We arrived back at the South Meadows trailhead shortly after 6 a.m., making for a 11.5 hour, 17.3 mile (27.9 km) hike. I've only done this particular route to Haystack once before, during my long 2004 "Crazy Eight" Great Range hike
. The memory of that more difficult journey had somewhat tainted my recollection of this approach. It really isn't too bad.
Anyway, thanks to Julie for suggesting and organizing. I'm glad we got out on this beautiful day to enjoy beautiful Haystack.