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The Natives Were Restful

November 2023
1min read

When the trippers and tourists left, the natives of the Adirondack backwoods serenely followed the established patterns of their lives. A large proportion of the men were occupied with lumbering—sometimes on snowshoes, as in the wood engraving opposite. Then there was trapping: Arthur Fitzwilliam Tail’s oil, below, suggests the businesslike satisfaction of catching a good mink. The greatest wilderness trade of all is almost symbolically evoked in Winslow Homer’s strong painting (below, left) The Two Guides , where a young man in his prime learns a priceless thing or two from a veteran twice his age, against a background that almost audibly says “Adirondacks.” A good guide had to know, as one of them said, “every rock and stump” in his district; and since he loved the woods anyway, he was nearly always out in them whether customers were with him or not. Meanwhile, in a plain but sturdy residence, his wife steadily pursued her domestic, oldfangled chores (below, bottom). OVERLEAF : The ultimate display of a guide’s know-how was the camp. He picked the site, built the shelter, skinned the deer, cleaned the trout, laid the fire, cooked the dinner, and then kept his lounging clients happy with tales of hunting and fishing adventures that happened “once, when I was about three miles north of Little Tupper. …” Given a good guide, camping in the Adirondacks was one of the best summer holidays ever known.

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