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Old 07-06-2008, 05:38 PM   #1
Todd Heyn
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Footwear Selection / Trail Condition???

I just completed an 8 day hike on the AT that covered 80 miles of NJ and part of NY. The trail there was VERY rocky. Anywhere from softball sized rocks up to beach ball sized ones. Very difficult to have positive footing at times. I was wearing trail runners and by the end of the trail my feet were very sore.

What are the conditions of the NPT trail. I will be hiking it in mid-August. I realize that it is known for mud but what else? Are there rocks in the trail similar to the high peaks trails?

Would you recommend that I switch to my heavier boots or stick with the faster drying trail runners?

Just let me know. I already plan on bringing my gaiters.
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Old 07-06-2008, 06:08 PM   #2
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For the past several years I've been hiking in Teva wraptors (sandals), with socks, doing betweeen 10 and 33 miles a day. I used to wear goldtoe nylon socks, which worked well, but now I wear nu-wool Injinji toe socks. These work even better, because they separate the toes, but take longer to dry. I apply Hydropel, carry a light pack and use trekking poles. I've done the full length of the NPT twice this way, north of Old Forge and in the Western Catskills. I have gotten a couple of blisters between my toes where I had too much callouse (before I switched to toe socks) but not on the bottoms or sides of my feet, nor do my feet get sore.

Shoes don't dry out fast enough, if at all, and most of the time give me blisters.
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Old 07-06-2008, 06:08 PM   #3
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Stick with the trail runners, bring the gaiters and keep the load light. There've been areas where I've rolled my ankle over wearing trail runners, but I attribute the real cause of the pain to be overpacking.
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Old 07-06-2008, 06:28 PM   #4
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The load will be light. My starting weight for my recent NJ AT thru-hike was 23# which included food for four days and 2.5 liters of water. I plan on a similar load for the NPT in August.
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Old 07-07-2008, 06:44 PM   #5
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I use my trail running for almost all my hiking on the NTP. I did use my light hiking boots for a thru hike last August, but I will be switching back to my trail runners for my thru hike this August.


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Old 07-07-2008, 07:57 PM   #6
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Yep, trail runners for me too. My first thru-hike was in boots... switched to runners for subsequent hikes and haven't looked back.
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:38 PM   #7
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speaking of trail conditions (and other thru-hike ??s)

My partner and I are planning a thru-hike of the NPT beginning next Tuesday July 15th and I am wondering if anybody who has done a thru-hike recently or hiked sections could let me know if there is anything particular we should no in terms of trail conditions. Also, I just read some of the message threads and it has me wondering about new questions (which I hate to be having so close to our departure date!) If anyone wants to respond to one or more of the following questions I would be so greatful!

- Gaiters? Really? Do you really all take them? In December we did a trough hike in Tasmania, Australia (known to be wet and muddy) and we barely needed them and I was so annoyed to have the extra weight!

- The reroute/detour somewhere between Duck Hole and Moose Pond - what is up with that these days? Am I correct in understanding that the trail is now reportedly fine if you can follow the reroute?

- I read somewhere about a bridge over West Canada Creek that was about to fall. Is that fixed now? If not is it doable to cross the water (it has been raining a ton here in Brooklyn, NY but someone told me the storms have been skirting the Adirondacks at times).

- How are the black flies? I will assume: still bad.

- Are there any good or decent camping prospects inbetween Tirrell Pond Lean to and Long Lake Village? We don't plan to spend any overnights at motels in Long Lake, but do plan to resupply there - Is it possible to tent somewhere a few miles before getting to Long Lake so as to be able to wake up, walk a few miles and then reach Long Lake?

- Anything else any of you who have done this trail would want others following in your footsteps to know?

THANK YOU so much in advance for any info and tips you all might have!
I know I have a lot of last minute questions! But even answers to one or two would sure help!
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:30 AM   #8
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Gaiters? Yes - keeps stuff out of your shoes (trail runners) and if used with goretex footwear has the potential for keeping your feet dry if you go r-e-a-l-l-y fast through shallower water.

Reroute South of Moose Pond - if you are coming from the South should be easy to follow. Coming from the North, if it looks bad and you are wondering if you are going the wrong way, you probably are - there is a fairly sharp turn off before it gets really wet.

Camping between Tirrell Pond and Blue Mountain Lake? I'll leave this to others, as we went directly from Catlin Bay No. 2 to Blue Mountain Lake, although I would think you might be able to find an (undesignated) spot before getting onto private land South of Shaw Pond. You might be able to follow that road into Long Lake, then - check with others before trying that, though, as I'm not sure on access rights.
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:22 AM   #9
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The NPT is mostly mud, corduroy, and walkways.

It follows many old woods roads, and its not all that rough.

I'd personally wear running shoes, or sandals.

As I noted, I'm a slow hiker and with a 40lb pack (no resupply 10 days) I was doing 15 miles a day and done by 4pm. This was largely because the trails were relatively flat, and relatively smooth. although i did it in july and it was covered in mud, causing me to form nasty blisters, and making the flat walking seem like it was much harder.
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Old 07-11-2008, 11:19 AM   #10
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Gaiters: I have never used them but I will be getting some before I hike the NPT. I went for a short hike yesterday near Syracuse and my legs are torn up from overgrowth. Also, the wetness of the growth made my socks wet, which then made the inside of my shoes wet - Goretex wasn't helping me out cuz of this. I also had a lot of plant crap in my shoes (seeds, tops of weeds, etc).

Flies: They are bad in Syracuse - I'm guessing they're the same or worse on the NPT.

Please do post your experience when you're finished! I'll be hiking in August.
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:28 PM   #11
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Thank you Brooks, Pico and Uberturtle for your replies!

I guess we could bring the gaiters and send them home from the post office in Piseco if they don't seem helpful. You all do give some strong endorsements...

Brooks, I will definitely post about my experiences when I return, although I am heading straight from Lake Placid to a wedding in the Catksills and won't be online until August 4th or 5th - hopefully we won't be passing ships in the night....

Thanks again!
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:27 PM   #12
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i say keep the gaiters....i've had a few damp mornings just on overnights. i usually don't use mine unless it's actually raining....convertible nylon pants dry pretty fast and trekking poles help to move the wet stuff out of the way.

black flies aren't bad in the southern parts...but skeeters...(curses).

as for boots vs runners (didn't we have this debate elsewhere too?), last year i was supposed to do wakely -> benson but bailed at piseco due to nasty blisters (thanks boots). this year, well over 50 miles on the trail and not a blister to be found. just be more graceful than i at crossing certain streams/mud pits and you'll stay dry.

Ooooh, and have fun! i'm heading out in a month and five days (i'm not counting....)
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Old 07-14-2008, 01:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrklynHiker View Post
- I read somewhere about a bridge over West Canada Creek that was about to fall. Is that fixed now? If not is it doable to cross the water (it has been raining a ton here in Brooklyn, NY but someone told me the storms have been skirting the Adirondacks at times).

- How are the black flies? I will assume: still bad.
The bridge over West Canada Creek is still there, and I think it will be ok for the rest of the season. It's got a pretty good list to it, but it still seems to support weight just fine. I think it's the winter snowpack that has put pressure on it and begun to warp it.

There is a bridge out over the Sampson Bog outlet, however. If the water is high, you can count on getting your feet wet here. An SCA Crew went in a few weeks ago to rebuild the bridge, but they did not finish and I don't know what the current status of the new bridge is. As of 1 week ago, the cross beams had not been installed yet.

The black flies aren't as bad as they were a month ago, but it seems like there has been a new hatch of mosquitoes over the past week, and they seem to have gotten worse, and the deer flies are pretty much reigning supreme over everything else right now.
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:32 PM   #14
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Here's another vote for trail runners. I think your ankles are actually safer in those than in a big clunky platform sole boot. The gaiters I use are the small stretchy scree gaiters (OR and EMS both make these). They are ankle height, very light, and great for keeping stuff out of your shoes.

We packed light, and also used poles on the whole trip. I'm not a big user of poles, becasue most of my hiking is either bushwhacking or rock scrambling, where poles are an impediment. But for the NP, which is mostly level path, poles are great!

We hiked from Tyrell Pond up over the ridge and out to Long Lake for resupply, and then back in to Catlin Bay, and it wasn't a bad day. We started at 7 something, and we were in LL village by about 1:30. Chicken fingers and cocktails on the deck at the Blarney Stone never tasted so good!

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Old 07-20-2008, 03:47 PM   #15
Petra
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I just got back yesterday from hiking the NPT in eight days (July 12-19). As I recommended in a previous post, I wore sandals with toe socks and used trekking poles (essential). No gaiters. It poured for hours on the 13th and a couple of times yesterday. I did fine. Not a blister. I put hydropel on (I'm not sure how effective it is), I brush the mud off my nails with a plastic nail brush when I'm done, and I air my feet out all evening. And my feet feel great. In fact, my legs feel great! (I had a great hike.)

Last edited by Petra; 07-21-2008 at 11:27 AM..
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