Monday, March 23, 2020

Cancel Your Hiking Trip to the Adirondacks

coronavirusAt 8 pm on Sunday evening, March 22, 2020, the State of New York began its official “pause” of most commercial and public activities in an attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Under the Governor’s executive order, all non-essential businesses are to close, and all state residents are to remain in their homes. Click here for a list of “essential businesses.”

Under the New York “pause” order, residents can leave their homes for emergencies, to seek medical aid, and to shop for food and other necessities, as well as to exercise. New Yorkers are urged the recreate locally and not drive a great distance to hike. This effectively means that our great state parks in the Adirondacks and Catskills are closing down to all but local use.

These are serious times. On March 1st, we all received news of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in New York, a single infection in Westchester County. Three weeks later, on March 22nd, confirmed cases in New York State topped 15,000, with more than half the cases in New York City. Today there are 20,000 cases reported. There have been over 150 deaths in New York State.

Outside of The City, Nassau County now has the 2nd most documented cases with over 1,900, and COVID-19 has spread to 50 of New York’s 62 counties. Upstate, we see alarming growth of confirmed cases in Albany County with 123 cases and Saratoga County with 41 (and these are dated numbers as of Sunday March 22nd). Both of these counties have shown rapid growth.

Click here for more information on COVID-19 in the Adirondacks and North Country. NCPR has a good coronavirus blog and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise has good updates about what’s happening in the Adirondacks and North Country.

This past weekend, there was a complicated rescue on Mount Marcy that involved more than a dozen Forest Rangers. During these extraordinary times, public safety personnel should not be diverted to rescuing hikers.

Yes, even as people are told to stay at home and shelter in place, you can go outside for a walk or hike, but hike locally. There are any number of state parks, public trails, and wildlife refuges across New York that offer outdoor recreational opportunities, but do not drive for hours to hike a High Peak or other mountains in the Adirondacks or Catskills.

By driving a long distance, you take considerable risk of helping to spread COVID-19. Local folks should continue to use the Forest Preserve while adhering to social distancing protocols.

Further, Adirondack and North Country health systems, like health systems all across the U.S., are struggling to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider this report from North Country Public Radio:

Late Sunday, Warren County officials issued a strongly-worded warning that their first line of defense against COVID-19 is being largely suspended because of lack of testing supplies.

“Our reality has changed and we are no longer able to utilize testing to diagnose everyone with symptoms or to fully monitor and contain COVID19 activity in our community,” officials said in a public statement to the community.

A similar situation now exists in most North Country counties, meaning the relatively low number of confirmed cases likely does not reflect the actual spread of the coronavirus.

Warren County officials acknowledged the lack of testing and community monitoring poses serious public health concerns going forward: “The process has worked up until now. We have saved lives. But we must now shift our mindsets.”

As we’ve been hearing from Albany and Washington, it now appears the best – and perhaps only – line of defence against a crushing wave of people sick with COVID-19 is isolation and social distancing.

“In absence of available testing, treatment and vaccine,” the Warren County dispatch reads, “this now becomes about each person taking responsibility to protect the health and safety of others and themselves, following recommendations from the CDC, NYSDOH, Local Public Health Department, and healthcare providers.”

These are unprecedented times in which we find ourselves. Please do not travel long distances to hike and recreate outside while the New York “pause” order is in effect.

Stay safe, and be smart.

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Peter Bauer

Peter Bauer is the Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks.

He has been working in various capacities on Adirondack Park environmental issues since the mid-1980s, including stints as the Executive Director of the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and FUND for Lake George as well as on the staff of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century. He also worked at Adirondack Life Magazine. He served as Chair of the Town of Lake George Zoning Board of Appeals and has served on numerous advisory boards for management of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve.

Peter lives in Blue Mountain Lake with his wife and two children, enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks, and is a member of the Blue Mountain Lake volunteer fire department.

Follow Protect the Adirondacks on Facebook and Twitter.




48 Responses

  1. Billy says:

    And even if the mountains are local to you, still take in account your normal activities.

    If, for instance, you tried to climb one of the High Peaks last summer and were extremely tired and worn out by the time you got to the top, you should stick to an easier trail to reduce the chance of having problems where you might be in need to be assisted.

    Seems that issue may be just as important, as people who normally only have time for the short nature type hikes or a walk around their local area now figure they have more time available and want to try something they usually don’t get to do, and that can lead to more problems that aren’t needed.

  2. Bob D. says:

    Well stated!
    None of us think we are going to twist an ankle or have some injury when we go on a hike, but statistics say otherwise.
    And any emergency response personnel dealing with your twisted ankle might result in death for somebody struggling to breathe.

    • Scott says:

      To your point I would like to see more people carry better gear when hiking. Too many folks seem only prepared for a day hike etc. Hikers need to be prepared for unexpected injuries or delays or changing weather. I would also like to see us go back to when we did not rely on the government for everything….it use to be self-aid and buddy-aid and assist other hikers. I know some still do this but too many seem to call 911 for things they should be able to handle themselves .

    • Adirondacker says:

      From the park’s website you keep referencing … “Cuomo is urging all New Yorkers to stay home as much as possible.”

  3. Vanessa says:

    Here here! (“Hear hear”?) As an outdoor enthusiast stuck in her house in the city, bored to tears, looking at my topographical map of the high peaks with a wistful stare…I could not agree more!

    ADK communities do not need us complicating the capacity of the local health system. Rangers should not be expending unnecessary energy rescuing people from vacation follies when they are needed for serious health emergencies. It is a bummer to depress the tourist economy, but to be honest the entire American economy is suffering and our vacations for one season won’t affect that significantly. I’d much rather the community stay healthy to welcome us next year.

    • William G Ott says:

      Dear Vanessa et al,

      Go to the woods. Follow your heart, not the media. Do not tell anybody where or what you are doing. Live on the edge. For real.
      I have been doing this since the early 70’s before I really knew what I was doing. Now that I am in my own 70’s, I would rather die a slow miserable death in the woods from breaking a leg, etc., than spending my last days in a drug induced delirium in a nursing home. Ironically, I hope I stay healthy enough to achieve this.
      Just make sure you take paper maps and a couple compasses to go with the gps, and always were high topped boots.

        • Adirondacker says:

          From the park’s website you keep referencing … “Cuomo is urging all New Yorkers to stay home as much as possible.”

      • Vanessa says:

        I enjoy “living on the edge” very much. But don’t ya know, I enjoy not indirectly killing people a lot more. This situation is limited. Although it certainly shouldn’t be as limited as certain inhuman ghouls currently at the helm of our country imply.

        I have read over and over about my grandparents being called to war and I am called to the couch for a few months. More than a fair trade-off.

      • Kathy says:

        Just make sure your friends and family know not to report you missing and generate a widespread search involving many more people than needed for a specific area you may be doing your wandering.

      • Steve B. says:

        Hey William, how would you feel dying that slow miserable death from COVID-19, cause the bed they wanted to put you in is taken by somebody seriously injured on a hike, maybe hypothermic and needing a hospital bed ?, who got there first ?

        It’s called being socially responsible and being selective while engaging in elective activities. If I were a nurse or doctor treating you, I’d be pissed that I had to provide treatment to someone, when others more needy need my help.

        In a few months, you will be free once again to do whatever you want.

      • Kathy says:

        Don’t tell anyone when or where you are going then….and let your family and friends know you don’t want a rescue search if you don’ t return…

        • William G Ott says:

          I have had the rangers called to look for me twice, both results of miscommunication or timing. Both times, and this is almost unbelievable, a ranger truck pulled up and stopped just as I was grounding my canoe. Ask Will Benzel. I cannot remember the lady ranger’s name. Since then, I have made it clear that I do not want any calls. I am probably safer in the woods than they are at home, and that is especially true now. I never want anything more than a BOLO. I will have nothing more to say, since I see the ice is going out where I go.

      • Suzanne says:

        William, I agree with you in many respects, but I think you’re being bit of a drama queen. No one would want to end up in a nursing home. I plan, when I can’t deal with old age any more, to go up to my leanto on the hill overlooking our Falls, drink a bottle of bourbon, watch the fire dying out and fall peacefully asleep on balsam boughs in the freezing cold. I’ll leave a letter so my family will find me. However, not telling your family where you are going is not only unkind but foolish and disrespectful toward the people who love you, and will cause danger to the rangers who will search for you while you are dying your “slow miserable death in the woods”. Because your family will look for you, call the rangers, and create a big commotion involving many searchers. Think about it.

  4. adkDreamer says:

    There is no restriction on New York State parks, trails or historical sites whatsoever. Entrance fees have also been waived. There is no standing executive order that restricts travel within New York State by automobile, either by distance or proximity.

  5. will jenkins says:

    do you think the High Peaks will be available in June

    • Vanessa says:

      I think it’s more about a) available to who and b) is it fair to recreate and potentially tax the states resources in terms of first responders if those same emergency workers will be needed to handle COVID cases?

      What’s absolutely true is that there will have been lots more cases by June. How we’re doing by then will be determined by whether we flatten the curve now.

  6. adkDreamer says:

    New York State Parks, trails and historic sites are currently open and available to the public. Entry fees are currently waived. There is no mandate nor executive order that restricts travel within New York State nor is there any restriction on distance or proximity.

    • Adirondacker says:

      From the park’s website you keep referencing … “Cuomo is urging all New Yorkers to stay home as much as possible.”

    • Adirondacker says:

      From the park’s website you keep referencing … “Cuomo is urging all New Yorkers to stay home as much as possible.”

  7. Justin Farrell says:

    Don’t forget brook trout season opens next week. It’s not all about hiking & the 46 high peaks, folks!

    • Boreas says:

      Looking forward to not rubbing elbows with non-residents streamside this spring! Our lakes, streams, and trails will get a bit of much-needed rest this year.

      Hopefully villages and businesses within the Park will be able to weather this visitor downturn. One wonders how long the businesses that are currently open will be able to remain open based on local business only. There is nothing forcing them to stay open operating at a loss.

  8. Chris Ballantyne says:

    And it would be helpful to bear in mind that many Adirondack/Catskill based Rangers have been deployed to other areas of the state to support COVID19 operational efforts. Together with ECO’s they continue to serve as front line support. While they will continue to respond to backcountry emergencies, it would be advisable to defer any hiking activity in the short-term. Stay safe.

  9. Pablo Rodriguez says:

    As always, Peter knows more than anyone. What a relief to have someone who can tell us what to do in these difficult times.

  10. JohnL says:

    Trust someone implicitly, and let them tell you what to do and when to do it!! You’d be, if you’re not already, a great Democrat.

  11. Bob Meyer says:

    Do I detect a bit of Adirondack nativism?
    The health concerns are real for sure.
    But, Peter et al, what you write is a slippery slope that can lead to nativistic exclusion of the “other” even after this crisis passes. Without the downstaters, tourists and the like, the economics of our beloved Adirondacks will disappear and all its 102 towns and villages will become wastelands.
    We do need to follow all the health protocols. At this point I will keep my distance from camp for the sake of the general public. I only hope that I can spend some time there later this year and continue to support as many of the local businesses and many friends throughout the Park.

  12. Hiker and Fisher says:

    This article does not accurately reflect what is in the Governor’s PAUSE executive order. In any case, I agree that if you are heading out for a hike and there are many cars in the parking lot already you should move on to another trail. But the Adirondacks are a big place, and when I hike I usually only see one or two other people. Or none. If the issue is a concern about getting injured and needing rangers and others to mount a rescue when some of them are deployed elsewhere, then that applies to locals as well.

  13. Good Camp Owner says:

    Hey Peter please follow up this story with reminding all you local friends, no matter the shortage in smaller communities do not venture into larger ones, we don’t want you. Please tell them to go without, and remind them because of your selfish view, some may never return and that may mean the closure of small businesses that rely on the ones and twos. One last thing, no one ever asked you any questions Peter.

    • Peter Bauer says:

      To Bob Meyer, Hiker and Fisher, and Good Camp Owner:

      Nativism? Selfishness? Seriously?

      Today, New York exceeded 25,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. It is projected that in New York alone we’re soon to start seeing over 5,000 new cases a day and a mounting hospitalization and death rate.

      I live in the central Adirondacks. I think this is a good time to stick close to home. I do not think this is a good time for me to go on a hike in the High Peaks or to make a longer drive to hike up Bear Mountain or Peekamoose Mountain, or to go and hike on the Finger Lakes Trail (which I helped build as a kid), or to hike on the Long Trail. This is also not the time, as I see it, for a picnic in the Great Meadow in Prospect Park or to go and walk the High Line in Chelsea or walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

      It seems to me that in New York State on March 24, 2020, at a point when COVID-19 is poised to explode, that staying put in and near one’s home, wherever that happens to be in the state, is a pretty good strategy for coping with this virus and does the least harm for either inadvertently spreading it to other places or bringing it back with you after traveling a long distance.

      • High Peaks Heathcare says:

        Peter,

        As a local resident and healthcare provider I couldn’t agree more. Please folks, stay near your primary residence for the time being!

        I cannot wait until you’re able to come back to your “camp” or “summer home”, but have enough consideration, social respect, and foresight to appreciate that people who live and work here year-round do not have the availability to “go to camp” and wait this out.

        With more and more people coming up to escape whatever current situation is present back home, they are not only acting as a vector for the virus, but straining the limited resources here and jeopardizing the safety of others.

        Just asking for some consideration and accountability.

        Cheers.

      • High Peaks Healthcare says:

        Peter,

        As a local resident and healthcare provider I couldn’t agree more. Please folks, stay near your primary residence for the time being!

        I cannot wait until you’re able to come back to your “camp” or “summer home”, but have enough consideration, social respect/responsibility, and foresight to appreciate that people who live and work here year-round do not have the availability to simply “go to camp” and wait this out.

        With more and more people ignoring the shelter in place advice and coming up to escape whatever current situation is present back home, they are not only acting as a vector for the virus, but straining the limited resources here and jeopardizing the safety of others.

        Just asking for some consideration and accountability.

        Cheers.

  14. JohnL says:

    It’s not the bubonic plague. It’s the flu! I say this as an ‘old fart’ and hence one who stands an EXTREMELY SMALL chance of something bad happening if I should get it. Should we take precautions?? Sure. Should we let it ruin our economy for decades to come and rule our lives. I say no.

    • Pete Nelson Pete Nelson says:

      I swore I would stop reading comments, I really did. But, well, here’s an intelligent and helpful plague blast, followed by “It’s the flu.” Okay, first of all, that’s wrong: it’s not the flu. But let’s compare anyhow.

      Bubonic Plague: killed tens of millions in the 14th century when there was basically no medicine (attempted cures included rubbing onions, herbs or a chopped up snake on the boils or cutting up a pigeon and rubbing it over an infected body). Modern status: curable, can be treated with antibiotics.

      H1N1 flu: killed tens of millions in 1918, when medicine was considerably further along than in 1347. Modern status: no cure.

      COVID-19, as described by epidemiologists:
      a. It’s not an influenza virus
      b. It’s novel: never seen before, no resistance, no cure.
      c. It appears to have a higher death rate than H1N1
      d. It persists longer than H1N1
      e. It appears to have a higher infection rate than H1N1

      What do you think all the fuss is about? Folks, this is serious stuff. Listen to epidemiologists and do what’s right for yourselves and your fellow human beings. Let’s slow the infection rate, together.

      Stay safe and well, everyone!

    • Boreas says:

      CV19 is a “novel” coronavirus, which means we know virtually nothing about it long-term. Will it recur? Who knows? Will it mutate into different strains? Most certainly. But more importantly, don’t think of CV19 as the ONLY threat to our health. If one of us old farts has an unrelated heart attack or stroke, will there be an intensive care unit available? Plain-Jane pneumonia from the flu? No respirators available! Will one or more of the few cardiologists, neurologists, pulmanologists in the area be out sick with CV19? Same with simple emergency care. Will accident victims (often young people) be able to get prompt care or will they have to wait in a much longer triage line because 20%, 30% or 50% of the emergency staff is home sick? This is what the governor is trying to get across. CV19 has long-reaching healthcare effects that are not directly related to the virus. Morbidity from ALL serious disease will increase with a compromised health care system.

      The economy will not be safe until the population feels safe. And we shouldn’t conflate the stock market with the economy. The stock market is simply a real-time reflection of confidence and fear. The president can’t bully a pandemic. It is likely going to be a long haul like we haven’t seen in our lifetime.

  15. Bob Meyer says:

    Agreed Pete. There was just “something” in Peter Bauer’s words that smacked of “we Adirondackers”, “you everybody else”. Maybe I’m wrong.. I’d like to be wrong. In the meantime the hikes by my house [no car needed] and the music and keeping in touch with the various communities [preferably by phone because HEARING someone’s voice is a blessing] are keeping me relatively sane. Stay safe and healthy!

  16. Zephyr says:

    The short answer to the many uninformed comments is that it is important for everyone, local or from away, to stay wherever you are and don’t wander around, possibly picking up and spreading the virus. It is not about locals vs. outsiders. It is about commonsense reduction of the risk for everyone, no matter where you live. Sure, go for a walk or a hike from your home or immediate neighborhood, but don’t go anywhere far.

    • Vanessa says:

      Here here, thanks Zephyr. I am saddened by comments that are making this into a “locals vs tourists” dichotomy. I want to help keep ADK communities healthy in the same way I want to keep my own community healthy.

      And I wouldn’t want to tax any healthcare system if I can help it- especially not a rural one

  17. Bob Meyer says:

    For me personally, it was NOT his message , which makes perfect sense [I will be hiking strictly locally] but his way of saying it… I can’t really explain, but my visceral reaction was real. Yes, stay home! Hike local. Let’s get through this s healthy as possible. The Adirondacks, my camp and your whatever will be there when this is resolved.

  18. Bob Meyer says:

    Peter, I agree with your facts 100%. We should, and I will stay away and hike strictly locally.
    It’s just something in your choice of words that bothered me.
    Stay safe and healthy. I greatly appreciate your work on behalf of our beloved Park!

  19. Bob Meyer says:

    “To Bob Meyer, Hiker and Fisher, and Good Camp Owner: Nativism? Selfishness? Seriously? Today, New York exceeded 25,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. It is projected that in New York alone we’re soon to start seeing over 5,000 new cases a day and a mounting hospitalization and death rate. I live in the central Adirondacks. I […]”
    ******************************************************************************
    To whoever wrote this: Please READ my posts! I am in no way advocating travel to the park for ALL the valid reasons stated above. Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it. I was ONLY reacting to that. On substance I agree with Peter and all of the full time residents in agreement with him. Hope that’s enough said. Stay safe!

  20. Joe Mezick says:

    Recent reply (prior to awareness of NY PAUSE) from: [email protected]:

    Good afternoon,

    Please see information below that we released on common sense outdoor recreation, including recreating locally. Thanks.

    DEC Web Team

    Common Sense Guidelines Promote Safe Recreation Practices to Help Stop the Spread
    The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) today encouraged New Yorkers to engage in responsible recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. DEC and State Parks recommendations incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases and encourage New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. In addition, DEC and State Parks launched a new hashtag – #RecreateLocal – and encouraged New Yorkers to get outside and discover open spaces and parks close to home.

    Getting outdoors to walk, jog, hike, ride a bicycle, fish, or visit a park or state lands is a healthy way to stay active, spend time with immediate household family members, and reduce stress and anxiety when practicing social distancing. While indoor spaces and restrooms at State Parks and DEC’s public facilities may be closed out of an abundance of caution to prevent community spread of COVID-19, many parks, grounds, forests, and trails are open during daylight hours, seven days a week.

    State Parks, lands, forests, and facilities are monitored by Park Police, Forest Rangers, Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and other staff. These parks, lands, forests, and facilities and visitors will incorporate physical distancing to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. In addition, these officers and staff respond to, and assist, local agencies with search and rescue missions, wildfire suppression, and other response activities. Following this guidance will prevent unnecessary burdens on, and dangers to, State resources and local responders during the ongoing COVID-19 response.

    For the safety of all visitors and to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, DEC and State Parks are undertaking steps to reduce public density at State Parks, State Lands, and facilities:
    Closing all playgrounds;
    Limiting access to athletic courts and sporting fields;
    Canceling all public programs and events at State Parks, Lands, Forests, and facilities until further notice;
    Closing all indoor visitor facilities, such as nature centers, environmental education centers, visitor centers, and historic houses to the public until further notice;
    Camping changes: all state-operated campgrounds, cabins, and cottages are closed to overnight visitation through April 30. All visitors with reservations will be issued a full refund. We ask for your patience as refunds are processed. New York State has also suspended all new camping, cabin and cottage reservations for the 2020 season until further notice. We are assessing campground status on a daily basis. If you’ve made a reservation for the season beginning May 1, and we determine your campground is safe to open, your reservation will be honored. However, visitors who wish to cancel an existing reservation may do so and receive a full refund. Thank you for your patience as we work to protect the safety of our visitors and staff;
    Implementing precautionary measures at golf courses at State Parks, including increased intervals between tee times, removing bunker rakes and ball washers, and decreasing use of golf carts;
    DEC is closing access to DEC-controlled fire towers to the public. Trails and the summits to the towers remain open, but the towers themselves present a potential risk with multiple people climbing the stairs, in close quarters, unable to appropriately socially distance, and using the same handrails; and
    Limiting parking. If the parking lot is full, visit a different location to recreate responsibly. For visitor safety and the safety of others, do not park on roadsides and only park in designated parking areas.
    While enjoying outdoor spaces, please continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/State Department of Health (DOH) guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:
    Stay home if you are sick, or showing or feeling any COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, coughing,and/or troubled breathing;
    Practice social distancing by keeping at least six (6) feet of distance between yourself and others, even when outdoors;
    Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, or high-fives;
    Wash hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available; and
    Avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces that are often touched, such as doorknobs and handrails.

    DEC and State Parks also encourage visitors to State Parks, State Lands, and other parks to:
    Stay local and keep visits short;
    Visit in small groups limited to immediate household members;
    Maintain distance from others while in places where people tend to congregate, such as parking lots, trailheads, and scenic overlooks;
    Avoid games and activities that require close contact, such as basketball, football, or soccer;
    Avoid playground equipment like slides and swings and other frequently touched surfaces;
    Do not share equipment, such as bicycles, helmets, balls, or Frisbees;
    If you arrive at a park and crowds are forming, choose a different park, a different trail, or return another time/day to visit; and
    If parking lots are full, please do not park along roadsides or other undesignated areas. To protect your safety and that of others, please choose a different area to visit, or return another time or day when parking is available.

    New Yorkers over 70 years old or with a compromised immune system should not visit public spaces, including those outdoors. These New Yorkers should remain indoors or spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space, pre-screen visitors by taking their temperature, and require visitors to wear masks.

    New Yorkers who are sick or have had contact with someone who is sick in the last 14 days should stay home and spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space. Do not visit public outdoor spaces.
    Visitors to the Adirondack and Catskill Parks are reminded to always follow the Hiker Responsibility Code and avoid busy trailheads. Find the trails less traveled and visit when trails may not be as busy during daylight hours. DEC also encourages New Yorkers to be safe and sustainable when recreating outdoors.

    Learn more about how you can protect natural spaces when exploring outdoors by following the seven principles of Leave no Trace. Additional information is available on the DEC website.

  21. Peter Loeb says:

    I was sent to a summer camp in Vermont. I always hated hiking almost with a
    venom. I remember once we little kids were REQUIRED to go for a short hike.
    I cried and cried. What a spoiled city kid I must have been. Little did I know I would
    spend to many glorious years in the Adirondacks!!! We had picture windows in our
    home and Dad used to sit back and say “It sure looks good from in here!” But I LOVED
    SL. jJust never hiking. I practiced the piano and read. And read and
    read. I don’t think many other kids read books by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, a family
    (mostly political) friend. It got me into Harvard.

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