The Santanoni Mountain Range

“Which peak are you planning to end on?”

That seems to be the most common question I get asked when I tell people that I am close to finishing up hiking all 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks. And until this past Monday that answer was, I don’t know.

You see, I had 2 peaks left to hike. Couchsachraga, which is a bastard of a peak coming in at only 3820’, but still necessary to climb as it was one of the original 46 High Peaks. And Haystack which is the 3rd highest peak in New York at a height of 4960’ and has amazing views from the summit as it sits amongst a number of other peaks. The obvious answer was that I wanted to end on Haystack which was tentatively planned for mid-October, but that also meant having to find a day before then to hit Couchsachraga.

The thing about Couchsachraga is that it is a loooooooooong day hike, or can be done as an overnight (but it’s harder for us to find the time for an overnight with the little guy at home). It sits on the other side of a ridge which contains 2 other high peaks, Santanoni and Panther mountains. While Harrison still needed to hit all 3 peaks, I only needed Couchsachraga as I had been to Santanoni and Panther twice before in 2003. For different reasons I never had made it over to Couchsachraga during those 2 visits so it was taunting me from afar!

Since we often have a lot planned on our weekends we decided to take a vacation day to attack the Santanoni Range and the infamous Couchsachraga. The plan was to drive up to Wevertown to stay with the in-laws on Sunday night so that we could sneak out before dawn to head to the trailhead providing ourselves with as much daylight as possible. That all worked out perfectly, unfortunately Mother Nature decided to finally give up some of the rain she has been withholding this summer and turned our dry hiking trail into a never ending flow of water. But, as I like to say, a rainy day on the trail is better than any day in the office.

Here’s a little breakdown of how our day went:

Start Time: 6:18AM
Santanoni Summit: 9:40AM (went up via the Santanoni Express Trail)
Couchsachraga Summit: 12:30PM
Panther Summit: 2:20PM
Rejoined the Blue Trail @ Bradley Pond: 4:35PM
End Time: 6:55PM
Total Time: 12 hours 37 minutes
Total Distance (according to my Garmin 910XT watch): 16.48 Miles

I never took the good camera out of the plastic bag is was securely wrapped in due to the excessive amount of moisture, so please excuse the picture quality. It was wet, and I had not an inch of dry fabric on me to wipe the water droplets off the camera lens (I used my waterproof point and shoot camera for the photos). Below you’ll find a recap of our hike in photos. Enjoy!

Hmmm... should we cross it??
Hmmm… should we cross it??
Santanoni Express Cairn on the blue trail to Bradley Pond.
Santanoni Express Cairn on the blue trail to Bradley Pond.

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"Times Square"
“Times Square”
The bog of eternal stench, as we referred to it. Not actually as bad as everyone made it out to be. Had no problems getting across it. Ran in to much worse during our day!
The bog of eternal stench, as we referred to it. Not actually as bad as everyone made it out to be. Had no problems getting across it. Ran in to much worse during our day!

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This is how I really felt about Couchsachraga!
This is how I really felt about Couchsachraga!

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Lucky #17 for Harrison
Lucky #17 for Harrison
The "View" on Panther. There are nice views here... when it's not raining.
The “View” on Panther. There are nice views here… when it’s not raining.
Sunshine and blue sky, it does exist!
Sunshine and blue sky, it does exist!

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DONE!
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