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.
“Good things,” said that wise old sage Homer Simpson, “don’t end in -eum. They end in -mania or -teria.”
Yes, sadly, “museum” is an unpopular word. Which is why the magnificent Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake is changing its name (or its “identity,” as marketing jargon would have it) to the Adirondack Experience. » Continue Reading.
The preachers have never had much luck getting their tenterhooks into me because I’m not all that enamored with the idea of everlasting life. Everlasting life is like Moose Tracks ice cream: After the first bite you never want it to end, but by the time you pack away a quart and a half you start to see a down side.
And everlasting life is about the only arrow the preachers have in their quiver. They never say, “If you lead a wholesome, righteous existence you will have everlasting life — plus you get to date Emma Stone.”
Still, it has to be acknowledged that Ponce de Leon wasn’t the only fan of perpetual youth, and when I was younger I confess to feeling the same way, largely due to a curiosity of what will happen next—tomorrow, and 2,000 years from tomorrow. I have, however, discovered that it is a simple task to live well beyond the average, 78.2-year lifespan. It is no great effort to live for a hundred, five hundred or even a thousand years. » Continue Reading.
I enjoy the ongoing debate over leashed v. nonleashed dogs on Adirondack trails, not because I have a strong opinion one way or another, but because I am in the process of teaching a young pup to learn to love the mountain trails as much as I do.
Her name, reflective of the Peaks, is Addie, and her breed is a Bouvier de Flandres. This in itself is slightly problematic, in that when you are trying to pass yourself off as a rugged outdoorsman walking in the footsteps of Old Mountain Phelps, you lose a little face when someone asks the breed of your companion and you are forced to respond that it’s a “BOO-vee-yea d’ FLAWND-rah.”
So to save both of us a little face, I now tell everyone she’s a Belgian War Dog. » Continue Reading.
Heading south to Utica on Route 28 there’s a highway sign advising travelers that they are “Leaving Adirondack Park.” No three words have caused anyone as much pain and suffering as those three words have cause me over the past five decades.
Everyone has a home, but it’s not always where one lives. My family’s roots to the Adirondacks or “The Woods,” as we called it, predated the Great Depression. It’s where my grandparents honeymooned, and where with my great-grandpa purchased a sprawling lakeside camp, fully furnished, for $3,000. So this is my existential excuse for feeling more at home in the Adirondacks than in whatever community I was more permanently hanging my hat. » Continue Reading.
Plenty of entertaining statements are attributed to Orsen “Old Mountain” Phelps, the over-commercialized Betty Crocker of Adirondack Mountain guides.
I don’t know exactly who Phelps was, but after 30-plus years in the journalism business, I recognize the type: He wanted to be a lot of things, and was pretty good at it, but lost something of his identity in the process. His Swiss Army Knife approach to life led him down paths not just as a guide, but as a writer, scientist, geographer and philosopher-at-large.
The one thing he seemed pretty clear on, and I can relate, is that he did not want to go through life as a manual laborer. He cut trails, sure, but in Phelps’ world this was no more work than writing is to me.
Phelps was no intellect, but neither was he the semi-literate hayseed he passed himself of as when trying to land a guiding gig. I always fantasize that Phelps talked like Sir Kenneth Clarke when he was at home, but broke into a full hillbilly rag on the job, ladling in heaping helpings of dagnabbits and conswarnits to impress the clientele. » Continue Reading.
Despite visiting the summits of the hallowed 46 High Peaks over the years, I believe it’s still hard to beat the view from lowly Bald Mountain just north of Old Forge. I know it’s officially known as Rondaxe Mountain today, but I still call it Bald Mountain in the way that old people still call NYSEG “the light company.”
I first climbed it when I was 6; at that time it seemed quite the mighty massif, but by the time I was 10, scooting up the gentle slopes barely took the edge off of a mischief-seeking boy. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to Almanack founder and editor John Warren.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.