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Adirondack Explorer

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

January, 2014

New York Wildlife Viewing Guide
Author: Published by Adventure Publications

Review by: Ed Kanze

SEEING WILD ANIMALS has never been easier. All you have to do these days is flop onto a couch, hit a button, and the glittering pixels of a digital television bring you images of almost any creature you like. You see it eating, sleeping, birthing, mating, dying, the works. Still, let’s get real. Ogling virtual wildlife on TV isn’t half as satisfying as finding the real thing in the wild. Where to go looking? Ah, that’s often the question. How to find animals to watch when you get there? That’s a perennial puzzle, too. The new glossy New York Wildlife >>More

November, 2013

The Adirondack Slide Guide
Author: Drew Haas

Review by: Phil Brown

Post-Irene slide guide. Tropical Storm Irene did more than change the face of the High Peaks: it rendered The Adirondack Slide Guide by Drew Haas obsolete. Thankfully, Haas has put out a second edition of the book that includes new slides created by Irene in 2011. The new edition follows the format of the first: it’s a softcover publication with large black-and-white aerial photos of dozens of slides, mostly in the High Peaks. All of the photos were taken in winter, when the slides (covered with snow) stand out most against the forested slopes. Slides are long bedrock paths created >>More

September, 2013

The Crossley ID Guide & Hawks in Flight
Author: Crossley ID Guide: Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori & Brian Sullivan & Hawks in Flight: Pete Dunne, David Allen Sibley & Clay Sutton

Review by: Edward Kanze

There can be no greater thrill on an Adirondack hike in autumn than to stand on a summit and have hawks and falcons stream over your head. Perhaps there’ll be an eagle or two shooting past for good measure, and an osprey or harrier, too. Fall colors and prime hiking weather coincide with migration season for day-flying raptors. What you see on particular hikes is a matter of hit or miss, but if you hit just right, you may get exciting close looks at birds otherwise difficult to admire close up in the wild. While migrating long distances, hawks, eagles, >>More

May, 2013

Women on Water
Author: Ruth Dandrea, Kathy DeLong, Carol Moseman, and Bonnie Sanderson

Review by: Betsy Kepes

Women on Water is a difficult book to categorize. It looks like a guidebook, with a table of contents that lists twenty-five day trips, most of them in the southwestern Adirondacks. Flipping through the book I admired the hand-drawn maps, beautiful pen-and-ink drawings that reminded me of Nancy Bernstein’s work in the Adirondack Explorer. Black-and-white photos show kayakers in scenic locations and close-ups of loons and butterflies. But don’t expect many facts and figures in this book. The trip descriptions rarely include landmarks or mileage, and the maps do not include a scale. I wondered, is the Francis Lake trip >>More