Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Touring the Adirondacks 

schroon lake

This summer is my first experience in the Adirondack Park. I’m a New York native but I’ve called Westchester County my home for forever and while only about 300 miles apart, the park and my childhood home feel worlds apart. 

I’m studying to be an engagement journalist. Which means that half of my job is to interact with people and most importantly – to listen. My secret; however, is that I’m an introvert so it’s always slightly nerve wracking approaching people to chat but the people of the Adirondacks have made it easy. So many of you who have lingered to chat have remarked on something similar, the sense of community you feel living here – and I can see it. Those who don’t linger still smile and greet me and everyone else with kindness.

Everything I’ve learned is news to me (pun intended). As someone who isn’t from this area I am intrigued in knowing and seeing everything. I’m sure I’m not the only one but I find myself staring into the horizon every chance I get to catch a glimpse of the mountains. Every time I drive past a body of water I can help but peek out of the corner of my eye to take it in. In between our tour stops we’ve identified wildflowers near Schroon Lake, hiked Big Crow, seen the Covered Bridge in Jay, and with every new stop we will explore more pieces of each community. 

The sightseeing has been thrilling but my favorite part of our Summer Tour has been the stories. Everyone who’s stopped to chat has their own story to tell. I’ve heard about the need for childcare and the new preschool being built in Keene, the increased cost of living and the lack of housing availability, the beliefs in art as a healing practice, and more. We met one woman who shared the story of her grandmother who got lost and hiked Poke-o-Moonshine all by herself at the age of four. She even went as far as to bring back the news clipping of the story. 

summer tour clipping

These are the stories I would never hear if we didn’t beckon you all to come chat with us. We want to hear what you have to say, regardless of whether you think it’s significant or not. Sometimes your life story can be the story we need. It’s my job to always have the gears turning, listening and thinking, you just have to talk.

Well, we are four stops on our summer tour in with nine left. Check out the full list here, with some virtual sessions and other dates to be added soon. Which stop will you be joining us for? In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts and/or share what you love most about the Adirondacks:

summer tour

Tracy Ormsbee, front, Izania Gonzalez, left, and Melissa Hart on Adirondack Explorer’s summer outreach tour.



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A New York native, Izania has her bachelor's degree from RPI in sustainability studies and is currently a student at CUNY's Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, where she's focusing on engagement journalism.

6 Responses

  1. Charlie Stehlin says:

    The mother left her 4 year-old child alone for an hour while they went berrying! It’s a miracle that child made it thus far! It’s a good thing a Bigfoot didn’t come along!

    • Katie Clark says:

      It was my mom who was the 4 year old. Her mom and dad weren”t far from her it just shows how quick something can happen and how lucky we are she survived. I was the one who shared the story!! Katie Clark

  2. louis curth says:

    Glad you’e enjoying the tour Izania. Sorry I will have to miss it, but be assured that such get-togethers, be they in person or via a moderated forum like the Explorer/Almanack, are invaluable in bringing us closer together as a regional Adirondack community. That is something America surely needs a whole lot more of these days…

    The Adirondacks that I grew up in and loved was a much different place compared to today. i have a feeling that many of my generation were far more comfortable in that world, for all its faults, than they are in today’s social media dominated landscape.

    Could it be that the Adirondack region, then as now, remains a beacon attracting refugees of every description, be they introverts, nature lovers or such other misfits as may be discomfited and uneasy out in the confusing world beyond?

  3. JB says:

    To Louis’s point, things have changed dramatically in the Park even in the past couple of decades — depending on who you talk to, some for the better, but some for the worse. In my book, negative developments usually have one thing in common: they arise from a lack of willingness to learn about the history of the landscape and its people. (The same is true for most places on the planet.) I see the work of Izania and the “Adirondack welcoming committee” as a step in the right direction.

  4. Phil Fitzpatrick says:

    Izania, as you probably know already, there are cultures such as those of our Native Americans in which all history was oral history and stories still are the prime teaching tool. Listening is an art which requires putting what you think you know aside. I am happy for you that you are here making history, and I wish you well in every possible way.

    Looking forward to reading your reports,


    • Helga Frick says:

      Love your comment, Phil! Stories do teach! And learning how to listen again, a lost art, will be so necessary!

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