The 90-miler: A first timer’s perspective

I have got to say I am a bundle of excitement this morning!  Two nights ago I had non-stop dreams about the 90-miler, in one I got to the Old Forge starting line and realized that I had forgotten my paddle (don’t worry I am fully packed and have double checked the paddles).  This is my first year participating in the 90-miler, a three day paddling race through the Adirondacks.  Some participants have been at it for 20+ years!


A photo taken at a previous 90-miler attended by NFCT staff

One of the first partners of the Trail that I began working with when I started with the NFCT back in December of 2008 was Brian McDonnell of Mac’s Canoe Livery.  He has collaborated with us to expand the NFCT Stewardship Intern program to include 2 more interns devoted to projects in New York and along the sections of NFCT/90-miler overlap.  He and his wife Grace do an amazing job coordinating the event and so many businesses and volunteers come together that I am blown away.  There are 250 boats that participate in the event/race!

I say event/race because there is an open touring section for those who are less inclined to compete, want to get an idea of what the course looks like, or have not practiced as much as they should have (team NFCT fits all categories), and then there are a number of other categories related to boat type deigned for those who want to give it all they have for the fastest time. 

Right from day one Brian asked if I was going to be participating in the 90-miler.  I had limited knowledge of the event in the beginning.  Next thing I know the NFCT office has a C-4 (four person, 23 foot) Wenonah canoe.  Well, little by little my office mates realized they had double or triple booked their schedules.  In a mad scramble I found three race-mates to fill their shoes (although I hope we can line up an office boat next year).  My brother Mike jumped to the occasion as well as Uncle Norm and my friend Erik from Vermont.  My friend Mike D and wife Christy are going as our support team, to cheer us on and pick us up at the end of the race each day (Thank you so much).  I am sure I’ll have a follow-up blog article with plenty of race pics (no I did not say “racey” pics) next week.

Me and Bro

My brother Mike and I after practicing our paddling in the ADKs (nice farmer’s tan, Mike!)

 Planning has been fun.  It is great because camping is free and  Mac’s Canoe Livery picks up and delivers the canoe to and from each leg of the race.  We just have to show up and try not to paddle backwards.  I set up a google map to share the course with my paddle mates, it may not be 100% accurate, but it gives an idea of the course.

Wish us luck!

PS: check out this great commentary by Brian McDonnell: