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Don Perryman clearly loved the wilderness

To the editor:

I was sorry to learn about the death (too young) of Donald Perryman. I didn’t know Don, but I met him in 2011 when I was carrying my Hornbeck canoe to Duck Hole deep in the High Peaks Wilderness.

Schlepping a canoe, even a light one, to Duck Hole is not easy. After paddling across Henderson Lake, you face four carries, totaling about 2 miles, as well as paddles across the two Preston Ponds. Understandably, I expected to be the only canoeist at Duck Hole on a weekday in blackfly season. But no — I ran into Don and his friend Rick Cerminara on the trail, both shouldering canoes. “Rick and I are always getting each other in trouble on stuff like this,” he told me.

When we met up again at Duck Hole, I told Don I planned to do a story for the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine and asked his opinion of the uphill portage to Preston Ponds. “Easier than I thought,” he replied. “Wait, are you going to write about this? Then it’s hard as hell.”

Though our encounter was brief, it left the impression that Don enjoyed life to the fullest.

Incidentally, a few months later Tropical Storm Irene breached the dam at Duck Hole, draining most of the pond. However, it’s still a beautiful place, with views of Santanoni Peak, Panther Peak and other big mountains. The kind of place Donald Perryman evidently loved.

Phil Brown

Saranac Lake

(Note: You can find my story at https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/portage-to-paradise.)

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