Penn State

Peter Hopsicker - Associate Professor of Kinesiology, Penn State Altoona

Book Title: Adventures in the Wilderness; or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks

Author: William H.H. Murray

Book Description:

I never knew of Murray’s book while growing up in the Adirondacks. In fact, I knew little of the history of my own backyard. Ironically, this volume represents one of the key works that motivated people to explore and settle in that wilderness region. Serendipitously, through my research on the historical interplay of wilderness preservation policy and the development of sport and recreational opportunities in the Adirondacks, I learned of a pond within the Adirondack Park boundaries identified by my family’s surname. While the origin of that moniker remains to be unearthed, the pond continues to be, for me, symbolic of Murray’s exploration of an unknown wilderness. It is a lost piece of Adirondack history awaiting discovery.
Murray’s book was said to have “launched a thousand guide-boats,” “kindled a thousand camp fires,” and “taught a thousand pens how to write of nature.” Almost 150 years after its original publication, this book continues to motivate me to read, explore, and write the history of the Adirondacks.


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