Thursday, April 5, 2012

Haystack 11/5/11

           Crystal, Mike, Josh, Caroline, Jeanette and I booked Camp Grace on the ADK property @ Johns Brook Lodge for 2 nights, starting on Friday. We hiked in after work. The hike went smoothly until we crossed the suspension bridge over Johns Brook. From the simple hand drawn map of JBL property, we weren't able to find the cabin. We walked back and forth, tromped around the woods in the vicinity of the lean to's, walked all the way to the western crossing by JBL, walked back to the bridge etc. We finally decided to follow a trail that looked on the map like it went to the private camps. In fact, it was Grace Camp!.

      We settled in, enjoying the wonder of this strange little nook in the woods. The cabin has 6 bunk beds (2 triple stacks built into the wall), a large table, propane heat, lights and a two burner propane cook top. We booked a lean to a few weeks earlier on our trip up Basin and Saddleback and found it to be a great experience. I highly recommend either the cabin's (Peggy O'brien is the other and sleeps 12), the lean-tos or a bed in the main Lodge. The main lodge gets cooked hot breakfast!!!

    More info, reservations and rates here

Our Bunk beds at Grace Camp
        Whiskey>chocolate>bed. The group wakes up with some tender encouragement from yours truly. Mike and Crystal decide they don't feel great and are going to scale back their day by climbing Saddleback. We go our separate ways. It's very crisp out, bright and cold. The world is quiet and their is no one in the woods with us. We make good time on the increasingly steep trail. As we get higher things get more and more frosty.

Named after Grace Hudowalski, quite a woman. 

the mud is frozen, winter is coming

     Now that we've approached Basin and Saddleback and Haystack via this route, it's one we will keep using. A steady and pretty way to access the lower range. We don't encounter any serious ice until the range trail. Jeanette put her microspikes on and kept them on. The rest bare-booted with some slipping but not too much.

at the heart of things

Basin from the Hatstack approach. I love frosted trees
      While planning this trip I consulted the message boards for their sage like wisdom (and humor). Procook from the high peaks forums said that the nub before Little Haystack and Haystack is his favorite place in the Daks. It did not disappoint. The entire final ascent was epic and beautiful and we were fortunate not to have any wind. We could clearly hear and see folks on Marcy.

Little Haystack and Haystack. Reach out and touch

Album cover shot
  We were able to spend almost an hour on the summit, admiring the views of Marcy, Basin, Panther Gorge and so much more. The hike out didn't leave any lasting impressions so I would assume that it was lovely and not too tough. We returned to a warm cabin, as Mike and Crystal had just returned.

        Good dinner>stories>whiskey>more chocolate>bed. We woke up to another beautiful day. We cooked a big breakfast and cleaned up our wilderness hideaway. It was nice to hike this trail in the sun for once and all ambled along, taking it all in. This was our last "hiking season" hike of 2011 and one of my all time favorites to remember. The company, the cabin and the views will last a life time.

hard to leave a perfect place

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