Tough Love, Adirondack-Style

Paddlers queue for Browns Tract during the Adirondack Canoe Classic. Photograph by Nancie Battaglia

From our desks at Adirondack Life‘s brick church headquarters, on Jay’s village green, we write and edit pieces about our park’s extraordinary assets, its endless possibilities for adventure, its epic contests. Sure, we’re out there on weekends—paddling, hiking, camping, exploring places we want to cover in our pages, maybe destinations we’ve read about and longed to visit ourselves. (Last week I finally checked out Lake George’s legendary Tongue Range and encountered a firehose-size rattlesnake resting along the Deer Leap trail.)  But, honestly, none of us has taken on the Adirondack Canoe Classic. Or the Wakely Dam Ultra. Or the Black Fly Challenge. Or the Whiteface Uphill Footrace. Or the Patch Sprint. Or Sufferfest.

Because, well, most of us don’t necessarily want to … suffer. Obviously, the folks who compete in the Adirondack Canoe Classic, aka 90-Miler flatwater race, happening this weekend, probably sign up to paddle those 90 miles for three days from the Fulton Chain to Saranac Lake—and portage their watercraft over a total of five miles of carries—for the love of the sport. And their enthusiasm is infectious. I’ve stood at the race’s finish along Riverside Park and watched those exhausted but euphoric paddlers celebrate their accomplishment, and thought, I want to do that! And then, as I’ve driven away wondered, Could I do that? And then, later, at home, concluded, What was I thinking? (There’s even a carry between Fifth and Sixth Lakes known as “Purgatory Portage.”)

Right now I’m thinking those competitors deserve some Adirondack love. Cheer them on September 7 at 8 a.m. at the race’s start on Old Forge’s waterfront, along the way or at the Lake Flower finish line.

Want to learn about other Adirondack feats of fun? Read “Tough Love.”

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