Jay O'Hern: Preserving Adirondack History One Story at a Time

Ask Adirondack author, William "Jay" O'Hern why he often gives up creature comforts for the demands of real outdoor challenges, and he answers, "the spirit of adventure."

He recollects that he first faced "the unknown" as a young boy. "I was first moved to test the tempting climate of adventure shortly after my sixth birthday, following my parents' move to the country. Undeveloped places were a natural destination for me. I wandered cow paths over rolling pastures, biked back roads to who-knows-where, poled rafts, and built huts. The rural setting provided me with an endless array of possibilities. Every summer vacation took me into the Adirondack Mountains."

Camping, trail hiking, bushwhacking, mountain climbing, paddling and mountain biking honed his self-confidence. His recreational activities and his own natural curiosity led to investigations into the Adirondack's past. Years of personal research and his discovery of undocumented Adirondack history gave him the confidence to commit to learning writing skills.

Since his first successful 1997 book, Life With Noah: Stories and Adventures of Richard Smith with Noah John Rondeau, O'Hern has continued to release new Adirondack stories.

Not trained as a writer, he is motivated by his "imaginative side," claims O'Hern. "I've found my hardest challenge has been the adventure of learning how to take historical information and preserve it in print."

By blending collections of vintage photographs and the personal observations and experiences contained in the diaries, journals and personal remembrances of native folks he has interviewed, he has uncovered the key to writing. "I've found the close relationships helps me to write authentic eyewitness narratives about living in and adventures in the Adirondacks."

"All my writing efforts try to place the reader in the company of woodsmen and women - to be part of the experience (as much as is possible through reading), and to enjoy the messages found in personal accounts of particular occasions."

"If I have succeeded I will have brought before the reader a rich experience from the past. No greater benefit can come from the act of writing."

Here's an article from "Adirondac Magagzine" about William J. O'Hern (.PDF format.)
"This story first appeared in the November-December 2014 issue of Adirondac, the magazine
of the Adirondack Mountain Club, Inc. (copyright 2014) and is presented here with permission."

William J. O'Hern
Author William "Jay" O'Hern

Depending on the season, available time
and driving distance, Jay does book signings
and addresses groups.
For more information contact him at:

Here are 2 posters that can be used when Jay
comes to speak or to advertise his books for sale.
(In PDF format)

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No image should be used or reproduced in any way without the permission of ADKWilds or William J. O'Hern.