|Early morning at Oseetah Lake.|
The chosen route was well known to all three of us: ascend Donaldson, Emmons, and Seward via the Calkins Brook trail then descend to the Ward Brook Truck trail and head to Seymour. Calkins Brook was easily crossed via a rocks and the trail to Donaldson was in good shape with the exception of one (normally) muddy spot. We paused on the summit for a snack then continued to Emmons. We all agreed the man-high steps found along the trail were easier to tackle in winter. We stopped on Emmons for another snack and tried to appreciate what little in the way of views it offered (hint: it's like the summit of Nye).
Shortly after descending Emmons, we met a solitary hiker heading to Emmons. He indicated he had left a shirt somewhere along the trail and asked that we leave it be because he would return for it. Shortly before reaching Donaldson we met two more hikers out to visit "D-E-S". We passed Donaldson's summit without pausing and dropped into the col. I had finished my liter of water and expected to find a trickle but there was none. We went over the shoulder, dropped into the second col, and then began the steep ascent to the summit. Steve spotted the hikers's shirt. Its location indicated the lone hiker was doing an "out and back" of Seward, Donaldson, and Emmons from the Ward Brook Truck trail.
Water flowed over the "rock slide" and we paused at its top for me to sip water from its source. I had recently acquired a Sawyer Mini filter and was eager to test it in "drinking straw" mode. After slaking my thirst, we continued to the summit. We stopped for lunch and Tom introduced us to "Spam on Seward". We were soon joined by the lone hiker. We chatted briefly and then he sped down Seward's northern trail. We left a few minutes afterwards.
|Tom's invention: Spam on Seward.|
Upon reaching the Ward Brook Truck trail we met the lone hiker who introduced himself as Jason. Hearing that we would be continuing to Seymour, he joined our group.
Seymour's ascent was everything one would expect it to be after hiking the Sewards. During the climb, conversation bred familiarity and Jason confessed that when he met us on Seward he didn't expect gentleman of our vintage to "move so fast". It had spurred him to join us for the hike to Seymour. Frankly, Jason had been doing quite well without us seeing that it was his very first hike of the year and he had done "D-E-S" the old-school way (out and back). We enjoyed his company and encouraged him to join the ADK High Peaks forum.
Tom and Steve reached the summit first followed by Jason and I a few minutes later. Seymour was Jason's 44th ADK High Peak and we congratulated him. We met Gary Koch on the summit and two other hikers who, at the time, I didn't know one was also a forum member (Hello Sininho!)
|Tom and Steve tagging Seymour.|
We reconvened at the junction with the Calkins Truck trail and then, with Jason in the lead and setting a brisk pace, we sped down the trail and exited at 6:00 PM. The trip took us just under eleven hours, including several extended breaks. That's a full two hours faster than my first attempt in 2011. A big "Thank you!" goes out to my fleet-footed companions for an enjoyable and speedy day!
See all photos.