADK bug season, so don't mess with any DEET free stuff you may find in the grocery store. (Some people swear by some of the local remedies & I did buy something last year in the ADK but have not tried it yet)

    Are you looking to camp in a central location & day-hike from base camp or move camp everyday? If moving daily, how many miles are you looking to move daily? Leaving time to drop the heavy bags or going over some peaks with them? Have a few peaks in mind? (Need to do Marcy for instance?) Last week of June, so starting early or Mid-week?

    If mid-week, from the HPIC, you could put in a couple of days at the more populated weekend places like Marcy Dam which provides central access to Phelps, Table Top, Marcy, Colden, Wrights, Algonquin, Iroquois and Marshall. Besides peaks, many people find Avalanche Pass & lake along with Lake Colden worthwhile. Could also then move towards the John's Brook area and do some peaks there, Gothics and Big Slide (with it's view of Gothics and the Great Range) are nice and the view from Haystack IMO is the best in New York. (Rugged Panther Gorge and a much more dramatic side of Marcy than the other.)

    From the south, you could also approach Marcy from the south and try Allen, (the ADK version of Owl's Head, IMO harder, watch out for the slick purple slime.), and work your way towards four corners & either camping below or at Panther Gorge. Lake Tear, Gray, Skylight & Marcy along with Redfield and Cliff are near by and Lake Colden and the Lake Arnold approach to Mt. Colden are not too far away depending on your campsite.

    Many people like Indian Pass also so if looking for longer flatter days and less peaks (some still possible) a route through Indian Pass is very worthwhile too.

    Enjoy,
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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