Sawteeth and Indian Head – 6.24.17

Yesterday Skyler and I wanted to hike something big. Originally we were going to hike part of the Dix Range, but with some rain the AM forecast, I didn’t want to hike up the Macomb Slide, so we changed our plan to Sawteeth from the Ausable Club. I first hiked Sawteeth back in December 2013 with Jona, so it had been a while since I’ve been on this high peak. We pulled into the lot a little before 7am and were on Lake Road by 7:15AM. It was drizzling the entire walk in, thankfully we both had our rain gear!

As soon as we hit the bridge at Ausable Lake, the rain stopped and the sky began to clear. We hiked up the trail to Gothics/Sawteeth until reaching the junction at 9:50AM.

30 minutes later, we were at the summit! I forgot how steep this trail was!

There are nice views of the Great Range from Sawteeth. It turned out to be such a lovely day!

The hike out went by fast. We were back at lake road by 1pm and decided to hike to Indian Head on the way out. The views up here are spectacular! We got to Indian Head at 1:30, staying up there for about 20 minutes to have a snack and rest our legs.

I never get sick of this view.

Going down back to the road took a little under 30 minutes. Now we just had a four mile road walk and our feet were finally feeling the mileage. We got back to the car a little after 3:30pm where a cold beer awaited. It was another great day in the mountains.

Sawteeth and Indian Head
Distance 15.2 mi RT
Time 8 hrs, 45 minutes including stops
Ascent 3,868′

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Adirondack Hiker’s Gift Guide 2016

Have an avid hiker on your holiday gift list this year? Check this out! I love reading gift guides, so I finally decided to make my own!

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  1. Big Agnes 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag – this sleeping bag looks perfect for cold weather camping and should definitely keep you warm and cozy in your tent.
  2. LAMO Footwear Suede Sheepskin Fleece Lining Slippers  – there’s nothing like slipping your feet into warm fuzzy slippers for the drive home after a winter hike.
  3. Pistil Clara Visor Beanie – I have a beanie very similar to this one and I love it
  4. Adventure Medical Emergency Bivvy – keeping one of these bivvys in your hiking pack is a must for anyone hiking in the high peaks. I got one as a gift a few years back!
  5. Mountain Landscape Necklace – Etsy is a great place to find unique jewelry for that hiking lady in your life.  *coughcough*
  6. Adirondack Peaks Plaque Burl – With a customizable summit marker, this would make a great gift for someone finishing the 46!
  7. Sea to Summit DryLite Antibacterial Towel – these towels are amazing for camping. They pack down small and are super absorbent and dry quickly!
  8. Stanley Adventure Stainless Steel Food Jar – these are great for keeping food hot! Enjoying a hot meal on a cold summit definitely warms the soul.
  9. Moutain Hardware Snowpass Scarf – fleece infinity scarf. Enough said!
  10. REI Revel Cloud Vest – an extra layer of insulation in the high peaks is always a good idea.
  11. Jetboil MinMo Cooking System – a stove is a  must for winter hiking and  year-round backpacking. I have a jetboil and it is amazing–it boils water in a flash.
  12. Smartwool PhD Outdoor Mountaineer Socks – every hiker loves getting a good pair of wool socks, just sayin’.
  13.  Marmot Fuzzy Wuzzy Glove – keeping hands warm is key during a cold hike–these gloves look like they’d do the job.

Note: I’m not affiliated with any of the above companies, but I have purchased many similar items and highly recommend them.

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My 46er Finish on Esther and Whiteface Mountains

Saturday afternoon after hiking Seymour, I was pretty tired. I decided ahead of time to get a space at Tmax & Topo’s in Keene, a hiker hostel. It’s owned by some pretty legendary 46ers (they even made an appearance in the The 46ers Film!) and is frequented by high peaks hikers. So staying here on the eve of my finish, along with so many other accomplished hikers, seemed fitting.

I showered, cooked my dinner (trader joe’s boxed mac and cheese!) and hunkered down in my room, reflecting on the journey while other hikers milled about discussing their day’s hikes. I chatted with my bunkmate who had just hiked Marshall. He was considering hiking Esther and Whiteface the following day, also! I felt at home.

I slept like a rock, woke up around 6:00 am to quietly gather my gear, and snuck upstairs to the kitchen to make my oatmeal. Soon, my friend Jona, also a 46er, arrived and we carpooled over to the Whiteface trailhead at the Reservoir in Wilmington. I was so happy she was here! We were meeting Jenna, Colleen and my boyfriend Jordan at the trailhead at around 7:30. We started down the trail at around 7:55.


I chose the trail from the Reservoir because it’s less steep than the one that begins at the Atmospheric Science Research Center. After hiking 15 miles the previous day, I wanted an easier route.

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We got to the cairn marking the unmarked trail to Esther at 10:18am. You can’t miss it.
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I had heard the herdpath was nice and flat, which was a relief. 


It took longer than I expected though, because we reached the summit at 11:02 am. The weather had taken a turn and it became extremely windy and overcast. Not sure if there are usually any views on this hike, but we didn’t have any.

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So happy to be at high peak #45, Esther (named after the 15 year old Esther Macomb who discovered the summit when she got lost).




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The walk back was quick. Onward to Whiteface. At about 12:26 we came to an old ski trail, which was interesting to see. It looked like a tornado had ripped through there. We also saw Chair 6, which was pretty awesome.

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At around 1:00 we got to the rock wall, meaning we were close! The toll road was just up ahead. The trail runs to the left of the road, my parents were parked up there across from the lookout. I was so glad they came! But, we couldn’t celebrate yet, I had to make it to the summit. The winds were so bad, the path up to the summit from the parking lot was closed, so I was a little nervous. Thankfully, we had the alternate hiking trail to climb to the summit.

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Visibility was pretty bad, so we had to follow the yellow markings on the rock to make our way. Soon enough, we were there and the summit sign was right in front of me. I made it to the summit of Whiteface at 1:11pm, a 46er.

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On August 17, 2013 I hiked my first two high peaks in the Adirondacks, Cascade and Porter mountains. I still remember driving up route 73 to Lake Placid the night before, the sun setting, casting its glow on the peaks. I think that was when I really fell in love with these mountains.

It has been one long, crazy journey filled with sheer joy, determination, paralyzing fear, and at times defeat. These mountains are nothing to mess with, and finishing some of these hikes was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m proud to be able to finally call myself a 46er!

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We didn’t stay on the summit for long…it was cold and windy. We hiked back down to where my parents were parked. They had donuts waiting!! It was time to celebrate! We had some champagne, ate our donuts and then started back to the car.


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Thanks Jona for presenting me with the Official 46er Patch!
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We said our goodbyes to my parents (and Jona…she got a ride down because she had to be back in Troy at 5!) At this point my legs were getting pretty tired…but I had to hike the last 5.5 miles down. The descent was slow-going. Around 5pm we arrived back at the reservoir. Still on cloud 9 (and hungry!), we drove to the Noonmark Diner for a celebratory dinner. And then it was time to go home.

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Mount Esther and Whiteface Mountain (45 and 46/46)
12.4 mi RT from the Reservoir
Ascent 4,187′
Esther Elevation 4,239′
Whiteface Elevation 4,865′
Total time (including stops) 9 hours

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“It was tough. I was on all fours sometimes. I didn’t think I was going to get there. But I had to get to the top – there was some reason. God knows what it was but I had to go on. And on the top just for a fraction of a moment, the clouds lifted while I was there and I looked down and there a mile below me was Lake Tear of the Clouds, the Hudson’s highest source. And you know, that did something to me. I had seen something – I felt it.”–Grace Hudowalski, 46er #9, and the first woman to climb all 46 high peaks

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Seymour Mountain

With last Monday’s hike up Cliff Mountain, I had three peaks left. Seymour, Esther and Whiteface. Seymour was orphaned in August after hiking most of the Seward Range, so driving the 3+ hours to Saranac Lake had to be done. I was not particularly looking forward to this hike, either. I planned to make a weekend of it and hike Seymour on Saturday and finishing the 46 with Esther and Whiteface on Sunday.

I left home at 4AM Saturday morning and was on the trail to Seymour by 7:45. I met a new hiking friend at the trail head (One of my 46er friends connected us so so I didn’t have to hike solo!) I was worried the parking lot was going to be empty and we’d be the only people on the mountain. Boy was I wrong. It was FULL!

The first 5.2 miles of the hike is relatively flat, following the blueberry hiking path. It was a gorgeous fall day.

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It went by pretty quickly and before we knew it, we were at the Ward Brook Leanto (at 9:45AM).

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The herdpath to Seymour is marked by a cairn on the right just shortly after passing the Ward Brook Leanto. It starts out gradual but soon climbs steeply. Eventually you see the slide. On this day, it was wet. And muddy. Very muddy. I don’t have any pictures of this section, but believe me, it was muddy. Eventually the herd path keeps right to avoid the slide. We made our way up slowly, arriving at the ridge (thankfully), passing by the lookout at the top, and then finally hitting the summit t 11:48AM. I was so happy to see the summit sign I nearly cried.

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There were great views just beyond the sign at a small lookout. But after snapping our summit pictures, we headed back to the first lookout that we passed on the way to the summit to stop for food.

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There’s a nice view of ampersand lake and ampersand mountain.

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To the far left of the ledge you can get a great view of Seward, Donaldson and Emmons.

After stopping at the ledge for about 10 minutes to sit and eat our lunches, we headed back down, dreading the descent down the atrocious slide. I don’t think I’ve seen that much mud on a hike, ever. I also ripped what was probably my 5th pair of hiking pants during my 46ers journey due to butt sliding down the mountain.

At about 2:15 we reached the cairn marking the start of herd path, and now it was just an easy walk back to the car. We made it back at about 4:45 pm, in just under 9 hours total, including our breaks. My hiking partner and I both enjoyed a beer at the car when we were done…it was well deserved!

Seymour Mountain (44/46)
15 mi RT from Corey’s Road trailhead
Elevation 4,055′
Ascent 2,676
Total Time (including stops) 9 hours

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Gear used: Northface rain shell, Kelty trekking poles, Kelty Amber backpack, Keene Durand hiking boots, EMS Gore-tex gaiters, Cloudline hiking socks, Platypus 3L bladder, LL Bean fleece gloves, Nike baselayer long sleeve, and EMS hiking pants

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Wakely Mountain Firetower

A few weeks ago Brendan and I drove up to the Adirondacks to hike another firetower. We’ve both been simultaneously hiking the 46 and the Adirondack firetowers, the latter being the easier of the two challenges. We parked at the trailhead on Cedar River Road (12 miles from the turn off on Route 28 in Indian Lake). The first 2 miles were a very nice walk on a wide logging road. It was gorgeous. The climbing began about a mile from the summit.

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Soon enough we arrived at the helicopter pad.

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The firetower was only a few steps away. Sadly there aren’t any views unless you climb up.

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Wakely Mountain Firetower
11/18 ADK Firetowers
Distance 6.1 mi RT
Elevation 3,766′
Ascent 1,640′
Time 3 hrs, 40 minutes

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