’Round the Mountain fields 102

Paddlers in one of four waves prepare to start the ’Round the Mountain Canoe & Kayak Race, launching from the beach at the Ampersand Bay Resort in Saranac Lake. (Provided photo — Michele Munley)

SARANAC LAKE — The annual ‘Round the Mountain Canoe and Kayak Race, which is hosted by the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, drew a record 102 boats for the spring paddling tradition on Saturday. The previous record was 88 boats.

Matthew Skeels, of Canton, posted the fastest time of the day, completing the 10.5-mile course in 1 hour, 25 minutes, 30 seconds. The ‘Round the Mountain begins at Ampersand Bay on Lower Saranac Lake, crosses to Second Pond, through the Lower Locks to Oseetah Lake and finishes on Lake Flower.

“As the kick-off to our race season, the ‘Round the Mountain is one of our favorite events of the year, as it represents the first gathering of our NFCT paddling community after the long winter,” said NFCT Executive Director Karrie Thomas. “It’s a great mix of competitive racers and folks who are in it to finish and enjoy the camaraderie of being with their fellow paddlers. We had some rain and fluctuating temperatures, but it clearly didn’t scare anyone away as we posted our largest field to date. It’s so great to reconnect with everyone and the enthusiasm is contagious.”

A full list of results by boat class, age and gender can be viewed at https://bit.ly/rtmresults2024.

This year’s race was part of a full weekend of paddling activities that included a paddlers mixer, vendor booths, a boat demo and a film festival.

From left, Team Blue Crusher Flowers members Donna Walsh, Polly Kelting, Chrissy Hayden and Cary Hall present a slightly modified lineup at the 2024 ’Round the Mountain Canoe and Kayak Race. Team Blue Crusher Flowers is a mainstay of the Adirondack paddling community. (Provided photo — Chris Morris/NFCT)

“We send a special thank you to the organizations who provided critical safety support for the ‘Round the Mountain race: HK Marina and Saranac Lake Marina, for providing safety boats, and the Adirondack Amateur Radio Association, for providing communications for race staff,” Thomas said. “The NFCT also extends its gratitude to the volunteers who supported the race, from safety boat drivers to our timing crew. Our organization has a small professional crew, and we simply can’t run these events without support from the community.”

Proceeds from all events support waterway access, stewardship and programming.

For more information, visit northernforestcanoetrail.org.


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