Monday, September 23, 2019

Adirondacks: Haystack Mountain (Saranac), 9/19/19

The afternoon after hiking Donaldson and Emmons, I headed up to Haystack Mountain (2878 ft.), one of the popular "Saranac 6" list. I chose the easier "back-door" route from Lake Placid via the Jackrabbit Ski Trail and a herd path created by Saranac 6-ers bagging Haystack and McKenzie Mountains on the same hike. The "front-door" route is significantly steeper.

This area is within the 37,616-acre McKenzie Mountain Wilderness - about the same size as the Sandwich Range Wilderness in the Whites, but with far fewer trails. The mileage given for Haystack Mtn. on the sign is for a longer route (actually about 4 miles, not 6.2) involving all maintained trails and not the route I took using the herd path, which was only 2.7 miles one-way.

The Jackrabbit Trail was mostly pleasant, easy walking on an old woods road.

The Lake Placid Lean-to, one of many Adirondack shelters scattered throughout the high peaks.

This cairn marks the start of the herd path up the back side of Haystack.

A glimpse up to McKenzie Mountain, 1000 ft. higher than Haystack.

After a few years of Saranac 6 action, the herd path is well-beaten.

Haystack Mountain is a gem. The view here from its open summit ledges looks southwest to Scarface Mountain, the trailless Sawtooth Range, the Seward Range and Ampersand Mountain.

The Seward Range in profile.

A wide open, peaceful setting up here.

A good look at the wild Sentinel Range to the east.

Big Burn Mountain rises beyond a hardwood valley.

Looking south to the high peaks. I spent a long time here lounging in the sun.

Descending through nice birch forest on the herd path.

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