Trails Committee Meetings and News

And as a reminder: the Trails Committee success depends on volunteers like yourselves to keep our hiking schedule robust. We are always actively looking for trip leaders. If everyone led JUST ONE TRIP, just think of all the opportunities we'd have for more FUN! It doesn't have to be a big, complicated deal – a trip can be as short or long, or as easy or strenuous as you want. A trip could be anything from a one-hour ramble in a local park aimed at young families to a week-long backpack in the High Peaks. It is up to you to decide what you are comfortable doing.

If you have some ideas, but want some help planning or leading a trip, email , or and they can hook you up with a co-leader. Interested in earning your Leader patch or want to do something good for the chapter? Why not lead a trip.

Some of our member are also members of the Penfield Trails Committee and the Rochester Winter Mountaineering Society

Google Trails Group.  For the latest information from the Trails Committee, including the full schedule of planned hikes, please join our news group at!forum/adk-gvc-trails

If in doubt about the weather conditions for a particular outing, always check with the trip leader. 

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Take a Trip!

Considerations when signing up for a trip:
  • If you sign up for a trip, you maybe putting another person on a wait list who in turn may make other plans.
  • If you think that there is a possibility that you may not go on the trip, DON'T SIGN UP FOR THE TRIP.
  • Signing up and then canceling makes more work for the trip leader.
  • Don't forget the trip leaders are volunteers. If we want to have trips, we need to be considerate of the trip leaders.
  • If you have to cancel, notify the trip leader as soon as you can. Don't wait until the leader calls you.
  • If you are a passenger expect to compensate the driver for the use of the car. The federal government has determined that it costs $.30/mile to run a car on the average. At this rate it would cost the owner of the car $150 to drive up to the high peaks and back. If the driver asks you to pay for a portion of the gas or even all the gas or even $25 or $30 to drive to the high peaks and back consider yourselves lucky that you are not incurring the $150 expense on your car. Also if you are a passenger on this trip, consider driving on the next trip.

Didn't get on that trip? 

  • We know it's disappointing to call about an outing only to learn it's full and you'll be on the waiting list. You start to think, maybe I'll just plan to "camp" in the area and kind of follow along. PLEASE, THINK OF THE VOLUNTEER LEADER! We depend on them for taking us all on these great outings and want them to continue to do so.
  • By being a "tag-along" you jeopardize the entire outing and safety of all the participants. Chances are if it was a popular destination we will be going again. Or how about looking into leading it the next time?

Take care of your driver:

  • It is the policy of the Genesee Valley Chapter of ADK that drivers on chapter trips be compensated for their transportation expenses.
  • These expenses may include fuel costs, tolls and wear and tear on the vehicle. The drivers on the trip (not the trip leader, unless he/she drives) have the responsibility to discuss anticipated costs with other trip participants and agree on payment.
  • If more than one vehicle is driven on a trip, it is suggested that the drivers combine their expenses and collect equally from each of the trip participants, regardless of which vehicle they rode in.
  • Trails Committee additional statement: In view of the recent high cost of fuel please keep this policy in mind, whether you're on a local Saturday/Sunday outing or a weekend trip. Be sure to cover the expenses of the driver you carpool with.
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ADK Spring Hiking Guidelines

Mud season is here and if you love hiking or biking on the mountain trails, staying off them this time of year will keep your favorite trails from further erosion and irreparable damage.

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) Trails Program urges hikers to be aware of their impact and set a good example by avoiding wet, poorly drained trails. Even light hiking use during this period causes severe damage to the trail and the surrounding natural resource.

ADK especially recommends not using the more popular trails at high elevations where the steepness, thin soils and more fragile alpine vegetation are susceptible to irreparable damage caused by hiker impact.
If you need to hike in the spring, ADK suggests the hiker choose lower elevation, southern exposed trails that are well drained. It is a good time to check out trails at interpretive centers or town parks. It is very important to wear proper boots so one can walk through muddy spots rather than around them. Walking on the side of trail causes trampling to trailside vegetation and causes trail widening. Hikers should use their best judgment. If you know or hear a trail is muddy give it an opportunity to dry and plan to take an alternative route. Traditionally, these guidelines are to be followed throughout the snowmelt period.

Hiking outside of the established treadway tramples plants, contributes to erosion, and creates wide or multiple paths. In muddy or wet stretches, stay on exposed rocks or wooden planking where possible. Wearing gaiters over boots helps keep mud out, allowing you to walk through wet places when there are no planks. Do not shortcut switchbacks-it saves little time and causes gully formation and erosion.

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Beginner Backpacking Trips

One problem often encountered with backpacking trips that include beginners is that the more experienced backpackers are hesitant to participate. "I just can't believe how slow the beginners are" is a common complaint. However, the problem is usually not that the beginners are "beginner backpackers" but rather that they are "beginner hikers." A beginner backpacker needs some hiking experience or at a minimum some walking experience. Hiking over uneven terrain with a 35-pound pack is not for someone who has not done some preparation in hiking and walking. It's fairly easy to get the hiking experience needed. The first step is out your front door and continuing down the street. I find that walking 3 or 4 miles a day, 3 or 4 times a week does a great job of getting those much needed hiking muscles in shape. And, wear your hiking boots once in a while to make sure they are broken in and won't cause blisters at the most inopportune time on the trail. The next step should be some day hikes in the local area to enjoy new scenery and get use to uneven terrain. The Chapter's Sunday Hikes provide that opportunity.

We can do a lot to help the beginner backpacker with equipment to carry, packing the pack, food, water, camping, tenting, etc., but we can't do much to help the beginner hiker. That is something each individual must do. So get out there and walk, walk, walk. Make that first backpacking trip one that you can truly enjoy by being physically prepared. You'll appreciate it and so will your fellow hikers.

And for you experienced hikers and backpackers--join the trips. It's very enjoyable getting to share some of your experiences with beginners and to help them gain the enjoyment out of backpacking that you relish. The Adirondack Quest trips especially are going to give you the chance to see new areas and scenery and to meet new people. Don't miss out.

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General Guidelines for ADK Outings

Trip Classification and Participant Qualifications. Trip leaders should screen participants for appropriate skill, equipment and fitness for the proposed outing. Leaders have the responsibility to decline participation in a trip by any individual who, in their judgment, may impair the safety of participants or the objectives of the trip. All trip participants are expected to sign the ADK Release of Liability form before the outing begins. The trip leader shall prohibit participation in the outing by any person who refuses to sign the release.

Participant Conduct. Participants are expected to have a realistic knowledge of their own ability, to select activities within their capabilities and to carry clothing, food, water, and equipment appropriate to the trip.

Participants must be willing to accept the authority of the trip leader and to cooperate with him or her and other party members to make the trip safe and enjoyable.

Participants should inform the leader if they feel unduly tired or if the trip is exceeding their capability. Concealing such information to avoid embarrassment or other reasons endangers the safety of all participants.

A leader may curtail further participation by an individual and amend trip objectives if, in the leader's judgment, the safety of the individual or group requires it. If a trip participant is unable to continue with the trip and must turn back, he or she should be accompanied by at least one other person.

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Minors participating in ADK-GVC activities

Minors are welcome to participate in ADK-GVC activities; however the minor (any person under 18 years of age) must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If that is not the case, the minor must be accompanied by a responsible adult who must provide both a for  for Release of Liability Minor form and an Emergency Medical Care form signed by a parent or legal guardian. These forms are available on our web site for downloading under the heading Forms.

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Snowshoeing Tips and Techniques

Snowshoeing Tips

  • Don't step on one snowshoe with the other--always keep the snowshoes as level as possible.
  • Don't bridge a snowshoe--step directly on a log or rock and step over--or sidestep.
  • Keep snowshoes low when jumping or crossing a stream so the heels don't land first.
  • Using one or two ski poles may be helpful to maintain balance.
  • For mountaineering--use a pole with a self arrest head or an ice ax with a snow basket.
  • Use a "double step" in some snow conditions to not sink as deeply (age hardening of the snow).
  • ALWAYS wear snowshoes on a packed snow trail to avoid "postholing" and ruining the trail.

Snowshoeing Techniques

  • Herringbone--toes spread and heels together--for climbing short slopes.
  • Sidestepping--climbing with the snowshoes parallel to the slope.
  • Traversing--snowshoeing across a slope.
  • Placed steps--apply weight to the snowshoe toe to make a step when climbing.
  • Kicked steps--in dense or crusty snow, low angle toes can be kicked in to make steps for climbing--especially good for dense drifted snow.
  • Utilize snowshoe crampons for traction on consolidated or crusty snow--apply weight evenly so that both the heel and toe crampons provide traction--lift the heel of your foot and use just the front of the toe crampon for short steep slopes.
  • Glissading--sliding downhill on snowshoes--apply weight to the heels of the snowshoes to help keep the toes up--"glissade" using an XC skiing diagonal stride--or stand and slide on the--or sit on them and slide--ENJOY!
  • When descending on crusty or hardpacked snow--rely on the crampons--apply more weight to the toe crampons to help avoid slipping unexpectedly.

Reproduced with permission from Carl Heilman. His website also contains information on selecting snowshoes, and snowshoe clinics, as well as stunning photos of the Adirondacks. Carl was the GVC main speaker in November 1999, with a multi-media show that played to a packed auditorium.

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New to Backpacking? Try an Easy Trail Near Home

by Sue Freeman

Everyone talks about the high peaks. Yes they're nice. The views can be spectacular (or nonexistent, depending on the weather). But, to get the views you have to sweat uphill, march on eroded trails, camp in crowed sites, and cavort with the rest of humanity also intent on reaching the peaks. Plus you have to drive 4-5 hours to get there and an equal amount to get home.

There are other options. Instead of driving east, head west for two hours to the Westside Overland Trail in Chautauqua County. You won't find mountain peaks, in fact, the terrain is quite gentle. But you also won't find many people. It's a 24-mile trail - perfect for a 2 to 3 day backpacking trip. You can tent camp along the way or stay in the two lean-tos. One is nestled along the edge of a pond that whispers "dive in" to sweaty hikers. The other is in a fragrant pine forest.

When we explored this trail, we drove to the north end, chained our bicycles to trees in the woods then drove to the south end to begin our hike. After hiking the 24 miles, we hopped on the bicycles and followed the backcountry roads to our car. It was a bit awkward bicycling while wearing full packs, but it worked.

We enjoyed the freedom of hiking at our own pace - no deadline to be at the end, no set distance to a reserved camping spot. It's the way backpacking should be, a stroll through the woods with time to enjoy the sights and sounds along the way.

If you're new to backpacking, this trail offers an easy introduction. If you're a veteran, it offers a quiet respite from the hectic world around us. We've bagged many spectacular peaks and backpacked much longer trails, but we thoroughly enjoyed our weekend get away along the Westside Overland Trail.

For a free map of the Westside Overland Trail call Chautauqua County Parks at 716-763-8928. For other backpacking trails close to Rochester see the booklet "Backpacking Trails of Central and Western NY State" at .

Sue Freeman, Footprint Press, 303 Pine Glen Ct., Englewood, FL 34223

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Most Recent Books:

  • Take A Hike! and Take Your Bike! series (NY)
  • Snow Trails - Cross-country Ski and Snowshoe in Central & Western NY
  • Peak Experiences - Hiking the Highest Summits in New York, County by County
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