As the skies continue to drip and drizzle with a miserable mix of rain, winds and foggy morns, hardy Adirondackers have learned to take it all in stride. What's the problem with a bit of driving rain when you're used to 42-below, 4 feet of snow and a heavy blow?
It isn't the bluebird days that help to build character, it's the floods, the thaws and the always persistent black flies.
Where else but in the Adirondacks could you find a crew of Lycra clad woodland gladiators ready and waiting to run off and tackle five mountains in the pouring rain and spitting snow - just for the fun of it. Fortunately, I was in the Berkeley Green park for the launch of the Saranac 6ers event to watch the prospective Saranac 6ers off, and to cheer them on the return.
What famous artist, who painted this work, spent his summers at the Moose Pond Club in Minerva? (Answer: Winslow Homer)
They covered many miles, up and down, through snow, blow and raging mountain streams simply for the honor of becoming the first in a wave of potential Saranac 6ers. It was fitting that the two out of the first three 6ers were sisters, and they wore wide smiles as they rang the bell.
In the hours between the 6er launch and their return, the Berkeley Green was filled with entertainment, a bunch of hardy onlookers and plenty of rain.
My contribution to the affair included hosting a Mountain Trivia Contest. My research efforts prompted me to delve much deeper into the history of the Adirondack peaks than I had considered. And I learned more about the history of the guides who traveled these hills than I could have imagined, or invented.
So, for those who didn't care to brave the rain and winds or battle the snow and raging streams, I offer a sample of the goods that were offered up that cold and blustery day.
For answers to the questions, see the key below. If you can answer half of them correctly, you qualify as a "near local." If you manage to answer two-thirds of them you're well on your way to "Saranac Standard Time." And if you don't miss any, and you have them all correct without guessing, you own the mountains!
1. What is the current name of the former Mt. Herbert, a 4,411-foot peak in the McIntyre Range?
2. What is the name of the small brook that parallels the hiking trail to summit of this High Peak?
3. What future U.S. President spent a year living in a lean-to, which was also known as a three-sided or a half-faced camp?
4. Who was the McKenzie for which the mountain was named, and what did he do?
5. What major High Peak was McKenzie credited with making the first ascent?
6. How old was Saranac Lake guide Herb Clark when he first began hiking the High Peaks with the Marshall brothers?
7. Who was the first Honorary President of the original Adirondack Guides Association, and when and where was the organization founded?
8. What is the full name of the little girl who became lost on Whiteface Mountain? (Hint: Another High Peak bears her surname)
9. Bob Marshall, one of the nation's foremost advocates for wilderness passed away unexpectedly at a young age. How old was he?
10. Who was the Hermit of Ampersand Mountain, and what was his occupation?
11. Haystack Mountain is visible on the front flanks of McKenzie Mountain, overlooking Ray Brook. What is the name of a similarly small peak sandwiched between Scarface and Ray Brook?
12. Which of the Saranac 6er peaks is accessible from five different trailheads?
13. From which of the Saranac 6ers can Wolf Pond be seen?
14. The trail side of Ampersand Mountain overlooks Middle Saranac Lake. What is the name of the lake to be found on the opposite side of the mountain? Bonus: What was the name of the famous group of that camped along the shores of the lake?
15. Who is credited with having been the first Adirondack guide on record? And what did he earn for the honor?
16. Which of the Saranac Six peaks is surrounded by a river, an old rock quarry and two ponds?
17. Who was St. Regis, and what did he do to earn the honor? Bonus: Who was Saint Hubert?
18. Upon his untimely death, Bob Marshall left a considerable sum of money in his will to Herb Clark. What would the sum be worth in current value?
19. What is the name of the oldest Outdoor Sporting Trophy to be continously awarded in the United States?
20. Which mountain trail features the remains of an old cow barn at a trail junction?
21. Name at least 21 lakes and ponds that contribute to the watershed that flows over the Lake Flower Dam at the head of the Saranac River.
22. What famous author pennned these words:
"Sound, ruddy men, frolic and innocent,
In winter, lumberers, in summer guides,
Their sinewy ares pull at the oars untired,
Three times ten thousand strokes, from morn to eve."
23. What was the profession of Follensby, who gave Follensby Clear Pond its name?
24. What local mountain overlooks the Spectacle Ponds?
1. Mount Marshall
2. Herbert Brook
3. Abe Lincoln - such structures were common among settlers in Illinois
4. Sanford McKenzie was a guide from Keene Valley and an assistant surveyor with Verplank Colvin.
5. Wolf Jaw
6. 48 years, and the boys were both under 10 years of age.
7. Verplank Colvin was in Saranac Lake for the founding of the Adirondack Guides Association in 1891.
8. Esther McComb
9. 38 years old
10. Walter Channing Rice was the Ampersand Mountain Fire Tower observer from 1915 to 1923, "Who kept virgil from this peak."
11. Signal Hill
12. McKenzie Mountain
13. McKenzie and Haystack
14. Ampersand Lake. Bonus: The Philosphers Camp
15. Elijah Benedict, an Indian from North Elba was paid a dollar and a plug of tobacco for leading David Henderson and Mr. McIntyre through the rugged Indian Pass to the ore beds of Tahawus.
16. Mount Baker
17. St. Regis from France is considered the patron saint the poor and the impoverished. Bonus: St. Hubert, from Germany is the patron saint of woodsmen and hunters.
18. The $10,000 bequest in 1939, would be worth over $200,000 in the current day. Clark was the only person to recieve a bequest.
19. The Trudeau Cup is awarded to the winner of the Trudeau Big Buck Contest in Saranac Lake.
21. Ledge Pond, Pink Pond, Hoel Pond, Turtle Pond, Slang Pond, Long Pond, Floodwod Pond, Rollins Pond, Square Pond, Fish Creek Pond, Follensby Clear Pond, Black Pond, Little Clear Pond, Weller Pond, Little Weller Pond, Upper Saranac Lake, Middle Saranac, Lower Saranac Lake, Kiwassa Lake, Ossetah Lake, Ray Brook Pond, and Alford Pond
22. Ralph Waldo Emerson of the Philosophers Camp first established on Ampersand Lake, and later on Follensby Pond.
23. Follensby was a hermit, who supposedly hid a fortune in gold somewhere in the region.
24. St. Regis
25. Photo question: Winslow Homer spent summers near Minerva in southern Essex County