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Old 07-19-2019, 12:33 PM   #1
attrail
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 13
Loop around the Sewards

A friend and I did a leisurely counter-clockwise loop around the Sewards this past week (7/12-7/15). Basically: Blueberry-Caulkins Brook-Cold River spur-Northville Placid-Ward Brook-Blueberry. At the end of the loop, we took a side trip up Seymour, but that was the only “work” on the hike. Mostly, we took our time and did some swimming, fishing and took time to check out any interesting sights.

Day one: we arrived late because we had to sort out an issue with the third member of our group. A last minute personal issue cropped up and we decided to wait to see if he could still make the trip. That did not work out, but after insisting that we go ahead without him, we made the drive and arrived at the summer parking lot at around 11 a.m. We took the last real parking spot, but if needed, a few more cars could have squeezed in. As advertised, the mosquitoes in the parking lot were on us immediately. We got our gear together and beat a quick retreat. After that, the bugs were an occasional nuisance, but they generally respected the repellant and never rose to the level of “maddening.” After an easy few miles, we arrived at the Calkins Brook Lean-tos. The meadow around the lean-tos was overgrown and home to many biting bugs. We pushed on for a bit and found some level ground to camp for the night. The bridge over Calkins Creek is mostly washed out, but still useful to make it to the other side. The replacement lumber is up the trail a bit, but it has clearly been there for a couple of years.

Day two: we continued on towards Cold River with a lunch stop at Latham Pond. Not much to report on this stretch. In spots, the underbrush has taken over the trail, but it is not hard to find your way. Even in the most overgrown parts, if you peer through the brush towards your feet, the trail itself is still visible. We stopped at Cold River #3 for lunch, a little fishing (no bites throughout the trip) and swimming. This is a great spot. The lean-to overlooks the river and the breeze knocked down the heat and bugs. We met a group of 3 going southbound on the NPT – aside from a few blisters, they looked to be in good shape. I hope they are finishing up today, or tomorrow! We continued on to the Seward Lean-to, which is also in a nicely situated. We set up at the designated camping spot behind the lean-to in a spacious stand of pine trees; more fishing, swimming and exploring around the river. This spot was a highlight.

Day three: we made a lateish start and arrived at the Ouluska lean-to at around 9:30. It appeared that a group had spent the night there because the firepit was still hot. Also, a large log was still in the fire and spanned the gap between the firepit and the nearby log bench. The bench was smoldering and had a dinner plate sized piece of char. Not cool. Any embers would have likely gone out in a bit, but we poured some water on it all and had a snack. The lean-to is in very good shape, but the bugs were out in force. After watering up, we got back on the trail. Once the path veered away from the Cold River, things got a little monotonous. Just before the junction with the Ward Brook trail, we passed a large group (7, or so women) headed northbound on the NPT. At this point, I had forgotten about the state of the Ouluska Lean-to, but it seems likely that they stayed there the night before. We arrived at the Number 4 Lean-tos and made camp for the night. Another nice spot right along a pretty bend in the brook. Very quiet/no visitors.

Day four: we had some breakfast and decided to pack up, but leave the bulk of our gear at the lean-to and take a trip up Seymour. An uneventful hike with great views from the top – clear skies. Almost all the muddy spots were firming up, which was the same state of the Blueberry Trail. A few of the largest and boggiest spots were still wet, but for the most part, you can walk right through the mud without sinking. After Seymour, we returned to #4 and packed up for the hike out. The last few miles were uneventful and we passed a few groups headed in.

The Cold River was as pretty and peaceful as advertised. The only problem with this loop is that we did not spend enough time actually on the river. I think I’d like to go back and set up a base camp at Seward or Ouluska and spend a few days taking some day hikes. I imagine things would be popping in the fall! Thanks to everyone that posted advice on this loop and for previous trip reports of the area. Good times.

Pics: https://photos.app.goo.gl/aegXK9HSG8XqLMYa8
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