Jennifer Moore and Lynne Murphy were hiking in the Adirondacks, pumped with endorphins, when they came up with the idea for a business called Peakquest.
They decided to create a colorful scratch-off card depicting the Adirondack High Peaks, also called the 46ers.
When a hiker conquered a mountain, he or she could scrape that “summit,” flip it over and enter the date.
In less than two years, since they launched Peakquest with the 46er card in March 2019, their business has reached a high point.
On their website, peakquest.org, the Saranac Lake hiking buddies now sell 11 different scratch-off cards, including Adirondack Fire Towers, the Lake George 12 and a challenge they started, the Tri-Lakes Trifecta, which combines the Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid challenges.
Their cards are sold at L.L. Bean in Colonie Center, REI in Williston, Vermont, and about 30 mom-and-pop businesses around the North Country. You’ll also find them on Amazon and Etsy, and in the vending machine at the Adirondack Welcome Center near Exit 18 of the Northway.
“We have shipped these scratch-off cards to every single state in the country,” Moore says. “Our most popular card is definitely the 46er. We’ve sold thousands of them.”
Before they came up with the scratch-off idea, they wrote down their hikes in books and on paper.
“It just was not efficient,” she says.
“People love that not only is it a way to keep track of all their hiking, but a motivator that keeps them going. And when you are all done, you can put it in a frame.”
Through Peakquest, the women are also on a mission to prevent overuse and parking problems at the High Peaks.
“You don’t have to do a High Peak. There are other areas, other hikes to do,” Murphy says.
In July 2019, they came up with the Tri-Lakes Trifecta, which, as of late September, had 155 hikers on its finish roster. They also came up with a scratch card called the Fabulous 40, which breaks the Adirondacks into four regions, with 10 hikes in each.
And they’ve become involved in Leave No Trace, an international and national campaign to educate hikers. A free hang tag with information about what essentials should be in your backpack and how to handle waste is included in every web order.
“One point we really want to stress is that you should always have a backup plan of somewhere else to go,” says Murphy. “They get to the parking area and it’s full, and there’s no cell service.”
Even with the U.S. border closed to Canadians because of COVID-19, the number of hikers has remained high because of students taking classes remotely and people working from home, she says.
“We’ve never seen a summer like this. Everyone wants the hikers to come, they just want them to be prepared. There’s COVID up here, too. You need to follow the rules.”
Help with family hikes
The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has released a second, updated edition of its popular book “Kids on the Trail! Hiking with Children in the Adirondacks” by Rose Rivezzi and David Trithart.
Nearly 40 percent of the hikes are new to the book, which details 71 destinations in every section of the park. There is also advice and information about how to enjoy the outdoors with infants, toddlers, young children and older kids.
“Kids on the Trail!” (200 pages, $16.95) is available at book and outdoor supply stores, and online at ADK.org.