Search This Blog

Sunday, May 3, 2015

East Belleayre Mtn/ Balsam Mtn/ Haynes Mtn/ Eagle Mtn(Catskills)

Got out for some hiking in the Catskills this afternoon on yet another beautiful spring day.  Parked at the Rider Hollow Trailhead Parking Lot where there is room for several cars as well as a DEC sign and gate.  Rider Hollow is located just south of Belleayre Mountain and north of Balsam Mountain at the very end of gravel Rider Hollow Road.
 Started off on the red blazed Rider Hollow trail which closely follows Mine Hollow Brook.  A well built footbridge crosses the stream a short distance down the trail.
 The first section of trail is very pleasant along the brook. 
  The trail eventually climbs away from the brook and comes to a trail junction at about .35 miles in. 
 I took a left onto the yellow blazed trail which climbs nearly 1,000 feet in just over a mile to another trail junction.  From here I took a left(north) on a blue blazed trail which heads towards Belleayre Mountain's east summit.
 Just prior to reaching Belleayre's east summit, there are broken views down to the east through the still leafless trees.
 Belleayre Mountain's 3375 foot east summit is reached after about 2.4 miles in a large grassy clearing where a fire tower used to stand.  Unfortunately without the tower, there are no views.
 Descending off the east summit, you can see nearby Balsam Mountain's 3600 foot summit to the south.

The trail junction between the two mountains.
 Climbing up a steeper section of the Pine Hill-West Branch trail up Balsam Mountain.
 Another steep climb up a rocky section.
 Still ascending.
 Once atop the steep, rocky climb there are screened views to the north and east.
 Continuing the climb up Balsam.
 Nearing the summit, you begin to enter coniferous woods.
 Along the summit ridge of Balsam Mountain.
 Just before the summit, a small ledge provides the best views on the mountain. 
 Unfortunately the clouds had rolled in at this point, but the view east over Big Indian and the Esopsus Valley was still priceless.
Panoramic views from the ledge. 
 A short distance past the ledge you will arrive at the true summit of Balsam Mountain.  To find the summit, you must leave the trail and take a short path to a large stone and rock cairn marking.
Passing the 3500 foot sign on the descent off Balsam Mountain.
About .8 of a mile south of Balsam's summit and losing over 600 feet of elevation you will arrive at a trail junction.  I proceeded southwest from here, continuing on the blue blazed Pine Hill-West Branch trail towards Haynes Mountain.
 A jumbled rock section on the way up 3425 foot Haynes Mountain.  Unfortunately, Haynes summit is completely wooded with no views.
 Continued past Haynes on my way towards 3600 foot Eagle Mountain.  The 3500 foot sign on Eagle.
 A section of the trail along the summit ridge of Eagle Mountain.
A short side path leaves the main trail and heads into the woods about 200 feet to a small clearing.  This is the summit area. 
 After leaving Eagle Mountain's summit, I turned back to the north dropping back to the col.  The sun made an appearance around this time for the first time in several hours.
 Climbing back up Haynes Mountain on the return hike. 
 2.1 miles from Eagle Mountain, I arrived back at the trail junction above Rider Hollow.
With the sun shining I began the steep descent down the red blazed Rider Hollow Trail, which almost 1,100 feet in 1.7 miles.
 There are several stream crossings on the descent so your feet may get wet. 
 The steep banks of the stream flowing off the mountain.
 A nice, pleasant section of the trail in the evening light.
 Found this old stone wall along the trail.
 After crossing the stream a few more times I arrived at the Rider Hollow Lean To.
 A nice foot bridge crossing the brook.
 Picturesque Mine Hollow Brook.
Arrived back at the car at about ten after 7.  Sat in the car for a few minutes relaxing and enjoying a beautiful Sunday evening.  Hiked a total of 11.4 miles RT for the day and was able to grab 4 summits along the way, including two 3500+ high peaks.

No comments:

Post a Comment