Pain is weakness leaving the Body

On the 20th of November approximately around 6pm or 18:00hrs we set out for what would become my 23rd High Peak, The Halfway point. Our group included the norms of Seth & Jess Burgess, Myself and the boot Zach Hussion who will not soon forget his First Accent! On the way to My Family Camp which has finally become a nice stepping stone to the Blue Border we made a stop for some Friday fish fry at Okey Dokey's. Another great dinner from this small town restaurant.

Chapin Camp on Independence River
After arriving on the Independence River around 11pm we had just enough time for conversation then a power nap before the mornings breakfast power up. The area where my Families Camp is located on the Independence River is also renowned for White Water Rafting and Mountain Biking.

Independence River White water Rafting

Road time between destinations is crucial..the habit of finding new paths slowed us down this time so we didn't hit the trail head off Corey's Rd until 11am, a mistake we would have to endure. A previous group of ours made the same late departure mistake and caught two out of the three Seward Range Peaks Donaldson and Emmons via Caulkins brook route. Ideally you can get all Three this way looping back the Seward Mt. north side herd path back towards the Blueberry Foot trail. Being our second trip to this Range we opted for the reverse route, hiking the horse trail on the way in and Blueberry out. Recommend sticking to the foot trails considering how muddy it can be this time of year.

Seward Mt. Route

While hiking the Horse trail which has multiple direction changes thoughts of course correction slowed the muddy pass through downed trees and more decomposing remains of fallen trees. Its a wonder how a rider could pass these obstacle's. This was by far the worst maintain trail I have been on..then again it was my first hike on a horse trail (NOT RECOMMENDED)with a late start.

Zach, Seth & Jess on a good part of the Horse Trail

After 4.3 miles we made a quick jump back on the Blueberry trail over a bridge to the Seward herd path marked by the rock pile cairn. This is the most difficult and scenic section of the hike. The changes in elevation surrounded us with the mist of clouds frost and snow. Many steep rocky climbs were in order and stabilizers for the ice is a good idea. Being in front of the pack with my trusty sidekick Tanner the Mountain dog who would only make these treacherous conditions on the heals of our fellow homosapiens. Although daunting for Tanner at times he ceases to amaze me with his ability to set the pace, constantly running ahead and coming back to make sure your on the right path always considerate of our positions.

Tanner The Mountain Dog's 17th High Peak

These last 1.5-2miles will take at least 2hrs one way..Our summit at dusk would prove to be my first true head lamp lit decent. The stop at the top for a PB&J bagel sambo made it a little easier to block the dangerous downwardly motion of tree grabbing, rock shuffles/slides. A constant concentration on the next step is the only way to stay on two feet. The reminders of changing conditions gave us hope of forward progress on this 12hr 13.5 mile hike. From the cold frost stricken evergreens to damp misty beams shinning though our lamps into snow then mud..lots of mud! Crossing the brook three times along the herd path back down to the truck path. Every transition is a goal accomplished while dredging away the last ankle deep foot soaked step, and finally the last mile is winding back to the beginning.

Funny.. On many of the trip logs I have read about this hike it is not recommended for your 1rst high peak and definitely not a Night head lamp lit decent so kudos to Zach Hussion for his first experience in a whole new kind of Pain. These trips always make you aware of modern amenities like a comfortable bed which you will no doubt be sleeping in for a whole day after a hike like this one!

Zach and Jess at the Corey's Rd trail head
Completion of my 23rd High peak

23 to go



Seth C. Burgess said...

Great trail write-up, you captured the experience perfectly.

Seward Mountain is truly a bear-of-a-hike for a day trip. Now I wonder what the view would've been from that one lookout up on high...

Adam C. Chapin said...

Still need a good view from Giant as well..thats's two on the list!

Gil Burgess said...

Nicely written and photographed account!

zhussion said...

glad i survived :-) ready for the next one!

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