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Rendezvous with Guides

April 17, 2011
By DON WILLIAMS , For The Leader Herald

It was a great trip; there is something about a spring tour up the Adirondack Trail (Route 30) on a sunny day that speaks of renewal. It is refreshing. The traffic was light and the driving was easy - a far cry from driving in a winter storm or at a congested vacationland. We were heading, a day early for the annual Rendezvous of the New York State Outdoor Guides Association at Lake Placid, so we could check out our old haunts on Main Street. The gathering was at the former Hilton, now the High Peaks Resort, at the end of the street, a good Lake Placid location.

We checked in, got the room location we wanted, met up with old friends who were arriving, and got our dinner at the hotel's "Dancing Bear," a good place to eat. After a good night's sleep in what was traditionally called "a well-appointed room" we did the town. And we found some changes.

One of my most favorite places in the world, "With Pipe and Book Bookstore" was vacant and for sale. For years, it was the place to go for the rare and valuable Adirondack books (and my books) and other publications. The kind folks who ran it always gave a fair price and maintained a welcoming atmosphere for browsers; it was the place to go on every Lake Placid trip.

Fortunately the new-books bookstore, the Bookshire Place, where they also sell my books, was still there and doing well. And the antique shops were filled with Adirondack memorabilia. It was my lucky day; I found an unusual bootjack that I had never found before. It is a good addition to my bootjack collection; I have a couple rustic homemade jacks, a hardwood varnished one and a rare bent-wood bootjack for removing ladies' high-button shoes. My new bootjack is "portable," it folds in half with bronze hinges. Imbedded in the wood are two metal pins held in place with brass latches. I have no idea what they were used for but I will find out when I get a "round tuit."

The Rendezvous was well-attended with some 40 new guides taking the licensing exam along with up to a 100 registered guides. Seminars were scheduled on guide laws and regulations, business practices, and winter preparedness, along with the usual water safety, first aid, and CPR.

Jim Goodwin, a 101-year-old former guide, was there along with Plattsburgh PBS/TV (watch for me on their next Adirondack documentary). Awards were given out, elections were held, meetings dealt with the issues, and New York's outdoor guides were ready for another busy year.

On our return trip we stopped at Tupper Lake's Wild Center to say "hello" to the otters and to check out the exhibits. There is always something going on at the center and it's worth the trip anytime. We also attended the Sunday afternoon Cabin Fever Program at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. The topic was the women's contributions to the conservation movement, but that's another good story for another time.

Vacation time is coming (along with summer) and it is a good time to renew our relationships with the Adirondacks. We are fortunate to live so close to the forested mountains and all that they have to offer. In these days of "staycations," what more could we ask for?



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