Long Lake Parks and Recreation has launched a Hiking and Paddling Challenge that includes a variety of outings in the region stretching to Raquette Lake. There are 24 activities on the card with over 50 miles of hiking, 3 mountains, one fire tower, one Adirondack Great Camp and nine paddles enabling participants to achieve a variety of patches.
The challenge is modeled on Bingo. Participants will complete rows of five activities and there is also a choose your own adventure spot in the middle. There are three patches available to earn, based on the number of rows completed. For one row, receive the Dunning Cruiser Patch, for two or more rows, the Rondeau Rambler and for the entire card, the Sabattis Max patch. Each level is named after a notable Long Lake and Raquette Lake legends that knew the woods and waters of the area.
Completed rows can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal. Hikes and paddles completed in 2020 will be eligible for this challenge. There will be a log of participants on the official web page located at www.mylonglake.com/hiking-challenge.
Complete one row and you will be an Alvah Dunning Cruiser. Alvah Dunning was an experienced guide and hunter who wanted to live a simple life. He lived his life off fish and game and sharing his knowledge with sportsmen who traveled to the region in the 1800s. He moved around to avoid the influx of tourists visiting the Adirondacks newly developed tourist destinations. He lived in Blue Mountain Lake, then on to Raquette Lake where he made homes at Indian Point, Osprey Island, Brown’s Tract, and Golden Beach. Dunning starting hunting and trapping at the young age of six and guiding his first solo excursion at the age of 11 and died in 1906.
Complete two or more rows of the challenge to become a Rondeau Rambler, named after Noah John Rondeau the hermit who lived in Cold River Country. Rondeau was an infamous Adirondack Hermit who built himself two cabins and several wigwams, and lived on trout, local game, and greens. He lived alone in Cold River City from 1929 until the blowdown of 1950 when he had to leave due to the forced closure of the area.
If you complete the entire card you will be rewarded with a Sabattis Max patch named after Adirondack Guide and Long Lake legend, Mitchell Sabattis. Sabattis first came to Long Lake at the age of 8. Sabattis was known for his fearlessness and hunting prowess. He guided and fished in the woods of the Adirondacks and made Long Lake his home until he died in 1906.
The selections of trails and paddles were made in collaboration with Long Lake outdoor enthusiasts Shane and Doree Holmes along with guidance, and suggestions from the NYSDEC Region 5 staff and area Forest Rangers offering feedback, guidance and suggestions.
The goal of the challenge is to get everyone outside to recreate on trails and waterways they may not have otherwise discovered. Some adventures are short and easy with a variety of terrain, views and unique places along the way.
Participants will be asked to keep track of when they complete their hikes and can submit for a patch as soon as one row is complete. This is not a year-round challenge as lakes and ponds freeze thereby making paddling impossible. There is no deadline or timetable associated with this card. Take as long as you need to complete the challenge. If you got outside in 2020 and already completed some of these tasks, feel free to document them to count toward your accomplishments.
Some of the challenges utilize NYS DEC Conservation Easement lands and are not always open year-round and have restrictions. Participants are asked to check out the rules and regulations, and open dates. More details will be available on-line at mylonglake.com/hiking-challenge. Visitors will be directed to the Cedarlands Easement, John Dillon Park, County Line Flow Waterway Easement off of Route 28N. Please note that the Cedarlands Easement is only open from August 24th until June 24th, but paddling access to Mud Pond is open year-round. John Dillon Park is located on NYS Route 30 and open only during the summer months.
For waterway challenges, any amount of paddling is acceptable. If it says paddle Long Lake or Raquette Lake, participants are welcome to choose their own adventure. It can be exploring a cove, the shoreline, and to spend as much or as little time on the water as desired. Please follow all NYS navigation laws, wear a life vest and beginners are encouraged to visit a local outfitter for a lesson on how to paddle safely.
Many of the paddles listed have short carries from the car to the water, so be prepared to use some muscle to get the boat in the water. A log of those who complete the challenges will be posted at mylonglake.com/hiking-challenge
While completing the tasks of the challenge everyone is asked to please adhere to the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace and take the pledge at www.loveyouradk.com
Cards are available at the Long Lake Town Offices at 1130 Deerland Road in Long Lake, NY or area businesses in Long Lake, NY or Raquette Lake or it can be printed out from the website. Patches will be available for delivery in late August 2021. Participants can send a copy of the completed card to Town of Long Lake Challenge, PO Box 496, Long Lake, NY 12847 along with $5 per patch.