“As to ‘physical exertion,’ there is no such exertion known here. It is the laziest of all imaginable places.” So “Adirondack” Murray appealed directly to women, even those “fragile or delicate,” in his 1869 Adventures in the Wilderness.
In those decades after the Civil War, Murray was not alone in feeling that women — at least upper middle class city women — were delicate and fragile. Not only were they supposedly far less strong than men, but they were supposed to conserve what energy they had for the female functions. Bearing children and keeping a genteel home was her highest and best duty. She could breathe fresh air on gentle strolls, but that was about it for exercise.
As Murray pointed out, though, “tramping is unknown in this region. Wherever you wish to go, your guide paddles you.” The Adirondack region was ideal for women. They didn’t even have to walk to enjoy the scenery and breath healing “air odorous with the smell of pine and cedar and balsam.” » Continue Reading.