Writer, educator, and outdoor adventurer Erik Schlimmer recently completed a 12-day hike across the Adirondacks, a chain of mountains located in northeastern New York. Schlimmer began his journey on August 6th and finished up on the 18th, covering more than 220 miles on the trail and climbing over 23,000 feet in the process. He is believed to be the first person to hike the entire length of the mountains.
Schlimmer’s approach to the thru-hike was to travel as lightly as possible and to focus on being self-sufficient while in the backcountry. To that end, he carried less than 12 pounds of gear, leaving his GPS, cell phone, and personal locator beacon all behind.
The hike began in the northern Adirondacks, with Erik studying the route closely to try to determine the best path. There is no clear-cut trail that runs the length of the range, so he had to cross through both public and private lands along the way. Some of the trails weren’t in the best of conditions either, with flooding causing him to adjust his route on the fly. The intrepid adventurer even admits that at times he wasn’t even sure where he was exactly, and he simple just kept heading south until he could regain his bearings.
The Adirondacks aren’t an especially tall mountain chain, with the highest point reaching 5344 feet on Mt. Mercy. But the trails can be quite steep, offering backpackers a significant challenge despite the altitudes. in addition, the region can be quite warm and humid in the summer months, which brings on its own set of challenges.
Schlimmer says that completing this hike has been a dream of his for a number of years. He’s been visiting the Adirondacks since the 1990’s, but this was his first opportunity to explore them on one long, continuous hike. It seems like it was worth the wait however, and this turned into a terrific summertime adventure.
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