Yesterday Skyler and I wanted to hike something big. Originally we were going to hike part of the Dix Range, but with some rain the AM forecast, I didn’t want to hike up the Macomb Slide, so we changed our plan to Sawteeth from the Ausable Club. I first hiked Sawteeth back in December 2013 with Jona, so it had been a while since I’ve been on this high peak. We pulled into the lot a little before 7am and were on Lake Road by 7:15AM. It was drizzling the entire walk in, thankfully we both had our rain gear!
As soon as we hit the bridge at Ausable Lake, the rain stopped and the sky began to clear. We hiked up the trail to Gothics/Sawteeth until reaching the junction at 9:50AM.
30 minutes later, we were at the summit! I forgot how steep this trail was!
There are nice views of the Great Range from Sawteeth. It turned out to be such a lovely day!
The hike out went by fast. We were back at lake road by 1pm and decided to hike to Indian Head on the way out. The views up here are spectacular! We got to Indian Head at 1:30, staying up there for about 20 minutes to have a snack and rest our legs.
I never get sick of this view.
Going down back to the road took a little under 30 minutes. Now we just had a four mile road walk and our feet were finally feeling the mileage. We got back to the car a little after 3:30pm where a cold beer awaited. It was another great day in the mountains.
Sawteeth and Indian Head Distance 15.2 mi RT Time 8 hrs, 45 minutes including stops Ascent 3,868′
Being a 46er, I’ve acquired a lot of GEAR! And, I happen to be a gear junkie. Fortunately, I can find pretty good deals online at sites such as Sierra Trading Post, Steep & Cheap, and REI Garage, so I’ve never paid full price for anything except for maybe a water filter. But if you found my blog because you’re looking to hike the 46 high peaks, look no further! Here I’m going to tell you what I find essential to bring on hikes and overnight backpacking trips. I don’t have the most lightweight and technically-advanced gear, so if you’re like me and have a budget, this is the list for you. PS: none of this gear is sponsored! I’m providing the links to everything so you know where it can be purchased.
I recently upgraded my pack when the zipper broke on my beloved Osprey Sirrus daypack. This pack is bigger by only one liter, but has more pockets. It also has Osprey’s anti-gravity system, making it a comfortable choice on the trail. So far, I really like it. It came with the 2.5 L Osprey Hydraulics reservoir which I bring with me on hikes < 10 miles long.
What I keep in my pack at all times
Map, compass, matches, firestarter kit, pocket knife, first aid kit, blister kit, ACE bandage
Titanium mug SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger Northface rain shell
Extra socks and long sleeve shirt
Extra energy bars
Sunblock, body glide (to prevent chafing!) bug spray & tick remover
In the winter: hand warmers, Jetboil, extra gloves
Packing enough food for a long hike is so important. Fueling adequately beforehand is also key. It is not fun to “hit the wall” during a long hike. Muscles need glucose (sugar) to form glycogen (the storage form of glucose) which serves as fuel during your hike. When you run out of glycogen, you “hit the wall”, which can lead to extreme fatigue (the same thing can happen during long distance running or cycling!) Nobody wants to feel like that on a hike, so fueling appropriately before, during and after your hike is very important. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy for your muscles, while proteins provide the body with essential amino acids to help build and repair muscles. Making sure you pack enough quality foods for your hike is essential!
Before a long a hike, a mix of protein and carbs is best. Usually I have an egg and cheese sandwich on a roll. When I was hiking the 46, I was getting up before sunrise and didn’t have time to prepare breakfast. If I was really ambitious I would microwave an egg to have on a bagel to eat on the way up, but I rarely had time for that. Stopping on the way for a grab-and-go egg and cheese was usually my best bet. I knew I’d be expending a lot of calories and I wanted to eat something that would stick, keeping me full for a the first few hours of hiking.
If I was feeling a little bit hungry on the drive up, I’d snack on an apple or a mini cliff bar before starting the hike. Both of these provide carbohydrate. For lunch I would usually bring a bagel with cream cheese or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread. For other snacks high protein snacks, I’d bring hard boiled eggs, beef jerky, nuts, even some cheese to enjoy on the summit. Eating a snack high in protein helps repair your muscles after an intense climb. Sometime’s I’d even bring a Gu or another type of energy gel for quick and easy energy. They provide fast and easily digestible carbohydrate that can be eaten while hiking. Honey packets or applesauce/pureed fruit packets are also great options for quick, easily-transportable energy. In the winter, I always make sure to bring a thermos of vegetable lentil soup, which provides salt, protein, and some carbohydrate, plus–there’s something special about having a hot meal on a cold day in the mountains!
Bringing enough water during your long hike is key, especially during warm weather. In the summer, during long hikes I bring 4 liters of water (3 L bladder + 1 L bottle) along with a water filter so I can filter water from a stream if it’s needed. When I hiked the Dix Range last summer on a hot day, I drank the entire 4 liters. If you find you are a salty sweater, it wouldn’t hurt to bring some electrolyte tablets, such as Nuun, a bottle of Gatorade, or even salt tablets. On a super hot day, I keep a frozen bottle of Gatorade in my pack next to my hydration bladder. It keeps the bladder cold and eventually thaws, leaving a nice cold beverage. Rehydrating (with something other than a craft beer!) after your hike is also extremely important–so leaving a cooler full of ice cold water and gatorade in your car for post-hike rehydration is a fantastic idea!
A few of my good friends will most likely be finishing the 46 this year! Brendan and I were planning on hiking Dial and Nippletop today, but because it’s still mud season and the forecast looked grim, yesterday we called it; we decided to stay close to home and hike Hadley Mountain. We’re both sort of hiking the Firetower Challenge and Brendan hasn’t hiked Hadley yet! It was my third time up this mountain.
I think we got our latest start yet–arriving at the trailhead at 4:30pm. We weren’t concerned, as it was about a 3.1 mi hike RT.
We made it to the summit just under an hour! The late start meant we had the summit to ourselves.
It was a nice night for a hike!
Hadley Mountain Firetower Distance 3.1 mi RT Time 2 hrs, 21 min Ascent 1,518′
In other news, I finally completed my 46r “shrine”! Can you spot the cat silhouette in one of the picture frames? Too funny!
Memorial day weekend was jam-packed with Adirondack fun. Last Sunday was the Adirondack 46rs Annual Spring Banquet, so I made plans with Jordan and my parents to stay in Lake Placid so we could attend. Jordan and I planned on mountain biking Sunday, but the trails were a sloppy mess due to recent rains, so we hiked instead. There is still a mud warning for the high peaks areas (DEC advises to stay off of trails above 2500′–but a lot of people disregard these advisories unfortunately) so we hiked Little Crow and Big Crow mountains in the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness. The bonus of hiking these little peaks is that there are hardly any people on the trails because everyone is busy bagging high peaks. Plus, it’s on the list of recommended alternative hikes during mud season.
The trail to the Crows is located off of Hurricane Mountain Road, off of Route 73 in Keene. There are a couple options when staring this hike. It can be done as a loop, with a road walk at the end back to your car, or an out and back. There is also the option to hike part of the Nun-da-ga-o Ridge. Jordan and I just had time for a short hike since we had to be at the banquet in Lake Placid at around 5pm. We signed in and started hiking the trail to Big Crow. It was such a nice trail!
In about 20 minutes we were at the summit of Big Crow and had magnificent views of the high peaks.
Even though it only took 2o minutes, the trail is steep, complete with rock scrambling.
We followed the cairns down the other side of Big Crow, which was a little tricky since it was very steep. It might be sketchy if it was wet or icy! Thankfully it was dry!
Shortly after we were at the col between Little Crow and Big Crow, it was so pretty.
We hiked along the ridge to Little Crow, where we stopped and admired the view and had a snack.
The whole hike took 2 hours and 12 minutes, including stops. It was great!
Little Crow and Big Crow Mountain Distance 2.17 miles RT Ascent 917′ Time 2 hrs, 12 minutes
After the hike, we headed into Lake Placid to check into our hotel. My parents were already there and had been paddling on Lake Placid, since our hotel was right on the lake. Lake Placid is not to be confused with Mirror Lake, the lake right on the main street of Lake Placid, the village. Lake Placid is much bigger!
Jordan and I took their canoe out for a little bit–we had some great views of Whiteface!
After our paddle, we got ready and headed back into the Village for the 46rs banquet. There were over 700 new 46r finishers in 2016–myself included! 211 of us were at the banquet to receive our certificates. It was great to be awarded with an actual certificate after finishing the 46–I’m proud to be member of the club!
The next morning, we had breakfast at Generations Lake Placid, a restaurant right on Mirror Lake that my dad had recommended. I never would have thought to try it for breakfast–it was fantastic! The menu had an Adirondack theme to each of their meals.
And we had a great view!
Because it was raining pretty hard, we decided to head home–but not without a stop at the Mountaineer. The Mountaineer is one of my favorite stores, for good reason. They have so much awesome hiking gear! It was so crowded on this rainy day–what else can hikers do except drool over hiking gear if we can’t hike? We spent about an hour looking at packs for Jordan. He doesn’t have a hiking or backpacking pack, so he bought an awesome Osprey pack. We’ll have to put it good use this summer!