"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees." That's Muir; unlike me, he didn't dive into the nearest Greenwich Village café when temps dropped below 60. And unlike the lost hikers cited on this month's cover of Adirondack Life, he always found his way home.
The call of the wild draws thousands to the Adirondacks each year, a mountain range in northeast New York contained within the 6 million acres of Adirondack Park. The closest I've gotten is Woodstock; post-Sixties, it's where Janis Joplin meets Ralph Lauren. But a close friend regularly hikes with his daughter in this pristine region -- and has offered to take me. Before I commit, which means sharing my route with every ranger station within 100 miles, I'm starting with Adirondack Life, a gentle and appreciative introduction.
The award-winning, 40-year-old magazine is devoted to the region's people, history and wildlife. Subscribers also receive membership in the Adirondack Museum; the logo, which says it all, is a man carrying a canoe. At the gift shop, you can buy loon pillows and moose statues -- at prices that rival MoMA's.
The big selling point is the region's beauty, both breathtaking and rich in wildlife. It's got everything from 220 bird species to brook trout, foxes to bobcats. For those who live in view of Whiteface Mountain, according to the magazine's editor, its singular "magnificence" tops any metropolis.
Ian Ater and Lucas Christenson, two 20something farmers, would agree. Poster boys for true grit, their organic Fledging Crow Farm feeds 60 families through a weekly community-supported agricultural program, in addition to supplying local restaurants and summer camps with tasty crops. The profile of the Keeseville farm is a tribute to enterprise, vision and hard work. Politicians who trumpet small business but grow fat on lobbyists' money should spend time here. These men, like the Draguns, who run the backwoods bistro Windfall Bar & Grill in Cranberry Lake, are the real deal.
So, sadly, is the poverty in the region. Just down the road from stunning lakefront homes are dilapidated trailers; the working poor is a stark reality upstate, per "The Other Side of Paradise" feature. The days of steady, but tough logging and mining jobs are gone. Employment is tied to tourism, seasonal work at best. The struggles are mighty.
Equally sobering is the cover story on lost hikers; some are found dead months or years later. Some disappear forever. The advice to prevent tragedy is basic: Tell more than one person where you are going and when you'll return. The first 48 hours are critical in search-and-rescue efforts. Always sign in and out of trail registers and carry the proper equipment. The information is lifesaving; and fulfills the magazine's focus -- covering all aspects of Adirondack life - from the serious to the sublime. Each issue also runs a calendar of fun festivals and a booklist targeting regional delights -- from dog hikes to bike tours.
Frankly, I was bowled over by the rustic furniture ads; the offerings combine elements of art nouveau with the hand-carved artistry of the Arts and Crafts style. If any company wants to showcase their wares, my living room is available. Otherwise, thanks to Adirondack Life, I'll collect my urban wits and consider a sojourn in the other New York.
Published by: Adirondack Life, Inc.
Web site: www.adirondacklife.com