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An Adirondack Passage: The Cruise of the Canoe Sairy Gamp.

An Adirondack Passage: The Cruise of the Canoe Sairy Gamp

By Christine Jerome. 244 pages; $12 paperback. Adirondack Mountain Club, 814 Goggins Road, Lake George, N.Y. 12845-4117, 1-800-395-8080, www.adk.org.

During her first visit to the Adirondacks in 1988, Christine Jerome became fascinated by the Adirondack Museum, and a tiny lapstrake canoe of white cedar coated with oil and shellac, only nine-feet long and weighing 10 1/2 pounds. More than 100 years before, in 1883, this seemingly fragile craft transported a magazine writer, George Washington Sears, over 107 miles through the Northern Wilderness - the center, and heart, of today's Adirondack Forest Preserve.

At age 61, old for those days, this slightly built, sickly little man of 112 pounds, was already one of the most famous canoeists in the country. Under his pen name, Nessmuk, his epic journey chronicled widespread environmental damage, deterioration and exploitation that had already threatened this unique area's very existence. An avid outdoorsman, Sears was among the greatest champions for the creation and preservation of the Adirondack Park, which was established 1892, just two years after his death.

In his honor, Jerome was entranced, driven even, to recreate his journey from Old Forge to Upper Saranac Lake and back. Jerome was an outdoorswoman to whom hard physical demands were nothing new. By age 48, this editor for New England Monthly had become somewhat sedentary. But with better equipment and modern technology than Sears had, it would be a piece of cake, easy as pie, this paddle of 107 miles through the no-longer pristine Adirondacks. As Jerome was to find out, this was one canoe journey she couldn't take "sitting down."

In late-August 1990, after two years of research, planning, and training, Jerome launched her own odyssey as she gently slipped into her Kevlar replica canoe at Old Forge waterfront, in fog.

Armchair paddlers will marvel as they live Jerome's tour through the Inlet, Forked Lake, around Buttermilk Falls, up Long Lake and the Raquette River, into Lower and Upper Saranac Lakes and beyond. Along the way, they'll meet characters from long ago, like mountain settler Mariette "Mett" Butler and failed businessman W.W. Durant, and a slew of old-time inns. There are modern side trips along the main trail to hike mountain trails and pick blueberries. An Adirondack Passage, replete with an area map and 16 pages of black-and-white photographs, is a journey back into time, and an adventure for the future.

Tom Apple is a kayaker from Warrensburg, Warren County.

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Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Apple, Tom
Publication:New York State Conservationist
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 2000
Words:417
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