Have you ever agreed to something and then looked back and thought “what in the world did I get myself into?”
I have. I said “yes” to a 4 night, 5 day hiking and camping trip in the Adirondacks. Crazy, right?
Now, if you know me, you probably thought I’d die out there. I kind of thought I would. Especially with the escaped convicts lurking an hour away. I’m athletic, but not coordinated in the slightest. I’m outdoorsy, in the idea that I enjoy drinking wine coffee, on my porch, or when it involves a book by the beach or pool. But yes, I agreed to this trip.
We made lists and planned. At the top of my list were the following: download a whole new playlist, for the 6 hour drive, and purchase a selfie stick. Then came camping supplies, groceries, and the things that would actually aid in survival. We drove. For six hours. Finally, arrived. The sun was shining, the mountains were off in the distance, and it was beautiful. Then we drove down into the Adirondack Loj. And drove, and drove, and drove. After about 15 minutes of driving in the complete wilderness, we crossed a bridge and lost all cellphone service. If you walked back over the bridge, it was magically back again. You know how they say “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side?” Well, in the case of cellphone reception, it was. This was the first most terrifying thing for me. Not because I wouldn’t have access to social media or be able to communicate nonstop, I was more nervous that I wouldn’t be able to call for help when a black bear attached. Then we pulled into our humble abode for our 4 night stay. A lean to. Now if you don’t know what a lean to is, it’s kind of like a log cabin, with only 3 walls and a very dirty floor. At least it has a fire place! And by fireplace, I mean fire pit, right outside the space where the 4th wall should be. Now the terror was really setting in. Especially when we saw multiple signs requiring that we store things in “bear proof containers” and lock all food and toiletries in the car, as to not attract bears and other wildlife. Alexis and I seemed to be the only concerned ones and that’s because we were the only newbies at this. Now, if you’re into damp bedding, bugs crawling on your face, and being all “one with nature” 24/7, camping and hiking, together, is definitely for you. If you like to escape the wilderness once in a while, however, I’d recommend hiking and a hotel. Hey, the ideas “everyone’s different” and “you live and you learn” were all reinforced throughout this trip. I learned that I like hot showers and cozy beds.
Now, the hiking is a different story. It is phenomenal. You see such amazing things the whole time. From lovely views and the prettiest bits of nature, it is definitely something to be appreciated. I seemed to start out strong, then I’d get a little weary, and let’s be real – whiny, then get another burst, but then the feeling you get when you finally reach the top is incredible. It is astonishingly beautiful and it is so worth any of the pain that comes along with it. By the end of our second hike, which was a full 8 hours long, my knees wouldn’t even bend anymore, but I actually cannot wait to tackle another high peak hike. It can be an addicting kind of achievement, if you can tolerate the bugs, sore muscles, and eating “smushed,” pre-packaged food that has been in your warm backpack for hours. For the record, I could, and I want to again.
Now, onto the days where it was too rainy to even fathom going on a hike or when cooking over a campfire just seemed like too much of a chore. It was my mother, my sister, and I, (the others were brave enough to set out on yet another hike) so what do you think we did? If you guessed shopped, ate, or drank, you guessed correctly. We went into Lake Placid and found a couple of the cutest little shops! I do not buy souvenirs. Normally they’re cheap, tacky, and just not worth it, but I do indeed buy food. The Adirondack Popcorn Co. was the place I grabbed little treats for those back home. I love their s’mores popcorn and the classic cheddar + caramel mix, but I snagged a bag of Maple Bourbon Bacon Popcorn for the guy. We also stopped at a cute little jewelry shop called, Sparkle! They had a huge selection of Alex and Ani (I got myself a cat bracelet, of course), Pura Vida (I also picked up one of these cuties), Chavez for Charity, and more! The women that were working were lovely, so kind, and super talkative! Just what you need on a rainy shopping day – we even went back for another visit before we left! On our way out of town we ate at the Ausable Inn and stopped at The Birch Store, in Keene Valley. I picked up a couple of adorable things there (including this amazing cucumber lip balm) and I can’t wait to shop again – that store has rooms and rooms of things to discover!
All in all, I had a once in a lifetime experience. Mainly because I will never, ever sleep in a lean to again, but also because it was the first trip my mom, sister, and I have taken together as adults. I would totally recommend visiting the Adirondack area, taking a few hikes, and shopping Lake Placid and Keene Valley! I just also recommend a hotel. Here’s to new adventures!
Love, Heather.Tags: adirondack log, adirondack popcorn co, adirondacks, alex and ani, camp, camping, camping trip, chavez for charity, high peak, hike, hiking, hiking trip, lake placid, lean to, nature, outdoors, pura vida, shopping, sparkle, trip, vacation, wilderness