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A week in the bush...

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  • A week in the bush...

    I tend to dislike crowds, but enjoy dry weather; especially when sleeping outside.

    The two will seem to coalesce this week, so I'll be driving up from SC PA on Monday morning, hitting Cliff and Marshall, then the Santanonis. If any of you plan on hitting the same areas I hope to cross paths with you and be able to chat along the way! I don't know exactly why, but this trip is unnerving me a bit. I know I've climbed worse, but it's in my head.

  • #2
    The weather, indeed looks nice. Have a great time!

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    • #3
      Well, I survived the trip and am back home!

      I wrecked my 'good' knee about 100 feet into the descent of Marshall on Tuesday. I think I was favoring the bad one, and taking every ledge and drop off with the previously healthy one. It completely locked up that evening, and on the next morning, and then it was a slow and painful descent down the crappy upper part of the Calamity Brook trail from Lake Colden. However, after about 2 miles it loosened up a bit and I was able to make it back to Upper Works. I was honestly 95% ready to quit the trip....up until I cleaned up a bit at the car, had a beer from the trunk, and realized I could switch up and put the better brace on that knee, and also that I knew I had a few Excedrins in my tiny little pill bottle. So, I figured I'd drive to the Santa trailhead, go as far as I could and just see how I felt. I did manage to complete my trip, but with discomfort.

      Summary of the trip: The upper part of the cliffs on Cliff were the real deal. I went right up the middle of the ledges and didn't take any work-arounds though. The mud was honestly no worse than on the approach trail. Marshall - I liked the summit, but the descent soured the trip for me. The Santanonis - I honestly think they were the "roughest" mountains I've hiked so far. I did all out and back from Bradley Pond. Very tight trails that I described as "like hiking through a herd of angry porcupines". I crossed the Couchsachraga mud pit in one minute each way. I just extended my trekking poles all the way, and went right down the middle of the stingers. However, once or twice my poles sunk in over two feet, so the mud was there.

      It was hotter than I would have liked, and I wasn't in my best mountain climbing shape. Also, due to the lack of water on the ridge I had to slow down to minimize how much I was sweating. With only about 30 minutes total of non-walking time, it took me almost 10 hours to complete about 9 miles. Granted I was easing down every boulder more than 3 feet in height, but it was slow going the whole day. I will say that the Panther Brook trail was a knee destroyer on the way down. I did not try the express, but more than one person I passed said it wasn't as bad as the stretch between Times Square and the peak of Santanoni.

      All in all, I did manage to complete my hike, but it left me a little battered! I'm now back home detoxifying all of my stank clothing and my sleeping bag! I'll repost this in trip reports, since it's relevant. I'm now up to 41 of 46. Next spring will be a trip with my girlfriend to hike other peaks, but hopefully next fall I'll be able to finish!

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