Marsha Jewett-LaPointe, founder of Trail Mix, stands at the summit of Ampersand Mountain in Saranac Lake. Trail Mix is a Ticonderoga-based hiking group.
Trail Mix is growing in popularity among Ticonderoga area hikers.
No, not the snack mixture of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and chocolate. Trail Mix is a group of local people who join to make regular treks into the Adirondacks.
“Trail Mix has evolved to be a group of people who enjoy the solitude of weekly hikes on trails that are less traveled by,” Marsha Jewett-LaPointe said. “Just as the name implies, a variety of hikes are offered to accommodate the interests and abilities of the participants.”
Trail Mix began in 2012 when Jewett-LaPointe lost her regular hiking partner to injury. She placed an announcement in the Times of Ti seeking people interested in joining her on excursions. She was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of fellow hikers.
“All hikers who have ever hiked alone have stories to tell of bad falls, being surrounded by coyotes, running out of water, falling through the ice or getting lost,” Jewett-LaPointe said. “So it’s not really a great idea.
“But just as important as safety in numbers is the camaraderie that develops on the trail,” she said. “Strong friendships have grown between people who were once strangers. There is something about huffing and puffing, sweating and straining to reach a summit, or sitting by a pond listening to a distant loon that draws you together. Stories are shared, thoughts revealed to the steady rhythm of the pounding of hiking boots along the trail. And friendships develop.”
Trail Mix has offered 85 hikes totalling 517 miles since its inception. The group has reached 55 summits, 38 ponds, 28 lean-tos, six fire towers and one of the Adirondack great camps. It has also climbed five of the Adirondack High Peaks.
The trekkers often hike in the Pharaoh Wilderness Area and the Lake George vicinity, but have also been to Ampersand Mountain in Saranac Lake and places in between.
“A small number of the group have participated in most all of the hikes, others are occasional hikers,” Jewett-LaPointe said. “But like any physical activity, hiking become addictive. The more you do, the more you want to do. Some members keep their backpack, boots, snowshoes and poles by the back door ready in an hour’s notice.”
Trail Mix members have different goals, Jewett-LaPointe said. One person has lost 30 pounds and improved their health. Another recently completed a 6.5-mile snowshoe trek while eight months pregnant. Most just enjoy being outdoors.
“Mountain tops are amazing places that offer unimpeded views of the world free from the busyness our everyday lives,” said Rev. Scott Tyler, pastor Ticonderoga First United Methodist Church and a Trail Mix hiker.
“Hiking offers something for most everyone,” she said. “And best of all, is what you see not only at the top of the mountain, but what you see and learn along the way.
“Trail Mix is never in a hurry to reach the destination, but enjoys the journey along the way,” Jewett-LaPointe said. “Stopping to study tracks, fauna and flora, there’s no race to the destination. The group is only as fast as its slowest hiker.”
Trail Mix hikes are now broken into two categories — A and B — for regular hikers and newcomers.
“Trail Mix is always looking for new members and is also looking to recruit hike leaders in order to offer an even greater variety of hikes at all levels,” Jewett-LaPointe said. “A hike leader simply selects the day, time and place, sends out a group Email and leads the group, assuming responsibility that no one gets left behind.”
People interested in joining Trail Mix can call Jewett-LaPointe at 503-5322.
“Many people in the area already hike, but may want the shared experience of a small group,” she said.