We met at Seager at around 8:30, left my car and took Patrick’s car to the PA on Mill Brook Road and headed south on the red-blazed Dry Brook Ridge Trail, banging a right onto the (also red-blazed) BLM Trail. We spent a few minutes up at the fire tower; Patrick and Joe went to the top, while I was content with taking a picture of the Blackhead Range (or is it the Black Dome range?) from between the treads about three levels up. I’m afraid of heights.
We also spent a few minutes in the fire tower cabin, chatting with the day’s tender Doug, who also happens to be Laurie Rankin’s cousin. He was extremely friendly and I commented to Joe and Patrick on the way back down the trail that when the zombie apocalypse hits, I definitely want Doug in my army. Then I thought about how much food it would take to keep him happy and was nervous for a second, but figured that from the woodland camo he had poking out under his khaki shirt, Doug can probably feed himself in the woods. And me too. So (as long as it’s ok with you, Laurie), DIBS ON DOUG.
We found the turnoff for the old woods trail to Graham and took it (thx again, Doug, for the good directions). I’d never been up Graham this way (always via Seager), and thought that the trail used to be a road, so I was expecting it to be wider. Not that I’m complaining, because it was certainly a breeze getting to the summit of Graham. Just shy of the summit, I found a .22 bullet with the nose-piece worn off, so I spent a few minutes at the summit banging it with a rock in an attempt to put a hole in the old radio tower while Joe and Patrick ate their lunch. The bullet didn’t go off, so I figure it must have been a dud (which was probably why it’s previous owner discarded it). It’s now suspended above the (lit) balsam-scented candle on my desk next to my laptop, but still han’t gone off. =/ Weird.
When we headed off the summit of Graham, we followed the southwestern spur for a bit and ended up losing elevation a bit too far to the north (NB: when the dude with no sense of direction (yours truly) says “hey! I’ve been here before; let’s go this way,” check your compass first. No big deal; we basically just worked our way around to the left and went across the flattish area around 3100-3200 feet and headed down Graham with Doubletop in view most of the way. Patrick had never been bushwacking before, so we all had a good time messing around and finding routes down the little ledges of Graham. I really dig coming up that side of the mountain.
We hit the notch between Graham and DT pretty much perfectly and followed whatever that line is that goes between the two summits and shows up on my gps. Maybe it used to be a trail or something? Joe and Patrick mentioned a couple of times that this particular bushwacking trip felt as though we were on a herd path for most of the way, and I had the humility not to mention what an excellent bushwacker I am. A few hundred yards from the summit, we turned over the nav to Patrick and he took us like a hound dog right to the can. That made 6/35 for Patrick. Congrats, brother.
On the way down from the northern summit of Doubletop, we were all surprised at how far the herd path led – I’m going to guess around 300 yards or so. We played a bit of hide-and-seek with it, mind you, but luckily the bushwacking on Doubletop isn’t the hide-and-go-f*ck-yourself kind.
Our plan was to basically follow that northern spur down to the intersection of the yellow-blazed Seager-Big Indian Trail and the woods road (by the bridge), but we ended up wandering off that spur to the right and hitting the woods road farther up (south) the Dry Brook. We followed the woods road for a bit and were stopped by the height and speed of the water where the road crosses the Dry Brook at the junction of the Shandaken Brook. We had to head back upstream and cross the Dry Brook first and then the Shandaken before we could get back onto the woods road. It was an impressive piece of stream-crossing (with very little foot-wetting), if I do say so myself.
The other three water crossings along the trail back to Seager were relatively uneventful – for one of them, I think we used the same downed tree that I used back in March when SoloJoe took those chippendale pics of me. Yes, ladies, I’m single.
So that’s it. Three more for the grid for Joe and I and Patrick is three more peaks closer to his 35R patch. It was a beautiful day and hiking with these two gentlemen was a really great way to spend it.
Grid: 95/420 (15/35 for October)