Sunday, September 19, 2010

Basin and Saddleback

I tagged along with the Albany chapter of the ADK to hike Basin and Saddleback. We had carpooled from Queensbury and fortunately were able to squeeze into two cars because the parking lot at the Garden was already full at 7am when we got there. Us passengers got a head start and walked toward the Johns Brook Lodge where we met two more in the group, while the drivers parked their cars at the overflow and walked back to meet us at the lodge. The walk from where we were dropped of at the Garden to the Lodge was 3.6 miles, mostly flat terrain.

When we had all of our group together we started off to Slant Rock via the Johns Brook Trail (Phelps Trail). We stopped to rest at Slant Rock before picking up the Shorey Short Cut trail which is a tough, steep climb, but allows you to avoid climbing Little Haystack. We picked up the State Range Trail which we followed up Basin. There were a few tough spots going up Basin requiring us to find foot and hand holds to pull ourselves up the bare steep rock.

The view from Basin was very rewarding, Haystack and Marcy were so close. It's not quite a 360 degree view but you can move around the summit and see almost everything. There's a tricky spot coming down Basin which leads you down a some steep rock (with some roots to hold on to) ending at the side of the mountain with not much between you and the bottom. From this spot you can see Saddleback ahead, as well as Gothics and Pyramid.

I had heard about the Saddleback Cliff that we'd have to climb, but it was not as bad as I had expected, though the other short women with me on the hike and I joked that there should be a Smokey the Bear sign at the bottom of the trail saying "You must be this tall (maybe over 5'6") to ride this ride." It is definitely helpful to have a taller person go up first and grab your had as you try to step across between a foothold and the other side of the crevice in the boulder where you need to be. I'm not quite my short legs would have made it across without the leader giving me a hand. There is one spot after that where assistance is nice, but then its pretty manageable. We pretty much scaled the cliffs on our hand and feet nearly vertical while joking that we were like Spiderman. It's about as close to technical rock climbing without actually being technical rock climbing. I was just glad we were doing a loop and I didn't have to go back down that!

The summit was a little smaller but had great views. We could look over and see Basin, where we just had come from. We took the State Range Trail to the Ore Bed Brook Trail and then back to the Johns Brook Lodge and followed the same way out back to the Garden.

The whole trip was about 16 miles and we completed it in about 11 hours.

To see all the pictures click here.


knittingdragonflies said...

Oh gosh, I envy you!!
We had to give up our hiking vacation due to complications. Miss it already!
I'll just have to enjoy your photos and dream!

Ben and Carrie Tracks said...

As traveling Wildlife Biologists, we worked in the Adirondacks out of Newcomb last fall/winter on Pine Martens - SUCH a beautiful area - hope you are enjoying the amazing fall foliage this time of year! Glad to to have stumbled upon your blog to follow :)