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Adirondack Explorer

January, 2003

Half the Way Home
Author: Adam Hochschild


There is not much humor in Half the Way Home. In its 236 pages, not one anecdote directly involving the author elicits laughter. Whereas Lewis Spence describes a loving if fundamentally Victorian relationship between a boy and his grandfather, Half the Way Home is a search for understanding of a father-son relationship where love was not voiced until the last possible moment, where fear, guilt and impenetrable barriers ruled the years. One cannot imagine a young Adam and his father, Harold, laughing over a game of cribbage, wood bugs or no. Half the Way Home is a tremendously powerful book, >>More

January, 2003

A Mountain View
Author: Lewis Spence


Sooner or later, we all come home—if not literally, then spiritually, emotionally or psychologically to a place that had a role in shaping us. One day, without realizing it, we are there. And we confront the forces that made us what we have become. We complete a circle. The Adirondacks are an arc of that circle in two outstanding memoirs, at once a player and a stage for settling up with the ghosts of elders. Lewis Spence’s A Mountain View, published posthumously in 2002, recounts the author’s four summers with his eccentric, bigoted grandfather at the family compound on Upper >>More

January, 2003

Ski and Snowshoe Trails in the Adirondacks
Author: Tony Goodwin

Review by: PHIL BROWN

Not every classic stands the test of time—not when the public’s tastes keep changing. For nearly a decade, cross-country enthusiasts have relied on Tony Goodwin’s Classic Adirondack Ski Tours for advice on where to ski in the Adirondack Park. The book is a minor classic in itself, with its spare descriptions of the author’s favorite ski routes and its attractive, easy-to- follow maps. This winter, the Adirondack Mountain Club has reissued the book as Ski and Snowshoe Trails in the Adirondacks and included a bunch of trips to summits that will appeal primarily to snowshoers (and daredevil skiers). Since snowshoeing >>More

November, 2002

Portrait of Healing: Curing in the Woods
Author: Victoria E. Rinehart

Review by: PHIL GALLOS

It was a Saturday in November 1994 that I met Victoria Rinehart to take her and a group of her nursing students on a walking tour of the cure cottages of Saranac Lake. As we tramped the streets, I told her what I could about Saranac Lake’s history as America’s pioneer health resort for the treatment of tuberculosis. Not long afterward she told me of her desire to write a book about the role nurses played in that 75-year story. I wondered silently if she realized what a daunting task this might be. When I embarked on a bookwriting venture >>More

September, 2002

Perspectives on the Adirondacks: A 30 Year Struggle by People Protecting Their Treasure
Author: Barbara McMartin

Review by: FRED LEBRUN

Barbara McMartin is an Ivy League-educated mathematician. I recall her mentioning once that she began hiking the Adirondacks systematically and obsessively as relief from preparing for doctoral orals at Columbia. I raise this not so much to assert how smart she is as to suggest that it is in her nature to seek a closed universe of data that makes sense, where every equation is balanced and every cause has its effect. In writing a contemporary history of the Adirondacks, however, she has chosen a subject best categorized as chaos theory. It’s like studying the Balkans. Figuring out what happened >>More

July, 2002

The Extraordinary Adirondack Journey of Clarence Petty
Author: Chris Angus


How can one man do so much in just 97 years? Clarence Petty is of one of the most interesting and important people ever to carry a canoe, bushwhack through the backcountry, or dedicate his life to protecting the Adirondack wilderness. And he has lived through a period of high drama in Adirondack affairs. As it winds through this crucial era of the region’s history, Christopher Angus’s richly detailed account of Petty’s life and times touches on the critical elements of decades of struggle to shape the Adirondack Park and preserve the qualities that define it. Petty is also a >>More

May, 2002

Views from on High: Fire Tower Trails in the Adirondacks and Catskills
Author: John P. Freeman with Wesley H. Hayes

Review by: RICK KARLIN

My first view from an Adirondack summit was at the tower on Goodnow Mountain near Newcomb, and I can still recall the thrill. I was 11 or 12, and some friends and I were staying at a summer camp on Long Lake. The tower, maintained by the state College of Environmental Science and Forestry, offers a spectacular view of the High Peaks from the south. These days, hikers will find pamphlets at the parking lot that can be referred to at numbered stops along the trail to learn about the mountain’s natural history. We happy campers did a lot more >>More

March, 2002

Discover the Northwest Adirondacks
Author: Barbara McMartin and Bill Ingersoll

Review by: BRIAN MANN

Adirondack outdoor types tend to be sort of gear crazy. An avid hiker might own two or three pairs of boots, for use on different kinds of trail. No garage is complete without a kayak and a canoe. It’s not uncommon for snow mavens to own three sets of skis, with a pair of snowshoes thrown in for good measure. Being an impoverished reporter (and victim of my wife’s common sense) I’m not as geared up as some, but I do have a weakness: I can’t resist a new guidebook. My shelf holds a couple dozen volumes, detailing Adirondack canoe >>More

March, 2002

Quiet Water Canoe Guide: New York
Author: John Hayes, Alex Wilson


To broaden one’s horizons, try the Quiet Water Canoe Guide: New York. Here everything is our oyster—literally, from the oyster beds of Long Island to Coles Creek on the St. Lawrence River, from East Bay on Lake Ontario to the Erie Canal and onto Lake George. Here is complete how-to and where-to information for over 100 destinations— more than a third of them in the Adirondacks. New York state is indeed a rollicking paddler’s fantasy, “one of the most watery corners of the continent,” says writer Bill McKibben. One of the lesser-known destinations in Quiet Water Canoe Guide is South >>More

March, 2002

Fun on Flatwater: An Introduction to Adirondack Canoeing
Author: Barbara McMartin


If you are not in to risking your neck, the perfect paddling guide is Barbara McMartin’s Fun on Flatwater: An Introduction to Adirondack Canoeing. This is my favorite sort of adventuring, for contrary to what seems to be the vogue these days, true adventure does not require a near-death experience. Pity those compelled to trek up Everest, hang from cliff faces or kayak down Peru’s Colca River, plunging down 20-foot waterfalls. Such activities are more about proving oneself than discovering and relating to the out-of- doors. Fun on Flatwater is a good, usable guide delineating the many miles of pristine >>More

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