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Santanonis 1/22

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  • Santanonis 1/22

    After the Cliff trip, we were pretty tired and took a day off. It was a crystal clear but frigid -10F when we woke up Sunday, Lord knows how cold it was up in the mountains!

    We did take a short little jaunt around the grounds of the B&B. They own 70 acres and have easy hiking trails that wind around the woods. There is a beaver pond, a set of ledges, and quite a few other things packed into that amount of land. A nice way to stretch the legs on a down day.

    Throughout the playoff Sunday we debated what to do Monday. Drive back? Go back to Cliff? Go to the Santa? Etc. Eventually we made up our mind that we would get up early and try for at least Santanoni and Panther. Laurie and I both have had unsuccessful trips here in the past, so we approached this trip with some foreboding. The weather forecast was 'Snow Showers', which up there can mean a few flurries to a blizzard!

    It turned out to be a pretty wonderful day weather-wise. The snow showers were indeed just that, a few flakes fell from time to time, but alternated with blue skies and great views. But 5 minutes later, you could be getting snow again. The views may have never risen to a '10', but I kind of like days with varied weather. Come on, doesn't it get boring when there is never a cloud in the sky all day, and you can see 100 miles! Sometimes clouds are simply fascinating to watch as they roll over a peak. We watched the wind whipping any poor slobs who were up on Algonquin and Iroquois. But Marcy stood calmly in snow-capped splendor. In spite of being up at 4600' the winds were dead calm. A few flakes fell gently down on us as we summited. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

    Sunday afternoon, we drove into the trailhead and scoped out the register. We noted that HikerA and HikerB had been here Friday, and our friends from Ottowa were out on the trail. Since I knew who A/B were, I called the number left in the register and ascertained that they had made it to Santa and Panther, just the trip we were planning. Excellent! Thanks for breaking the trail A/B! And thanks to the Ottowa crew too!

    Monday morning we got up at 5:15 and got to the trailhead at 6:15. We got dressed in the warm car as much as possible. The start was at 6:35, at about 4 degrees. We donned snow shoes for traction and water proof outer layers to keep the light snow off. The first section of the hike is just a road walk with a few rolling hills. After 45 minutes, we took a break at the point where the Blue trail heads off into the woods. Laurie was tired from the Cliff hike, (and her knee was sore), but I was feeling good. I had lead from the car to here, and since Laurie was sweating to keep up with me, I let her lead into Bradley Pond. During this stretch the Sun rose and we could see patches of Blue sky here and there. The woods were beautiful with a light covering of snow. I was surprised that we still made it to Bradley Pond in just over 2 hours. Laurie is one tough woman!

    We took a break and then started up and over to Panther Brook. The herd path was broken out perfectly. There was hard packed snow and almost no ice, even in steep sections. We kept the snowshoes on all day, no crampons or axes were even brought on the trip thanks to the beta we received from A/B.

    The march up to Times Square was long and difficult. The herd path hopped over the brook, then after a while hopped back to the right side and stayed over there until the top. I plunged my pole into the snow at one point and found the snow depth to be 2.5'. This herd path is pretty easy to negotiate, but the pitch increases at the top. We kept expecting to be at Times Square any minute, but we had to keep climbing and climbing and climbing! Finally, we were at Times Square at 10:10. We took a food/water/bio break, dropped a few bottles of water, and headed off for Santanoni.

    The herd path is very narrow and still has ice covered branches all over the place, and being tall, my head and face met a lot of them! I was crawling in several sections! But the herd path underfoot was still excellent, so we made pretty good time, summiting at about 11:10. This was my second and Laurie's third time attempting this mountain and we were thrilled to have finally made it! I let out a loud whoop and we took a few pictures. As I mentioned before, there were a few snow flakes falling, the clouds would come and go and we could see in different directions at different times. The wind was dead calm. The tiny star-shaped snow flakes just drifted down slowly onto the trees.

    Having reached the high point of the journey, we turned back to Times Square, getting back around Noon. When we returned, we had lunch and hot tea! Mmmmmm!

    Now we set our sights on Panther. Again, the herd path is very narow and low, but I managed to crawl and fight my way thru. Near the end, there is a ledge where crampons might have been useful, but we followed the herd path around the edge and up to the wide, wind swept area just before the summit. This was the only place where the old snow shoe track had been almost wiped away, but we could see clearly where we needed to get. A little tunnel leads to the true summit, with a yellow 'PANTHER' marker high up on a tree. I hacked at the marker with my pole to get the ice off for proper pictures!

    When we got back to Little Times Square (aka Herald Square), we briefly debated going to Couch. We could see that the trail was broken (at least to start), but it had already been a long weekend, and we did not have the advantage of any trip reports at this time. Also, we didn't feel like failing to climb two sub-4000' summits in one weekend! So, Laurie put on her brace and we headed back to the car.

    Sometimes the walk out is just a boring slog, but it was still fairly early and we were not completely zonked. But the few small uphills on the way out convinced us that not doing Couch was the correct decision! We enjoyed the changing views, and saw a Grouse perched in a tree over the road. I got Laurie's attention before it flew away, but it was too quick for the camera! We saw a lot of tracks in the snow, including Grouse and small mammals, as we descended. A large nest just off the road caught our attention as well.

    My advice to anyone contemplating the Santas, is:

    GO NOW!!!

    The conditions are perfect!

    This was a great weekend up in the mountains! I will try to post some pics when I can.
    Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

    Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
    Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President Catskill 3500 Club
    CEO Views And Brews!

  • #2
    Too bad NOW is not a good time.
    Cell phones are dog whistles for people.
    -Lisa Loeb

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    • #3
      I love the santanonis (even Couchy!), I did all three in the summer and had a blast. Wonderful views into the Cold River valley and the views from Santi and Panther are really nice on a nice good day. Hope Laurie's knee gets un-sore

      Jay

      Life is a short, warm moment
      And death is a long cold rest.
      You get your chance to try in the twinkling of an eye:
      Eighty years, with luck, or even less.
      -Pink Floyd

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      • #4
        Nice report - any pictures? Sounded beautiful up there.
        Be safe --- Respect the Earth --- Have fun --- Joe H.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Joe H. View Post
          Nice report - any pictures? Sounded beautiful up there.
          Some are still at Laurie's house, but here are a few:

          http://viewsandbrews.com/temp/p1.jpg - Tom at Times Square after Santanoni
          http://viewsandbrews.com/temp/p2.jpg - Laurie at Panther
          http://viewsandbrews.com/temp/p3.jpg - Snow covered trees
          http://viewsandbrews.com/temp/p4.jpg - Couch - some other day!
          http://viewsandbrews.com/temp/p5.jpg - Tempting fate!
          Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

          Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
          Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
          Past President Catskill 3500 Club
          CEO Views And Brews!

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          • #6
            Great pics Tom and Laurie; sounds like a wonderful adventure!!!

            Cindy
            Snickers
            I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
            -Maya Angelou

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            • #7
              Thanks, Tom. They are great! Quite an icicle!
              Be safe --- Respect the Earth --- Have fun --- Joe H.

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              • #8
                Nice report and pics !
                Looks so nice and wintery up there !
                104/115

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Joe H. View Post
                  Thanks, Tom. They are great! Quite an icicle!
                  LOL! Yeah, I tapped it a few times with my pole and it came down!

                  Originally posted by Rookie View Post
                  Nice report and pics !
                  Looks so nice and wintery up there !
                  Thanks! Laurie took most of them. And it *IS* Winter up there!
                  Tom Rankin - 5444W "In the depths of Summer, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible Winter"

                  Proud Member #0003 of ADKHP Foundation
                  Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
                  Past President Catskill 3500 Club
                  CEO Views And Brews!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm curious about those ones. I might make them my first Adirondack "trailless" peaks. I've heard that Coochie is tough for a little guy. Wonderful pictures...a fellow Poughkeepsie-ite yearns for winter to come down here.
                    молоко хорошо, ну а водка ещё лучше.

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