Distance

6.0 mi to summit

17.2 mi total

Elevation

1,742 ft start

4,332 ft max

Vertical

3,642 ft gain

Time

4 hr 31 min to summit

14 hr 57 min total

The Seward Range with Meenu, Dennis and Mark was a memorably tough hike. Before we left, Jeff had warned us this was the toughest of all the hikes for the 46 peaks for him, which was daunting information. I knew it was going to be long and not easy, but didn't have that piece of information. We left Syracuse around midnight and arrived at the trailhead a little after 3:30 am. It was a little cold but not terrible and we started out with our headlamps at about 4. The first couple of hours were long because of the dark and we were so happy to see the first light of day. As we headed up to Donaldson I thought "this is not so hard" and predicted that we wouldn't actually run into ice. Both were proven wrong. Things started to take longer as we ran into mud. We summitted Donaldson in about 4 1/2 hours and started to worry a little bit that it was taking too long and the weather was going to turn colder and windier. We cut our break time short and headed towards Emmons and this is where mud started really getting rough. We slogged along and each had moments of being very over it ("eff all the mountains right now"), which ultimately provided some good quotes and lots of laughs. We reached Emmons at about 6 hours in and didn't stay long. We had to backtrack over Donaldson to head to Seward. We kept seeing how far Seward looked and slogging through the mud ("it doesn't matter which way, they all suck"). We made it there at about 9 hours in. Definitely into some ice up there, proving my prediction wrong. Our plan was to assess whether it was too icy to attempt to go down the steeper side of Seward and do the Blueberry trail loop out or if that seemed too icy, head back the way we came. We didn't see many people but the few we saw suggested it wasn't that bad and you could navigate the icier spots. We really didn't want to go back the way we came, so we decided to forge ahead. The descent was very steep and we had to be really cautious (although Dennis seemed to fly ahead somehow). This part of the hike really slowed us down and we realized we were going to be in the dark again on our way out. The blue dot of the AllTrails tracker seemed to never move. Finally, we got to the flatter Blueberry Trail but still had at least 5 miles to hike out. Lots of mental challenges to this one, and again we all kind of lost it a bit ("I want to kill everyone"). We nearly lost the trail a couple of times with all the leaves and the tracking seemed all over the place. We trudged on for so long. I needed to do my run streak run so I finally did 15 minutes at about 13.5 hours into the hike - running out 10 minutes and back 5 so I wouldn't be alone too long. I REALLY didn't want to turn back and do that segment again, but I really wanted to be back with them before it got dark. We reluctantly put our headlamps back on for the last hour or so. We finally saw the parking lot at about 7:15 pm. Although not tough in the way I expected, it was definitely one of the hardest hikes of all of them.

Feet | Meters
Natural Atlas (US)
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Other peaks climbed on this trip