Almanack Contributor Guest Contributor

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at

Monday, March 20, 2023

Tales of the Adirondacks, Past & Present: Winning the Olympic Gold Medal by Charity Marlatt

Bobsledders Alan Washbond and Ivan Brown at the 1936 Olympics.

In the spirit of sharing informational, intriguing, and inspiring stories to help highlight the rich social and cultural history of New York State’s Adirondack Mountains, The Adirondack Almanack will share stories written by those who live, work, and play in the ADK, courtesy of OurStoryBridge/Freedom Story Project. These stories, which will be a combination of current and past events, people, outdoor activities and more, will be published on a weekly basis, starting with today’s first story titled, Winning the Olympic Gold Medal by Charity Marlatt. The stories will focus on various locations situated in the Adirondack region, including the High Peaks, the town of Keene, and many other areas around the Park. Stories are compartmentalized into the following categories, arts & culture, catastrophes, work, people, outdoor activities, daily life, community, and natural & man-made environments. 


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Sunday, March 12, 2023

A Nordic Adventure in Raquette Lake

Cascades Trail in Raquette Lake.

By Tim Helms, Long Lake & Raquette Lake Events Coordinator

With the return of winter and a decent snowpack in the Adirondack backcountry, this is the perfect time to explore a new trail or area that you have never experienced before. For this outing I chose the Powerhouse and Cascades Trails in the Historic Great Camps Special Management Area, which is part of the Blue Ridge Wilderness located in Raquette Lake, NY. To access the trailheads head south on Sagamore Road for approximately three miles, the first trailhead will be the Cascades Trail on the left side of the road. The Powerhouse Trailhead is another quarter mile on the left just across the bridge over South Inlet. The Cascades Trail has a very visible sign marking the parking lot, the Powerhouse Trail does not have a sign marking the parking lot, but the lot is very obvious and is just across the bridge and hard to miss.

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Friday, February 24, 2023

A band named JIM

band named jim reunion in Lake placid. Band on stage with crowd in the foreground
By Sven Curth

The doors had opened early, and people were starting to pour in.  The place was already crowded by the time we did our soundcheck, and I attempted to sing half of a song before I realized with utter horror that my voice was not going to “pull through” for tonight’s show.  It was completely shot.  Trying to sing a moderately high-pitched note was impossible – it was even difficult to talk.  I had been hoping that it would miraculously improve by showtime – but it wasn’t happening.  I couldn’t sing.

This presented a considerable problem – because I am the lead singer.

Our band, JIM, was formed in Lake Placid in 1995.  For about 10 years, a few lineup changes, 5 albums, and lots of shows, we built up a devoted following before disbanding in 2005. Since then, we played reunion shows periodically, the last being over 6 years ago. Fans had been asking for more shows, and now we were finally delivering.  They had come from all over the region, the country even, to join us in our revelry. Hundreds of happy faces filled the room, many old friends and acquaintances mixed with potential new fans, all excited to hear what JIM had to offer – and I knew I couldn’t sing.

I pulled the band members aside and told them that despite our hopes – it wasn’t happening. How could we play a show without a lead singer?  I was anxious. Pacing.  Politely trying to explain to any of the happy faces that wanted to fraternize that this show may not happen.  “I can barely talk, much less sing.”  How do you tell a huge crowd of people that have gone to great lengths to come to your show that it is impossible to play?

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Monday, February 13, 2023

In memory of an Adirondack ranger, aka dad

In honor of him and all he has done over his 85+ years of life (for he had truly done so much), I share these memories with all of you. He may have professed being “private” at times, but he was functionally and wholly a public figure in service to his community, first as a first responder and later as a veterans’ advocate. He didn’t just “belong” to me and my family, but to the community of the North Country, the Empire State of New York, and, I would argue, the world at large.

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Saturday, February 11, 2023

February 11 is 211 Day

211 graphic

Nine Things You Didn’t Know About 211

Everyone knows about 911, but fewer people know about 211, the number to call to find help with life’s challenges.

What kind of challenges? The kind of challenges everyone faces at some point in their lives, when you have no idea where to turn but sure could use some extra help.

In New York State, 211 is available 24/7 and provided by local non-profits and United Ways.

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Monday, January 23, 2023

Town of Inlet Announces Royalty for Frozen Fire & Lights Event

Inlet Frozen Fire and Lights Royalty

by Margie O’Hara

Meet the 2023 Inlet Royal Family who will reign at Frozen Fire & Lights on February 25; the Hennessy family, Queen Britta, King Devlin, and Princes Olin and Vale. The couple met while they were students at Marist College. Because of their affinity for the outdoors and Britta’s family history of spending time at her family’s camp on Seventh Lake, they chose to take their wedding vows nine years ago in 2013, in the Adirondacks.

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Thursday, January 19, 2023

Turn Moriah Shock into Adirondack conservation hub

moriah shock prison

By Aaron Mair, NYS Sen. Dan Stec and NYS Assemblyman Matt Simpson

The Adirondack Park and its “forever wild” Forest Preserve are the heart and lungs of New York, taking in the carbon that causes climate change and exhaling fresh, clean air to reinvigorate our atmosphere. New York needs more personnel in the Adirondacks to manage the forests it already owns, as well as forests it hopes to protect in the future.

The closure of the Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility in the tiny Adirondack hamlet of Mineville is an opportunity: Several state conservation initiatives would benefit from an additional state building in the Adirondacks. Leaders of Adirondack environmental organizations joined with local elected officials in Mineville last month to urge Gov. Kathy Hochul not to mothball the Moriah facility but instead to reuse it to bolster conservation, social justice and employment in the North Country.

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Monday, December 19, 2022

ACLC Staff and Volunteers Rescue Iced-In Loon on First Lake in Town of Webb

Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation (ACLC) staff and volunteers joined together for the rescue effort on December 15

By Jennifer Denny, ACLC Communications Coordinator

On Wednesday, December 14 the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation received a report of an iced-in Common Loon on First Lake in the Town of Webb. Overnight the water froze further and the ice surrounding the loon thickened. While these changes might seem bad for the loon, the cold night made conditions safe for a rescue effort.

On Thursday, December 15, volunteers and staff from the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation went to rescue the loon early in the morning. The group included Cody Sears, Jay Locke, Gary Lee, Don Andrews, and Kurt Gardner.

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Sunday, December 18, 2022

It’s Debatable: Concealed Carry Act

concealed carry weapon

Editor’s note: This commentary is in the Nov/Dec 2022 issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine, as part of our “It’s Debatable” feature. In this regular column, we invite organizations and/or individuals to address a particular issue. For more on this issue, read this story by Gwendolyn Craig. Click here to subscribe to the magazine, available in both print and digital formats:

The question: Does the Concealed Carry Act fit the park?

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Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Adirondack Patchwork Quilt: my experience working in the Adirondacks as an “outsider”

Classmates from the Adirondack semester who all became interns for a short time.

By Annalise Panici

The Adirondack region is loved by many as a home and work environment. As a student from St Lawrence University, I could always tell folks from the Adirondacks had an affinity for the place where they lived. Because of this and my general interest in the Adirondack region, ten other students and I decided to embark on the Adirondack Semester through St Lawrence University. This specific, place-based experience takes place on Massawepie Lake for the majority of the semester. We lived in a small yurt village called Arcadia and professors would paddle over to teach us about ecology, land-use, literature, and history of the Adirondacks. I had many moments in the semester where I had to reflect: wow, my professor paddled 30 minutes to teach me about this place… it must be something special.

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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Keeping young kids active during winter

By Kat Harkins

Physical activity and healthy play are critical to the development of young children, but keeping them active when it’s cold outside can be tough. The Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Schools & Communities (CHSC) program works to enhance nutrition and physical activity for kids by working with childcare providers across Franklin County to promote adoption of policies that ensure young children can thrive. With winter settling in across the North Country, we’ve partnered with Play ADK — a Saranac Lake-based nonprofit working to establish a children’s museum and family resource center serving the Adirondacks — to provide families with tips for keeping kids active.

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Thursday, December 8, 2022

My accessible vans, road salt, and rust

jason thurston accessibility
What prevents me from making more of the Adirondacks accessible.

By Jason Thurston

Over the course of 13 years I owned a total of four vans that were able to accommodate my power wheelchair. One of these vans was outfitted for me to drive. I purchased it with an inheritance from my grandmother in 2016. It took some time to get it on the road, for me to get my learners permit, and to be evaluated to determine whether my level of function as a quadriplegic was enough to safely drive.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

We Rise Again- Northern Lights Choir returns

northern lights choir

By Holly Wolff

It is difficult to communicate to a non-singer what the first concert after 2 years of Covid means. In those years, our community has enjoyed the blessing of riding out the pandemic in a beautiful area, and the pain of losing family and friends. 

Northern Lights Choir’s final rehearsal before the pandemic was on March 9, 2020- the same week a choir in Skagit County, Washington, while following all known cautions at the time, had a rehearsal that became one of the best-known super-spreader events in the choral world, with 52 of 61 choristers sickened and two deaths from the coronavirus1. As recently as May of 2022 in Boston, a performance of Britten’s War Requiem by the Boston Symphony and Tanglewood Chorus, with performers having negative tests but unmasked, caused 30 cases.4 

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Thursday, November 24, 2022

The power of giving

cali brooks and rich kroes adirondack foundation

By Rich Kroes

Giving back to the people and places we love is one of the most sustainable and reliable ways we can strengthen communities in the Adirondack region. When we support our friends and neighbors through generosity, we can leverage opportunities to improve quality of life and create resiliency that helps us get through the hard times.

Adirondack Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and it embodies that spirit of giving back. From providing emergency relief to investing in long-term strategies, the Foundation has worked tirelessly to become a lasting source of philanthropy for our region.

Over the last decade, I’ve had the privilege to serve our communities on Adirondack Foundation’s Board of Trustees, including five years as its chair. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in one of the locker rooms at the 1980 Olympic Rink with former Trustee Vinny McClelland when he encouraged me to join. He told me then that he thought I would like it, and he was right — I have loved it.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Place I Live: Redford

gallagher farm in redford

I stayed with my grandmother on Standish Rd. in Redford for many summers. No running water and we cooked with the wood stove. Those were the happiest days of my life. The farm was settled by my Irish ancestors in the late 1800s Following a trip to Ireland it became crystal clear why they settled in this beautiful land. The mountains were very close to the beautiful land they were forced to leave. Fields of hay and handsome rock walls that separated properties were identical to their home country.
— Maureen Wrightsman

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