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The beginning of the summer is an exciting time to dust off your gear, revisit your favorite trails, and discover new ones. It’s also the perfect time to review some tips and tricks to keep you and your family safe as you enjoy the Adirondacks.
Although warm temperatures at the trailhead may have you in shorts and a tank top, it’s always smart to carry extra layers with you to stay warm and dry at the summit. Extra socks can be a lifesaver when feet get wet or muddy, and there is no better feeling than slipping into clean socks after a long hike. Many local retailers carry hiking gear that’s perfect for getting you up and down the mountain in style.
Making sure you know where you are and where you’re going is always important. Having a map of the trail and surrounding area, a compass, and a knowledge of how to read both, are skills that every hiker should know. Tutorials on how to read both tools are all over the web, but you can find our favorite guide to compasses and maps here. And whatever you do, don’t forget to sign in at the bottom of the trail!
Exposed roots and slippery rocks are inevitably present on even the most well-maintained trails. Although hopefully you’ll never have to use it, it’s important to keep a basic first-aid kit in your backpack. For helpful information on what to pack, click here.
Food and Extra Water:
It may seem like common sense to pack food and water on longer hikes, but even on short hikes it’s important to pack a few days worth of food in the event of an unexpected delay getting back into town. Energy bars and trail mix are both easy to pack and provide sustained energy for hours at a time. Hiking in the summer months calls for extra water as well. To avoid dehydration, make sure to drink consistently throughout your hike!
Knowing the condition of the trail you plan to hike ahead of time can make a huge difference in what you decide to pack. Checking a website such as the DEC’s Backcountry Information guide can clue you into everything from downed trees to muddy trails. Checking the weather before you head out is equally important. Getting caught in a summer rainstorm is much more pleasant when you know ahead of time to bring a rain jacket!
Bugs are a necessary evil in the Adirondack Park. Luckily, there are many things you can do to help keep yourself clear of the swarms. Wearing a bug net can help, as well as wearing long sleeves (bonus: this also keeps you safe from the sun!). Bug spray is also essential!
Hiking with Dogs:
Man’s best friends make some pretty great hiking partners if you ask us! Hiking with dogs can be a lot of fun, but it means you’ll need to pack a few extra supplies. Just as humans need to stay hydrated when hiking, so do dogs. Even if you know that there are streams along the trail, you should always bring water and a drinking container for your furry friend. Having some treats and a sandwich bag full of dog food in your pack is also a good idea! Don’t forget to be courteous to your fellow hikers, keep your dog on a leash and clean up their droppings as you go.
Keeping the Adirondacks beautiful takes hard work and consideration. Every hiker should take it upon themselves to leave the trails cleaner than when they arrived. Bring a trash bag for any trash that you produce and consider picking up any litter you find along the way. With a small amount of effort, these trails can be kept clean for generations to come.
As you set out to explore all that the region has to offer this summer, make sure you’re prepared with all the essentials. When on the trails, take time to be aware of your surroundings. Not only will it keep you safe, you might just see something you would have missed!
Visit our website for a list of Adirondack hiking trails in the area.