LONG LAKE - More than 250 boats and 500 paddlers took to the water Sept. 11 for the 27th annual Adirondack Canoe Classic 90-Miler.
The three-day race included 14 classes of competition and drew participants, volunteers and spectators alike from all over the northeast as well as abroad. This year attracted 58 boats from inside the Adirondack Park, but also drew paddlers from as far away as New Zealand.
The 90-Miler launched from Old Forge Pond and was completed Sept. 13 on Lake Flower in Saranac Lake. Paddlers traversed the Fulton Chain, the Eckford Chain, Long Lake, the Raquette River, and the Saranac Lakes.
The course intentionally follows some of the "original highways of the Adirondacks" once traveled by Native Americans, guides, and early settlers.
Day one consisted of paddles and carries through the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Raquette Lake, the Marion River and the Eckford Chain of Lakes. Paddlers bedded down in Blue Mountain Lake and launched early on day two from Bissell's on Long Lake.
Day two was a paddle down Long Lake and into the Raquette River, a carry around Raquette Falls, a paddle down the Raquette River to a finish at the state boat launch on Routes 3 & 30 outside Tupper Lake.
Day three started at Fish Creek Campground and included a paddle down Upper Saranac Lake, carry to Middle Saranac Lake, paddle across Middle Saranac Lake and into the Saranac River, carrying around the Upper State Locks. Paddlers continued on the last stretch of Lower Saranac Lake and another section of the Saranac River, carrying around the Lower State Locks. The homestretch was across Oseetah Lake and Lake Flower to finish the race at Prescott Park in the village of Saranac Lake.
Voyageur canoes set the pace of the race. The Richard Reynolds Express, powered by seven paddlers from Rochester including captain Marc Gillespie, finished the trip from Old Forge to Saranac Lake in 12 hours, 14 minutes and 41 seconds to the take the fastest overall time of the weekend.