I’m interrupting my trip recap to bring you a new Adirondack Trip Report!
Catching up? Check out my last few posts:
- General Sherman & Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park
- Walking with Giants in Sequoia National Park
- Hiking Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park
- Hiking the Panorama and Mist Trails, Yosemite National Park
- Fourth of July at Yosemite National Park
So, anyway, last weekend I went backpacking in the Adirondacks to snag three more high peaks in the Seward Range, Donaldson, Emmons and Seward Mountains.
Jenna, Brendan, Margaret and I drove up to Saranac Lake (The Sewards are the furthest away out of the high peaks, with a 3hr drive from Albany!) to the trailhead at Corey’s Road. We hiked in with our gear to a tent site along the Caulkins Brook, off the horse trail. Jona had mentioned this site to me and it sounded like a good idea! After a short 1.4 mile hike, we found our site and set up camp. Unfortunately, it started to rain during the night…complete with a thunder storm. Thankfully, it wasn’t severe and we were all dry in our tents! But the wet made for a gloomy hike the next day.
Saturday morning we took a left out of our camp site at about 6:30am, and met the herd path to the Sewards at around 7:10. Instead of taking the Blueberry Trail and the steep route up Ward Brook, we opted for the gentler Caulkins Brook Herd Path.
The herd path follows Caulkins Brook for some time. It’s a gradual incline and is quite pleasant! Before we knew it, we were approaching the summit of Donaldson Mountain! It was 9:50AM, a little over three hours after starting.
Number 38, it’s gettin’ real!
Still socked in, we had no view.
We decided it would be wise to head over to Emmons first. I didn’t do my homework on this hike and assumed the peaks were close together. Ha. So Wrong. It took us about an hour to get to Emmons (11:00am). I was having flashbacks of the dismal Couchsachraga from last summer in the Santanonis. The hike to Emmons wasn’t particularly fun. It was wet, muddy and dark. I hated Couch, but I liked the Santanonis better overall.
Thankfully on the hike back, the skies cleared and allowed us some views.
On the way back we decided to hit up Donaldson again because it was right there and we wanted to see if there was a good view–there was!
But, we couldn’t linger. Time to make the trek over to Seward. I don’t remember much, just that I wanted the day to be over. It was 2:00 by the time we reached the summit.
If I had one word to describe this range, it would be blah. But, I did it! The trek out was long. We stopped at Caulkins Brook to refill our water using Jenna’s gravity filter (Jenna is the Water Queen), and hiked the remaining few miles back to the camp site.
My original plan was to camp a second night and hike Seymour the next day, another peak in the Seward Range that is just a bit further out (see my amazing map skillz below). Jenna and Margaret estimated it would be about a 10 hour day. Since we both had to work Monday, and we were tired, Brendan and I were just not feeling it. We orphaned Seymour and packed up our gear and walked the 1.4 miles back to our car to make the three hour drive home. It was nice to sleep in my own bed after such a draining day! Jenna and Margaret stayed and hiked Seymour the next morning–such troopers!
The decision was tough. I debated it in my head over and over almost the entire day. Hiking Seymour would get me one peak closer to goal, but I’d be miserable. Physically I could have done it, but I was mentally done. I hike because I enjoy it and I love the Adirondack Mountains. Yes, I have a goal, but is it worth it to suffer just to bag a peak when I’m not having fun anymore? No. Seymour isn’t going anywhere!
Overall, we hiked about 14 miles on Saturday, including the hike out to the car.
40 down, 6 to go. I can see the finish.
We got back to the site at about 7 and were at the car by sundown. It was a long day.
The Seward Range
Donaldson, Emmons, and Seward Mountains
~16 mi RT via Caulkins Brook herd path
12.5 hrs to and from tent site