I had an awesome birthday on Friday celebrating with friends and having an epic dance party until nearly morning. Saturday was slow moving because of said epic dance party but eventually I made my way to Tulip Fest. Despite the awesomeness of my weekend, I woke up Sunday morning in a bad mood. I decided fairly late in the morning that I would go hiking to get out of my house and my head. I had recently looked up the info on Balsam Lake Mountain in the Catskills so I quickly saved the directions, packed my bag and was on my way.
I am generally really neurotic about being at the trail-head super early to allow for ample hiking time. For the first time in my hiking career, I arrived at the trail-head at 11:30.
I had brought Marcy along for the walk and took her off leash since she has proven to respond well while on the trail. (and that it is allowed. no tickets for us please) This hike was easy but felt a lot harder than it should. It might have been the fact that I haven't hiked since October. Or the lingering dehydration from a weekend of fun. But either way, despite spin classes 3x a week, yoga, and run streaking, I was very quickly humbled.
The trail is wide (could definitely easily drive a 4 wheeler up it) and very dry. Marcy found the only puddle and cooled herself right off both ways. After a hour I reached the junction that indicated .75 to the firetower. I was pleasantly surprised that I had mantained a 2 mile an hour pace considering I felt like I was crawling to the summit. I hope its a sign that I didn't lose all of my fall fitness.
On the way up, we passed a family coming down and then had the summit to ourselves. I went up the firetower, Marcy had no interest so she sniffed around the area while I explored and took a few pictures. I didn't go all the way to the top, because I feared someone might come while I was high up with my dog unattended but was glad to have seen the view from there since the summit is completely wooded. After a few minutes I came down and enjoyed my lunch. Marcy did alert me (and the family arriving) of others when she growled at them, but she quickly chilled out and was excited to see new people. They did have a toddler so I put Marcy back on the leash and started to get ready to head back down the mountain. Since there was no scramble, it was an easy down back out to the car. The directions I found on Catskill Mountaineer were spot on and made it very easy to find the trail.
The hike did the trick, I left in a much better mood having nearly forgotten about my morning grump.
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity”― John Muir, Our National Parks
Being out on the trail is exactly what I needed to round out the birthday weekend. 31 is looking to be a great year.
Balsam Lake Mountain - 3720
Time: 3 hours including lunch
Gear Used: Asolos, Smartwool socks, ems pants, Dueter bag, Hydroflask (40oz & 32oz), collapsable water bowl for Marcy.
3500 club progress (5/39)