Since I had to work the first half of Saturday, our game plan was to meet up at 2pm in Lake George and then ride up to the the Upper Works Road Trailhead, where we would pack out all our gear and head to the Santanoni Lean To. All went according to plan and we were on the trail by 4pm under threatening skies.
We soon arrrived at a brook crossing. A busted up bridge crosses Santanoni Brook here.
Looking back at the bridge crossing.
After about 4.6 miles we arrived at the Santanoni Lean To and set up camp for the night. As we were setting up and got the fire going, the rain moved in.
The wind driven rain was torrential and intense for much of the night, but I stayed dry in the Lean To. Temperatures were only about 40 degrees under a very light drizzle.
The Lean To sits on a steep incline.
After breakfast and trying to wait out the last of the rain, we broke camp and hit the trail at 10am. We hiked back about 5 minutes south of the camp to a clearly marked trail junction, where the herd path leaves to the left.
The herd path drops down to a small beaver pond, where you have to cross on a beaver dam to the other side.
A ledge along the path provides a great view to the north and west over the Cold River valley.
Continuing on towards Couch, the muddy trails only get muddier and there are many small ups and downs along the way, which can be discouraging. Near Couch's summit is a huge bog, where logs are laid down to help guide the way. If you step into the mud here, it can be almost knee deep in spots.
The summit! Unfortunately it was wooded with limited views.
A view through the trees from Couch's summit.
We returned to Times Square, where we took the turn towards Santanoni Peak. There are several great views on the way to Santanoni. Here is a view west towards Newcomb and Long Lake with Little Santanoni in the foreground.
Returning on the muddy herd path off of Santanoni.
The return to Times Square provides a great view of the nearby Tahawus mines and tailings.
The ascent up to Panther from Harold Square was very quick, but incredibly muddy. We got to the top within less than 10 minutes.
Last summit of the day. Panther Peak, elevation 4442. Although the actual summit is wooded, there are great views on the rock facing south slopes.
The view just below Panther's summit, on a large rocky expanse.
Mark just below Panther's summit.
Hiked 17.3 miles total for the day and a half.