New publication covers less-traveled trails
By Mike Lynch
Written by Cat Hadlow and Bobby Clark—two ADK staff members— the 160-page, color book contains 37 hikes throughout the park.
The guide, which costs $18.95, includes GPS coordinates and QR codes for trailheads and parking areas, information about wilderness safety and ethics and difficulty ratings. It also includes information about ADK’s history in each trip description.
Here’s what Hadlow and Clark had to say about the publication.
Hadlow: Bobby and I sought out lesser traveled trails in an effort to potentially spread foot traffic throughout the expansive Adirondack Park rather than having it be concentrated in a particular area. With that goal in mind, we looked at maps and other guidebooks to try to fill in gaps, so to speak. We were also considerate of parking availability and access to trailheads, how well the trail was marked and deliberately omitted High Peaks of the Adirondacks – focusing on other terrific hikes within the High Peaks region.
Clark: When we were thinking about the sustainability of the trails, we considered several factors. The first was obviously the trail itself and if there were any features that made it more sustainable than others including: switchbacks, turnpiking or any recent trail work like hardening or improving drainage. Then we thought about how popular a trail already was and shied away from some trails such as High Peak summits that have eroded trails seeing higher volumes of people. We also considered whether or not a trail could handle some increase in use if they became more popular.
RELATED: ADK releases a new edition of its High Peaks Trails guidebook
Hadlow: Blue Ledges on the Hudson was a hike I really hoped would be included in the book. After rafting the Hudson Gorge multiple times in the 1990s,I had always wanted to hike into the Blue Ledges. It was a fantastic day when we hiked in and I sat on the beach across from the ledges, watching the rafts and kayaks pass by. It felt as if I had finally closed a loop. Another trail I was not aware of is through the Hoffman Notch. Bobby and I skied it end to end and the feeling of utter wildness in the place was just magical. There is so much history in that area, I was enthralled with the settlement of Loch Muller.
Clark: Through the process of writing this book I not only got to discover some favorite new hikes but favorite wilderness and wild forest areas that I’ve become hooked on and am trying to go back to explore every trail they have to offer. The first hike we went on for this project was Mt. Frederica in the William C. Whitney Wilderness along the sparkling shore of Lake Lila, which I have since returned to so I could explore the area’s magnificent paddling opportunities, as well as revisit Frederica in a different season. In the central Adirondacks I fell in love with the Siamese Ponds Wilderness after I hiked up Peaked Mountain. The trail starts by closely hugging the shore of Thirteenth Lake before branching up and following it’s inlet past several valleys to Peaked Mountain Pond before its final steep craggy ascent up Peaked Mountain. In addition to the varied landscape, the summit view looks back on the terrain you just traversed to get there. The last hike we went on for the book was just as influential in my future outdoor pursuits as the first with a lengthy circumnavigation of Pharaoh Lake. I have since returned in every season to hike or ski nearly every marked trail in the wilderness area. The many interconnected ponds and lakes helped me to realize I found greater joy pond hopping than peak bagging. I couldn’t believe after having lived in the Adirondack Park for nearly a decade how little of it I’d seen until working on this project and just how much it changed my perspective on recreating outdoors. I would encourage everyone who likes to spend time outdoors to branch out, go to new places and find what really speaks to them in nature.
Hadlow: It was interesting to find trails with links to ADK history for the centennial celebration of the organization this year. Mt. Gilligan stands in the shadows of the High Peaks but is a terrific hike with splendid views. The trail was created by the Boquet River Lodge chapter – now the Schenectady chapter – the fifth chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club’s 28 chapters. For those with a keen eye, a few of the original metal ADK trail markers may be found along this trail
Clark: One of the most rewarding parts of working on this project was gaining a better understanding of just how diverse the different areas of the Adirondack Park are. Prior to this project much of my adventuring had been done in the High Peaks region and often led me up steep eroded paths to tall, rock strewn 4,000 foot summits. A lot of the focus in that region is about getting to the top of mountains on trails through a rather homogeneous forest that changes some with elevation. Branching out to the central Adirondacks, there was still some steep terrain but it was much more varied with a lower height of land. There were greater changes throughout the forest transitioning quickly at times from coniferous to deciduous to tall grasses and open marshes. There also seemed to be many more ponds and lakes sprinkled across the landscape, and there were typically fewer people on the trails, often with more signs of wildlife than people.