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’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!
The award-winning Spa at Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa in Lake Placid welcomes Cori Deans to its’ staff of massage therapists.
Deans, of Lake Placid, joins the world class spa, ranked in the top 100 by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure Magazine. With Deans, the Spa at Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa is adding a professional with 13 years of experience.
Mirror Lake Inn spa welcomes message therapist Cori Deans of Lake Placid
“The Spa and facilities here are just gorgeous,” said Deans of the Mirror Lake Inn, AAA Four Diamond rated the past 30 consecutive years. “I like to work where people like to vacation. The level of professionalism here is extraordinarily high. That was very attractive.”
Prior to joining the Inn Deans worked at The Whiteface Lodge. Her resume also includes Sky Lodge in Park City, Utah; The Equilibrium in Sydney, Australia; the Equinox in Manchester, Vt.; and others.
“Cori brings extensive experience, a great attitude and the desire to work hard,” said Mirror Lake Inn Spa Manager Annie Brucker.
“The staff and clientele are friendly and happy,” she continued. “It’s a pleasant place to work. I was welcomed from the first day.
Among her specialties, Deans is expert in assisting those recovering from injuries, stating that she welcomes deep-tissue massage and similar projects. She has worked with Olympians and X Games athletes pre and post competition. Deans is also adept at working with participants who compete locally in various marathons, Ironman Lake Placid and the vast menu of winter sports offered in the Adirondack region.
To make appointments with Deans, other massage therapists or salon stylists, please call 518-302-3010.
Chelsea Walker, from Mirror Lake Inn’s salon, logs many hours on the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks with her trusty dog, Ryder. She’s only too happy to share her experiences with you and serve as your high elevation concierge.
It was a two day, two night adventure starting at Tahawus and Upper Works trailheads in the Lake Placid region of the Adirondacks. We set up base camp at one of the available spots off the main road leading into Upper Works.
Day one we set out for the Santanonis planning to conquer all three and crossing our fingers for good weather. It turned out to be a perfect day.
Our first ascent was up Santanoni Peak, followed by Couchsacagra and then ending on Panther. We chose this approach based on my friend’s prior experience and judging where most of the “work” would be spent.
Here’s the view from Panther
All three peaks in the Adirondacks require a good bit of scrambling over steep terrain. The trails, most being herd paths, are very tight and thick. However, this 15.5 mile loop is a great way to knock out three peaks in one day. We began our journey at 9 AM and were out by 6:45 PM, spending nearly and hour on each summit.
All three of these peaks in the Adirondacks offer amazing views. Couch however, is a bit of a pain. It seems so out of the way for a high peak that isn’t even above 4,000 feet. But once we reached Panther and we could retrace our steps on the open view of Santanoni and Couch and Times Square, it made our efforts seem worth the extra work.
We saw quite a few moose tracks, some between Santanoni and Times Square. Surprising to have seen them this high. It is very rugged and still at 4,100 feet in elevation!
The bugs were not to bad on this hike, but most of it was spent at higher elevation, the humidity was low, and there was a nice breeze.
Day two was the grand finale of the trip. Allen, the well known “way out there by itself” monster of a day hike, is known for being one of the hardest. We started fairly late for a hike like this, but with the reward of knowing we had broken down camp. Once we were out we were heading home to hot showers and firm mattresses. The late start didn’t seem to phase us.
The beginning of the hike was a deer fly war zone, swatting and batting them away for the first several miles which are spent in low elevation. It was much warmer and humid, and the air was significantly still compared to the day before. Once we reached the river crossing about 5.5 miles in, the bugs finally began to dissipate.
On and on we went. The never-ending trail. Yet again we saw tons of moose tracks.
Moose tracks! You never know whom you’ll meet in the Lake Placid Adirondack region
After hiking what seemed like forever but was only three hours we crossed Skylight Brook and were finally beginning to climb the base of Allen. This is where it really kicked in. Allen is incredibly steep. Following Allen Brook most the way, it is an obstacle course of rocks, small and large boulders, slabs, trees fallen and in place, water, and red algae that is extremely slick.
This went on and on, for about a mile and a half, gaining so much elevation with every step. Though it was mentally and physically grueling, it was for me, one of my favorite hikes. The views were breathtaking once you got high enough on the brook near the slide. Though the view is not right from the summit, you can achieve a 365 degree view from Allen at a few different points with just a short stroll from the summit sign.
Luckily for me, I had two days in a row of beautiful open views and I got to see from a different perspective the mountains that I so frequently climb.
Being my first time in this section of the High Peaks, it was almost like rediscovering the Adirondacks, and after such a long, exhausting hike, you realize there is a reason Allen is “way out there” all by itself.
Happy hiking everyone! Be smart, be safe and remember….leave no trace and practice environmental stewardship in our pristine Lake Placid Adirondacks region!