Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hiking - Balsam Mountain (Catskills)

At 3600 feet, Balsam Mountain is the 28th highest of New York's Catskill Mountains. Today, I led a hike for Schenectady ADK to enjoy early spring in the Catskills and the profusion of wildflowers we always find there this time of year.

It was a sunny and cool morning as 7 of us headed up the trail. Early spring wildflowers were everywhere as we started up the Rider Hollow and Mine Hollow trails to Balsam's long ridge. In addition to red trillium and Dutchman's breeches (shown below), we also saw trout lily, squirrel corn, spring beauty, blue cohosh, and a few others we couldn't identify.

After a steep climb, we found the nice view that has obviously been "maintained", since it's just over the state land line on private property. This made a nice lunch spot, with the new greens of spring creeping up the slopes from the valley below.

Reluctantly, we descended via the lush Rider Hollow trail and its babbling brook full of green moss-covered rocks. The day had warmed up by now and the flowers were even more profuse on a sunny afternoon.

A stop for ice cream on the way home made the day complete. It was a great group and a great day.

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