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Adirondack Explorer

November, 2012

Discover the Adirondacks
Author: Peter W. Kick

Review by: Phil Brown

Discover the Adirondacks By Peter W. Kick Appalachian Mountain Club, 2012 Softcover, 288 pages, $18.95

Discover the Adirondacks
By Peter W. Kick
Appalachian Mountain Club, 2012
Softcover, 288 pages, $18.95

THE APPALACHIAN Mountain Club has published a multisport guidebook that contains suggestions for hiking, paddling, and biking in the Adirondack Park.

Written by Peter Kick, Discover the Adirondacks covers twenty-six hikes, thirteen canoe trips, and eleven bike rides throughout the Park, with accompanying maps and black-and-white photos. It also includes a number of short essays on natural and human history.

With any book like this, you can quibble with the author’s choices. Do we really need to send more people up Mount Jo? Why didn’t he include any paddling trips in the High Peaks Region—such as Henderson Lake or the Chubb River?

Kick’s book divides the Park into four regions: High Peaks, Northwest Lakes and Foothills, Southeast Mountains and Rivers, and Southwest Lakes and Mountains. He describes at least twelve trips in each region

Sampler books seldom contain surprises, for the author rarely has enough pages to cover all the popular classic trips. In the High Peaks chapter, for example, Kick describes hikes to only four of the forty-six High Peaks: Marcy, Algonquin, Cascade, and Giant. Many Adirondack hikers will bemoan the absence of old favorites such as Gothics, Dix, and Colden, but a book like this cannot be comprehensive.

That said, Kick does squeeze in a few surprises. Most people probably have not heard of Henry’s Woods and the Barkeater Trails, two fairly new trail networks in Lake Placid. Kick recommends both for mountain biking.

For paddling, Kick sticks with the usual suspects: Lake Lila, St. Regis Canoe Area, Bog River, Raquette River, etc. The only surprise is the omission of the Oswegatchie, one of the best canoeing rivers in the Park.

Interspersed among the trip chapters are ten sidebars on such topics as loons, blackflies, carnivorous plants, and the alpine zone. The introductory material includes information on the history of the Adirondack Park and its recreational opportunities as well as safety advice.

Kick is a good writer, and AMC’s guidebooks are well-designed. The book suffices as an introduction to the Adirondacks, but those desiring to delve deeper into the region’s riches will want to pick up one or more of the local guidebooks on the market.

Incidentally, AMC’s publication should not be confused with Bill Ingersoll’s Discover the Adirondacks guidebooks, an eleven-volume series begun by Barbara McMartin in the 1980s. Each book has Discover in its title: Discover the Eastern Adirondacks, Discover the Central Adirondacks, etc.

When Kick’s book came out, Ingersoll wrote a letter to AMC complaining about the similarity in titles, suggesting it was a trademark infringement. AMC was aware of Ingersoll’s books, but a spokeswoman said the club has its own line of Discover books, dating back to the publication of Discover Acadia National Park in 2000, and the Adirondack book is part of that series. Other titles include Discover Martha’s Vineyard and Discover Rhode Island.

Ingersoll later said the dispute has been resolved, but he declined to comment further.

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