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Partial ADK Great Range traverse - help with trails?

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Partial ADK Great Range traverse - help with trails?

Postby spark1291 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:27 pm

I'm going to hike most of the ADK Great Range (Roostercomb, Hedgehog, L. Wolfjaw, U. Wolfjaw, Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback, and finally Basin) tomorrow with a friend. I'm 18, he's 17. We're not that experienced (my only real hike was Mt. Washington a few weeks ago) so we need some advice, especially on which trails to take.

The Roostercomb Trailhead seems to be the most popular start for this trip, but where do I go after that? Are the trails clearly marked so once we summit Roostercomb we'll know where to go next? If anyone has ever done this before or knows about it, any advice on trail names would be awesome.

And, I'd like to know if this is even possible. We only have 12.4 hours of daylight, with about 22 miles of hiking. So, to any more experienced hiker out there, can it be done?

Thanks in advance
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Postby nartreb » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:01 pm

It can be done, but it's a much bigger endeavor than climbing Mt Washington. You need to start early, pack light, move fast, and not stop longer than necessary - and carry plenty of water - there's a stream on Hedgehog, and after that you're up on the ridge where it'll be dry.

I would not look at finishing before dark as a constraint (as opposed to a goal), unless you start before dawn. 12 hours would be a fast time - and these trails are a lot rougher than the trails on Mt Washington. If you're not comfortable hiking by headlamp, you're not prepared for this hike. Do something easier.

The main risk here is that your route takes you ever-further from any trailhead - if you get tired and want to stop near the end, you'll still be a long way from your car; and it's already getting kind of cold at night.

A trail map is essential. (and so is a compass and a bit of practice using both together). You can pick one up at most gear stores (there's one in Keene, but don't wait that long - you need the map to *plan* your trip: how many miles an hour do you need to set your pace at? What if it's noon, and you're only at point X? If you turn around, what time will you reach your car?). Trail names in the Daks are a tiny bit confusing (you'll want to learn both names and numbers on the map) but your route actually pretty obvious - you're just heading west along the top of the ridge, and the ridge is pretty obvious when you're looking at it. Just know which trails lead you back to the easy valley routes to your car.
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