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Old 07-07-2016, 01:04 PM   #1
IndLk_Brett
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Seward Range/Cold River trip

Hello all! Been reading and using this forum as a source of info for quite some time (so thank you), but never posted before. I am planning a trip in Aug to the Duck Hole/Seward Range/Cold River area and have a few questions for those who have been back in there.

My most likely plan is to start out at Henderson Lake traveling to Preston Ponds and the Duck Hole and then to take the NPT southwest, stopping by Rondeau's then on down the Cold River to Shattuck Clearing and continuing down along Long Lake to where my car will be waiting. My Father is thinking of joining me for the first part of the trip. The plan was to paddle up Henderson Lake together and then possibly carry the canoe up to the Upper and Lower Preston Ponds and spend a night somewhere in the vicinity of Duck Hole. I'll then continue on while my Dad turns around and backtracks out to Henderson Lake. Was wondering if anyone has ever made a carry from Henderson to Upper Pond or at least seen the trail recently. Would this be a manageable carry? Are the ponds worth the effort? Anyone fished them?

Also, any suggestions of favorite places to stay coming down that section of the NPT following Cold River? I normally prefer campsites over lean-tos - either my own or designated -, but lean-tos are certainily not out of the question.

My back-up plan is to make the full loop circumnavigating the Seward Range starting and ending up near Coreys. If taking this route do you think there is any great advantage or reason to go clockwise or counter-clockwise or is it really just a matter of personal preferance?

Any information, answers, tidbits or suggestions about all this will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:49 PM   #2
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From Henderson Lake up to Upper Preston Pond there is about a 350 foot ascent. Carrying over the lower section is probably not too tough but it gets steeper higher up. I know people from this forum have paddled and carried from Henderson all the way to the then-existent Duck Hole and every time I go up or down that trail (have done so 5 times in the past couple of months) I think that carrying a boat would not be all that worth it, especially if wearing a heavy pack. But, if you do it take note that the trail has a very short spur that leads directly to the shore and an easy put-in on Upper Preston Pond,
right here
.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:28 PM   #3
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I did Henderson to Duck Hole paddle/carry as a day trip back in '04.
Here is a link to a trip report:

http://adkforum.com/attachment.php?a...4&d=1158017064

As Neil suggests, a paddle/carry trip might not be worthwhile, don't be fooled by my actions, I regularly carry my canoes to places I can't even paddle!

So, your dad would return to Henderson with the canoe on his back? As I recall, the trail is not particularly carry friendly, but the Prestons were pretty cool to paddle. Between the two of them was a very old, stashed guideboat, slowly soaking into the forest floor. I'm curious if it's still there...
It was on the eastern shore, where the two Prestons meet, tucked under an overhanging ledge. The carry between them is on the western side, so I suppose not too many venture on the eastern side.
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Old 07-08-2016, 12:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stripperguy View Post
I did Henderson to Duck Hole paddle/carry as a day trip back in '04.
Here is a link to a trip report:

http://adkforum.com/attachment.php?a...4&d=1158017064

As Neil suggests, a paddle/carry trip might not be worthwhile, don't be fooled by my actions, I regularly carry my canoes to places I can't even paddle!

Thanks for the info and advice. I had to laugh while reading your trip report as, like you, my Dad also builds his own cedar strip canoes and is no stranger to shouldering his boats to remote and seldom paddled bodies of water, and on top of that he and my Mother have a flat-coated retriever named Shyla just like the couples' lab in your report.

Still haven't quite decided what we will do as far as the carry, but I think I will definitely be doing the trip down NPT via Henderson rather than the entire loop around the Seward Range using the NPT and the horse trails. I'll have to save that one for another time.
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Old 07-08-2016, 07:13 AM   #5
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There is a major flooded section a little ways before you get to roaring brook bridge. There is a flagged detour, but it winds around through some thick stuff. Not difficult, but will add some extra distance. At one point the detour drops quickly down a few contours, and the footing is all duff, so in wet conditions it could be slippery. The bush is thick there, so at least you have something to grab.

Was just there last weekend. Did a figure8 loop startin/ending on coreys circumnavigating the sewards, seymour, mcnaughton and wallface.
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Old 07-13-2016, 10:43 AM   #6
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Duck Hole has 1 designated tent site, in a clearing near the trail junction at the outlet, set back from the water. I assume it is where the ranger station used to be located.

There is a designated tent site just east of Shattuck Clearing, near the junction where the trail to Moose Pond Stream splits off from the NPT. I can't remember if it's on the NPT or a short distance down the trail towards Moose Pond Stream, but it's not at all hard to find.

Other than that, I don't think there are any campsites, established or designated, along the NPT in the Cold River area. The area really doesn't get a whole lot of use. Generally, though, any groups you encounter while traversing the NPT through this section will likely be small and courteous- people you won't mind sharing a lean-to with.

When you do the Seward Loop, there is a bit of a climb on the western leg of the loop, between Shattuck Clearing and Calkins Brook. It's really not that bad, but doing the hike counterclockwise would get this climb out of the way early on. Although, I might also suggest adding the Raquette River truck trail to your loop so that you can visit the river and Raquette Falls also.
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Old 07-14-2016, 12:07 PM   #7
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DSettahr:

Thank you for the information and advice. I was actually looking through some of your pictures from a trip you took in the general area just the other night. They were from when you followed the horse trail to the south of the NPT and passed by the Moose Pond Stream and then Northern Lean-tos. The photos looked great and they've inspired me to make a bit of a detour so I can spend some time at Latham Pond as it looked to be a beautiful spot.

I was also considering leaving the NPT at Shattuck Clearing and heading as far as the two Moose Pond Stream lean-tos. I know that you have mentioned that the trail becomes fairly overgrown in places beyond that point (I think after the junction heading to Moose Pond one way and the Northern shelters the other), but what about the hike from the Clearing to those two MPS lean-tos? Is it overgrown and tricky as well?

And finally - I am going to go ahead and assume, based on the amount of time you have spent traversing the Park, that you have been to both Seward and Ouluska lean-tos. Do you (or anyone else who may be reading this for that matter) have a preference between the two assuming, again, that I find space available in each? Do you consider one spot a little more scenic than the other perhaps, or is it basically a win/win no matter which spot I choose?
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:52 PM   #8
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Seward lean2 >>>>>>> Ouluska Pass lean2
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Old 07-14-2016, 10:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Seward lean2 >>>>>>> Ouluska Pass lean2
Thanks.
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:38 PM   #10
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I don't recall seeing any good places to camp at Latham Pond. Some guidebooks indicate that there was a lean-to there once upon a time, but it is long gone and there's no campsite (established, designated, or otherwise) there now. It's worth the side trip, but I wouldn't plan to camp there.

I recall the trail from Shattuck Clearing to the Moose Pond Stream Lean-tos being pretty well maintained and easy to follow. The DEC actually has access to the area via a private road to the south, so for rangers (and I think trail crews) to get into Shattuck Clearing is only a 1.5 mile hike. My memory concurs with your interpretation of my posts/photos- the trails get overgrown and difficult to follow east of Moose Pond Stream.

I've camped at both the Seward and Ouluska Lean-tos. The Seward Lean-to is definitely in better shape, but the Ouluska Pass Lean-to has several binders with every lean-to register entry going back decades (to the 90's and I think possibly even into the 80's). Reading through them all is a great way to spend several hours of your time in the lean-to.

BTW, I've done numerous trips to/through the Cold River area- at least 9 off the top of my head- if you look through old posts of mine in the trip reports forum you'll find a few other trip reports.
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Old 07-19-2016, 06:23 AM   #11
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I just came back from Coldriver after going in there at least twice a year for almost twenty years Imo the best time to camp at Ouluska is late summer because of the bugs from the swamp on the other side of the river. Seward leanto is nice because of the falls for swimming. My favorite are the Northern Leantos on the other trail. If you stay at Shattucks stay at Cr 3 the one on the bluff. Has great views. If you decide to do the horse trail on the other side the worst part is the start from where it crosses the river to almost to the Northern leantos. at least that was the case a couple years ago when I did that part. The views of the Sewards are awesome. from there.
I;ve done the Seward loop Many times Imo go down Calkins brook first to
Coldriver
Good luck an I hope this helps
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Old 07-19-2016, 08:52 AM   #12
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If you do decide to hike the horse trail- assuming it is unchanged from 2013- be prepared for some "guess and check" work. I remember 2 or 3 junctions that were unmarked, where the old logging roads that the horse trail follows split and there was no sure indication of the continuation of the proper route. The DEC did put up a sign in at least one of the junctions a few years ago, but it was stolen not long after.

My understanding is that the DEC is considering abandoning the horse trail on the east side of the Cold River due to lack of use and issues with keeping it maintained. They've already abandoned (or ceased to maintain) the horse trail that connects the Calkins Brook truck trail with the Ward Brook truck trail (north of the Sewards).
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Old 07-20-2016, 04:36 PM   #13
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Just wanted to say thanks again to all that have posted. I know I've been asking a lot of different stuff, but as I'm sure many of you can certainly relate, part of the fun for me is doing all my research beforehand gathering information, finding trip reports, pouring over topo maps and such. All the planning gets me that much more excited and obviously the more I can know about an area i'm going the better prepared i'll feel and be. Anyway - thanks again - very glad this resource is available and made relevant by so many knowledgable posters to supplement guidebooks and the like!

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Old 09-02-2016, 04:31 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post

I've camped at both the Seward and Ouluska Lean-tos. The Seward Lean-to is definitely in better shape, but the Ouluska Pass Lean-to has several binders with every lean-to register entry going back decades (to the 90's and I think possibly even into the 80's). Reading through them all is a great way to spend several hours of your time in the lean-to.
You may already be aware of this, but if you enjoy reading through lean-to registers there is a book titled "No Place I'd Rather Be : Wit and Wisdom from Adirondack Lean-to Journals" written and compiled by Stuart F. Mesinger which is a collection of interesting entries gathered from registers throughout the Park. According to the back cover, "the entries are by turns inspirational, hilarious, pathetic, and downright crazy".

I can't give a personal review as of yet as I received the copy I ordered in the mail just today and I'm only now beginning to read it. I do think it is an interesting premise, however, which is the reason I shelled out my hard earned $3 for a used copy. I'll update when I finish.

Last edited by IndLk_Brett; 09-02-2016 at 05:59 PM..
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