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  • Choosing Next Hike

    I coach high school soccer and the season is almost over. This year will be the second (of hopefully many) weekend trip to the Adirondacks following the season. I'm bringing along several friends, all of whom are in good shape and have hiked in the past (one just gone done climbing Mt. Rainier). Our original intent was to do a long, multi-peak hike one day and do some paddling on the other. Now due to their work schedules it will be a fast trip (drive up Friday after work and come home Sunday) that will only allow hiking.

    I had been thinking of either HaSaBa or GAU. But with a long drive from Ohio to our cabin on the western edge of the Park (Friday night) and then a 2.5 hour drive to Keene Valley area this may end up being too much for the time we have. So, I have been thinking about hitting Seymour instead, which is much closer to the cabin. We will be hiking Saturday, October 21. Early indications are there may be rain between now and then and it may rain the day we want to hike. That could change the plans entirely.

    Questions

    1. With HaSaBa or GAU, where would you start and which trails, direction do you recommend? And how would rain between now and then impact these trails? Also, are there easy bailout places in case someone's not up for the full hike or we decide to cut short due to time? How would you compare these two in terms of distance/difficulty?

    2. With Seymour, how easy is the herd path to follow? I did the Santas last November and didn't think it was that difficult. Also, trip reports seem to indicate Seymour can be a muddy mess. Is it that way now or has it dried out some? And what is mileage of just Seymour? I can't imagine the views doing this hike would compare with the other two. But for first time High Peakers, would my friends be impressed at all with views on this trip? I understand there is a nice ledge not far from the summit.

    Any thoughts/insights would be much appreciated.

  • #2
    Originally posted by jkauff73 View Post
    1. With HaSaBa or GAU, where would you start and which trails, direction do you recommend? And how would rain between now and then impact these trails? Also, are there easy bailout places in case someone's not up for the full hike or we decide to cut short due to time? How would you compare these two in terms of distance/difficulty?
    HaBaSa is a tough day but not impossible with an early start. If you're willing to make either the trip to or from JBL from the garden via headlamp then it won't be too much trouble. I prefer to complete this trip counter clockwise, starting at JBL and ending at the Interior Outpost at the bottom of the Orebed trail. Your only bailout option is between Haystack and Basin, so in theory you could summit Haystack and then take Shorey's "shortcut" (its not), back to the Phelps trail if your crew doesn't want to push over Basin and Saddleback.

    GAU is typically hiked from the Ausable Club in St. Huberts. I'd go clockwise, up the Weld trail and down through the WJ notch. The Beaver Meadow Falls trail provides a good bailout point along the way.

    Answering question #2 since I'm apparently too stupid to double quote...

    Seymour isn't what a lot of people would call a fun hike. It's a rugged climb up a short, steep, muddy trail that leads to views that don't compare with those of the Great Range. While your friends would certainly respect the ADK for its challenging trails, it'll probably convince them to never return. Would you consider having them hike S/D/E instead? These three are also in the western peaks but offer much more bang for your buck.
    “Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” - Ed Viesturs

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    • jkauff73
      jkauff73 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks. I knew Seymour would never compare. And I don't want them to never want to return. We will find something else to hike.

  • #3
    Would you consider doing something that's not a high peak, such as Ampersand, or McKenzie and Haystack from the Saranac 6ers? All offer excellent views and challenging hikes. The Haystack / McKenzie combination from Route 86 is about 12.5 miles, and offers the chance to bail out after Haystack if someone is not up for the rest. See more info at: http://www.saranaclake.com/activitie...saranac-lake-6
    We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing ~ Satchel Paige

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    • jkauff73
      jkauff73 commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, I had thought of that. I hiked St. Regis last year. Good hike with nice views from the top. Ampersand would be the closest to us (and shorter). McKenzie and Haystack would provide a longer, possibly more challenging hike. How would you rate the views on each?

    • debmonster
      debmonster commented
      Editing a comment
      I've been to Ampersand and the views are excellent. I haven't yet made it to the other two peaks, but rickhart provides some insight in his post below. If you can make the drive to the Loj, I'd also suggest hiking to Algonquin and Wright, or Phelps for a slightly shorter, moderate day. Whatever you decide, I hope you all have a great time!

  • #4
    Days are shorter now & if you also have a long drive, I would think a multi-peak mid-Range hike might be a bit much. If you want to do a high peak, and near Keene, maybe something like Big Slide or Giant? Have you climbed all the high peaks with Loj trailheads? And if high peaks aren't necessary Debmonster's point is good (though I wouldn't recommend McKenzie if it's raining or has rained recently; it's a mess anyway & is muddy/steep). Besides Ampersand, there's Hurricane or Jay if you're willing to go to that side of the high peaks area. Or maybe, since the best paddling country is nearer to your base, just paddle out somewhere for a night?

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    • jkauff73
      jkauff73 commented
      Editing a comment
      We had thought about doing an overnight paddle as well? Anything in that area you would recommend? With solitude? And something to climb to around the water?

    • rickhart
      rickhart commented
      Editing a comment
      Lila and Low's both have a small mountain or ridge with nice views --but I don't know about solitude. And I'm not sure if the parking is still open. If your schedule allows, you could paddle from Wanakena up the Oswegatchie & camp at High Falls and before paddling out hike to Cat Mountain. Perhaps others have ideas (if there's still time)? Anyway, those paddles are all worth doing sooner or later.

  • #5
    If you have a short weekend and want to hike from Keene Valley, you should drive all the way to KV and stay at one of the many venues there.
    Mike

    ADK 46r #8003; 6W
    2nd round: 16
    SL6r #596
    Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W

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    • #6
      I hiked Seymour two weeks ago. Aside from one part just after the first steep pitch, the herd path was easy to follow, even with a lot of downed leaves covering the trail. While staring at the second steep pitch and trying to figure a way up it other than relying completely on friction I saw a faint herd path off to the right that led to a short chute between a ledge and a large boulder, after that I was back on trampled ground. The weather was dry, with record high temps, when I was there, so the mud was nothing out of the ordinary. Even though it was hazy, I thought there were nice views SW/NW/N and E/SE (slightly obscured) from two different ledges at the summit. During the climb, I did, however, christen the upper stretch as "a steep little bugger of a trail".

      The views from Seymour won't compete with those from the Great Range, but for the sake of them saving you a couple hours of driving time, they aren't bad! I don't know how sloppy the trail would be in the rain, but I did have to stop for a quick breather a couple of times on the way up due to the heat.

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