Saranac Lake native Lisa Densmore has penned a new hiking guidebook for the Adirondacks that is geared toward hikers of all levels.
“Hiking the Adirondacks, A Guide to 42 of the Best Hiking Adventures in New York’s Adirondacks” is part of the FalconGuide series published by Morris Book Publishing. It was released this spring.
Densmore said her goals in writing the book were to cover a large geographic region and to provide descriptions of hikes that could appeal to a range of hikers, from beginner to advanced.
“Some people can hike 14 miles over four peaks in a day and some people just want to get out for an hour or two and just basically get up to some nice viewpoint,” said Densmore, who now lives in Hanover, N.H. “So it was really important for me to make sure that I got both of those covered.”
The 220-page book is broken up into six geographical regions: Northern, High Peaks Region, Eastern, Southern, Central and West-Central. The regions are modeled after guidebooks published by the Adirondack Mountain Club, which has individual books for each of those areas.
Densmore herself became familiar with some of these hikes as a teenager growing up in Saranac Lake. It is one of her favorite activities, in addition to alpine skiing. Densmore is an elite skier who competed at Dartmouth College and spent 1976 to 1979 on the U.S. Alpine Ski Team.
She was also one of the original “rug rats” in NYSEF’s alpine ski program at Whiteface Mountain Ski Center. Densmore’s maiden name is Feinberg. Her parents and brother Wayne Feinberg, vice president of Friends of Mount Pisgah, still live in Saranac Lake.
Densmore is the Emmy-winning host and field producer of Wildlife Journal, which airs on New Hampshire Public Television. She also works periodically for other networks that produce outdoor programming, such as the Outdoor Channel, Versus and ESPN.
As a photographer her images have appeared in Backpacker, Adirondack Life and Adirondack Explorer. In addition, she has written hundreds of freelance articles.
This is not Densmore’s first book. She has written a how-to book for ski racers called “Ski Faster.” In 2004, she wrote “Best Hikes with Dogs: New Hampshire and Vermont.” Another of her FalconGuide books, “Hiking in the Green Mountains” was published last year. This year, in addition to the Adirondack guidebook, she had another FalconGuide book, “Hiking the White Mountains,” hit the book stands.
Plus, Densmore is working on two more books — one on easy hikes in the Adirondacks and another on predicting weather in the backcountry.
In “Hiking the Adirondacks,” the introduction contains the basics on backcountry preparedness and rules, human history, wildlife and other guidebook staples. It then starts off with a one-page description of the Northern Adirondacks. The first hike described is Mount Arab in Tupper Lake.
“Mount Arab is the perfect hike for young children and other inexperienced hikers,” Densmore writes. “There is a big reward — climbing the fire tower — for relatively little effort, as the rate of ascent ranges from hardly detectable to moderate. One eight-year-old rated the hike a 9 out of 10, deducting one point because he got a couple of bug bites and because there were a few slippery spots.”
Mount Arab and all the hiking chapters contain a fact box on the nearest town, distance of the hike, highest point, vertical gain, estimated hiking time, difficulty rating, canine compatibility and appropriate USGS map. Each hiking chapter is also accompanied by a simple black-and-white map that outlines the trail.
“One of the nice things about the book is you realize how much wonderful hiking there is all around the Adirondack Park,” Densmore said. “No matter where you are, you can pick up the book and find a hike you really like.”