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Adirondack Explorer

September, 2008

Adirondack Rock: A Rock Climber’s Guide
Author: Jim Lawyer and Jeremy Haas


Don Mellor, the author of Climbing in the Adirondacks, still remembers the letter he received from some Canadians who used the book to try to find a climbing route. They spent the day bushwhacking through the woods and were not happy about it. “Do you sniff glue? Do you work with strong chemicals?” the climbers asked. The two-page letter was embellished with stick-figure drawings of Mellor being run over by a bus, hanging from a tree and being tossed off a cliff. The lesson: Rock climbers take their guidebooks seriously, and woe to the author who misinforms, even inadvertently. A >>More

July, 2008

Conservation Easements and Biodiversity in the Northern Forest Region
Author: Jerry Jenkins


Ecologist Jerry Jenkins has emerged as one of our most articulate advocates for a rigorous application of science to understanding the Adirondack environment and planning for its future. Now, with his characteristic thoroughness, precision and stylistic panache, Jenkins has teamed up with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Open Space Institute to produce a report on conservation easements. Conservation Easements and Biodiversity in the Northern Forest Region builds on Jenkins’s previous work (The Adirondack Atlas, 2004, and Acid Rain in the Adirondacks, 2007) and expands his ken to the entire Northern Forest region, which stretches from New York’s Tug Hill >>More

July, 2008

At the Mercy of the Mountains
Author: Peter Bronski


As the author of the “Accident Reports” column in Adirondac, I am always amazed at the number of individuals who say that’s the first thing they read in the magazine. And so Peter Bronski’s book At the Mercy of the Mountains should have an immediate audience eager to learn about the tragedies, unsolved mysteries and tales of epic survival in the Adirondacks. Bronski hopes that readers will gain a better appreciation of the dangers faced in the wilds. If so, that could reduce the number of additional chapters in any sequel. The book begins with a long introduction about Adirondack >>More

July, 2008

Northeast Passage: A Photographer’s Journey Along the Historic Northern Forest Canoe Trail
Author: Clyde Smith

Review by: MARK BOWIE

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT), formally incorporated in 2000, winds for 740 miles from Old Forge, in the western Adirondacks, to Fort Kent, Maine, on the Canadian border. Its interconnected waterways and portages trace paddling routes used hundreds of years ago by Native Americans and fur traders in New York, Vermont, southern Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine. The Adirondack section of the trail goes up the Fulton Chain of Lakes and down Browns Tract Inlet to Raquette Lake, then follows the Raquette River to Long Lake. At the foot of Long Lake, paddlers return to the river, taking it >>More

May, 2008

The Bill McKibben Reader
Author: Bill McKibben


Bill McKibben, fresh out of Harvard, where he was editor of the Harvard Crimson newspaper, landed a job as a staff writer at The New Yorker in 1982. Early in his career, while grinding out pieces for “The Talk of the Town” section of the magazine, he began to emphasize the “physicalness of the world,” the fact that everything “depended on nature and consumed it for its existence.” Awarded a six-week fellowship at a writers’ retreat in Blue Mountain Lake, he “fell in love with winter and with wilderness.” His attachment to our “wild mountains was so intense and instant” >>More

May, 2008

Northville-Placid Trail
Author: Jeffrey and Donna Case

Review by: RICK KARLIN

No one knows the Northville-Placid Trail better than Jeffrey and Donna Case. They have hiked it each spring for more than 20 years, so it’s only natural that they would be called on to rewrite the Adirondack Mountain Club’s guidebook for the 132-mile trail. ADK released a new edition late last year, the first update in 13 years. It has been thoroughly rewritten to reflect changes in the route and mileage counts. “We went through it from stem to stern,” said John Kettlewell, the club’s publications director. For example, the bridge at Sampson Bog, between Spruce Lake and West Canada >>More

March, 2008

The Amphibians and Reptiles of New York State
Author: James P. Gibbs, Alvin R. Breisch, Peter K. Ducey, Glenn Johnson, John L. Behler, and Richard C. Bothner


On my mother’s side I trace my Adirondack ancestry back seven generations. That’s hardly a big deal. American toads, red-backed salamanders, garter snakes and their cousin reptiles and amphibians have been breeding, feeding and dying here, with interruptions for ice ages, for untold thousands of generations. They’re the real Adirondack natives. By comparison, bears, moose, martens and humans are Johnny-come-latelies. To enthusiasts, these slimy and scaly oldtimers are known as “herps.” Herp derives from herpetology and herpetofauna, which in turn arise from an ancient Greek term for “creeping thing.” One hears little about Adirondack herps partly because they tend to >>More

January, 2008

Schroon Lake
Author: Lueza Thirkield Gelb

Review by: AMY GODINE

The Adirondack landscape of Lueza Thirkield Gelb’s memoir, Schroon Lake, is not the stuff of High Peaks travelogues and dark Romantic vistas. It’s well-groomed and meticulous, a place where homes have names—like Almanole, or The Big Place—and long, curling driveways. Where deviled eggs are cooled on lake ice and sofas swing on the porch. Boathouses, school buses, woodpiles as neatly stacked as porch furniture in the late fall—these are the vivid strokes that animate Gelb’s story, the lovely little details that helped this book win the Adirondack Center for Writing’s award for best memoir of 2007. But under the light >>More

January, 2008

The Plains of Abraham: A History of North Elba and Lake Placid
Author: Collected Writings of Mary MacKenzie Edited by Lee Manchester


People in Lake Placid knew that their longtime village and town historian, Mary MacKenzie, had written on local history for many years. But hardly anyone knew how prolifically, or how diversely, or what a dogged and accomplished researcher she was. “I don’t think most people had any sense of the real magnitude of the work she’d been amassing over the years until we published the collected works,” writes Lee Manchester, a former Lake Placid newspaper reporter who took on the task of organizing and gently editing her writings for publication after her death in 2003 at 89. The result is >>More

January, 2008

At the End of the Road
Author: Ruth Mary Lamb

Review by: BETSY KEPES

In her new book of essays, At the End of the Road, Ruth Mary Lamb reflects on her experiences living in a remote valley west of Lake George. In 1990 she and her husband, Sandy, left their busy life in Boston to live in a ramshackle farmhouse they dubbed Journey’s End. Ours was a reverse migration: from easy living to pioneering. We looked forward to problem-solving without electric or phone lines, using primitive plumbing, and harvesting enough firewood from our 160 acres to keep warm in winter. We would put in gardens and try living simply. Most of all, we >>More


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