What is Project Full Deck?
Project Full Deck (P-FD) will be a 13 day backpacking trip in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Sate Park in New York State. The name, Full Deck, refers to the itinerary which traverses fifty-two summits, a mix of four thousand foot “High Peaks” and sub-4,000 foot peaks from the ADK-Hundred Highest list. Part of the route follows established trails while a significant portion is completely off-trail. In order to keep my pack weight down to 20-25 pounds I will be re-supplied several times by friends who will be joining me for sections of the hike. I will camp out every night either in lean-to’s, in designated camping spots or off-trail in completely wild settings. There will only being six more peaks than P-46 however the bushwhack routes and backpacking will make it a much more difficult challenge and I anticipate that it will take 13 days.
The origin of this project is Project 46, which you can read about here. P-46 was a ten-day marathon during which I day-hiked the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks in February of 2014. During those ten days I carried an ultra-light pack, slept in a warm bed every night and was fed cared for by my great friends Tom Haskins and Doreen Heer in whose vacation rental I stayed. I began each day in clean clothes and had hot showers daily. P46 was followed closely by hundreds of people due to SPOT satellite tracking and enabled me to raise about fifteen thousand dollars for the ADK High Peaks Foundation.
Since then I’ve been without a special project to motivate me but have kept up with hiking and maintained my fitness. Last summer I did a lot of bushwhacking and kept trying to think up an interesting and challenging project. Gradually, one began to take shape and it evolved into Project Full Deck (P-FD).
Challenges and logistics.
- Carrying a heavier pack: I mainly do day-hikes with a 10-15 pound pack so weight will be an issue especially on the bushwhack portions of the hike. Bushwhacking is much more difficult than trailed hiking and every pound carried makes itslef felt. As such I will be striving to get the pack weight down as low as possible.
- Light gear: Instead of a tent I’ll carry a tarp and will use lightweight gear wherever possible. However, in some instances I’ll carry heavier items for comfort, safety and convenience.
- Food: I will dehydrate all of my meals and make my own beef jerky. I’ll also make my own energy bars and muesli. As mentioned, I’ll be re-supplied every 3 or 4 days by friends who will join me on portions of the hike or by my wife Sylvie. All re-supply points will be relatively close to trailheads and along trails with little elevation change.
- Weather: The most uncomfortable challenge will be hiking, and especially bushwacking in wet weather. Setting up and breaking camp in the rain will not be the most fun parts of the trip!
- Fitness: Starting from a solid fitness base I have started backpacking/camping and continued with some tough bushwhacking (with a day-pack) and have been doing weighted hill climbs at home. Drawing on my P-46 experience I’ll be increasing the training progressively leading up to my start date.
- Routes: Some of the bushwhack routes I’ve elaborated are unknown to me so over the next three months I’ll combine training with exploration (and timing) of all of the routes I plan on including in the project.
- Quarterbacking: My wife Sylvie will be residing at Tmax and Topo’s where she will have internet access. Her job will be to coordinate the re-supplies and provide shuttle service for my hiking partners. If a scheduled re-supply falls through for any reason she will do the “run” herself.
- Fund Rasing: Raising funds for the Foundation will be the keystone of the endeavor and Jack Coleman of the Foundation will set up a donation web site where you can donate to the Foundation on a per peak basis (same as for Project 46) or simply make a lump sum donation. Every dollar raised will go to the foundation and will be ear-marked for grants to a specific cause.
- InternetTracking: This was a lot of fun on Project 46. I will carry a SPOT device, which will enable people to follow my progress via the internet. The satellite tracking updates my position every 10 minutes and places a marker onto a topographical map. At the end of each day my track will be transferred to a different map, which will be posted the this blog, and the live track will be erased.
- Pictures: I will try and get some pictures posted via my hiking partners after they hike out.