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Hey everyone! Chief Pioneer, Evan, here.
It’s been a couple of years since we did a “recap of the year” article and given that we’re closing out the decade, we figured it’d be fun to share our adventures, milestones, and other happenings from 2019 and this past decade.
Going back to the beginning of the decade, we launched our website with intentions of it being an outdoor-focused blog to document our adventures around the Adirondack Mountains. Living in central NY, just a bit north of Syracuse where we relocated to for Hilary’s (aka my wife) job as an environmental scientist, put us within fairly close proximity to the ADKs, so much of our free time was spent exploring and relaxing around different parts of the park. After years of consistently sharing content and connecting with our online audience of others who shared this common bond and love for the Adirondacks, we began to develop our own line of Adirondack-inspired goods to sell directly to our customers through our online store. Between managing our online store/fulfilling orders and taking on photography/videography assignments with Adirondack-based businesses and events, I decided to make PureADK my full-time business endeavor in the spring of 2016. I left my job in digital marketing in Syracuse, utilizing skills, knowledge, and experience I’d acquired, to pursue my passion for the Adirondacks and take that next step into being an entrepreneur.
We've now had orders in all 50 states and it has been really interesting to see how people all over the country have a shared love for Upstate NY and the Adirondack Park. In addition to sharing our experiences in the Adirondacks with others, we’ve used the platform we’ve created through PureADK as a way to give back to the region we love so much. We dedicate a portion of our time to charitable and volunteer efforts that ultimately benefit the Adirondack Park by having a positive impact on the local communities and environment. This year we’ve ended up making over $1500 in donations to various non-profits.
In other news, our team has been growing! While I’ve enjoyed getting to be involved and learn more about every aspect of running the business, I realize it takes a team to grow and have a larger impact. A key addition to our team this year has been Valerie Manne, who manages our social media accounts and makes strategic plans for upcoming content and posts. While now based in Butte, Montana, Valerie is very familiar with the Adirondacks, as she grew up in Tupper Lake and spent a few years post-college living, working, and exploring the region. When it comes to the videography work I do, I’ve joined forces with Jake Coulter and Kristen Carton from Call of the Loon Productions based out of Liverpool, NY. Having a shared passion for the outdoors and adventure travel, Call of the Loon has been a key media partner during the past year to help with filming and editing work, both internally for PureADK and for other clients we work with. Our cast of ambassadors (aka Pioneers) has also been growing. You’ll see them highlighted in our website, social media posts, and throughout of email newsletters that go out in 2020.
Without getting too long-winded, I’d like to share some memorable moments and imagery from 2019:
Bald Mtn. Sunset Hike - a quick and classic hike on a beautiful winter day
Boreas Ponds Cross-Country Ski Trip - a very cold and crisp, but sunny day meant great conditions for a ski into the wilderness
Sagamore Lake Ski & Snowshoe Loop - a trail system full of history.
Blueberry Hill Trails - A spontaneous snowshoe meet-up with some friends in Elizabethtown, NY.
Deer Pond XC-Skiing - Enjoyable trails in the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest.
Island Adventure in Kauai - This month also took us for a big adventure beyond the Adirondacks. This time we went the tropical route, with a trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. While I don't have a video completed from this trip yet, Hilary was able to put together an article that documents our experiences from the trip, along with photos to go along with it. This will be added to our "Beyond the Blue Line" section of our website soon!
Spring Skiing - As with any year, we really enjoy a few final trips out on the slopes in mid-April. We were fortunate enough to land some good weather for bluebird days at both Gore and Whiteface.
Camp/Hike/Paddle/Cleanup - Spontaneous spring trip to get out for a bit of camping, hiking, paddling, and spent some time doing a little cleanup work at the Sawyer Mountain Trailhead.
ADK Student Film Festival - As a featured videographer, I was invited to speak at this 1st annual "Beyond the Peaks" Student Film Festival to share my experiences as a filmmaker in the Adirondacks.
Castle Rock - A meet-up with an old college friend of ours from when we attended Clarkson. Amanda and her pup Nova joined us for a hike up to Castle Rock.
H2H Scouting Trip - In 2018, I had the pleasure of doing videography work on the pilot trips with Adirondack Hamlets to Huts. On a day in early May, I joined the H2H crew for a route scouting trip in the Old Forge area. The main activity of this route being biking, with the option for a short hike along the way.
Biking Weekend - We made our way out to Boreas Ponds by bike with our friends Geoff and Emily. To conclude the weekend, we headed over to Old Forge and I joined up with a group bike ride on the trails at McCauley Mountain.
Black Fly Challenge - We participated in the annual 40-mile gravel grinder between Inlet and Indian Lake.
Race Across America - Hilary joined this event as a support crew member. The company she works with, EA, partners with Water For People to raise money for an amazing cause. Water for People is an international non-profit that is working across 9 countries to bring safe water and sanitation to 4 million people. With 4 cyclists (3 EA and 1 Water for People), 12 crew, and a whole lot of enthusiasm, they are made their way across the US on a 3,000-mile route. They started in Oceanside, California and finished in Annapolis, Maryland over the span of a week.
CycleADK Weekender - As the media partner for this event, I spent the weekend capturing photos and videos of the guests that spent their time cycling and enjoy other activities near Paul Smith's College.
Fair Haven Sunset Paddle - A meetup with a local CNY paddling group for an early evening paddle on Lake Ontario.
Carry Falls Reservoir - A 4th of July paddle and beach day in Stark, NY.
Round Lake - A warm July day spent swimming, relaxing, and sipping on some cold brews on the beach.
Chestertown - A photography assignment to capture the community, businesses, and landscapes around Chestertown, NY.
Finger Lakes Tourism Project - A collaborative filming project with Call of the Loon Productions to create a promotional video for Corning & The Southern Finger Lakes to highlight a day of outdoor fun and brewery stops to conclude the day.
Fish Creek - Our annual camping trip to Fish Creek Ponds.
Peak2Brew - Videographer for the event - documenting the experience of the 2-day team running relay from the summit of Whiteface to the Saranac Brewery.
CycleADK - Photography/Videographer for the weeklong event - documenting the experience of the riders as they made their way around the northeast section of the Adirondack Park.
Great Camps Tour - A spontaneous trip for Hilary's birthday. We did a hike near Great Camp Sagamore and then a bike trip to Great Camp Santanoni, which included a pleasant paddle on Newcomb Lake.
Old Forge Marathon - We set up as a vendor at this event to sell our PureADK goods.
Lake Lila - A camping trip to this beautiful remote lake and an early rise to catch the sunrise from Mt. Frederica.
Lake Eaton - A gathering of friends for a camping trip and leaf-peeping.
ADK MTB Fest - A day of mountain biking, music, food/drinks, and other fun at this festival in Old Forge.
Kingdom Trails - Another trip outside the Adirondacks... this time to this world-class trail system and mountain biking mecca in northern Vermont.
Blue Mountain - With a fresh dusting of snow, we jumped in the car, fueled up with breakfast at Sweet Basil Diner and met up with some friends for a group hike.
PureADK Holiday Pop-Ups - With the holiday shopping season underway, we set up at various events around Upstate NY to sell our Adirondack-inspired goods.
Winona State Forest - This outing BeyondADK brought us to this beautiful trail system on the western edge of the Tug Hill Plateau for some xc-skiing.
Christmas Eve Ski @ Whiteface Mt. - After a busy holiday season of fulfilling orders (thanks for your support!) and eating plenty of cookies, we got out for a nice day of downhill skiing.