I joined Pathgrinder for the Cover the Peaks Day (Oct. 14, 2012) – Friday Mountain. Knew it was gonna be a good day when he said that he didn’t own a GPS. We’d bushwhack with map, compass, altimeter, and his experience. It was nice to meet Jay H and Hermit at the Moonhaw Road Trailhead. “Just follow this woods road and make the second left.” We did so, but soon were ‘whacking up the steep, rocky, wooded slope (a cliff?).
On the way back down to Moonhaw Road parking area, Pathgrinder noted that Samuel’s Point is an excellent target. Aiming for that brought us right to the trailhead.
(We parked on Moonhaw Road, at the “2nd parking area, across the street from the trailhead, 0.14 miles beyond the one-lane bridge,” per the catskillmountaineer.com trip report. As the photo shows, it can accommodate 4 or 5 cars, not just 2, as noted in the TR. A trivial point perhaps, but finding an unfamiliar parking area/trailhead can be tricky.)
Pathgrinder had volunteered to cover Friday for Cover the Peaks Day, but I asked if we could tack on Balsam Cap as well, as I need it for my Catskill 35. Agreed. We were at the Friday summit at noon and Balsam Cap at 1:20. We were not usually leaf-peeping or view-seeking, more focused on the hike itself, but we did enjoy the nice views of Ashokan Reservoir and Wittenberg from the viewpoint near the summit of Balsam Cap.
Despite some early rain, it was a great day and a great hike. I had a few minor mishaps: lost another pair of reading glasses, ran out of water, got a two-inch scratch on my head, and was generally huffing & puffing. But there was a decent puddle of good-looking water trickling off the cliff. I funneled two liters into my Camelbak, treated it with Aquamira, and we were off. Halle, of course, had no problems.
We hiked from 9:20 to just after 4:00. Pathgrinder estimated the round trip at 6 miles. The catskillmountaineer.com TR noted 7.69, for a somewhat lengthier outing. I’d split the difference and say 7.
Photos of our bushwhack up Friday and Balsam Cap from Moonhaw Road.