Six degrees of separation: Kid Rock to Whiteface Mountain
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There are a lot of rocks in the Adirondacks — one of the most exposed expanses of anorthosite granite in the world occurs here — but what about that other kind of rock? Kid Rock. Is there a connection between the man who helped pen “Bawitdaba” and the Adirondacks? 

It turns out, there is. I found six degrees of separation between Kid Rock and Whiteface Mountain, a popular peak that's home to a ski resort and easily identified by its rocky summit and the bare rock slides that scar its flanks. Check out my path from Kid Rock to Whiteface below, and leave your degrees of separation in the comments section!

 my Six degrees of seperation

1. Kid Rock sampled a Metallica song

Does that riff in Kid Rock’s 1999 hit “American Bad Ass” sound familiar? It should — it was originally in “Sad But True,” a song off of Metallica’s eponymous black album, which was released in 1993. 

2. Metallica wrote the song “For whom the Bell Tolls” aBOUT the Ernest Hemingway book of the same name

In 1984, Metallica continued their mission to define thrash metal with the release of their second full-length album, “Ride the Lightning.”  The music wasn’t just about speed and power, though. The song “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was not only inspired by American literature, it also features a haunting chromatic introduction by former bassist Cliff Burton that sounds like a guitar. 

Burton tragically died when the group’s tour bus crashed Sept. 27, 1986, but his influence on rock music lives on.

3. Hemingway enjoyed big game hunting in Africa  

It’s no secret that Hemingway had a taste for sport and booze, and both were often players in his books. The author only went on two African safaris before his death in 1961, but those trips provided fodder for several novels and stories. He even documented his adventures in his books “Green Hills of Africa” and “True at First Light,” which were about his first and second safaris, respectively. 

4. An expedition to Africa to collect specimens for the Smithsonian Institute was led by Theodore Roosevelt

Hemingway respected our nation’s 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, and it makes sense. Like Hemingway, Roosevelt had a knack for adventure. This was perhaps best exemplified by Roosevelt’s 1909 trip to Africa, during which his team collected — that is, killed or trapped — more than 11,000 animals for the Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition. That number doesn’t include the invertebrate and plant specimens collected, which pushes the total tally past 23,000.

5. Theodore Roosevelt visited the Adirondacks

Roosevelt  was serving as vice president to William McKinley and camping in the vicinity of Lake Tear of the Clouds on Sept. 14, 1901 when he learned that McKinley was in bad shape. A bullet wound inflicted during an assassination attempt in Buffalo a week earlier turned gangrenous, and the president’s health took a dire turn for the worse. 

As the story goes, Roosevelt left his encampment below the summit of the 5,344-foot Mount Marcy in the middle of the night and made a now-famous midnight ride to Buffalo. He learned of McKinley’s death en route and became president.

6. Theodore Roosevelt’s fifth cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, dedicated the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway

Franklin Roosevelt was the governor of New York in 1929 when he dedicated the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway to the soldiers who fought in World War I. The 5-mile-long highway opened in 1936, during Roosevelt’s first term as president.

The winding road is still open today, and it’s still the easiest way to get to the mountain’s 4,867-foot summit. The highway ends about 300 feet shy of the mountaintop, but from the parking area visitors can either take an elevator or hike the steep stone staircase as it climbs along the rocky ridge to a stunning 360-degree panoramic view.

You might not find Kid Rock in the Whiteface Region, but you will find restaurants, lodging, and plenty of hiking to keep you busy. Plan your trip today!

This week the ADKs rock on:

Hamilton rocks

The day I quit rock climbing

Some rockin’ pieces

12-feet tall and rock hard  

Boulder dash

Heart of stone

Rum of ages

Shaun Kittle

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