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Old 11-11-2016, 01:35 AM   #1
All Downhill From Here
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Saranac Six

Posting here since it's not "High Peaks", even thought I consider McKenzie to be HP #47 since it's taller than Couch.

Generally a great time, empty trails, if a little under-maintained. I was genuinely surprised how tough the peaks were, and glad I chose not to do them in a full pack. The biggest challenge - with leaves covering the trail, and no eroded footbed, you had to kind of feel your way between the infrequent markers. Water was no problem, each trail had some, and the cool temps mean low consumption anyway. There's a herd path up Haystack which I avoided in the interest of time, I had to squeeze McKenzie, Haystack and Baker in 1, short day. The light goes quick this time of year.

I had a nice time in Saranac Lake as well, a neat little burg nicely removed from the touristy Lake Placid. It felt like sort of a downmarket version of Keene Valley, but with more bars.

The firetower on St Regis was a real treat.

Anyway, full report here, with pics.
https://smokebeard.wordpress.com/201...anac-six-or-5/

just the pics:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskL6uQ1r

Last edited by All Downhill From Here; 11-11-2016 at 01:47 AM..
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Old 11-11-2016, 11:43 AM   #2
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You refer to McKenzie as #47, because it's taller than Couchie. Actually, if you look at the ADK's list of the highest hundred in their High Peaks guidebook, Couchie is #60 and McKenzie is #54. Maybe we need 60er list!
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Old 11-11-2016, 12:18 PM   #3
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Nice trip report and photos. BTW, I think all of the Saranac 6 are in the St. Lawrence watershed.
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Old 11-11-2016, 12:49 PM   #4
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The Haystack herdpath would have actually saved you time, miles, and ele gain. Easy to find. Easy to follow.

Nice report. Sounds like you had a nice few days.
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Old 11-11-2016, 01:01 PM   #5
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Is there actually a herd path up the back side of Haystack now? That's kind of disappointing although not really surprising given the increased interest hiking Haystack and McKenzie together. I last bushwhacked up the back side of Haystack in 2008, and there really wasn't anything resembling a path then.

Ultimately, the best solution will probably be a maintained trail along that route.
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Old 11-11-2016, 01:12 PM   #6
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Also, Baker is pretty popular among Saranac Lake residents as something to do on the weekend or even in the afternoon after work. The mountain is covered with quite a few herd paths.

Cobble Hill in Lake Placid is similar in character.
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Old 11-11-2016, 01:25 PM   #7
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Congrats!


RE: Haystack's herd-path
Neil and I went on a "training hike", in December 2013, to scope out the terrain in preparation for the first Saranac Six Winter Ultra. We had difficultly picking up any trace of Haystack's herd-path so we just dove into the woods (at the height-of-land along the Jack Rabbit Trail) and, along the way, picked up a faint but discernable path to the summit of Haystack.
http://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/f...c-6-2013-12-12

I never did go to the inaugural Winter Ultra event (it rained) but delayed until March 21st when I could actually put snowshoes to good use. By then, the herd-path was very obvious and it started east of the height-of-land. The out-and-back from Jack Rabbit to Haystack is ~1 hour.
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Old 11-11-2016, 02:24 PM   #8
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The reports of the Haystack herdpath are sketchy. Not a lot out of info out there so when I was up there this summer I was expecting something like Trail Boss and Neil encountered. Instead I found a cairn at the height of land and a herdpath that I could have followed with both eyes closed. Looks pretty heavily traveled.
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Old 11-11-2016, 11:55 PM   #9
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I had no time, racing the ~4pm sunset, so I didn't want to fiddle around with a herdpath which I had read got sketchy near the summit. All in all a good time, although Baker really just sort of sucked. Despite glimpses of peaks and lakes, all you really see is SL village, and hear cars and trucks driving around.

If I was to do McKenzie again, I'd go in on the Jackrabbit, do McKenzie, then the herdpath for Haystack, then out to the main road and get a hitch. Still, hiking the same trail at sunrise vs. sunset in opposite directions is basically hiking a different trail, so it there was very little sense of deja vu.
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Old 11-12-2016, 12:46 AM   #10
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If you had a mountain like Baker a 15 minute walk from your house, I don't think you would complain as much about it "sucking." I agree it's not your typical Adirondack hike, though, and it does feel sort of like you're hiking in an urban park due to the amount of impact and number of other hikers you encounter.

There's some cliffs on the northwest side of Baker with pretty impressive views, but it takes some poking around to find them.

The trail to Haystack and McKenzie from the south actually used to be shorter, and the trailhead was in Ray Brook (pretty close to the DEC office, actually). If you look on the map, follow the trail south from Haystack; where it makes the sharp turn to the southeast, it used to continue straight out to Route 86. I believe it was re-located due to issues with private property.

The Jackrabbit Trail out of Saranac Lake gets some use, but most of this is people hiking to McKenzie Pond. It's been a few years since I've traveled beyond that point, but I remember the trail getting pretty overgrown between there and the junction at the height of land. I think the Lake Placid side gets a little bit more use.

The St. Regis trail also used to be shorter. The first mile or so is relatively new (~15 years). Where the trail crosses the brook, and passes the clearing where the cabin stood, if you look to the east the old route is pretty obvious. This trail was also rerouted due to private property issues.
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Old 11-12-2016, 10:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by All Downhill From Here View Post
.. although Baker really just sort of sucked. Despite glimpses of peaks and lakes, all you really see is SL village, and hear cars and trucks driving around.
I guess I lucked out when I left Baker for the last peak of the day. I hiked it in darkness and was treated to solitude, silence, and twinkling lights from the town below and the stars above. The only sound was the crunching of my microspikes on the icy trail.

On the summit, I turned off my headlamp to enjoy the view of the Orion constellation high above the town. It was a magical moment perhaps made more special by not seeing I was walking through an urban park.

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Old 11-15-2016, 11:15 PM   #12
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...

The Jackrabbit Trail out of Saranac Lake gets some use, but most of this is people hiking to McKenzie Pond...
Is this where the "Lake Placid Leanto" is? At the pond?
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Old 11-15-2016, 11:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by All Downhill From Here View Post
Is this where the "Lake Placid Leanto" is? At the pond?
No, the Placid Lean-to is east of the junction at the height of land with the McKenzie Mountain Trail, maybe about 15 minutes down the trail towards Lake Placid (perhaps less). You can find the lean-to on Nat Geo Trails Illustrated Map #746. (Look down towards the bottom of the east side of the map.)

I've never seen any designated campsites at McKenzie Pond, but I've also only been there a couple of times and not spent much time exploring the area.
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Old 11-20-2016, 12:00 AM   #14
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All Downhill: Every time I look at your avatar I can't help but think of Donald Sutherland in the movie Kelley's Heroes when he played Oddball. Wondering if anyone else thought the same. Hope you don't take this as criticism as its not intended as such, and I apologize for digressing from the topic.
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Old 11-20-2016, 03:07 PM   #15
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"Sounds like you could use some armor".
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Old 11-20-2016, 10:39 PM   #16
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All Downhill: Every time I look at your avatar I can't help but think of Donald Sutherland in the movie Kelley's Heroes when he played Oddball. Wondering if anyone else thought the same. Hope you don't take this as criticism as its not intended as such, and I apologize for digressing from the topic.
Not the first time I've heard that.
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