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Seward, Donaldson, Emmons - to loop or not

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  • Eddie Fournier
    started a topic Seward, Donaldson, Emmons - to loop or not

    Seward, Donaldson, Emmons - to loop or not

    Planning to hit these 3 next Monday (already did Seymour on the 8th) as a day hike. I know this will be a reasonable enough challenge for me and I'm not looking for extra hardships. I was thinking of doing an out and back through Calkins Brook but most people seem to make a loop with the North side of Seward.

    I'm usually a fan of loops, but I did not fall in love with the mosquitoe-infested mud pit that is currently Blueberry Trail.

    Any recommendation?

  • Trail Boss
    commented on 's reply
    Thank you for your kind words.

  • greenmountaingoat
    replied
    I did the loop clockwise last November and had to orphan Emmons because I was a bit slower than I thought I would be going up Seward. Didn't want to leave my ride waiting in the parking lot.

    Steep and icy was an interesting challenge but took time and was pretty exhausting after the early alarm clock and long walk in.

    For those who find the views rewarding the best view of the hike (from what I recall) from the very top of the ledges along the northeastern "corner" of the summit ridge. If you approach from Calkins Brook you should scamper a few hundred feet East. It's a relatively flat walk (muddy maybe? it was pretty much semi frozen over mudholes the whole way) but worth it.

    As previously mentioned, there's a "sizable climb" (~200') heading southwest off of Seward over a bump as well as another ~150' partially up Donaldson to reach the T. If you're doing the whole loop, prepare for a toughie (assuming that you're more of the normal human type of person).

    In a way the list is the list, hike your own hike and all that but the list is a means to stories of adventures and the bond of sharing experiences both with those who share the trail and with those you regale.



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  • SeaLevel
    commented on 's reply
    I was taken back when reading your disclosure “before corporeal decrepitude scrapped my ADK Grid aspirations”. With over 75% of you goal achieved, I cannot think of anyone more deserving to be on the list of those completing the ADK Grid. You have been a model for responsible hiking ethics/practices, have been a “good steward” of the mountains (often compensating for those who have not) and have been encouraging to so many other hikers in their endeavors.
    Not knowing what has caused you to abandon your GRID aspirations, I wish you the best and hope that whatever it is, you too will be able to overcome it and resume your challenge.

  • FoulHooked
    replied
    I'd opt for the clockwise loop were it not for the blueberry trail conditions. I'm not at all squeamish about water and mud, just would prefer to keep the mud out of my shoes that early in the hike. I didn't mind the descent of the north side too much when I did it, but it did seem to go on, not sure I would want to do it again in my current shape...my vote is for calkins both ways.

    Leave a comment:


  • Eddie Fournier
    replied
    Thank you all. I am truly impressed by the depth of knowledge, response speed and openness to share found here.

    Leave a comment:


  • bikerhiker
    replied
    I always try to make a loop of things if possible to see more than an out and back will show me (and sometimes those outs are not favorable so it works out not to have them as your backs anyway), and call me sick but I really loved those 3 as a loop up seward north and out calkins brook. All the refreshing cool water breaks going up seward were an awesome relief (it was 90/90 that Saturday in july), and that headwall is so neat (you wont see that on a T-shaped out and back). In hindsight I am really glad I did it clockwise, as that sunday I did Seymour out and back, and that loooooong way back to the trailhead was probably the only time I have called something a slog (again, I believe it was 90/90). By doing the 3 clockwise the way back through calkins you dont have that longer stretch out (similar to Seymour). Seward north down low was muddy and the mini-slides were very wet last july as was donaldson junction all the way out to Emmons, and im guessing this year has been more rain than it was this time last year?

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  • Bunchberry
    replied
    This is the joy of the north side. We are all talking about it! I might even still have particles of Seward dirt ground into my hiking pants and they have been washed 5 times since then!

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  • MTVhike
    replied
    When I did Seward a few years ago, I went up via Calkins Brook. On the way from the D/S col, I ran into someone who recommended NOT going down the North side unless I had come up that way. So I returned the way I came.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trail Boss
    replied
    Before corporeal decrepitude scrapped my ADK Grid aspirations, I was touring the 46 peaks on a regular basis. You might find these old posts useful. Both involved clockwise loops of SDE.

    Seward Range. 2017-10-01
    Gooward, Mudaldson, and Wetmons. 2016-08-27

    There was one more trip where I ascended Seward's northern trail (after Seymour) but I never posted the details. On at least three other occasions, I've descended it (other visits were T-shaped out-and-backs via Calkins). I learned that ascending the north side was faster than (or as fast as) descending it . . . which says something about its nature.

    As for pure metrics, if you descend the north side, the distance will be slightly longer to the trailhead than if you return via Calkins Brook Trail. However, there will be less ascent because it's downhill all the way to Ward Brook Truck Trail and then it's basically flat compared to returning via Calkins Brook Trail. That route first involves ascending an intermediate bump that lies between Seward and its col with Donaldson. Then when you reach Calkins Brook Truck Trail, there's about 200+ feet to ascend before you intersect the Blueberry Trail.

    HOWEVER, setting aside the numbers, the descent of Seward's northern side is much gnarlier than Calkins Brook Trail. If you were to divide it in thirds (more or less), you could characterize them like this, top to bottom:
    1. Steep, wet, heavily-eroded (poster child for trail erosion)
    2. Wet, muddy (the really deep kind)
    3. Comparatively pleasant (a welcome relief)
    In contrast, Calkins Brook Trail has the usual High Peaks 'mud and rocks' challenges, here and there, but overall it feels nice underfoot. You can call the top third of Sewards northside a lot of things but not 'nice underfoot'.

    Whichever way you choose to tour SDE, good luck and have fun!

    Leave a comment:


  • Eddie Fournier
    commented on 's reply
    Agree. I love to be in the woods, following a creek, thinking about how to negotiate a boulder. There are so many ok destinations that are accessed by great trails (thinking about Gil Brook Tr & Orebed Tr just now). But I know I have to work harder than most other forum members for those higher ones. BTW I came twice within reach of Gothics - the 2nd time I chickened out at the start of the cable section (also it was winter & it was getting late).

  • khubilai
    replied
    Seeing a trail going up, and seeing that same trail going down may not let you see ‘more’ of the Adirondacks, but it lets you see them differently. Same with time of day, weather, season etc.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bunchberry
    commented on 's reply
    I loved the north side of Seward. That's what we are there for! Climbing mountains and getting muddy!

  • Bunchberry
    replied
    I am throwing this crazy idea out there but we should not just be climbing 46 peaks.

    If you can barely get a peak done then I understand that you need to do things the easiest way possible, but if you are in good enough shape then go up Seward and after getting all the peaks done go back via Calkins Brook. You get to see more of the Adirondacks.

    I have done Gothics via Pyramid but for me I have not done Gothics yet. I have to do it again from the cable route because to be a person that knows the Adirondacks I have to do that.

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  • FlyFishingandBeer
    commented on 's reply
    Longer, much wetter, not as relentlessly steep due to the way it meanders more, but very steep in places. The scrambles are different too. On the Express trail some of the scrambling is the way it is due to recent hiker-induced erosion. On Seward the scrambles are more natural formations and seem to be perpetually wet.
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