This past weekend, the Kelly Adirondack Center kicked off Adirondack Week by hosting a hike to Tenant Creek Falls at the base of Crane Mountain in the Adirondacks.
About twenty students and faculty undertook the journey, guided by Director of the Kelly Adirondack Center, Hallie Bond, Special Assistant to the President’s Office and the Kelly Adirondack Center Caleb Northrop, and Matt Milless, Director of Student Activities and The Reamer Campus Center.
Arriving at the parking area at about eleven a.m., the Union group set off on the Tenant Creek Falls trail. This particular trail passes through sections of privately owned land before reaching state owned land.
Hallie Bond, Director of the Kelly Adirondack Center, spoke about the merging of wilderness with residential homes in the Adirondacks: “So many people think of the Adirondacks as just this wild playground.
But the really wonderfully thing about it – the very interesting and significant thing about it – is that people live there too.”
Past the residential homes and barns, the Union troupe trekked along a steep mountainside to encounter their first waterfall. About thirty feet high, the waterfall crashed over smoothed black ledge into a deep pool surrounded by grainy blue-black bedrock.
Beyond the first falls, the students passed two other falls, finally lunching at one of the upper falls.
Circled on a large boulder cast into the middle of a clear crystalline pool, Union students and faculty lunched on sandwiches and drank Cokes.
After lounging on the hot rocks in the bright sunlight, some students cooled off in the water.
Swimming over to the falls, they lifted themselves out of the water and ascended the slippery stones, finding little coves and gentle falls to rest in.
After lunch, students were allowed to explore the three falls mostly on their own within sight of the guides.
Some students cannonballed from the top of the falls into the deep sections of the pool below, while others found fallen trees downstream to sit on and talk.
Propelled by an artistic instinct, some students built rock towers to mark their visit. Around three p.m., the Union group decided that it was time to head down the mountain, away from this haven of chirping birds, gushing water and vivaciously green hemlocks.
Hallie Bond invited the Union hikers to attend the other events of Adirondack week. She spoke about the unique blend of cultural, economic, political, and artistic phenomena that the life in the Adirondacks creates. Many of the Adirondack Week events were specifically chosen to display this plethora of topics
In its third year, Adirondack Week focuses on bringing aspects of the Adirondacks to Union. Bond spoke of the Kelley Center’s mission, stating that, “What we’re working towards is to make the Adirondacks more a part of the Union experience.”
She praised the upcoming events of the week, including the photography exhibition by David Bowie on Wednesday night.
Bowie is a renowned Adirondack photographer who works in conjunction with the Adirondack Photography Institute and has printed many best-selling photo books of his work.
Bond also spoke about the Kelly Adirondack Center’s partnership with the adjoining Reist Sanctuary, which is managed by the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club. This sanctuary is free and open to the public, laced with finely groomed trails and populated by a diverse bird community.
Aside from the beautiful sights of the Adirondacks, Bond spoke of the culture of the Adirondacks, which “have strong folk traditions in music and storytelling through music.”
The Richochet Duo, which performed Wednesday night at Proctors, brought this musical heritage to Schenectady and Union.
The Adirondack Fair on Library Lawn, which takes place Thursday 1-4 p.m., brings woodcarvers and falconers, staples of Adirondack heritage, to interact and connect with Union students as well.
One of the highlights of Adirondack Week is the panel on Women in the Adirondacks, which takes place Thursday night at 5:00 p.m. in Old Chapel. Bond emphasized that her past research focused on “women finding a lot of freedom in the Adirondacks.”
Anne LaBastille, ecologist, environmentalist, and author – honored by the Richochet Duo on Wednesday night – was an important figure to women in the Adirondacks by encouraging women “to go out [into the Adirondacks] without men.”
Beyond Adirondack Week, Bond hopes to integrate Union’s undergraduate research with the resources provided by the Kelly Adirondack Center.
As Director, she hopes to use the research library and Paul Schaffer House to “foster more interest [in research] … for labs like science, painting, fine arts, [and] political science.” Bond described the center as the “second best collection” of Adirondack literature and resources behind the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY, where she worked for many years.
Hallie summed up the goal of Adirondack Week and her personal plans for the Kelly Adirondack Center: “[We hope] to begin to make students aware of the great resource just north of here.”