Posts Tagged ‘Adirondack Guides’

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Around The Campfire With Old Mountain Phelps

Orsen PhelpsOrson Schofield “Old Mountain” Phelps (1816-1905) was the archetypical Adirondack guide.

Guide historian Chuck Brumley attributed this to the wide literary attention Phelps received from early city visitors to the High Peaks, including Verplanck Colvin and Charles Dudley Warner. Phelps was painted by Winslow Homer. He became a stock character in the guidebooks of E.R. Wallace and S.R. Stoddard.

Phelps certainly had the requisite outdoor skills to be a well-known Adirondack guide, and he cut many High Peaks trails still in use, as well as naming a number of high peaks. But it was his personality and aphorisms that caught the imagination of many of the “city men” he guided. He amused and impressed his clients with rustic humor and philosophy.

It is this aspect of Phelps that is apparent in a previously unknown collection of papers recently acquired by the Adirondack Research Library of the Kelly Adirondack Center of Union College. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Backcountry Safety: Wilderness First Aid Training

Hazardous blowdown near Cropsey PondExploring the Adirondack backcountry is risky business. All manner of medical issues can arise where assistance is not just a 911 call away.

Recently, I attended a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) class provided by Adirondack Wilderness Medicine (AWM) to keep current on the first aid requirement for my New York State Guides License. This was my second wilderness first aid class. The first was an eight-hour class taken through the New York State Outdoor Guides Association, this new one was much more comprehensive and twice the length. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Adirondack Museum Reissues A Guide-Boat Classic

adk museum reissues guide boat classicThere’s nothing wooden about a tree, a friend who happens to be a poet once remarked. The same could be said about a true Adirondack guide-boat. There’s nothing wooden about it. The offspring of this region’s woods and waters, it is the most elegant rowing boat ever built. Handled properly, an anonymous sportsman once wrote, “it obeys the prompting of every impulse, and is so easily propelled in smooth water you need never tire.”

Easier said than done, of course. But even clumsy rowers, or those who have only rowed a metal clunker, find themselves besotted by the guide-boat’s lines, workmanship and history. Ask any one of the millions of people who have visited the Adirondack Museum, whose guide-boat collection is among its most popular attractions. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Hermit Who Could Not Escape Civilization

stoddard photoAlvah Dunning was perhaps the most famous of Raquette Lake guides, said to have helped lead the first excursion of sportsmen to Raquette Lake at age eleven. Born in Lake Piseco in 1816, he lived there until 1860 when he was forced to flee after beating his wife.

From that moment on, he removed himself from society in favor of the freedom of the wilderness. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fish Tales: First Stocking of the Fulton Chain (1876)

1874 buell map - Copy (2)I recently discovered an article written by Alexander Byron Lamberton, one of Old Forge’s earliest historical figures, that was published in Forest and Stream in March of 1876.

The article describes the first large-scale stocking of fish on Fulton Chain waters. Lamberton had only recently taken over as owner of the Forge House, and his story reads like an adventure tale: » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Tragic Rafting Trip On The Upper Hudson

Duvall009_2“Where do you plan to camp tonight?” our river guide yelled to the young man paddling his raft past our campsite. “North River,” he said.

“That’s too far, you’ll never make it before dark,” our guide responded – although his words went unheard as the raft disappeared around a bend of the Upper Hudson River.

More rafts followed with a half-dozen young men and women waving and laughing as they paddled by our campsite, seemingly oblivious to the set of whitewater rapids they were about to encounter. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Early Long Lake: Senator Orville Platt

7 u s senator orville platt from conn.What is believed to be the first summer camp on Long Lake was built on Birch Point in 1870 for Senator Orville Hitchcock Platt. Platt was born in Washington, CT in 1827. His father was a farmer who also served the community as deputy sheriff, judge of probate, and a school teacher. Platt’s parents were both active abolitionists and their home was a station on the Underground Railroad.

As a youth, Platt helped his father on the farm and also enjoyed roaming the countryside hunting and fishing in the woods and streams of northwest Connecticut. He attended school in Washington, CT, the student of abolitionist Frederic Gunn. When a pro-slavery group forced Gunn to close his school he and Platt (as assistant teacher) moved to the abolitionist stronghold of Towanda, PA. Orville Platt spent a year there and met a young lady who would later become his wife. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 2, 2015

2 Notorious Guides In Adirondack History

P326ABefore railroads and automobiles, travelers depended on the quality and skills of North Woods guides to show them the region’s natural beauty, to feed them and provide the best in hunting and fishing.  Often, guides were entrusted with taking ladies in the woods.

The guides, especially those not aligned with large hotels, depended on per diem fees for subsistence and quality reputations for honesty, dependability and woodcraft benefited all guides.  So when two guides brought dishonor to the profession, guides hoped people realized these two were the exception. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Friday Declared ‘French Louie’ Seymour Day

young-louie-300The Herkimer County Legislature has named Friday “French Louie Day” in honor of the noted French-Canadian Adirondacker Louis Seymour. A celebration is planned for Saturday in the Town of Inlet.

Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Seymour, who made the wilderness between Inlet and Lake Pleasant his home from the 1860s until his death in Newton’s Corners (now Speculator) on February 27, 1915.  Seymour’s name became legend after the 1952 biography Adirondack French Louie: Life in the North Woods by Utica author Harvey Dunham, which portrayed him as a man of hard work, determination and humor.  » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Early History Of Seventh Lake

1909 ffg raquette lake (2000x1551)Until Robert Maloney’s 1989 history, A Backward Look at 6th and 7th Lakes, local histories of the Fulton Chain region had mostly concentrated on the growth and development of the more populated First through Fourth Lakes of the chain.

Though my primary subject here is the popular hotel that existed on the north shore of Seventh Lake, I wanted to also supplement Mr. Maloney’s information with additional early history about Seventh Lake itself.  » Continue Reading.


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