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    Backcountry Living: CLICK HERE to meet Your Adirondack Guide.   Backcountry Living!    Dear Guest: The cabins at Fourpeaks are spread out on a 700-acre property, 2-1/2 miles end to end. To maintain a safe, orderly, and clean place to live, the good will and cooperation of our guests are essential.  Backcountry Living at 'The Cabin.' This webpage will provide you a working familiarity with backcountry life and methods for heating, lighting and water use. CLICK & GO!  (On this page.)  Heating with Wood.   Gas lights.    Water safety.   How to work the pitcher pump.    There's a privy (outhouse).    Bathing at Camp.    No campfires.   No hunting or firearms.   Permission by owner.   (From my mailbag.) "the process of making the reservation was problematic."   Is it dangerous to operate the wood stove . . .   The damper on the wood stove did not work so we couldn't bank the fire down.   I'm disappointed to find it's not permitted to have a campfire outdoors.  
    Backcountry Living. Occupancy of Fourpeaks accommodations and use of the property is limited to persons and pets covered in our confirming reservation letter. & Guest Information. CLICK & GO!  (On the grouped page.)    What to bring.   Fourpeaks Guests have Housekeeping responsibilities.   Deposit Payments and Cancellation Fees.   Limited occupancy.   Bring your pet? Guest Information for Dogs.   No Smoking.   How to Get to Your Rental. and What to do when you get There.   About arranging your arrival time.   Something wrong? Get help right away!   Emergency Information.   (From my mailbag.) "Very unhappy with the degree of hospitality we received."    "To be honest, your website is a mess."   (On the next page.)   10 Best Visitor Information Pages. (Quick Index.)
    Backcountry Living: WOODSTOVES and fireplaces are potentially dangerous. Backcountry Living Safety Hazards at our Backcountry Camps. HEATING WITH WOOD.
    Danger!Building a woodfire.

    Step #1) Checking the chimney. Burn some balled up newspaper. Do not start a woodfire unless the smoke from the burning paper vents properly up the chimney. Learn more:
    Step #2) Starting the fire. Ball up a supply of newspaper and place well split kindling (one-eighth inch thick or less) on top. Light with match. Learn more: CLICK HERE.
    Step #3) Building a bed of hot coals. Add additional kindling until a base of hot coals has developed and the chimney is well heated (200-400 deg.F. on woodstove thermometer.) On woodstoves with air control, turn air down to control burn rate. Learn more: CLICK HERE.
    Backcountry Living Danger!Maintaining the woodfire.
    Step #4) After a base of hot coals has developed, add firewood sparingly. On woodstoves with air control, adjust air to control burn rate. Learn more: CLICK HERE.
    Danger! Backcountry Living. Closing down the woodfire.
    Step #5) Stop adding firewood. Learn more: CLICK HERE.

    GAS LIGHTS.  Cooking gas (propane) is a safe and convenient energy source which is used here not just for cooking, but also for refrigeration, heating and lighting.
    Gas lamps at Fourpeaks backcountry camps, Backcountry Living. Lighting the gas lamps is easy. (1) Light a match. (2) Push in valve lever. (CLICK HERE to see note about "pushing in.") (2) Turn the valve lever 1/4 turn (90 deg.) counterclockwise. (3) At the same time, hold a lighted match near but not touching the mantle (which is extremely fragile). The gas-air mixture will ignite, burning along the margins of the mantle, creating light. (About the equivalent of a 50 watt incandescent bulb.) (4) If you accidentally touch the mantle it will break. Do not use a mantle that is not complete and intact. Turn off the gas by turning the lever valve 1/4 turn (90 deg.) in a clockwise direction.
    Backcountry Living: Danger! CAUTION! Gas lights and cooking stoves should not be operated unattended. If the gas supply were to be momentarily interrupted, or the gas regulator should fail, or the flame were to blow out, raw gas would be admitted into the air creating a poisonous and extremely dangerous explosive mixture. Do not operate gas lights or gas cooking stoves unless you are present and awake. (Gas heating appliances and refrigerators are all equipped with safety valves which turn off the gas if the flame is accidentally extinguished. They are safe to be operated unattended.)
    PROPANE/GAS EMERGENCY INFORMATION.   Cooking gas is stored outside in steel cylinders in liquid form (propane), vaporized through pressure regulators and distributed in the camp buildings through copper lines. Guests must learn the location of gas shut-off valves and the method for shutting off gas in the event of an accidental discharge (gas leak).
    More about backcountry lighting.
    Backcountry Living: Danger!There are (disabled) kerosene lamp fixtures at many of our camps. Just for decoration. Very pretty. Please do not touch. Kerosene lamps are dangerous. They require expert attention and are unpredictable even then.
    Backcountry Living: Danger!Portable propane, gas(oline), and kerosene "Coleman" lanterns are not permitted. Coleman fuel (gasoline) is explosive. Electric (battery) lamps/lanterns are ok.
    More about building and maintaining a woodfire.
    The chimney may be blocked by extremely cold air, foreign objects, squirrel nests, a set damper or broken flue pipe. Burning paper as step#1 insures the chimney is clear and working.
    Newspaper. Do not use cardboard, paper food packaging, magazines or newspaper colored sections to start a fire. Such material does not burn readily or with great heat. Use plain white newspaper.
    Kindling. Do not use bark, twigs or branches. Such material has very little BTU content. Find a stout piece of straight grain hardwood firewood supplied, without knots. Stand on edge outside on the chopping block outside. Gripping the axe close to the blade, carefully strike the firewood edgewise to chip off kindling (1/8 inch thick or less). Heavier pieces may be saved to use later in Step#3. Do not split kindling inside the camp.
    Do not use kerosene or other (petroleum-based) fire starting material, including commercially available "fire logs," fire starters, etc. Burn progress with these is erratic. They can superheat and torch out of control. Use only newspaper and hardwood kindling supplied.
    Add additional kindling and small pieces of firewood sparingly and only after material already in the fire is clearly burning down. The object is to build a bed of hot coals at the bottom of the material. These red hot coals (not the flames) heat the air (or the stove casting which in turn heats the air).
    It is dangerous to overfeed the fire. CLICK HERE for what to do if you make that mistake.
    Wood fires start slowly but build up heat and a flow of combustible gases as the burning progresses. Add fuel sparingly only after the fire has begun to die down. There is serious danger if more than a moderate amount of fuel is added at one time. CLICK HERE for what to do if you make that mistake.
    Allow the fire to burn out. Do not extinguish coals with water.
    Do not leave a fireplace or woodstove fire unattended after adding new fuel. It is ok to leave a woodfire unattended if the fire is clearly burning down.

    Backcountry Living Danger! Woodstoves, Parlor Stoves and Fireplaces.
    Three types of wood heating devices are in use at Fourpeaks. Open fireplaces, freestanding fireplaces (parlor stoves or Franklin stove) and airtight woodstoves.
    Open fireplaces and parlor stoves (with doors open) supply air to the burning fuel at low velocity and are safe and easy to control.
    Airtight woodstoves are "designed" to enable restriction of the air opening, resulting in a high velocity air supply (tuyere effect), sharply increasing the temperature of burn. At best airtight woodstoves take considerable skill to operate. At worst automatic damper features do not work at all, and are dangerous to rely on. We request that Fourpeaks guests use the airtight woodstove (if any) at their accommodation, with the doors and vents open at all times. The woodstove will then work like a small fireplace or parlor stove with low velocity air. The mass of iron will radiate lots of heat.

    1) Read Safe Heating with Wood.   (above).
    2) Become familiar with location of ABC fire extinguishers in your accommodation. Examine safety pin release and actuating lever.
    3) Become familiar with operation of iron tongs supplied for removal of burning firewood.
    Danger!If fire is burning above safe range 200-500 deg. F.(over 500deg. F. on parlor stove/woodstove flue):
  • FIREPLACE: Remove excess fuel with iron tongs supplied. Smother fire with ashes.
  • PARLOR STOVE: Remove excess fuel with iron tongs supplied. Close doors and make sure damper for airtight operation (if present) is closed.
  • AIRTIGHT WOODSTOVE: Remove excess fuel with iron tongs supplied. Close door and air supply shutter to shut off air.
    Danger!FLUE FIRE (Roaring sound inside chimney): Use ABC fire extinguisher (not water) and direct flow of contents onto flames and up into the chimney.

    NO CAMPFIRES! FIRE RINGS, campfires, bonfires, pit fires, Boy/Girl Scout fires, Native American fires and any other wood fire out of doors all are strictly NOT PERMITTED.
    Enjoy a wood fire at your fireplace/parlor stove INDOORS. There's one at every cabin except Thoreau House (gas fireplace). (Outdoor charcoal grills are supplied at each accommodation for charcoal grilling only.)

  • Do not drink the water!
  • Though clear and odorless, our water is from shallow wells and may contain coliform bacteria from surface water. For that reason it will not pass New York State Health Department requirements for drinking water in rental situations. The water at camp is unsafe and guests are instructed NOT TO DRINK it or cook with it. Safety Hazards at our Backcountry Camps.
  • Guests must supply their own drinking water. We suggest inexpensive, easy-to-get supermarket "spring water," available in convenient dispensing containers.
  • Camp water should be used for washing and bathing only. [CLICK HERE for FAQ's about water at Fourpeaks camps and Water Safety considerations. ]

    Leah discovers the Fourpeaks bathroom. pitcher pump The Oldfashion Pitcher Pump. Each of our Fourpeaks Backcountry Cabins is equipped with a pitcher pump. Guests pump water for washing from 7 gal. "mini-cisterns" located under the sink. CLICK HERE to see how they work and learn how to use them now.
    About the Privy (Outhouse.). Fourpeaks rentals do not have flush toilets. Each cabin has (instead) a privy (outhouse), a private outdoor toilet in quiet natural surroundings.  CLICK HERE to learn about them, especially if using one is a scary idea for you.

    Please don't gorilla the Backcountry Living gas lamps! A NOTE ABOUT "PUSHING IN." All the cooking stoves at camp and most of the gas lamps have a childproof safety feature that requires pushing in, Please don't gorilla the gas lamps! in order to engage the valve, before turning the gas on or off. The cooking stove knobs are robust and most everybody knows about them. The gas lamp valve levers are light duty and must be engaged with care.
    Please push in thoughtfully and make sure the valve is engaged before turning the valve lever. Not sure? Use candles for lighting and wait for Martin to demonstrate how to "push in" to engage the gas valve. Please don't gorilla the gas lamps. Thanks.

    CLICK HERE for The Portable Shower Bath. Scrubbing Up at our Fourpeaks Backcountry Camps. How do we do it at camp with limited water and no electricty? We bathe the time-tested oldfashion ways of years ago. Pump the water by hand. Heat it on the stove. Then bathe from a bucket with just a rag. Or sit in a big tin washtub. Cowboy Bathing in Tub. Or an old-fashion claw-foot bathtub like a cowboy just off the range. New! Hot showers with a new-fangled portable shower. That's luxury camping! The shower is quick and convenient. Ask for one when you get here. Either way it's all educational and fun, to learn how to get scrubbed up in a backcountry setting. CLICK HERE for Hot showers and those Oldfashion Ways.

    FIREARMS. Guests are not permitted to hunt or carry firearms on the property. CLICK HERE for hunting on NY State lands that adjoin Fourpeaks at Ridge Camp.

    PERMISSION BY OWNER. The owner reserves the right at his sole discretion to refuse occupancy if guests do not show a reasonable familiarity with the safety information and operation procedures on these pages and there is a consequent serious risk of personal injury or property loss.

    "the process of making the reservation was problematic."
    Michael V. P****
    Lucy B. P*****, Ph.D.
    Country Commons
    Vergennes, Vermont 05491
    March 11, 2002
    Dear Martin,
    You are doing something really wonderful with 4Peaks. We
    were very pleased with our experience this past weekend.
    The amazing weather helped as well. I realize that you
    were away, but it reached nearly 70 degrees on Saturday.
    The cabin was more than we expected with its lovely little
    decorations and everything a person (Michael, in our case)
    might need to prepare meals. It was cozy and we enjoyed
    playing Scrabble by the gaslights in the evening. I was
    impressed by how clean it was.
    We took walks each day. The placement of picnic tables and
    benches around the property was enjoyable. We had our
    lunch on Saturday at one of those located at the rocky
    The trails were clearly marked, which we appreciated. We
    saw tracks of turkeys, deer, fisher, snowshoe hares, grouse
    and lots of small creatures. We heard owls, pileated
    woodpeckers and ravens.
    It was especially nice not to have human interactions once
    we were there. After being greeted with jam and flour, we
    were left alone. That was not only wonderful, but exactly
    what we were looking for!
    After returning, we went back to the website and noticed
    that there appear to be very few reservations for the
    summer. We wondered why. Is it too buggy? Fall looked
    full. Are the guests primarily hunters or hikers?
    If we have any suggestions about what to do differently,
    they would be: 1) the map could be much clearer -it was
    hard to read; and 2) the process of making the reservation
    was problematic.Attempting to set up the reservation the
    first time (two weeks earlier) fell through. We'd called
    at the appointed time in the evening and left a message
    that was never returned. We 'were all packed and ready to
    go and never heard from you. That was disappointing.
    Fortunately we were very motivated to check out 4Peaks, so
    we tried again. This time there was a misunderstanding
    about whether the e-mail registration needed to be done.
    Michael understood that we were registered by phone and
    then got the message that we hadn't done things right.
    That was awkward. We're intelligent and have never had
    those kinds of problems in making reservations elsewhere.
    Perhaps it was a timing issue.
    We will probably think of returning to 4Peaks. We hiked up
    to see Wolf's Nest which you so highly recommended. It was
    wonderful and very private. Our vehicles (Saab 900 and
    Saab 9-5 wagon) would not be able to make it up that drive.
    We would happily pack our stuff in. The only question was
    water for washing dishes, etc. How is that handled?
    We also wondered if Sugar Camp would have a private feel.
    All the camps that we saw looked great. We liked the idea
    of the water systems that probably get used in the summer
    with solar heating potential and gravity feed. The outside
    shower looks like great fun.
    We saw that you are a Peugeot aficionado. We are as well,
    having had three of them. Our 1989 wagon was just given to
    our youngest daughter in January. Michael worked for the
    bicycle division of peugeot when they were here in the
    We've enclosed a check for payment. We thought that
    someone would come by for it, but didn't feel comfortable
    just leaving it on the table in the open cabin. We stopped
    at the Stone House on Sunday morning when we were leaving,
    but no one was there.
    I hope you had an enjoyable trip to California. Thank you
    for having us as guests at 4Peaks.
    Mick and Lucy P***

    A footnote from Your Fourpeaks Host. A footnote from Your Fourpeaks Host.
    Some vacationers must feel making a reservation here at Fourpeaks slows them down a bit. They're used to booking hotels that do it in a minute with a credit card and a confirmation number. We're sorry about that and if we were renting cabins by the side of the road, we'd do the same. But our Adirondack Backcountry Camps don't have standard amenities. Pretty and secluded, with great views and open space all around, beautifully decorated and very comfortable, the style of living is like folks lived a hundred years ago. Not for everybody! We have to be sure our guests will be happy and safe with heating with wood, gas and water safety and using a privy (outhouse). So we ask them to carefully read our Safety First! information before we'll make a reservation. Then we give them a short quiz just to be sure. For most of our guests it's fun and educational. They quickly forget the little extra trouble in making a reservation when they experience the quiet and natural beauty at our Adirondack getaway.
    More about them. Keep reading.More about them. (Keep reading.)
    "We saw tracks of wild turkey, snowshoe hare, deer and coyote. We saw and heard ravens and heard owls at night."
    Subject: Guestbook Entry
    Date : 4/8/2002
    Name : Mick and Lucy P***
    Email : l****
    Location : Vergennes, Vermont U.S.A.
    Comments : We had a wonderful and very private time at
    4Peaks. The weather was amazing for March. We were able to sit outside in
    shirt sleeves on the porch and take an outdoor shower. I loved the
    accommodation itself. It was tasteful, very clean and well-cared for. The
    grounds were spectacular. We saw tracks of wild turkey, snowshoe hare, deer
    and coyote. We saw and heard ravens and heard owls at night. We even had a
    picnic on top of one of the peaks.
    My only suggestion for change would be to improve the map. It was difficult to read.

    Is it dangerous to operate the wood stove . . . "Is it dangerous to operate the wood stove . . ." (An Email Exchange.)

    Subject: wood stove operation
    Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2001 09:50:16 EST
    From: Just*******@***.com
    Is it dangerous to operate the wood stove with an open front
    door (to enjoy the fire)?
    I am concerned about carbon monoxide accumulation in the hut.
    Thanks for your information.
    Best regards,

    Safety Hazards at our Backcountry Camps. Subject: Re: wood stove operation
    Date: Sat, 06 Jan 2001 11:02:01 -0500
    From: Martin
    Organization: Fourpeaks--Adirondack Backcountry Camps
    To: Just*****@***.com
    Easier and less fuss to operate the woodstove with doors open, like a
    fireplace. Ben Franklin thought of the idea, and I reccommend it. No
    need to fiddle with draft controls.
    Your concerns about carbon monoxide accumulation and other dangers
    to personal safety are particularly well placed if you're staying
    in a hut.
    Best wishes,

    The damper on the wood stove did not work so we couldn't bank the fire down.
    Subject: Re: Your Fourpeaks visit 02/16/13 to New Camp
    From: Christine K**
    Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 18:21:28 -0500
    To: "Martin (Your Adirondack Guide)"
    Hello Martin,
    We had a wonderful time at Four Peaks. What I was really looking for was peace and quiet and I found that and more. The hike in the freezing cold up to the "look out" was so worth it. I enjoyed the trails very much (thank you for keeping them so well maintained) and would love to come back for more.
    I really enjoyed reading your book of poems. I read them all. I know of many of the places your wrote (Amherst/Belchertown, Cape Cod, etc.).
    A few things about the camp (new camp), the damper on the wood stove did not work so we couldn't bank the fire down and even with getting up 5 or 6 times in the night, it still went out and we had to start a new fire with kindling in the middle of the night. We were definitely able to keep the place warm but it would have been nice to keep a fire going for more than an hour or so.
    We were a little disappointed not to be able to try the pancakes and honey that were mentioned in the booklet. It was ok because we brought our own pancake mix and some VT maple syrup but I was interested in trying your honey.
    We purchased a spatula and left it there for the next guests (surprised that there wasn't one) and we also bought coffee filters and left it in the bread box for the next guests too.
    Those were just "little things" and really did not bother us very much except maybe the wood stove. With all that said, we would enjoy coming back again. It was a very long drive but worth it. I bet the spring is beautiful and the autumn too but it must be fun to hike and find a swimming hole in summertime. We'll be in touch if we can come back up that way.
    Thanks again Martin, Christine
    p.s. we'll post pictures when we get the photos uploaded to our computer.

    From: "Martin (Your Adirondack Guide)"
    Date: Mon, 04 Mar 2013 19:02:48 -0500
    To: Christine K*
    Thanks for your note. I'm happy you were able to explore the place in spite of the cold.
    Poems. Thanks for reading.
    Damper. I'm going to look into that. Yes. You should be able to "bank the fire," slow it down at night. I think this can be achieved on that stove by--
    1)making sure the little "auto" vent in back is shut and
    2)close the stove doors, but not quite tight shut.
    Problem is, most of what I have to tell folks is to burn wide open. That''s for maximum heat and no "control" issues, just like a fireplace. Sorry I didn't know about this. I would have made suggestions.

    pancakes and honey. Sorry about that, but as I think you know my bone injury (not serious) keeps me off my feet for the time being and I'm not able to set up the camps the way I'd like. Again, wish I knew. Lots of honey here. Maybe next time.
    Yes. I hope you'll make it back another time.
    Best wishes, Martin

    I'm disappointed to find it's not permitted to have a campfire outdoors.
    Subject: RE: planning our next summer vacation
    From: Christian P***
    Date: 1/3/2012 5:59 PM
    To: "'Martin (Your Adirondack Guide)'"
    Hi Martin,
    I received and read your response yesterday night. I'm disappoint to
    find is not permit to having firecamp outside with or without outside

    Definitively, if it is possible to find a place where it's possible to
    having firecamp in USA or in Canada this would be a primary criteria.

    Let me know if our policy may call to be change in the future....

    Thanks a lot !

    Subject: I'm disappointed to find it's not permitted to have a campfire outdoors.
    From: "Martin (Your Adirondack Guide)"
    Date: 1/4/2012 3:00 PM
    To: Christian P***

    Good news! Yes. You can enjoy a campfire outdoors at campgrounds all over
    the USA. Search for locations and amenities.
    New York State Campgrounds are your best bet for natural beauty and price.
    Bring your own firewood as cutting is not permitted on State lands.

    If you're bringing kids along I would suggest KOA or Good Sam or other
    commercial campgrounds. Great for kids as there are always many of them
    whooping it up at all hours. Fun for the kids. You won't need a babysitter.

    Fourpeaks, you see, is not a campground. Fourpeaks is backcountry cabin rentals.
    NO CAMPFIRES! Very quiet, secluded. Living in the style of Adirondack settlers
    here at Fourpeaks hundreds of years ago. Too busy taking care of
    themselves and enjoying Nature to mess around with campfires.

    Best wishes,
    Martin (Your Adirondack Guide)

    Verbatim email exchanges with guests and prospective guests. Verbatim email exchanges with guests and prospective guests.CLICK HERE for more Fourpeaks Email Exchanges. Verbatim email exchanges with guests and prospective guests. Many of them informative. All of them good clean fun, even those about very serious subjects. Great if you like to read other people's mail.

    .Are you in this picture? CLICK HERE to find out. 
    Are you in this picture? Fourpeaks hosts now welcome paying guests to a 700-acre rest and playground for vacations in the Adirondack Great Camp tradition. Couples appreciate Fourpeaks secluded settings. Outdoor loving families have fun exploring our accessible wilderness. Folks with dogs enjoy the open spaces to run their pets. A private nature rereat. For a vacation away from it all.    Are you in this picture?  CLICK HERE to find out!    [More about this at Frequently Asked Questions.]

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