During the Memorial Day weekend, there were more snowflakes than blackflies in the air, after a late spring snowstorm deposited nearly three feet of fresh snow on Whiteface Mountain and the surrounding High Peaks.
Grzyb finished in 12th place.
Another hiker, Matt Hicks was huddled inside to avoid the rain, but he was ready to hit the trail. Hicks hails from Poughkeepsie and is a NYS licensed guide, as well as an accomplished trail runner. He had recently completed a 50 Mile trail run in the Catskills. When asked to predict a time frame for the first event finishers, Hicks estimated it would take about 14.5 hours, due to the rain. He eventually completed the event in eighth place.
The inaugural Ultra Saranac Sixer was Lake Placid resident Loring Porter, who rang the bell after tackling the required six local peaks in a time of just 10 hours, 22 minutes.
Porter is an accomplished trail athlete who has tackled the Adirondack 46, the 111 Peaks (tallest mountains in the NorthEast), as well as Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide and the Pacific Crest Trail.
He explained: “When I first heard about the Saranac Sixer, I thought it was just silly, those little peaks! Then I thought about it and realized it was going to be hard to do 31 miles all in one go. The water and the rain really made it much tougher. I was the first one on McKenzie and there was a lot of snow up there.”
It was nearly 40 minutes later before the next ultra finishers returned, and they were a pair of sisters, Bethany and Mallory Garretson from Cherry Valley near the Catskills. Bethany, who works in Saranac Lake, was joined by her sister for the event.
They finished in 11 hours and 10 minutes. Covered in mud and shivering against the cold wind, the two sisters celebrated their accomplishment with friends and family. “It was cold up there,” they explained, “And there was a lot of snow, and running water on the trails. We we forced to forde several streams. It was a lot tougher than we expected!”
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at email@example.com.