By Jamie Organski
The Old Forge Pond was bustling with activity as hundreds of paddlers from all across the nation gathered together on Friday for the start of this year’s 90-Miler, a three-day, flat water, timed race that spans from Old Forge to Saranac Lake, the first 90 miles of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. The brisk morning air was palpable with laughter, encouraging words to fellow participants, and endearing camaraderie that has become a cornerstone of the traditional Adirondack event. As they geared up for take off, paddlers of a broad range of ages and skill levels ranging from veteran to newbies, took time to exchange stories of 90-Milers past and even dish out some nuggets of wisdom.
Local resident, Barb Getty, said she is excited to begin her 12th 90-Miler paddle this year as part of team Getty-Up alongside her son Andy Getty of Troy (7-year 90-Miler), Janine Phaneuf of Old Forge (10-year 90-Miler), and Sarah Dayton of Vermont (2-year 90-Miler). Several friends and family members have volunteered to keep team Getty-Up motivated, hydrated and safe as pit crew members, Getty noted, adding that the 90-Miler is one fond family tradition she hopes to continue for many years to come.
“It’s a family event we look forward to every year,” Getty said. “There will be a total of 14 of us staying at Fish Creek for Friday and Saturday night. Gourmet meals [will be] waiting for us at the end of each day. Training was light this year since we do not live near each other. We paddled Old Forge to Raquette, and Browns Tract to Blue Mt, and the Moose River together as a team. My goal is to complete 20 years and to paddle with my 2 granddaughters, Olivia who is 4, [and] Hannah is almost 2. They have to be 10 years old to participate. [I’m] hoping my 4 children as well as grandchildren will paddle with me.”