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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Hiking Basin and Saddleback and Camping at Rollins Pond

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend! Mine was fantastic!

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The past few weeks have been pretty great. I started my Dietetic Internship, did a few other hikes, and this past weekend got together with my closest hiking friends for a weekend in the Adirondacks.

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Brendan, Jenna, her friend Colleen and I booked a camp site at Rollins Pond in Saranac Lake for two nights. We had the best camp site! It was big, secluded, and right on the pond, complete with its own beach. How had I never camped here before?? We arrived Saturday afternoon, set up camp, and cooked dinner. We went to bed pretty early because we had a big hike on the agenda for the next day, Basin and Saddleback Mountains!

One of the things I’d suggest about doing this hike is waiting until you have perfect weather. We got up at 4:30am, cooked breakfast and drove the 1 hr 15 minutes to Keene Valley to park at the Garden Trailhead. The Garden parking lot is small and famous for being full at early hours, but we were lucky and snagged the last spot! If it had been full, we would have had to take a shuttle from another lot a few miles away, which would have sucked if we missed the last shuttle after hiking all day.

We started hiking at 7am. The trail is nice and easy for the first 6.8 miles. It was a lovely walk in the woods. We passed the John’s Brook Lodge, where I stayed a few years ago when hiking Haystack. I hadn’t been on this trail since.

 

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We arrived at Slant Rock and took a connector trail to the Great Range Trail  on to head up to Basin first. We chose to do a counter-clockwise loop so we could climb the famous cliffs of Saddleback rather than descend them. But I’ll get to that later. First, we had to hike up to Basin! After 9 miles of hiking, we got to the summit. There were a few sketchy spots but nothing too bad.

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Lots of rock scrambling on this hike!

Basin makes 41/46. Getting so close!

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Next up: Saddleback. I had been fearing this part of the 46ers journey for the past few years. Saddleback is known for its tricky ascent up some steep cliffs. It was about a mile in between the two so I had time to prepare and convince myself that I had this!

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Colleen contemplating her route up

The photo below sums it up…Jenna pulling herself up the side of the rock.

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There were only two big sections that I had trouble with. Thankfully, a nice guy was there to help push my foot up behind me. If it wasn’t for him I probably would have had a little freak out.

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This picture of Jenna should be on the next Adirondack magazine, no?

The whole climb of the cliffs lasted about 15 minutes, but felt longer. We were so happy to be at the top. We shared the summit with a group who was finishing their 46. How awesome! That’s going to be me soon. 🙂

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42 peaks done! This was such an epic hike (and probably one of my favorites so far!) It was just what I needed after some previously soul-crushing hikes.

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Looking back at Basin from Saddleback

 

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A great view of Gothics!

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Some day I’d like to hike the Great Range in its entirety. We stopped for a breather and a few snacks on the summit before heading down the other side of the Saddleback, down the Ore Bed Trail.

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This trail was phenomenal. There was an enormous slide to the left of the trail, which was actually wooden stairs following the slide all the way down to the base. It was insane!

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Looking up the massive slide

On the way back out to the car we stopped at the Johns Brook Lodge briefly to refill our water bottles. I had brought my MSR pump, but didn’t need it. The last 5 miles of the hike were pretty, but uneventful.

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Basin and Saddleback Mountains
Counter-clockwise loop from the Garden trail head
Distance: ~17 mi RT
Time: 11 hours, including stops
Gear used: Osprey Sirrus day pack, Salomon hiking shoes, EMS hiking pants, tasc long sleeve merino/bamboo blend shirt (unpictured), Smartwool hiking socks, 2 L Camelbak bladder, 1 L Nalgene

We got back to the car and promptly drove to Tail o the Pup BBQ joint in Raybrook, in between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, for some BBQ and beverages to celebrate hiking Saddleback and Basin.

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We got back to our camp site at about 9pm. I was exhausted. I crawled into my sleeping bag and passed out. It was probably the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a tent in a long time. The next morning, I enjoyed some coffee by the pond. It was so relaxing.

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It was a great way to end the summer. I have to say, I’ve had a pretty epic one.

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The Santanoni Range

Saturday was a big hiking day. Brendan and I hiked the Santanoni range in the high peaks of the Adirondacks, Santanoni, Couchsachraga and Panther peaks. And FYI: Couch isn’t technically a high peak since it’s not 4,000 feet in elevation–but its still required to hike as part of the 46. The trailhead to this range is at the Upper Works in Newcomb. On the sign at the parking lot it said trailhead to Bradley Pond, with no mention of the Santanonis at all. We took exit 26 on the Northway and drove through Minerva to get there. The trailhead is at the start of an old dirt road. We couldn’t figure out where this road lead to, but there is a locked gate at the start of it. We actually drove up in Brendan’s hatchback on Friday night and slept in his car since the back seats folded down. I had never done that before, but it turned out to be a good idea because it meant we got an early start. We were hiking down the dirt road by 6:30AM.

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I had done extensive research on this hike because the herd paths to these three peaks are unmarked and unmaintained. I studied maps and read trip reports and even taught myself how to use a map and compass by watching a youtube video. Thankfully I didn’t need to put my newfound skill to work. 😉

We walked for 1.7 miles on the dirt road until we saw the blue trail on the right that leads to the Santanonis.

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I had read that there was an express herd path that leaves from the blue trail and takes you straight to the summit of Santanoni. We decided this would be the best option since it would create a loop so we could hike Santanoni first, followed by Couch, then Panther. I kept my eye out for the cairn that lead to the Santanoni Express herd path. After hiking for almost 3 miles, we saw it!

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I was worried the trail would be difficult to follow, but turns out that it was a very well worn path and was super easy stay on. It was a bit steep, but not the worst I’ve seen in the high peaks! It was quite enjoyable actually. Finally, we hit tree line for Santanoni at about 9:40AM and got some nice views.

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There is a false summit which we got to at about 10:00am.

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We walked a little bit further to look for the summit sign and found it not too far away.

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After having a snack and staying for about 15 minutes max, we headed back in the direction we came from and passed the false summit again. This time, we saw a trail that turned left and took that one down to Times Square, a clearing not far from Santanoni’s summit that also leads to Couch and Herald Square. All of the squares are a bit confusing, but after googling and finding maps of said squares, it was quite easy to figure out. There are two squares, Times Square and Herald Square. Times Square has paths leading to Santanoni, Couch and the not too far away Herald Square. Herald Square is where you pick up the path to Panther and the herd path back down to Bradley Pond and the blue trail, which will take us back to the road and back to the car. Confused yet?

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Small cairn at a clearing signifies Times Square.

When we got to Times Square, we took a left and headed to Couch. The herd path to Couch is 1.5 miles one way and took us about 1.5 hours. There is the infamous bog down at the col which I had been dreading. Thankfully we had our poles to help balance on the logs as we crossed. But if we lost our balance, we would have sunk into knee-deep mud. Because of the bog and the long trek out to Couch, its not a favorite peak of many. You also lose significant elevation going over to Couch, and you have to climb back up to Times Square after. Not fun.

 

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Following footprints in the mud also helps to discern the herd path. We made it through the bog unscathed and found ourselves at the viewless summit of Couchsachraga Peak at 1:15PM, more than three hours after we hit Santanoni.

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My thoughts Couch. It took us three hours to get there and back and were back at Times Square at 2:47PM. Time to hit the last summit of the day, Panther! We got to Herald Square four minutes after leaving Times Square! We knew we were there because there were markings carved into a tree.

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From there the path to Panther is on the right with a scratching into the rock pointing that direction.

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There is also a rock with directions to Times Square.

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Panther is only .5 miles round trip from Herald Square. I’m so glad we took the express route up and saved Panther for last, because it was SO EASY and had phenomenal views.

We also had a fantastic view of Santanoni.

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And the lovely Couch, to the far right.

 

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All together now, the range we just hiked.

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Summit bench marker at Panther.

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Glad to be done–BUT with still 6 miles left to hike back to the car!!

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Santanoni Range complete–26, 27 and 28th peaks done. Going back down to Herald Square was a breeze–then from there we took another unmarked path that didn’t lead to TS or Panther back down to Bradley Pond. This trail was annoying, rocky, and pretty awful. It followed a dry stream bed all the way down and was hard on the feet. I was tired from already hiking 11 miles and just wanted to be DONE. Finally we saw the pond, and the herd path went left around it, spit us out into this forest that thankfully had some tape on the trees to tell us where the trail went. We hit a Beaver Pond and followed some footrprints to the right and came onto a well-maintained trail. I had brought Christine’s trip report from last year with me and read hers which told us this was the blue trail. Soon enough, we saw blue trail markers !

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We followed the trail back to the dirt road, and ultimately back to the car as the sun started to set.

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At 7:15pm we signed out of the register, 12 hours and 45 minutes after starting the hike. This one left me physically drained, bruised and covered in mud, but extremely worth it because I’m 3 peaks closer to my goal. It has also helped me feel more confident in my hiking ability when it comes to the trailless peaks! This range was not easy.

Santanoni Range via Santanoni Express
Distance ~17 mi RT from Upper Works
Total hiking time 12 hrs, 45 minutes including stops
Santanoni Elevation 4606′
Couchsachraga Elevation 3720′
Panther Elevation 4442′
Total Elevation Gain 4395′

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Gear used Osprey Sirrus day pack, 3 L Platypus hydration bladder, 1 L Hydroflask, Kelty trekking poles, Under Armor crops, New Balance tank, Merrell Moab hiking boots, Exofficio long sleeve, EMS Gaitors, Smartwool socks, Buff headband

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Hiking Algonquin, Iroquois and Wright Peaks

Another weekend down, more high peaks crossed off the list! Saturday was the perfect day for a hike–the weather was looking fantastic! I was waiting for the perfect day to tackle Algonquin, New York’s second highest mountain, along with Iroquois and Wright.

Jenna and I met at Exit 9 at 5am, got to the Loj around 7:15 and were off by 7:30. It was a quick mile to the junction to Marcy Dam, we went right to go to Wright and Algonquin.

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The first few miles are very pleasant!

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Then we started climbing steeply, but we had a really good pace!

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Many sections of the trail are really rocky. Made it tough on on the feet.

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Soon enough we hit the junction for Wright and Algonquin. We decided to hike Wright last on the way out, and headed up the steep “trail” to Algonquin. It was a rock scramble! We got the summit at 10:20, almost three hours after leaving the Loj.

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Expansive views from the summit! There is Lake Placid.

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Algonquin stands at 5115′ -so far its the highest I’ve climbed in the Adirondacks.

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And its my 20th high peak!

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A nice view of Mt Colden and its crazy slides.

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The flowed lands and Lake Colden.

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Looking over to Iroquois, our next stop!

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We chatted with the summit steward on top of Algonquin. She told us to follow the cairns down Algonquin to Boundary Peak, the small nub between Algonquin and Iroquois, and then follow the trail right instead of left. The marked trail pointed left, we needed to go right to get to Iroquois.

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Crossing the bog brides to Iroquois–this part was scratchy, the herd path was so narrow. Got up to Iroquois at 11:30am!

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21/46.

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Looking back at Algonquin. We’d have to go back up there to get back down to Wright. (It looks worse than it is–it was 1.1 miles between the two.)

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Couldn’t ask for a better day to do this hike. We didn’t stay on top of either peak long–maybe 10-15 minutes max. We hung out on Algonquin again for a few, then headed back down. We decided we were definitely in to hike Wright since it was right there. Got to the top at 2:07PM.

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22/46–one more to halfway.

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The views up here were spectacular!

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I wanted to see the B-47 plane crash site, but we couldn’t find it and didn’t want to wander around too much looking because we were getting pretty tired.

We started down and got back the Loj at around 5pm. What a day!

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Algonquin, Iroquois and Wright Peaks – The McIntyre Range
Algonquin elevation 5115′
Iroquois elevation 4843′
Wright elevation 4587′
Total elevation gain  3,783′
Total Distance 11.4 mi RT from the ADK Loj
Total hike time including stops 9 hours, 21 minutes

Gear used Osprey Sirrus Day Pack, 3 L of water in Platypus Big Zip Bladder, EMS zip off hiking shorts, Under Armor tank, Keene Durand hiking boots, Kelty trekking poles

After my next high peak, I’ll be half way done with the 46!

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Street and Nye Mountains

Happy (belated) fourth of July! Did anyone get out and go hiking? I did! I got a group of my awesome hiking friends together and went up to the Lake Placid area to hike two more high peaks, Street and Nye Mountains. It was a later start for me, meeting at Exit 9 Park & Ride at 7:30AM. We got up to the Adirondack Loj trail parking area at around 10:00AM.

The trail for Street and Nye is unmarked, meaning there are no trail marker disks anywhere to be found on the trail, however, there are rock cairns at certain points to  let hikers know they are on the right trail. I started my GPS watch at trail register for Street and Nye at 10:15AM.  There was one serious water crossing about a mile into the hike. We had to cross the Indian Pass Brook, which is normally no big deal. After reading some trip reports on facebook, I knew it was a bit higher due to recent rain so it had me a bit worried. Thankfully it was passable. We got there at 10:50am.

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The trail follows Indian Pass Brook for a while, it was very wet and muddy. Finally we got some views once we were up higher. Turns out this was the best view of the hike and we hadn’t even reached the junction yet.

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There were lots of fallen trees to cross over.

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We got to the junction at 1:05pm.

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Arrival at Street Summit: 1:41pm. The summit was wooded and there was one small lookout area to the left.

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We didn’t stay long. Headed back down to the junction…round trip to Street and back took about an hour.

The walk to Nye was much quicker, got to the Nye Summit at 2:30pm.

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19/46 for me, and 15/46 for Brendan. The summit for Nye was completely wooded, no views at all.

We stayed up there for maybe 5 minutes, but with nothing to see we headed back down. It was a wet, sloppy slog down.

We got to the brook at 4:37pm, thankful for a refreshing crossing! I brought my Keen sandals for the crossing–they made it a lot easier.

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Finally saw Heart Lake at 5:20pm, which meant we were almost to the car. Heart Lake is one of my favorite ADK spots, I would love to spend more time here.

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Street and Nye Mountains
Distance: 8.4 mi RT from trail register
Street Elevation: 4,016′
Nye Elevation: 3,895′
Total Elevation Gain: 2,356
Hike Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes

Gear used: Kelty trekking poles, Osprey Sirrus day pack, Reebok shorts, Noname Rackerback tank, Keen Durand Hiking Boots, Keen Sandals for water crossing, Smartwool socks, Garmin Vivoactive GPS watch

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