On the third page of Radio Free Vermont, Bill McKibben’s first novel, a Coors beer truck follows detour signs as it enters Vermont from the Crown Point Bridge. At the end of a long dirt road the driver is presented with a bag lunch (made with Vermont products) as people in balaclavas release the air […]
Biography / Personal history
Adirondack camp owners and bushwhackers will love this book. And so will people interested in the meaning of extreme solitude—who can tolerate it, who can’t. I’m not talking about the sort of solitude we all appreciate when we have an afternoon or maybe even a couple of days entirely to ourselves. This book is about […]
In the pantheon of Adirondack conservation greats, the name of John Apperson Jr. (1878-1963) is not as well-known as it deserves to be. His great-niece, independent scholar and historian Ellen Apperson Brown, has taken a major stride toward correcting that deficiency with publication of John Apperson’s Lake George, a new addition to the Images of […]
Infamous murder revisited By Betsy Kepes It’s been over one hundred years since a search party found Grace Brown’s body in the bottom of Big Moose Lake, an overturned rowboat floating nearby. In 1906 the face of the man who walked away from that remote bay would become familiar to many Americans as he sat […]
The right side of history By Amy Godine The publication of a new book about the Underground Railroad in the Adirondacks, focusing on its supporters and their good work in the Town of Chester in Warren County, rides a high wave of public interest in this dramatic chapter of our history. No bookstore lacks a […]
If you’re looking for a book that showcases the beauty, the tranquility, the recreational opportunities to be found in the Adirondacks, don’t get this one. But if you want unvarnished stories from some of the region’s most remarkable, if often nearly anonymous, older citizens, it’s for you. In We Were There: World War II Stories […]
It’s no stretch to say that Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau did more than any other individual to put Saranac Lake on the map. He was the driving force behind the transformation of an Adirondack lakeside hamlet of loggers and hunters into one of the world’s foremost health-care and research centers. He accomplished this through overpowering […]
BOOK REVIEW By R.L. STOLZ For many folks, the mere notion of climbing a sheer cliff, rising vertically for hundreds—or perhaps thousands—of feet, is the stuff of nightmares. Doing so without a rope, or at breakneck speed, fully understanding that your first mistake will almost certainly be your last, is simply beyond comprehension. Welcome to Alex Honnold’s world. Written from the […]
Desperate Steps is a collection of twenty narratives of backcountry accidents and misadventures in the Northeast. The incidents are about evenly divided among Maine, New Hampshire, and the Adirondacks with one incident in Vermont and two in the Catskills. Most of the incidents occurred within the past fifteen years, but the book includes a 1963 incident on Mount Katahdin where both the […]
Few incidents in nineteenth-century Adirondack history have been more often recounted than the famous Philosophers’ Camp at Follensby Pond. The story of how Ralph Waldo Emerson and an assortment of VIPs from the Concord-Cambridge axis camped for several weeks in 1858 on the shores of a virtually untouched lake deep in the wilderness has become […]
A lesson for our times When we fiddle with nature, there can be unforeseen consequences. When we fiddle with nature in big ways, entire civilizations collapse. This was the essence of a densely written book, Man and Nature; or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action, published in 1864 in New York and London. It […]
As nature lovers, we hoped to take root not just anywhere, but in, or along the edge of, a wild place. We insisted that the spot be governed by restrictions certain to prevent abuse. We had seen the landscape of our youth despoiled by “development”—a curious word often meaning the reduction of a landscape from a habitat shared democratically by thousands of species to a place dominated ruthlessly by one.
Watching the pageant of nature play out at our place, a grand show with tens of thousands of actors crowding the stage, it’s clear that appointing ourselves stewards of “our” eighteen acres would be ludicrous. The web of interconnections, an “Internet” if ever there was one, is impossibly complex, so much so that it would be impossible for anyone to comprehend it, let alone manage the system intelligently. All we can do is try to be on our best behavior, live modestly, take care of our needs, and hope for the best outcomes.