Haystack's summit is achieved. Two peaks down, six more to go - and all before 8am! Caroline does some self-chiropractics, and the rest of admire the excellent view. We've talked a bit more with Ewart, now that we are higher up, and find that he is already almost at the summit of Saddleback, where he will park his keester and wait for our arrival. We tell him it'll still be awhile, since we first have to summit Basin before we can tackle Saddleback. He assures us that there is no rush.
We retrace our steps back down Haystack, stopping for a cool "climb" picture as we re-ascend Little Haystack (picture with caption Climbing Little Haystack
). And then a few final lingering moments atop the open summit of Little Haystack and we then plunge back down into the confier forest and steep, rocky trails - which, in the case of the trail from Little Haystack to Basin, proves to be quite annoying - Lots of steep, sometimes slippery, boulder-hopping. It is not relaxing to hike in such a situation, continuously knowing that a misstep can result in a badly twisted ankle.
We make it to the low point on the trail between Little Haystack and Basin, and locate what Ewart calls the best hidden backcountry campsite in the Adirondacks - and it really is quite nice (picture with caption Ewart's fav campspot
The trail up the west side of Basin is really steep - lots of short scrambly bits and a ladder (picture with caption Ladder on Basin
) cause us to regain altitude really quickly, but, at our pace, is also aerobically taxing. In no time at all we are nearing our target altitude (in the case of Basin, that is just over 4800 feet). Pu comments on how much he likes these little scrambles. I tell him that if he likes this, he'll really like the big cliff scramble on Saddleback's west side.