Hikin’ in the rain

SARANAC LAKE – Heavy rain in the days leading up to the start of the Saranac Lake 6er hiking program hasn’t dampened Mayor Clyde Rabideau’s spirits.

On Friday, the Saranac Lake 6er Facebook page posted a photo of Rabideau hanging off a lamppost downtown, emulating Gene Kelly’s famous pose from the 1952 movie “Singin’ in the Rain.” The photo was taken at 8:30 Friday morning.

When asked by the Enterprise why he was hanging off a lamppost in the rain, Rabideau said, “Attitude, man. We’re having fun in the rain. To anyone who thinks rain is going to deter anybody this weekend, it’s all a matter of attitude. We’re going to have some fun, rain or shine.”

The Saranac Lake 6er program kicks off this morning at about 7 a.m. with registration at the Berkeley Green. Speakers – including Rabideau, state Assemblyman Dan Stec and state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5 Director Robert Stegemann – begin the proceedings at about 7:45 a.m., along with a blessing from Rev. Ann Gaillard, pastor of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Hikers will then head off to the trails.

So far, the program seems to be popular. As of 2 p.m. Friday, Rabideau said about 90 people had pre-registered to be Saranac Lake 6ers.

“We had predicted we’d get 50 total, so we’re already over our prediction,” Rabideau said.

Launched in February by the village, the 6er program encourages people to climb the six mountains in the Saranac Lake area: Baker, Haystack, St. Regis, Scarface, Ampersand and McKenzie. Starting today, those who climb all six peaks, apply to the village for certification and pay $5 will get a patch and bumper sticker featuring the 6er logo, along with their official 6er number.

An Ultra 6er patch will be awarded to those who climb all six mountains in less than 24 hours, and there will also be a Winter 6er patch.

The program is a smaller-scale version of one run for decades by the Adirondack 46ers, an organization of hikers of who have climbed to the summits of the 46 traditionally recognized Adirondack High Peaks. More than 7,000 people have registered their climbs and become 46ers since Saranac Laker Herb Clark and brothers Bob and George Marshall did so in 1925.

One thing that Rabideau wanted to stress is that people should be careful in the wet weather this weekend.

“The trails will be slippery, and we must be more vigilant than usual because of wet and slipperiness,” he said. “There is a danger factor there from the rain.”