Forty-five miles from start to finish. I had been backpacking before, but never more than about ten miles total. This trip, I would be covering about ten miles a day, with a full pack.
In July 2016, I participated in the ADK Advanced Teen Backpacking trip on the Northville-Placid (N-P) Trail, along with two of my friends and our guides Seth Jones and Jordan Arata. I had been on several ADK trips before, notably the Johns Brook Teen Adventure and the Ausable Stewardship program, both of which I enjoyed greatly. This trip in particular I had been excited for because it was unlike any other trip I had completed previously.
The first day we planned our itinerary, our food, and everything else we would need to live out of our packs for the next few days. Since we would be in the woods for a number of days, we brought freeze- dried food.
The next day we were dropped off at our trailhead near Long Lake, and thus the journey commenced. As the trip progressed, the group really merged into a team. When someone needed help, others were always ready to step in. This helped greatly, especially for me. When I felt like I could not continue any longer, the support of my group kept me going. As each day came to a close, I would dis-cover new cuts and blisters on my feet, including several under my toenails (Advice to any who follow in my foot-steps: break in your boots!)
Every day we were up early, and by the time the sun went down, everyone was ready to retire to our tents to sleep after a long day’s work, and to escape the ever-pre-sent hum of mosquitoes. Our fourth day was a challenge unlike the rest. Having left the N-P Trail at Duck Hole so as to conclude at Adirondak Loj, we hiked through Indian Pass, only two miles but unlike any other terrain we had come across in previous days. The path was rocky and steep, and with a full pack I’ll admit it was a little intimi-dating at first.
Our campsites were what I enjoyed most about the trip. Our first night’s stay at the Plumley lean-to location was beautiful. On either side of the lean-to there were small protected beach areas. One day we stopped at the spectacular Cold River lean-to for lunch, the perfect place to cool down and catch a siesta. But probably my favorite spot was Scott’s Clearing, on our last night. While the campsite itself was less than a showstopper, there was a breathtaking view of the mountains, through a line of trees, just down by the shore.
Participating in this trip taught me a lot about myself, and my personal ability to persevere. Had there not been such an encouraging group of people alongside me, I don’t know whether I would have been able to finish it. Since the trip, my blisters have healed and, unfortunately, yes, two of my toenails have fallen off. But I know they’ll grow back, just the price you pay for an adventure. ADK’s Advanced Teen Backpacking trip was definitely a memorable experience and something I would without doubt recommend to anyone looking to take the next step into backpacking.
Article by Julia Anderson. Julia lives in Buffalo, New York, where she is a junior at City Honors School. Her family owns vacation property near Old Forge, in the Adirondacks.
For the full article with images pick up your March-April edition of the Adirondac available March 1. Members can view the magazine in their Members Area on the website. Non-members can purchase the magazine in our online shop.