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Hiking the Adirondack High Peaks

The Ticonderoga Historical Society has been the beneficiary of many wonderful gifts so far in 2017.  From the accession records we share a selection of gifts that have contributed to the enhancement of our  collections.   Furnishings:  — a  truly significant and historical piece ~~ John Hancock’s  dining table.  Prints and Paintings ~~ two important oil paintings: one a “Hudson River’ style landscape of Lake George;  and, secondly an oil portrait of Lucius Callender Larrabee (1799-1856) ~ one the earliest steamboat captains of the Lake George Steamboat Co..  ( Very appropriately as they are celebrating their 200th anniversary this year.)  Military Records and Artifacts: A large collection of military track and wheeled vehicles from the WWI era to today.  And adding to an existing major collection from the family of  Arthur and David Carr  consisting of photographs, manuscripts and artifacts another bountiful gift of around twenty family journals.  (Before turning over this collection the family had the journals  professionally digitized. A digitized file copy is included with the original journals.)  All of these gifts were presented to the Society from family descents.

We are very appreciative that each of these families have chosen the Ticonderoga Historical Society to be the depository for, and stewards of, their family treasurers. In doing so they have made available these unique pieces of history to be enjoyed by future generations for public enjoyment, while assuring that each will be available for future historic review and research.

Earlier this year we recognized a Ticonderoga native,  Grace Leach Hudowalski, for her major contributions to promoting the Adirondacks.  Grace was the first woman to climb all 46 Adirondack High Peaks.  For several decades she was one of the central voices of the Adirondack Mountain Club and the principle contact to thousands of climbers that hiked the Adirondack  high peaks.

To follow up on this theme, we would like to share from one of Arthur Carr’s recently donated journals his recordings of a Adirondack High Peaks hike he shared  with another Ticonderoga native, Walter Johnson.  They took the hike in 1926:

Monday, Sept. 20, 1926 ~~

Like thousands of other mornings of other mornings before and since began with promise of clear sky only to yield to an early impulse and furnish clouds.

To Walter Johnson and myself clouds on this day were a disappointment for with food and blankets on our backs we were seeking the first high spots of a trip through the country of high spots.

With our packs we were carried into Heart Lake Sunday afternoon where we spent the night in the open camp shown here, whose only fault other than those common to open camps was the straw on which we were supposed to sleep.  In June mayhap the straw was cleaner, fresher and less dusty.  Certainly there was ample opportunity for it to have been.  Hart Lake seemed to be an outpost of Lake Placid Club.  A place where the city worn could get away from traffic, and rough it as much as comfort would allow.

Journal Photo – Arthur Carr

We mustered very little sleep and daylight dispelled even that. A fire was soon made which meant coffee and bacon. By six o clock we were on the trail leading up over Algonquin, the third highest peak of the Adirondacks. At first the sun shone brightly, glancing in level rays through the woods and across the trail. Mr. Hedgehog was also early astir on the trail where he kept just ahead of us for a while. He was the largest one I ever saw or perhaps he seemed larger because of his spreading his quills as a turkey gobbler spreads his tail. The protection this afforded was fine. From the rear at least.

The trail here leads up the valley of the Mac Intyre Brook through a country swept by fire 15 to 20 years ago. We remarked several times how many ages it would take for nature to erase the marks of horror from the landscape. Clouds gathered as we gained some height, in fact after we entered the evergreens above the line of the fire were enveloped in mists so that we had not an iota of view the rest of the way to the summit.

This picture of W.J. was taken as we began to enter the clouds and shows in some measure the heavy growth of conifers and the dark mistiness of the forest. On Algonquin, as on all the Adirondack peaks more than 4500 feet in altitude, the timber does not extend to the top which is a mass of badly weathered rock having every crevice filled with moss, sedge, or scrub spruce.