Completing My First Official Hiking Challenge

As I wrote about recently, my dad and I completed the Fulton Chain Trifecta on July 14 – my last full day of summer vacation. I finally got around to sending in for my patch the following week. In addition to a form that asks what dates and times (honestly wasn’t sure if they wanted time of day or climbing duration, so I went with time of day) you summitted each of the three mountains, they ask you to provide $6 for the patch and return shipping, and that seems totally fair.

While I was on my solo hike on Saturday, I had perfect cell reception the whole time. I only used my phone to take photos and occasionally refer to my map on AllTrails, except when I texted my parents around the halfway point and also at one point when I was thinking about the Fulton Chain Trifecta and wanted to check our status. I’ve been checking almost daily since I sent in for my patch, and finally on Saturday our names were on the roster! We’re Numbers 1014 and 1015!

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And then on Monday (yesterday), we each received our patches in the mail. My first one!

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If I’m being honest, I don’t think I’ll actually sew the patch onto anything. This is like, THE easiest hiking challenge in the Adirondacks. It’s kind of like putting a 5K sticker on your car. But it’s cool to have and I actually just ordered us sticker versions for our water bottles, because I find that a lot less braggy and weird.

So what’s next? Well, obviously this all started with the ADK Fire Tower Challenge. We’ve done 7 out of the required 25, although there are 30 in all. I mentioned I’m working on the ADK 6 Pack. The Tupper Lake Triad is another challenge that involves three easy hikes, one of which is also part of the ADK Fire Tower Challenge. There’s also the Saranac Lake 6er, the Lake George 12ster, the Lake Placid 9er, and of course the ADK 46-R – which is the 46 High Peaks (4,000′ and above) of the Adirondacks. That last one isn’t a priority for me right now. Most of the hikes are very long, very strenuous, and some have no views. A handful of them are often referred to as downright miserable, and people do them just to get closer to completing all 46. That’s not something I’m interested in at this point. Someday? Sure! Along with the Appalachian Trail and John Muir Trail, probably in retirement. Ha! So with the exception of the 46, there’s a decent amount of overlap on the other challenges. Usually at least one or two from each challenge are also fire tower hikes. I’m not a “peakbagger” at all – I don’t hike/climb to check off a box – but I have found these challenges a great way to learn about mountains I might not otherwise visit. I also love plans and spreadsheets and goals, and I’ve gone hog wild with those for these bucket list hikes.

For now, I’m focused on this weekend’s summit of Mount Greylock.

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