Dispatches from The Inn

Mirror Lake Inn’s Chelsea Walker is hiking again

Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa

Chelsea Walker, a stylist in the salon at Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa, can be found tackling the Adirondack High Peaks. When she’s done, Chelsea recharges and then shares her experiences with readers of the Mirror Lake Inn blog.


Another week, another four High Peaks. The weather has been simply perfect for outdoor activities here in Lake Placid, and I have been thoroughly taking advantage of it!

This week was another two day, two night stay, this time along Corey’s Road between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake. We broke up the Seward Range over the two day course. Considering the forecast it turned out to be a smart decision.

Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa

Mirror Lake Inn’s Chelsea Walker shares the views from last week

Day 1: Wednesday July 23: we set out for Seymour. Hiking out past the Ward Brook lean-to, to the cairn that marks the herd path to Seymour. It was a hot, humid day, and we were again at war with the deer flies. We finally found relief as we gained in elevation toward the summit. Seymour is a fairly easy climb. The herd path is very obvious, and there is a fair amount of scrambling involved.

The worst of this hike, similar to Allen, is the long stretch through the corridor of trees. Approximately 14-15 miles round trip, sometimes done with the other 3 making it nearly a 22+ mile day hike, we opted for the break. We could not wait to find relief in a swimming hole somewhere. Our first hot hike of the year.

We made decent time considering. However, 20 minutes after beginning our descent we were blessed with a downpour and a huge drop in temperature. I was never so happy to get rained on during one of my hikes. It lasted a good hour, stopping just before getting back to the lowland area near the Ward Brook lean-to.

Skies cleared up, we went back to camp and rewarded ourselves with a hearty camp meal finding ourselves in bed at 8pm. Our three weeks of marathon hiking was catching up to us.

Day 2: We got up early, dried our boots from yesterday’s trek near the fire, broke down camp and headed back in for the finale of this trip. We left the trail head at 8:45 and made the summit of Donaldson by 12. The temperature was much milder, the humidity was low, and thank heavens, the bugs were not a bother.

We chose to hike in via Colkins Brook. Since Seymour was done and out of the way, this made the most sense. Colkins Brook brings you up the side of Mt. Donaldson. You can choose to either continue a few minutes to the top, or take the herd path down the side of Donaldson up to Seward. Based on the condition of our feet and legs, we chose to continue to Donaldson, then over to Emmons before losing all the elevation we worked so hard for to climb over to Seward. Either way, you summit Donaldson twice no matter how you chose to do this trip. So it is always smart to plan and improvise when needed.

When and where are you going to put in the most effort/work for your hike? When it came down to it in the end, we felt it would be mentally and physically easier on us if we just continued to Donaldson and Emmons, saving Seward for last. The climbing and scrambling is quite a bit more intense between Donaldson and Seward compared to Donaldson and Emmons.

We portioned out our lunches so we could refuel after each climb…..wise choice. It took quite a bit of energy climbing these peaks. They are really fun herd paths filled with all sorts of the typical Adirondack obstacles: downed trees, lifted roots, loose stone, mud pits, large boulders, cliffs… a little bit of everything. I feel Donaldson offers the best summit views, however they all offer fantastic view points during your trek as you near each peak. We had views of Ampersand, Tupper Lake, Long Lake, the Santanonis and Allen from our week prior.

I cannot say much for the view on Seymour. Unfortunately for me that was my 4th High Peak climb in total clouds and fog. But 4 out of 45 are not bad odds. After reaching the summit of Seward and having our 3rd run-in with a father and daughter duo from Rochester, we consumed the last of our lunches, wished our new friends luck and began our decent via Ward Brook.

This was one of the hardest parts of the trip. It’s very steep with lots of technical parts. It took us nearly two hours to descend Seward. I can only imagine how brutal going up this side of Seward would have been.

The Seward Range is a fun range for skilled hikers. There are many places to camp and turn it into a multi-day event, or if you wanted to, in the right conditions, it can be done in a day. If you plan to do this range and are not experienced I would recommend a guided trip. Lake Placid is full of experienced guides that can customize the trip based on your skill level, and “guide” you through it.

This week’s nature encounters: we had lunch with a little garter snake on the summit of Emmons, and we crossed paths with a porcupine who immediately sought refuge up a tree as we came upon him on the trail. News to me….I did not know they could climb!

All in all it was yet again a spectacular two day get away right in my own back yard of Lake Placid. We certainly do have it all right here in the heart of the Adirondack Park!

Join me next week as I plan to finish my first round of the 46 High Peaks, weather permitting. I look forward to sharing it with you all!

Happy hiking everyone!

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