‘Hiking the Trail to Yesterday, vol. II’

Some new hikes to try—and their history

hiking guide

In his chatty, enthusiastic prose William C. Hill has the voice of a 21st century Adirondack guide in his book “Hiking the Trail to Yesterday, vol. II” (WIlliam C. Hill, rockonk8sdad@yahoo.com). He combines history and hiking in the 14 routes he profiles in his portable book. All of the adventures are in the northwestern Adirondacks and though I know this part of the park well, half of the hikes are new to me.


 Hill is generous with his black-and-white photos and begins each route description with a few paragraphs of its history. The Loon Lake Mountain hike contains tales of gold, elk and a hops farm. Hike No. 2 gives directions to the mile-long walk to Wanakena’s Big Pine, a giant that survived through years of clearcutting in the area. Over a third of the book chronicles the hikes and history of land south of Tupper Lake, once owned by the Low family. The hikes are short and often end at a pond, with Hill mentioning where ruins can be seen. The description of the Bridge Brook Pond trail includes a story of a group of Royalists fleeing to Montreal during the Revolutionary War and leaving behind two British cannons in the slushy mud somewhere near Tupper Lake. It turns out it isn’t just a story.

— Betsy Kepes