The 46 of 46 Podcast
Back in 2016, I did a short (very short) series of reviews on paranormal podcasts. I was new to the podcasting world, and my wide-eyed optimism got the best of me. I was going to check out tons of paranormal podcasts, as there were – and still are – so, so many of them, and do reviews of them. However, I quickly got hooked on just two or three, and really haven’t ventured beyond those since. My listening times were pretty limited, as I was really just listening on my daily commute on the bus to and from work. So, my wide-eyed optimism quickly morphed into narrow-minded routine, and I just stuck with those few select podcasts, two of which I reviewed. At the time, I was a bit rough on Sasquatch Chronicles and host Wes Germer, and while many of my criticisms still hold true, there’s still a lot to like about the show and I still listen regularly. Separating the wheat from the chaff isn’t always easy, but when you do get a good witness, you can be assured some truly chilling stories.
My love of Bigfoot and the outdoors is what finally brought me to venturing into the Adirondack Mountains. I’m from New York City, and there’s a dearth of outdoor areas here, as well as Bigfoot. Haha. But the Adirondacks had always called to me, and I’ve had a number of camping trips there since last year. And honestly, I’ve fallen quite in love with the Adirondacks. Now, with much more time on my hands due to the pandemic, I’ve started looking into other podcasts, and recently came across The 46 of 46 Podcast hosted by James Appleton. The show is all about James’ various adventures in the Adirondacks. Season One chronicles his treks to the tops of the 46 “high peaks” of the Adirondack Mountains, a personal challenge for many to ascend the 46 highest peaks in the range. Season Two follows James as he climbs the 9 Lake Placid peaks, and now currently in Season Three, he details summer and winter hiking on other various mountains in the park, and he hikes, backpacks and camps along the entirety of 138-mile Northville-Placid Trail. There are also the “Summit Sessions,” episodes where James interviews other hikers and campers and lets them tell about their experiences out in the forest.
By now, you’ve probably surmised that this doesn’t sound much like a “paranormal podcast” at all. And honestly, for the most part, it’s not. But interestingly, sprinkled in with these accounts of James venturing into the woods, there are hints of the unusual, the unexplained. The episode that caught my attention was “Episode 56: Northville-Placid Trail: Day 5 – Wakely Dam to Spruce Lake.” This episode was of particular interest to me, as back in August of 2019, my buddy Josh and I camped along the NPT, south of Wakely Dam. Actually, Wakely Dam was where we launched our kayaks as we paddled in to our campsite. So I was very keen to hear about James’ experience hiking past where we spent one of the best camping weekends we’ve had yet. And along his journey, what seemed from his description to be perhaps a mile or so from where we camped, he said he and his companion noticed some unusual tree branch breaks – all at a height of 14 or 15 feet, on either side of the trail in an almost symmetrical fashion, and they couldn’t figure out what had broken them. Josh and I hadn’t noticed anything strange on that particular trip, but it was fascinating hearing James retell what he came across. Bigfoot wasn’t specifically mentioned here, but the implication was clear: something was unusual about these tree breaks.
Fast forward to more recent episodes, and James has been putting out more self-contained entries called “Adirondack Campfire Stories,” and others called “The October Sessions,” both of which focus on more paranormal-centric themes concerning the Adirondacks. In “The October Sessions” episodes, James interviews Bigfoot witnesses, notably New York State guide Devin Peterson, who tells of a harrowing experience he had on the Northville-Placid Trail, and Bigfoot researcher Paul Bartholomew, most famous for investigating the Abair Road incident in Whitehall, New York. In the “ADK Campfire Stories,” James relates spooky stories told to him by eyewitnesses or from Native American lore, with the sounds of a crackling campfire in the background, and appropriately spooky music and sound effects added in for good measure to really immerse the listener. Not all of these are Bigfoot stories, though that’s a big part of what you’ll find here, perhaps unsurprising as the Adirondack Park is the largest natural protected land area in the lower 48 states – perfect potential Bigfoot habitat. But you’ll also hear stories of mysterious entities, phantom wolves, ghosts, giant birds, and more. I have to say, these “campfire” episodes have become my favorite podcasts to listen to as of late – spooky, fascinating, and expertly narrated.
And the narration is key here. Bottom line, James Appleton is a fantastic podcaster – he has a great voice, soothing but knowledgeable, friendly while also imparting wisdom and some hard-learned lessons from the trail. He is a master of pacing, as the shows never feel like they’re dragging, yet they don’t overwhelm the listener with content. The sound quality is always strong, whether he’s doing some post-production narrating at home, or recording himself out on the trail, the two sections tend to blend fairly seamlessly. Most importantly, for me, anyway, is his enthusiasm. This is someone who is passionate about the outdoors, about nature, conservation (he does a lot of fundraising for trail maintenance), and the splendor of the Adirondacks. This is a podcast anyone can pick up at any time, and immediately feel like James is an old friend, telling you stories about getting his boots wet in the mud, or spending a chilly night in a lean-to, or simply relating a spooky tale. He’s just the type of guy you’d want to hike the trails with.
The Adirondacks are a wondrous place – breathtakingly beautiful, unimaginably immense, and surprisingly pristine. But beneath that all, there is a darkness. The Adirondacks will challenge you. The Adirondacks will try to break you. And they may, in the late, lonely hours of the night, completely terrify you. I’ve only been there a handful of times, and I’ve experienced all of these situations: the amazing highs, the bone-chilling lows, and everything in between. And you will get to experience all of this in The 46 of 46 Podcast. Whether you have an interest in the paranormal or not, it’s a great way to learn about the park, the trails, the peaks, as well as get some great hiking and camping advice. And some of the tales are perfect for a cold winter’s night, when you want to feel like you’ve been transported deep into the woods, sitting around a crackling campfire, and letting yourself be scared…but from the comfort and safety of your own bed.
Verdict: SUBSCRIBE (and every single episode is worth a listen!) – The 46 of 46 Podcast is a must-subscribe to anyone with an interest in the outdoors, and the paranormal things that sometimes happen there.