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Captured Canoes

The 2022 Adirondack Canoe Classic

AKA: “The 90 Miler”

An Adirondack Outlaw Photo Chronology


I suspect that being in the right place at the right time is one of the tricks of being a photographer. I also suspect that sometimes it’s by design, and sometimes by chance.

I don’t consider myself to be much of a photographer. I’m more of a writer. However, when opportunity presented itself on a late summer weekend in camp, I did what I most always do; lived in the moment and gave it my best.

I knew going into camp the 2nd Weekend of September, that The Adirondack Canoe Classic, better known as “The 90-Miler”, was being held that weekend, and would come right past our family’s Middle Saranac Lake camp.

The problem was, I did not know exactly when. I knew it was a three-day race, starting well above us up in Old Forge on Friday. My best guess based on my cursory knowledge of the route, was that they would be coming past our site 63 Bull Rush Bay camp on Day 3, Sunday morning, at some point.

So, I kept my eye out as we made breakfast and prepared for our fourth day in camp. It wasn’t my eyes though that told me the canoe racers had arrived, it was my ears. I heard the “Stroke, Stroke, Stroke, Switch…Stroke, Stroke, Stroke, Switch… echoing across the water as the lead canoe made its way down the lake.

I raced to the lean-to, grabbed my little Nikon 15x camera and raced down to the shoreline. I snapped a few quick photos before realizing I needed a far better vantage point.

The 90-MIler
About the 3rd canoe in line at that point
1st Canoe image I captured
Stroking their way past 1st Island

A NYSDEC boat posted up near the mouth of the river channel
Middle Saranac Lake
Stony Creek Mountain in the background

I immediately yelled to my wife & my son,

“The racers are here! I’m heading downstream to snap some photos!”

I scooted downstream through the woods to the first bend in the river. A spot I knew I could get some great photos from, a little fishing hideaway spot known as “The Ledge”.

1st canoe I captured once I scooted down river.
One of the leaders of the race.

I started snapping pictures with my little camera. I could hear some canoes that came through calling cadence.

Others I could hear shouting,

“Do we go to the left or the right of the green buoy?”

I just stood in the bushes along the left downstream shoreline and kept snapping photos as quickly as my little camera would let me.

At one point I heard one of the racers give a little gasp and burst out,

“Hey! There’s a camouflaged guy hiding over there in the bushes taking pictures!”

I looked down and realized, I was clad in my Adirondack Outlaw Camp attire, aka: camo. I’m just glad I didn’t startle anyone enough to cause a capsized canoe or throw them off of their paddling rhythm.

I chuckled and shrugged. More racers were inbound, so I just kept snapping photos. I decided to do my best to cover the entire contingent of racers.

All of my photos are in chronological order, taken at the 1st bend in the Saranac River, coming downstream from Middle Saranac Lake, above the locks. Stony Creek Mountain is visible in the background in many of them. Ampersand Mountain is just beyond my camera lens reach to the left. Middle Saranac Lake is above and beyond me, to the right.

I’ll let my camera work tell the rest of the story. I took over 400 pictures of “The Ninety-Miler”, from nearly the beginning all the way to the end. I caught almost every racer in some way, shape or form. I hope folks enjoy them.

At this point in the race, one of the canoes had some sort of technical difficulties and briefly beached right beside me.
I’m not sure what the issue was, but they were NOT happy!

The racers with technical difficulties finally got back under way!

Hmmm…Somebody’s got their directions mixed up!

“Right of the green buoy?
Left of the green buoy?
Oh, who the hell cares!

Just run it over!”

At this juncture in the race, I could see the last few canoes headed down the lake. So, I moved upstream a bit and reoriented my camera towards the lake to capture the last few canoes as they came into the river from Middle Saranac Lake. 1st Island Norway & Bartlett Islands are visible behind them.

This guy was either paddling the race backwards or he must have forgot something!

And there you have it folks.

“Captured Canoes”

The 2022 Ninety-Miler

As seen through the eyes of an Adirondack Outlaw.

And the lens of his camera.


Until Our trails Cross Again:


(Author’s Endnote: This story appeared in the 8/28/23 online edition of the Adirondack Almanack.)