Falling in love with the Adirondacks isn’t hard. Whether it was the first time you stood atop an Adirondack peak, a first sunset over a lake, or a collection of many Adirondack memories, there is a moment when you realize just how special this place really is. While my Adirondack love story has been only a few years in the making, I would say I fell hard and fast.
Having never been to the Adirondacks, I was ready for drastic change, packing my bags and signing a six month lease with a friend in Lake Placid. I loved being outside, but coming from Long Island I didn’t have the experience of time spent in the mountains. I promised my friends and family, “this is just a one year thing, MAX.” One year in the mountains seemed like the perfect buffer between college and finding a career in the city.
That year was filled with so many challenges but every challenge created a sweet memory of who I was to who I am now. From my first hike, first run down Skyward, and becoming part of a community for the first time, the Adirondacks quickly went from a one-year escape to a love I never wanted to part with. A few years later I’m still falling in love with every night spent in a sleeping bag, every morning woken by a loon call, and continued education on how to be a better steward to this place. I’m the first to admit that it’s ok to not know all the rules, but it’s our responsibility to learn. On my first hike I wore sandals and packed an avocado as my trail snack.
The Adirondacks have now turned into my forever home and I have come a long way since my avocado-fueled hike. I have been able to create my dream life living in the mountains, and recently I had the honor of helping to bring a campaign to life that has the goal of promoting responsible outdoor recreation called Love Your ADK.
Wherever you are at in your Adirondack love story, keep going. Don’t be scared to take on more adventure, just make sure you plan ahead and prepare for any outcome. The Adirondacks are here for all to enjoy, so we need to love them like they are our own. One way to do so is by pledging to be a more responsible outdoor recreationist through the Love Your ADK Pledge.
The Love Your ADK Pledge was born from a community that loves its mountains and wants to keep them protected for generations to come. Each year, millions of people visit the public lands inside the Adirondack Blue Line. As outdoor recreation continues to grow in popularity, we need to learn to be better stewards of the land, better at minimizing the mark we leave behind. The eight guidelines within the Love Your ADK pledge are a good place to start. By reading the guidelines, understanding them, and committing to follow them, we are pledging to love the Adirondacks in a way that will protect our wild places. The Love Your ADK pledge goes:
I pledge to:
Love the Adirondacks in a way that is mindful of others
Only share thoughtful messages on social media that encourage good stewardship
View wildlife from afar and be considerate of their home
Embrace the hiker ethos and get my boots dirty by walking through the mud
Always explore responsibly and prepare for any experience
Do my duty to properly dispose of trash as well as pet and human waste
Keep woods and waters clean by checking my gear and equipment for invasive species
Support, practice, and inspire others to follow the Leave No Trace Seven Principles
To pledge your love for the Adirondacks visit loveyouradk.org/pledge. Once you take the pledge, don’t stop loving the Adirondacks. Continue to understand the Leave No Trace Principles and educate yourself on minimizing the mark left after a day spent in the woods or on the water. The Adirondacks are here for everyone to love, and it’s our job to leave it better for the next person.