This past week was a golden combination of perfect weather and amazing leaves, and Wren and I took advantage of it by being out as often as we could manage it. A few days ago we hiked Baker Mountain in Saranac Lake – one of the newly crowned Saranac Lake 6ers. Baker is a great short hike if you don’t have much time, but it still offers nice views of the Village of Saranac Lake and the surrounding lakes of the region.
While my plan for the hike was to take photos of the fall colors, Wren was mostly in it for running around and smelling everything. We made steady progress with me stopping here and there to take pictures. Bird life was pretty quiet as might be expected on an early October afternoon, but there were a few black-capped chickadees, yellow-rumped warblers, and golden-crowned kinglets calling as we hiked. The forest and trail glowed with the changed leaves, offering light that seemed to come from within the leaves themselves to mark our footsteps.
We reached the top and I poured Wren some water as I drank myself. There below us lay McKenzie Pond surrounded by hills of color which stretched up Mt. McKenzie as if they were trying to summit the peak. The entire McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area shone from below – burning with reds, golds, oranges, and yellows. The bright orange sugar maples stood out like beacons on the landscape as the dark red of some of the red maples burned with intensity.
I stood and took in the spectacle almost forgetting to employ my camera. Sadly the resulting shots of such a scene are always a big disappointment. I knew we didn’t have long, but I did not want to leave the top. I compromised for another view and so we descended along the main trail that offers views of Saranac Lake and its surrounding lakes like Ossetah and Kiwassa. I stopped again for another round of photos.
We descended the rest of the trail, enjoying the colors as many other hikers ascended to find the same view we had just left behind. We reached the bottom, but our day was not done. The sunny days and warm nights we’ve been having (without rain) have left the lake water swimmable and both Wren and I were warm from hiking. So off we went to Lake Colby for a brisk swim – Wren wanting to stay longer than my cold body would allow. But even as I hurriedly dried off to get warm, the low rays of the sun fell upon the vibrant warmth of sugar maples on the far shore – giving me pause yet again at the colors on the landscape.