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Red Hill, Balsam Lake(almost) & Overlook

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  • Red Hill, Balsam Lake(almost) & Overlook

    Cruised up Red Hill and down in an hour from Dinch Rd . Nice stretch of the legs to start the day. Didn't climb the tower. Cab was locked. Minimal picture taking as well as I was trying to make good time to start the day. Still nice to check off the list after one hell of a drive out there from Saratoga. Farthest one away from me, check!

    Quite a very long while later...

    Pull up to the Dry Brook trailhead of Balsam Lake Mt. Get set, get signed in, get walking. Maybe a quarter mile in I have my head down just trying to make some decent time and BAM! Thirty or so feet from me is a full grown big a$$ mama bear and four cubs foraging in a huge lush green patch of ferns. They immediately spook and take off, except one cub who jumps up the tree right there and starts climbing. Now I'm like totally shook and this bear was large. She runs off about a hundred feet and up a pretty steep embankment looking down on the trail I'm standing on. I stand there for a second, pull out the phone, take a quick breath, grab short video and try to figure out what to do now. The one cub is still in the tree and mama is watching me and the area that cub is still in. See, I never got in between them though. All of them were on the right hand side of me so I was thankful for that as she was watching me intently. She was most likely coming back down that hill for that cub soooo in (I'd say about a minute) I decided too risky, come back another day, maybe another trailhead, who knows but I didnt wanna have that monster lurking around me for the next three miles. No biggie I guess, even though that drive was massive and I was there for all of twenty minutes.

    But.....

    I did see my first ever bear and her cubs and I wasn't all hurt or dead from having to throw down with a bear and I got a quick little video. Not my best, but pics or it didn't happen! Cubs were cute as hell too, fat chubby little guys just out with mom for lunch. Scary as ever for me but cool too once I was way away from her. Sixty-one legitimate hikes it took me to see one. Always thought it'd happen in the ADK somewhere. Strange day so far, lol.

    https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMdDsnmcw/

    Now onto Overlook. Was going to do Tremper but didn't have the same allure to me as Overlook as I'd been to the trailhead of Overlook before but never hiked it. Nice hike. Relentless but easy and doable, just doesn't stop till basically the top. Saw the ruins, didn't explore much because of dark looming clouds and false weather reports all week but was really cool nonetheless. Hit the two mile mark very fast, scooted up to the tower, climbed up, got some shots and briskly headed down. Took two hours round trip.

    https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMdDsg5TM/

    So that was that, made it out alive. Wanted to get 4 today, got 2, thats okay. First time in the Catskills was definelty one to remember. I can't lie it is some beautiful country out there and the roadsides are filled with a million things to see or check out. It was cool. The other two exit 20ers soon and then Hunter by itself soon after to finish off the challenge.
    Last edited by salt; 06-22-2021, 12:17 AM.

  • #2
    Nice report! I think we've seen your bear(s). Good choice to be safe!
    Tom Rankin - 5444W, etc., etc.

    Web Master - NY Forest Fire Lookout Association
    Member #0003 - ADKHP Foundation
    Volunteer - Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President - Catskill 3500 Club
    CEO - Views And Brews

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    • salt
      salt commented
      Editing a comment
      You mean those same bears? Are they known to frequent that exact area? I really need that tower. She wasn't aggressive by any means but I know i'll be on high alert next time. Pretty nerve-wracking to be honest.

  • #3
    Nice. Always a great day when you get to experience wildlife out in nature. Good idea to give mama her space with the cub up in a tree separated from the others.

    Comment


    • #4
      sounds like a memorable day! even getting the other two towers, its super impressive to go all the way down to the cats with your goal in mind but be able to do the right thing leaving the trail for the mama and cubs that day, and that tower for yourself another day.
      "...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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      • #5
        Nice. Its a popular trail, there will be more encounters, lets hope they all turn out as well as yours did.

        Comment


        • salt
          salt commented
          Editing a comment
          Right on. Any other trailheads to recommend? Not even lying, I'm gonna be on edge taking that same route next time.

        • mudhook
          mudhook commented
          Editing a comment
          There is another trail head for BLMt. at the end of Beaverkill Rd, but that would make a loooong drive coming from the north.

        • salt
          salt commented
          Editing a comment
          mudhook right on, thanks for the info, much appreciated.

      • #6
        salt , The bear(s) we've seen on BLM usually run away, which is normal bear behavior for 99.99% of Catskill bears. I can't really say which trail to use, as bears wander far and wide.

        As Jim said, it's a very popular hike on weekends, which would make bear encounters more improbable. Hiking alone of course means you are more likely to see one.
        Tom Rankin - 5444W, etc., etc.

        Web Master - NY Forest Fire Lookout Association
        Member #0003 - ADKHP Foundation
        Volunteer - Balsam Lake Mountain
        Past President - Catskill 3500 Club
        CEO - Views And Brews

        Comment


        • salt
          salt commented
          Editing a comment
          TFR I was thinking about trying to hike on a popular/busy day as well. First time ever saying that haha. Thanks for the info, definetly helpful.

      • #7
        I never see bears. But I tend to hike noisy, on purpose.

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        • #8
          Pretty cool that you got to see a mama bear and cubs from a fairly close distance, live to tell about it, and even get a video! I would say you handled the situation well.

          Last weekend, I encountered a bear on a trail in Zoar Valley that I posted about on the other Adirondack forum. Didn't take any photos or videos because my instincts told me to immediately alert the bear of my presence, which prompted it to scamper off in the opposite direction. That was my third bear sighting and second bear encounter while hiking. My first hiking encounter was last year in Allegany State Park where the bear noticed me before I noticed it. Only after I heard it starting to run away did I see it in the distance. Black bears tend to be fairly tame and skittish in my experience. I'm only concerned about them when I'm sleeping in bear country, particularly around other campers who may not practice proper storage of food and toiletries.

          Bear sightings tend to increase this time of year, even in areas where you wouldn't expect them, because this is breeding season and also when mama bears let juveniles start to fend for themselves in the wild. Some will even be spotted in suburban and exurban locations this time of year.

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