Bette and Jay O'Hern went on their first backpacking
trip in 1964. Once they began having children (five in all) there never
seemed to be time for them to backpack together again. In the fall of
2007, with the children grown, Bette joked that it was time that she and
Jay enjoyed a "Senior Citizen Survivor Outing."
Adirondack Life magazines September/October 2009
issue headlined an excerpt from the book this way: "True Romance:
Rekindling the Spark on an Adirondack Backpacking Trip." Duck Hole, Cold
River Valley, Noah John Rondeau's former hermitage and Ouluska Pass were
major destinations to which the O'Herns hiked. There, and at many of
Rondeau's "secret" places, Jay shared stories.
Adirondack Wilds is a chronicle of the O'Hern's trip
interspersed with never-before-published information about the Cold
River hermit. It includes tales and recollections about Rondeau told by
woodsmen and women who knew Rondeau well, letters Noah wrote and
received and scores of photographs, including vintage Adirondack scenes
and those the author captured during their trip.
As O'Hern and his wife explored the backcountry, they
reinvigorated their relationship and discovered what so many are able to
find only in a wilderness setting: a sense of what is truly important,
what is worth keeping and remembering.
This book is a fascinating retrospective on
20th-century Adirondack lore as well as a gentle but persistent reminder
of the important restorative role wilderness can play in ones life.