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Great read: The Indian Pass

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  • Great read: The Indian Pass

    While staying at home, I stumbled on a book that I had heard about in my many trips to the ADK Museum (or whatever silly name it has now): The Indian Pass, by Alfred Billings Street. It has been touted as one of the main reasons for the increased interest in the outdoors and specifically, hiking in the ADK, and I can see why. The language is so over-the-top romantic and grand that you get a great sense of the grandeur of the place. If you can find a copy, I highly recommend it. It was also quite the monumental hike he undertook- basically a tour of the Eastern HP, starting near LP, through Indian Pass, to Upper Works, up the Opalescent to Marcy, then Panther Gorge and out through Ausable Lakes. Then a wagon ride to the base of Whiteface, hike up and down, then back to where he started. Terrific escapist literature for mountain-starved shut-ins.

  • #2
    Some of Street's quotes inspired me writing the Panther Gorge book--he and Phelps' writings made me realize the extensive history that was documented. He actually named PG during that trip. I miss the poetic language he used in describing the terrain...classic for the era. That's one of my favourite ADK books! Thanks for posting.
    May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.


    • #3
      thanks for the recommendations, I just ordered the book!
      46/46 as of August 1st, 2014!


      • #4
        Open access here:


        • #5
          I'm in the middle of reading it and some questions come to mind, especially the renaming of mountains: Most I already know about, but there are references to a Mt. Robertson, in the vicinity of Upper Works; I can't find it anywhere. Upon Googling it, the only reference found is this book! Street also refers to Rogers Mountain (in the vicinity of Noonmark?), presumably visible from the summit of Marcy.
          When I finish this book, I will probably have more questions.

          ADK 46r #8003; 6W
          2nd round: 16
          SL6r #596
          Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W


          • Makwa
            Makwa commented
            Editing a comment
            page xviii... Robertson is named for Archibald Robertson.

          • Makwa
            Makwa commented
            Editing a comment
            Robertson... clues on pages 48-49 and 57-58 for those who want to do some detective work with a map. Bear in mind that the reference to Henderson could be a different mountain than we know today to be on the western side of the lake of the same name. I seem to recall Henderson was once the name of today's MacNaughton.

          • MTVhike
            MTVhike commented
            Editing a comment
            The biggest mountain in the vicinity of Upper Works not mentioned by the author is Mt. Adams, so maybe that's Robertson!

        • #6
          This is a really cool book with some fantastic story telling. Street definitely gives Tolkien a run for his money in terms of creative, poetic descriptions to paint pictures for the reader.

          Yes, the forward is over 25% of the actual book, about 60 pages IIRC.
          My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.


          • #7
            I just read this book too. Great read. His writing style is engaging, and he paints clear pictures all right. I remember one great thunderstorm he describes. Leapt back into the nineteenth century and what a memorable trip. No wonder people wanted to go, after this book (More respect now for Street Mountain too). Another wonderful read is Friendly Adirondack Peaks by Robert S. Wickham, if you can find a copy. He was doing high peaks at the same time as the Marshalls, and you realize that there were others up there too, at the same time. And with a memorable dog.

            "A full appreciation of mountains is not to be experienced by merely looking; that is why men climb." -Francis S. Smythe, British mountaineer