Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Saranac 6er - St. Regis Mountain and Baker Mountain

When we got to the campsite the evening before, Joe went to work cooking and I set up the tent.  After shoveling delicious quesadillas down, we went to bed shortly there after. We didn't set an alarm but figured we'd be up early to tackle 3 more peaks the next day.  

(I mentioned in my previous post that our plan was a bit ambitious right?)  

It was a bit of slow moving out of our campsite and by the time we ended up at the trail head for St. Regis, it was already 10am. The trail for St. Regis is great - while we were hiking we discussed how some people do these 6 mountains as 'ultra' - within 24 hours - it would be a huge challenge for me to ever make that time cut, but this trail could be jogged to a certain amount. Like all the hikes I've done with Marcy dog, she dictated our rest stops and splashed along wherever she could find water to cool down.  

It took us an hour and a half to reach the summit where we met up with a guy & his dog (off leash). I was prepared for this, so I had already let go of Marcy's leash so she could greet this dog in more polite fashion. 
per usual picture of Marcy from the top of the firetower

The views were fantastic!  We sat up there for a while and enjoyed a Saranac beer (I'm confident we aren't the first ones to do this...) After a solid rest/lunch/views enjoyed, we made our way back down the mountain. It was a bit busier with people coming up, but still relatively quiet for a mid-day hike. By then my feet were sore. I've been having a hard time with my boots since the end of my 46rs journey. I couldn't quite place what was wrong until more recently - my already wide feet, but have gotten wider. My toes ached, random blisters arrived, and my foot strike was funny to protect how sore my feet were. I had promised Joe that I wouldn't make a decision about the 3rd mountain for the day until after we had lunch but I could tell that 3 mountains was pushing it. We also started to do some of the math, since we had started so late if we did in fact make it to the 3rd mountain we'd be strolling into the campsite late again with no chance to actually enjoy it.  

Both of us were wavering at the thought of hiking the third mountain, but neither one of us really wanted to be the one to pull the plug. So we kept up the plan that we'd eat lunch in Saranac, hike Baker and then decide. We stopped in town grabbed sandwiches and ate by the lake. There was some detouring for Pokemon stops (and helping out the Team Yellow gym) before we made it to Baker.  

Baker is nearly in the middle of town with a quick (but steep) climb to the summit. I switched into my keens and ditched my pack and off we went to the top. I had read a trail guide that said to go left at the fork for the less steep option -- but I think they've reroute the trail that its a lolipop at the top - climbing goes right, descending goes left. By now my watch had died, so I had no idea what time we started or how long it took us, but we plugged a long and found ourselves at the top within 45 minutes (or likely less-- there were no water stops for Marcy dog)  

There was a big group on top that seemed to love Marcy- they were hanging out at the true summit so we went off one of the million side trails to an overlook. We drank all the water (and poured some onto a rock pool for marcy to have) and enjoyed the view.  We had officially decided to skip the third mountain of the day, stop by the grocery store to buy some meat and head back to the campsite so that Marcy and I could swim and Joe could fish.

Knowing we were done for the day made the hike down a lot more enjoyable. We connected with a group that either has family that lives in Saranac or they visit frequently as they told us about the best place to find ice cream and talked about some favorite hikes. We could have passed them, but they didn't mind us walking & talking with them and I like to hear other peoples hiking stories too.   After a few more pokemon stops & a grocery run, we made the drive back to Rollins Pond. I immediately changed into my swimsuit and was in the very warm water with Marcy.  As much as Marcy loves to swim, she was exhausted when we got back and spent most of the time sleeping on the bank.  

Food was cooked and we enjoyed hanging out by the fire until we finally went to bed.  The initial plan was to hike one more mountain before driving back to Albany, but my logic was that if we weren't going to get all 6 there was no reason to torture ourselves to just get 5. Instead we slept in enjoyed our coffee and took our time breaking down camp in the morning.  

We stopped in Lake Placid so that I could have my favorite sandwich and walked along the street, Joe had never been. We also decided to stop at a new brewery just outside of Lake Placid -Big Slide-  I was excited for this (and if I liked their logo more I would have bought some merchandise since Big Slide was my final peak for the 46ers.) The beer was great - I had a gose and took home two crowlers to be enjoyed later (Maple Brown Ale and Bean to Stout both great!) After we made the drive back to Albany.  

I've rarely had the time to just enjoy lunch and such in Lake Placid, I was glad that we didn't hike that morning. Marcy dog was a expert at camping, this was our first outing so I was a bit worried but she took to the trails like a pro (which I knew since we've done several mountains together now) and completely understood that the tent was for sleeping. She did get a bit confused when she tried to chase a chipmunk and face smashed into the screen, but she didn't panic or use her nails, so the tent survived just fine. I'm excited for more adventures!

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