Following up on heavenly Haystack, with a “break weekend” in between for a quick trip home and some discgolf over labor day weekend the mountains were yet again calling. I saved a couple of single hikes for the fall time for ‘quicker’ hikes with the shorter daylight hours. The full Seward Range was too much for a single day hike earlier in the summer so I made the trek back over to finish it off with Seymour.
I’ll have to admit my expectations were pretty low. In part because Haystack was so amazing but this hike can be muddy, long and the “trail-less” section in particular is some serious elevation gain.
I had a rough start in the morning missing the first ferry. Detour driving across the bridge it is. I did catch a glorious sunrise coming up over Camels Hump. Not too shabby a way to start the day. The drive was long – 3 hours to the Corey’s Rd trailhead. I was expecting a long day hiking with reports that this is an average hike of 11 hours, with another 3-hour drive on the other end. I was tired just thinking about it.
The first 5.4 miles is pretty straight forward, relatively flat with some small hills, mostly well worn with good footing and some river crossing scattered throughout. A bonus that we are headed into the “dry” season so the mud was rare.
Just past the Ward Brook Lean-to (at 5.4) the unmarked herd path splits off. It starts easy enough but rocks your world pretty quickly. In the next ~1.5 miles to the summit, you climb more than 2,100+ feet in elevation gain. Yep. I was drenched in sweat when I got to the top. A couple of pretty muddy sections with blowdown and rough footing. I don’t even want to know what that part looks like during the wet season.
The trail was steady and steep but compared to some in the ADK relatively easy. Don’t get me wrong the trail is pretty eroded in spots with messy footing. And you’ll want to take your time on the slide – especially if it is wet. But I’m loving slides and scrambles these days. I took my time but mostly loved it. When all is said and done nothing too technical or overly challenging.
It took just 2 hours to get to the top from the split and where all your real “work” of the day is. Once at the ridge, I took a quick visit to the actual summit with an ok view and chat with a lovely father/son duo. The son was (I’m guessing) 10 or so and after this weekend will be at 44 for his quest. The dad was super nice and we swapped stories about hiking. He thought my solo mission was pretty “impressive”. Yep, liked them for sure.
After visiting the official summit, I headed back to the ridge to spend my break at a viewing ledge offering a much better view compared to the actual summit. It was an overcast day, but the view was still beautiful. Though my iPhone doesn’t capture it well with the clouds. An old timer and I swapped stories about mishaps, unprepared hikers, etc. He had the unfortunate experience watching a man fall down the Trap Dyke up Colden. Luckily, he got patched up and airlifted out but I’m still surprised someone could survive a fall like that.
After soaking in the view and the peaceful summit it was time to head back down. I was making great time and thought I might even have some extra time to spare. Woohooo! It was as steep going down as it was up. I fall in love with my hiking poles more and more on trails like this. They save my knees countless hours of aches and pains.
After a mini-break at the trail split and another ‘quick’ 2.5 hours I was there. The ADK weather gods were looking out for me. I had some very light rain the last mile or so, but nothing to cause any discomfort. But the minute I got in the car the skies opened up and it was pouring buckets. I was very thankful to have missed that happening on the trail.
After my usual routine of changing, snack, post-hike beer and soaking the muddy feet I was ready to roll. Leaving several hours before I had anticipated. It is always great when an eleven-hour hike only takes nine. Yep. All kinds of awesome.
I made it home in time to pick up a well-deserved burger and even had the energy to catch up with a friend. You can’t go wrong with that.
Thanks, Seymour for exceeding my expectations. You’re the best.
On Deck: Finishing the Santanoni Range with Santanoni Mountain. Yes, that will be #40.
Seymour – completed 9/12/2015, total distance ~14-15 miles, elevation 4120, order of height 34, elevation change 2370, hike time 9 hours