Saranac 6 Relay Race

We did something, and it was literally a couple of days ago! Unlike the blog, we are pretty active. So, let’s get to it!

So sometime in the past couple of months Darcy and I were asked to help complete a team for the Saranac 6 Relay Race. A race that incorporates the 6 mountains that make up, well, the Saranac 6. Due to some DEC stuff, Ampersand wasn’t allowed to participate (sad mountain), so they substituted Jenkins Mountain. You can find out more about the mountains here:

Darcy and I have already done them, and done them in winter as well, so this seemed like another fun outing. Also, two of our team members were going for their “Ultra”, to finish within 24 hours. Of course, we were aiming for 12 hours. The plan was laid. Layed? Laid? Meh…

We got an expensive cabin for approximately 8 hours total, arriving after 9pm and checking out at 5:15am. But man, this KOA cabin was nice! Google Whiteface/Wilmington KOA. I would have loved to sit around the fire here that night.

We awoke at 4am, got ready, and headed out to the center of Saranac for the briefing. There were quite a few teams there, and after the talk and some side events, we disbursed. Some teams ran… literally ran to their cars and scooted out pretty fast. Others (us) took our time. I’m pretty sure we were the last ones to leave. Our first peaks were Haystack and McKenzie, the two biggest for today. Dan and Alanna, working on the Ultra, went to the jackrabbit trailhead (opting for the easier route up, though it wouldn’t count for the relay). AJ and Deb took on these two for the “official” trail. The four of us arrived at the trail head about 6:15 and, in the dark of the morning, headed out to get these two. Darcy and I jumped back in the car and ran to get coffee, then maybe a quick nap. We came back to the lot and sipped our coffee and kinda sorta but not really dozed off and on.

Yup, it’s early!

Expecting Deb to be back around 9:30am-ish, Darcy ran to get her a coffee while I walked into the trail for some stretching. I didn’t really have cell service, but after Darcy came back we got the message that her and AJ both did Haystack and were now heading up McKenzie. So, Darcy drank her coffee and we watched a little bit of Walter Mitty on my phone. We were getting restless, and then we saw Dan and Alanna pull up. They had finished those two and were headed to Ampersand (the official mountain for the Ultra). So, we sat a bit more… and more.

At about 1:30pm Deb and AJ came out of the trail head. It was a slog! Snow and ice on the top and some sketchy parts coming down.

From there we high tailed it to St. Regis and Jenkins. I was assigned Jenkins cuz sure, and knowing we needed to make up time, Darcy and I started out as quickly as we could. Seeing my long legs flappin about like a gazelle, Darcy told me to go ahead and get the peak, so off I went. I got to the top in 35 minutes (it’s seriously not a difficult hike), and headed down. I stopped to grab a drink when I met back up with Darcy, who was pretty close to the summit herself. She told me get going, so flap flap flap my legs went again. I got to the bottom and scooted to the parking lot to hand off the punch-card to Alanna and Dan so they could get St. Regis. Unfortunately it wasn’t much of a rest for them. Darcy joined us minutes later and we sat and ate and talked for awhile. After a couple hours Darcy and I left to grab a coffee and head to Scarface. The parking lot was full and we hung out for a little while with another group. Shortly after, Deb, AJ, Dan, and Alanna arrived and at about 5:10 Dan and Alanna hit the trail. Dan was hurtin for sure. Darcy, Deb, AJ, and I headed up to the gas station/convenience store and just hung out for awhile. It was getting late and, sensing a finish in about 1 3/4 hours to 2 hours, we headed back to the trailhead. Unfortunately Scarface wasn’t accommodating, and Dan and Alanna didn’t make an appearance until after 8pm. It was dark and we were the last ones in the lot. Except a hunter and a dead deer.

Off we raced to Baker, the last of the mountains. It was pretty dark but Alanna and Deb ran ahead, AJ and Dan close behind, and Darcy and I bringing up the rear. Alanna had the card although it was “Darcy’s peak”, but shortly after starting I sent a message ahead to please wait. Although Darcy didn’t seem to mind not summitting or punching the card herself, we deserved to get the summit and for her to get her mountain. We did, and descended by 9:30ish. We all drove to the starting point in Saranac Lake, rang the bell, and congratulated ourselves on finishing together as a team. Dan and Alanna finished their ultra as well. It was late late, so Darcy and I said our goodbyes and scooted, getting home close to midnight. Long day, and I had to put in 6 hours at work the next day. Yuck.

Our experience of the Relay? It was an adventure to say the least, just not nearly what we expected. *If* there’s a next time, it’ll be different. Make sure you’re all on the same sheet of music, everyone has equal input, and the goals are all aligned. Fortunately we’re all friends so that helped.