Join author Charles Yaple at the Adirondack Museum on Monday, July 16 for “Foxey Brown: The Story of An Adirondack Outlaw, Hermit and Guide.” Yaple will tell the story of railroad worker and college student David Brennan who, convinced he had killed a man in a Boston barroom brawl, fled to the Adirondack Mountain wilderness in 1890. Changing his name to David Brown, he became known as a crafty “Foxey” woodsman and popular guide, until a hunting trip tragedy led to one of the largest manhunts in Adirondack history.
Living through the beginning of the American conservation movement, some tried to cope with increasingly strict State conservation laws and private parks by resorting to thievery, poaching, setting forest fires and even murder. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Museum will launch a new audio tour when museum reopens for its 55th season on Friday, May 25, 2012. Year-round residents of the Adirondack Park are invited to visit free of charge every Sunday, and on all open days in May and October. Proof of residency such as a driver’s license, passport, or voter registration card is required.
This year, visitors will be invited to take a fresh look at the Adirondack Museum using the new audio tour. The voices of real people who live in the Adirondacks today will guide visitors to a deeper understanding of the museum’s exhibitions, it dramatic setting, and what makes the Adirondacks unique. » Continue Reading.
During the research I did several years ago about historic landscape painting in the Adirondacks, I came across a painting that took me deep into the High Peaks region, told me a wonderful story, and led me to some interesting discoveries.
In my two earlier posts on this topic, I provided some of the background about the development of landscape painting in the 19th century. While researching, I made several trips to the Adirondack Museum, in Blue Mountain Lake, to look at the many wonderful paintings in their collection. One of my goals was to try to visit some of the sites I could identify and do my own paintings of them – 150 years later. There is a painting in the museum that really captured my attention. “The Great Adirondack Pass, Painted on the Spot, 1837”, by Charles Cromwell Ingham. It depicts a bare rocky cliff on the right side of the painting and what looks like two gigantic glacial erratics in the center foreground. It will probably not be clear in the reproduction, but in the lower left corner is a small figure of an artist, and at the base of the very dark rock in the center, there is a tiny little person. I noticed these when I saw the actual painting in the Adirondack Museum. I couldn’t help but be amazed at the size of the two rocks. Compared to the person at the base of the dark rock, it is at least 10 times the height of that person, perhaps more. That makes this unique glacial erratic 50-60 feet high. Huge! I decided I would try to find this place.
Reading in “Fair Wilderness: American Paintings in the Collection of the Adirondack Museum”, I learned that Charles Cromwell Ingham was a portrait painter invited by Archibald McIntyre to join a geological survey expedition – the first to make the ascent of Mount Marcy, in August of 1837. In another book I read it was reported that Ingham passed out several times while doing the climb because it was so strenuous. Also on the expedition was Dr. Ebenezer Emmons, the state geologist of New York. Ingham was brought along to visually record the trip as pictorial accuracy was deemed very important – this was before the use of cameras. “Fair Wilderness” also explained that this location is now known as Indian Pass – that I could find!
So one Columbus Day weekend I packed what I needed for a day trip, including the Adirondack Mountain Club “Guide to Adirondack Trails: High Peaks Region”, drove to the Upper Works trail head and hiked the Indian Pass trail. This is a very rugged trail that goes from Upper Works, through Indian Pass between the massive cliffs of Wallface Mountain and the McIntyre Range, and about 11 miles later ends up at the Adirondack Loj trailhead near Lake Placid. “Fair Wilderness” included several quotes that further identified the location. Another artist who visited the pass later in 1837 noted there is “a sloping platform amidst the rocks where the finest view of the whole scene is to be obtained”. He also predicted that the site would soon host resorts and lodges and be more popular than Niagara Falls! Later author Alfred Billings Street wrote “I wish to bear testimony to the accuracy” of an engraving that was done based on Ingham’s painting.
I was on a mission to find those two gigantic rocks. It’s approximately 5 miles from the trailhead to the summit of the pass, an elevation of 2660 feet. It was a brisk fall day, many of the leaves were already off, and I found the trail to be one of the most challenging I had ever climbed at that time. Up and over boulders, steep and narrow – I tried to imagine the expedition in 1837 – before there were any trails or man-made ladders to help get you up through the steep sections. After a few hours of climbing I encountered a small sign and arrow that said “summit rock”. Stepping out onto the bare sloping rock I had the barren cliff of Wallface to my right – exactly as it was in Ingham’s painting. Out in front of me the land sloped downward and in the hazy distance I could just barely see the light reflecting off of Henderson Lake – also in Ingham’s painting. This had to be the spot where he painted – but where were those two gigantic rocks?
I took photographs, did some sketches, and had a snack and then I heard another hiker approaching, coming from the opposite direction. I stepped back onto the trail to meet him, showed him my sketch (based on the painting) and asked if he’d seen a couple of big rocks – and he said he had. I thanked him and continued on past summit rock – which I later learned is not really the summit but does have the best view to the West. It did not take long, maybe another quarter mile, and I found them. There were indeed pine trees growing out of the top of the one on the left and the one on the right had a funny bump on the top – just like Ingham’s painting.
They were surrounded by trees and underbrush and nearly impossible to step back far enough to get a decent photograph of both of them. The hiking trail passes directly next to the rocks. But my big discovery was that they were not anywhere as large as Ingham had painted them. What was he thinking? Supposedly he created the painting “on the spot”! How could he be so inaccurate? By my estimation the rocks were twice as tall as I am, maybe three times – so perhaps 11-15 feet high (not 60!).
I took as many photos as I could and then with daylight waning, headed back down the trail, feeling very successful. It wasn’t long before I did my own painting of the two rocks and the view, based on my photos – only it was a little disappointing. The research and the journey had been so exciting but my painting wasn’t very exciting. Two rocks and a cliff. There was no way to understand the scale of the rocks. In my painting they just looked like two boulders – four feet high, six feet? There was no way to tell.
Then it hit me – Charles Ingham may have painted “on the spot”, but I bet when he got the painting back to his studio to finish, he too probably felt he needed to do something to show the actual size of the rocks. I can imagine him remembering the rigors and challenges of this hike into uncharted territory – I thought it was rugged and I had a marked trail to follow. So Charles Cromwell Ingham painted a little person into his painting – something to give the rocks some scale. And he painted himself in the corner, painting. In his memory, perhaps he believed the rocks to be the size of a 6 story building!
So, with a friend to accompany me, I hiked back through Indian Pass and had a photo of myself taken in front of the rocks. Back in my studio, I did a new painting: “Self-portrait in Indian Pass” , which one of my children will inherit someday. I have great respect for all the artists of the past, but I now understand a bit more about what “artistic license” means. I’m sure Mr. Ingham did sketch and paint on the spot – it would be my guess that he did what he could in a few hours, not wanting to hold up the expedition. He was working with oil paints, so probably did more of a sketch than a complete painting, otherwise it would have taken days for the paint to dry. The canvas was then most likely removed from the wooden stretcher bars and rolled up and put in a pack for ease of transportation. Ingham might have rendered the rocks from that specific location, and he might have also sketched the view from the more open “summit rock”. Then I bet he combined the two when he completed the painting of the “Great Adirondack Pass” in his studio. When he realized there was no way for the viewer to understand the size of the rocks or the ruggedness of the terrain, he added the little figures to the painting, for scale. Mystery solved!
If you visit the Adirondack Museum, look for “The Great Adirondack Pass”. See what kind of story it tells you!
The next lecture in the Adirondack Museum’s 2012 Cabin Fever Sunday, “Tracking Robert Garrow” with author and Adirondack Almanack contributor Lawrence Gooley, will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2012.
In the summer of 1973, serial killer Robert F. Garrow went on a murderous rampage that changed the Adirondack region forever. However, there was much more to Garrow’s story than the murders. From his unfortunate childhood to escapes from the law, the longest manhunt in Adirondack history, and his manipulation of legal, medical and corrections professionals, hear the full story of Garrow’s life from author Lawrence Gooley. Due to graphic content, this program is suitable for adult audiences. Lawrence P. Gooley is a proponent of the North Country, a lover of books, and a history enthusiast. He operates Bloated Toe Enterprises, an internet-based business that currently includes Bloated Toe Publishing and The North Country Store. Gooley has also organized a North Country Authors group to help raise the profile of area authors and their works. Gooley’s writings have appeared in various magazines and newspapers. He has contributed to other works, including a recent piece in an annual book series, the Franklin County Review, and has provided editing services for several other titles. He has also authored nine books including Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow.
This program will be held at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts at Blue Mountain Lake, and will begin at 1:30 p.m. Cabin Fever Sundays are offered at no charge to museum members or children of elementary school age and younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00. For additional information, please call (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.
The Adirondack Museum third 2012 Cabin Fever Sunday series, “Nature: From Howling Wilderness to Vacation Destination” will be held on Sunday, February 12, 2012. The event will be offered free of charge.
Drawing on landscape painting, photography, traveler’s accounts, and other sources, this presentation by Dr. Charles Mitchell will explore the evolution of American attitudes towards nature. Beginning with perceptions of the American landscape as a howling wilderness, a wasteland to be tamed and transformed, the lecture will trace the social, cultural and economic forces that led to the perception of wild nature as something of value to be experienced and preserved. Key topics and figures along the way include the sublime, romanticism, Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School, John Muir, Ansel Adams, and the Lorax. Dr. Charles Mitchell is Associate Professor of American Studies at Elmira College. Mitchell has been on the faculty of Elmira College since 1993. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Lynbrook (on Long Island) he still occasionally refers to everything north of Yonkers as “upstate.” He teaches a side variety of courses in American cultural history, with specific interests in environmental history, the history of ideas about nature, and the representation of the landscape in literature and art.
This program will be held at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts at Blue Mountain Lake, and will begin at 1:30 p.m. For additional information, please call (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.
The second program in the Adirondack Museum’s 2012 Cabin Fever Sunday series, “Big Cats of the Adirondacks” will be held on Sunday, January 29, 2012.
Adirondack Museum as wildlife biologist Paul Jenson will explore the ecology, conservation, and management of big cats in the Adirondacks. Big cats once roamed the wilds of the Adirondacks and some still do – fascinating the naturalist with their secretive behavior and stirring emotions of all who catch a glimpse of these awesome predators. Learn about the current and historical distributions of Canadian lynx, bobcat, and mountain lions in New York State and the Northeast. Hear about their current populations, the effect of landscape and climate change, and how these species may fare in the 21st Century. » Continue Reading.
After moving to Saratoga Springs thirty-five years ago, Anne Diggory started looking for scenic landscapes to paint and soon gravitated to the Adirondacks. She’s been painting them ever since.
Over the years, Diggory has created several hundred paintings of mountains, lakes, and streams in the Adirondack Park. Starting this week, fifteen of them went on display at the Blue Mountain Gallery in New York City. The exhibit, titled “Turbulence,” will run through January 28. Why “Turbulence”? Diggory, who majored in art at Yale, explained that she tried in these works to capture the energy of the natural world—whether a stormy sky, a frothy stream, or a wind-whipped lake. “I have a real interest in things that are moving or changing,” she said.
Depending on circumstances, she will paint on the spot or work from her sketches or photos. For Ripple Effect II, the painting of Rogers Rock shown above, she shot video from her Hornbeck canoe on Lake George. Later, she watched the video at home and created a seventy-inch-wide painting. (For a portrait of the artist at work,check out this New York Times story.)
Other Adirondack places depicted in “Turbulence” include Lake Clear, Lake Durant, and the Saranac River. The exhibit also includes paintings from beaches on Long Island and in South Carolina.
She made several of the paintings last summer while working as an artist-in-residence at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. (The name of the gallery is just a coincidence.)
Fortunately, you don’t have to travel to New York City to see the paintings in “Turbulence.” Most of them can be viewed on Diggory’s website. Just click here.
Not surprisingly, Diggory is an enthusiastic hiker and paddler. She and her husband used to take their daughters, Ariel and Parker, on camping trips when the girls were young. Ariel went on to earn a master’s degree in conservation biology from the State College of Environmental Science and Forestry and now works at the Adirondack Park Agency.
One of Diggory’s favorite Adirondack paintings depicts the view of Panther Gorge from Mount Marcy, the state’s highest summit. So far, she has climbed seven or eight of the forty-six High Peaks.
“I’m not going to climb all of them, but I’ll paint them all,” she remarked.
The Blue Mountain Gallery will host an opening reception 6-8 p.m. Thursday (January 5) and a closing reception 4-6 p.m. Saturday, January 28. The gallery is located at 530 West 25 Street in Manhattan.
The first program of the Adirondack Museum’s 2012 Cabin Fever Sunday series, “Chester Gillette: The Adirondacks’ Most Famous Murder Case” will be held on Sunday, January 15, 2012.
It’s the stuff movies are made of- a secret relationship, a pregnancy and a murder. Over a century after it happened in Big Moose Lake, Herkimer County, the Chester Gillette murder case of 1906 is the murder that will never die. The murder of Grace Brown and the case following was the subject of Theodore Dreiser’s 1925 book An American Tragedy, and the Hollywood movie A Place in the Sun. The story continues to be told today with a 1999 Opera at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and in a 2011 documentary North Woods Elegy. Author Craig Brandon, considered among the world’s foremost experts on the case, and author of Murder in the Adirondacks, will present and lead a discussion.
Craig Brandon is a national award-winning author of six books of popular history and public affairs and a former award-winning reporter.
Held in the Auditorium, the program will begin at 1:30 p.m. Cabin Fever Sundays are offered at no charge to museum members or children of elementary school age and younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00. The Museum Store and Visitor Center will be open from noon to 4 p.m. For additional information, please call (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.
The Adirondacks are unique in many ways, not the least of which is the kinds of museums that emerge there. In 1957, the Adirondack Museum first opened at Blue Mountain Lake, graced with a spectacular vantage point on the lake below, and a mission to provide the narrative history of the Adirondacks through its art and artifacts.
In July of 2006, the Wild Center opened in Tupper Lake, with innovative design and exhibits that integrate the science and beauty of nature in one place. The Wild Center, billed as the “natural history museum of the Adirondacks” has been extremely successful since opening, and continues to add exciting new exhibits each year. And in a truly inspiring stroke of recent good fortune (or maybe just good karma), these two museums were each bequested $2.4M from the estate of the late LiLinda Kent Vaughan, a member of both museums, and a long-time summer resident of Long Lake. Coming at a time when many museum funding sources have run dry, these generous gifts present an especially welcome and much-needed boost to the museums’ futures.
Dr. Vaughan was a Professor Emerita of the Department of Physical Education and Athletics at Wellesley College in Wellesley Ma, where she had led the department from 1973 to 1990 as chairperson and director. She held both B.S. and M.A. degrees from Russell Sage College, where she received the Aldrich Award for Proficiency in Sports. and received her Ph.D. in Physical Education from Ohio State University.
Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Vaughan wrote numerous papers in her main field of sports psychology, and in 1970 co-authored the book (with Richard Hale Stratton) Canoeing and Sailing, a second version of which was published In 1985. Her appreciation for the wildlife in the Adirondacks and her love of the sporting opportunities also led her to develop an understanding of the environmental issues in the region.
An avid photographer in her spare time, Dr. Vaughan traveled extensively throughout the world photographing nature, and held a one-woman show at the Blue Mountain Center of wildlife captured on trips to Africa, Alaska and Antarctica. In a fitting culmination to her many lifetime accomplishments, the work of Dr. Vaughan lives on through the legacy she leaves to the two museums she supported in life.
Together, the Adirondack Museum and the Wild Center are instrumental in promoting the need for environmental protection of one of the last truly untouched frontiers in America. And they’re just plain fun to visit. Make sure to plan your next trip soon.
Photos: Above, view of Blue Mountain Lake from the cafe of the Adirondack Museum (photo by Linda Peckel); below, Trout Stream in the Hall of the Adirondacks at the Wild Center, and View of the Wild Center (Courtesy Wild Center).
The annual Harvest Festival at the Adirondack Museum will be held on Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2. The event will include wagon and pony rides, music, arts and crafts, demonstrations, a giant leaf pile, and much more. The Adirondack Museum offers free admission to year-round residents of the Adirondack Park in the month of October. On Saturday, October 1, Radio Disney Albany will be on hand with music, games, and activities with a Harvest twist. Don’t miss Pumpkin Roll Relay, Best “Yee-hah”contest, Guess the Harvest Crop Gross, Scarecrow and Me Contest and more. Plus dress up in harvest themed costumes for a Costume Parade to get a special prize. » Continue Reading.
Each year Smithsonian Magazine teams with museums around the country to host its seventh annual Museum Day, allowing everyone to enter special organizations that cater from everything from the history of the Adirondacks to the Olympics.
Free admission is only available for those that sign online and download the ticket form. The ticket is good for two people per mailing address and valid email.
For our family it isn’t a matter of participating in Museum Day but which museum to attend. My son wants to venture far afield and go aboard the USS Slater. Unfortunately that particular adventure will have to be timed with a trip to Albany. Since we will be attending Indian Lake’s Great Adirondack Moose Festival, a trip to the Adirondack Museum will fit right into the plan.
Once again the Adirondack Museum will offer anyone signed on for a Museum Day ticket the right to enter its doors free of charge. (New for 2011, year-round residents of the Adirondack Park are admitted free every Sunday during the Adirondack Museum’s season as well as any open days in October.)
The Adirondack Museum houses twenty buildings on 32 acres of land, beautiful gardens and ponds. There are many interactive elements like the Rising Schoolhouse filled with paper crafts and era-specific wooden toys, a treasure hunt in the “Age of Horses” building, or explore “The Great Outdoors.” Keep in mind all paid admissions are valid for a second visit within a one-week time period.
Another museum offering a free pass is the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. This nod to Lake Placid’s Winter Olympic history offers great insight into the magnitude the Olympics played on the growth of Lake Placid in the Olympic arena. Guests can view an array of Olympic torches, an evolution of sporting equipment and a special video documenting the 1980 historic USA hockey gold medal win.
There are more museums just beyond the Blue Line that are participating as well. Take this opportunity and explore new areas or old favorites this Saturday, September 24th.
(Even though museums are generously offering a free day to all keep in mind it still costs money to run these wonderful establishments. A small donation can go a long way to help continue to provide these excellent facilities.)
The Adirondack Museum will hosts its annual Fabric and Fiber Arts Festival on Saturday, September 17, 2011. Fabrics and regional artists are featured at this one day celebration of spinning, weaving, quilting, knitting, knotting and all fiber arts.
There will be textile appraisals by Rabbit Goody in the Visitor Center from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and a variety of yarn installations, or yarn bombings, displayed throughout the museum campus during the event. Yarnbombing is a type of street art typically found in urban areas. Regional fiber guilds and artists will “yarn-bomb” more utilitarian parts of the museum in celebration of the fiber arts, and to showcase how traditional crafts like knitting and crocheting are being applied in new ways in the 21st century. This year’s event includes a crocheted SUV cover by Jerilia Zempel.
In addition to the yarn-bombing displays, the museum will also feature the Third Annual Great Adirondack Quilt Show on September 17. The show is a special display of quilts inspired by or used in the Adirondacks, and will be open through October 9, 2011.
Demonstrations during the festival include: art quilting with the Adirondack Regional Textile Artists Alliance; bobbin lace-making with Judy Anderson; mixed-media textile arts and quilting with Louisa Woodworth; quilting with Northern Needles; rug hooking with the Country Ruggers; a variety of wool arts with Serendipity Spinners and felt making with Linda Van Alstyn. Linda will offer informal sessions of make your own felt flowers for a $5 fee.
Museum Curator Hallie Bond and guest Rabbit Goody will offer a presentation at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. entitled “Weaving Through History,” telling the history of the weaving tradition. Presentations will take place in the Auditorium. Visitors will be able to browse and buy from a small group of talented North Country fiber artists at the vendor fair. Enjoy fiddle and guitar music by talented musicians Doug Moody and John Kribs throughout the day.
Hands-on activities include recycled rugs – help braid strips of blue jeans into a floor rug and placemats for the museum’s Little Log Cabin, or make a coaster for home from recycled tee-shirts. This year’s Fiber Fest will include an afternoon knit-in hosted by Carol Wilson. This will be an opportunity for knitters to work on a project in the company of other knitting enthusiasts, and to exchange tips with other participants about how to tackle tricky techniques. Knitters are highly encouraged to bring finished projects to display, as well as works in progress.
Visit www.adirondackmuseum.org for a list of fiber related workshops that will take place on Sunday, September 18, 2011.
The Adirondack Museum will host the annual American Mountain Men Rendezvous on Friday, August 19 and Saturday, August 20, 2011. The event features educational interpreters in period dress showcase a variety of historical survival skills.
Visitors will see demonstrations of firearms and shooting, tomahawk and knife throwing, fire starting and campfire cooking. There will be displays of pelts and furs, clothing of eastern and western mountain styles, period firearms and much more.
All of the American Mountain Men activities and demonstrations are included in the price of regular Adirondack Museum admission. There is no charge for museum members. The museum is open 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., including holidays.
Participants in the museum encampment are from the Brothers of the New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts segment of the national American Mountain Men organization. Participation in the encampment is by invitation only.
Mountain men are powerful symbols of America’s wild frontier. Legends about the mountain man continue to fascinate because many of the tales are true: the life of the mountain man was rough, and despite an amazing ability to survive in the wilderness, it brought him face to face with death on a regular basis.
The American Mountain Men group was founded in 1968. The association researches and studies the history, traditions, tools, and mode of living of the trappers, explorers, and traders known as the mountain men. Members continuously work for mastery of the primitive skills of both the original mountain men and Native Americans. The group prides itself on the accuracy and authenticity of its interpretation and shares the knowledge they have gained with all who are interested.
The Adirondack Museum and the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts will host an overnight adventure at the museum on Tuesday, August 16, 2011. The event will include exploring exhibits by lantern, getting dramatic about Adirondack history with the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, hearing songs and stories by the campfire, and having a sleepover in the Woods & Waters exhibit. Dinner, an evening snack and breakfast will be served.
Camp Out for Families is open to children ages 7 – 13, and the museum requests one adult chaperone for every one to four children. The program starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends the following morning at 9:30 a.m. Spaces are limited; pre-registration required by August 11, 2011. E-mail or call to register: [email protected] or (518) 352 – 7311 ext 115; [email protected] or (518) 352 – 7311 ext 128. The program fee includes dinner, evening snack, light breakfast, and all activity materials. $45 per person for Adirondack Museum members and Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts members; $55 per person for non-members.
The museum is open through October 17, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week, including holidays. There will be an early closing on August 12, and adjusted hours on August 13; the museum will close for the day on September 9. Visit www.adirondackmuseum.org for more information. All paid admissions are valid for a second visit within a one-week period.
Internationally-acclaimed author, educator and environmentalist Bill McKibben will present a program entitled “The Most Important Number in the World: Updates on the Fight for a Stable Climate,” on Monday, August 1, 2011 at the Adirondack Museum. The program is part of the museum’s Monday Evening Lecture series.
McKibben will share news of the latest science around global warming, its effects on the Adirondack region, and the growing global movement to do something about it. In the past two years his group 350.org has coordinated what CNN called “the most widespread days of political action in the planet’s history.” He will share with the audience what those fighting for a stable climate across the planet are doing. Bill McKibben is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, and author of a dozen books about the environment, including The End of Nature, which is often called the first book for a general audience about climate change. Time Magazine has described him as “the planet’s best green journalist” and the Boston Globe has called him “perhaps the nation’s leading environmentalist.” He has spent much of his adult life in Johnsburg in Warren County, N.Y.
The presentation will be held in the Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The lecture will be offered at no charge to museum members; the fee for non-members is $5.00. For additional information, visit www.adirondackmuseum.org or call (518) 352-7311.
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