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Donaldson & Emmons (44/46)

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  • Rik
    replied
    BEWARE! Big fat threadjack to follow:

    On Thursday Charlene and I changed our plans from a backpacking trip in the Whites to a car camping trip to the Adirondacks. With a damp forcast we opted for driving two hours to hike in the rain over five hours to hike in the rain. So, as mentioned, I PM'd Neil to let him know that Emmons was part of our plan since I knew he and Dom still needed this one. On Friday Charlene and I drove up to Saranac and climbed Scarface. Nice gentle grade and soft trail. Some ok views from below the summit and at the false summit. No view from the actual summit. Weather was cloudy but dry. We saw no one. After the hike we stopped in Saranac for a few last minute supplies (read wine) and off we were to the Corey's road to secure a campsite for a few nights. We checked out several sites and chose #7 since it is right along Ampersand Brook (creek?). There were a few bugs but not really aggressive. They disappeared as soon as the sun set. After dinner and drinks we fell asleep. I vaguely remember Neil walking down to see if we were up when he and Dom arrived at 10pm. I didn't actually talk with them but must have seen them while half asleep because I knew they were there when I got up in the morning. After some coffee and breakfast as well as a little music courtesy of Neil we piled in his van and went to the trailhead. Nice to ride that road after walking it a few times this past winter! Several cars indicated we would have company for the day. An ADK Albany group of 12 lead by Skip Young was in front of us. The day was beautiful and we talked as we walked. We walked right past the crossover path without realizing it. It was nice to see the Calkins path without snow on it as I had never been this way in non-winter conditions. We caught the group in front of us on Donaldson. The summit was quite crowded as everyone soaked up the views. Neil played us some more music which seemed just perfect for the setting. I thanked Skip for breaking the trail for me this past winter on Haystack as I recognized his name. We ended up figuring out that we had met before climbing Donaldson in a large group a couple of winters ago. The group had left in front of us but we caught them near the summit of Emmons. As Neil mentioned we didn't stay long but retreated to Donaldson where we enjoyed a little more relax time. The walk down felt like a stroll. That is until Dom and I decided to run the last half mile! Back at camp we enjoyed some cold beverages and snacks before Neil and Dom had to leave. Charlene and I had some dinner and went to sleep soon after dark. On Sunday we got up to cloudy skies. We packed our gear up and had breakfast in Placid. We climbed Catamount before heading home. Catamount was wonderful. Great views, great scrambling. There were a few bugs and the sky looked threatening so we didn't stay long. It rained hard on our way home. On Monday I took the dogs to Spruce Mt. because I had felt guilty about leaving them with the dog sitter. Another beautiful morning. Great hiking with Neil and Dom again. D/E made #22 and 23 for Charlene.

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  • alistair
    replied
    What no TT????? I guess there is a chance we will meet up soon??

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  • mcpeak
    replied
    Sounds like a pretty unbeatable day. RPR will be a fun trip. Make sure to do it from New Russia on a clear day because that trail is amazing!

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  • Neil
    started a topic Donaldson & Emmons (44/46)

    Donaldson & Emmons (44/46)

    Nothing like writing up a TR!
    After several changes of our plans Rik sent me a PM saying he and Charlene planned on doing D&E. Considering that a recent VFTT trail conditions report talked about post holing mid-thigh on Marcy my enthusiasm for Marcy-Gray- Marcy had dampened considerably.

    So on friday night at 10 Dominic and I slowly cruised Coreys rd. looking for a silver Honda. Once we spotted it we parked and set up camp, meaning we laid out our sleeping bags in the back of the van and went to sleep. At 6am Rik moseyed on up to where we were parked and we noted the bluebird skies which were in contrast to the forecast. After a leisurely meal by the broad and shallow Ampersand Brook we drove to the TH. The lot was pretty full and the register indicated a group of 12 was ahead of us on their way up Calkins.

    The birds were singing, the sun was shining and the bugs were not there. We had a pleasant stroll chattering away along the flat approach walking 2 abreast most of the time. The Calkins turnoff is marked with a cairn but the herd trail is very obvious. I'd been up this route twice since March and it was interesting to see it in summer conditions. Such a pleasant contrast to the other side (from the BB LT) which I did with Doug last December.
    This route clearly has a "custodian" and his or her recent axe work and blowdown clearing was much appreciated as we climbed up to the ridge.

    We caught up to the group of 12 on D's west lookout so we went over to the true summit. It turns out that Dominic, Val and I didn't go over to the true summit this winter thinking the West lookout was the summit. IIRC We were up so high on the snow that we had views both east and west. I couldn't believe how differently everything looked! Anyway, we have done Donaldson now for sure. Thanks Rik both for guiding us to the true summit and for all the teasing .

    Next on the agenda was Emmons which Dominic declared to be a rip-off. After the 15 hour winter trip when we turned back on D's SW bump and the December trip when we decided to stop at Seward because it was late we were kind of pumped to finally being assured of Emmons. I have never spent such a short time on a summit. How does 3 seconds sound?There were 13 people there and the views and solitude of D. were much more attractive.

    I scoped the bush down toward where the slide should be and indeed things looked pretty gnarly, thick and steep.

    Our trip back was about as nice as it gets. A soft Robert Frost trail wending its way through open woods, a creek nearby, sunshine and great company. We flaked out for a while at the Calkins herd trail-Calkins truck road junction basking in the sun and then headed back to the TH. After rehydrating with a couple of brews and watching Ampersand Brook slide by we relunctantly left Rik and Charlene to their perfect campsite and drove home. All I have left now are Gray and RPR. Dominic needs those two plus Tabletop.
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