December 2012

Regional Reads

A selection of new Adirondack titles

The Adirondack landscape may look fixed, but it’s far from immutable. The High Peaks rise some three millimeters a year. Our hills and hollows are battered by storms. Gravity takes down massive cliff sides. And Mother Nature and man add and subtract from the maze of trails that winds through this wilderness.

The Adirondack Mountain Club’s (800-395-8080, latest editions of its go-to guides can help you keep up with the changes. The fourth edition of Eastern Trails, edited by David Thomas-Train, covers the Lake George, Pharaoh Lake and Great Sa­candaga re­gions. It adds a pack of new trails—like the ones to Berry Pond, now open to the public thanks to a purchase by the Lake George Land Conservancy (200 pages, $19.95, black-and-white photos and maps, softcover). The 14th edition of High Peaks Trails, edited by David Thom­as-Train and Tony Goodwin, de­tails how Tropical Storm Irene im­pacted the terrain and adds fresh hikes, including the sprawling Champlain Area Trail System (280 pages, $19.95, black-and-white photographs and maps, softcover).

For treks that make a splash, try Waterfalls of New York State (Firefly Books) by Scott Ensminger, David Schry­ver and Edward Smathers. It spotlights 40 hikes in the North Country, from Christine Falls, in Keene, to Butter Tub Falls, on the Oswegatchie River, outlining driving directions, walking times and trail conditions (239 pages, $29.95, color photographs and maps, softcover, 800-387-5085,

The park—a six-million-acre vacationland—can be a bit intimidating, even for folks who have been coming here for years. Annie Stoltie, editor of these pages for more than a decade, comes to the rescue with the seventh edition of Adirondacks (Countryman Press), part of the Explorer’s Guides series. Stoltie makes the most of her time as an area insider in this completely reorganized installment—the first to be available digitally—that offers a full accounting of where to eat, sleep and play by region, with asides on history, events and Adirondackana (256 pages, $19.95, color photographs, softcover, 518-946-2191,; Kindle edition, $9.99, available at

Be a contender on the waterfront with top canoe and kayak trips from Adiron­dack Explorer editor Phil Brown. Brown admits he’s partial to the park’s wildest places, but Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures (Lost Pond Press and Adirondack Mountain Club) has something for everyone: big water to winding rivers, hard-to-access hideaways to popular hot ­spots. Al­though most are day trips, the volume includes some overnight jaunts (288 pages, $24.95, color photographs and maps, softcover, 518-891-3918,

Grab the kids and head out for a little Adirondack Family Time with Diane Chase’s latest boredom buster. The all-season guide covers more than 300 places to see and things to do in the Champlain Valley (184 pages, $17.95, black-and-white photographs and maps, softcover, 518-569-2610,

Lost Ski Areas of the Southern Adirondacks (History Press) by Jeremy Davis recounts the birth and decline of the region’s earliest mom-and-pop schuss stops. And chapters on re­habbed and modern centers remind us that the days of tots on T-bars aren’t over yet (158 pages, $19.99, black-and-white photographs and maps, softcover, 866-457-5971,

Ralph Kylloe, master of rustic de­sign, has authored 27 books on that signature style. His latest coffee-table book, Ralph Kylloe’s Rustic Living (Gibbs Smith), gives readers a peek into spectacularly furnished homes and inns, in­cluding Ky­lloe’s own Lake George showpiece (368 pages, $75, color photographs, hardcover, 518-696-4100,

True-crime junkies shouldn’t miss Lawrence Gooley’s 25 Diabolical Adirondack Murders: The Twisted, Fiendish Deeds of North Country Killers (Bloated Toe Publishing). In chapters like “Scissors to the Sinus” and “Pieces of Louise,” Gooley gives readers a North Country version of Law & Order, following evildoers from crime to conviction (264 pages, $25, black-and-white photographs, softcover, 518-563-9469,

Harvey Dunham, biographer of Speculator-area hermit French Louie, was a passable woodsman himself. Over the dec­ades he tramped through the Adirondack backcountry with his brother Ray, good friend Bob Gillespie and a shifting cast of minor characters. The photo journals from those trips form the backbone of Adirondack Adventures: Bob Gil­lespie and Harvey Dunham on French Louie’s Trail (The Forager Press), by Roy E. Reehil and William J. O’Hern, allowing readers to tag along on bushwhacks and big times in the early 1900s (274 pages, $32,95, black-and-white photographs and maps, hardcover, 315-675-9704,

Rising from the Swamp: The Founding Families of Tupper Lake Junction (Bloated Toe Publishing) by Carol Payment Poole is an exhaustively researched history. Poole paints a vivid and loving picture of her hometown, from the 18th-century surveyor named Tupper to glimpses of her own mid-20th-century childhood and the hard road ahead for the struggling community (295 pages, $28, black-and-white photographs and maps, softcover, 518-563-9469,

For decades the Old Forge Writers Workshop has chronicled North Country living through memoir, fiction and verse. Adirondack Reflections: A Thirty Year Anthology (Old Forge Li­brary) compiles the best of those musings (316 pages, $18, softcover, 315-369-6100,

More Regional Titles:

Melinda MacKesey’s Adirondack Exploration for Kids and Families: History, Discovery & Fun (History Press) combines accessible facts with entertaining activities, such as animal track identification, soap making, and even building your own lean-to (112 pages, $12.99, color photographs, softcover, 866-457-5971,

Fourteen authors thrill and chill in Adirondack Mysteries and Other Mountain Tales: Volume 2, edited by Dennis Webster (North Country Books, 264 pages, $19.95, softcover, 800-342-7409,

Adirondack People and Places, by Donald Williams, is the latest Adirondack volume in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series. Through 200 historical photographs Williams showcases the characters and communities that have taken root in this wilderness (128 pages, $21.99, softcover, 888-313-2665,

Adirondack Treasure: The Bonaparte Legacy, a novel by Matthew J. Glavin, unearths a rich North Country legend (237 pages, $18.95, softcover, 800-342-7409,

On the bicentennial of the War of 1812, historian Keith A. Herkalo offers a thorough account of The Battles at Plattsburgh: September 11, 1814 (The History Press), detailing dramatic fighting on land and water while grounding the victory in context—and establishing it as one of the most important wins for our young nation (191 pages, $19.99, black-and-white images, softcover, 866-457-5971,

In Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism: Toward Urbanatural Roosting, Dr. Ashton Nichols reexamines traditional nature writing for a modern audience (Palgrave Macmillan, 230 pages, softcover, 888-330-8477,

Want to fashion a custom lightweight boat? Pick up Building Skin-on-Frame Double Paddle Canoes (Berkshire Boat Building School) by Hilary Russell for easy-to-follow instructions (150 pages, $19.95, black-and-white photographs, spiral-bound, 413-229-2549,

In Crafting a Personal Family History (Essex County Historical Society), Harold E. Hinds Jr. fleshes out this helpful guide with an exploration of three generations of his own Essex County clan (350 pages, $24.95, black-and-white photographs, softcover, 518-873-6466,

Echolocation (Engine Books), a novel by Myfanwy Collins, who grew up on the shores of Chateaugay Lake, enlivens the desolation of a faded northern Adirondack mining community with a shot of suspense (204 pages, $14.95, softcover,

A cache of dusty letters lead an Albanyite and her granddaughter on an Adirondack quest in Finding Griffin, a novel by Barbara Delaney (234 pages, $17.95, softcover,

Foxey Brown, by Charles Yaple, is based on the real-life exploits of David Brennan, a 19th-century Adirondack guide whose shady past comes back to haunt him after a well-heeled member of his party goes missing (230 pages, $18.50, black-and-white photographs, softcover,

Great Camp Sagamore: the Vanderbilts’ Adirondack Retreat (History Press), a new book by the camp’s director, Beverly Bridger, covers the past and present of this Adirondack icon. Essays by Alfred Vanderbilt III and his cousin Henry J. Topping Jr. allow a further peek inside their gilded world (127 pages, $21.99, black-and-white photographs, softcover, 866-457-5971,

George T. Kapusinski untangles an early-20th-century mystery in The Hulett Hotel Fire on Lake George (The History Press, 155 pages, $19.99, black-and-white photographs, softcover, 866-457-5971,

Life in a North Woods Lumber Camp (The Forager Press), edited and augmented by William J. O’Hern, conjures an old-time Adirondack logging community through the words of Thomas Clay O’Donnell, who was born in a 19th-century camp (254 pages, $24.95, black-and-white photographs, softcover, 315-675-9704,

In A Long Shot to Glory: How Lake Placid Saved the Winter Olympics and Restored the Nation’s Pride, author Michael Burgess sets the fabled Lake Placid Games within a wider context of history and international relations (155 pages, $14.95, softcover,

Historian Thomas A. Chambers explores our evolving relationship with hallowed sites, including Fort Ticonderoga, in Memories of War: Visiting Battlegrounds and Bonefields in the Early American Republic (Cornell University Press, $29.95, black-and-white images, hardcover, 607-277-2211,

Nothing by Name (Shaggy Dog Press), by Mary Cuffe Perez, traces the path of a self-reliant North Country woman in unadorned, evocative free verse (87 pages, $12.95, black-and-white illustrations, softcover,

Artist Robert Selkowitz gives us a colorful tour of the park in A Painter’s Path through the Adirondack Mountains (80 pages, $24.95, color images and maps, softcover,,

Jean Arleen Breed uses poetry to pay homage to her hometown in Paper Girl: A Nostalgic Look at Port Henry During the 1950s and 1960s (Bloated Toe Publishing, 135 pages, $15, black-and-white photographs, softcover, 518-563-9469,

The Pond Hockey Challenge (Adirondack Kids Press), by Justin and Gary VanRiper, is their popular Adirondack Kids’ first wintertime adventure (80 pages, $9.95, black-and-white illustrations, softcover, 315-245-2437,

A young girl, a community of caretakers and one magical rat light up Adirondack Great Camps through the long winter in Tibetta’s World: High Jinks and Hard Times in the North Country (Snowy Owl Press) by Caperton Tissot (317 pages, $16.95, softcover, 518-891-4026,

Musician, artist and jack-of-all-trades George “Speedy” Arnold wrote and illustrated What’s an Elephant Doing in the Ausable River?!! (Bloated Toe Publishing), a wet and wacky stomp through the Adirondack countryside (60 pages, $20, color illustrations, hardcover, 518-563-9469,

In Women on Water: Paddling the Adirondacks and Central New York (North Country Books), Ruth Dandrea, Kathy DeLong, Carol Moseman and Bonnie Sanderson invite readers along on 25 fabulous floats—with maps and directions—that they’ve discovered with a seasoned pack of pals (137 pages, $18.95, black-and-white photographs, softcover, 315-735-4877,



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