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M Traversing the Adirondacks by Foot and Packraft

by Ari “Ike” Jutkowitz

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Article Summary:

I had pored over the squiggly blue lines for hours, trying to make them connect. Packrafting changes the way you look at a map for sure. Now my eyes were always first drawn to the waterways, those wilderness superhighways. What would they look like? Could they be paddled? And how could I link them to make a route?

Even before I had started packrafting, this trip had been on my mind. With over 30,000 miles of waterways and an ample trail system, the Adirondacks were a packrafter's dream. Having grown up not far from Northville in the southern portion of the region, I was well acquainted with its potential. I had originally planned on a trip during the spring snowmelt, but work had gotten in the way. Still, it seemed like something great could be salvaged, and I decided to make it happen this fall. For this trip, I would traverse the Adirondack region from south to north, spending the first two days on foot until I hit the West Canada Lakes Wilderness. The next 5 days would then be predominantly packrafting, with hiking segments as needed to connect the various rivers along the route. The route length would total approximately 150 miles.


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