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Balsam, Sherill, North Dome, Saint Anne's Peak & Westkill 4-10-2021

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  • Balsam, Sherill, North Dome, Saint Anne's Peak & Westkill 4-10-2021

    We dropped bikes at the end of Spruceton Road, then dropped a “just-in-case” car at the Mink Hollow Trailhead, then parked at the DEP land close to the intersection of Spruceton and Route 42. It wasn’t quite 7AM when our boots hit the ground.

    Our day began with some of the steepest and most sustained climbing of the day as we made our way to the summit of Balsam Mountain. Generally open woods with quite a few (maybe the same?) old logging roads criss-crossing our ascent route. We sweat bullets on this steep stretch.

    Easy bushwhacking over to Sherill and then moderate bushwhacking over to North Dome. That descent from North Dome to the pond is many things: steep, unstable, unrelenting. Not easy. We enjoyed the cacophony at the pond before the brutal (trailed) ascent of Saint Anne’s Peak. From there it was a really nice gentle ascent to West Kill.

    Beautiful views from Buck Ledge and thereabouts. No need for any traction up to this point, but boy was the descent of West Kill a different story! The trail down to Spruceton had a snow spine and generally treacherous terrain down until about 3100’ and then dried up. We never put spikes on, but they would probably be a good idea for the next week or so on this trail.

    Down to Spruceton Road, we jumped on the bikes and made short work of the mostly downhill ride to our cars. Always an amazing feeling to bike after a long and demanding hike! My cars thermometer reached 81F while driving home on I87 around 4PM.

    Wildflower Report: saw a lone spring beauty and a handful of yellow violets just above the pond/swamp in the North Dome / Saint Anne's Peak col.
    Last edited by nickUSA; 04-10-2021, 06:08 PM. Reason: updated wildflower report for USA
    From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

  • #2
    great hike, i dont think i have seen a writeup of this link up yet (except for as being part of mike and scott's crazy 25 mile valley loop). I like the idea of the bike ride, and smart going from westkill end down to 42. i imagine the spinning out felt good after the hours of up and down grinding.
    i have definitely noticed the (early?) peepers in the ponds, and as well the popping of flowers already. After this last winter nice to see spring coming quick.
    "...don't assume you can't do it...we all make mistakes and sometimes fail. Keep working and learning, and be committed to improving fitness, and there is no limit to what you can do." Joe Bogardus
    "I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all." Ernest Shackleton

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    • #3
      Sounds like a really nice hike, and a linkup I have not personally done. I don't think that particular Balsam Mtn sees very many summits each year. I've only been up there once or twice and remember it being very nice going between Balsam and Sherrill.
      To Go and to See
      Is to Know and to Be

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