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Old 01-14-2020, 09:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 131
Lightbulb The Adirondack Camping Challenge

I’m not a peak bagger. I camp out of my kayak, or, on an occasion, I backpack several miles in to camp. But I don’t have a 46-item list to check off. And I’ve noticed that I’ve been stuck in a rut – often camping in the same areas. I must have camped a dozen times each on Stillwater Reservoir, Cranberry Lake and Indian Lake over the past 10 years.

So how about a challenge that I could actually care about? I’ve come up with a challenge for myself to camp in every Wilderness and Wild Forest unit within the blue line. I did not include Primitive Areas because these are often small and transitional in nature. My rules are that camping can be in a tent, lean-to, hammock or under the stars. It does not have to be at a designated campsite – it could be following the rules of camping 150 ft away from waterbody, trail and road. Regular DEC campgrounds on lands designated as intensive use do not count.

A few of the Adirondack units have very few designated campsites listed, and three of the wildernesses, Little Moose Mountain, Jay Mountain and Hoffman Notch have no designated campsites or lean-tos.

So here is my list of 47 such units - which is 1 more than 46! I only list one campsite per unit where I have camped at least once. I have 20 checked off - I am not even half way there. But I’m hoping this will get me to explore more areas of the park.

Unit Name                      Campsite Location
  1. Aldrich Pond Wild Forest
  2. Black River Wild Forest South Lake
  3. Blue Mountain Wild Forest Lake Durrant
  4. Blue Ridge Wilderness
  5. Chazy Highlands Wild Forest
  6. Cranberry Lake Wild Forest Cranberry Lake #43
  7. Debar Mountain Wild Forest Lake Kushaqua
  8. Dix Mountain Wilderness
  9. Ferris Lake Wild Forest G Lake
  10. Five Ponds Wilderness Stillwater Res #23
  11. Fulton Chain Wild Forest
  12. Giant Mountain Wilderness
  13. Grass River Wild Forest
  14. Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness
  15. Hammond Pond Wild Forest
  16. High Peaks Wilderness Raq Riv LT near Stoney Pds
  17. Hoffman Notch Wilderness
  18. Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest
  19. Hudson Gorge Wilderness
  20. Hurricane Mountain Wilderness
  21. Independence River Wild Forest Stillwater Res #45
  22. Jay Mountain Wilderness
  23. Jessup River Wild Forest Fawn Lake
  24. Lake George Wild Forest
  25. Little Moose Mountain Wilderness
  26. McKenzie Mtn Wilderness Moose Pond (s shore)
  27. Moose River Plains Wild Forest Seventh Lake
  28. Pepperbox Wilderness Mossier Reservoir
  29. Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Crane Pond
  30. Pigeon Lake Wilderness Lower Sister Lake
  31. Raquette River Wild Forest
  32. Round Lake Wilderness
  33. Saint Regis Canoe Area
  34. Saranac Lakes Wild Forest Floodwood Pond
  35. Sargent Ponds Wild Forest Raq Lk at Marion River
  36. Sentinel Range Wilderness
  37. Shaker Mountain Wild Forest
  38. Siamese Ponds Wilderness Indian Lake CS 51
  39. Silver Lake Wilderness Spy Lake
  40. Split Rock Mt Wild Forest
  41. Taylor Pond Wild Forest
  42. Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest
  43. Watson's East Triangle Wild Forest
  44. West Canada Lake Wilderness CRF CS #5
  45. White Hill Wild Forest
  46. Wilcox Lake Wild Forest Garnet Lake
  47. William C. Whitney Wilderness
  48. Wilmington Wild Forest
Note: If you'd like to respond using a list with pseudo-columnized text like I did, select your text and press the # symbol (to wrap CODE tags around the selected text).

1) Changed 7th Lake as Moose River Plains Wild Forest Campsite
2) Added Dix Mountain Wilderness - I realized I missed initially

Last edited by Crash; 01-17-2020 at 07:58 PM.. Reason: Various
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:08 PM   #2
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You may want to check out the Adirondack Quest. Your camping/backpacking activities would certainly qualify toward that challenge. And the maps/lists may be of use to you.

Details here...

Like your idea though. That would get you to all of the areas inside the Blue Line.
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Old 01-15-2020, 05:52 AM   #3
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Great idea! Mokwa's suggestion is a good one. The Quest does not require camping as a requirement, so like you I added camping as my own requirement. After finishing the 50 Quest, I continued in desire to complete the idea you presented. I am at about 75% I think.
"There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service

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Old 01-15-2020, 08:39 PM   #4
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start designing a patch! People will hike barefoot through nettles to get a patch.
He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:02 AM   #5
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If you're going based on the listings of designated tent sites in each unit from the web pages for those units on the DEC website- those lists were compiled from the DEC's infamous inventory of campsites across the Adirondack Park... which is known for being horrendously incomplete at best.

The Hoffman Notch Wilderness has at least 2 designated tent sites- plus a lean-to is planned.

The Little Moose Mountain Wilderness has at least 1 tent site that I believe was designated decades ago but not included in the aforementioned inventory- likely due to being in a remote and out of the way location.

Also, I believe that the roads in the Moose River Plains are no longer in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest- they were split off into a separate Intensive Use area a few years ago. I'm not sure if this includes the roadside campsites, but I would imagine it probably does. Not sure if this affects whether you could count camping in a roadside side as camping in the "Wild Forest" or not.

Generally speaking, I like this idea. I myself have slowly been working towards spending a night in each "Wilderness" and each "Wild Forest" unit in both the Adirondacks and the Catskills (I've generally skipped including Primitive Areas because some of them are really small, like on the order of a few acres).
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:05 PM   #6
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Thanks for your comments!

Dsettahr, I compiled my list of of campsites from the DEC webpages (including map) for each unit. I consider this information slightly more reliable than the DECInfo Locator Map. Any information on these elusive campsites that you could share would be appreciated - even if by PM.

I agree with what you said about the Moose River Plains now being classified as Intensive Use. Even the DECInfo Locator Map shows this. So Moose River Plains campsites (at least most of them) do not qualify for Moose River Plains Wild Forest. No worries. I've also camped on the far shore of Seventh Lake in 2009, and that shore belongs to the Moose River Plains Wild Forest.

Makwa, Thanks for pointing out the Adirondack Quest. I looked through all my journal entries and I see I do qualify for that patch. I can find exactly 15 wilderness areas that I've activitied in, and at least 16 wild forest areas. I'll submit my paperwork for that patch this weekend.
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Old 01-17-2020, 11:19 AM   #7
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Off the top of my head: as per the Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area UMP, there's a designated tent site at Big Pond, and another designated tent site at (if my memory is correct) Bailey Pond.
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Old 01-17-2020, 10:10 PM   #8
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There is definitely a well used campsite at the north end of big pond, not far from the trail, with a side trail to it. But last I was there, I could not find a camp here disk.
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:26 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by forgedin78 View Post
There is definitely a well used campsite at the north end of big pond, not far from the trail, with a side trail to it. But last I was there, I could not find a camp here disk.
That's the site. The unfortunate reality is that there is often a delay (sometimes a fairly lengthy delay) between when a site might be officially "designated" and when someone actually gets around to posting the "Camp Here" disc.

Case in point: The state built two ADA campsites on the Roosevelt Truck Trail, using heavy machinery even- and it was still several years between when the construction was complete on the sites (and after they were available for legal use) and when the sites finally got "Camp Here" discs.
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Old 04-25-2020, 01:17 PM   #10
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We have about 17 peaks under out belt. We also enjoy canoeing and camping in general. I was getting concerned about contributing to the overuse of the 46 peaks so we usually make a point to come at a peak on a trail less traveled. Not to mention a huff & puff up each peak.

I thought about trying to bag every lean-to, but there are a lot of them and we hammock camp. Sometimes lean-to's have tent sites nearby, sometimes not so much.

This challenge and/or the quest is great. Wilderness camping. Sort of a goal but more of a guide to explore new areas.

Thank you for thinking of it.
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