When I moved to Upstate New York in 2013, acquaintances kept telling me about the Adirondacks, how magical they are, with their steep-sided mountains and layers of forest, mirror-calm lakes and clear-flowing creeks; bears, moose, loons. Having lived most of my adult life in the West and coming to New York from interior Alaska, I was skeptical, but hopeful. Could there really be such a large protected area in the Eastern U.S.?
As he ate the moose slowly moved toward shore, unperturbed by his mucky environment, his ears occasionally flicking away a nuisance fly. From what I could make out through the camera’s viewfinder his bulbous nose spent much time in the water. Then he would lift his head up, displaying his broad rack like hands splayed in supplication. They looked ponderous, an evolutionary over-indulgence, even if I already knew that evolution had produced much larger racks on other cervids lost to extinction.
The Cataract Club was not a formal organization with charter members and bylaws. There was no tar-paper cabin standing on a paper company lease. The camp was a surplus Army squad tent erected each season on the same campsite located high in a valley on the back side of Eleventh Mountain.