Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sawtooth #4 (3460') - High Peaks Wilderness - 10/31/15

It just worked out by coincidence that the Sawtooth Mountains fell to the end of my ADK Hundred Highest peak journey.  Really.  They are the furthest from my home and I don't know why.  Anyway, on Halloween Day, I began the process of accquainting myself with the Sawtooth range.  I chose lonely Sawtooth #4 to be the first one.  With a short amount of daylight this time of year, I decided to approach #4 from the south via the Ward Brook Truck Trail.

I left home at 6:30 and arrived at the Corey's and the Seward trailhead at 8,  At 8:10 I was on the trail with my dog Rev.  There were only 4 other cars parked at the trailhead.  Lots of hunters were parked along the road from Corey's so Rev and I wore orange.

The first part of the hike was the long 4.5 mile slog from the Seward Trailhead to the Ward Brook Truck Trail.  The trail simply follows the property border with the Ampersand Club property fo several miles.  You are faced with posted signs and blue blazes continuously.  The trail is straight and generally muddy in the non-winter months.  

A new new foot bridge

After 4.3 miles, I reached the Blueberry lean-to and found it to be unoccupied.  In fact, I didn't see a person all day.

Blueberry Lean-to

Just beyond the Blueberry leanto, the trail connects to the Ward Brook Truck Trail.  I turned left at the junction and crossed a sturdy vehicular bridge over Ward brook.  I walked another hundred yards to the top of a knoll then turned right into the woods to begin the bushwhack.

Sign on the Ward Brook Truck Trail.

Bridge over Ward Brook

The terrain was flat for the first 0.5 miles after which I crossed a small drainage and immediately began to climb.  I was an hour and 50 minutes into the hike at this point (and 5.1 miles).  The next 1.3 miles took me 2 hours.  I chose to climb the SW face of the mountain.  While I didn't encounter any cliff faces, or any blowdown, the tree density was quite thick for the last 0.3 miles.  I did have some views of the Sewards over my shoulder as I climbed.  The Santanoni's were visible as well.
Seymour (L), Ouluska Pass (M), Seward Range (R)

The Santanoni Range

Fishing Brook Mountain (near Newcomb) in the distance!


A dusting of snow coated the summit ridge.  Just west of the true summit I scaled a small rock slab and found the best viewpoint of the day.

The best views were on top of this slab of rock.
The true summit wasn't hard to find, especially with the snow on the ground.  I spotted a tiny clearing, and sure enough, that was the summit.  The old canister wire was still on the tree and a couple orange ribbons as well.  There was no view here, but perhaps with a couple feet of snow on the ground you would be able to see over the short trees.  

The summit

A last look at the Sewards from the highest viewpoint.

Since the ascent route had been thick, I decided to head down in a SE direction and then swing back around.  This proved to be an easier route and I got down 30 minutes faster than it took to go up.  Even after 4 short miles of bushwhacking, it felt nice to be back on the trail, even though it wasn't my favorite trail.  1.5 hours and I was back to the car.

Blueberry lean-to on the return trip.
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  13.2 miles
Hike Time:  7.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 2300'

The route.  Look at that long straight line west of Ampersand Lake.

A closer look at the bushwhack portion of the route.
The route on the NG topo

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