Who isn’t familiar with the Forty-Sixers? The Fire Tower Challenge? Or other such activities, many overseen by ADK chapters and organizations in an effort to expose us to various aspects of the Adirondack Park? After completing my own 46er quest, I looked forward to taking more time to experience some of the destinations I felt I had missed.

So I was delighted to find that my very own Genesee Valley Chapter offers the Adirondack Quest. The Quest, recently reinvigorated by chapter member Carol Quinn, encourages members to explore and appreciate the diversity of the entire Adirondack region.

While concentrating my efforts toward the Forty-Six, I had really limited myself to the High Peaks Region for nearly twelve years. As magnificent and profoundly meaningful as that challenge proved to be, I couldn’t help noticing all of the trailhead signs, rivers, and lakes I was bypassing on my way to Keene Valley, the Loj, and the other High Peaks trailheads. I was curious to explore those places, free of timelines and objectives, to be more present, to take in what nature was offering.
Visiting some thirty-two “new” areas of the Adirondacks turned out to be nothing short of pure delight! Some of my personal Quest highlights from the following Wilderness or Wild Forest areas (denoted in parentheses) include:

  • Black spruce and black-backed woodpeckers flanking our paddle on the Osgood River (Debar Mountain)
  • A spectacular lightning strike and fireball during a nighttime thunderstorm (Pharaoh Lake)
  • Basking in the expansive autumn vistas from the open ridge of Jay (Jay Mountain)
  • Fresh moose tracks and garnet hunting along the Boreas River (Vanderwhacker Mountain)
  • Long-forgotten apple groves, deep within the heart of the forest (Hoffman Notch)

And the list goes on. I highly recommend the Quest to anyone. Beauty and solitude await in places that may be among the park’s best-kept secrets, each area unique unto itself.

As I started to compile my Quest log, I was surprised to find I was already more than halfway along. Long-time visitors to the Adirondacks surely won’t find it difficult to recall times they have visited several of these places. Most offer easy access from state highways, providing high-quality time with friends and family who may not prefer extensive or demanding excursions.

Completing the Adirondack Quest requires a total of fifty day trips to the designated Wilderness and Wild Forest Areas. Participants need to visit at least fifteen of the Wilderness Areas and at least fifteen of the major Wild Forests Areas, with no more than two trips to the same area.  There are no criteria regarding miles covered or hours spent, so anything goes: hiking, camping, paddling, birding, skiing, biking, rock climbing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and more.

Click here for a list of the areas and an interactive map. A Quest log can also be downloaded and printed from this page. A colorful patch and certificate are awarded to those who fulfill the requirements; as of November 2016, ninety-one people have completed the Quest! Are you next?

Article Written by Lisa Albrecht

For the full article with images and quest highlights, pick up your May-June edition of the Adirondac available today. Members can view the magazine in their Members Area on the website. Non-members can purchase the magazine in our online shop.