Thursday, October 29, 2015
Hiking Graham and Balsam Lake
Most of the 3500 peaks are either fully marked trails or true bushwhacks, but there are a couple of exceptions - hikes with unmarked trails. One of those exceptions is Graham. The trail to Graham branches off from one of the official trails to Balsam Lake, following an old road on private property. On my last trip, I had hike Balsam Lake but not Graham because I hadn't called ahead for landowner permission.
This time, I hike it with the 3500 Club. The route-finding was very easy, and the hike wasn't too hard either. It's nearly all old road, mostly steep but with a flattish area in the middle, and no more serious "bushwhacking" than one downed tree.
There is a modest view at the top, as well as on the way up if the leaves are off the trees. The top itself less than attractive, thanks to the remains of a microwave tower.
I'd had a wild idea that I wouldn't repeat any of the peaks, except the winter ones, but the group decided to go on to Balsam Lake. I certainly didn't want to be the one to deny a fellow aspirant the chance to get another peak in, so off we went.
It was interesting to see that nearly all the leaves were off the trees, unlike my previous two hikes. It wasn't the difference of a day but micro-climate differences.