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A wilder side of the Adirondacks

They'll miss an opportunity to discover the headwaters of the Hudson and the Raquette rivers, and the chance to visit a magnificent, Adirondack Great Camp by foot, bike or horse and wagon. Reservations are available from Santanoni Wagon Rides at 518-582-2360.

In passing, they forego a chance to take three easy hikes, which lead to three restored fire towers. They also miss out on opportunities to paddle or fish on dozens of remote lakes and ponds. Some of these waters have been in private hands for over a century, and were only recently opened to the public.

It is a rugged stretch of country, featuring a ghost town and a 150-year-old blast furnace, old mines and good times! The locals are friendly, but they are few, with a population of less than 450 year round residents. They are far outnumbered by the resident black bear, whitetail deer and moose wandering on over 60,000 acres of surrounding wild forestlands, which cover about 40 percent of the town.

North Hudson is not too shabby either. It is home to the remarkable Elk Lake Lodge, which is tucked deep in the local forest, on the shores of a crystal clear lake and surrounded by soaring mountain peaks within a 12,000 acre private preserve. Best of all, it is open to the public, for lodging and/or dinner. Reservations are required, at 518-532-7616.

Newcomb is a great place to hike, paddle, fish or bike. The recently repaved Blue Ridge Road offers 17 miles of quiet, scenic, and especially lonely highway.

The route offers an ideal opportunity for road bikers looking for a safe, quiet, biking venue, far removed from the popular and crowded Route 73, just 20 miles to the north.

Newcomb is also home to the 15,000-acre Huntington Forest, a research forest owned by the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

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