The Northville-Placid Trail is a 138 mile trail that runs from the Waterfront Park in Northville, NY to Averyville Road in Lake Placid, NY. In the 1920’s it was linked together by the Adirondack Mountain Club and weaves by ponds, rivers and through deep Adirondack wilderness areas. With the rich history and scenic waterfronts, it’s easily one of my favorite places to backpack and camp.
In summer 2011, Sheryl Wheeler, ran the 133 mile trail in 39 hours, 16 minutes, and earned the fastest known time on the NPT. It was a supported effort, meaning people crewed for her and provided gear, food and hydration along the way. The unsupported FKT (no aid provided from the outside) is held by Drew Haas, who completed it in 2 days, 12 hours, 30 minutes in 2009. Since both of these FKTs, the trail has been rerouted on the southern end.
Sometime this summer/fall, Carolyn Walton and I will attempt to thru hike the trail, unsupported and come in under Drew Haas’s time.
First off, I always feel a little superstitious about announcing an attempt on an FKT because I haven’t done it. But, in lots of ways it’s like a high mountain expedition. You’re training and prepping, knowing the summit is never guaranteed. Our bodies falter, the weather moves in, a global pandemic shuts down a climbing season. So, instead of being on the flanks of Denali right now, I’m prepping for a local FKT as safely and responsibly as I can.
Coronavirus comment: Get out and exercise safely and responsibly. Sunshine is good for you. Carolyn and I have put a lot of thought into our safety and how we can travel without harming others. First, we know the trail well and have bailout points if we need them. Second, we will not be camping at lean-tos or established campsites. We will simply go off trail when we want to rest and set up a sleeping pad and bag. Third, we have deep back country experience and have been conditioning for ultra races. And with all that said, things can still go wrong, so we’re being extra safe with communication devices.
Four days out: Put sleeping pad in the middle of living room floor and lay out pieces of gear. Trim finger and toe nails, because if you cut a toe nail too short, it has a few days to rebound! Which I did.
Three days out: Work on the route itinerary for people who will be monitoring our FKT with approximate splits.
Two days out: Finalize gear and buy last minute items like iodine from Mountaineer in Keene Valley, curbside pickup. Monitor weather.
One day out: Buy and pack food.
Ideal weather window:
Dry three day stretch with a temperature range from 32 to 55.
30 liter pack, light weight 30 degree sleeping bag, trekking poles, ankle tape, extra socks, pain medication, iodine, one liter water bottle, imodium, small med kit, map, compass, lighter, toilet paper, sani, phone and MP3 player.
Wearing (with intent to delayer)
Light weight leggings and long shelve poly top, fleece, shell, liner gloves, hat, socks and underwear.
Because of my ulcerative colitis, I’m going a non-dehydrated food route. This will eliminate the need for stove, fuel and cookware and hopefully be kinder on the digestion process.
Packed in zip lock bags: Three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, three tuna and spinach sandwiches, block of cheese, bag of jerky, three bags of trail mixes (espresso beans, chocolate, nuts, dried fruit…etc), six protein bars, bag of electrolyte mix.
Day one: Noon start from southern terminus, Waterfront Park, Northville to Piseco (40 miles)
Day two: Piseco to Long Lake (60 miles)
Day three: Long Lake to northern terminus, Lake Placid, NY (38 miles)