Balsam, Haynes, Eagle 12/22

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Tom Rankin

Well-known member
Sep 28, 2004
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Bloomville, New York
Laurie and I met Hikerdad and HarryR at 8:30 AM at the McKenley/McKinley (?) Hollow Trail head. It was a little warmer than yesterday, about 20 or so I'd guess. It was mostly sunny and there were a few mild breezes.

The parking lot is plowed, but it looks like it had a mini land slide a while ago, right into the stream, so be careful! :eek:

We walked down the road, registered, crossed the stream on the bridge, and left civilization behind for a few hours. The hike starts out easy but gets tougher before leveling off at 3000' at the saddle between Balsam and Haynes. The trail was well broken to this point, although it veered off from the marked trail a few times. We headed up to Balsam first. This was Hikerdad's final 35, so a bottle of champagne was produced from Laurie's pack for the occasion. We had a few sips and then poured the rest into a gatorade bottle, for later disposal. :D

We turned around and headed back the short distance to the saddle. Hikderdad and HarryR went back down to the car and we continued on to Eagle. The trail was nicely postholed a few days ago and it was almost worse than being unbroken! :mad: We encountered from 12-18" of snow as we went up Haynes, a member of the Catskill Hundred Highest. We stopped briefly at the summit and continued on down into a shallow saddle heading to Eagle. The snow and ice on the trees here was really beautiful.

Just before the summit of Eagle we saw the tracks of a fairly large bear. They were very fresh, you could still count his toes in the newly fallen powder. He turned aside just below the summit, and then kept on going towards Doubletop.

We walked out to the summit of Eagle, took a few pics, and then headed back the way we came, back up and over Haynes, and down the steep trail back to car. A few butt sliding attempts with the Snow Claws were so-so.

At the car, we discovered that Hikerdad had left us a bottle of wine and 2 Celebration Ales! What an excellent way to end a hike!