Almanack Contributor Tim Rowland

Tim Rowland

Tim Rowland is a humor columnist for Herald-Mail Media in Hagerstown, Md., and a New York Times bestselling author. His books include High Peaks; A History of Hiking the Adirondacks from Noah to Neoprene and Strange and Unusual Stories of New York City. He has climbed the 46 high peaks, is an avid bicyclist, and trout tremble with fear when they see his approaching shadow. He and his wife Beth are residents of Jay, N.Y.


Monday, May 25, 2020

Musings on return to ‘normal’: Cheeseburgers, haircuts and fresh air

This week it began. We have initiated the economic “phase-in” period of our return to normalcy, a studied collection of charts, graphs and data which, if all goes well, will allow us by mid-June to sit down in public and eat a cheeseburger.

“Easy, easy … caaareful … OK, now do you want fries with that?” By that time we will have worn masks so long that, forgetting they are there, we will smush a tuna sub right into the business end of our N95.

Then, on June 1, the North Country is expected to get back to the serious business of cutting hair. Stylists are going to be like humanitarian relief workers in Haiti after a Category IV hurricane — working around the clock to the point of exhaustion, until the average Adirondacker no longer resembles Dee Snider of Twisted Sister.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Farmers adjust to ‘new normal’

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the executive order in March that shut down state commerce, Katie and Brandon Donahue, owners of Donahue’s Livestock Farm in North Bangor, had 30 sizable orders of top-shelf, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef and pork in the cooler destined for North Country restaurants.

Within minutes of the shutdown order, Donahue’s phone began blowing up with cancellations. Restaurants were either shutting down altogether or going to a pickup/delivery model that relied less on the more expensive, hence more profitable, cuts. By the end of the day, 27 of the 30 restaurants had called to cancel.

“I was panicking,” Donahue said. “I have 700 cows out in the field that still have to eat, and they don’t care about the coronavirus.”

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Introverts unite! (From a distance)

lone hikerSome of us don’t have to be told to avoid cruise ships.

We don’t need to be advised to stay away from stadiums, subways, shopping malls, political rallies, airplanes, company picnics, drum circles or even the funerals of unpopular people. We have never heard of Purell and we do not spray our food with Lysol. Our “personal space” is roughly the size of Montana. We are faster than a speeding happy hour, more powerful than a mandatory committee meeting, able to ghost potential romantic partners in a single ghost. We can do a self-quarantine standing on our heads. We are the few, the proud, the perpetually socially distanced — the Introvert Writers of America.

We could have told you all along that human interaction was trouble. Why do you think we moved to the ADK to begin with, for the tent revivals? This is exactly why we freak out when we see more than three people on a mountain summit.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Tim Rowland On The Plastic Bag Ban

BYO Bag courtesy DECI am a good boy when it comes to plastics, mainly.

I do own reusable totes, many of which were given to me as swag at the 2011 national auto show for some reason. Nor do I ask for a straw if the garçon does not bring me one. Sometimes I may even thank his establishment for not passing out straws, unless I am in a particularly crabby mood, which, come to think of it, I usually am. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Tim Rowland Tells A Lengthy, Somewhat Irrelevant Story

General Joshua L ChamberlainI was raised just south of the Mason-Dixon Line, or as we knew it, the IHOP-Waffle House Line. That means two things, one that I was heavily influenced by the American Civil War, and two, that to illustrate my opinions, I tell lengthy, somewhat irrelevant stories.

George Pickett was a moon-faced division commander for the Confederacy, a man who finished last in his class in West Point, and were it not for an oppressively humid summer morning in Gettysburg, Pa., might be best known today for his participation in the Pig War of 1859. He was one of those guys who could probably fix your truck, but you wouldn’t want doing your taxes, if you know what I’m saying. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Appoint Tim Rowland to Adirondack Park Agency Board

APA Building in Ray Brook NYAs membership of the Adirondack Park Agency board dwindles toward zero, I would like to toss my hat into the ring for consideration.

In the words of Sam Cooke, I don’t know much biology, don’t know much about a science book, don’t know much about the French I took. But come on, all this talk about “qualifications” has gotten a bit out of hand, don’t you think? » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 29, 2019

Empire State Trail’s Highway Rock Cuts Raise Concerns

proposed Empire State TrailYippee, it’s Harley Davidson season again — that time of year when 7 million people all ride the same motorcycle, wear the same clothes, go to the same places, eat at the same spots and travel around in packs of 60. All to express their individuality.

I don’t mind the concept. It’s a free country. But I do mind the noise. There has to be a better way for some balding, dentist from Altoona to address his insecurities than by trumpeting his existence across three adjacent counties, particularly in the Adirondack Park — you should not have to hike two full miles into the bush to escape the mechanized flatulence echoing off the canyons. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Tim Rowland: Adirondack Redemption

All Brands Redemption Center SignOn moving to the North Country for good a couple of years ago, I kept seeing all these “Redemption Centers,” and I thought to myself: I had no idea the Adirondacks had this many Baptists. And I certainly didn’t know they drank that much Bud Light.

Of course as it turned out, Redemption Centers up here are places where you go, not to be saved, but return your empty bottles and cans for a nickel apiece. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Viewpoint: Important Tick Research Needs Support

tick next to dimeI’d been living in the North Country for about a month when I woke up to discover a red bulls eye on my left arm. Since, mentally and emotionally, I have never advanced much past the fourth grade, my first thought was: “Cool!”

Because it was clearly visible, however, a number of people subsequently pointed out that this, technically, was nothing to celebrate. So I walked around for the next three days looking like the dog from the Target ads, while people dutifully commented on my impending doom.

Nothing ever came of it. So far the only discomfort ticks have caused me is embarrassment, owing to an appointment with a massage therapist that went horribly wrong. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 26, 2019

That So-Called Adirondack Hall of Fame

I’ve made it a point of personal honor not to engage in arguments over lists, a lesson learned in high school when the radio stations would play their obligatory end-of-year “100 Greatest Rock and Roll Songs of All Time” segments.

And you’d sit around with a bunch of people in your friend’s basement having a meltdown that Stairway to Heaven placed ahead of Satisfaction.

The capper was when stations, looking to reintroduce some buzz into a growingly tired feature, would pick something like Rubberband Man by the Spinners as the No. 1 Rock and Roll Song of All Time, spurring a renewed burst of moral outrage that even weed couldn’t suppress. The Internet has made things far worse, as morons in search of clicks have ranked stuff like the Top 10 Grasshoppers and the 10 Best Places For Retirees to Buy Housing Shingles. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Tim Rowland’s Takeaways From the Cascade Shuttle

There’s nothing quite like autumn in the Adirondacks — the brilliant reds, vibrant oranges and pulsating yellows. And that’s just the construction barrels, road cones and flashing signs warning people to find someplace other than the shoulder of Rt. 73 in Keene Valley to park their Subarus.

Welcome to the wilderness — not to be confused with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre stretch of Interstate 81. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 13, 2018

Tim Rowland On Adirondack Acronyms

Paul Smiths College VICI was chatting a couple of weeks ago with a town supervisor about a project he was working on, and he told me it had been paid for with a DANSY grant.

“That’s great,” I said, “What’s a DANSY grant?”

“You know, DANSY. D-A-N-S-Y.”

“I get that, but what does DANSY stand for?”

I might as well have asked him his granddaughter’s opinion of rhizomes. It totally threw him off track, and it was pretty clear that in the 30-some years he had been supervisor, no one had ever asked him that question before. He stumbled around a bit before, with a self-satisfied look on his face he pronounced, “It came out of (Sen.) Betty Little’s office.” As if that should settle things. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Tim Rowland: Woes Of A Semi-Fit Adirondacker

Annual Bike Tour of Ausable RiverTrue story: Maybe eight or 10 years ago, we were acting as Trail Angels for an Alabama judge who was hiking the Appalachian Trail. When he reached our neck of the woods in Maryland, we picked him up, brought him into town for a shower and took him to lunch in Sharpsburg, Md., scene of the famed Battle of Antietam.

At that time, I was still young enough that I would, like guys do, reflexively choose the biggest slab of meat on the menu, saving me any intellectual deliberation. On this day, the restaurant had a burger they called the Howitzer, which fit the bill, so after ordering we went on chatting about the judge’s hike, and the state of affairs back in the South. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Tim Rowland: Filling The Feeder Is For The Birds

bird feeder Somewhere I read that up here in the Adirondacks you should not feed the birds after March 31st. I forget the exact logic. The article provided one of those explanations that, you know, sounded quasi-plausible, but might have just been something that a guy would tell his wife so he wouldn’t have to go out into the yard and top off the feeder for the 7,000th time this year.

I think it had to do with birds needing to fend for themselves, and several other sundry character issues that I hadn’t thought of as applying to wildlife. I sort of understand, though. It’s like all our kids thinking that food comes from a supermarket instead of a farm. Maybe bird-parents sit around Starbucks saying, “Fledglings today, do you believe it? They think everything comes from a feeder. They don’t realize all the work it takes to peck it out of a seedhead.” » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Tim Rowland: ATVs and Adirondack Wildlands

I know snowmobiles are controversial here, but I don’t know much about them. Back in the Mid Atlantic, I think one guy in our entire county had a snowmobile, and once every winter it might precipitate enough for him to pull it out and lap his house a few times before putting it away for another year. It worked for him.

But I do know a lot about all-terrain vehicles and their big brothers that seat multiple people and have enough cargo space to haul the entire Imelda Marcos Memorial Shoe Collection. (Imelda, if you’re not dead, my apologies; I didn’t have time to look it up.) » Continue Reading.



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