A guide for both the expert and novice hiker

Review: “Peaks and Ponds: Adirondack Day Hikes” by Bobby Clark and Cat Hadlow

Marking its centennial, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s recently published “Peaks and Ponds: Adirondack Day Hikes,” by Bobby Clark and Cat Hadlow is an intelligent and welcome resource for both the expert and novice hiker.

The Adirondack Mountain Club, which now has 30,000 members and 27 chapters, had its first meeting in New York City. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were members, and according to Wikipedia, FDR contributed to the club’s 1942 annual report, noting, “the club’s initial statement of policy, adhered to and acted upon vigorously throughout the years, that ‘the Adirondack Forest preserve belongs to the people of the state of New York’ and that ‘we believe in a continuing policy that shall give the widest and wisest use of the forest to all.'”

Clark and Hadlow’s volume continues that mission to provide the “widest and wisest use” of the Adirondack Park. The contents are organized as were the original Adirondack Forest Preserve trail guides: High Peaks, Central, Eastern and Western. The authors have walked or paddled each of the 37 trails, most of which are among the less-traveled routes.

Clark and Hadlow provide roundtrip distance, GPS coordinates, level of difficulty and trailhead location for each entry. History is also part of the guide. The Hoffman Notch Traverse includes wilderness where “logging, mining and tannery operations were prevalent here during the late 1800s. Remnants of a chimney from an old inn at the end of Loch Muller Road are visible off the roadside … offering a glimpse of the past settlement of Loch Muller.”

The book’s appendix has a useful glossary (I learned what “vlei” means), and a grouping of the book’s hikes according to difficulty: easy, moderate, strenuous, difficult. A section devoted to “Outdoor Habits and Practices,” such as considerations for bringing one’s dog onto the trail, both educates and reminds.

Finally, there are some delightful photos — not just of Adirondack beauty, but people having fun experiencing that beauty, which the Adirondack Mountain Club preserved for the “widest and wisest use.”

Clark and Hadlow’s guide is another welcome contribution to the club’s 100 year legacy.


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