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7/21 - Couchy & Panther, Saving Santa

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  • 7/21 - Couchy & Panther, Saving Santa

    ADKGurl and I headed for the Santas parking lot Friday night where we slept in the car for plans for an early Sat start to grab the Santas. We had arranged to meet Biji, he said he arrived a few hours after us and he too slept in the car. That evening 6 locals pulled in in a big white van and set up camp in the parking lot. Oh well.

    We got out stuff together at 6AM and headed out to do the Santas. The conversation with Biji was great and the road was behind us before we knew it. The trail up to Bradly pond was not too bad, rugged in spots, muddy in spots but not bad. ADKGurl and I were planning to spend the night at the Bradly pond camp site. We passed the Santa express and went on to the reroute - thanks so much for this guys! We saw the sign for time square and went on to the Lean to. At the leanto all the campsites (legal and illegal) were taken. It did not matter - we would not have liked to stay in any of them. However the group was just packing out of the Leanto so we scored that. ADKGurl has been adamant that she will not sleep in a leanto, she had no choice, we were going to stay there when we returned (more on that later).

    We headed back to the HP. We followed the trail down to the marsh and lost it there, we sniffed north, we sniffed south. No trail. We knew we needed to cross the beaver dam but Biji found the trail be headin slightly SW from the cairn about 20 ft and there it was obvious that the beaver dam made a long sweeping arch to the SW and across the marsh (right by the cairn). So across we went and the HP was right there.

    The HP up to the ridge is very rugged once you get to Panther brook. Heading up (if you are doing couchy) you will need at least 2L of water per person, more if you are doing Santa as well. There is a nice deep pool at the brook and a water fall, a good place to fill up.

    We were on top of the ridge at Harold square around 11:30 and on Panther at 12:00 for lunch. The view of Couchy was depressing, all that elevation to loose and have to regain and all the distance to travel. The view of Santa was scary, after doing Couchy we would need to do that as well if we were to get all three that day.

    The trail down to the col to Couchy was steep and there was one particularly slick spot. The path was super easy to follow but slow going. Once down to the swamp we were able to cross it - we stayed left and it was dry enough and with the aid of the logs it was easy. On top of Couchy there were some interesting views if you stretched for them. It took us almost 2 hours to get over there. A long rest there and two hours back to Time square. At Time Square we knew that if we were going to do Santa we would be on the HP in the dark so we decided to save it for another day, the express trail will make it doable as a nice day hike.

    We were slow going down the panther brook trail, very rugged. We refilled at the water fall. Back at the trail sign to times square (on the blue trail) we said our goodbyes to Biji - we really enjoyed hiking with him, what a great individual. ADKGurl and I hightailed it for the leanto where we had the place to ourselves, all the groups except for one nice family were gone. We cooked a meal of baby clams in garlic cream sauce over sea shell pasta and promptly went to sleep. BTW - the water source is a very small stream right by the Leanto, you have to cross it when getting there.

    In the AM I explored for more campsites - none I would call good.
    ADKGurl confessed to me she now like the leanto better than the tent - we are now converts and will seek them out when available. It took us almost 3 hours to hike back to the car. We ate lunch at Basil & Wicks in North Creek, we left stuffed -there we met a group who had just gotten back from Allen the day before. Another great trip in the mountains.

    We will be back for Santanoni!
    Enjoying the journey with my favorite hiking partner.
    Please visit ADKGurl's Blog: 46-High-Peaks

  • #2
    Thanks for the TR. It reminded me of my first trip to the Santanoni range 30 years ago. I hiked to Bradley Pond leanto and got an early start the next day using the freshly blazed route along the boundary of then private and public lands. I visited Santanoni and Panther but ran out of time for Couchsachraga. Fast forward thirty years, and a whole new mindset about what's possible in a day, and I drove in from Montreal, hiked all three and drove back home. I now believe the backpacking gear I used to carry, and mentality that overnights were essential to success, were a hindrance. Not having to carry overnight gear saves energy (light) but knowing there is no nearby refuge is a powerful motivator (fast). I'm not proposing you change anything, enjoy your hike as you see fit, I simply offer this observation from my own hiking experience. Thirty years ago, I would not have imagined it possible for me to hike the Santanonis as a day-hike. This forum's community inspired me to explore new possibilities.

    Enjoy your day-hike to Santanoni. May I suggest you consider a loop, such as ascending via the Express and descending via Panther Brook (or vice versa). The section between Times Square and Santanoni is worth exploring.
    Looking for Views!

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    • #3
      Congratulations on getting two more! I am hoping to do Santa, Couch & Panther next, hopefully, in one day but I will have no problem bailing on one if it proves to be too much.
      Limped thru the Northeast 115...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Trail Boss View Post
        Thanks for the TR. It reminded me of my first trip to the Santanoni range 30 years ago. I hiked to Bradley Pond leanto and got an early start the next day using the freshly blazed route along the boundary of then private and public lands. I visited Santanoni and Panther but ran out of time for Couchsachraga. Fast forward thirty years, and a whole new mindset about what's possible in a day, and I drove in from Montreal, hiked all three and drove back home. I now believe the backpacking gear I used to carry, and mentality that overnights were essential to success, were a hindrance. Not having to carry overnight gear saves energy (light) but knowing there is no nearby refuge is a powerful motivator (fast). I'm not proposing you change anything, enjoy your hike as you see fit, I simply offer this observation from my own hiking experience. Thirty years ago, I would not have imagined it possible for me to hike the Santanonis as a day-hike. This forum's community inspired me to explore new possibilities.

        Enjoy your day-hike to Santanoni. May I suggest you consider a loop, such as ascending via the Express and descending via Panther Brook (or vice versa). The section between Times Square and Santanoni is worth exploring.


        Taras,
        I feel if we had set up camp off the express trail and done the loop we would have gotten all three. We had several issues, one was the added time to find a campsite and the other was the extra time to find the start of the herd path, we actually crossed over the pond north on the beaver dam but decided since we could not find the trail to sniff around some more. The other issue I personally had was a knee that was barking loudly. I think if we had done the loop and not had to futz with camp setup or finding the trail we would have easily had an extra 3 hours of time.

        BTW - we found a nice "very illegal" campsite of the express trail as I explored that trail a bit on our way home. I won't say where that campsite is.
        Enjoying the journey with my favorite hiking partner.
        Please visit ADKGurl's Blog: 46-High-Peaks

        Comment


        • #5
          Dan,
          Yup, the camping aspect definitely chews up hiking time. Being a perfectionist, and a lousy shot, I hesitate to reveal how much time I spent setting up the lines for bear-bagging (pre canister days). :(

          Did you say barking knee? I have no idea what that feels like!

          Cheers,
          Taras
          Looking for Views!

          Comment


          • #6
            Great TR congratulations!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Nice Report! I think we saw you guys campin' out in your car in the corner of the lot when we got back to the TH on Friday night at 9:30. Glad you had a good time/weather. We hiked the mountain behind the Lean-to, Henderson, a tough bushwack, then the Santa's, it was a long 14hr day, but the views from Santa in the afternoon were worth it. Sounds like you got caught in the "Couch Triangle" as well, a time vortex between Couch and Times Square. I was thinking that Santanoni would be a nice hike by itself up the Express at some point in the future too. Happy Hiking
              ADK 46/46 4W CATS 39/39 8W ADK100 63/102 VT35 26/29 FT's 25/29 VT FT's 9/15

              ScAtTeRbOnE's Adventures

              sigpic
              "We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us. Our flesh and bone tabernacle seems transparent as glass to the beauty about us, as if truly an inseparable part of it, thrilling with the air and trees, streams and rocks, in the waves of the sun, a part of all nature, neither old nor young, sick nor well, but immortal." John Muir from My First Summer in The Sierra

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              • #8
                Yep - we were in the far left corner. However I don't think we got there until well after dark - could have been 9:30 but thought it was closer to 10PM. Did you see the people setting up the tent in the parking lot?
                Enjoying the journey with my favorite hiking partner.
                Please visit ADKGurl's Blog: 46-High-Peaks

                Comment


                • #9
                  Another great TR Dan. I hadn't considered these peaks yet, but the dry conditions have me wondering if I shouldn't give them a shot sooner. Sounds like you're both eager to get back there.
                  http://www.adkhighpeaksforheroes.com

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                  • #10
                    Sounds like a great weekend for you. You may have talked me into these for the upcoming weekend.

                    What is next for you?
                    ADK 46/46, 22w
                    NH 21/48
                    NE 70/115

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DackerDan View Post
                      Yep - we were in the far left corner. However I don't think we got there until well after dark - could have been 9:30 but thought it was closer to 10PM. Did you see the people setting up the tent in the parking lot?
                      Coming out of the trail I saw people in the car in the far left corner (diagonal from the register). I saw nobody setting up any tents, if I did I might have had to remind them of the rules, maybe with my Bear Spray!
                      ADK 46/46 4W CATS 39/39 8W ADK100 63/102 VT35 26/29 FT's 25/29 VT FT's 9/15

                      ScAtTeRbOnE's Adventures

                      sigpic
                      "We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us. Our flesh and bone tabernacle seems transparent as glass to the beauty about us, as if truly an inseparable part of it, thrilling with the air and trees, streams and rocks, in the waves of the sun, a part of all nature, neither old nor young, sick nor well, but immortal." John Muir from My First Summer in The Sierra

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ScAtTeRbOnE View Post
                        Coming out of the trail I saw people in the car in the far left corner (diagonal from the register). I saw nobody setting up any tents, if I did I might have had to remind them of the rules, maybe with my Bear Spray!
                        That was not us - we ended up on the opposite side of the lot in the other corner. We were there about 10PM.
                        Enjoying the journey with my favorite hiking partner.
                        Please visit ADKGurl's Blog: 46-High-Peaks

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jelaxbroc View Post

                          What is next for you?
                          About a month of swim meets, music concerts and summer camps, I hope we can get out but maybe not until late Aug when we head up to Sky & Gray for a few nights.
                          Enjoying the journey with my favorite hiking partner.
                          Please visit ADKGurl's Blog: 46-High-Peaks

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hey Dan, if you heard any other barking on Saturday, that would have been my knees screaming over from the Wolfjaws.

                            Great job again guys. Kai and I are soon going to have to tackle one the harder to get at ranges.

                            Blair

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                            • #15
                              I too noticed the very nice and very illegal camp site going up the herd path. Congrats guys! Y'all are over the hump and have 2 Santa's done, home stretchin' it now!!!
                              Crepuscular Rays: Dissolve into evergreens

                              There's always gonna be another mountain
                              I'm always gonna wanna make it move
                              Always gonna be an uphill battle
                              Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
                              Ain't about how fast I get there
                              Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side...
                              It's the climb
                              -Miley Cyrus

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