I had plans to hike the Sewards with my son Zack today. We met at 9 AM at the Seward trailhead and it was raining. We talked for a minute and decided we didn't want to take a chance on hiking a full day in the rain. The forecast had predicted cloudy until 4 PM and then the possibility of a thunderstorm. The forecast was obviously wrong and we considered what to do. We decided to climb Ampersand Mountain, even though we had both climbed it before. It was nearby, less than 3 miles each way, and it's a fantastic mountain. Perhaps we'd see some interesting weather skies.
The rain stopped as soon as we were underway. The rain shells came off immediately and things looked promising. I thought the bugs would come out, but they did not. Ampersand gets continually steeper as you climb and stone steps have been placed on most of the upper half of the trail to prevent the steep trail from eroding away.
I got loaded my pack with lots of liquid, in anticipation of climbing the Sewards, and I forgot to unload it prior to Ampersand, so I was carrying lots of unnecessary weight. In any case, Zack forged ahead of me and I did my best to keep up.
Just before the summit, a guy passed us doing a trail run. Also at that time it began to rain again. We put our rainshells back on and left our packs under the trees at the treeline. It was quite windy and the rain was blowing sideways. There was still some visibility which was fortunate. We bounded around the summit with our dogs and reminded ourselves how good this summit is.
You can't really tell in the pictures below, but it continued to rain the whole time we were on the summit.
|Rain clouds blowing through.|
|Zack hanging onto his hat. The trail runner is heading back down.|
|Rev is getting a drink in a summit pool.|
|More threatening clouds.|
|Rev was not a fan of the wind.|
|A summit memorial to Walter Channing Rice.|
After leaving the summit, the rain of course stopped and we took off our rainshells for the descent. We saw quite few people; perhaps 10 or 12 people climbing while we made our way down.
Back at the car we took the 0.6 mile walk to Middle Saranac Lake. Lulu splashed in the water while Rev stayed on the beach, except for wading in to get a drink.
Thanks Zack for meeting me in Saranac Lake for a hike. I hope we can get out together again soon.
Hike Distance: 5.2 miles
HIke Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Vertical Gain: ~1820'
+ 1.2 miles to Middle Saranac Lake and back