The Saranac Lakes are a combined team of three lakes (Upper, Middle and Lower) connected by the Saranac River. On Sunday, we decided to go test the hyper-light canoes from Placid Boatworks on the lower lake. We have been planning a multi-day trip on lakes for a while, and it was time to try options.
Fresh water, especially here in the Adirondacks, often requires portages and open topped canoes are lighter than decked boats. They are also easier to load with gear, and easier to enter. So, they seem like the natural choice for us. Lucie tried the 10′ Spitfire and I embarked on the 14′ Rapidfire. We wanted a quiet paddle around Saranac Lake and experience the primal pleasure of being the only human around for miles.
We were not disappointed. Both boats are quick, easy to maneuver and so stable. And the best was yet to come: At around 15lbs, they are so light that you can take them out of the water with only one hand.
Thanks 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Concentration before the start
Waiting for the green light
The fastest (in my book!)
The 2015 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival officially started on Friday, February 6th, and will close on February 15th. The 10 days of festivities include some of the big events carnival goers love and expect, like the Ladies’ Fry Pan Toss, the Rotary Club Variety Show, and, of course, the Gala Parade.
As always, there are some new additions to the schedule, including music and movies geared to this year’s 1960s theme, and, without fail, another new wacky Carnival event, one that involves rolling bowling balls across the ice.
We spent most of the morning around the incredible ice castle, with great additional ice sculptures (I really loved the ice VW kombi, straight from my hippie years).
Then we went golfing. Yes, Arctic Golf was added in the lineup last year, so you can play miniature golf on a course with obstacles made of snow and ice. A great way to spend time with kids!
If you’re not fond of being outside with temperatures in the minus tens, you could still enjoy the multiple themed shows happening indoors at night. There are a lot of theme-specific events, like selections from “Hair”, the musical, or tributes by local performers to the music of the era in a show labeled as “Saranac Lake sings the Sixties”. And tonight is the “Get your 60’s Groove On” dance party at the town hall.
What a great event! For more information, please visit the Carnival website.