balsam lake tower

Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower

The last on the list for the Catskills fire tower challenge was Balsam Lake Mountain Fire Tower/Observation. It was another cold day for a refreshing hike in the Catskills so why not? The drive to the tower started off as we headed in the wrong direction. Then we turned around and went the right way, so we thought. Once down the hill we realized we needed to go back to the highway and we were low on gas. Long story short, we made it to the gas station and went on our merry way.

The drive to the Balsam Lake Mountain Fire observation was scenic and peaceful. The snow is melted in most places but frozen ponds and ice formation were visible in sections. Once at the parking lot, we grabbed our bags and started the hike. My mission was to get to the tower as fast as possible or take no breaks. Glad to say I did it! I completed the three mile climb in an hour and few minutes.

Hiking this trail in the summer felt a whole lot harder! Last time this was the second tower out of three that we did in the same day. It was hot and humid and I couldn’t catch my breath. This time the hardest parts was the beginning to the registration box and the last .75mile to the tower. You will definitely need your snow traction for this one. You’ll need them right after the registration box but since it’s going to snow tomorrow you’ll probably need snow shoes

Where Art Thou?

After reaching the Balsam Lake Mountain fire tower I went up and took a few pictures. I took off my gloves for a second and boy was that a mistake. After coming back down I wasn’t able to feel my hands and was getting antsy waiting for Nihad. He finally came and took his photos and videos with GoPro 10. Once we were done with photos and Peakquest scratch-off, I was out and back on the trail. I kept turning around along the way checking back for him but he was no where to be found. So I kept on going. The man likes to take a lot of photos and videos and hopes that they will survive him and inspire future hikers. After reaching the intersection by the stop gate, I received a message that he went the wrong way. He was at the 3500ft sign and was heading back. I decided to wait for him.

Did you know that your body start cooling down really fast when you’re not moving? Since he is superman of a sort, he ran and was there pretty fast. We continued on the trail and my toe and hand fingers were coming back to life. Overall, I would rate this one the easiest of the 5 Catskill fire tower challenges. If you can get past the section from the parking lot to the registration box you got the rest!

Balsam fire tower YouTube video

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