November 26, 2012

New hiking book has science connections


---- — NEW RUSSIA — A new book brings together maps, directions, photographs and anecdotes about Adirondack hikes.

Cliff Reiter, author of the “Witness the Forever Wild,” said he felt comfortable with trail-less hiking and had taken about 10,000 photos over the years, “so this seemed like an opportunity to share my hiking experiences.”

He said he thinks of his book more as a hiking guide than a trail guide.

Reiter, who was born and raised in central New Jersey, had been coming to the Adirondacks for most of his life before purchasing and renovating a 150-year-old tourist rooming house in New Russia, with his wife, Marilyn.


After earning a PhD in mathematics at Penn State in 1984, he became a mathematics professor at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.

Though his doctoral thesis on the lower bounds on the fundamental units of real quadratic fields may seem far removed from wandering through the mountains and forests, Reiter ties his scientific knowledge with GPS coordination into this tome. There are also biological references concerning flora and fauna, as well as what he calls “technical visualization,” intertwined with hiking directions and tips.


Reiter shared his passion for the Adirondacks with his four sons, as well as the numerous students from Lafayette whom he has led into the Adirondacks for wilderness experiences.

Though he has climbed all 46 Adirondack High Peaks — many of them several times — he said he is “not into peak bagging just to check off a peak. I would like to get people to slow down and examine the natural details of the Adirondacks.”


In its introduction, “Witness the Forever Wild” bills itself as a guide to hiking in the Adirondacks designed to facilitate modern “leave-no-trace hiking in this precious wilderness.”

The book includes descriptions of 56 hiking routes of varying difficulties and features more than 250 color nature photographs. Starting coordinates are given for each hike, aided by the use of GPS or Internet coordinates. Distances, approximate times and cumulative ascent data are also provided.

In addition, the book contains 32 color topographic maps showing 26 primary routes drawn by overlaying GPS data from the route onto the maps. Distances and time data along the route are indicated on the maps.

Most routes are day hikes, but there are several hikes from interior base camps. A few routes are trail-less or have off-the-trail segments.

“If you are new to the Adirondacks, there are hikes suitable for you,” Reiter said. “If you are an experienced Adirondack hiker, you will likely find interesting and challenging Adirondack hikes that are unusual but lovely.”

The book is available through and

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