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Adirondack Explorer

July, 2010

Climate Change in the Champlain Basin
Author: Curt Stager and Mary Thill

Review by: Philip Terrie

The Nature Conservancy recently published Climate Change in the Champlain Basin,which reviews weather records and other data and looks ahead to what’s in store for this century. Written by scientist Curt Stager and journalist Mary Thill, the study says the basin in recent years has seen higher temperatures, more rainfall, and later and less-frequent freeze-ups of Lake Champlain. It predicts that the annual mean temperature could rise anywhere from one to eleven degrees by the end of this century. You can download the study by going to the Nature Conservancy website (www.nature.org) and navigating to the Vermont or Adirondacks page.


July, 2010

Eaarth Making Life on a Tough New Planet
Author: Bill McKibben

Review by: Philip Terrie

BILL MCKIBBEN has been trying to warn us about the apocalyptic threat of climate change for two decades, ever since The End of Nature in 1990. As a writer, activist, and citizen of our beleaguered planet, he has done the best that one smart and caring man can do to get us to pay attention to the runaway freight train careening toward us. We didn’t listen, and global warming is no longer a threat; it’s a reality. The average planetary temperature is up, as is total rainfall, with more violent thunderstorms. There’s drought in Australia and the American Southwest. Mountain >>More


July, 2010

Climate Change in the Adirondacks The Path to Sustainability
Author: Jerry Jenkins

Review by: Philip Terrie

FOR AT LEAST TWO DECADES, we’ve known that the global climate is warming, that efforts to stop this trend are grossly inadequate, and that the future is uncertain at best, catastrophic at worst. We know that we need to kick the fossil-fuel addiction. We also know that even if we did this today and released not another molecule of CO2 into the atmosphere the temperature will still go up. Usually, we think about this looming disaster—when we think about it at all—in planetary terms: warming global temperatures, shrinking polar ice shelves, a rising and acidifying ocean. With his characteristically uncanny >>More


May, 2010

Freshwater Fish of the Northeast
Author: David A. Patterson

Review by: Edward Kanze

WHY DO WE FIND FISH so appealing? After all, humans are hardly the piscivores ospreys and otters are. Yet fish and fishing have preoccupied the minds of men, women, and children as far back as history and archeology can plumb. The literature on fish and fishing grows more vast and diverse by the year. “A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm,” says Hamlet. I grew up with a Shakespeare-brand fishing rod in my hands, and while I never thought about it then, today >>More


March, 2010

Noah John Rondeau’s Adirondack Wilderness Days
Author: William J. O’Hern

Review by: Betsy Kepes

IN 1946, THE ADIRONDACK HERMIT Noah John Rondeau wrote entries in his annual journal in a complicated code. Fifty years later, a recent college graduate, David Greene, deciphered the symbols. Rondeau was fond of nicknames, and some of the journal entries didn’t make any sense until Richard Smith, an old friend of Rondeau’s, helped interpret the cryptic remarks. Next it was William O’Hern’s turn to put the decoded information into a book. The back cover of this latest book about the famous hermit hints that secrets are to be found inside the mysterious journal, but readers who are expecting revelations >>More


September, 2009

Short Carries, Essays from Adirondack Life
Author: Elizabeth Folwell

Review by: Neal Burdick

Adirondack Life loyalists are acquainted with Betsy Folwell’s writing. Often neatly packaged in the magazine’s regular column “Short Carries,” for twenty years it has limned the Adirondack scene as no other writing has, presenting the region’s people, places, issues, spirit, spunk, and landscape with uncommon insight, humor, grace, and wisdom. Folwell’s essays now come in another neat package. Under one cover, also called Short Carries, are fifty-five selections spanning her career with the magazine and sampling the array of topics that have come under her penetrating yet sensitive scrutiny. “The anthology is a project in honor of Adirondack Life’s fortieth >>More


September, 2009

The Adirondack Reader
Author: Paul Jamieson and Neil Burdick

Review by: Michael Virtanen

Cracking The Adirondack Reader is like getting dropped deep in the backcountry. It’s dense, with little open space between the essays and excerpts, and it’s large, encompassing 495 pages, including 31 pages of biographical notes on the 117 writers, many renowned, all deeply familiar with the mountains at various times over the past four centuries. You’ll find some passages that are dark and old, like Jesuit missionary Isaac Jogues’s account of being marched through the Adirondacks by Iroquois captors who gnawed off his fingernails. Ralph Waldo Emerson goes deer-jacking at night at the storied Philosophers’ Camp on Follensbee Pond (as >>More


July, 2009

Adirondack Wildlife: A Field Guide
Author: James M. Ryan

Review by: Edward Kanze

For years, I lamented the fact that the great and celebrated corpus of Adirondack literature included so little about flora and fauna. The second (1982) edition of Paul Jamieson’s Adirondack Reader pretty much exemplified the state of affairs. Browse the index and you’ll see for yourself the scant attention Adirondack Mountain wildlife tended to receive from writers of literary bent. Happily, the times they are a-changin’. Curt Stager of Paul Smith’s College broke the field wide open a decade ago with the publication of his marvelous Field Notes from the Northern Forest (Syracuse, 1999). I’ve made contributions of my own, >>More


July, 2009

Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History
Author: Adirondack Life

Review by: Philip Terrie

On July 12, 1609, Samuel de Champlain, along with about sixty Canadian Indians, canoed into the lake that he quickly named after himself. On the twenty-ninth, the party spotted a band of Mohawks, enemies of his Algonquin allies. Abrief battle ensued the following morning, during which Champlain, pretty much without provocation, shot and killed two Mohawks and wounded another. Though historians are not certain where this deadly encounter occurred, the consensus places it near Ticonderoga. Champlain’s drawing of the battle, published in 1613, is the earliest known European depiction of any land inside what is now the Adirondack Park. Whether >>More


May, 2009

The Frogs and Toads of North America
Author: Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt, and Carlos Davidson

Review by: EDWARD KANZE

In spring, birds flood the Adirondacks with music, and those who tune in report that the chorus thrills the soul. Yet listen closely in May and June, and you’ll detect a far older symphony. This one is of such ancient vintage that it, or something like it, shook the Jurassic air when swamps and marshes were prowled by dinosaurs. It is the noisy, sometimes musical, sometimes raucous display of passion staged every spring by frogs. Because the Adirondack climate tends to be cold, and because our terrain was recently scraped bare by glaciers, our diversity of frogs is low compared >>More