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  • Writer's pictureMichael Balthazor

Santanoni, Couchsachraga, and Panther Mountains

In Trevor’s and my quest to get the hardest peaks done first, we decided to head for the Santanoni range.

We arrived at the parking lot around 9 pm and hiked 3.5 miles to the Santanoni Express in about two hours. We set up the hammocks just off the trail and out of sight. It was almost a full moon night and it lit up the woods like a horror movie.

We woke up at 6 am, had breakfast and were on the Express trail by 7 am. It was a perfect 60° with overcast skies. The stream was low, so the crossing was easy. In the beginning, the trail was a little heard path, as we climbed and got out of the “flatlands” the trail became more defined.

About a mile from the summit, we hit the snowpack. We were both wishing we had brought the microspikes. Despite a couple of slips, we managed to hit the peak by 9 am.

The hike to time Square (TS) junction took about an hour at best. Gaiters would have been helpful, but pants worked fine for all of the brush and steep descent between peaks. At this point, we had done about half of our elevation gain for the day, 2500ft.

Couchsachraga (Couch) not even being a true 46 (peak not over 4000'), was probably the hardest due to the boundary Mtn. Conditions were very muddy. We reached the summit around noon, then we were back to the junction by 2 pm.

The short hike up to Panther from TS took about 30 minutes max but was also the muddiest section. We headed back down the trail 100ft or so for a quick break. This gave us a great vantage point to enjoy our accomplishments for the day.

We headed back to TS from Panther and turned left to follow the creek down to Bradley pond. We stopped to fill up water about a quarter of a mile down the trail. We stopped again at the express trial to fill up. That day we went thru about 6 liters of water.

We stopped at Tony Harpers on the way home for a salad, at this point much else would have been too heavy for my stomach.

Trail notes:

The road is longer than you think when you're tired. -Balthazor

Time: 12.5 hrs, Distance: 15.5 miles

Michael 6 of 46

Trevor 5 of 46

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