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Adirondack Explorer

November, 2016

12 Adventures on New State Lands: Exploring the Finch, Pruyn Tracts
Author: Phil Brown

Review by: John Pitarresi

Chances are good that you’ve never seen Pine Lake. Or OK Slip Falls. You can now. Pine Lake and OK Slip Falls are two natural gems of the Adirondack Park that until recently had rarely been visited by the general public. New York State’s historic purchase of sixty-five thousand acres of former Finch, Pruyn & Company timberlands from the Nature Conservancy has put them into the public domain. But how do you get to them? What can you do once you get there? Phil Brown has the answers. 12 Adventures on New State Lands: Exploring the Finch, Pruyn Tracts is >>More


September, 2016

Back from the brink
Author: Darryl McGrath

Review by: Edward Kanze

Book Review By EDWARD KANZE We all see things differently. My distinguished writer friend the late Maurice Kenny and I argued on more than one occasion over what sorts of books we like. I provoked the debate, asserting that given a choice between a brilliantly written book with not much at its core and a book of fabulous material presented in pedestrian prose, I’d choose the fabulous and the pedestrian every time. Maurice, a champion of fine writing and a gifted writer himself, disagreed, vehemently. I wish, when we last crossed swords, I had Darryl McGrath’s Flight Paths to thump >>More


September, 2016

Bouldering comes of age
Author: Justin Sanford

Review by: Phil Brown

By PHIL BROWN Years ago I often used to see a line of cars parked along McKenzie Pond Road outside Saranac Lake and wonder why they were there. There was no trailhead there, no house, just nondescript woods. Eventually, I learned that those woods harbored a collection of giant boulders and that people would drive for hours to climb them. Not just any people, but hard-core climbers willing to abrade their fingertips on tiny crimps, strain their biceps on overhanging rock, and curse the sky as they labor up routes that are often less than ten feet long. That is, >>More


June, 2016

What makes Alex tick?
Author: Alex Honnold with David Roberts

Review by: R.L. Stolz

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 perspective of the world’s consummate adventure athlete, Honnold’s new book, Alone on the Wall, walks the reader through a series of first-person accounts of his most mind-boggling accomplishments. In April 2008 he stunned the climbing world by soloing the 1,200-foot- all Moonlight Buttress in Zion National Park without a rope. His ascent >>More


April, 2016

So There We Were: River Running in the Hudson Gorge
Author: Jeff Dickinson

Review by: Michael Virtanen

The flow of history Book review by Michael Virtanen Jeff Dickinson’s history of running the whitewater of the Hudson River is weighty with research: it has 111 pages of footnotes and bibliography. Those follow his 237-page narrative that launches with descriptions of the landscape and Colonial explorers, flows on through decades of log drivers and adventurers, then crests with the commercial rafting that began in the 1980s and brought tourists to the Adirondacks in the once-spare shoulder season of melting snow. Rafting has since matured into a spring and summer enterprise that extends even into autumn. Dickinson, a whitewater guide >>More


March, 2015

Lost Ski Areas of the Northern Adirondacks
Author: Jeremy K. Davis

Review by: Neal Burdick

Pages of skiing’s past When we think of Adirondack ski areas, it’s usually the charismatic ones that come to mind: Whiteface, Gore Mountain, and McCauley Mountain for downhillers, Lapland Lake and Mount Van Hoevenberg if your tastes run to Nordic. These and a handful of others can be counted on from year to year, either because they receive sufficient natural snow, even in an era of less-reliable “white gold,” or they have the wherewithal to make the stuff. But there have been lots of other, smaller areas over the years, and while they were beloved by some they have not >>More


March, 2015

The Sibley Guide to Birds: Second Edition
Author: David Allen Sibley

Review by: John Thaxton

Bird book gets better On one of our semi-annual trips to Cape May, New Jersey, in May of 1998, we saw a report on the Internet of a red phalarope at the municipal gravel dump, which featured a two-acre puddle after three days of hard rain. So on the way to the storied Cape May Hawk Watch Platform we stopped by the gravel dump at 7:30 a.m. and saw David Sibley, all by himself, his spotting scope on a tripod next to his easel, his binoculars around his neck, a camera handy. I literally had to touch him to distract >>More


November, 2014

Adirondack Rock
Author: Jim Lawyer and Jeremy Haas

Review by: R.L. & Karen Stolz

  A rock-solid guidebook Standing beneath a strikingly steep, six hundred- foot dolomite tower in the Italian Alps, studying a recently published guidebook, we looked up at the rock, perplexed. The route couldn’t go that way! It just couldn’t! And it didn’t. This was our third, and final, time being misled by this beautifully produced, full-color collection of misinformation purporting to be a rock-climbing guidebook to the most beautiful routes in Val Gardena. We unceremoniously stuffed the handsome book into the bottom of a pack and proceeded to climb what appeared to be the most appealing line to the tiny summit. It was, in spite of the guidebook, a pretty good >>More


November, 2014

Adirondack 102 Club: Your Passport & Guide to the North Country
Author: Marty Podskoch

Review by: Neal Burdick

  Join the 102 club The Adirondacks are a mishmash of municipal and county jurisdictions. Take Saranac Lake: it’s a village that straddles two counties and three towns, none of which is named Saranac Lake. Just to make things more complicated, a town in the Adirondack Park is what’s often called a township in parts of America that appreciate some sense of order. But if we are near Saranac Lake and announce we are going into town, we mean the village of Saranac Lake, not the town of St. Armand, which we may already be in and is one of the three towns that the village dribbles into. You get >>More


May, 2014

You can go home again
Author: Bernd Heinrich

Review by: Ed Kanze

MY FIRST MEETING with the nature writer Bernd Heinrich came on a dark, stormy night at the Saranac Lake Free Library. He was reading from a book then in progress, The Snoring Bird, which combines a biography of the author’s entomologist father with Bernd Heinrich’s own life story. Anyone who had the privilege of being in attendance that night will remember the tumultuous weather outside, the gasps for breath, and the tears that ran in rivulets down Heinrich’s face as he spoke about his relationship with a brilliant but ruthless father. The audience glimpsed the intensity and passion that drive >>More


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