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Secrets of an Adirondack hermit's code discovered

The Hall of Records cabin, which is preserved and on display at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, appears to be too small for a man to stand. Even though Rondeau stood only 5-foot 2-inches in stature, the cabin door opening measures barely five feet. Yet the floor of the cabin was set a full two feet into the ground. It was dug below the level of frost, so that the dirt floor would always stay warm.

Rondeau was an unusual hermit in the respect that he firmly enjoyed company, yet he enjoyed the woods more. His hermitage was discovered in the late 1920's and early 1930's by an burgeoning breed of enthusiastic hikers. About that time, the Northville-Placid Trail, a 132-mile hiking route was being established. The trail provided a new venue for backcountry enthusiasts and the traffic brought a steady source of staples for Noah.

Around the same time, members of the newly minted, Adirondack '46'ers Club began frequenting Rondeau's hermitage. Travelers would often provide him with canned goods, flour, sugar and other supplies. To some, he became known as the "Tin Can Hermit" and the rusted, remains of these supplies can still be found over the bank of his Hermitage.

Rondeau often kept his canned goods in the river, where their labels would eventually wash off. As a result, he often enjoyed 'mystery meals,' since he had no idea what the can held until it was opened.

Possibly the most intriguing aspect of his existence were his journals. For many years, he maintained nearly a daily log of his trials and travels, which has served to document his lonesome and not so lonesome life. The writing offer insights into his personality, natural education and ongoing battles with the conservation department and "eternal Big Government." The journals provided a source of comic relief and served as a way for him to blow off steam.

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