Hey guys, thinking about entering the Adirondack Canoe Classic “the 90-miler” and looking for some advise. First off the main thing is I’m worried about the carries I have a Tsunami 175 and its a big heavy kayak. So my main questions is am I crazy for thinking I can do this in this kayak? I have a good set of kayak wheels but from reading others posts sounds like that might not cut the mustard? My plan is to enter the open section so I’m not looking for time just for fun! I’m up in Old Forge 4th of July week and planing on running the first leg to see what I’m getting my self into. Please any advise from you guys would be great!! Thanks!!
Hope you can do the 0 Miler and join the extended family of paddlers who make up the Classic. “90 Miles of Family & Friends”
I have done it a few times (20), but never in a kayak. I have however seen kayakers struggle on the carries and been held up by a few struggling mid trail with their dinky end mounted wheels.
Planning to run part of the course is a great shakedown. I would recommend going from Old Forge at least as far as Raquette Lake, Blue Mountain Lake would be best. At the least do 6th Lake to Raquette Lake Village. The 8th Lake to Browns Tract carry is a good test of your portage equipment and technique. Its not nearly as tough as Raquette Falls, but its much more accessible should something fail. Remember on the end of the Browns Tract Carry you will have to remove your wheels before you enter the boardwalk, so you will be carrying the kayak several hundred yars. And at Raquette Falls Carry, you must carry up the first hard pitch before you can put kayak on the cart. So practice getting it up on your shoulder quickly with all your gear stowed and carry it up the steepest slope you can find for several hundred yards. The stone steps at Raquette Falls are always slippery after the first ten boats go up the hill. More boats dropped there than anywhere on the course.
There are good reasons that the Native Americans did not use kayaks in the Adirondacks, just as there are good reasons Greenlanders did not paddle open canoes.
Just mailed our entry in yesterday
What does that kayak weigh?
Some thoughts from one who paddles both canoes and kayaks:(but a canoe in the 90)
1: After the portage at Inlet, you have to get in Sixth Lake off a wall. the water is approximately waist deep and from the top of the wall to the water is about a foot. I think I would have a problem getting in my QCC-700, but could probably do it.
I would advise trying it some place or even trying it when you are there over the 4th.
2. As Bill says you have to take the wheels off at the long board walk leading to Browns Tract.
If you can carry your kayak by your side, holding it by the side of the coaming, you should be ok. If you are in the first wave, there should be a back up and you will probably be able to put it down every twenty or thirty feet for a few seconds. ( the board walk is only about three feet wide, and at the end only two or three boats can enter the water at a time)
You’ll have the same problem getting in your boat at the end of the board walk, (but others do it)
3. Also as Bill mentioned above: the start of the carry at Racquette Falls is a bear, but then again if you can carry your boat at your side, with all the gear and wheels in it you with much anguish can probably make it. If it is plastic, you could just pull it up if you don’t mind scratching it.
4. On the “wheels” don’t use SMALL WHEELS that you put under the rear of your yak. We have watched the heart break of the kayak owner as they get pulled off over and over again by the many rocks and roots that are on the portages. Use large 16" wheels that get mounted under the middle of your boat.
If I didn’t have the best female canoe bow paddler in the world I would probably attempt it in my 18 foot long QCC-700, but I believe that is a lot lighter then your boat.
If I can think of anything more, I’ll chime back in.
Oh, almost forgot, get some long paddles in and train hard.
Good luck on what you decide and even though we are not in the open touring class, we might be on the starting line with you since they put us “older then dirt” C-2 stock in with you guys.
90 Miler entry form
If you don’t have an entry form yet; get on the phone right away to the 90 Miler hotline at 518-891-2744. Fill it out, send in your form and check and pray. The field is limited to 275 boats and first timers are in a lottery. After 20 years, my entry is pretty much guaranteed, but you are in the main draw. it took me three years of applying before I made it in 1993. If you don’t make the draw, you can try to contact on of the long boat teams to see if they need a paddler to fill out their seats. Its a good way to start. You will see the course and all the associated things that have to go right to finish each day.
Thanks guys this is all very helpful info!! I will definitely try some of these carry location when I’m up there. My kayak is 68lbs so its a lot to shoulder but I’ll check it out and see what I can handle. I have the form I know it is a lottery and hoping I get in this year if not I’ll look into the canoe teams just not much of a canoe guy really only done kayaks. Thanks again for all your info!! Super excited about this event and I finally feel like I’m in shape to take it on just worried that these carries are going to get the better of me or that I’m that guy gumming up the works.
I have another question as I look at the maps, I see there is a google map online that shows the course, but this is not totally clear. Is there a better map of the course and are the carry trails well marked? I’m just wounder because if I do a dry run of leg one the week of the 4th is it clear where I’m going? Thanks again!!
My wife, (the brains of the family)
has our tracks in a Garmin format (*.gdb)
She can send you the file
She can send them in *.gpx if needed.
Also, the tracks can be loaded into Map Source which can be downloaded free to your computer
If you pick up the “Adirondack Canoe Map”, the carries show on that.
Let me know if any of this helps you
Another helpful tid bit:
You can check out the first carry at Inlet by driving to it and then walking it.
From Old Forge take Rt 28 to Inlet. After passing through the little town, as you go up a hill; the carry, (put in) to Sixth Lake will be at the top of the hill on your left.
There is room for parking a couple of cars there.
You can check out the put in and then walk back down the hill the way you came up and the trail will be on your left, (it is marked).
Follow it down for about a hundred yards and you'll come to the take out at a tiny bay of Fifth Lake
Visualize a bunch of boats all at one time taking out and putting back in at this carry and just hope they will be strung out when you get there!
Day one course
Day one is long, but only one part is hard to follow if you are alone. During the race its easy. You just follow the other boats and go from safety boat to safety boat on the lakes. Its good to go close enough to them to thank them for being out there for us; and so they can read your boat number and check you off their list.
If you are doing the first day, its easy from Old Forge to the take out at 5th Lake. From the put in on 6th Lake you paddle across it and under the bridge into 7th Lake. Follow the north shore across the main body of the lake. Pass thru a stump filled mine field into the eastern end of the lake, go across a deeper section and keep right of what looks like an island. You will see a dock and boat ramp at the 8th Lake Campground. Pass thru the campground on the paved road and put in on the beach at 8th Lake. Paddle east across the lake to a narrow strip of sandy beach at the carry sign. Follow the trail to Browns Tract inlet and paddle downstream to Raquette Lake Village and Raquette Lake. The start of the Browns Tract Carry is about halfway. You can stop for refreshment at Raquette Lake Village, turn left as you go under the bridge and enter the lake. The hard part to navigate solo is going across Raquette Lake an into St. Huberts Bay. You are heading for the mouth of the Marion River. Study this on a map and your GPS. Once in the Marion River you are going upstream all the way to the start of the carry, past the old ferry landing its about half a mile of twisty narrow upstream work with usually a beaver dam to climb over. The stream pretty much peters out at the carry. Its a pretty carry, flat and wooded along an old railroad bed to the old ferry dock on Utowana Lake. Stay along the north shore across the lake,go thru the dug ferry channel into Eagle Lake, aim for the stone bridge, take the channel under the bridge into Blue Mountain Lake. Follow the South shore around three points and head for the beach in the far corner of the lake, with the highway traffic just behind it.
You will get a detailed paddlers guide after you are accepted into the race.
Again good luck on your entry.
And portaging a 68# boat. My 23’ C-4 weighs 64# JackL’s 17’ Jensen is about 40#
Jack/ Bill - Thanks for all the info. SO while I was up in Old Forge I paddle most of day one starting at the pond in Old Forge and into Raquette Lake. I think I did pretty good and the carries were not to bad I understand now how crazy and tight they will be day of the race! I picked up a used 14'6" Kayak that is a lot lighter then my Tsunami and I did my test paddle in that kayak, I think it will be a much better fit for this event! Brown tract was rough but not to bad so the only thing I think I have to worry about is the carry at Raquette Falls. Thanks again and Hopefully I get into the Race! - Marco
Thanks for the up date and …
I think you have made a wise decision on the lighter yak.
Now let me pick your brain:
Did you have to pull over any beaver dams in Browns Tract?
It is never the same two years in a row
We are training hard and today was “carry the boat for a mile day”
Hope you make it in. Keep us posted
I paddled the Cannonball-90 a couple of weeks ago. Water was relatively low. There were 3 beaver dams in Browns we couldn’t run through at speed and had to get out to carry over. A couple of others, the usual ones, were easily breached with a head on run. By the time we get to September, I’ve rarely had to step over a dam during the 90, but there were a couple of years that the one at the bridge was tough unless a bunch of other boats had gone over first.
Yes Beaver Damns!
Yes I think the lighter and smaller boat is going to be much easier to handle and all the turns in Brown Tract would have been fun in my Tsunami.
Yes There were at least 3 or 4 beaver damns I had to go over. The first one was 10 feet from the board walk once you get in. I thought I was going the wrong way didn’t know I’d have to navigate over beaver damns! I think there were 2 more in the middle somewhere and then the last one was right after the bridge there before you get into Raquette Lake.
I didn’t make it into Marion River is it as twisty as Brown Tract? and Have Beaver Damns too?
I’ll keep you posted if I make it in! I think I found a loop by me that I can run and has a couple carries that will hopefully help me train! Can’t wait for my neighbors to ask me what the heck I’m doing running around with a kayak on my shoulder!
The Marion is for the most part a broad very slow current (paddling upstream) river until you get about a mile from the carry. But nothing like Browns. There are one or two beaver dams not far from the end, one is especially large and you will have to get out to go over it.
By the way, Browns happens to be my favorite section of the entire 90. I just love negotiating the twisty turns at speed. Lots of work, but very satisfying.
Thanks for the beaver dam info
It is always good to know what is ahead
I GOT IN!!!
Well it is official I’m on the list!!! Guess I will be seeing you guys on the water for the 90 miler!!! I’m super excited I got in!! Been training but now I really have to kick it into high gear!!
Thanks again for all the tips! any more are welcomed!!!
Welcome to the family. What class are you running? You will see Jack L and Nanci LaMarre, the whole Plaidpaddler crew, and a bunch of other characters.
Train hard Grasshopper, be one with the paddle.
Entered under Solo Rec Men’s Open! Can’t wait!!
Some More Questions
Ok I have a couple of questions for you guys if you don’t mind sharing your wisdom with me! I will have a pit crew and I will make sure they have items I need along the way and at the end of the day, but what do I need to have with me other then water and some food?? I want to try to keep my kayak as light as possible! I will have my pump and stuff if I were to dump. I will have my portage wheel with me and trying to come up with a way to get them on and off as quick as possible any good ideas you have seen other then the straps that take forever to put on and off?? We are renting the house on 4th lake for the weekend and then I plan on camping the night of the 2nd night into the 3 day so I don’t have to run an hr each way that day. Anything else I’m not thinking about?? Thanks again you guys for all the info!!
wheels will not work
at the beginning of the Raquette Falls portage… You will have to come up with another system…for that and one other portage… otherwise fine