A chance encounter on Iroquois

Chris Finke, left, and Kevin Durr on the summit of Iroquois.
Chris Finke, left, and Kevin Durr on the summit of Iroquois.

Last weekend I climbed over Algonquin Peak and continued along the ridge to Iroquois Peak a mile away. I’m not saying this is the best hike in the Adirondacks, but it’s way up there.

Some of the scenic highlights: the Trap Dike and huge slides on Mount Colden, Marcy rising above Colden, Giant and the Great Range farther in the distance, Lake Colden and the Flowed Lands, the Wallface cliffs in Indian Pass, and all the alpine flora.

At 5,114 feet, Algonquin is the Park’s second-highest peak. Since it’s only four miles from Adirondak Loj, it sees a lot of traffic. Fewer people bother to go on to Iroquois, which makes it a nicer summit if you’re looking for solitude.

When I reached Iroquois, I was the only one there. I sat down and gobbled M&Ms while taking in the views of the western High Peaks–the Santanonis and the Sewards–as well as Wallface, the Sawtooth Range, and other mountains.

Before I left, two hikers showed up. As we talked, I learned that their names were Kevin Durr and Chris Finke. When I mentioned that I lived in Saranac Lake, Kevin replied that he used to live there, too–in the Santanoni Apartments. Talk about coincidences: the Explorer office is located in the same building, which is owned by Dick Beamish, the publication’s founder, and his wife, Rachel Rice.

Kevin told me he now lives in Clayton in the Thousand Islands region. Another coincidence: My father operates the River Rat Cheese store in the village, and Kevin often shops there.

These sort of coincidences happen often when I’m out in the woods. Here’s another example:

One winter I was cross-country skiing and found a set of car keys on top of Little John Mountain, with the initials “PM.” My guess was that they belonged to Pat Munn, a well-known backcountry skier. But I never met Pat and didn’t know how to get in touch with him. I figured I’d ask his friend, Ron Konowitz. Lo and behold, the next day I went up Mount Marcy and ran into Ron on the summit. I asked if he knew how I could reach Pat.

“He’s right here,” Ron said. With that, Pat stepped forward.

“Pat, did you lose your car keys on top of Little John Mountain?” I asked.

“About two weeks ago,” he said.

“Well, I found them yesterday.”

What are the chances?

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Kevin Durr says


    Yes that was quite a coincidence. Thanks for blogging about us and be sure to tell Dick and Rachel I said hello. I really enjoyed living there and they were great lanlords and nice people. I miss living in the Adirondacks, but still live neat a very beautiful place, the St Lawrence River.

    That is quite a story about the car keys!

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