This time next week, I'll be hiking up a mountain in the Adirondacks? Yep, it's that time of year - hiking week.
Every year, around February or March - I send out an e-mail asking people if they want to go hiking. I get 15 e-mails from people saying they're in. Then as they months go bye, people trail off for one reason or another: "I've got an in-grown toenail." "I gotta go to a wedding." "My wife doesn't want me to go." "We're going to the mall that week to shop for furniture."
And every year the same thing happens. The list goes down to two people. Then, a couple people jump on at the last minute. And everything works out fine because, truthfully, you really only want five people max. Any more people, and you might as well rent a beach house and have a fucking orgy. Plus, you don't want any lazy asses in the bunch who try to convince other people to go to an amusement park or a mall. So, I'd say about 3-5 dedicated hikers is the right number, for me.
There's this one friend of mine who has been onboard for every crazy fucking trip I think up. I call him up, tell him about the trip and he basically says, "I'm there. Tell me the date." I try to oblige on some of his kick-ass outdoor ideas - i.e. a week-long Grand Canyon trip, a trip to Banff National Park in Canada, etc. But time and a couple kids can get in the way of a good plan. But somehow, he's always onboard. (I tend to think it's the 7 weeks of vacation he gets at work, but that's just me. Yep. You heard me. Seven weeks of vacation!)
Since, 1999 most of the hikes have been bits and pieces of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia [NOTE: the above pic was taken on the AT close to Damascus,Virginia]. Last year, we hiked through Red River Gorge in Kentucky. In 1999 and 2000, I even ventured up to Isle Royale - a 13-mile island on the North side of Lake Superior - for some hiking, fishing, canoeing and portaging. As a matter of fact, two of the guys I went to Isle Royale with are going to the Adirondacks with me on this trip.
So, "Why the Adirondacks?" you ask?
Well, I had planned to hike the Delaware Water Gap part of the Appalachian Trail this year, but a fellow co-worker/hiker at my previous employment said, "Fuck the Pennsylvania AT. If you want to walk on rocks the whole time be my guest. I'd head out to the Adirondacks." Then with a slight pause and a nostalgic look on his face he blurted, "It's awesome."
That sealed it. I had to go.
I ordered the maps, which should be arriving today or tomorrow. I'm checking out my packs, buying food and basically, counting down the days.
The one thing about this particular trip is that I have no freaking idea what we're going to to do. Most of the time, after checking out the topographic maps and reading shit online, I have an outline in my head of what would be fun, where we're going to stay and where we're going to eat. But besides climbing Mount Marcy - the highest point in New York state - on Thursday - that's about it.
After I check out the maps, I'm sure I'll feel a little more comfortable. This is unknown, virgin territory to my fellow hikers and myself. Maybe that's the way it supposed be for this trip.
I just want to get the biggest bang for the amount of time we're investing.