Though both my children are enthusiastic hikers, not much can easily pry my teenager out of bed for an early start. Nothing that is, except the promise of a second breakfast that doesn’t require him to cook or clean up. He compares the Champlain Area Trails (CATS) 14-mile Westport Inn to Essex Inn hike to a sandwich. I’m guessing that the bread is breakfast at the beginning of the walk and the block party dinner at the end, while the meat in the middle is hiking with our puppy.
There are two free shuttles available, but patience will be the key. Since participants will finish at different times, a bit of a delay for any shuttle bus users may be expected. Dogs are not allowed on the shuttle buses so anyone hiking with an animal will have to make different arrangements. We plan on leaving a car at both trailheads.
Preston says, “This event is an evolving process. We did a hamlet to hamlet hike in the fall and we learned a lot. We are thrilled that 61 people have signed up so far and we expect more to show up that morning. We are doing all that we can to make people comfortable while introducing them to these beautiful trails. People do not need to complete the whole trail. There are oases along the way. People will be walking through beautiful woods with some scenic views, country roads and lovely farmland. There are also options for a longer hike.”
Even with an organized event basic hiking procedures still need to be followed such as wearing good walking shoes, bringing a backpack with snacks and water, carrying rain gear and a headlamp. There are four designated stops with some amenities (oasis) along the way that also allow for opportunities for those wishing to explore the various sectors of this Inn to Inn hike. These are also chances for people to turn back if the distance proves to be too much.
Though my Adirondack family frequently hikes, I never take for granted that we will also complete a hike from start to finish. Being out in nature has so many unforeseen variables. We will be prepared for anything as best we can, but we are ready to turn back because our safety always comes first. I look forward to seeing everyone at The Grand Hike. With the snow finally melting and the trails drying up, getting breakfast at the Westport Hotel and Tavern and hiking to dinner at the Essex Inn on the Adirondack Coast seems to be, as my son puts it, a complete sandwich.
The Grand Hike map provided.