Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Easy Short Adirondack Hikes: Mount Baker in Saranac Lake

Adirondack Family Activities™: By Diane Chase

Mount Baker (Baker Mountain)
Saranac Lake, New York
Distance: 1.8 miles RT 
Ascent: 884′ 
Elevation: 2452′ 


Mount Baker is a relatively short climb (1.8-miles round trip) and perfect for our first mother-daughter hike. She is constantly talking to herself as I sign the registry, a running commentary, gathering and lining up all her imaginary friends. We have quite a gang climbing with us, though only two of us are visible to any passersby.
My daughter has recently acquired appropriate hiking footwear. She found them in a box of hand-me-downs and has clung on to them like the magic carpet she imagines will propel her up the trail. Up to this point she has accomplished our hikes in Crocs, knowing she had the carrier (father) as a back up plan. I wake her early and remind her today to the day she will test her shoes. She rolls out, dons clothes, hat and sun block and appears with brown boots in hand. She assures me these plain brown shoes make her go hiking. I am a believer; it must be magic.

There is some blow-down and at the first intersection she and her invisible posse search for the red trail markers. I am not sure which one finds it, but we successfully bear right and continue up the trail. At one point she balks and decides to quit. A couple of gentlemen pass and tell her it is quite far to the top. I shake my head thinking it is all over now. She consults with her shoes. Apparently the shoes have a few more steps left before needing a rest. I tell you, they’re magic.

It takes us a little over an hour to reach the summit, but it is well worth the effort. We both discover that some trees’ roots are mischievous while others quite helpful. Pine needles are “icy” (slippery) and mud is okay on magic shoes. She is tired and hungry, but thrilled and confident. I make room for all her cohorts as we sit and eat our lunch on a rock ledge overlooking Saranac Lake. She never once asks to be carried.

Mount Baker is located at the northeast end of Moody Pond in Saranac Lake. Parking is located across the street (Forest Hill Ave) from the trailhead sign. From Main St., Saranac Lake, take a right onto Pine St and a left onto Forest Hill Ave.

© Diane Chase, author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks (Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) for the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Jay/Upper Jay, Wilmington, Keene/Keene Valley which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the second guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.

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