I’ve bailed out of Basin (and Saddleback) twice after excruciatingly long days. As I soaked in the morning views I remembered what I was missing. The 4,827-foot summit (9th highest in the Adirondacks) has an open, rocky summit with nearly 360° views dominated by the close-up of Mount Haystack.
Staring down the sheer south side of Redfield, thick with what is nearly impassibly thick trees and debris, and over to Allen Mountain jutting steeply from the surrounding flats, a vulture launched beside me a circled the thermals over my head. I understood the symbolism, took some pictures and headed back.
I had recently hiked the three Santanoni mountains in June, at the time remarking on how wet it was. Earlier this month, the drought had dried up even the wettest of trails; the thunderstorms that preceded this hike brought them back to their soaked and muddy glory. The lead-in trail to Bradley Pond was, unimaginably, even wetter than in June.
The Catskills seemed like a good option for distance and vertical, and additionally there are two over-4,000′ peaks which are part of the New England “115” peaks. (The 46 Adirondack peaks are part of that list, too, along with 48 in the White Mountains, 14 peaks in Maine and 5 in Vermont.) I chose to start with Slide Mountain, the highest point in the Catskills and an easy climb.