Sunday, June 12, 2016
Hiking Scarface (Saranac 6 no. 3)
After waiting out a day of rain, we tackled Scarface as our third Saranac peak. The trail descriptions indicated that the views weren't the most spectacular, but that the trail itself made up for it, and they were right.
The trail to Scarface starts off flat, meandering through evergreen-dominated boreal forest. Early landmarks include a railroad crossing (only used by a scenic railway) and the sound of gunshots from the nearby prison. Yes, you read that right - a nearby prison uses adjacent land for target practice. Eventually, the trail crosses over a stream on prison-built bridge. Later on, an old foundation is on the left side on the trail. Gunshots aside, the trail is tranquil, and we saw several newts.
Eventually, the trail starts going up, and there is some challenging scrambling. The photo on the left depicts the trail at its most rugged point. You can take a short break, as we did, where the trees open up slightly behind you, but the best views are still ahead.
An open rock ledge reveals the view above. It's a good lunch spot, and if you are just after a view, turn around here. But if you want to reach the summit, keep going. The actual summit is still a ways off, even though it feels like you're at the top.
The next major landmark is an unturned tree on a rock outcropping, pictured here, but this is not the summit either, even though it looks like the trail continues downhill. Keep going to the true summit, marked with a plastic disk on a tree, as seen below. (The trail finally looks like it ends here, but on close inspection I realized it does continue. It's poorly travelled and blocked by a dead tree, no doubt on purpose.)
All in all, this was a lovely hike, and we were fortunate enough to enjoy good weather ... unlike our next hike.