Elevation: 3861 ft (1177 m)
Peak: N44 05.655 W73 50.072
Parking lot: N44 18.766 W74 00.437
Distance: 12.9 km
Friday morning I received a phone call at the office. It was Mike saying that he and Ken were heading down to the ADK tomorrow and there was a spot in the car if I was interested. "Hell yeah!", I shouted. This would be my first Adirondack hike of 2009 and I was well overdue.
Now being a mere passenger on this trip, I was pretty much left out of the decision making process on which hike we would be tackling. Seriously though, what did I care? I was just happy to be back in the ADK, and besides, I trust the expertise of my two Sherpas.
Somewhere along the highway to Saranac Lake Mike and Ken tossed out the idea of hiking Whiteface and decided on McKenzie Mountain with the option to include Moose Mountain. Perfect - I'd already sat on the summit of Whiteface and I was up for something new. I'd read about these two peaks earlier and I knew that we were in for a loop with lots of potential views of Lake Placid and Whiteface. Besides it's not often that I get to hike with these two in the ADK on a trail that neither of them had previously explored.
After one last pit stop, we hit the trail head around 9 am and geared up for the day's adventure. It didn't take long before the well groomed path angled near vertical and we were all sucking wind (some more than others). Eventually we landed on a large boulder that popped us above the trees and gave us our first real view. It also officially confirmed that the leaves were in full color. Although admittedly not peak, they were still a nice break from the summer's sea of green.
After some more steep climbing we stepped out on to another ledge where we could see Saranac Lake to the left and our morning's destination to the right, McKenzie peak.
Goal in sight we made good time to McKenzie's summit. Here we were greeted by what could be described as two doors. Each door opened to a ledge and a spectacular view. To the left, Saranac Lake and Catamount. To the right, Lake Placid and Whiteface. Combined they provide you with a 360 degree view. Sweet.
On the way down we stood by the McKenzie-Moose junction and debated the pros and cons of bagging Moose Mountain. Mike wanted another view of Whiteface while Ken seemed to be counting the miles and weighing them against daylight hours and the side benefit of an early finish with time for supper and a pint. My preference was... well like I said it didn't really matter what I had to say, I don't speak Sherpa.
In the end, it was decided that we would hike out at a leisurely pace and make a stop for some food and a pint. Honestly it's hard to argue with a plan as solid as that one.
At the end of the day we raced out to beat the closing bell of the Lakeview Deli in Saranac Lake. This place is very similar to that of DiRienzo's in Ottawa on Beech St. You go in, scan the specials and standards, and then blurt out your order when he shouts "Who's next?". The main difference between Lakeview and DiRienzo's is that DiRienzo's feels a lot more like the soup Nazi from Seinfeld. Regardless both are equally delicious, and for the record, $6.25 landed me chicken with lettuce, tomato, spicy mayo, and mustard on a toasted bun AND a side salad and classic deli pickle. Talk about bang for your buck.
One last view... sweet.
"A Saranac will do just fine" - moe.