After having such a good hike to Sawtooth #1 & #2 on Saturday, I was hopeful that I would have the same experience on Sunday while climbing Sawtooth #5. I started out from the Seward trailhead at the end of Corey's Road at 7:40 AM.
Two hours later I was at the pair of #4 lean-tos and shortly after that, I veered left to begin a short bushwhack to Saw #5. I soon learned that short doesn't mean easy. My general direction was NE, but I continually came across cliff faces, steep ravines and very dense spruce. It wasn't at all enjoyable.
My one moment of solace was a side trip to the high altitude pond that lies just west of Saw #5. The pond was socked in by conifers so it could easily be missed. A light skim coat of slushy ice decorated the surface of the pond. Rev happily pranced around in the pond grass, happy to be out of the thick spruce for a few moments. It was a very peaceful spot.
|Yes, there really is a pond.|
|High altitude pond.|
|Sawtooth #5 on the right|
Alas, I had to dive back into the unforgiving spruce. The western face of Saw #5 appeared to have a fortress of rock protecting it from entry, but there was a break in the rock where it wasn't too bad to scale. The top of Saw #5 was more open than the beginning of the bushwhack and I was relieved that the search for the high point wasn't an exercise in futility. I found the summt sign and orange ribbon 4 hours into the hike (or after 2 hours of bushwhacking).
|The summit of Sawtooth #5.|
|I haven't figured out what ponds these are. I believe I was looking East or SE.|
|Seymour and Seward|
My dog Rev is usually willing to retrace our steps in decending, but this time she look us on a wild goose chase for 10 minutes before I realized she wasn't on our ascent route. I readjusted and got her back on the scent and she was fine after that.
Gravity helped on the way down, and I was able to plow through the dense forest with greater speed.
Still, it felt nice to get back on the Ward Brook Truck Trail and out of the forest. Two more hours and we were back at the trailhead at 3:15. 101/102 of the ADK Hundred Highest are complete. Avalanche Mountain will be the finish peak. Perhaps this coming Wednesday!
Hike Distance: 16.8 miles
Hike Time: 7.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain: ~2150'
|The bushwhack portion of the hike.|