By Erik Schlimmer
Long-distance hiking, peak bagging, and trail hiking are great ways to experience the out-of-doors, yet they’re also “been there, done that” pursuits for most hikers. Taking pride in being the black sheep of the hiking community, there is no Pacific Crest Trail in my past, no popular peak bagging list in my future. For me it’s all about pursuing unique forms of recreation, my latest conception being “name bagging.”
By 2011, within my home range of the Adirondacks, I became first to visit 45,000-acre Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area’s 106 named topographic features. I was hooked on name bagging. After I explored that wilderness area with a fine-toothed comb I tackled 70,000-acre Lake George Wild Forest’s ninety named features. This two-year quest was recently completed. The final feature was the runt of the wild forest’s thirty summits, 1,070-foot Morton Mountain.
Vow to visit these 30 summits along with 28 bodies of water, 25 streams, 2 rivers, 2 points, 1 pass, 1 range, and 1 valley and you’ll have one heck of a goal.
Along rocky ridgelines, into dismal wetlands, across frozen lakes, and through clouds of antagonistic insects by ski, snowshoe, and foot I chased one named feature after another until there were none left to chase. The ending was bittersweet.
Considering the Adirondack Mountains have thousands of named features, I take comfort knowing there are more features out there than I have time to chase.
Erik wore a Gossamer Gear Gorilla for his two-year quest and is also the founder of the Trans-Adirondack Route, established in 2013. From the website: “The route is a long-distance pathway that traverses New York State’s Adirondack Park, the biggest and best protected park in the Lower Forty-Eight. Running 239.4 miles, few footpaths in the Northeast are longer, and none are wilder.
The route’s wildness can be assessed by the public land it traverses. Five wilderness areas and eight wild forests mark the most primitive sections while all of the route lies within the largest forest preserve in the contiguous United States. During a Trans Adirondack Route traverse, you’ll hike through prime moose habitat, past the haunts of old-time hermits, and under virgin timber. Primarily a lowland route, the path hops from lake to lake and meanders down scenic river valleys.
Overall, the Trans Adirondack Route uses approximately 185 miles of trails, 50 miles of roads, and five miles of trackless woods to get from one end of the park to the other.”
Read more about Erik’s quest and the Trans Adirondack Route at transadk.com