After lunch today, I climbed Baker Mountain for the first time since the village of Saranac Lake inaugurated its Saranac Lake 6er challenge in May. Baker always sees a lot foot traffic on a sunny summer day, but there seemed to be an unusual number of cars at the trailhead. I suspected that at least some of the hikers were in pursuit of their 6er patch.
My suspicion was confirmed when I reached the summit and met my neighbors, Steve and Sunita Halasz, with their two sons, Galen, 8, and Oliver, 4. They were picnicking with their friend Jessica Seem and her sons, Elliot Walsh, 10, and Casey Seem, 7.
Jessica and her sons were finishing the Saranac Lake 6. They had come to Saranac Lake from central Massachusetts specifically to complete the challenge (visiting Steve and Sunita was a bonus). They did them in four days, with one day of rest.
“Ampersand was my favorite,” Elliot said. “It was nice and scrambly, and the view was great.”
Younger brother Casey said he had been reluctant to climb all six until his mother promised him an ice-cream sundae. Asked what flavor he planned to get, he replied, “Whatever they have!”
The Salasz clan did not accompany the visitors on all their hikes, but Sunita told me of another notable achievement: it was Oliver’s first time up Baker under his own power.
Hikers earn the Saranac Lake 6er patch by climbing, besides Baker and Ampersand, Haystack, Scarface, St. Regis, and McKenzie mountains. They also earn the right to ring the 6er bell in the Berkeley Green pavilion.
So who is going to ring the bell?
“All of us,” Elliot said, “because we each did it.”
Click here for more information on the Saranac Lake 6er challenge.