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ADK releases updated NPT guide book

June 28, 2017
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Outdoors Writer ( , Lake Placid News

The Adirondack Mountain Club has released its latest trail guide, just in time for thru-hikers of the Northville-Placid Trail to start their 138-mile journey through the Adirondack Park - after the black flies have largely died down.

The Adirondack Mountain Club offers what is hands-down the best trail guides to the Adirondack Park. Almost journalistic in their objectivity and attention to detail, the ADK guides have provided maps, distances and ideas to thousands upon thousands of hikers over the years.

Just this month, ADK released their recently updated guide to the Northville-Placid Trail, a long distance trail that runs from Northville in the southern end of the park, 138.6 miles to Lake Placid.

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The trail was originally built in 1922, financed by a wealthy patron named George DuPont Pratt. Pratt's father was a partner in Standard Oil, and Pratt was of the generation of gentlemen conservationists that included Teddy Roosevelt. Pratt was also one of the founders of the ADK, and had served as New York State's conservation commissioner prior to that.

Northville is a sleepy town, but in the early 1900s was chosen as the beginning of the trail due to regular train service. While going almost all the way, the NPT does not take one from Blue Line to Blue Line, but will take you through scenic and remote parts of the Adirondacks.

While the trail itself has undergone minor changes or reroutes over the years, one of the big changes in the new edition of the guide is the very first part of the trail in Northville.

In the past, hikers who wanted to truly hike the whole route had to start in the village of Northville and then trudge many miles up the shoulder of state Route 30, a major thoroughfare in the area. Because of this, many hikers skipped the first 10 miles or so and started at the trailhead in Benson.

But a few years ago, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (to which the ADK gifted the trail in 1927), rerouted the beginning of the trail.

From a new kiosk in the center of town, hikers now follow a county road that has far less traffic, and eventually turns into a dirt road. While some will be disappointed to start their hike on pavement, the rest of the trail's wild beauty should make up for it.

The ADK guide books used to come with maps in a small pocket in the back of the book, but a few years ago, the ADK partnered with National Geographic to create waterproof, foldable maps. While these can be purchased separately, there are still small maps in the book that give an overview of the section of trail you are on. These maps are good for a quick reference, but since they are not topographic maps, would be unhelpful in the event that you get lost.

Despite the lack of a proper map, the guide gives an unparalleled description of the trail, along with providing ideas for gear to bring, where to replenish food stock and how to Leave No Trace while hiking and camping.

The ADK guide book is small and light enough to bring on a trip even as long as the NPT, where ounces in your pack can feel like pounds on your feet. Meant to be both a reference and a trail guide, the 5th edition of the Northville-Placid Trail Essential Guide is a book that you will want to read before hitting the trail - and carry along as you go.



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