Exploring the Haunts of
Noah John Rondeau:
An Adirondack Adventure
By William J. O'Hern
Cold River country has tugged at the hearts of many people. Noah John Rondeau, the famous Adirondack hermit, was drawn there in 1913 in an effort to escape “city life” in Lake Placid and find a larger measure of contentment. As “Mayor of Cold River City, population 1,” Rondeau forged a life from the forest that brought him a pleasing combination of challenge and serenity, and even brief notoriety.
One day in 2007, the author asked his wife, Bette, if she’d like to learn more about the hermit by backpacking into the Adirondacks with him. She agreed, and the trip itself provided a delightful Cold River memory—repeated with even greater enthusiasm each spring and fall as they backpack in to their adopted lean-tos at Calkins Brook, a tradition they hope to continue for many years.
Following the trails with Jay and Bette, we learn more and more about the Cold River country, the Adirondack Park, the “forever wild” Forest Preserve and those who have called them home—whether literally or in their hearts.
People who already define their bliss as the moment when they cross over the “Blue Line” into the Adirondack Park will find Adirondack Wilds a most satisfactory reading experience while they are waiting—or while they are enjoying—their next trip. Those who have never viewed the splendid mountains, fished the cold waters, or rambled along a balsam-scented trail may very well develop a yearning to do so.
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Rondeau's hermitage is a popular destination for today's backpackers. Author's
Rondeau often hunted with a homemade bow.
Courtesy Phil Wolf.