Monday, July 19, 2010

Adirondack Country. William Chapman White (2)

New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1954.

Why read it? The history of the Adirondacks, the names, the lakes, the peaks, the guides and impressions of the tourists and the seasons. “As a man tramps the woods to the lake…he knows he will find pines and lilies, blue heron and golden shiners, shadows on the rocks and the glint of light on the wavelets, just as they were in the summer of 1954, as they will be in 2054 and beyond; he can stand on a rock by the shore and be in a past he could not have known, in a future he will never see; he can be a part of time that was and time yet to come.”

“The largest lake in the Adirondacks is Lake George, thirty miles long; next in order are Long Lake and Indian Lake.” P. 15. ………. “The word ‘pond’ is used as often as ‘lake’; no one knows at what point of decreasing size a lake becomes a pond.” P. 16. ………. “Lake Placid is a lovely lake but the village of Lake Placid is on Mirror Lake.” P. 16. ………. “Sixty years ago a state forester once estimated that a typical Adirondack acre had on it one hundred and ninety-three trees over eight inches in diameter—which would put the total number of trees in the forest preserve somewhere above a quarter of a billion.” P. 21. ………. “After fires, inferior trees such as cherry and poplar are the first to come back and thrive; birches appear next, and beech, but other trees may not show for decades.” P. 22. ……….. “One Adirondack researcher has discovered that a bear runs twenty miles an hour, a fact established by chasing one down a highway at that speed in an automobile.” P. 30. ………. “The chief nuisance of the Adirondacks is not reptile or beast but the notorious black fly…appear about the middle of May and stay around for six weeks…at their worst on a hot windless afternoon.” P. 31. ………. One view of an Adirondack native by the Rev. John P. Lundy: “Brag, bluster, drunken brawl, and bloody fight, licentious revel and dance, rape, incest, and bastardy were about the only pastimes and enjoyments of which he was capable.” P. 35. ………. “The Adirondack people have produced no writers, no painters, no sculptors; outsiders have done the painting, the writing and even pottery making.” P. 27. ………. “The Adirondack county has many hunting and fishing stories, but too often they turn out to be only the hunting and fishing stories of all America, adapted to the Adirondacks.” P. 38. ………. “A trapper will speak of catching ‘mushrats’…..”

To be continued.

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