Rising to the Adirondack Challenge

When Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a whitewater event to celebrate Adirondack rivers I bet he had no idea how remote Hamilton County would rally to the challenge. From a short, simple raft race on the Indian River the schedule has grown to more than a week of outdoor action, live music in Inlet and Indian Lake, crafts and book fairs in many towns, historic tours in Raquette Lake, square dancing in Piseco and even an ice-cream-eating contest in Long Lake. The state’s least-populated and third-largest county’s approach to the Adirondack Challenge has plenty for families, paddlers, hikers, triathletes, mini golfers and spectators.

On July 15 licensed guide and guidebook author Spencer Morrissey will lead a hike up Castle Rock, which is a great family outing with the right pleasure-to-pain ratio. Just when you’re tired of scrambling up a steep pitch you squeeze between huge boulders and a spectacular vista unfolds, of Blue Mountain and Blue Mountain Lake with all its rocky peninsulas, hidden coves and wild islands. The trip is sponsored by Long Lake Parks and Recreation and to sign up call (518) 624-3077.

On July 20 the annual Piseco triathlon includes a half-mile swim, 11-mile bike leg and three-mile run for individuals and teams. Call (518) 548-4521 for more information; you can register on race day.

The grand finale to scores of activities is Sunday, July 21, in the hamlet of Indian Lake, with the governor’s invitational raft race on the Indian River and a 15-mile flatwater paddling contest for professionals in four-person canoes, plus kids, couples and families in a variety of boats stroking their way up and down Indian Lake. The Adirondack Challenge stretches the length of Indian Lake’s Main Street, with crafts on the school lawn, New York food vendors throughout town, shows at Indian Lake Theater and three bands in Byron Park—plus you’ll be able to heft an ultralight Hornbeck pack canoe and learn from other local boatbuilders about how to enjoy Adirondack waters long after the festival has ended.

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