This was a brutal day.
We had planned for Haystack and Basin, potentially adding Saddleback depending on the state of the cliffs.
The steep ascent up the Phelps Trail was covered in rotten snow, which was also a rocky stream of running melt water undermining it. Dropping knee deep through the snow was common which stole a lot of energy. As a result, the ascent took much longer than planned.
Both Little Haystack and Mount Haystack offer stunning panoramic views. However we summited so much later than planned that we had to abandon Basin. It would have been irresponsible given the conditions and amount of remaining daylight.
We descended along the Shorey Short Cut which is a steep and brutal trail in it’s own right. More rotten snow on the top part of the trail which made for an even slower descent.
The hike out from Slant Rock to the car park was LOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGG after such a rough day. We hit John’s Brook Lodge just as it was getting dark, which was perfect timing and meant only a 3.5 mile hike in the dark.