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Old 08-04-2019, 03:05 PM   #1
Eddie Fournier
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Santanoni Range 8/3

After hiking the Dix range in a day 3 weeks ago, I vowed to do an easier hike next. Well, that did not pan out since I jumped on the occasion to do the Santanoni range in dry conditions.

Got off to an early start at 4:45am with my headlamp and immediately walked past the trail register without seeing and kept thinking it might be a bit further. I find there isn’t a lot of consistency in their location: most of the time they are next to the trailhead, but often they are 100’ or so into the trail, sometimes they are in the parking and sometimes there isn’t any. Anyway, I had my InReach Mini to broadcast my position.

I walked on a brisk pace and was at the Bradley pond junction after less than 2 hours. Weather was on the cool side and sunny, no bugs – perfect for hiking. From here, you follow the sign for “Times Square”.



Trail up Panther was very pleasant, with some views and nothing very strenuous or difficult. At 8:30 I was at “Herald Square” pictured below (notice the trees that have H.S., C and P carved in them for directions):



Panther is only 15 minutes from there and it’s a great summit, with a medium-sized open rock area even though the highest point has trees. There is a brand-new sign – thanks to whoever is responsible. Views of Santanoni and Couchsachraga:





From this vantage point, Couchsachraga doesn’t look very high compared to the other high peaks in the area. It’s actually lower than Lyon Mountain, but is still a member of the 46 club and so "Couchie" would be my next destination. A quick descent back to Herald Square and then off to Times Square 5 minutes later – in case you’re expecting something different, this is the Adirondack version of Times Square:



Now Couchie might be the smallest of the high peaks but getting to it is no joke. Its summit lies 8.5mi from the closest road and you need to climb most of Panther, or all of Santanoni, before getting there. Although, there is only about 350’ of elevation to climb from the col between mountains, you lose 800’ of elevation from Times Square which you’ll need to climb on the way back. There are also 2 false summits and some blowdown for good measure. And then there is the famous bog. This is what it looks like when it’s relatively dry:



Make no mistake, even under these conditions, the mud is quite deep – my poles did not reach the bottom. But I went down the middle and kept my balance on the logs.

All in all, I enjoyed getting to Couchie, but getting back up to Times Square was a brute and once there I sat on the log to recuperate. Moving on to Santanoni is easier – pretty much the typical hike between mountains as experienced in other Adirondack ranges.



I must say I did not care at all for the Santanoni express trail going down. It is very rocky and my feet were aching after only a 1/3 of it. That said, there is only one difficult section shown here. You can avoid it by keeping left on the trail going down (it is still steep, but nothing like this):



I saw a man slide down it so I guess it’s doable. After that you need to keep right, which had me confused for all of 5 seconds. Getting down to the marshy area close to the Bradley trail was a mercy. The path here was a little confusing as people found different alternatives to cross the wetter part. And then there is the crossing of the Skylight brook which offers visual and liquid respite:



The 3.7mi to the car on tired legs and worse feet was loooong and I was going sloooowly. Getting to the old road did not help, quite the contrary, as it goes up and the gravel is hard on the feet. Deer flies saw me as an easy victim and would harass me until I got in my car but did not seem to bother any of the other hikers that blew past at twice my speed. Total round trip took me 13.25 hours.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:26 PM   #2
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Nice trip! Those are some tough day hikes... I did both of those trips as overnights, and Dix range still kicked my butt. It's nice to see there were some views, when I did it was raining and cloudy. I'm sure I'll be back at some point.
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