An Adirondack Hiking Adventure

Growing up in New Hampshire near the White Mountains, I started hiking at a very young age, enjoying everything from the simple exploration of the woods to more involved backpacking trips and overnight treks. I have always been drawn to the woods and, when I discovered the Adirondacks, I was bewitched by their beauty.

Burton Rankie

I began hiking the high peaks as an escape from grad school, starting with the Great Range and camping at the base of Wolf Jaw. Being from New Hampshire I was sure nothing could compare to the White Mountains, but the 'Dacks have a special charm. Each place I hike has its own feeling which is hard to put words to. I've hiked throughout the United States, South America, Central America, Canada and Europe, but I love the feel of the sleepy mountain towns in the Adirondacks.

If I had to pick, my favorite hike in the Adirondacks is probably my most recent one – whichever one it happens to be! Specifically though, Big Slide is delightful and I really enjoy Panther.

As of today, I have hiked 45 of 46 High Peaks with only Allen remaining. Partner-wise, Abby and I have done our entire catalogue of Adirondack hikes together. She is originally from Upstate New York, but I talked her into moving to Maine and she enjoys hiking there too! We frequently have others join us on the trail and have helped at least four people begin their quest to become Adirondack 46ers.

Winter summit of Santanoni Peak
Spring summit in the Adirondacks - it's hot and cold!

The 10 Things in My Pack at the Beginning of a Hike:

  1. Headlamp
  2. Lighter
  3. Food
  4. Water
  5. Shell for rain
  6. Camera
  7. Pocket knife
  8. Map
  9. Baselayer
  10. Fleece

I hike light – so usually it's a variation of these things. Food and water are a must, and a flashlight is right up there too!

My most memorable hike...

Was, and is, Saw Teeth. It was a warm spring day, but there was still a considerable amount of ice on the trail. I had to use crampons and poles to summit, but during the descent things warmed up to the point that ice had started to give way.

We began early enough so that we were out of harm's way, and nature decided to reward us with one of the most magnificent displays I have ever seen. From our summit vantage point overlooking the lake, we spent hours basking in the warm sunshine, watching what seemed like house sized chunks of ice release from the cliffs, cascading down and smashing on lower rocks like exploding fireworks before falling into the lake.

To this day I still consider that to be one of the most brilliant things I have ever beheld.

Burton Rankie hikes the Adirondacks with his faithful golden retriever
An Adirondack view

My Top Gear Choices and More

People used to pass me on the trail and look at me like I was nuts, but my favorite hiking footwear of all time was the Approach Moc made by Merrell! Sadly, Merrell no longer makes them and I have gone through two alternatives since then – and I currently like the Keen shoes I wear – however nothing compares to my mocs!

My go-to trail food is, without a doubt, M&Ms. At one point M&Ms were having a contest where if you received a bag of entirely brown pieces, you would win a million dollars. With the unopened bag in the bear canister waiting for our return we collectively decided (after a very long hike) that we would forgo the million dollars and eat the M&Ms if they happened to be all brown!

Best spot to refuel in my book is the Noon Mark Diner, hands down. It's not even a question in my mind. I could live solely on their toast and jam, not to mention the delicious pies, cinnamon buns, lasagna – the list goes on. I rarely leave the Adirondacks without a pie from their delectable selection of confections.

I'm currently planning to hike my last 46er this summer after the black flies cease to exist. Stay tuned.

Burton Rankie is an avid Adirondack hiker
Wrapping up another awesome hike in the Adirondacks!
About the Author …
Burton Rankie
Burton Rankie lives in Maine, but his heart belongs to the Adirondacks. An avid hiker and aficionado of all things outdoors, this is his story.
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