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Two Skis and Eight Paws: Cross-country Skiing in Tupper Lake

Submitted by guest blogger Anna Rissberger

Okay, that was a good time.

Friday afternoon I packed myself, my golden pups (Loyo and Master Po), and my skinny skis into Flo (please tell me I’m not the only one who names my cars) and set out on an adventure in the sun and snow for a little change of scenery from our usual routes. 

After 45 minutes of bopping to my favorite tunes - Tupper Lake is a bit of a ride from Lake Placid, but a beautiful ride at that - we rolled onto Country Club Way only to discover there is much too little hype around the James C. Frenette Sr. Recreational Trails. There is no ticket fee, dogs are allowed, and groomed tracks are set. It might sound too good to be true, but I promise you it’s not.

Ready to hit the trails!

Once parked, getting from the car to the skis felt a bit like a gold-medal-deserving gymnastic routine because my pups, both attached to me at the waist, were very much interested in another doggo enjoying an escape outdoors with her own humans. My 14-week-old even had a little fun with gloves that belonged to the other dog's dad. Eventually all was returned to the rightful owners and we were on our way into the winding wonderland of beautifully tracked and dog-friendly trails.

Sign for the fire pit where you can take a break and take in the views.

On our adventure we passed a pond, a fire pit and picnic area, and a young couple sipping brewskis. All felt relaxed and calm on a Saturday’s eve in the mountains, just as it should be. We weren’t able to hit every trail because Loyo is not yet a long distance runner, but the trails we explored did not disappoint. My favorite was Cranberry Pond. Talk about the beauty of nature!! I remember distinctly greeting the view of the pond and mountains and moon with a “well, HELLO.” 

Beautiful views along the Cranberry Pond Trail.

As we made our way through the woods I could see a vibrant pink sun setting on my left and a moody purple moon rising on my right. I skied along in disbelief over these trails having always been here, yet I had never once experienced them. Maybe it was the longer drive to arrive, or the lack of crowds, but, whatever it was, I just wanted to freeze the moment and never let it go. I had my pups and I was zipping around on my skis with the cool air in my lungs and on my cheeks. I was happy as an ADK girl could be.

The author enjoying an evening on cross-country skis.

In all seriousness, apart from all my magical moment fluff, what a little gem of a recreation location! There were signs simultaneously welcoming and advising fat bikers, snowshoers, skiers, and pups alike to respect each other with proper trail etiquette, but in no way discouraging a good time. There was a doggy waste station and portapotties for those in need. No fancy lodges or frill-filled boutiques on premises, but there was everything anyone could need on a soulful, yet simple, ADK night out. 

Sometimes, especially in our current times, the simplicity of an experience forces us into a state of being content with exactly where we are. That’s what this outing did for me, and I highly recommend a visit to the James C. Frenette Sr. Recreational Trails in Tupper Lake if simplicity and experience are what you’re craving, too. You’ll get both for free, yet will leave feeling like the richest human in the world.