one step at a time.

adam, crosbi and i are back home and in "recovery" from a backpacking trip into the trail-less santanoni range of the adirondacks to hike couchsachraga, santanoni and panther peaks.  we stretched what some hikers do in a day into a three day trip.
leaving from the trailhead to duck hole around 10:00, we hiked to our intended tent spot near the santanoni lean-to.  while the distance to the campsite was just under five miles, it took us over three hours to get there.  once you leave the gravel road, the entire trail is completely muddy.  the ADK guide called it "unrelentingly wet" and that is almost an understatement. 
at times the "trail" was actually a stream which was preferable to the times that it was just acres of boot sucking mud.  the hike in (with loaded backpacks) was a non-stop game of "where's my next step".  if you guess your step incorrectly, you're going to sink up to your shin (or higher!) in thick mud.  after setting up camp, we relaxed for the rest of the afternoon and went to sleep early to prepare for the long day ahead.
we left camp around 8:00 the next morning to a sky that was grey but bright.  we anticipated rain and were (of course) prepared.  we arrived at the cairn marking where the herd path to times square began shortly after leaving the tent site.  after a little over two hours of climbing, we arrived at times square.  choosing to hike couchsachraga first due to it's furthest distance from times square, we headed up and over it's multiple false summits.  summitting couchie at 12:30, we snapped a few pictures and moved on.  it was obvious at this point that there would be no sweeping panoramic views on this hike as it was completely overcast.
on the way back to times square it began to rain and would continue to do so, on and off, for the remainder of the day.  without much in the way of a break, we moved onto santanoni, summitting around 3:00.  by this time, all of us were feeling tired but there was no time for rest.  crosbi's feet were beginning to bother her from the relentless mud and she took any opportunity available to lay down.
again, we returned to times square and turned to the final mountain, panther.  gladly, we saved this one for last as there is little elevation to gain from times square.  we summitted and turned to go back to camp around 4:30.  the climb down from times square was excruciating on the knees.  we were so glad to see the cairn marking the herd path's intersection with the marked trail!
returning to camp around 7:00, we were surprised to see so many tents having been set up while were were gone!  we wound up sharing our site with a couple who had packed in that evening, planning to do our exact trip the following day.
in the morning, we wished our camp mates a safe trip but only after learning some disconcerting news.  apparently, two gentlemen hiked in the day before and upon arriving at the santanoni lean-to camping area, they dropped their packs to look for a good tent site.  one of the men returned to the packs, but the other did not.  on our hike back to the truck, we passed DEC rangers and heard helicopters coming in to start a search for the missing man.  we were questioned but could offer no real assistance.  the worst part is that the missing hiker is apparently diabetic and left his medicine in his pack!  i keep checking the internet to see if i can find out what the outcome is, but i can't find anything.
other than the sobering moment regarding the missing hiker, we had a great albeit very exhausting time.  three more high peaks in the bag, bringing us to a grand total of 35!


  1. yay for 35 peaks! other than the mud sounds like a great trip. very cool to see that couchie sign!

  2. Oh, so scary about the missing hiker. But other than that, your description (mud and all) makes me seriously hanker after my next high peak trip. It's long overdue...

  3. it definitely was a good trip, although it would have been better with some rewarding views.

    still can't find any news on the missing hiker...hopefully it's because they found him right away!

  4. Congrats to all, including Crosbi, for 3 more peaks conquered !


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