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Old 01-23-2019, 07:41 PM   #6
DSettahr's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 5,296
If you liked "At the Mercy of the Mountains," I highly recommend the White Mountain's equivalent- Not Without Peril. While not an Adirondacks book, it is very much in the same vein as "At the Mercy of the Mountains" (and in fact, arguably was the inspiration for the "At the Mercy of the Mountains").

Some of my favorite selections from the Adirondack bookshelf:

Forest and Crag, by Laura and Guy Waterman: An in depth look at the history of hiking in the northeastern US. While this book focuses on all of New England in addition to New York (with some additional information on the history of the Appalachian Trail), there are nevertheless several chapters devoted specifically to the Adirondacks. The full book is well worth reading.

The Green Guide to Low Impact Hiking and Camping, by Laura and Guy Waterman (formerly published as "Backwoods Ethics): This is more of a general "how to" of Leave No Trace, but it still has a chapter or two containing case studies of issues prevalent in the Adirondacks specifically.

Wilderness Ethics: Preserving the Spirit of Wildness, by Laura and Guy Waterman: The companion piece to the above tome. Whereas the "Green Guide" focuses more in physical impacts, "Wilderness Ethics" focuses on social impacts. Again, this is not strictly an Adirondack's specific book, but it is in part inspired by the author's experiences in the Adirondacks (in addition to the rest of the northeast).

Life With Noah: Stories and Adventures of Richard Smith With Noah John Rondeau, by William J. O'Hern: This is actually more of a book about Richard Smith (another frequent resident of the Cold River country) than it is about Noah John Rondeau, but it's nevertheless chock-full of anecdotal stories about life in the Cold River area during the first half of the twentieth century.

Adirondack French Louie: Early Life in the North Woods, by Harvey L Dunham: I consider this book to be an essential companion to the O'Hern book above. In addition to providing a character portrait of Adirondack French Louie, another of the Adirondack's famous hermits, it provides an in depth description of the hunting, camping, and logging culture that was historically present in what is now the West Canada Lakes Wilderness.

(Both the O'Hern book and the Dunham book are "must reads" before any thru-hike of the Northville Placid Trail is attempted, IMO.)

Excuse Me Sir, Your Socks Are On Fire, by Larry Weill: A book of anecdotal stories from three seasons of work in the 70's as a backcountry ranger in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness. This book is more "humorous" than it is "historical," but it is nevertheless a must-read. There are 3 sequels if you enjoy it and find yourself wanting more.

Contested Terrain: A New History of Nature and People in the Adirondacks, by Philip G. Terrie: Details a lot of the (controversial) issues that have been present throughout the history of the management of the Adirondacks as a park. A must-read if you want to know more about the "political" side of the Adirondack Park.

The Adirondacks: A History of America's First Wilderness, by Paul Schneider: I consider this to be a companion book to the Terrie book above. This book focuses a little bit less on politics and more on the full history of the Adirondack Park- from prior to the arrival of European explorers to modern day.

The Adirondack Atlas: A Geographic Portrait of the Adirondack Park, by Jerry Jenkins: If you like statistics, pretty maps, and fancy charts, then this is the book for you. The book is an extensive and exhaustive analysis of all facts Adirondack.

Exploring the 46 Adirondack High Peaks, by James R. Burnside: If becoming a 46er is a goal of yours, this is probably the single best source of information about each of the peaks other that isn't explicitly a guidebook. It is a bit dated at this point (over 20 years old and there's been a few changes to how some of the High Peaks are most commonly hiked in the time since), but it's nevertheless a good source of inspiration in addition to information.

Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks: Writings of a Pioneering Peak-Bagger, Pond-Hopper, and Wilderness Preservationist, by Phil Brown: Straight from the horse's mouth, this book is a collection of writings from the first 46er: Bob Marshall himself. Much of the writing is focused on the Adirondacks (with entries about both the High Peaks as well as the Cranberry Lake area, where Marshall spent a summer as a forestry student), but it does also contain entries from his time in Alaska as well as musings on Wilderness philosophy and the importance of protecting wild places.

Where Wilderness Preservation Began: Adirondack Writings of Howard Zahniser, by Howard Zahniser: The Wilderness Act of 1964 provided a legal definition of federal Wilderness and a set mechanism for designating federal Wilderness Areas. The act was largely written in a cabin the Adirondack Park by its authoer, Howard Zahniser, who was largely inspired by wilderness within Adirondacks in his efforts to provide further protections for the federal equivalent. This book is a collection of his Adirondacks-specific writings.

Defending the Wilderness: The Adirondack Writings of Paul Schaefer, by Paul Schaefer: Paul Schaefer was a good friend of Howard Zahniser, and was heavily involved in efforts to bring about further environmental protections within the Adirondack Park during the mid-twentieth century. This book is a collection of his Adirondacks-specifics writings and musings.

The Adirondack Reader, by Paul Jamieson and Neil Burdick: A collection of both historical and contemporary writings by Adirondack authors, with entries spanning 400 years of Adirondack history and culture.

Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, The Northern Districts and it's companion volume, Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, The Southern Districts, by Martin Podskoch. Both books are packed to the brim with information, historic anecdotes, and photos for each and every fire tower that once stood within the Adirondack Park. If you're a history buff and you love in-depth collections of historical minutiae, then these are the books for you.

And if you really, really, really like historical minutiae, then Doc Kudish's collection of volumes on the history of railroads in the Adirondacks are must-reads: Where Did the Tracks Go in the Western Adirondacks?, Where Did the Tracks Go in the Central Adirondacks?, and Where Did the Tracks Go in the Eastern Adirondacks?. These three volumes (along with another companion volume that focuses on railroads in the Catskills) are the product of literally a life-long effort to collect and catalog information on the history of railroads in NY's more mountainous regions.
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