I'm a bit late in sharing, but rest assured that we had a fantastic New Year's weekend in the Adirondacks.
Transportation: Matt and I picked up his car, then came back into the city for Jeff. We drove up I-87 to Keene Valley, the base of operations for the Eastern High Peaks region of the Adirondack Park.
Trail Conditions: We had winter conditions. There was packed snow on the ground when we arrived on the night of Thursday, December 31st. It was pristine and beautiful on Friday the 1st. There was no wind to speak of and clear skies all around. Saturday the 2nd, it was substantially colder, maybe 15 degrees F in the lower valleys and 0 degrees without windchill on the higher peaks. Up on Mount Marcy, the winds picked up, gusting to 45 mph. That is not fun in any weather, but certainly not in sub-freezing temperatures. We made camp in a lean-to farther down the valley just before a major blizzard rolled in. Thankfully, the next morning the trailside warming hut was staffed and the ladies working that weekend hailed us over as we shivered and trudged toward the trailhead and fed us hot chocolate and banana bread. They said the temperature got down around -4 Fahrenheit in the night.
Breakfast: oatmeal, GORP
Lunch/Snacks: Pizza GORP (cheez-its, sliced pepperoni sticks, nuts, other goodies), potato chips, peanut butter, chocolate pretzels, a can of SPAM (questionable choice), oreos
- extra layers, more than you think is prudent
- socks, socks and even more socks
- ice axes (1 each)
- trekking poles
- extra stove fuel
Sleeping through a blizzard in a lean-to is not a pleasant experience. We didn't think to put up our tents inside the lean-to for extra insulation and wind protection. We woke in the morning to find snow drifts alongside us and inside our boots. Lesson learned.
Especially when it is freezing cold, it's hard to make yourself eat or drink water since your hands are already cold, you don't feel thirsty, and stopping to find your food in your pack will drop your body heat. This is silly. Pack food that's easy to eat on the go and make yourself eat it to avoid bad low-blood sugar decisions and hypothermia. As for water intake, not only do you want to avoid dehydration, you also need water to maintain and regulate your body temperature. Fill a thermos with boiling water before you leave on your trip, and again after you finish making dinner each night and you will have hot water at the ready without needing to get out your stove.