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Chilly Sewards, 1/18

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  • Chilly Sewards, 1/18

    It happens every year about this time, sometimes earlier. A great hiking day--except for one thing, very cold temperatures, defined arbitrarily as below 0 F (-18 C) for at least part of the day. I am reluctant to go at first but then I remember the great days I’ve had under those conditions. Although partly psychological, enjoying cold days is mostly a matter of managing my clothing and hiking style to stay dry and comfortable. Really—it is possible. I’ve been optimizing the “system” for years based on learning from others and my own improvements. It is too complicated, however, to describe here. Keeping dry is essential, and do not overdress.

    As I pulled into the Coreys Road PA, the car thermometer said -10 F (-23 C). I saw the pickup which I found out later was BillB and his group going to Seymour. No one had been to D-E-S for six days. I would describe the trail as 2”-3” of light snow over a very hard base of varying composition, sometimes wet. I chose Microspikes and still had to jump many wet spots on the trail and Calkins Road. Snow depths didn’t increase much with elevation (except for some drifting) and I stayed with Microspikes to summit of Donaldson. Temperature at the summit was 0 F (definitely an improvement) and I took my first break standing in the bright sun overlooking the Cold River valley. What a great spot!

    Changing to snowshoes, there were several icy spots going over to Emmons, hidden by the light snow, so I had to be wary especially when descending. Still, I was there in 35 minutes (round trip in 70 min) so I shouldn’t complain. The great view up Long Lake from the summit is always a treat.

    Seward is the most fun of the three because of the many twists and turns of the herdpath and the immediate consequences if one doesn’t stay near or on it. There were a few false paths, usually when people went straight where the path turned, but overall it was not difficult. I wanted to leave the summit quickly because it was so cold, so I didn’t stop or check the temperature on Seward. Still feeling good, I decided to have lunch about a half hour down the Calkins HP where it was “warmer”, still about zero F (-18 C) in the woods.

    Before I knew it I was at the end of the herdpath and walking back toward the trailhead. If you are going, take care at the brook crossing as the ice is still thin. I dipped a boot in, just for test purposes, mind you, without getting my foot wet. I became so warm walking out I had to unzip my jacket and remove the shells over my mittens—felt like a heat wave. Not that I was trying to break any records, but I was pleased to see 7:57 on the stopwatch at the TH. The temperature seemed so warm when I got in the car—all the way up to 15 F (-9 C).

    Now that I have broken the “cold barrier” for another year, I will not shy away from a nice day just because of cold temperature.

  • #2
    Showoff.

    Oh, and are you driving over today or tomorrow? My place is all yours if you don't want to get up too early tomorrow...
    “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir

    "Not the kind of "fun" you have to force yourself to remember you're supposed to be having, but the kind where you realize for the last half a day you've had this idiot grin on your face that you just can't seem to shake." -Mirabela

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    • #3
      Sub-eight hours on a sub-zero day! Congrats!


      PS
      Tried your "arm radiator" suggestion, on Nippletop & Dial, and, sadly, my physiology wasn't so easily fooled; sweat happens. I'll keep experimenting!
      Looking for Views!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by procook131 View Post
        Showoff.
        Yeah, I know. I could have knocked off a half hour if the trails weren't so icy. . . . I had to slow down and be careful.

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        • #5
          D-E-S in under 8 hours in that cold? Very impressive.
          ADK 46er #9204, 14/46 W

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          • #6
            Originally posted by cfraimondo View Post
            D-E-S in under 8 hours in that cold? Very impressive.
            Thanks. When you're young, anything is possible if you try.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by cfraimondo View Post
              D-E-S in under 8 hours in that cold? Very impressive.
              I was wondering how long it would take Joe when I saw the name on the register. Yeah, 8 hrs is impressive. I don't think the cold slows you down - it pushes you to keep moving.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BillB View Post
                I was wondering how long it would take Joe when I saw the name on the register. Yeah, 8 hrs is impressive. I don't think the cold slows you down - it pushes you to keep moving.
                Good point
                ADK 46er #9204, 14/46 W

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                • #9
                  It takes practice in the woods to get that fast! Nice report on conditions.
                  What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

                  Ralph Waldo Emerson

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                  • #10
                    D, E, & S in 8 hours??!! Doping!
                    Hans and I did D & E only yesterday at a more sedate 10 hours. We were hoping for S, as well, but with a few new inches of snow, howling winds, plummeting temp, and aging bodies still recovering from Skylight and Gray last week, we wisely saved it for another day.
                    We saw only one other hiker -- much younger and probably more fit. He made the same decision which made us feel better.
                    Our biggest worry (which we didn't think of until 2 hours into the hike) was blow down on Corey's Rd. Fortunately, said younger and fitter hiker brought an axe and had a small tree cleared before we got there. Next time I'll bring a chain saw. Actually, there probably won't be a next time. When 80 mph gusts are forecast , we should probably stay home.

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                    • #11
                      What No seymour....slacker..
                      ADK 46-R #6750W
                      CL-50 - #51
                      CATSKILLS- 9/39
                      NPT Complete 7-6-13

                      Hiking photos

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                      • #12
                        Sounds amazing!
                        Out of curiosity (and because I'm a rookie 6/46)
                        How many times have you done that hike? (NO snark intended)
                        Stuart rose from the ditch, climbed into his car, and started up the road that led toward the north... somehow he felt that he was headed in the right direction. E.B.White, Stuart Little

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by scalidonna View Post
                          Sounds amazing!
                          Out of curiosity (and because I'm a rookie 6/46)
                          How many times have you done that hike? (NO snark intended)
                          If I had to guess I would say fifteen times. Joe has done more rounds than I have fingers and toes (thanks Pete for that gem of a line).
                          “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir

                          "Not the kind of "fun" you have to force yourself to remember you're supposed to be having, but the kind where you realize for the last half a day you've had this idiot grin on your face that you just can't seem to shake." -Mirabela

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by scalidonna View Post
                            Sounds amazing!
                            Out of curiosity (and because I'm a rookie 6/46)
                            How many times have you done that hike? (NO snark intended)
                            Eighth time in winter. A lot more than that in non-winter.

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                            • #15
                              Joe, you are an inspiration! Nice work!
                              If you can see it, then you start to feel it;
                              And the next thing you know, you believe,
                              and that's when dreams begin to come true.
                              --Tuck and Patti

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