If you don’t know the difference…

… between hiking and bushwhacking, like me, I can tell you: now I know.

I spent the major part of the morning finding may way to Kilburn Mountain, part of the Sentinel range. There are no marked trail to get there.


Bushwhacking is defined as the practice of hiking off the trail using navigation to guide your way. Understanding of navigation is essential to a fun and safe time exploring between contour lines. Needless to say, there are a few dangers including getting lost, thick undergrowth, injured body parts, eye injuries, and extended time for rescue and location if something were to happen.

This type of Adirondack hiking has become a much more interesting and admired past-time. The Adirondack 100 highest has become a popular venture as well, where a large majority of the peaks are truly trail less. That being said, I didn’t let the pressures of trying something new and exciting, glaze over common sense. I checked all existing maps, prepared a game plan, and emergency plan, and told my wife where I was going and presumably for how long.

Going to Kilburn is bushwhacking from start to finish. There is no trail to lead you, only a brook here to follow close by, another one flowing south to cross before attacking the last slope. Very steep. My route led me below the ridge, and out of the normal thick travel. To my delight, the ridge has an open spruce canopy. The scattered blow down mixed in was a bit of a hassle, but not terrible. As I neared the top, I noticed a herd path going to the summit. And then the views: Whiteface and the other Sentinel peaks.

On my way back, I followed the wrong brook, eventually realized that I was out of my way (if only 30 minutes too late). I had to get back to my earlier tracks before heading West to the right spot. When I got back to the car, I was relieved: I had concluded my first bushwhacking experience and had not faced major problems. I am ready for the next.


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