I started from the Garden PA at around 6AM as I knew this would be along day of hiking. The day was pleasant and cool as I blazed past JBL and the Bushnell Lean-To's enroute to Slant Rock. At Slant Rock I located a campsite my wifes uncle Nick and I used when we backpacked Mt Marcy in October '06.
Trail to Slant Rock
Campsite at Slant Rock
I was making good time and started to hit a couple steep points as I joined the range trail and headed towards Haystack.
Range Trail Junction
Steep section of Range Trail
Little Haysack and Haystack came into view on the last rise. What an awesome view and I couldn't help but notice the weather was indeed perfect. Nice and cool, sunny, beautiful partly cloudy blue skies. I don't think I've ever seen a better day hiking in the mountains.
The Haystacks from the Range Trail
I reached the point for the trail out to Haystack and left my adventure hat behind and donned my windbreaker for the hike out along the exposed ridge to the summit. The views were incredible as I went up and over Little Haystack to the summit.You could see down into Panther Gorge and Mt Marcy looked amazing so close up. I took scores of photos and many panoramics from along the ridgeline. I also took the time to appreciate the small yet resilient plants that make up the Alpine Ecosystem on Haystack.
Sheep Laurel -Alpine Vegetation
I took a lunchbreak on the summit at about 9:30AM. A decent-sized group of young British hikers came up from the south. I asked where they came from and they stated they were staying at private cabins in the Ausable Mtn Reserve. I took some photos for them and they went off the way they had come. A few other hikers were present but all in all it was a peaceful time on the summit.
I knew I had plenty of miles to go so I headed off in the direction of Basin. When I reached the col between the mountains I realized how sore and tired I was from moving so fast all day. I took about a 30 min break and chatted with a friendly hiker couple before ascending Basin.
View of Basin from Range Trail
Basin was a steady climb but I took my time and took pictures along the way. The views were again outstanding on such a beautiful day. I had the summit almost entirely to myself.
Ladder on the Ridge Trail up Basin
View of Haystack on the way up Basin
View South from Shorey Shortcut Trail
View of Basin from Shorey Shortcut Trail
Back at Slant Rock I took a quick break and met up with a backpacker from California. We hiked together back down to the Johns Brook Valley where he was tenting for the night. It was nice to have company and made those 4-5 miles go much faster in conversation. On a lonely stretch of trail only a mile or two from the car I heard a bird call and wanted to capture it on video. It was a nice moment in the woods to cap of a long and enjoyable day in the mountains.