Monday, January 9, 2017
Hiking Eagle, er, Balsam
We had a variety of misadventures just getting to the Catskills this weekend (reminder: bring pants), but we made it safely and headed out on Saturday to do one of my two remaining 3500 peaks - Eagle. There are three approaches to Eagle, one of which has considerably more elevation gain, so we decided to begin from Rider Hollow Road. Along the way we had one further misadventure, which was that Siri didn't know a particular road was closed for the winter. It closes every winter, Siri! Don't steer me like that.
But we eventually made it, parked, and headed up the trail. About .3 miles in the trail splits, and we took the junction that leads south to Eagle. Or, well, we tried. There is a creek crossing that I had heard was dicey at times, although when I was there about two years ago it was nothing to worry about.
Not this time - there was no good way to cross without stepping in deep water or hoping an icy rock wouldn't be slippery. After hunting up and down for a crossing, we gave up and went back to the intersection. Luckily, J needs Balsam for her 3500, and we decided to give it a go.
Fortunately, the trail to Balsam was uneventful, although hardly dull. We used microspikes the entire way up - the trail was firmly packed but icy in places. Bare trees meant we enjoyed some nice winter-only views. The viewpoint near the top was spectacular as always - it was a clear, if not sunny, day.