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October in the Adirondacks


This is a view of the Moose River as seen from the Route 28 bridge in McKeever, NY. Bill Moon and I arrived in Old Forge on a Thursday to do a bit of sightseeing and picture taking before canoeing the north branch of the Moose the following day. 

We drove further north to Inlet where Bill had bow hunted in the past. Old logging roads offered access well off the beaten path, with numerous campsites along the way. Here the late afternoon sun illumines towering spruce trees.      

Dead timber, colorful maples and spruce frame the shoreline of a placid pond.

A totally calm surface on Nick's Lake provides a mirror image along the shoreline. 

These canoes no doubt saw a good deal of use this year, but on this day not a soul around. 

Winterberry -- we would see plenty of this stuff growing along the north branch of the Moose River. There we would find it in huge clusters and already minus much of its leafy growth. Stay tuned -- the canoe trip was quite breathtaking.

North branch of the Moose River: solitude and beauty


We hadn't traveled very far when, from the stern of the canoe, I heard Bill Moon say, "Listen to that." Except for the sound of his voice, there was absolute silence. He was referring to the solitude of the Adirondack wilderness. At the time we were paddling the north branch of the Moose River where it winds through brushy banks lined with winterberry and distant hills in the background

Downstream a ways, we would enter green corridors of spruce and pine, and finally stretches of river where the evergreens and maples mingle, splattering a predominantly green shoreline with red and yellow.

"Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiul to values as yet uncaptured by language." 

                                     Aldo Leopold, "A Sand County Almanac"

With the hardwoods already having lost much of their foliage, the evergreens had lost a bit of their backdrop...

yet they towered above the river bank, as aesthetically pleasing as ever.

Except for small birds flitting and rustling in the winterberry, these mallards provided one of our few glimpses of wildlife. Occasionally, the sound of geese could be heard, though they were nowhere in sight. Once or twice we heard the guttural squawk of a raven - it too was heard and not seen. 

The day was sun-filled and warm, the setting serene. The  leaning sycamore pictured above seems to be whispering to the trees on the opposite bank.

Clusters of winterberry  

The sound of water rushing over rocks and around and under sizeable boulders indicated it was time for our lone portage of the trip, a canoe-tote of approximately 200 yards. The portage trail was well-defined, though there were numerous tree roots spanning the path which tested our agility -- and patience.

Bill has made this trip a number of times - here's  "ol' man river" and his understudy!

Marchese Brothers Attain Listing Among Adirondack 46'ers


Biking, canoeing, kayaking, cross-country skiing and mountaineering. To one extent or another, all the Marchese brothers -- Dave, Tom, Russ and Bob -- partook of these activities. It was 1995, after brother Dave invited his three siblings on a backpacking trip, when they first had a go at hiking up a mountain. 

"We hiked into Johns Brook Valley and camped at Bushnell Falls," said Bob Marchese. "The next day we climbed Mount Haystack in the rain and fog. At times you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. Mt. Haystack (elev. 4960 ft.) was the first high peak for Russ, Tom and me."

Left to right are Tom, Bob, Russ and Dave.

Despite the weather on their first climb back in 1995, the Marchese brothers began frequenting the high peaks when time permitted.

"Nearly 10 years passed before it entered our minds to climb the "trailess" peaks," said Bob, "and go for the '46.'"

Bob informed me there are basically two types of trails on the "46er" mountains -- those maintained with marked trails and those that are "trailess." The latter term at times implies nothing less than a pure bushwhack. The above photo shows the group preparing to scale a cleft in the rocky mountainside.

This photo was taken while descending Whiteface Mountain In the center of the pic and off in the distance is Mount Esther. Weeks later, upon reaching the summit of Esther, the Marchese brothers would have fulfilled their quest, thereby attaining membership in the AKD 46er's. 

Fifteen years after climbing Mt. Haystack, Dave, Tom, Russ and Bob Marchese stand atop Mt. Esther......46er's at last.

"It was a combination of jubilation and relief," said Bob. At their feet, atop Mt. Esther, is a plaque set in the rock by the Adirondack forty-sixers. In a bit of irony, just before the above and below photos were taken, friend and frequent hiking companion Eric Wohlers called their attention to the time -- the Marchese brothers had become 46er's at exactly 4:46 pm.

The plaque was set in place in honor of Esther McComb who in 1839, at the age of 15,  attempted to climb Whiteface Mountain from the north. In the process she became lost and thus made the first recorded ascent of the mountain so named for her.  


That's Eric Wohlers behind the Marchese brothers. Though he had climbed Mt. Esther a month earlier, he joined his friends for their celebratory climb.  

Bob Marchese, pictured above, has climbed many a high peak with his own family. Said Bob,  "My wife, Terri, and I climbed some peaks with our kids when they were little. When they were 2 and 3 years old we put them in kiddie carriers, backpacks made to carry small children. Today my daughter Olivia wants to be a "46er."  

Bob with Olivia. An aspiring 46er, Olivia accompanied her dad on numerous high peak climbs this summer.

Only 13 years old, and already an even dozen high peaks to her credit, Olivia seems certain to keep the family tradition alive -- not only sharing in the common bond of those who have climbed the Adirondack high peaks, but helping promote safe hiking and the preservation of the wilderness for future generations. And to Bob, Russ, Tom and Dave...congratulations!

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