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Old 08-11-2020, 12:57 PM   #1
tenderfoot
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Couch bog

Thinking of knocking off Santonini range soon:

Any recent reports on bog?

Thinking of going up Santonini express, knock of Santonini cross over to the Squares, cross the muck to Couch and then reward ourselves with Panther last. Would welcome thoughts on that.

We wish to comply with the new rules coming in but a quick review shows Santonini range is in new "outer high peaks zone" and we can still use the 150' rule for off trail camping?

Other than lean-to at Bradley Pond I see no designated camp sites. We'd be looking for hammock friendly areas between parking and Bradley Pond (might be arriving a bit late).

Thank you
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Old 08-11-2020, 03:19 PM   #2
DSettahr
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The new rules aren't yet in effect. The Santanoni Range is still part of the Western High Peaks, the Central and Outer High Peaks aren't yet a thing. Fires are permitted, bear canisters aren't yet required (but are strongly encouraged), camping at locations of your own choosing that are more than 150 feet from trail/water and below 3500 feet is permitted.

As with the Allen red slime and many other geographic features that cause trepidation among many hikers, the Couch bog is pretty over hyped. A wrong step certainly can send you into deep muck but with a careful eye it's pretty easy to cross without incident.

There's 3 designated tent sites at Bradley Pond- all 3 are just north of the lean-to, on the west side of the trail. This area can and does fill up, though- I've seen as many as ~8 groups (~30 people) camped here before, occupying the lean-to and nearby tent sites. It's pretty typical that most of the designated tent sites will see 2 groups sharing them on any given summer weekend. I would try to get in and set up camp as early on Friday as you can (assuming you're planning a weekend trip).

Honestly, if you're camping at Bradley Pond it's probably just as easy to head up and back via the traditional route (to Herald Square first and then Times Square beyond).
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Old 08-11-2020, 08:39 PM   #3
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I haven't been there since July 2017, but I followed your same plan and it worked well. I preferred to go up the Express trail to do the biggest climb early and also would rather ascend steep trails rather than descend. There was a fair amount of mud on the Express but it was still very enjoyable. Hope you get some views near the top. The route to Couchie also had some muddy spots but nothing crazy. The bog was fine if you watch where you step. There's a great view of the Sewards on the way to the summit. The return from Couch does take a bit of effort but if you're mentally prepared it's not too bad. Panther was great. The hike back down to Bradley Pond was a bit steep in spots but walkable. After the pond, you'll reach the junction with the old trail. I got a bit confused here since it's an unmarked path. Don't turn but the path goes straight uphill. It's maybe another 500 feet to reach the blue trail junction.

We camped at one of the designated sites near the lean-to. Lots of space and decent water source. It was great to come back to camp and just relax! See my trip report from the ADKHighPeaks forum at https://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/...ange-7-15-7-17

Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:45 AM   #4
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FYI: people poop right in the small streams immediately adjacent to the designated tent sites on a somewhat regular basis. I'd travel upstream a bit to get water- definitely don't trust the sources right at the lean-to.

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Old 08-12-2020, 12:52 PM   #5
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Thank you both. Will plan on avoiding crowd and look for hammock friendly site 150' off trail / away from water (but close enough for cooking) around the vicinity of Santonini Express. Still considering which route for ascent.
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Old 08-12-2020, 12:58 PM   #6
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Santanoni Express doesn't have great options for primitive camping. The forest is pretty thick in the vicinity.

IMO, the much better option is down low, just after the trail turns off of the logging road, before the bridge over the brook. Tons of open forest there, it'd be much easier to find something nice in accordance with the 150 foot rule.

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Old 08-12-2020, 02:05 PM   #7
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Here's a report on Couchie over on the sister forum. Info re: bog is a few weeks old at this point but worth a look I suppose... https://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/...oni-experience
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