When I started this hiking journey, there was no intention to get into hiking the high peaks. Or so went the story until the mountains called.

Yesterday, my hiking partner Chelle and I embarked on one of our longest hikes to date, Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge, traversing from Chapel Pond to New Russia. With that being said, we did amazingly, and everything is okay. However, I would say there were some valuable lessons we learned along the way. (*These recommendations are based on SUMMER hiking. There was no ice, snow, or anything that would have required additional traction devices.) For this hike, we had to park one car at the ending trailhead, and the other in the beginning trailhead. Believe me, there were tears when we finally saw the car coming out of the depths of the dark forest.

First lesson. Always research your hike. Read hiking books about the specific hike/route you’re taking. Read trail conditions and reports on blogs, forums, and navigation apps like AllTrail. Ask friends who have hiked the trail. Ask them questions. Base the information you get on what you know of their abilities, what is their skill level, what is their speed (not to compare yourself, just to give you a realistic expectation of what you will be able to do.)

Make sure to have a filtration system and know if there are limited water sources, and the most important part, USE IT. If you know that a trail has limited water sources, when you come to them, fill your filtration pack. You do not want to run out of water. That is very scary and could end up in an emergency. Have the local ranger information on your phone. Hopefully, you will never have to use it. (For the Adirondacks, the number is (518) 891-0235)

Keep an eye on the weather for days leading up to the hike and the day of. Always be ready for it to be not what you expect it to be. Have bug spray, sunscreen, a change of clothes, a hat, rain gear, or anything to keep you comfortable for a long day.

Expect your day to be longer. Have adequate light sources, like your flashlight, and extra batteries to ensure when they stop working, you aren’t left in the dark of the wilderness. I ALWAYS harp on my friends to ensure they have their headlamps. Yesterday, I had no idea our day would be as long as it was. I realized towards the end that I (ME!!! The one who harps on the rule) didn’t have my headlamp. Luckily, Chelle had hers, and I had batteries for it. She also was an angel and had a battery pack recharger which is the only reason I had a working phone with a flashlight and navigation. Never hike without a flashlight and batteries.

You will come into challenges. Fear may set in. Find ways to communicate that if you are with someone and have self-compassion. Things I have found out while hiking: I have a fear of heights. I am claustrophobic. When hiking up steep mountains and ledges where you feel like you might fall into an abyss, it’s scary! I have learned to find something to hold on to, like an emotional support tree, stop, close my eyes, breathe, and tell myself that “I am safe,” is really helpful in these situations. I also tend to “get stuck on rocks.” This means when I get scared when I’m climbing, I freeze. If I can safely stay where I am, I will just stop, breathe, make sure my footing is good and plan out my next move. Don’t rush it. Just take your time. If things get to be too much, you can always stop. If you come into something too much and can’t process through bail. The mountains will be there.

Mountain hiking is a journey. It’s never easy. You are always going to come into challenges, and you will learn about yourself in the process. Every climb will be different. Remember to have self-compassion and don’t compare yourself to what you see others doing. Listen to yourself. Be open to pushing through hard moments, but know you can always stop.

Most importantly, enjoy it. Unplug your mind and immerse yourself in the journey. Let nature do its job.


There are so many people I need to thank for their support. If it wasn’t for every one of you, this journey wouldn’t be possible. I literally never saw this coming. I appreciate your guidance and support. Thank you to the people on the trails who I pass who encourage with the joking and serious, “You’re almost there!” What we do out there isn’t easy. But it’s the community and power of nature that keeps me coming back. This process of being called to the mountains has changed my life. If you aren’t on your journey, or you are thinking of exploring this journey, I believe in you. I know you can do it. Reach out to me if you want to start but just don’t know how to jump in or if you just need a friend to go with you. I got you.