Showing the Cousins the Ropes
My niece Rebecca had hiked Baker Mountain in Saranac Lake with me last summer when she came up to visit for the first time, and so this year she was excited to show Baker and its view off to her cousins Tyler and Emily who joined her to visit me this year. It had been a warm, summer day when we set off late in the afternoon up the trail. The trailhead appeared busy at the bottom of the mountain, but after passing a few folks as we started, we saw no on the trail save two kids near the summit.
Wren led the way up the trail and Tyler remarked that all he had to do was follow her to know which way to go. But Wren quickly veered off the trail to follow a scent and he realized the potential risks in that approach. But as Wren always does, she righted herself and got back on the trail moving us upwards. We kept pace with her pausing here and there to rest, but the mosquitoes had sensed new blood in the forest and were initiating our crew with an Adirondack welcome. So we kept moving to keep the mosquitoes from nipping too much at our heels, and I received playful glares from Emily and Rebecca for laughing at their misfortune. In such cases all you can do is keep moving and laugh at how something so small can be such a powerful motivator.
A Beautiful View from the Summit
We reached the summit in good time as a result of the mosquitoes’ harassment and the breeze and dry ground there proved a less hospitable place for them – much to our liking. We would enjoy the peace it offered for some time. We looked at Mt. McKenzie, Haystack Mountain and the High Peaks and I began to point out various peaks in the distance – showing them Marcy, Algonquin, and a number of others. We walked down from the summit to the overlook of Saranac Lake where we had an even better view of the High Peaks than we had at the summit. I pointed out Lower Saranac, Kiwassa, Oseetah, and a few of the area lakes, and then directed them to find the top of my house, just barely visible behind some trees. They made various poses and played with their cameras to take in the panorama and we noticed some rising smoke from the landscape below – most likely someone burning a brush fire.
“Maybe that’s Granny [my mother who had driven them up with my father] cooking our burgers,” quipped Rebecca, and we all laughed. We talked for a while as we soaked in the view and we noticed Yellow-rumped and Black-throated Green Warblers flitting around in the trees just over the ledge on which we sat. Birds had largely been quiet on our way up on the warm, summer afternoon – we had heard a few Hermit Thrushes, an Ovenbird and a few others – but the warblers at the summit were very close to us and we got fairly good looks at them even without binoculars.
Topping Off the Hike with a Swim!
We started back down with Wren again in the lead. She once again went this way and that off trail and Tyler finally declared that she couldn’t be leader anymore for it. But she was still at the front the whole time anyway. I had explained to them that no hike is complete without a swim so when we reached the trailhead we loaded up and headed for Lake Colby. They had planned on swimming from the start by wearing their swimsuits. Wren just about burst out of the car in excitement as we reached the lake and she did a good job leading everyone to the water – leaving us all in her wake. Tyler and I were quickly in after her – rinsing off the sweat and mud, but Rebecca and Emily needed more convincing. Rebecca did finally get immersed just before we headed home for dinner, but Emily never did, wading a short way in, and claiming the water was too cold. Tyler and I just shook our heads and shrugged our shoulders at this example of teenage girl craziness. We both agreed that the water felt great.