We’re now Saranac Lake 6ers…

6erlogo-e1362195802675Thanks to a tourism initiative begun by the village of Saranac Lake in May 2013, hikers who climb all six peaks earn a patch and the right to ring the 6er bell at downtown’s Berkeley Green. The peaks range in height from 2,452 feet (Baker Mountain) to 3,322 feet (McKenzie Mountain). In between are Haystack, Scarface, St. Regis, and Ampersand mountains.

Last weekend, it was our turn to become members of the 6ers family. We had already hiked five of the six summits, and only remained Baker Mountain, deemed to be an excellent family hike.

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Baker Mountain from Moody Pond

Baker is definitely the easiest and most frequently climbed. The hike begins across the road from Moody Pond on the outskirts of the village. The trail climbs nine hundred feet over 0.9 miles. Going up, there are a number of side trails. It seems that every inch of Baker has been trod by someone. The red disks are few and far between, but sticking to the well-beaten path is good enough.

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Saranac Lake village from Baker Mountain

About a third of the way up, the trail levels for a spell, then steepens again after surmounting a short rock wall. The forest changes from hardwoods to evergreens. Nearing the summit, there are bedrock slabs with views of mountains, lakes, and, directly below, the village of Saranac Lake. Nearby is a ledge with superb views of the High Peaks in the distance.

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A Heck of a Race!

Spring has finally come and it’s time to celebrate. Daffest returned to Saranac Lake, last Friday, with a kick-off party at the Blue Moon Cafe (that we like so much). This is the fifth annual daffodil-themed celebration of spring festival, and it has steadily grown each year.

The whole community jumped right in, and, after the long winter, it was great to see the daffodils blooming. There were plenty of events, ranging from the “Canvas, Cake and Cocktails”, “Try Mine Pastry Contest”, to the “Festival of the Blooms” and a pie eating contest, among others.

Daffest_Derby_Logo_2_Flags_But, the real treat is the Daffest derby, an old-fashioned soap box derby race. The police closed the LaPan highway, from 7AM to 4PM on Saturday. Locals brought 600 bales of hay, and the racing festivities began around 8AM with the safety checks, followed by the trial runs. The race started at 11AM and lasted more than 90 minutes, as there were a lot of kids (in 4 categories: 5-to-8, 9-to-12, 13-to-15, and 16 and up), coming from Tupper Lake, Lake Placid, Malone, Massena and even Plattsburgh.

Needless to say, it was a lot of fun.

Concentrating before the start

Concentration before the start

Waiting for the green light

Waiting for the green light

Full speed

Full speed

Finish Line

Finish Line

The fastest (in my book!)

The fastest (in my book!)

Going back to Indian Head

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Deers

A few weeks back, we made our first attempt to Indian Head, under snowy conditions. With snow up our waist, we had much difficulty to reach our destination. So, we decided to try again, and, on Saturday, we visited the incredible sights of Indian Head.

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Gothics Window

Indian Head is perched between the peaks of the Great Range and the Pinnacle Range and fully within the boundaries of the Adirondack Mountain reserve. The best way to enjoy the hike is to do a loop out of the available trails and open up the opportunity to see the numerous waterfalls of Gill Brook on the way out.

We started our long walk along Lake Road for more than 3 miles, and met a couple of deers, then went right along the Ausable River, before going around the mountain and starting our climb. On our way up there, we took a side trail right to “Gothics Window,” a perfectly framed “window” of Gothics.

Heading back onto the trail, we climbed an icy ladder and moved along multiple switchbacks. We broke through the trees and there before us was an incredible unobstructed view above the Lower Ausable Lake. The high peaks rise sharply around the Lake framing out a view like none other in the Adirondacks. We stayed for some time here taking photos and gazing at the morning lights. We could have stayed for hours in this place without growing bored. On our descent, we followed the Gill Brook Trail which gives a nice helping of waterfalls and cascades to please the eyes and ears.

This short day hike to Indian Head is definitely one that we will repeat many times over.IMG_2020

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A Spring Splash!

IMG_1092If you happened to be at Whiteface Mountain on Sunday, you’d have met a lot of people with “interesting” costumes. Spiderman was there. And Superman, Real Grouchy, Batman, a white tiger and some more… This was because of the International Pond Skimming Contest.

The idea is very simple: Think you can make it across a sea of slush? Many have tried and almost as many have failed but crossing the pond isn’t the only way to win. Contestants are judged on distance, splash and costume! Yes, there is also a jury handing notes, as in an international skating competition.

In a field  of more than 90 contestants, only a handful made it to the other side. Most fell short, some making the plunge and the others doing face plants in chilly water. One even tried it on a bike. Enough said!

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The coolest! Beer in hand, he went through!

The coolest! Beer in hand, he went through!

The funniest!

The funniest!

One funny day at the Asgaard farm

kidding_day_flyer_2015Saturday was the Kidding Day at Asgaard farm. This is an annual tradition, started last year, where, from 10AM to 1PM, kids and parents can enjoy spring on the farm! Warm beverages and lunch were also provided. But the main treat was to meet the goats.

The farm has a productive herd of 44 milking goats, primarily Alpines with a handful of Nubians and Saanens in the mix. Each year the goats are bred in the fall and allowed to rest from mid December to the beginning of March. During the busy kidding season, all of the dams’ milk is heat-treated and fed back to the kids. Then, cheese making gradually begins in mid April, once the kids are ready to be weaned.

We had the chance to discuss with David Brunner and Rhonda Butler who acquired the farm in 1988. After working several years to restore the land and buildings, they put the farm back into production in 2003. What a great story!

And, since we believe in supporting local businesses, we ended up buying their incredible Ausable Valley Tomme and the tasty Adirondack Maple Syrup Fresh Chevre. Well, I could not resist the homemade goat milk Caramels either and we even bought a few handcrafted goat milk soaps.

A great initiative, and a great day at the farm!

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Sucking milk all at once

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I guess I was Wrong! Winter is Back…

IMG_1013Well, two weeks into spring, we finally had two consecutive days of warm and sunny weather, flirting with the low 60F, and the snow started to melt and the grass began to show. Needless to say, I could not wait to tuck away my dreary winter clothes and really get ready for spring.

Spring is always a tricky time of year. One day it’s wet and blustery and all you want to do is stay home next to a fire with a good book, and the next the sun is out, birds are singing, and you’re heading out to the farmers’ market to pick up local products. At this unpredictable time of year, nothing is granted.

Further proof of that? We woke up this morning with an inch of snow, temperature in the 20F and relentless wind. But, you know what? I love it!

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Spring is here! Really?

IMG_0956  Spring is a breath of fresh air in the Adirondacks! After a long and cold winter, we embrace the warmer rays of sun. While we love our winter activities, we welcome the sounds of birds chirping and rustling leaves, letting us know warmer weather is on the horizon. It is time for us to pull up an Adirondack chair, sit on our porch, and watch nature at its best!

I love Spring in the Adirondacks because we often have the vast forests, thousands of lakes, little shops and sought-after entertainment all to ourselves. The North Woods are just waking up from the long winter, the palette is a thrilling pale green, and the sky filled with skeins of geese, flying home for the summer. And although the days are warm, Whiteface is often (as its name suggests) still white and the ski trails are open.

As for weather? Well, April is also known as Mud Season to the locals, because that’s when the snow is melting and the mud is flowing… A few days ago, we experienced another afternoon of flurries. But, today, the sun made a welcome return for April’s Fool, after two days of playing hide and seek. And, all along our home, ice is melting, leaving wonderful sculptures everywhere.IMG_0982IMG_0984