Haystack, Basin & Saddleback


We dove right into the heart of the high peaks when we ascended Haystack Mountain (3rd highest, at 4960 feet), then continued on to summit Basin, (9th at 4827 ft.), as well as Saddleback, (17th at 4515 ft).

We departed from “the Garden” parking lot, hiking past the John’s Brook Lodge. There are some decent campsites just southwest of the Lodge at which we made our base camp, making our peak hike the next day a bit shorter. Getting to Haystack via the Phelps trail was a long, gradual journey, through fog and some very saturated evergreen trees. Making the final ascent, there were many false summits taunting us. At the top, there was lots of open, bare rock, with  many cairns set up for those hikes in the fog. A great view of Mt. Marcy (highest peak in NY), right next door, presented itself once the clouds lifted.

Next, we went down the trail, then quickly back up a steep ascent up Basin, which winded us quite a bit! We needed to take frequent breaks coming up the shoulder of Basin.

Then we hit nerve-wracking Saddleback, by far the most dangerous ascent I’ve yet tackled. The sheer rock face near the summit was very difficult to climb up, both physically and mentally. We should have been using ropes, or at the very least, there should be ladders or cables installed to aid climbing. Luckily, we didn’t have to go back down that trail. We went down the other side, and met up with the freakishly steep Ore Bed trail, which is tough on the quads. It seems twice as long as all the maps say. I’ve done that trail twice now, and I loathe it!

Topographic map courtesy of National Geographic

Photo of the rocky, foggy trail


“The Garden”


July, 2004




Part trail, part stream

A beautifully clear pool. If it was hotter weather, we would’ve taken a swim here

A red salamander we encountered on the trail. He was pretty hard to miss!




(Part of my Original 46er quest)