Articles About Adirondack Connections
By Judith E. Harper
I came to guiding-and to the Adirondacks-for one reason: I
wanted to immerse myself in wilderness. Four-season guiding
has given me the perfect excuse to spend most of my time hiking,
birdwatching, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the
southern and central Adirondacks, especially the Siamese Ponds
As much as I enjoyed my work, I was painfully aware that my most rewarding experiences
and most joyous moments occurred in nature-canoeing the wilds of the upper
Charles River, birdwatching on the islands of Maine, snowshoeing on frozen white-cedar
bogs and skiing in nature preserves.
Then in 2005 I read Bill McKibben's Wandering Home while lounging in my solo
canoe on Minerva Lake. McKibben's reflections on wilderness echoed my own, and I
finally understood that I had to live in the midst of it and defend it. By mid-December,
Ken and I had found a house, cut all ties to our Boston lives and settled ourselves off a
back road in Johnsburg.
That winter, while hiking and bushwhacking daily in the woods, my wish to awaken others to wilderness led me to create my guide service, Adirondack Safaris. Ever since I opened for business in June 2006, I'd been yearning to meet women guides who treasure the Adirondacks as I do. I knew plenty of male guides, some of whom were generous with advice and friendship, but I longed to hear from other women about how they pursued the guiding life and how they met its challenges. Here are six whom I've come to know and admire.
Lynn Malerba - Adirondack Connections
Lynn Malerba's love of the outdoors is in her blood. Her grandfather was a fishing guide and bait-shop owner in Lake Placid, and her father was a forester. When she was a girl growing up in Tupper Lake, her father took her along to mark trees in the wilderness west of town.
Lynn was a physical-education teacher for 20 years, mostly in Tupper Lake. "I loved teaching, but I wanted a healthier, less-stressful lifestyle and more time in the outdoors," Lynn says. "But I needed a regular income. A friend suggested I use my passion for the Adirondacks to earn a living."
In 2002, Lynn launched Adirondack Connections. "I went from schoolteacher to business owner, and did I have a lot to learn!" She finds the actual guiding the best part of the job. The business aspects are the greatest challenge.
Lynn's determination has paid off. Since 2006 she's been supporting herself from her business, a rarity among women guides. Lynn's trips are so popular that she took on four other guides-three men and one woman-as subcontractors.
In November 2007, she faced a devastating loss when her husband, Bob Malerba, died unexpectedly. "Bob was the all-important behind-the-scenes guy," Lynn says. "He maintained lots of the trails I use on our land, scouted trips for me and took care of the lodging and hospitality at our bed and breakfast."
Losing her life partner has not changed her goals for Adirondack Connections. "I've had to close the bed and breakfast," Lynn said, "but I'm planning and leading trips."
Lynn offers hiking and backpacking trips in the High Peaks, pond hopping in the St. Regis Canoe Area, and wilderness snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. In the summer she leads weeklong hiking, biking and kayaking trips in Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine. "Acadia is one place that has it all-oceans, rivers and mountains," she says.
Still, the heart of her business is in the Adirondacks. "All I want to do," Lynn says, "is to create a living that will allow me to stay here so I can teach others to enjoy and care for the Adirondacks."