Peakquest scratch cards help hikers keep track of challenges
By Holly Riddle
Step into just about any hiking retailer or tourist-geared shop in the Adirondacks and you’ll likely spot some of peakquests’ products: small, colorfully-designed scratch-off cards that feature peaks around the region. The cards are designed to allow hikers an easier way to keep track of progress made toward hiking goals and challenges, from becoming a 46er to completing the Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge.
The simple-yet-ingenious solution is the brainchild of two avid Adirondack hikers, Jennifer Moore and Lynne Murphy.
“We started hiking together maybe 15 years ago,” Moore explains. “We were hiking here in the Adirondacks, not only in the High Peaks, but also in Lake Placid and in Saranac Lake… We started to venture out a bit and were hiking in the White Mountains. We were just kind of hiking everywhere. I definitely knew I wanted to be a 46er and we had all these different hiking challenges we were working on.”
Moore would track her hikes by writing them on the inside cover of a hiking book, while Murphy would do the same in a journal.
“We would talk about how this was the most inefficient way anyone could ever keep track of their process in a hiking challenge,” Moore says.
Conversations while hiking led to the idea of a scratch-off card featuring each challenge’s peaks. The two friends partnered with a printer in Ohio and peakquest was born in 2019. However, neither of the brand’s founders anticipated the popularity their product would garner, anticipating that the business would be a mere “fun side hustle” beyond their teaching jobs.
“In March 2019, we went to the Adirondack Sports Expo in Saratoga Springs. We were hoping we’d do well, since that was our launch, but the response was unbelievable. All day long, we had lines of people around our table saying, ‘You have to make one for Lake George or the Catskills or New Hampshire.’ The response was amazing,” says Moore.
Now, peakquest cards can be found in at least 50 retail locations, northeast to Maine and as far west as Colorado, where peakquest offers a Colorado 14ers card. The product line has expanded to feature a range of hiking challenges and geographic locations and, with a new Vermont card — featuring the Vermont Long Trail, 4,000 Footers and fire tower trails — available in July, Moore estimates the brand has the entire Northeast covered, leaving peakquest free to expand its product line into other types of outdoor recreation, such as paddling and hikes to waterfalls.
Looking for a great hiking challenge in the Adirondacks? Moore recommends one that peakquest actually trademarked: the Tri-Lakes Trifecta. The combination of the Tupper Lake Triad, the Saranac Lake 6er and the Lake Placid 9er, peakquest packaged all three challenges on one scratch-off card. “I love the Trifecta because it gets people in Lake Placid to go hike in Tupper Lake and it moves people within the three communities and encourages them to cross that bridge. It really gets people to come back to the Adirondacks and visit other communities, not just Lake Placid,” she says.
Moore became a 46er last summer and is currently working on the Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge. Both women emphasize the importance of proper backcountry stewardship.
“Before people come here, or go anywhere to hike, we really want them to understand how to recreate responsibly in our outdoor spaces,” says Moore.
For the last two years, peakquest has been a Leave No Trace community partner and include a reference to the organization’s seven practices for low impact while recreating.
As for Moore’s favorite Adirondacks hike? “Ampersand Mountain. It was my very first hike in the Adirondacks. Whenever I hike Ampersand, I always feel like I’m going home.”
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