Download Rusk's Hiking Guide - FREE!

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Download Rusk's Hiking Guide - FREE!

New postby mike » Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:56 pm

Many experienced hikers know that Samual Rusk's Illustrated Guide is the Grandfather of all hiking books. All hiking guides thereafter used his book as a reference (Van Loan, Hiking News, Etc). Rusk's book was written in 1879, and is very complete. The book is nearly impossible to find used. If you could find a copy in any shape, it would be worth thousands of dollars. We are very fortunate to now have a scanned copy from the Library of Congress. You can download your own free copy here: http://www.catskillmountaineer.com/books-rusk.html
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Re: Download Rusk's Hiking Guide - FREE!

New postby mtnclimber » Sat Jun 12, 2010 12:07 am

Wow! That book is fantastic. I have heard of the book, but have never seen it. Nice to be able to get it for free. Couldn't really see the map that well.
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Re: Download Rusk's Hiking Guide - FREE!

New postby dave » Sat Jun 12, 2010 1:29 pm

The map didn't scan well. It must be scanned to a higher resolution. We have tried to get it from other sources, but no one will loan it to us. Eventually, we will get it. The rest of the book is very good.
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Re: Download Rusk's Hiking Guide - FREE!

New postby mtnclimber » Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:07 pm

I would really like to see a copy of the map put up in the maps section. He talks about the old indian fort, but doesn't have a section about it. I presume he is talking about Brant Fort. The map could answer a lot of questions.
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Re: Download Rusk's Hiking Guide - FREE!

New postby bikenhike » Sat Jun 12, 2010 9:47 pm

The book is incredible! Thanks! The map would be great.
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Re: Download Rusk's Hiking Guide - FREE!

New postby rkugel » Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:36 am

I would like to thank everyone who was involved with scanning Rusk's Hiking Guide and then posting it to this site. It is absolutely fascinating! A few comments and observations:

1. I agree with the previous comment that it would be great to see the map enlarged and rescanned. I tried using even a magnifying glass, but the print is just too small.

2. As the previous poster mentioned, Rusk mentions the Tory Fort that Mike found from the west access of KHP, but Rusk does not provide any details on how to locate it.

3. In one part of the book, Rusk mentions that the Sphinx (the one by Molly Smith and not the one on South Mountain near the Catskill Mt. House) is 1/8 of a mile from Prospect Rock (that overlooks Kaaterskill Falls). However, in another section, Rusk claims the distance is 1/4 of a mile. Based on my exploration of the area, I would have to say that the correct distance is 1/4 of a mile. By the way, this would make for another interesting hike sometime. The Sphinx is totally cool and well worth the effort to find. However, the view from Prospect Rock is unfortunately almost completely obscured due to trees and vegetation.

4. One of the more fascinating chapters of the Rusk book was the section describing the North Access path to KHP. Rusk describes Hurricane Ledge and the magnificent view it provides of Kaaterskill Clove. Rusk even mentions that Albany can be seen on a clear day. This is clearly not the same Hurricane Ledge that we know today, which faces to the south and Platte Clove. As best as I can tell, the most likely candidate for Rusk's Hurricane Ledge is the shot below (hopefully, I attached it correctly!). This is near the summit of the North Access path (as Rusk describes) and looks north back towards Kaaterskill Clove.


2009-0925-HighPeak-NorthView.JPG
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Re: Download Rusk's Hiking Guide - FREE!

New postby mike » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:11 pm

I too was disappointed by the map. The map was a very important part of the book. We are going to have to find a copy we can photograph. We will then post it in the map section. We spent several years looking for a good copy.

Hurricane Ledge on KHP has quite a history. In the past couple hundred years there has been 3 different hurricane ledges. The Hurricane Ledge on the south side was created in the 1950's during the Thanksgiving holiday. Prior to that the Hurricane Ledge was where your photograph is posted. We suspect that the cleared section was a little larger on the north side. There was a third Hurricane Ledge down near the snowmobile trail. That one has confused us for quite some time. They may be referring to the Amphitheater. But, we are not sure. In certain weather events, KHP and Blackhead can receive very high winds. This usually is during a Noreaster along with a low jet stream. It will often produce winds in excess of 75 mph. This is what happen on March 15, which killed Seth Lyon on Blackhead Mtn. During high winds, you want to avoid both KHP and Blackhead.

I have been over to the Sphinx above Molly Smith PA (Rip's Lookout). Never really looked at the Sphinx. Always game to go back. The mileage listed in Rusk's book is not always accurate. They didn't have the ability to measure it well, but did a fairly good job.

Rusk does talk about the old Indian site, but does not say if it is Brant Fort or the old tory fort. I am hoping the map will show it. We believe that the Mohawk Indians might have had a Long House near Brant Fort. We were suppose to visit it in April, but never got there.

I am sure that one of these days, we will get a good day to do KHP from the west. We need a day that has good weather and no haze. I will keep you in mind for the hotel hike.
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Re: Download Rusk's Hiking Guide - FREE!

New postby ssjamk65 » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:22 pm

I was just on the MTHS web-site and it looks like they have a copy of the Rusk book that was recently donated. If their copy has a better map, maybe someone could make a better scan of it and make it available.
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Re: Download Rusk's Hiking Guide - FREE!

New postby rkugel » Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:32 am

Mike, thanks for the clarification regarding Hurricane Ledge. That certainly clears things up.

Regarding the old forts on KHP and from what I gather, there are actually two sites on KHP. The first one is the Tory Fort along the west access path (which you found and photographed) and the other is the Brant Fort, which is located south of KHP and south of the snowmobile trail.

I also attached a photo of the Sphinx that I took last summer. I located it via a "frontal assault" by parking at Molly Smith and then climbing up to the old quarry (VERY steep climb - extreme caution must be used)! Once at the quarry, I could not climb any further due to a high ledge. At that point, I turned left (west) and walked about 500 feet along the base of the ledge until I found an opening (similar to the Lemon Squeezer) that permitted me access to the top. Once at the top, I turned right (east) and followed the top of the ledge. I quickly found an old path (probably the path to the Sphinx that Rusk describes) which took me right to it. The approach from the Laurel House parking area would certainly be easier, but I understand that some parts of the route are on private property.

In any event, I'm still looking forward to doing the Tory Fort hike along the KHP west access and the North/South Lake tour.

Thanks again, Rich

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Re: Download Rusk's Hiking Guide - FREE!

New postby mike » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:54 am

I was just on the MTHS web-site and it looks like they have a copy of the Rusk book that was recently donated. If their copy has a better map, maybe someone could make a better scan of it and make it available.


I'll will check with the MTHS to see if they have the map. Thanks for letting me know that they might have it! You could buy Rusk's book for 25 cents without the map or 75 cents with the map. So, not all books have the map. I also understand that the Haines Falls Library might have a copy of the book. But, the book is not available on the shelf. We have also though of asking the Lib of Congress to scan the map for us. The LOC map is pristine. It is the copy that was filed for the copyright in 1879.

Rich, that is a good picture of the Sphinx. Pretty rough route up from the PA. I would like to go back and see it sometime. Here is a poor picture of the ledge above it:

Image

I do have a good picture of the ledge, but I can't find it.

I think that I found a way to get there on State land from Laurel House Road. I can show you the way sometime. Easy trip.
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