There was no “trail” up New York’s highpoint, Mount Marcy, when then-Vice President Teddy Roosevelt climbed it on September 13, 1901, although by the time he got down he probably wished there had been.
While descending from the top, a handful of shots fired into the air from below prompted him to pick up his pace and push hard through stunted alpine pines to Lake Tear of the Clouds, where local guide Harrison Hall met him with a telegram containing some bad news: “The President appears to be dying and members of the Cabinet in Buffalo think you should lose no time coming.” President William McKinley had been shot just over a week prior, but when Roosevelt decided to meet his family at the Tahawus Club, his condition had been improving following a successful surgery. But while Roosevelt climbed, things had taken a turn for the worse.
Somewhere during Roosevelt’s frantic evening bushwhack and subsequent “midnight ride” to the train, McKinley died and his VP, without knowing it, became the 26th President—still dressed in his stylish turn-of-the-century hiking clothes.
Not all historical sites can be memorialized by a park or museum. Hit these seven paths to take a literal walk through history.