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Baker – A Mountain for Everyone

October 5th was Baker Mountain day for 3rd graders at Petrova Elementary School in Saranac Lake. Approximately 60 students, teachers and parents walked from the school, through downtown and to the trailhead where the group met up with more parents for the climb to the top. 

Climbing Baker

It was a perfect day for a hike. The group enjoyed lunch and views at the top. Some kids had been on Baker before while others  hadn’t. 3rd grade teacher Bill Wilson challenged the kids to get out and enjoy the outdoors. He also told them about the Saranac Lake 6ers. A good number of students raised their hands when he asked who was working to become a 6er. 

Saranac Lake from Baker

Seeing your hometown from the top of a mountain gives you a different perspective whether you are 8, 38, or 68. No matter how many times I climb Baker it gives me something new to enjoy. For just a little effort Baker provides some varied and dramatic views. 

The kids enjoyed the day. Let’s hope the experience helps build in them an appreciation for the beautiful place they call home. 

Mckenzie and Haystack from Baker

Scarface Mountain  Adventures (Boggans, Pirates, and Bears)

Hiking with an 8 year old is a fantastical adventure. The forest along the Scarface Mountain trail was the scene of an epic struggle between the leaf men and boggans (see the movie Epic if you don’t know what a boggan is). Several future episodes of Lego adventures (directed by Alex and dad and to be played on location in Alex’s room) were planned. And new updates to Minecraft PE were explained to a dad who doesn’t know how to create a nether portal. And don’t forget September 19th is National Talk like a pirate day.  

The old foundation

But it is also a real adventure. Crossing the railroad tracks is always a treat. The bridge across Ray Brook feels like a jungle river crossing. There were was the old foundation of some long lost building. There was the scrambling down the creek instead of the trail. And then there was the  bear… 

At the summit


About a hundred yards down the trail from the summit Alex went back to get his stick that he had found on the way and had used for various things including a pirate hook hand (see note above about talk like a pirate day). When he returned I decided to go back up to take a screen shot on my phone showing our location at the summit. When I returned Alex said, “Dad I heard a low rumble while you were gone.” “Really? Maybe it was an airplane,” I responded although I had not heard one. “No, it sounds like this.” Alex then made a sound that I could barely hear. “Maybe it was a bear,” I joked. We kept walking. No more than 5 minutes later we saw two hikers coming our way. “You just scared a bear this way,” one of the hikers said. I recognized him as Floyd Lampart, retired from NYSDEC and cycling extraordinaire. They proceeded  to tell us that a large bear came within a few feet of them, apparently spooked by Alex and me! 
Did Alex really hear a bear? As far as he and his dad are concerned, yes!


View towards the western High Peaks

 Scarface Mountain doesn’t provide sweeping views from a bald summit like Ampersand or St. Regis and the trail seems long for the meager reward of viewless summit and limited views. The beauty of Scarface is more subtle and can be found all along the trail. But to enjoy it one must slow down and explore. 


Ray Brook crossing

The Scarface Mountain trail isn’t known for extreme high adventure but take an eight year old boy as your hiking companion and you’ll be rewarded with an epic journey that will take you places you can only imagine. 

Beautiful Baker


Saranac Lake 6er Trail Day

6er Trail day

St. Regis

St. Regis is always recognizable by its profile and fire tower. It affords 365 degree views. This view of St. Regis is from the Paul Smiths VIC.


Summit View Maps

Summit View Maps for Four Peaks in the “Saranac Lake 6er” Challenge

Bear Essentials Apparel, 97 Main Street, Saranac Lake, is now a reseller for “Thatcher’s Peak Finders”, including their most popular deck that features the views from summits surrounding Saranac Lake.

That deck, “Thatcher’s Peak Finder for the Northern Adirondacks” identifies the summit views of ten peaks, including Baker, Haystack, Ampersand, and St. Regis Mountains—four of the best summit views in the “Saranac Lake 6er” Challenge.

“There are lots of great hiking guides for the Adirondacks”, said Greg Moore, owner of Bear Essentials Apparel, “But when you reach the summits and overlooks one question still remains: What are we looking at?”

“Thatcher’s Peak Finder for the Northern Adirondacks” answers that question. In addition to the four “Saranac Lake 6er” peaks, it also identifies the fantastic views from Whiteface and Cascade (both HighPeaks), Azure and Mt Arab (both with fire towers), Jenkins (Paul Smiths Interpretive Center) and Owls Head (Malone).

The views from these ten peaks include over 5,000 square miles of mountains, lakes, and rivers. Forty of the historic 46 Adirondack High Peaks can be seen, plus almost 200 other peaks and landmarks are also identified.

Trail Book

“Whether you are a new visitor to the Adirondacks or an old friend of the mountains, we think you’ll be surprised and delighted by what you can see and identify from these summits, on your way to meeting the ‘Saranac Lake 6er’ Challenge”, said Moore.

Small enough to tuck into a day pack’s pocket, Thatcher’s Peak Finders have a sturdy plastic rivet that holds the entire deck of line drawings together, allowing individual pages to simply rotate out like the blade of your favorite pocket knife. The pages’ detailed drawings are created from original photography shot specifically for each peak, so they represent what hikers will typically see without binoculars, and without distortion.

Decks of Thatcher’s Peak Finders range in price from $11.00 to $16.95.
For more information, and for apparel with the official “Saranac Lake 6er” logo, visit
Bear Essentials Apparel in Saranac Lake, (518) 891-8191.

Scarface Mountain

A number of current and aspiring 6er’s have asked for clarity regarding the summit of Scarface. For the purpose of completing Scarface to become a Saranac Lake 6er, the summit is located where the trail stops and there is a small disc on a tree.

The National Geographic Map for the area (shown below)  accurately reflect the trail and summit and indicates that the trail is 3.4 miles long.


The DEC trailhead sign for Scarface also indicates that the trail is 3.4 miles long.

Scarface Trailhead

There is no view whatsoever from this true summit so it is understandable why many hikers stop and turn around where the partial views are located but if you want to avoid the Kiwassa Curse the true summit must be your destination.

Sum(mit) of the Parts

Downtown Saranac Lake is a unique and special place. Hundreds of communities throughout the country would love to have such a great combination of architecture, locally-owned businesses, art galleries, walkability and activity in their downtown. On the other hand, there are hundreds of small, attractive and thriving downtowns and main streets across the country. So Saranac Lake is hardly one of a kind.

The Adirondack wilderness is a unique and special place. Communities throughout the country would love to have a protected wilderness with a combination of mountains, lakes and forests nearby to leverage as a quality of life asset. On the other hand, the Adirondacks aren’t the only place that has mountains, lakes or forests.

But when the search for places that have a great downtown AND proximity to a great wilderness, the list gets much shorter. Saranac Lake has both and as a result it can be considered among the most special places anywhere.


Baker Mt. from Downtown Saranac Lake

Baker Mt. from Downtown Saranac Lake

The Baker Mountain trailhead is only .9 miles from the center of Downtown Saranac Lake and it is not uncommon to see bicycles chained to the trailhead sign. Berkeley Green was chosen as the Saranac Lake 6er trailhead to symbolize the connection and relationship between the natural beauty of the Adirondack wilderness and the man-made beauty of Saranac Lake. The more we recognize and enhance the qualities of both the better off Saranac Lake will be. The result of having both assets in one community is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Late fall hiking

Over the last couple days the Saranac Lake 6ers , along with peaks all over the Adirondacks, received their first dusting of snow. It seems a little late but we all knew it was coming. The leaves are off, temperatures are falling and fair weather hikers are heading home. For some the hiking season is over. But people that limit hiking to summer and early fall when there are leaves on trees miss the opportunity to take in unique views only available when leaves are off. So grab a coat -and a hat and gloves- and get out and enjoy the 6ers from a different perspective.

6er Entrepreneurs

The Saranac Lake 6er’s have inspired t-shirts, hats, stickers, beer and now…wine. Saranac Lake Discount Liquors, on Main Street in Downtown Saranac Lake recently unveiled its first 6er wine, Baker Mt. Chardonnay. The business will soon have a distinct wine and label for each of the 6er’s.

Baker Mt. Chardonnay

Baker Mt. Chardonnay

It is great to see the creativity of local entrepreneurs connecting their business to the Saranac Lake 6er’s.

The most important goal of the program is to get people out to enjoy the wonderful wilderness that surrounds Saranac Lake and have great experiences with friend and family.

But another goal is to increase awareness of the Saranac Lake community and its many assets, including its local businesses. The Saranac Lake 6er name and logo are trademarked and may be used under license and the proceeds from the licensing agreement are used to offset the costs of the program such as printing 6er trail guides.

We hope to see more local businesses tying a product or service they provide to the Saranac Lake 6er name. The 6er Team welcomes Saranac Lake Discount Liquors as it joins Bear Essentials and Grizle-T’s as local businesses who have licensed the 6er name.