Monday, October 18, 2010


I was lucky enough on my hike up Basin and Saddleback to get some emails of other aspiring 46er women to hike with. When I have free weekends that I don't have to work or attend a wedding or wedding related event there isn't always an ADK group going on a high peak hike that I haven't already completed. I don't quite feel comfortable hiking alone on the high peaks for several reasons. First of all, as a woman, I don't really feel that safe going anywhere alone these days. Besides, with a neuromuscular movement disorder and my new tendonitis problem, I'm prone to falls and possibly injury, so it's nice to have someone with you in case something happens.

One of my new hiking buddies contacted me letting me know that her and a friend were going to be doing Sawteeth so I was excited for the opportunity. Group hiking is nice in that there is a leader to make sure you get back down the mountain, and there are enough people around that are experienced to help you in trouble spots. The disadvantage to hiking in a group is the pressure to keep moving when sometimes you'd just like to stop and take a picture and enjoy the moment. I found two great hikers with a good pace that enjoy photography when time permits!

We started from the parking lot by the Ausable Club on Rt 73 in Keene. The walk to the AMR gate was beautiful with the foliage, even though it was slightly passed peak up there. We signed in at the gate around 7:30 am and made it to the boat launch (just over four miles from the car) by 8:45. We took the Scenic Trail which breaks off from the West River Trail just over the dam. The beginning of the Scenic Trail doesn't cover much elevation, and is kind of rugged, but has gorgeous views of the Lower Ausable Lake and Indian Head. Indian Head is a large rock on the other side of the lake with a peculiar shape that resembles the side profile of an Indian's head.

Ausable Club

Indian Head

The Scenic Trail later picks up the East River Trail. There is a total of five overlooks before the summit. After the fifth overlook you feel like you are on a summit but the trail suddenly descends for a while. We were a little nervous that we had missed the summit sign, but knew we did not have any sort of view after the fifth overlook and there is supposed to be a view of the Great Range. We eventually started another ascent on the trail and were glad that we did not miss the actual summit when we arrived, as Sawteeth has more than one bump which is how it got its name.

Giant all the way to the left, Rocky Peak Ridge to the right of Giant, Noonmark is the small one in front of Rocky Peak Ridge

Lower Ausable Lake

At the summit we were rewarded with views of Haystack, Marcy, Basin, Saddleback, Gothics and Pyramid. My hiking friends taught me how to do the "numbers" on the summit when they require more than 2 hands. Some aspiring 46ers like to have their picture taken on the top of the summit showing with their hands what number peak it is for them. Mine was 18 which requires one finger on one hand and 8 on the other. Which is where the third arm behind me comes in!

Haystack back left, Marcy back right

Marcy left, Basin center, Saddleback right

Saddleback, Gothics, Pyramid

We followed the East River Trail out stopped opposite the top of Rainbow Falls for some pictures. Not too far away is another trail for Rainbow Falls which leads to the base of the falls. We took a side trip there for some photos too. We got back to the dam and followed Lake Road out back to the gate, signing out around 3:30pm.

Top of Rainbow Falls

Base of Rainbow Falls

I recommend going in and out the way we did if it's a nice day because the views of the Lower Ausable Lake and from the overlooks and summit are spectacular. All my photos from this hike can be found here.


Ben and Carrie Tracks said...

SOOO stunning....we tend to take pictures of our feet at the base of shots too - great minds think alike:)

Have never been to the Sawteeth-- someday soon hopefully!

-Ben and carrie

Memories for Life said...

What beautiful photos! I'm glad you got to go with a group and that they let you stop and take photos to share with us :)

A Keeper's Jackpot said...

Sawteeth is a beautiful hike and it's not that long or strenuous!

It's nice to be able to appreciate the views if you have time!