After spending all day at the office, what better way to end you day with a great little hike up Mount Baker! After my fiance and I got home from work the other day we realized how beautiful the day was. Bright blue skies, warm (but not too hot) and still sunny. So we decided to put on more comfortable clothes and go across town for a quick hike before dinner. Mount Baker is right in town and is in a quiet little area around Moody Pond. Mt. Baker is 1.8 Miles round trip and for a fairly out of shape 20-some year old couple it took just about an hour to get up and down (including some water and picture breaks). It will challenge you, but if you take your time it is worth the trip!
On a side note, if you didn't want to take the hike up, you could simply walk around the 'pond', it is just over 1 mile. Or you could put your canoe or kayak in and take a little paddle. Once you park you can do just about anything you would like.
Just look for the trail head across the road from the 'parking area'.
And don't forget to register at the "Please Register" box. It is important that no matter how short or long you plan on hiking any mountain, you register! If something should ever happen to you, wouldn't you like someone to realize that you are still on the mountain? I would. Just always be careful and take little precautions like registering, wearing appropriate footwear (Check out Blue Line Sports Shop if you forgot yours or need help deciding), and bringing water to keep yourself hydrated.
As you begin your hike make sure to stay on the well used path and watch out for signage and the red dot trial markers. They will help you stay on the trail and not get lost (one of my specialties).
As you continue your assent, you will run into a few patches of mud. After the very wet spring/early summer we have been having, it is to be expected to run into some mud and muck. So make sure not to wear your new hiking boots, sneakers, or sandals.
Then about 15 minutes up, when you are starting to get out of breath and need a little break, Mt. Baker shows a little sympathy and has a little flat section of trail. Pretty much the whole hike is a fairly good accent, so when you get a little flat patch it helps you catch your breath for the last 20(ish) minutes of climbing on some rocks.
As you get closer to the top, you will start to see some beautiful views through the trees. If you would like, you can travel not to far off the trail and find some great places to relax, but if you continue you will have some incredible tree-free views. The rest of the way up will have you breathing harder and questioning what you got yourself into, but it is worth it! Just make sure to follow the red dot trail markers and follow the well used path. You can get pretty lost toward the top if you are not careful. Then, just below the summit it clears up and you come to a clearing that will show you some great views of Saranac Lake, Lake Flower, and the High Peaks to the East.
If you continue wandering you will find different views, like this one...
or this one of Ampersand Bay and Lower Saranac Lake...
And just because you can, look for the summit markers, there are 3 making the shape of a triangle to show where surveyors have marked the summit to be.
So there you have it, Mount Baker. A very short, fun, challenging hike right here in downtown Saranac Lake with a great reward waiting for you at the top. Come give it a try!