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Trail Tales

Think Global, Hike Local

Back to Trail Tales

As a licensed guide, k9 handler for a search and rescue team, and wilderness coordinator for a school, my job is literally to hike, kayak and climb everyday. Whether I am by myself, with my daughter or with a group of people or students, weekends always signify adventure in my local “playground.”

I love this playground, New York State’s Adirondack Mountains. It’s filled with rolling hills and high peaks, lakes and rivers. I love it in every season—right now when the leaves are in full force and the colors of summer roll through the woods. I love it in the fall when the foliage blazes the trees with vibrant colors. I even love the long winters that fill my playground with fluffy white snow.

This place is so dear to me because it is where I live and spend so much of my time. Like anyone, I love big hiking adventures—backpacking trips further afield. But when it comes down to it, having amazing local trails in my back yard is paramount.

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The author's students scramble up some of the more interesting boulders along the trail.

Many people venture up this way hoping to climb one of the 46 high peaks in the “Daks,” an impressive accomplishment to be sure. There are also the Fire Tower Mountains, as well as other scenic hikes and paddles throughout the park.

One of the perks to living so close to the outdoors is that there’s always something to hike or bike or climb. There are so many choices that it’s hard to pick one trail to highlight. But pick I did. Which leads me to Goodnow Mountain, located about two hours south of Lake Placid in a small town called Newcomb.

The restored fire tower at Goodnow's summit.

Goodnow, a 3.9-mile round trip hike that boasts a 60-foot fire tower on its summit, rises from the woods of Huntington Forest. The tower was erected in 1922, staffed until 1970 and restored by Syracuse University and the Town of Newcomb in 1995. It is an impressive tower to see swaying in a breeze.

Despite being relatively remote for an Adirondack peak, the trail up Goodnow is well used and maintained. It starts out fairly level with basic switchbacks and leads to some great “stopping points”—trees growing out of boulders and mini waterfalls. A half-mile in the trail begins to pitch—sometimes quite steeply—to the summit. We came across an old horse barn at 1.6 miles, an historic remnant that gave my students pause.

On a nice day, the views from the fire tower on Goodnow Mountain are some of the best in the Adirondacks. The most prominent mountain is Santanoni, but many of the other High Peaks are also visible. If you ever find yourselves vacationing in the Adirondacks keep this little gem of a mountain in mind, you will not be disappointed.

At the heart of everything we do are the folks who make the magic happen. A group of likeminded footwear-industry vets who left our big-brand jobs back in 2007 intent on doing business a better way. 

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