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Adirondack Explorer

September, 2011

The Other 54 A Hiker’s Guide to the Lower 54 Peaks of the Adirondack 100 Highest
Author: Spencer Morrissey

Review by: Phil Brown

What’s a mountain climber to do once he or she has summited the Adirondack Forty-Six, the Catskill Thirty-Five, and the Northeast 115? Create a new list, of course. And so we have the Adirondack Hundred Highest—the obsession of hard-core hikers who don’t mind surrendering a few pints of blood in their quest to stand atop the region’s tallest mountains. The Hundred Highest includes the forty-six High Peaks first climbed by Bob and George Marshall and their guide, Herb Clark, in the first quarter of the last century. All of these peaks now have marked trails or obvious herd paths, so >>More


September, 2011

Notes Collected in the Adirondacks: 1897 & 1898
Author: Arpad Geyza Gerster

Review by: Philip Terrie

The library at the Adirondack Museum houses thousands of rare and valuable items, from historic maps and the business records of long-defunct logging companies to the personal papers of major Adirondack personalities and hard-to-find government reports. Among the most fascinating of the many treasures are diaries, handwritten day-to-day accounts of life in bygone times. Some of these are by humble folk, like the poignant journal kept by Juliet Kellogg, living on a remote farm near Minerva in the 1860s and describing the isolation and travails of a hardscrabble life. At the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum is the diary >>More


July, 2011

Old Forge and the Fulton Chain of Lakes
Author: Linda Cohen and Peg Masters

Review by: Phil Brown

ARCADIA PUBLISHING puts out so many Adirondack books in its Images of America series that it’s hard to keep track of them, but one that crossed my desk in recent weeks caught my eye: Old Forge and the Fulton Chain of Lakes. One of the largest hamlets in the Adirondack Park, Old Forge has a rich history full of colorful characters. Like others in the series, this book conveys the past through old photographs and captions. The authors, Linda Cohen and Peg Masters, are both descendants of early settlers of Old Forge. Cohen’s grandfather founded Old Forge Hardware, the bustling >>More


July, 2011

Heaven Up-h’isted-ness! The History of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers
Author: Various authors

Review by: Philip Terrie

EARLY IN 1838, geologist Ebenezer Emmons, part of a team of scientists assessing New York’s natural resources, submitted a report to the state Assembly. In it he described his fieldwork of the previous summer. Among other things, he had led the first recorded ascent of the state’s highest peak, which he named Mount Marcy, for William Learned Marcy, the sitting governor. Emmons also proposed a name for the rugged region of which Marcy was more or less the center: “The cluster of mountains in the neighborhood of the Upper Hudson and Ausable rivers, I propose to call the Adirondack group, >>More


May, 2011

Best Easy Day Hikes: Adirondacks
Author: Lisa Densmore

Review by: Phil Brown

Saranac Lake native Lisa Densmore has just published her second Adirondack guidebook within the past year: Best Easy Day Hikes: Adirondacks, a selection of twenty-two hikes, most of them under four miles. Densmore chose the hikes from her longer book, Adirondack Hiking, reviewed in the Explorer last fall. The descriptions have been condensed and the photos dispensed with. As a result, the new book is slimmer (126 pages), more compact (4¼ by 7 inches), and less expensive ($9.95). It fi ts easily into a backpack. All of these hikes are worth doing. People may differ on how easy they are, >>More


May, 2011

Thatcher’s Peak Finder for the Northern Adirondacks
Author: Thatcher Hogan

Review by: Tony Goodwin

FOLLOWING UP on his successful “Peak Finder for the Northern Adirondacks,” Thatcher Hogan has produced a Peak Finder for four of the High Peaks plus Mount Jo. The High Peaks are Algonquin Peak, Mount Colden, Phelps Mountain, and Wright Peak. The first Peak Finder covered two other High Peaks, Cascade and Whiteface, plus eight smaller peaks in the northern Adirondacks. Hogan got the idea for the Peak Finder a few years ago after he climbed Owls Head on the northern edge of the Park with his wife and son. The Peak Finder is about the size of a large bookmark >>More


March, 2011

Deep Future The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth
Author: Curt Stager

Review by: Philip Terrie

Most books on climate begin with the last couple of centuries—the Industrial Revolution and the onset of massive emissions of carbon dioxide—and then move to what remains of the twenty-first century. In Deep Future, Curt Stager looks at millennia, thousands of millennia, back toward the very origins of life and forward for over a hundred thousand years. Stager is a professor at Paul Smith’s College and a paleoecologist; he studies ancient environments, through pollen samples, fossils, and other vestiges of past life. This gives him the “long view,” an understanding that over vast eons, life on earth and the environment >>More


January, 2011

Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast
Author: David Goodman

Review by: Phil Brown

In 1987, David Goodman got a dream job for a ski bum trying to survive as a freelance writer: the Appalachian Mountain Club hired him to write a guidebook for backcountry skiing in New England. The following year the club published Classic Backcountry Skiing: A Guide to the Best Ski Tours in New England. Unlike most ski-touring guidebooks, this one focused on down-mountain runs rather than rolling terrain, and it came out just as telemark skiing was enjoying a rebirth. Goodman later expanded his horizons westward, and in 1999, AMC split the book into two volumes, one covering New Hampshire >>More


January, 2011

Long Distance Testing the Limits of Body and Spirit in a Year of Living Strenuously
Author: Bill McKibben

Review by: Phil Brown

SEVERAL YEARS AGO, we asked Bill McKibben to ski the entire Jackrabbit Trail in a single day and write about it. Saranac Lake to Keene. That’s twenty-four miles, but that wasn’t enough for McKibben. When he turned his story in, I learned he started instead at Paul Smith’s, where there is an orphan piece of the Jackrabbit. By following this trail and then a railroad bed, he was able to make it to Saranac Lake and add ten or eleven miles to the trek. Why extend an already-lengthy trip by slogging along a boring railroad track? I thought Bill must >>More


November, 2010

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food and Love
Author: Kristin Kimball

Review by: Philip Terrie

KRISTIN KIMBALL’S The Dirty Life is the story of an urban, highly educated woman and how she moved to the Adirondacks and learned to be a farmer. Instead of worrying about commuting and her 401K, now she thinks about the weather and whether the hogs are warm enough. This profound shift in priorities puts her in touch with a way of living and thinking that most Americans know nothing about, but these are “the kind of thoughts that have occupied the majority of the human race—the agrarians—for most of the history of the world.” She and her husband, Mark, operate >>More