Climbing a Slide

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Finding the slide from the story: Hike from the Garden, on the outskirts of Keene Valley. Take the South Side trail. Be careful when crossing Johns Brook, especially at times of high water. When you pass the dramatic rock sluice tributary known as Rock Cut (two miles in), you’re getting close to the unmarked turn-off. Continue roughly a half-mile. Look for Benny’s Brook, which crosses the trail. It’s easy to confuse this small creek for several others nearby. One clue that you’re in the right spot will be several chainsaw cut logs lying near the tributary on the South Side trail. (If you’ve reached the trail juncture that leads to Lower Wolfjaw Mtn., you’ve gone too far and will have to backtrack.) Follow Benny’s Brook, a rough bushwhack at times, to the base of the slide.

Safety considerations: A slide hike isn’t for everyone. Before going, contact the Department of Environmental Conservation or a New York state forest ranger to learn about any unique conditions. Avoid slides after heavy rainfalls. If the slide appears unstable in any way or if the hike is steeper than you anticipated, backtrack to the forest on either side. Never attempt this sort of hike alone. If you go, leave a detailed itinerary. (When hiking away from marked trails, you’re more difficult to locate in case of emergency.) Bring a compass and a good contour map. Bring enough food and gear for an overnight stay. Consider wearing a helmet, due to the risk of falls and tumbling rocks. Wear boots with excellent traction and ankle support.

Environmental concerns: Remember that un-trailed areas are pristine and work to keep them that way. Walk on rocks whenever possible. Avoid trampling sensitive plants or mosses. Avoid building fires. Leave no garbage or human waste.

Further Reading: If you're interested in making a slide climb, check out one of these articles for details about slide locations and safety concerns:

Adirondack Life
"Amateur's Rock Climb" by David Pope. October 1987
"Up the Slippery Slopes" by Don Mellor. Annual Guide to the Adirondacks 1992
"Santanoni Skywalk" by Barbara McMartin. October 1992
"Slide Shows" by Galen Crane. Annual Guide 1999

Adirondack Explorer
"Nature Blazes A Trail Up Colden". December 1999
"A Slide Guide" by Phil Brown. October 2000

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