Whether you are day hiking or backpacking, proper planning, preparation, proper clothing and taking appropriate gear along are essential to a safe and enjoyable excursion.
Before You Leave… plan ahead
*Learn about the area ahead of time. Study the latest guidebooks and maps that give
information on highways, trails, streams and other physical features. Plan your trip carefully according to routes and the time you have available. Check weather reports before you set out.
*Prepare yourself physically. If your planned recreation calls for considerable physical exertion, get in shape beforehand. Do not attempt a trip that is beyond your physical capabilities.
*Leave word of your destination and schedule. In order to locate you in an emergency or send assistance should you need it, leave word at home or with a friend as to where you are going and when you intend to return.
*Know the rules and guidelines for appropriate behavior for the area you are visiting
On The Trail
*Dress appropriately for the season and where appropriate hiking shoes or boots. Layered clothing is best to meet changing weather conditions. If cool or wet conditions can be expected it is recommended that you avoid cotton clothing, which insulates poorly when wet and dries very slowly.
*Carry a compass and a topographic map of the area and know how to use both
*Take along appropriate equipment and supplies. A day pack containing rain gear, extra warm clothing, high energy food, water, first aid kit, pocket knife, whistle and matches in a waterproof container are recommended. Sunglasses and insect repellent are also helpful.
*Do not drink water from ponds or streams unless you have treated it first by boiling, filtering or using purification tablets.
*You should sign in at any Department of Environmental Conservation trail register you may pass. This will assist us in finding you should we need to search for you.
You Get Lost or Someone is Injured
*Keep calm, stay dry, keep warm and get your bearings before proceeding.
*If it appears that you will need to spend the night in the woods, build a campfire to provide heat, light and comfort. A campfire will be invaluable in locating you if you have been reported missing.
*If the weather is particularly cold or bad and you must spend the night in the woods, also build a small shelter using dead branches, hemlock boughs and leaves. The shelter will serve as a "cocoon" and should be just big enough for you to lie in comfortably. Set up camp before darkness falls.
*If you feel you can try and find your way out of the woods, remember that following streams downhill will nearly always lead you back to signs of habitation.
*Any person knowing you are overdue should contact the New York State Forest Ranger in the area of your trip.
*In case of accident, at least one person should remain with the injured person. Know and use basic first aid techniques. Others in the group should carefully note the location and contact the local New York State Forest Ranger.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Dress appropriately and remember the weather in the Adirondacks can change quickly. Always hike with a headlamp even for day hikes and bring extra clothing, water and map. If there is a trailhead sign-in box, please sign in for your own safety.