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Adirondack Explorer

January, 2007

Why the Adirondacks Look the Way They Do: A Natural History
Author: Mike Storey


On the bookcases in my study, I have three shelves of books on the Adirondacks. The bulk of the volumes came from the library of Barney Fowler. Barney was the author of three volumes of the Adirondack Album compilation and a columnist at the Times Union. It was my good fortune that Barney, in all his big-hearted gruffness, took this cub reporter under his tutelage when I joined the paper in 1984. Barney taught me that a storyteller could find a deep well of colorful characters and authentic places to write about within the Blue Line. He introduced me around >>More

November, 2006

Over the Mountain and Home Again
Author: Edward Kanze


The literature of nature—of being in nature, of contemplating its marvels with an educated and sensitive eye and writing about it with insight and skill— is one of the world’s great genres. Our country’s first great nature writer was William Bartram, who in 1791 described with exquisite detail his peregrinations through the Southeast. Many students of American literature would argue that Henry David Thoreau took the form to its finest expression with Walden (1854) and his lesserknown but always rewarding AWeek on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849) and The Maine Woods (1864). Nearer to home, John Burroughs in a >>More

November, 2006

Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks Writings of a Pioneering Peak-Bagger, Pond-Hopper and Wilderness Preservationist
Author: Phil Brown


Like Mozart in music and Keats in poetry, Bob Marshall packed an astonishing quantity of experience and accomplishment into a short life and has been elevated to near mythic status by generations of followers. We have the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana and a proposal for a 409,000- acre Bob Marshall Great Wilderness (“the Bob” to true believers) in the western Adirondacks. In the MacIntyre Range, we have Mount Marshall, whose name honors both Bob and his younger brother, George, the original Adirondack 46ers. And we have numerous articles about him as well as a full-length biography. But what did >>More

July, 2006

Adirondack Fire Towers Their History and Lore: The Northern Districts
Author: Martin Podskoch


For most of the 20th century, tourists saw fire towers as good destinations for hikes with the kids, while to residents they meant jobs with decent pay for a few months of relatively easy work. Both also saw the towers as an early-warning system against the fires they knew could ravage the forests, as had happened early in the 1900s. But as the century wore down, it proved more efficient and economical to scout for fires from the air. To the dismay of many, the towers were closed, one after another, and abandoned or dismantled. Partly because we value symbols >>More

July, 2006

The Adirondacks
Author: T. Morris Longstreth


In 1916, T. Morris Longstreth, a schoolteacher from Kingston and author of a long list of travel books and novels, spent six months exploring the Adirondacks, mostly on foot, accompanied by a friend and a faithful horse carrying their gear. They began at the North Creek train station in June and finished up there the following December. Along the way, they saw a good bit of the Adirondacks, wandering from Indian Lake to Raquette Lake, from Lake Lila to Cranberry Lake, from Paul Smiths to Lake Placid, from Indian Pass to Keene Valley, and finally back to North Creek by >>More

July, 2006

Adirondack Waters: Spirit of the Mountains
Author: Mark Bowie

Review by: PHIL BROWN

Perhaps it was inevitable that Mark Bowie would become an Adirondack photographer. He grew up just outside the Blue Line and spent most of his childhood summers in the Park. Both his grandfather and father are professional photographers. Mark always liked taking pictures, but he didn’t turn pro until after getting a master’s degree in geology. Now 46, he has been working as a photographer and free-lance writer for a dozen years. The images on these pages are from his first book, Adirondack Waters: Spirit of the Mountains, which is due out this summer.

May, 2006

Notes Collected in the Adirondacks: 1895 & 1896
Author: Arpad Geyza Gerster Edited by Sidney S. Whelan Jr.


Hungarian-born Arpad Gerster was a 19th-century Renaissance man, an artist, writer, musician, keen observer of the natural world, early conservationist, pioneer of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and the author of Rules of Aseptic and Antiseptic Surgery, the textbook that set the standard in the United States for maintaining a sanitized operating room. He was a linguist who spoke six languages and the possessor of considerable wit, humanity and knowledge, usually untainted by the mawkish sentimentality of the age in which he lived. This memoir of events surrounding the doctor’s hunting and fishing vacations at >>More

May, 2006

The Great South Woods II
Author: Peter O’Shea


Want proof that Peter O’Shea is a serious naturalist? Pay close attention to the section titled “Wildlife and Changes Around a Homestead” in his new book The Great South Woods II. The homestead is O’Shea’s “own humble abode” in the northwest Adirondacks hamlet of Fine. He acquired it in 1973, moved in shortly after, and has been closely observing wildlife from it—and in it—ever since. O’Shea chronicles the progression of avian life as the open fields around his house metamorphose into young forest, the result in part of what he calls “an ill-advised planting of eight acres with red pine >>More

March, 2006

Women with Altitude
Author: Carol Stone White


Everyone in the North Country knows an aspiring 46er or soon learns to recognize one: firm calves, purposeful expression and a lofty to-do list. Forty-Sixers earn the title, of course, by climbing all of the Adirondack High Peaks, most of which top 4,000 feet. The Adirondack Forty- Sixers organization, established in the 1930s, records more than 5,500 members. Less numerous are the winter 46ers, those who scale the peaks while everyone else is curled up in front of the fireplace; rarer still are the female winter 46ers. As of March 2001 (when the logbooks atop the trailless peaks were removed >>More

March, 2006

The Ardent Birder: On the Craft of Birdwatching
Author: Todd Newberry Illustrated by Gene Holtan


When I finished the three-page introduction to The Ardent Birder I concluded, with a yawn, that while very sweet and even tender the book seemed far too basic for an experienced birder like myself. But I found the bordering-on-theprecious tone disarmingly honest and refreshing, and the arrangement of material suggested by the contents meticulously sensible, so I decided to read at least a few short chapters. On the second page of the first chapter, my yawn somersaulted into a smile as I reached for a pencil to mark the first of many statements I would mark by the time I >>More


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