Hiking Tips and Tricks
Hello fellow adventurers! The North Country and the Adirondack region is full of hiking opportunities and mountainous beauty. You're certain to find beautiful and unique views on shorter hikes such as Mount Arab or Azure, mid-level mountains like Ampersand and Scarface, and all the way up to the most difficult, like Iroquois or Allen. Before jumping right into these hikes, it is important to note that there are some steps hikers at any skill level should take in order to be best prepared for their adventures. Below are the most common steps I and other hikers suggest taking, based on our own experiences.
- Do some research. This includes knowing which mountain you will be hiking, from where it is located, and the overall length and difficulty of the hike, to how long it will take you to arrive at the trailhead. I find this information from other hikers online through comments, or talking with my friends.
- Pack accordingly (and lightly). Some items to pack are suggested in the next section below and how best to prepare yourself for what you may encounter. I fit everything I need in a small backpack, but make sure whatever you choose to bring won't be too big or heavy.
- Check the weather. Especially the night before the hike, as weather predictions continuously change. Make sure you wear the right clothes to avoid getting too hot, or too cold from either any potential rain or even snow during your adventures. You can still safely hike in these conditions, as long as you’re prepared with the right gear!
- Hiking alone? This is not uncommon, however, to be safe bring a map and a device like a cell phone, satellite phone, or personal beacon locator in case you get lost or need to contact someone in an emergency. But whether you're hiking alone or with a group, make sure someone who isn’t hiking knows where you're going and when you're supposed to be back.
Land acknowledgment: It’s important to acknowledge the land and mountains that we use today for recreational activities such as hiking, rightfully belong to the Indigenous communities. The Adirondacks and North Country region occupies the lands of the Iroquois or Haudenosaunee Confederacy, which we gained rights to use from the Treaty of Canandaigua in 1794. But understanding the history of our area, we can hike in a more appreciative and respectful manner, not only to protect the environment but to understand the history of the land we live on.
- Wear long pants. In addition to dressing for the weather, wearing long clothing will help prevent ticks, poison ivy, mosquito and black fly bites.
- Wear sneakers or hiking boots. Any footwear that will protect you from twisting your ankle is best on uneven and rocky trails, that means... no flip flops.
- Bring Snacks. Hiking can take a lot of energy and it is important to refuel throughout the hike (not just at the top), especially on longer ones. My personal favorites are granola bars and apples, but anything can do the trick, even a Hershey’s chocolate bar, the perfect treat for reaching the top! Just remember what you bring in, you must bring out — the trees do not want your garbage.
- A bottle of water. Just like plants, we need water to function and it is important to avoid dehydration. If it's a longer hike make sure you have enough water for all the way to the top and back. You can even use a filtering method like the LifeStraw if there will be water sources along the trail to help you stay hydrated.
- A couple of Band-Aids. I tend to fall on small rocks and trip on tree roots all the time, but if you have better balance than I do, band-aids might not be necessary. However, it's always good to have some sort of first aid kit with you, just in case!
- Take Breaks. It is absolutely okay to catch your breath and go at your own pace throughout your hike, and it gives you a chance to slow down and look around at different points throughout the journey. There are so many neat things like a twisty tree or a rare mushroom. You might miss out if you’re focused on getting right to the top!
- Take a shower and change your clothes. Not only will this clean off all the sweat and dirt, but it will also help get rid of any potential ticks or poison ivy oils. As you wash off, don’t forget to do a thorough tick check under your arms, and behind your ears.
- Refuel and Relax. Make sure you eat a hearty meal, stretch your muscles, and do anything else to relax and take care of your body before your next adventure. You just climbed a mountain!
- Bring a Camera. This way you can take pictures of the view, plants, or animals. You can remember the experience or even share some amazing nature items with friends and family. This is also a cool and fun way to identify plants and animals in the area! You can download PlantNet or iNaturalist, both free and highly rated apps, onto your phone to help with any identification.
- Extra Socks (and footwear). You may encounter a few puddles and streams during the hiking experience. I suggest packing a pair of socks in your bag and leaving a pair of socks and comfy shoes in the car after the hike to keep your feet happy and warm!
These are only suggestions myself and previous hikers share as the best preparation steps to take while having the most memorable experiences on their adventures. Don’t be afraid to adjust and change these tips based on the type of hike from its length, elevation, terrain, potential weather, and even personal choice. Feel free to check out the Nature Up North encounters and maps page to learn more about other North Country hikers’ experiences, or even share your own experiences! Hiking is a wonderful experience and with a few of these tips and tricks, there will be less to worry about and more time to enjoy the journey and views of the North Country!
More Hikes in the Area:
More about preparation steps:
More about Land Acknowledgement: