A Spring Hike Up Baker Mountain
May
07
2015

First Hike of the Spring

With our snow melted and ski season over, it was time for Wren and I to take our inaugural hike of the season. We’ve been walking at places like the Bloomingdale Bog Trail and the railroad tracks behind Lake Colby, but we hadn’t done a proper hike yet this spring. And Baker Mountain is a great place to break in the hiking season.

The sun and clouds had staged a skirmish throughout the morning, but by the time the late afternoon had arrived the sun had retreated leaving the clouds to stake their claim to the sky. As a result the day was cooler than it had been during the middle of the afternoon. But cooler temps are great for hiking, and Wren and I set off happy to be on the trail.

Muddy Spring Hiking

While it was our first time on Baker in a few months, it was not the first time for the feet of many other people. The main path was well worn by these – the track a bit muddy and sloppy for the wear. So we took the less traveled trail up the back side of the mountain where it appeared drier in places. But after a deceivingly dry beginning we crossed a section of trail that is always very muddy and soon discovered that it was not the only place to bear that label. I tip-toed and hopped from rock to rock around each of these muddy sections, my trekking pole an asset in helping me balance. Wren sloshed right through without any heed of wet feet and I envied her carefree attitude. But such is life when hiking during the spring. Mud keeps the hiking more interesting, but folks who plan a spring hike should be aware that some muddy sections could take longer to negotiate.American Redstart - Larry

Apart from a few Black-capped Chickadees, the trail was generally quiet of birds, but I eventually heard a few Hermit Thrushes (which have been here for a few weeks) and some more recent arrivals including Ovenbird, Black-throated Green Warbler, and American Redstart. More will be arriving in the coming weeks! We began to climb the steep section of the hike where the trail had decided to do its best impression of a small stream – I looped around the water and Wren stopped for a drink.

The View From the Summit

We saw only two people on the trail, and had the summit to ourselves. Wren nosed the ground for any snacks that had been dropped by other hikers, and I took in the view through my camera lens. Some of the peaks gave a frosted look after our recent cool nights. Many of the High Peaks in the distance still held a nice topping of snow and I’m sure some of it can still be measured in feet. The rippled gray clouds sat right above the summits and it looked like a hiker standing on Algonquin Peak could reach up and touch the layer of clouds. This effect was magnified by Mount Marcy on which the clouds narrowly obscured the summit. A hiker there would have had a better view a little down slope.clouds - Baker

We walked down the trail to the overlook of Saranac Lake to get a better view of this clouded effect. The lakes stretched out below us as I looked out on town. Wren paused to look across the landscape as well, and I wondered what she thought about the view. Soon however she was back with her nose on the ground – more interested in her immediate surroundings. I retraced my steps to the summit to head back down the backside trail again. Dinner was calling and our first hike of the season had made me hungry.

With warming temperatures, and warm weather in our forecast, it is a good time to plan a spring or summer hiking or outdoor recreation trip to the Tri-Lakes area. Check out our outdoor recreation, dining, and lodging pages for more details.

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About The Author

Alan Belford has spent much of his life outdoors exploring and learning about wildlife – particularly birds. Alan is often out hiking, paddling, running, or cross country skiing – with his Labrador retriever Wren at this side. A certified teacher and former cross country, baseball, and ultimate frisbee coach, he loves teaching others and has taught multiple natural history (specializing in ornithology) courses for both college students and the general public. He is a licensed guide in New York State, he has traveled widely both domestically and internationally, and he is also a published travel writer and photographer – focusing on outdoor and nature writing.

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