By: Walt McLaughlin
This is the memoir of Walt McLaughlin's 122 backpack on the Northville-Placid trail in the Adirondack's. A lowland trail, which like it sounds, stretches from the town of Northville in the southern Adirondack to Lake Placid in the Northern Adirondacks. I have always wanted to hike the entire N-P trail, but have not been able to coordinate an entire two weeks off. We have, however been able to hike several small sections. Walt decides to take on the N-P trail when he is 50 years old. He hikes in early fall when it is guaranteed to be wet, but not as buggy. Walt hikes to not only prove that he can do it at 50, but to revel in the solitude and beauty of the Adirondack wilderness.
I loved that Walt is very real in his memoir. Even as an experienced hiker, he makes mistakes and talks about the not-so-glamorous parts of a long thru-hike. He gets wet, his pack is too heavy (50 lbs. yikes!), he falls down, he smells, there are idiots at a few of the lean-to's; but even through all this Walt is able to appreciate the beauty of being alone in the woods for an extended period of time. Since I read this while camping and backpacking in the Adirondacks, I was able to easily connect. I enjoyed reading about the sections of the places that I have actually been along the trail. Some of my other favorite parts were when Walt discussed the history of the park. I do wish, though that he discussed a little bit about what exactly he put in that 50 lb. pack of his. We learn some of the things as he goes along, but that is a really heavy pack. Mine usually weighs in at around 35 lbs. for a longer route. I also wish he broke down his itinerary for the trail a little more, he hikes about 10 miles a day, but has some longer days and some shorter days. Although, this is a memoir, not a back-packing how-to, so they aren't necessary.