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Couchsachraga trip report

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  • Couchsachraga trip report

    On August 30 I hiked to Couchie (and Santanoni). Couchsachraga was the finish of my second round of the 46. The first round finished in 1996, 23 years ago, and at that rate its safe to say another round wont happen Id be 93.

    I started very early which was a good thing since the hike was even longer & tougher than I remembered. I ended up reluctantly cutting Panther off the trip the nicest peak of the three, but I wanted to get back before dark, which I barely did. The Bradley Pond trail was as wet & in places messy as I remembered. I hate corduroy! Slippery and usually disintegrating with age, so unstable. But the cascades in the brook were pretty. It started to rain mid-morning & continued until I was halfway up Santanoni. The express path was far more eroded than it was when I was on it in 2011; heavy use was very evident. When I finally hit the ridge, I was totally socked in, and it was very cold & windy. I was pretty stressed at that point. It started to lighten as I moved along the ridge, and cleared by the time I was going over to Couchie. I had forgotten how ledgey & steep the ridge path is in places. Im finding in recent years that many trails seem much steeper, rougher, and harder than I remember I think its partly because Im older, and partly because I tend to recall the good stuff more.

    There were several parties leapfrogging around on the paths. The notorious bog on the Couchie path was fine. I managed to find enough dead wood to balance along that I never got wet or muddy over the top of my shoes. But I had remembered it as one smooth ridge going out to Couchsachraga; not going over several bumps, one of which was almost a small peak of its own. It is a wonderful hike, but I decided that maybe Couchie deserves its inclusion in the 46 despite the height issue: its so hard to get to!

    I wanted to give myself lots of time to go down the express and get back to my car before dark (I didnt want to rock-hop down towards Bradley Pond, and then down lots more of the Bradley Pond Trail longer and not particularly pleasant, as I remember it), so I skipped Panther. And in fact I did get back to my car just as it got fully dark. The whole hike took me 13.25 hours, including 45 minutes of three breaks on Couchie, in Times Square, and near the top of the Express plus one or two stops to talk with other hikers, and watching to make sure a couple of hikers were able to get their dog down the steepest part of the express. I ended up having some interesting conversation with them the rest of the way down, unusual since I usually keep to myself.

    Note: I still couldnt get cell reception at the Lake Harris campground, where I was staying, but it was OK along the main route in Newcomb better than other times Ive stayed there.

  • #2
    Congratulations. Panther awaits your return.

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    • #3
      Congratulations on #2. Couchy finished my #3.
      I agree Couchy is a keeper. In my original 46 I wrote the correspondent that "it tests your resolve." The first time I went around the bog to the far left on the outbound route. And I almost turned back, but eventually crossed the path that took me there.
      Don

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