On the 21st I went to the Adirondacks to climb a mountain. I had planned to climb Hopkins in Keene Valley but I started later than I intended and decided as I was driving through the Cascade Lakes area to stop there and climb to the Balanced Rocks on Pitchoff. I had two guide books with me and discovered that there is a discrepancy in the name, one calling them Balanced Rocks and the other calling them Balancing Rocks. I would not call them by either were I the one naming them, but we'll get to that. Starting out on the trail I was truly sorry I hadn't gotten around to climbing Pitchoff sooner. It has a varied and interesting trail, some stretches quite steep, others nearly level and some mildly adrenalin pumping close to the edges of sheer drop offs with only a few small trees between the trail and empty space.
The guidebook I had taken with me said the turn to Balanced Rocks wasn't marked and that was correct so sure enough, I missed it. There was an obvious trail on the right at one point but the guidebook cautioned hikers to avoid the "old trail" on the right because it was unsafe and I thought that was it so I continued on. By the time I reached the summit of Pitchoff I realized my error but decided to continue on to the secondary summit which, although lower, has a better view.
While there I shot a two frame panorama (above) before turning back to find Balanced Rocks. It turned out that my error was fortunate because I arrived at the Balanced rocks area just as the sun was lowering into the warm evening light zone. The light was especially good for the Mountain Ash which was prolific around the ledges there.
I came upon the namesake rocks from a lower ledge. I have to say here that when hearing the name Balanced Rocks I envisioned glacial erratics precariously positioned and in danger of tipping off the mountain without much provocation. Calling them Balancing Rocks gives rise to an even more precarious state in my mind. These rocks however, are neither in my estimation. On the contrary, they are extremely stable on a mildly sloping open ledge. They aren't even on the edge of the ledge. They are very picturesque though as the following photos demonstrate.
As you can see the rocks appear to be on the precipice from some viewpoints because they rest on a ridge in the ledge but in fact, there is ledge all the way around them. The actual drop off is some distance from them and the precariousness is an illusion. It was a great day in the mountains and Pitchoff has made my short list of favorite mountains. I will return another day, probably several times.