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Old 04-26-2017, 06:15 AM   #1
Neil
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Circumnavigation of the Seward Range.

This 2-day hike began and ended at the Sewards winter parking area on Coreys Rd.

Sylvie and I headed south on the Raquette falls trail, which traversed beautiful woods on a wide ,soft foot bed. The trails follows the river closely and the banks were flooded so there was deep water all along the way with tree trunks rising up. When we went close there was usually a noticeable current.

At mile 2.2 the trail split and we stayed right and dropped our packs in a lean-to on the river bank and continued south to the falls, which were worth the entire trip, drive and all. We decided to go right to the end of the trail, which runs directly at the water's edge - a most impressive show of raging river with amazing rapids.

The trail seemed to peter out before ending at an indicated campsite and hairpinning back so we bushwhacked 2 minutes away from the river and picked up the canoe carry trail and returned to our packs. From there we bushwhacked for 20 minutes due east to the Raquette River-Calkins trail and there we parted ways. Sylvie headed north back to the car and I continued south towards the Calkins trail going 500 feet up over Mud Mountain pass (aptly named I might add) to the Calkins road. From there the trail became very remote and lost feeling as it worked its way past the Calkins twin lean-to's to the Cold River.

At the Cold the road became a trail and I turned left to folllow the River upstream on the NPT. I stopped for 10 at the first lean-to, which had an excellent view up the Cold but kept moving to the Seward LT, where I planned to spend the night. It was 5:20 and I immediately got out my buck saw and cut a wood supply, set up for the night, ate, stashed my bear can etc. etc. and was in the sack at 8. My wood was slow to catch but once it got going it burnt brightly for hours so my fire created a long-lasting ambience as I slowly drifted off to sleep with the roaring river in my ears.

Next morning I was up at 6 and got the fire going right away. It was below freezing. At 7:30 I slowly made my way to Ouluska Brook and LT, which were an hour fifteen away. The bridge is out across Ouluska and the ford was foot-numbing. I chilled at the LT for a good half-hour and perused the log book. I had made entries in June and August and was impressed at how many more entries there were.
My goal for the day was to make the twin lean-to's on Ward Brook and when I checked the mileage on the map I realized I would be arriving there by noon. I had told Sylvie to expect me at the trailhead after two nights but it was obvious I had overestimated the hike.

Off I went following the river for another 30 minutes until the trail swung away at the hermitage where I stopped and tried to fathom Rondeau living there for so many years. All that is left now are a few rusting artefacts and a faded sign. The day was bluebird and the trail was in great shape until Mountain Pond where I hit snow. Lots and lots of deep structureless snow that was a time and energy sink (more like 20 minutes to hike what would normall take 10 but a real drain nevertheless) and then when I hit the Ward Brook Truck Road the snow was all gone.

However I hit another snow belt (2-4 feet deep of post-holing nearly every step and being sent sprawling a dozen times) that lasted for about an hour and I wondered if the snow would continue all the way out. Below the belt I was soaked from the snow and above I was soaked by sweat. I figured there would be a snow spine from the lean-to's so if I could hack it for a mile I'd be OK. Then the snow completely disappeared for the rest of the hike. The deep snow lay directly east of Seymour and either little sun hits it or it collects there after the prevailing winds pass over the Sewards.

I was at the twin LT's at 12:30 so I kept on hoofing it all the way to the summer trailhead and there I sent Sylvie an all is well e-mail message from the Spot device and walked the road. There is a lean-to 5 minutes from the parking area on the Raquette river so I headed there and waited for a couple of hours dozing, eating, wandering and gathering wood (just in case I spent the night), until pretty much when I expected to near 7, I heard Sylvie call out to me. She had hiked Phelps. We drove to the hostel and I hit the sack almost immediately and slept until nearly 8 the next morning. We hiked Catamount on the way home yesterday. It was my first time and it certainly won't be the last. Amazing gem of a mountain!
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:15 AM   #2
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Thanks for the wonderfully detailed trip report. I plan on doing this same hike, in reverse direction, next weekend. Based on your details I am now certainly planning on carrying snowshoes...

Can you please provide me with some details concerning the ford at Ouluska Brook? I.E. How deep? Current? Were you wearing crocs or did you barefoot it? Did you attempt to bush wack upstream at all to look for a possible tree to cross? Past reports I have read stated that there was a tree across the brook about 400 yards bush wack upstream.

Sorry for the onslaught of questions, but this crossing has been making me nervous, and a first hand account of what I will encounter will put my mind at ease if I can know what to plan for.

Thanks in advance and thanks again for the detailed trip report.
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:55 AM   #3
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One of my favorite hikes in the Adks. I will be doing it again in May.
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Old 04-26-2017, 12:00 PM   #4
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The Ouluska ford was nothing. I went upstream about 10 yards and crossed most of the way on a gravel bar. The final few feet involved water about 6-8 inches deep. There was a good downed tree just a bit further upstream but I didn't want to contend with the branches. I wore Tingley overboots (Google them!) over runners for the entire hike and for the crossing I wore them over bare feet. If you take them you will wear your snowshoes for 5-10% of the distance and carry them for the rest. If I was going back I would simply step in my post-holes. The snow level can only decrease over the week.
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Old 04-26-2017, 12:13 PM   #5
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Thanks for the response!

Would those Tingley's be what my grandfather and men of yonder year refer to as "Rubbers"? And if so, how was the going in those? I have tried those in the past for other activities and found them to be cumbersome.
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Old 04-26-2017, 12:18 PM   #6
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These are the ones I wear. You don't even notice them.
http://www.tingleyrubber.ca/p/work-r...vershoes?pp=24

They are very snug and you have to put a plastic bag over your shoe first in order to be able to slip them on. They have excellent traction on rock and don't seem to wear out.
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