Hikers need to be prepared

— Photo from the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy

Gift of Prometheus: Sandra Church, a fashion designer from Troy, builds a fire at an April 8 workshop. “I thought that backpacking would only be for experienced survivalists, but after learning more about it during the workshop, I think backpacking is definitely something I could do,” she said. “The most important parts seem to be good shoes, a good pack, and lots of preparation.”

NEW SCOTLAND — A Hiking and Backpacking Workshop on April 8 let new hikers ask questions, try gear, build fires, practice skills, and identify useful plants.

Dave Muska, a licensed New York State Wilderness Guide and wilderness skills instructor with over 20 years of backpacking experience, led the workshop at Bennett Hill Preserve in New Scotland, in partnership with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy.

“Preparation is the key to success,” said Muska in a release from the conservancy. “Know your gear, your travel route, and terrain as well as your own personal strengths and limitations. These, along with some basic survival skills like fire-making and emergency shelter construction, will allow you to be safe, make informed decisions, and have fun.”

The conservancy offers this advice to hikers:

— Have a map and compass and understanding how to use them as electronic GPS and navigation systems can fail;

— Know your expected route of travel and timeline;

— Give your route and schedule to a friend; have them check in when you are expected to return;

— Pay attention to the natural and man-made features along the route. These features will help you orient yourself to the landscape on your journey should you become lost;

— Test out gear on day trips before setting out on an overnight or extended adventure;

— Plan ahead to have plentiful water and food if your trip takes longer than expected; and

— Consider joining a workshop or training session for hands-on experience and training before you begin to hike around the Capital Region.

Upcoming events

“We hope to connect more residents to the natural lands which surround and support them,” said Mark King, executive director of the conservancy.

On April 30, MHLC hosts a spring hike through Schoharie Creek Preserve in Charleston, featuring vistas of the Schoharie Creek and a series of waterfalls along Wilsey Creek. On May 20, the public is invited to the grand opening of Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve in Amsterdam, featuring refreshments, birdwatching, hiking, and celebration.

Throughout the spring and summer, more workshops, hikes, and events, including a Wilderness Survival Skills workshop with Ondatra Adventures on June 11, are open to the public. Visit www.mohawkhudson.org to register for one or more events: participation is free, but guests must reserve their spots early.

A nature passport program collects 25 small adventures that can be completed entirely within the forests, streams, and fields of the conservancy’s public preserves and protected lands. More information about the nature passport can be found at http://mohawkhudson.org/passport/.

The preserves of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy are open dawn to dusk year-round. For the past 25 years, the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy has continued to preserve lands across Albany, Montgomery, and Schenectady counties for the public to use and enjoy.

 

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