It was a successful trip to the Adirondacks this week. On a whim, I booked a motel room and decided to cross two more fire tower trails off my list.
While the booking was spontaneous, prepping for the hike was not.
Here’s what I recommend if you’re looking to get out and explore the great outdoors.
- A hydration pack
Sadly, I was without one of these during the trip. I now know why so many hikers recommend one. The amount of energy you use stopping, pulling your water bottle out of your bag, taking a sip, then putting it back is a lot when you’re staring at a steep incline!
Going “hands-free” seems like it would be such a big help when powering through these trails. I would say be on the lookout for something lightweight, but big enough to hold a good amount of water. Hydration is key when it’s 80 degrees and you’re only half a mile into a five-mile hike.
- Good hiking boots
Good shoes make a huge difference!
Hiking through the woods is very different from a walk in the park. While I love my sneakers when I’m going on a run in Rochester, I would have destroyed them going up Snowy Mountain.
The amount of mud, rocks, dirt and water I came across is simply too much for my little running sneakers.
I have a good pair of Colombia boots (You may recognize them…because I feel like every girl who posts about hiking is wearing these…) They are waterproof, durable and comfy. Everything I could’ve asked for – I wasn’t worried about hiking through mud or climbing up rocks.
If you’re looking to get out there, you want to make sure you break your boots in a bit before your big adventure. The last thing you want to worry about when hiking up a mountain is blisters forming…gross.
- A map/guidebook
You’re about to wander into the forest without knowing where you’re going? Couldn’t be me….
The last thing I want to do in a forest is be lost without service, a map or a compass.
For my quest to conquer the fire towers, I bought Views from On High. It not only gives a basic map for the hikes, but it also gives details on each trail’s difficulty, things to look out for, and the history behind the towers. I would strongly encourage anyone interested in the fire tower challenge to look into this book!
You think I’m hiking for four hours without food? Yeah, right. My bag was full of granola bars and trail mix every time we stepped out of the car.
In addition to water, food is a necessity. You don’t want to run out of energy at the top! You still have to make it back down to the trailhead. You don’t need a five star meal, but I would recommend bringing food that won’t melt, fall apart or get ruined in your bag. Granola bars. are my go-to, easy to pack and easy to eat!
- A good attitude
Cheesy? Yes. A necessity? Yes!
In the past week – I hiked around 13 miles. For someone like me, that’s a lot! I would not have made it to the top of those peaks without a little pep in my step.
If you’re staring at the trail with a bad mindset, you’re going to have a bad time.
Every time I started my ascent, or descent, I had one thing in mind. The accomplishment I would feel at the top of the tower.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I love instant gratification. An instant, “good job!” at work or a couple of dozen likes on an Instagram post. Who doesn’t get a little hit of dopamine when you see the “liked” notification?
It makes the long game more difficult. Those goals I set for future Erin, seem so far out of reach.
Hiking these mountains helped me put some of it in perspective this week. When you’re at the bottom, staring at all the mud, trees and rocks in front of you, it seems almost impossible to reach the top.
So you start slow. One step at a time. Taking breaks when you need them. Suddenly, you’re halfway there. You look behind you, and you realize how far you’ve come.
So you keep going. You’re sweaty, you’re tired, the sun is beating down on you, but you set a goal. You’re getting so close to the top – why stop now?
Then you reach the peak, and you look out over the forest and take in a deep breath of that mountain air. You might be looking out over another peak, a lake, the forest or even the clouds.
The view might change but the accomplishment never does. I don’t know the right words to describe that feeling at the top of the mountain. All I know is it left a smile on my face, even days afterward.
Looking for more tips on traveling through the Adirondacks? Ask me anything, and give this blog a follow!