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A wilder side of the Adirondacks

The Fourth of July is considered the beginning of the Adirondack tourist season. Although tourism is the region's primary industry, many local residents rank the annual onslaught of nature seekers and leaf peepers, somewhere just below the winter's first heavy snow, and slightly above spring's bug season.

While these observations are offered in jest, there are certain truths evidenced, especially when roads are clogged with cars traveling at a snail's pace, or if a favorite swimming hole is filled with unfamiliar faces.

Such happenings happen, and when they do, I'm inclined to grin and bear it. After all, I'm beholden to tourist's interests, and it may well be the only viable industry left in the park.

But when the overload becomes too much, I escape to the solitude of a few, safe retreats. Some of my favorite escapes can be found along the untracked trails and secluded ponds of the Cranberry Lake region.

Other such retreats can be realized along remote stretches of the Raquette River, especially in the sections downriver from Tupper Lake.

However, there are wild and remote lands much closer to home. In fact, some may be even wilder. Fortunately, these lands continue to be bypassed by a vast majority of the traveling public.

In a rush to get from the busy streets of Lake George, to the Olympic Village of Lake Placid, most tourists drive right by Exit 29 of the Northway.

They miss out on the Blue Ridge Road, and the wonderful Blue Ridge Falls, as the route travels through the southern fringe of the Adirondack High Peaks Region, surrounded by the Dix Mountain Wilderness, and the Hoffman Notch Wilderness.

As a result they will miss an opportunity to explore the towns of Newcomb and North Hudson, which encompass more trailheads than any other region of the Adirondacks.

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