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€\)t aHruahrk. 





l^ife in tlie ll^iinis. 



With additional matter, including the results of the recent Topographical Survey 

of Verplanck Colvin, by order of the State ; also the first correct map 

of the Wilderness, the first accurate Table of Elevations, 

Trce Source of the Hudson, dtc. 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by 


Iq the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern 
District of New York. 

Copyright, 1875, by 


John F. Tkow & Son, 

printers and bookbinders, 

205-313 East \-2tk St., 



My Dear Raymond: 

Though you failed to accompany 
me in my trip to the Adirondack Region, yet I often 
thought of you in my long marches and lonely bivouacks. 
Filling at that time a large place in my memory, and 
always a much larger one in my heart, permit me to in- 
Bcribe these letters to you as a token of my regard and 

Very sincerely and truly yours, 


New Yore, March 31, 1849. 


The Adirondack region, embracing that vast 
wilderness known as the woods of ^Northern 
New York, being visited more and more every 
summer, many desire to know how it looked 
and impressed one a quarter of a century ago, 
and compare tlie means of access to it and the 
modes of travel tkrougli it tken Avitli those of 
the present day. As it is nearly that time 
since I first visited it and published my experi- 
ence, the present work covers a large space — • 
for with each successive exploration the pub- 
lishers have found it necessary to get out a 
new edition. So now, having made a recent 
visit, and the old edition being exhausted, the 
present new one is issued. I think in this, 
those ladies who wish to see something of tliis 
wild region, without roughing it in camp life, 
will find some suggestions that will be of mate- 
rial service to them. 


In the present edition is included a Map 
of the Adirondack region — the first complete 
one ever published; also a table of the ele- 
vations of the mountains and lakes, never 
before so full or accurate. It gives an ac- 
count of new discoveries and fixes the source 
of the Hudson. The hydraulic power of the 
region is for the first time estimated, and 
the question of the Adirondack Park dis- 

Newburg, 3Ia'(/ 1, 1875. 



Up the Hudson— In the Woods— Trout Fishing— A Queer Fish, , . . 13 

Dandy turned Farmer— Trout Fishing, &c.— Christening a Bam, . SO 


• Driving Trees"— Benighted in the "Woods, , . 28 


A River in the Forest— Life — " Driving the River," 80 


Forestward — Dinner Scene — Preparations to ascend Mount Tahawas, . 44 


Ascent of Mount Tahawus — A Man Shot — A Hard Tramp — Glorious Pros- 
pect — A Camp Scene, 68 


Sagacity of the Hound — The Indian Pass — Precipice Two Thousand Feet 
High .... 07 



The Hunter Cheney— Encounters with a Panther— Deadly Struggle with a 
Wolf— A Bear and Moose Fight — Sho«t» Himself, ..... 75 


Game— Moose — Crirsting Moose — A Catamount — Chase between a I>eer and 
a Panther — A Bear caught in a Trap, 6& 


Lake Henderson — A July Day — A Sunset, an^ Evening Kererie, • . 94 


Tahawas with the Clouds below it— A Hard Tramp — A Plank Bed on th« 
Boreas River — A Sorry Company Travelling after Breakfast, . . 89 


A Thunder Stonn— A Solution of Life, . , , , , - • KM 


A Ride through the Forest — A Lean Dinner — Cheney's Coosro— Swimming 
A Lake with Horses, ,,,,....,,, 112 


Camping Ground— Mitchel the Indian Guide — Trout fishing on a Large 

Scale— Night. . 121 


A Camp Scene in the Morning— A Shot at an Eagle— A Deer Chase^ . , 131 


A Magnificent Prospect — Fourteen Hours without Food, . . , I43 


Long Lake— A Fearful Night— A Gale in the Woods— Man Bitten by a 
Rabbity 151" 



Tronking— A Duck protecting her Young by Stratagem— Sabbath in the 
Forest, . ... ....... 160 


Long Lake Colony— A Loon— Forked Lake, 16S 


Shooting a Deer -Modem Sentimentalists— The Influence of Nature, . . 176 


Floating Deer — A Night Excursion— Morning in the Woods, , , , 184 


Forest Music, 191 


Raquette Lake— Number of its Trout -A Hunter *8 Lore for an Eagle- 
Fierce Struggle between an Eaglo and a Salmon, 201 


Description of Raquette Lake— Abundance of its Fish— Lake Eldon— Its 
Queer Discovery— A Man whipped by an Eagle— A Hunter without 
Feet, 212 


Sights and Sounds— Beach and Woods— A Visit of Thirty Miles made by a 
Woman, 227 


Moose Lakes—" Murderer's Point "—A Grave in the Forest— Trouting— A 
Family of Thirteen Girls— Riding "Bare Back"— A Curious Horse 
Race, .........,.,.,, 234 


Lost in the Woods— An Old Indian and his Daughter— Farewell to Mitchell— 
Musquitoes and Black Flies, 240 


Schroon Lake— A Nut for Sportsmen — Woods on Fire, . • • . • 258 


Lumbermen — A Student and Hunter outwitted by a Professor — A Philosophi- 
cal Husband— A Prospective Widow looking out for her own Interest, . 264 


Odds and Ends—Trial of a Thief In the Backwoods— New Mode of Reporting 

an Election — Paradox Lake — Von Kaumcr and Ids Statements, . . . 272 


A.utunio a Painter — Manner of Working, 280 


Directions to the Traveler, , • • . . 286 


A New Start for the Woods— Westport— A New Route — A Ride across the 
Mountains— A Rough Road— Night in a Clearing— A Breakfast of Trout 
tliat are Fresh— A New State of Things— The Wilderness nothing without 
SoUtude, 2S9 


Mountain Scenery— A Picture for a Painter— A Road worth Seeing— A New 
Route to Mount Tahawus and the Indian Pass — Scott — A Discourse on 
Loneliness, 299 


The Lower Saranac— Weather-bound— Boy Drowned— Democratic Guides— An 
Original— Sam's Ideas of Bostonians— Best Way of Camp'.ng Out- 
Pleasant Acquaintances— Arrival of a Camping Party of Ladies— Their 
Appearance, 309 



Colby Pond — Going after Butter in the "Woods — An Odd.Team — Trout-Fishing 
in Cold Brook — Lake Trout — Exciting Struggle between a New York Lady 
and a Fifteen-Pounder, 313 


Outfit for the Woods — A Bear aiiu Panther Swimming the Lake — Out of Sara- 

nac— Round Lake — Over the Rapids — Bartlett's, 820 


Upper Saranac — A Fine Echo — Fishing at Buoys — Ampersand— Trout Fishing 
—A Crooked Stream— Slaughtering Deer — Great Trout Fishing — Raquette 
River — Down the Raquette, 32» 


Raquette River — Plumb Gut Route — A Backwoodsman's Trick — Dinner in the 
Woods — Backwoods' Hospitality — Keeping Open House — A Good Rifle 
Shot— Shot at a Deer, 834 


Hunting Deer with Jacks— Description of a " Jack " — A *' Slue "—Queer Chal- 
lenge from a Night Sentinel — Floating up the " Slue " — Singular Encoun- 
ter with an Indian at Midnight— Return without Deer— Reasons for 111- 
Luck, 342 


" Multum In Parvo " — A Backwoodsman's Interest in the Outside World — Fel- 
low Campei-s— Big Tupper's Lake — Gallant Leap of a Deer — Buttermilk 
Falls — "Cold Spring" — Trout-Fishing Ruined by the Storm— A Weasel 
impaled on a Buck's Horn — Bog River, 349 


Bpectacle Ponds — A Deer— Camping-place — Search after Water- -Hunting by 
. Firelight — Morning Chase after Young Loons — Guides hate Hard Work, . 35T 



Frogs showing where Deer .are reeding — A Hunter's Camp — Killing a Moose — 
Au Exciting Scene — A Reverie — Mud Lake — A Desolate Scene — Dreary 
Camping-Spot — A Deer, 2 Go 


Description of Mud Lake — Exploring its Inlets — Vast Natural Meadows — Ap- 
pearance of Breeding-Ground of the Moose — Kill a Deer — Night-huntmg 
after a Moose — Musquitoes, 3T4 


Jack-hunting — Thunder-storm in the Morning— Farewell to Mud Lake— Meet a 
Bear— A Hunter's Notion of Bad Luck — Little Tupper's Lake— Strong Tea 
—A Dreamy Voyage — Camp — A Living Picture of the Woods, . . . 8S2 


Forked Lake — Rock Pond — Sea-Gulls — A New Route — Hard Carrying-Place 
— A Terrible Tramp — Lost in the Woods — A Cool Deer — Forked Lake at 
Niglit — A Welcome Hunter's Cabin, 891 


strange Music in the Woods — A Curious Character — Hia History — Hounds 
after Deer — Asleep on the Watch — Escape of the Deer — En Route for Blue 
Mountain Lake — Raquette Lake — A Thunder-storm — A Fearful Night on 
the Lake — Cool Reception by a Backwoodsman, 400 


Long Lake — Its Appearance — Raquette Lake — Trip to Blue Mountain L9,ke— 
Description of it — A Beautiful Scene — Away from Forked Lake— An Old 
Acquaintance— Ladies in the Woods — Their Camp — Hospitality— Down 
the Raquette River— Trout-Fishing— Out of the Woods — ^Directions to Tour- 
ists, 411 


Tlie Philosopher's Camp— Lake Ampersand— Agassiz buys a Township — 
Forms a Club — Puts up a House— Description of it — Loses his Land — 


Abandons his Household Gods — Trip to It — Its Lonely Situation — Hxint 
after a Boat — Night in Camp — Poor Luck in Hunting, though Deer 
Plenty — A Lonely Sabbath — ^A Boy KUls a Deer — A Disappointed Hound 
— An Exciting Deer-Chase — Home again, , ^ 422 

Ad vice to Ladies Visiting the Adn-ondacks — Tlie "Changes that have talvea 
Place in a Quarter of a Century — Then and Now — Six Ladies under my 
Charge — Tlte two Classes of Ladies that Visit the Adirondack — One Class 
is Disappointed — The Reason Why — ^Varioas Suggestions to make a Trip 
Pleasant, .«««.«««««««. 443 


I. Distant View of the Adirondack, tit lb 

II. Lake Sanford, Ingham • 49 

HI. Lake Coiaen, -..--. Ingharo, - « 5d 

IV, Adirondack Pass, . - - - Ingham, - 69 

V. Lake Henderson, - • - Gignoou, • 9* 

- VI. View on Forked Lake, • 1** 

Vll. Raquette Lake, • - . - Hill, - - 201 

VIII Lake Schroon, - - Durantie, - a«>tt 


The letters in this volume embrace two different smn- 
mers which I spent in the forest. An attack on the brain 
first drove me from the haunts of men to seek mental 
repose and physical strength in the woods. The deci- 
sion of an able physician, which was that I " must go 
where a printed page could not meet my eye, and I should 
be forced to take constant exercise in the open air, or 

" impelled me to undertake at first what 

two years after I prosecuted with pleasure. 

Thus much for the reasons which first induced me to 
penetrate the pathless and unknown wilderness of central 
New York. 

I publish the results of my two trips, because I wish 
to make that portion of our State better known ; for it 
bears the same relation to us that the Highlands do to 
Scotland, and the Oberland to Switzerland. That rela* 


tion will be acknowledged yet, and every summer will 
witness thrones of travelers on their way to those wild 
mountains, and surpassingly beautiful lakes. Ino such 
scenery is to be found in our picturesque country, and none, 
that in my opinion, will match it this side of the Alps. De- 
scriptions cannot, of course, give an adequate idea of it, as 
Prof. Emmons, in his work embraced in the great Geologi- 
cal Report of the State says : 

" It is not, however, by description that the scenery of 
this region can be made to pass before the eye of the imagi- 
nation ; it must be witnessed, the solitary summits in the 
distance, the cedars and firs which clothe the rocks and 
shores must be seen ; the solitude must be felt or if it is 
broken by the scream of the panther, the shrill cry of the 
northern diver, or the shout of the hunter ; the echo from 
the thousand hills must be heard before all the truth in the 
scene can be realized." 

After such a glowing description emboded in our State 
Reports, I think there is little danger that anything I shall 
say will be considered as exaggerated. 

Some may object to the want of gravity, or as others will 
term it, •♦ dignity," in these letters. All that I can say, is, 
they are a faithful transcript of my feelings and experience, 
and hence the fault if it be one, has no remedy but in 

In the woods, the mask that society compels one to weai 


is cast aside, and the restraints which the thousand eyes 
and reckless tongues about hini fasten on the heart, are 
thrown off, and the soul rejoices in its liberty and again be- 
comes a child in action. The ludicrous incident, the care- 
less joke, the thrilUng story, the eager chase, are all in 
place in the forest, and as harmless as the sports of the 

I hate hypocrisy in an author — writing not as he feels 
but as he knows bigoted or narrow-minded men think he 
02ight to feel — moralizing on paper where he never thought 
of it in fact, and giving us theological disquisitions on doc- 
tJinal points 

"When the bosom is full and the thoughts are high," 

with the floods of excitement and rapture which some won- 
drous and glorious spectacle has awakened. Nature and the 
Bible are in harmony — they both speak one language to the 
heart — yet in the wilderness there is no formality in the ex- 
pression of one's feelings. A man 

" Laughs when he's merry, 
And sighs when he's sad," 

without thinking or caring how it would appear in the 
saloon or OTave assemblage. 

The engravings are from original drawings by the dis- 
tinguished artists Messrs. Ingham, Durand, Gignoux, and 


Hill of Vermont to whom I feel deeply indebted for their 
kindness. These give a value to the work I conld not 
otherwise claim for it. 

I am sorry that I could get no sketches of some of the 
romantic and beautiful scenery of the more central regions 
but no artist has ever yet ventured into them. At some 
future day there will be a collection of those views made, 
which will not be surpassed in beauty by any in Europe. 

The Moose Lakes described in one of the letters, I have 
never seen, but a friend of mine, who has once been through 
the wilderness with me, furnished the material, and for the 
sake of uniformity, I used it as my own. 


To give the reader some idea of the central portion of 
New York, in which the scenes of this work are laid, and 
through which I traveled ; and that he may not regard 
it mere child's play to penetrate it, I would say that 
across it either way is about the distance from New York 
to Albany — varying from a hundred to a hundred and fifty 
miles. It is the same as if the whole country from New 
York to Albany, and extending, also, fifty miles each side 
of the Hudson, was an unbroken wilderness, crossed by no 
road, enlivened by no cultivation, not a keel disturbing it3 
waters, while bears,- panthers, wolves, moose and deer 
were the only lords of the soil. 

Imagine such a tract of country, about the size of Massa- 
chusetts and Connecticut put together, most of -^vhich lies a 
neglected waste, through which you must make your way 
with the compass, sustained by what your own skill can 
secure, and you will obtain a faint conception of the Adiron- 
dack region. And yet, 3^ou will hardly get a correct one^ 


because there would not enter into it the gloomy gorges 
and savage mountains that everywhere roll it into disorder. 
I shall furnish, however, the best description, by giving an 
extract from a letter of Professor Far^-and N. Benedict, of 
Vermont University, whose able report in the Geological 
Work of our State, and reports, also, to the Senate, on the 
capabilities of this section for slack water navigation, have 
been of equal service to' science and to the practical man. 

In a letter to me, Avhich the reader will acknowledge to 
be written with singular clearness and beauty, he says : 

" The northern section of New York, embracing the 
county of Hamilton, and the most of the counties of Essex, 
Clinton, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Herkimer, Lewis, War 
ren, and Fulton, has hitherto resisted the march of improve- 
ment, and still remains, with a few solitary exceptions, an 
unsubdued forest. Until recently, little has been known of 
its physical resources, and of its adaptedness to the wants of 
man in his civilized state. Regarded as an unproductive 
"waste, it has left the vague and transient impression on the 
mind that it answered ^yell enough, the only purpose of its 
existence, to constitute a barrier between the Mohawk and 
St. Lawrence Rivers, and to prevent the waters of Lake 
Ontario from carrying desolation with them into the valley 
of Champlain. It seems until lately to have failed to 
awaken that interest in its behalf, tc which it is *ustly en 


titled^ in view of the recent developments of its mineral, 
and even of its agricultural capabilities. 

This section of country, which is frequently denominated 
the Plateau of Northern New York, is washed at its wes- 
tern base by the Black River and Lake Ontario — at its 
northwestern by the St. Lawrence — at its eastern by Lake 
Champlain — and at its southern by the Mohawk River. 
Settlements and civilization have advanced from five to 
twenty-five miles up the valleys and slopes of this elevated 
table, where they are met by the nearly uninterrupted wil- 
derness of the interior. The general surface of this region 
as indicated by the lakes and streams, and in many in- 
stances, especially in the western part, of the extensive val- 
leys which they drain, is nearly a horizontal plane, with a 
mediimi elevation above tide of 1700 feet. This elevated 
surface is attained by a rapid ascent from its base, in a dis- 
tance of some ten or twenty miles, except where the grade 
is occasionally reduced, and the distance proportionably in- 
creased by valleys and streams. The slope is the most 
rapid from the Black River and Lake Champlain, declining 
more gently to the Mohawk, and still more so towards the 
St. Lawrence and the low country of Canada. 

" This table is divided transversely into two nearly equal 
portions by a broad valley of variable width, which meets 
the shores of Lake ChamplaiE at Plattsburgh. The valley 


extends in a southwesterly direction up the Saranac Pvivei 
to the beautiful cluster of lakes of that name — thence with 
no intervening ridge it passes up the Raquette River, 
through Long and Raquette Lakes ; and thence in the 
same general direction, and with no opposing barrier, down 
the Mocse River and its chain of picturesque lakes, and 
terminates in Oneida County, near Boonville. This valley 
is remarkable for its extent — being about 150 miles in 
length — for its nearly uniform direction, although it is 
formed by the basins of three different systems of waters — 
for the productiveness of its soil in the upper sections of its 
course — and especially for its ahuost unparalleled line of 
natural navigation. 

" The western portion of the table, or rather that which 
is situated west of this valley, presents a varied and pic- 
turesque, though not a mountainous surface. The Adiron- 
dack Mountains are seen towards the east, with their bare 
and rocky summit, dim in the distance, projecting their 
■spurs clothed with black forests to the shores of this central 
line of waters. Proceeding westwardly from this line, the 
physical aspect of the country undergoes a marked and im- 
"mediate change. The mountains are reduced to hills of 
moderate elevations ; and, instead of being covered with 
rugged and sterile peaks, their rounded sumir.'its display a 
luxuriant growth of valuable timber. They appear to be 
disposed without much conformity to any general system of 


arrangement. Tliey are frequently solitary , and whenever 
they can aggregate in groups or clusters, their positions are 
determined by the local arrangements of the neighboring 
waters. Between the lakes, or rather ponds, of this uni- 
form section, wjiich are disseminated in singular precision 
over the whole plateau, the surface rises gently from the 
shores into swells of arable land, excepting the southern de- 
clivities wiiich are often abrupt and precipitous. 

The eastern part of the plateau, embracing a tract of 
country about 50 miles wide and 140 miles in length, and 
terminated by the K-aquette Valley on the west, is decidedly 
Alpine in its physical aspect. Its apparently confused wil- 
derness of mountains is found, on close examination, to be 
disposed in ranges nearly parallel to the valley above men- 
tioned. These terminate in successive bold and rocky 
promontories on the western shore of Lake Champlain. 
The chains increase in elevation as they ax)proach the inte- 
rior, until they attain their greatest altitude and grandeur 
in the most western one of the series. This has a northern 
termination at Trembleau Point, and thrusts its southern 
extremity into the bed of the Mohawk at Little Falls. It 
consists of an extended aggregation of mountain masses, 
resting on bases that are elevated nearly 2000 feet above 
tide. Many of these throw their bare and pointed summits 
of rock to the perpendicular altitude of about a mile above 
the surface of the ocean. The vastness of their elevations* 


the almost endless variety of their forms, their confused and 
disorderly arrangement, anc^ the deep forests that are inter- 
rupted only by *he lakes at their bases and the rocks and 
snows of their summits, invest the eastern half of the table 
with unrivalled solitude and sublimity." 

This vast mountain chain rises and sinks alons: the hori 
zon in such colossal proportions that one imagines himself 
in the Alps. The highest peak of the Catskill is only three 
thousand and some hundred feet in height, yet here are 
summits rising out of the bosom of forests nearly twice its 
altitude. Mount Tahawus is over a mile high, while 
Whiteface, Nipple Top, Mount Seward, Santenoni, Dix's 
Peak, Mount McMartin and Mount Mclntyre, rise each 
five thousand feet into the heavens. Shall I mention Owl's 
Head, Mount Emmons, Schroon Mountains, North Hiver 
and Boreas Mountains, three thousand feet high ; or Bald 
Peak and Raven Hill, and a host of others two thousand feet 
and upwards ? Why, the Catskill range, majestic as it is, 
is a dwarf beside these gigantic mountains. From the top 
of one of them, you see for nearly four hundred miles in cir- 
cumference. To wander among them is the hardest toil 
that a forest life presents. Without roads, your only re- 
liance the guide and compass, you are compelled to wade 
streams, cross marshes, and climb over vast tracts of 
fallen timber, and at last, when night comes on, pnll your 
own couch from the fir trees around. If it were not that 


a chain of lakes extends the entire length of this u ildemess, 
cuttini^ it hi two, it would be impenetrable. Along these 
sheets of water — from one to another, and around rapids 
and cataracts, the adventurer rows his boat or carries it on 
his head. I have made this statement that one may see at 
the outset to what kind of a region I wish to introduce 





Backwoods, June 23. 
Dear H— — : 

The steam is up — the pipes are spitting forth in 
furious disgust volumes of vapor — the last bell is ring- 
ing, and amid the clatter of carriages, the shouts of 
men and clouds of steam, we are off to the centre of 
the Hudson, and, stretching away, like a gallant steed, 
rapidly divide the water northward. 

As I stand on the deck and think of the broad, deep 
forest and its rushing streams, a feeling of freedom 
steals over me, I have been a stranger to, for months. 
The chains of conventional life begin to fall off, link 
after link, and I fancy I feel my blood take a new 
spring already. This chasing after health, though,- is 
a discouraging business. To spend half of one's life 


in keeping the other half from going out, is not, I am 
convinced, the chief end of man — still, it must some- 
times be done, and then the pathless woods, the 
long and steady stretch up the mountain side and 
the coarse fare, are better than all the " poppies and 
mandrigoras" ol the world to " medicine" not only 
the body but the mind. Your Saratoga water and 
Nahant bathing and Rockaway dinner tables will do, 
perhaps, for healthy men, cripples and women. But 
for the reduced system that needs tone and manliness 
given it, strong physical exercise is demanded. 

I passed through Saratoga Springs without stop- 
ping even to dine, but compensated for the neglect 
over some trout at Glen's Falls. Arriving at Lake 
Greorge juSt before sunset, I engaged a man to carry 
me on, some twenty miles farther that evening. We 
halted a few moments at twilight at a lonely tavern 
on an elevated ridge, made 'still more desolate by 
the self murder of the proprietor, the year before, 
over whose grave a whip-poor-will was pouring its 
shrill and rapid note. Soon after, we began to enter 
the Spruce Mountain, where, for miles, not even a hut 
appears to cheer the sight. In the meantime, the sky 
became overcast, and night came down black and 


threatening. The darlcness at length grew so impene - 
trable that we could not see the horses, nor even the 
wagon in which we rode. Up long hills, and down 
into deep gulfs, with the invisible branches sweeping 
our faces at almost every step, we traveled on, seeing 
nothing but utter blackness, and not knowing but tho 
next moment we should stumble over a precipice, oi 
be tumbled down the slope of a " dugway." My driver, 
in the meantime, got excessively nervous — ^he had 
never traveled the road before, and this feeling his 
way, or rather allowing his horses to feel it without 
venturing the least control over their movements, 
iieeined to him not the safest mode of procedure, and 
so after muttering awhile to himself various rather 
forcible expressions, he stopped and got out. G-oing 
to the heads of the horses he commenced leading them. 
I supposed at first that something was the matter with 
the harness, and. said nothing ; but soon finding my- 
self moving on in the darkness, I called out to know 
what he was doing. " I'm afraid," he replied, '' to 
ride, it is so dark, and I'm going to lead my horses." 
Just then, there came a bright flash of lightning, re- 
vealing the still and boundless forest on every side, 
and throwing into momentary, but bold relief, shivered 


trunks and blackened stumps, and last though not least 
important, the horses, with my driver at their head. 
An instantaneous and utter blackness followed — fall- 
i ig on everything like a mighty pall — and then came 
the sullen thunder, swelling gradually from the low 
growl into the deep vibrating peal that shook the hills. 
It was my turn to feel nervous now, and the idea of 
walking out a thunder-storm at midnight, in these 
mountains, was not to be entertained a moment. 
Unfortunately, I can bear the worst fate better than 
suspense ; so calling out in a tone not to be mis- 
taken, I said, " come, get in and drive on, and 
drive fast, too — if we break down, we will bivouack 
the rest of the night under the wagon, but as for 
going at this snail's pace, and a thunder storm gather- 
ing over our heads, I will not permit it." With a grunt 
at my rashness, he clambered in and started on. 
" Come," said I, '' whip up, neck or nothing, I 
can^t stand this." G-etting into a smart trot, we 
passed rapidly along, expecting every moment to 
feel the shock that should stop us for the nie^ht^ 
or find ourselves describing the arc of a circle, 
down some declivity, the bottom of which, we 
could only speculate upon. Ever and anon came 


the sudden lightning, rending the gloom, succeeded 
by the rolling, rattling thunder-peal, that made the 
horses jump, not to mention our own uulsations 
Brushed every few steps by^an overhangiag branch 
as if struck by a mysterious hand, we kept resolutely 
on — the good horses picking their w^ay like Alpine 
mules, and the road proving itself to be far better 
than our fears. 

At length, just as the heavy drops began to fall, we 
eiTierged into a little valley, in which nestled a rude 
village, the meadows of which seemed to be one mass 
of phosphorescence. The fu*e flies hung in countless 
numbers over the surface, forming almost a solid body 
of light. The effect was mdescribable ; all around 
was Egyptian darkness, except that single level spol 
on which the incessant flashes made a constant, yet 
ever tremulous light. At first, it seemed an illusion, 
so fluctuating and confused did everything appear ; 
but as the eye, aided by the judgment, got accus- 
tomed to the scene, it became a beautiful creation, 
made on purpose to cheer the night and lessen the 
gloom that overhung the world. 

All ! how delicious it is after such a ride to stand 
under a roof and hear the big drops dashing against 


the windows and sides of the house, and the thunder 
pealing harmlessly without ; you laugh at the ele- 
ments w^hich you had feared, and feel as if you had 
baffled an enemy whose ravings now were impotent 
and foolish. The rudest room is then pleasant, and 
the hardest bed soft as down. A delightful calm 
succeeds the turbulence of feeling, and you are at 
peace with all the world. 

I will not weary you with an account of my next 
morning's ride, nor of the thorough drenching I 

Arriving at a clearing, I had hardly swallowed some 
dinner before I donned my India-rubber leggings and 
plunged into a splendid stream near by, after trout. 
The very first cast I made, I took one, and kept 
taking them, till, at the end of two hours, I had fifty 
fine fellows. The best one of all, however, I lost. I 
had approached with great caution a noble pool, made 
by a rapid current that shot along a ledge of rocks, 
then spread out into an open basin. Seating myself 
carefully on a narrow shelf, I threw my fly, anci 
moving it slowly in an oblique direction across tho 
stream, soon saw a great fellow rise to the surface 
In a twinkling, he was hooked : but just at that 


moment I lieard a tremendous splashing in the water 
above me, accompanied by something halfway be- 
tween a grunt and a groan. I was startled, and 
turning my eyes in the direction of the tumult, saw 
my companion floundering in the water. "With a 
short crooked pole, he had been endeavoring to mount 
a smooth, slippery rock and cast his cord-line into a 
hole where it looked as if trout might lurk. Just as he 
was fetching back his rod with a tremendous swing, his 
foot slipped and over he rolled into the swift current, 
making the splashing that had startled me so. His 
hat was off and his long hair streamed over his face, 
as now up and now down he struggled to steady his 
uncertain footing. At length, he brought up against 
a rock, and "thunder and lightning," were the first 
words that escaped his lips, as he looked around to 
determine his whereabouts. He was a capital subject 
for a picture, as he thus stood, bareheaded, hanging 
on the rock, and muttering to himself. Between the 
fright and the laugh, I lost my trout, but I have made 
my mark on him and will have hip' yet 



Backwoods, June 28 

pR^R H : 

There is not a wilder region in our country than 
the northern parts of Warren and Hamilton Counties. 
An almost unbroken wilderness stretches away from 
the Adirondack Mountains, from a hundred to a hun- 
dred and fifty miles across. Imagine such a wilder 
ness in the heart of New York State, in which you 
may wander month after month without stumbling on 
a clearing. There are places in it never yet trod by 
the foot of a white man. It is not merely an unculti- 
vated country, but a succession of ragged mountains, 
darkened with pine and hemlock — ploughed up with 
ravines and rendered barren by rocivs and swamps. 
An over-wrought brain has driven me into these soli- 
tudes for rest and quiet — my only companions being 


my rifle and fits. :g rod. "We talk in New York oi 
going into the '' country.'^'' But let Saratoga be ex- 
changed for " Long Lake," Naliant for " Indian 
Lake," and New Rochella for the gloomy shore of 
Jesup's River, and our fashionables would get an 
entirely different idea of the " country.''^ True, it is 
lonely at first — after being accustomed to the din and 
struggle of Broadway and Wall street to sit as I now 
do, with a wide forest, climbing the steep mountains, 
to bound my vision, and the little clearing around me 
black with stumps, coming up even to the door of the 
log house. All day long, and not the sound of a single 
wheel, but in the place of it the cawing of crows, the 
scream of the woodpecker, and the roar of a torrent 
dashing over the roclvs in the sullen forest below. 
The very stumps have a forlorn looli:, and it seems a 
complete waste of tiniQ and music for the birds to 
sing, having no one to listen to them. It must be they 
do it to hear the echo of their own voices, which these 
wild woods send back with incredible distinctness and 
sweetness. But if one is not entirely spoiled, he soon 
attunes himself to the harmony of nature, and a new 
• life is born within him. To most of us, life has — as 
the Grermans would say, an " Einseitigkeit," (a one- 


sidediiess). The " Fielseitgkeit," (the many-sided- 
ness) few experience. Ah, it is this " Einseitigkeit," 
that renders all reform so difficult ; and bigotry and 
prejudice so irresistible. Men must experience the 
" Fielseitgkeit," to know it, but circumstances chain 
them to the " one-sided" view, and so we go stumb- 
ling on in the old paths, or like an old mill horse round 
and round in the same circle, stereotyping anew the 
groans and complaints of our fathers. Here a man 
will toil for forty years and die poor, while in the city 
a successful speculation often ensures a life of idleness 
and luxury. Industry then is not always the sure 
road to wealth. 

But I will not weary you with an essay on social life, 
I will only say that it is a poor argument which meets 
our complaints, from the pulpit and press, viz., 
" After all, happiness is about equally divided." This 
maxim is believed, because it is the converse of a true 
proposition, which is, " one man is about as miserable 
as another." That is, the laws of Nature and Heaven 
are such that he who accumulates to live a life of idle- 
ness is made as miserable as the man he impoverishes 
in order to do it. Thus, it is true, that happiness is 
pretty equally divided, because the misery the present 


covetous, grasping spirit works is pretty equally di- 

These thousrlits work in me here in the woods as 1 
loan on my rifle, and look on that sturdy backwoods- 
man makinsr the forest rinor with his axe as he devotes 
himself to a life of toil and ignorance. Ah, our religion 
but half performs its work. It simply turns the irild 
animal into a domestic one, but leaves him an animal 
still. It does not elevate him, so that the poor can be 
intelligent, refined, and spiritual. He is still doomed 
to toil, toil, for the mere animal nature. Religion was 
designed by its great Author to accomplish more than 

My stopping place is at the house of an old friend, 
on the frontier of this wild region, who, when I last 
knew him, was called a New York dandy. Designed 
by his friends for a profession, he broke away from his 
studies and entered upon a mercantile life. In the 
crash of 1837, he went down with the multitude. 
Land, scattered here and there over the country, was 
all that was left him to fall back upon, and he resolved 
to turn farmer. I could hardly believe my eyes, when 
I saw what a rock and mountain farm he was on, 
As I came up to the door, he was engaged in filling a 


st?^aw bed for his baby — queer occupation this, for a 
ci-devant dandy. The next morning as he drove off to 
the woods with his oxen, one would never have dream- 
ed he had once sauntered up and down Broadway. 
His wife, a refined and intelligent woman, at first sunk 
under tl is change, but rallying her good sense, she has 
adapted herself to her situation, and now makes butter, 
&c., like a good house-wife. My friend seemed happy; 
but I thought it must be assumed, and so I asked him 
how this compared with New York. " I am happier 
here," he replied, " I prefer this life to that of the city." 
The delicate young merchant is spreading into the 
broad-shouldered working man. I confess I admired 
him, and the second day I told him I would help him 
work, if on the succeeding one he would play with me. 
He agreed to this arrangement, and so I doffed my 
coat and went into the field with him. My appetite 
for the plain dinner was a trifle beyond what is termed 
good, and my slumbers that night deep as oblivion. 

The next morning I claimed the fulfillment of hlif 
promise, and he shouldered his long limber ash pole, 
which he had cut from the forest, and peeled to make 
it lighter, and we entered the dark hemlock forest (hat 
overhangs the ''trout-brook," and were soon in the 


midst of rare sport. B}' the way, pay no regard to the 
list of fancy flies which sportsmen often make so much 
ado about. The red and black hackles are the best for 
our latitude all seasons of the year. With this short 
episode, follow me in fancy, down the stream, packing 
the bright spotted trout away into ni}^ basket, until we 
come to a dark overhanging precipice. Here the 
stream flows in a broad sheet against and under the 
mountain, and disappears from sight to appear again far- 
ther on. This precipice, shooting at an angle of 45 de- 
grees over the current, turning it back on itself, and 
forcing it downward, forms a deep, black pool, covered 
with the foam-bubbles which circle and dart like live 
creatures in the eddies. There, on the very edge of the 
eddy, I have cast my fly. It has hardly moved before, 
look ! what a noble fellow makes the water foam as he 
throws an arch into the air, his white belly gleaming 
like a silver arrow as he goes. Snap goes the line, and 
he vanishes. All, he was a fat one, and that last fling 
of his by which he cleared himself, made every nerve 
in me tingle. 

But I will have his mate. Quickly noosing another 
snell, I drag again the deep pool, and there the other 

shoots — ^the beauty, and I have him ; I cannot play 


him — the bushes and flood- wood and rocks, are too 
thick, — and he flounders lilvc a stargeon — I must lift 
hini or lose him. My slender rod almost doubles, and 
quivers with the load ; but the good stick holds, and 
the fellow is landed. There is absolutely terror in his 
great black eye as he lies and pants on the rock. I 
can't help it, my speckled beauty, it's a world where 
we prey on each other. Beside, I have had nothing 
but fried pork for three days, and I already gloat in 
imagination over your salmon-colored flesh. I have 
gone but half a mile, and let us see, I have forty. 
That will do for to-4ay, and we will turn home. 

Passing through a clearing on a side-hill, on our way 
back, we came upon a ham raising, called here a 
" bee," because all the neighbors are invited to assist. 
The rough frame was up, and a man was sitting on 
the ridge pole, hallooing, " Here's a frame without a 
' name, and what'll ye call it ? Here's a frame without a 
name, and what'll ye call it ? Here's a frame without 
a name, and what'll ye call it?" — " Side-hill drag-,^^ 
was shouted back from the sturdy group below. It 
was christoned with a hurra, and up went two old 
drag-frames to the plates where they were left dang- 
ling in the air. I could not but smile at this curious 


sliristening, yet the man was as proud of liis wit, as 
the politician of his toast on somo great festive occa- 
sion, and had as good reason to bo for aught I know 

Yours truly, 

"driving trees" BENIGHTED IN THE WOODS. 

Indian Lake, June 30. 
Dear H : 

Dm you ever fall a tree ? Tf not, the experiment is 
worth your while — for the consciousness of power it 
awakens, and the absolute terror it inspires, as the 
noble and towering fabric at length yields to your as- 
saults, amply repay the labor. The first stroke into 
the huge trunk sends a slight shiver through all the 
green top ; but as stroke follows stroke, the old king 
of the woods seems to despise your puny efforts, and 
receives the blows in silent contempt. But as fibr^ 
after fibre is severed, and the heart is at last reached 
and pierced, a groan passes up through the lofty stem. 
Then comes a cracking, as if the very seat of life was 
broken up, and the-'frightened thing sways and stag- 
gers a moment, as if to steady its enormous bulk, then 


bows its tall head in submission, and without another 
efTort, and with a shoclv that shakes the hills around, 
falls to the ground. There he lies with all his great 
arms crushed under him, stretched a lifeless corse 
alonsf the earth. His brethren nod and tremble a mo- 
ment above him, as if they felt the overthrow, then 
all is still again. Thus the other day I brought a 
brave old hemlock to the ground, and when I saw the 
lofty green mass first begin to'feway, and then heard 
the snapping and rending of the tough fibres of the 
trunk, a feeling of terror stole over me. This a back- 
woodsman would doubtless call transcendentalism, ii 
he knew the meaning of the term, but there is no 
transcendentalism in s^Yinging a heavy axe for an hour 
to fetch one of these sturdy trees down. 

But felling a single tree is a small matter compared 
to a process called here " driidng trees^'' ? Don't im- 
agine a whole " Birnam" forest on the move " for 
Dunsinane," like a flock of sheep going to market ; but 
sit down v/ith me here on the side-hill, and look at that 
opposite mountain slope. Just above that black fal- 
low, or as they call it here " foUer," there, in that 
deep grove, five as good choppers as ever swung an 
axe, have made the woods ring for the last three 


hours with their steady strokes, and yet not a tree has 
fallen. But, look ! now one begins to bend — and 
hark, crack ! crack I crash ! crash I a whole forest 
seems falling, and a gap is made lilce the path of a 
whirlwind. Those choppers worked both down and 
up the hill, cutting each tree half in two, until they 
got twenty or more thus partially severed. They 
did not cut at random, but chose each tree w^ith 
reference to another. At lena^th a sulhcient number 
being prepared, they felled one that was certain to 
strike a second that was half-severed, and this a third, 
and so on, till fifteen or twenty came at once with that 
tremendous crash to the ground. Here is labor-sav- 
ing without machinery. The .process is called " driv- 
ing trees,'''' and it is driving them with a vengeance. 

A day or tvv^'o since I made an engagement with an 
Indian to go out at night, deer hunting. We were 
sure, he said, of taking one. Having nothing in the 
meanwhile to do, and the pure air and bright sky 
tempting a stroll in the solemn woods, I shouldered 
my rifle and started off. After proceeding about a 
mile, thinking of anything but game, I was suddenly 
aroused from my reverie by the spring of a deer just 
ahead. I looked up, and there, with an arching neck 

A SHOT. 31 

and waving tail, stood a beautiful doe. Quick aa 

thought slie darted away, but when she had gone 

about 25 or 30 rods stopped again. At first I coukl 

not see her, for she had halted behind a clump of 

bushes ; but at length I observed a reddish spot, about 

the size of the crown of my cap, between the leaves. 

I hesitated to shoot, for I knew it was the broadside j 

and one of m.y small bullets (my rifle carries 83 to the 

pound) planted there, might not fetch her down till 

she had run ten miles. However, it was my only 

chance, so I took a steady aim, and fired. A wild 

spring into the open forest told me she was hit, and as 

she leaped madly away, the tail she carried a moment 

before like a plume, was hugged close to her legs. 

Hence I was not surprised when I came to where she 

had stood, to find large drops of blood on the leaves. 

I took the trail and followed on. It was slow work, 

without a dog, and how far I went I know not, but I 

did not give it up till the increasing darkness blotted 

the traces frDm my sight. I then turned to go back, 

but, alas, had not the slightest idea of the course I 

had traveled : and the sun being now down, and the 

high trees blotting out everything but a little space of 

eky overhead, I was utterly a.': a loss which way to 


go. I pushed on, however, trusting more to Uicl? 
than my own knowledge or sagacity. But night hav- 
ing at length come down in earnest, every step was 
taken at random. Heavy and disheartened, I sat down 
on a log, and (thanks to my Alpine match-box,) soon 
struck a light. It was 9 o'clock.- Well, thinks I to 
myself, it's only a little ever six hours to dayl ight, and 
I may as well stop and wait as to be knocking my 
""lead against these trees without getting any nearer 
home, nay, perhaps, farther off. LooJving around, T 
espied a knoll with a rock on it. Here, kindling a fire 
to keep off the musquitoes and bkick flies that were 
devourinsr me at a rate that would soon leave nothinsr 
for the wolves to lunch on, I sat down and waited for 
the leaden hours to wear away. It seems a very 
trifling thing when we read about it, to pass a night 
in the woods, especially when you know that the 
beasts of prey which roam the forest, dare not attack 
you — it is a trifling thing to a backwoodsman, but just 
try it yourself once. I do not affirm that you will be 
frightened ; but as Lugarto was accustomed to say, jou 
will " he nervous. ''"' It was warm, and there was no 
danger ; neither was I lost, for I knew a walk of an 
hour or two in the morning would bring me out y(it I 


could not sleep. Bryant says in his Thanatopsis, that 
it should be a great comfort to a man in death, to 
know that he " lies down with kings and the powerful 
of the earth." I don't know how it may affect one 
" in deatli^"^ but I do know that in vigorous health, 
it requires more than the mere reflection that the 
*' kings and the great ones of the earth" are snoozing 
on their couches of down, to make one sleep sweetly 
in the solemn woods without a friend near him. If I 
felt mclined to doze, the snapping of the fire, or the 
stealthy tread of a fox or hedgehog, would startle me 
h'om my disturbed slumbers — and there stood the tall 
trees in the fire light, their huge trunks fading away 
in the gloom like the columns of some old catliedral 
at twilight. Once, I could have sworn I saw a bear, 
and was on the point of shooting, but finally concluded 
to take a fire-brand in one hand and my rifle in the 
other, and go towards it, when lo ! it turned out to bo 
a hlacli stump. I let it sleep on, and went back to my 
fire, determined to have a nap. It was all in vain, and 
yet I had slept soundly in places where I felt at the 
time there was infinitely more danger than here. I 
had slept lashed to a bench when the storm was spring- 
ing our masts, and the sea falling in thunder on the 


deck of our staggering ship — I had slept amid the 
*' Alps and Appenines," nay, worse, in the cabriolet of 
a French diligence, beside the yelling conducteur. I 
had slept on the hard floor, and beside living and dead 
men, but I could not sleep Jiei-e. There was some- 
thing so awfully solemn and mysterious in that mighty 
forest — in the rustle of the night breeze through the 
tops of the hemlocks, and the flutter now and then of 
a bird disturbed on its perch, that my heart beat audibly 
in my bosom. Just as my nervousness began to be 
particularly annoying, there came a flash of lightning, 
followed by the low growl of distant thunder. This 
was something I had not calculated upon, and I said 
to myself, "Well, there is a prospect of my trying 
Preissnitz's system now, for there will be cold bathing 
in plenty before morning, and my diet is spare enough, 
heaven knows, for I haven't even a red-squirrel to roast 
for my supper. I shall be thankful if one of these 
rotten hemlocks does not have the rubbinof of mn 
down after my bath." Ju3t then the blast swept 
through the forest like the roar of the sea, and all was 
still again. Another flash, and as I live, there stood a 
man amid the trees ; I waited in breathless suspense 
for a second flash but the tread of feet prevented th© 


necessity, and tlie next instant the Indian (a civilized 
one) whom I had engaged to go deer hunting with me, 
approacli^ed. The amount of affection I at that mo- 
ment entertained for the red-skinned gentleman ^ 
would, I think, satisfy my wife, if I am ever fortunate 
enough to have one. He had seen the light of my fire 
above the trees, and supposing I was lost came after 
me ; and I assure you it was the most profitable short 
journey he ever made. It turned out that I was not 
two miles from the settler's house from which I had 
started We reached it about 2 o'clock, and I slept 
on my straw bed that night without thinking of " tlio 
gr3a1; ones of the earth " 

Yours truly 



Backwoods, June 6. 

Dear H : 

Did you ever witness a log driving ? It is one of 
thf curiosities of the backwoods, where streams are 
m3ide to subserve the purpose of teams. On the 
ste^p mountain side, and along the shores of the brook 
which in spring time becomes a fiery torrent, tearing 
madly through the forest, the tall pines and hemlocks 
are felled in winter and dragged or rolled to the brink. 
Here every man marks his own, as he would his 
sheep, and then rolls them in, w^hen the current is 
swollen by the rains. The melted snow along the ac- 
clivities comes in an unbroken sheet of water down, 
and the streams rise as if by magic to the tops of their 
banks, and a broad, resistless current goes sweeping 
like a live and gloomy thing through the deep forest 


The foam bubbles sparkle on the dark bosom that floats 
them on, and past the boughs that bend with the 
stream, and by the precipices that frown sternly down 
upon the tumult ; while the rapid waters shoot onward 
like an arrow, or rather a visible spirit on some mys- 
terious errand, seeking the loneliest and most fearful 
passages the untrodden wild can furnish. I have 
seen the waves running like mad creatures in mid 
ocean, and watched with strange feelings the moonlit 
deep as it gently rose and fell like a human bosom in 
the still night ; but there is something more mysteri- 
ous and fearful than these in the calm yet lightning- 
like speed of a deep, dark river, rushing all alone in 
its might and majesty through the heart of a vast 
forest. You cannot see it till you stand on the brink, 
and then it seems utterly regardless of you or the 
whole world without, hasting sternly forward to the 
accomplishment of some dread purpose. 

But such romance as this never enters the heart of 
your backwoodsman. The first question he puts him- 
self, as he thrusts his head through the branches and 
looks up and down the channel, is — '^ Is the stream 
high enough to run logs ?" If so, then fall to work : 
away go the logs, one after another, down the moun- 


tain, and down tlie banlv, with a bound and a groan, 
and splash into the water. 

The heavy rains about the first of July^ had so 
swollen the stream near which I am located^ that all 
thoughts of fishing for several days were abandoned, 
and the log drivers had it entirely to themselves. ' So, 
strolling through the forest, I soon heard the continuous 
roar that rose up through the leafy solitudes, and in a 
few moments stood on a shelving rock, and saw the 
dark, swift stream before me, as it issued from the 
cavernous green foliage above, and disappeared with- 
out a struggle in the same green abyss below. I 
stood for a long time lost in thought. How much 
like life was that current in its breathless haste — ^how 
like it, too, in its mysterious appearance and depar- 
ture ! It shot on my sight without a token of its birth 
place, and vanished without leaving a sign whither it 
had gone. So comes and goes this mysterious life of 
ours — this fearful time-stream, sweeping so noiselessly 
and steadily forward. And there, where that bubble 
dances and swims, now floating calmly though swiftly 
along the surface, and now caught in an eddy, and 
whirled in endless gyrations round, and now buffeted 
back by the hard rock against whose side it was cast, is 


another life symbol. Such am I, and such is every man 
— bubbles on the dread time-stream — one mxoment mov- 
ing calmly over the waters of prosperity — ^tlie next, 
caught in the eddies of misfortune, till, bcAvildered and 
stunned, we are hurled against the rocks of discourage- 
ment. Yet, ever afloat, and ever borne rapidly on, we 
are moving from sight, to be swallowed up in that vast 
solitude, from whose echoless depths no voice has 
ever yet returned. Life, life, how solemn and mys- 
terious thou art ! I could weep as I lean from this 
rock and gaze on the dark, rushing waters — ^thought 
crowds on thought, and sad memories come sweep- 
ing up, and future forebodings mingle in the solemn 
gathering, and emotions no one has ever yet ex 
pressed, and feelings that have struggled since time 
began, for utterance, swell like that swollen water ovei 
my heart, and make me 'iinconceivably sad here in the 
depths of the forest. 

How lono" I mio;ht have stood absorbed in this half 
dreamy half thoughtful mood, I know not, had I not 
heard a shout below me. Passing down, I soon came 
to a steep bank, at the base of which several men were 
tumbling logs into the stream. I watched them for 
some time, and was struck with the coolness with 


which one would stand half under a huge embankment 
of logs, and hew away to loosen the whole, while 
another with a " handspike"* kept them back. Once 
after a blow, I saw the entire mass start, when " Take 
care ! take care I " burst in such startling tones from 
my lips, that the cool chopper sprung as if stung by 
an adder ; then, with a laugh at his own foolish fright, 
stepped back to his place again. The man with the 
*' handspike" never even turned his head, but with a 
half grunt, as much as to say " Oreen horn from the 
city," held on. It was really an exciting scene — the 
mad leaping away of those huge logs, and their rapid, 
arrowy-like movement down the stream. At length I 
threw off my coat, and laying my gun aside, also 
seized a '* handspike," and was soon behind a log, tug- 
ging and lifting away. I was on the top of a high bank, 
and when the immense timber gave way, and bounded 
with a dull sound from rock to rock, till it struck with 
a splash into the very centre of the current, my sud- 
den shout followed it. The first plunge took it 
out of sight, and when it rose to the surface 
again, it stood, for a single moment, pei ectly still in its 
place, excopt that it rolled rapidly on its axis — tho 
•:«^ A wooden lever. 

A COOL ^' DRIVER." 41 

next moment it yielded to the impetuosity of the cur- 
rent and darted away as if inherent with life, and 
moved straight towards a precipice that frowned over 
the water below. Recoiling from the shock, its head 
swung oif with the current, and away it shct out; 
of sio'ht. 

The stream gets fall of these logs, whii3h often catch 
on some rock or projecting root, and accumulate till a 
hundred or more will be all tangled and matted to- 
gether. There they lie rising and falling on the un- 
easy current, while a driver slowly and carefully steps 
from one to another, feeling with his feet and "hand- 
spike," to see wdiere the " drag" is. When he finds it, 
he loosens, perhaps with a b]ow, the whole rolling, 
tumbling mass, and away it moves. Now look out, 
bold driver, thy footing is not of the most certain kind, 
and a wild and angry stream is beneath thee. Yet see 
how calmly he views the chaos. The least hurry or 
alarm and he is lost : — but no, he moves without agi- 
tation, — now balancing himself a moment, as the log 
he steps upon shoots downward, then quickly passing to 
another as that rolls under him, he is gradually work- 
ing his way towards the shore. He has almost suc- 
ceeded in reachinsf the bank; when the wdiole floating 


mass separates so far, that he can no longer step iroiti 
one to another, and after looking about a moment, htt 
quietly seats himself astraddle of one, and darts like a 
fierce rider down the current. 

These logs are carried twenty and thirty miles in 
this way, passing from small streams to larger ones, 
through lakes and along rivers, and are finally brought 
up at the wished-for spot by poles across the river, 
which stop their further descent. Several different 
men club together to drive the stream, and here they 
pick out each one his own, by the mark he has placed 
upon it, as you have seen a farmer select. his sheep 
in a pen containing several flocks. 

This marking logs like sheep, was entirely new to 
me, and somewhat droll. I could imagine the owners 
at the place of rendezvous, (i. e., of the logs,) selecting 
them in somewhat the following manner: one cries 
out, " well, neighbor Jones, is that your log ?" " Yes." 
" How do you know ?" " Oh, it has my mark— c?'op- 
ped on both ears and slit in the right ; and here is one 
belonging to you with a bob-tail, and a knot in the 

This " driving the river," as it is called, is one of 
the chief employments of your backwoodsmen in 


spring time, and it is curious to see ^Yhat an object of 
interest the river becomes. Its rise and fall are the 
chief topics of conversation. So goes the world — New 
York has its objects of interest — the country village its 
— and the settler on the frontier his — each one is lilled 
with the same anxieties, hopes, fears and wishes — • 
overcome by the same discouragements and misfor- 
tunes, and working out the same fate ; man still with 
that mysterious soul and restless heart of his, greater 
than a king, and immortal as an angel, yet absorbed 
with straws and maddened or thrown into raptures by 
a litt e glittering dust. 



Backwoods, July 10, 1846. 
Dear H : 

It will be a long time before I am again by a post 
office where I can get a letter to you. If you wish to 
know the pleasure of seeing a newspaper from New 
York, bury yourself in the woods for three or four 
weeks, where not a pulsation of the great busy world 
can reach you, nor a word from its ten thousand 
tongues and pens meet your ear or eye. The sight ot 
one, then, fresh from the press, putting in your hands 
again the links of that great chain of human events 
you had lost — re-binding you to your race, and re- 
placing you in the miglity movement that bears all 
things onward, is most welcome. You cannot con- 
ceive the contrasts, nay, almost the shocks of feeling 
one experiences in stepping from the crowded city into 


the dense forest where his couch is the boughs he him- 
self cuts, and his companions the wild deer and the 
birds ; or in emerging again into civilized life, and 
listening to the strange tumult that has not ceased in 
his absence. One seems to have dreamed twice — nay, 
to be in a dream yet. Yesterday, as it were, I was 
walking the crowded streets of New York ; last eve- 
ning, in a birch-bark canoe, with an Indian beside 
me, nearly a day's journey from a human habitation, 
sailing over a lake whose green shores have never been 
marred by the axe of civilization, and on whose broad 
expanse not a boat was floating, but that which guided 
me and my companions on. For miles the Indian has 
carried this canoe on his head through the woods, and 
now it is breastins: the waves that come rollinsr like 
fluid gold from the west. The sun is going to his re- 
pose amid the purple mountains — ^the blue sky seems 
to lift in the elastic atmosphere — the scream of the 
wild bird fills the solitude, and all is strange and new, 
while green islands untrodden by man greet us as we 
steer towards yonder distant point, where our oamp-firQ 
is to be lighted to-night. G-lorious scene— glorious 
evening I with my Indian and my rifle by my side— - 
skimming in this canoe along the clear waters, how 


far away seem the strifes of men and the discords c f 
life. To-night my couch of balsam boughs shall be 
welcome, until the cloudless morn floods this wild 
scene with light. 

But I find I am getting on too fast. To begin at 
the beginning— I started ^\ith four companions, from 
where I had been for some time fishing, for a stretch 
through the wilderness, to ascend Mount Marcy, as it 
is foolishly called, — properly Mount Tahawus,-— and go 
through the famous Indian Pass. Here there are no 
mule paths, as in Switzerland, leading to the bases 
of mountains, whence you can mount to the summits ; 
but all is woods ! woods ! woods ! The highest and 
most picturesque of the Adirondack peaks lie deep in 
the forest, where none but an experienced guide can 
carry you. To reach Mount Tahawus, you must 
come in from Caldwell or "Westport, about thirty miles, 
in a mail wagon, and then you have a stretch of 
some forty miles through the woods to the Adiron- 
dack Iron Works. There is but one road to these 
Y/orks, where it stops, and he who would go farther 
must take to the pathless woods ; indeed, it was 
made solely for these iron quarries, by the company 
which owns them. 


"WeU, here we are, in the heart of the forest, five of 
US, bumping along in a lumber wagon over a road 
yoQ would declare a civilized team could not travel.* 
Now straining up a steep ascent — now" whang to 
the axle-tree between the rocks, and jiow lying at an 
angle of forty-five degrees, and again carefully lifting 
ourselves over a fallen tree, we tumble and bang 
alono^ at the enormous rate of two miles an hour. 
By dint of persuasion, the use of the whip, and a 
thousand " he-ups," we have acquired this velocity, and 
been able to keep it for the last seven hours. But 
man and beast grow weary — it is one o'clock, and as 
the forest is but half traversed, a dinner must be 
had in some way. In three minutes the horses are 
unhitched, and eating from the wagon — in three more 
a cheerful fire is crackling in the woods, and our 
knapsacks are scattered around, disgorging their con- 
tents. Here is a bit of pork, here some ham, tongue, 
anchovy-paste, bread, &c., &c., strung along like a 
column of infantry, on a moss-covered log, and each 
one with his pocket-knife is doing his devours. "We 
eat with an appetite that would throw a French cook 
into ecstacies, did he but shut his eyes to our bill of 

• It has been improved since, and is now quite good. 


fare. Dinner being over, B— = — n, a six-footer, one of 
the finest specimens of a farmer and gentleman you 
will meet in many a day, has lighted his pipe, and is 
sitting on the ground with his back against a log, 
deep in the columns of the Courier and Enquirer 
which I received the day before we started. Young 

A- Id, a quiet little fellow, about eighteen years 

old, is stretched full length on the log trying to get a 

nap. Young S th, tough, vigorous, and full of 

blood and spirits, as these old woods are of rnusqui- 
toes, whose hearty laugh rings out every five minutes, 
as well at misfortunes as at a joke, is smoking his 

cigar over the Albany Argus. P , one of the 

most careless of mortals, who is just as likely to run 
his head against a tree as one side of it — who, in all 
human probability, will have his heel on your pork 
before it is half toasted, or his pantaloon-strap in 
your tea before it is half cooled, is backed up 
against a tree, with his legs across a dead limb, 
running over the columns of the Express. He is 
one of your poetic creatures ; half the tim^e in a 
dream, and the other half indulging in drollery 
that Jveeps the company in a roar. He was never 
in the woods before, and the shadow of the mighty 


forest falls on liis spirit with a strange power, awak- 
enins: a world of new emotions within him. A2:ain 
and again have I been startled by his ''How savage! 
how awful !" At a little distance I myself am sit- 
ting against a stump, with the Tribune in my hand, 

telling B— n the news from Washington. This 

sets hiiri going ; and his sensible remarks on poli- 
tical subjects would make a capital leader for a 
paper. There 3'ou have my fellow-travelers ; and 
you must confess there could not be better com- 
panions for a tramp of a few weeks in the forest. 

Refreshed by our dinner and primitive siesta, we 
pushed on, and at length reached the foot of Lake 
Sanford, where we found Cheney cutting down trees. 
Embarking in his boat, we rowed slowly up to the Adi- 
rondack Iron Works. This lake is a beautiful sheet of 
water, without a hand-breath of cultivation upon its 
shores. Islands smile on 3^011 from every point, while 
to the right, lifts in grand composure the whole chain 
or rather the countless peak's of the Adirondack. 
Tamerack and cedar trees line the banks — in some 
places growing straight out over the water — the 
tops almost as near the surface as the roots. It 
seems as if they were attracted by the moisture l)elow, 


and thus grew in a horizontal direction instead of an 
upright one. The effect of such a strange growth 
along the shore, is singular in the extreme. 

As we passed leisurely up the lake — now glancing 
away from an island — now steering along the narrov/ 
channel which separated two, we saw a white gull sit- 
ting on a solitary rock that just appeared above the 
water. I ascertained afterwards, that he sat there day 
after day, watching for fish. His nest was on the 
island near. 

Coming near another island, Cheney rested a mo- 
ment on his oars, and said, " here Mr. Ingham made 
a picture of the lake." 

But all journeys must end, and we at length, after 
forcing our way up the narrow and shallow inlet, found 
ourselves at the Adirondack Iron Works — the loneliest 
place a hammer ever struck in. Forty miles to a post 
office or a mill — flour eight dollars a barrel, and com- 
mon tea a dollar a pound in these woods, in the very 
heart of the Empire State ! These quarries were dis- 
covered by an Indian, and made known by him to Mr. 
Henderson, who paid him, I believe, twc shillings a 
day, and found him in tobacco, to take him in where 
the water poured over an " iron dam." From this to 


the top of M.mnt Taliawus, it is iiea?'ly twenty miles 
through the woods. Not a human footstep, so our guide 
the " mighty hunter, Cheney," tells us, has profaned it 
for six years, and it is two good days' work to go and 
return. A tramp of forty miles through a patliless 
forest to see one mountain, is a high price to pay, but 
we have resolved to do it. You must know that thirty 
miles in dense woods, is equal to sixty miles 
along a beaten track. These primeval forests are not 
your open groves like those south and west, through 
which a horse can gallop ; but woven and twisted to- 
gether and filled up with underbrush that prevent you 
from seeing ten rods ahead, and which scratch and 
flog you at every step, as if you were running the 

One or two nights at least, we must sleep in the 
w^oods, and our provision be carried on our backs, and 
so behold us at 7 o'clock in the morning ready to start. 
First comes Cheney, our guide, with a heavy pack on 
his back filled with bread, and pork and sugar, carry- 
ing an axe in his hand with which to build our shanty 

and cut our fuel. Young S th has also a pack 

strapped to his shoulders, while A Id and P 

have nothing but theii' overcoats lashed around them ; 


B n carries a tea-kettle in his hand, for he would 

as soon think of camping out witliout his pipe and to- 
bacco, as without his tea. As for myself, I carry a 
green blanket tied by a rope to my shoulders, a strong 
hunting-knife and a large stick like the Alpine stock, 
which I found so great a help in climbing the Alps. 
Some of the worthy workmen of the furnace are look- 
ing on, doubtful whether all will hold out to the top. 
" Have you the pork ?" says one ; " Yes." " Have you 
the sugar and tea?" "Yes." "Have you the spy- 
glass?" "Yes." "Well," says Cheney, "is every- 
thing ready ?" "Yes." " Then let us be off." 

Ycurs truly. 




Backwoods, July 12 

Hurrah ! we are off, and crossing a branch of tlie 
Hudson near its source, enter the forest, Indian file, 
and stretch forward. It is no child's play before us ; 
and the twentv miles we are to travel will test the 
blood and muscle of every one. The fii'st few miles 
there is a rough path, which was cut last summer, m 
order to bring out the body of Mr. Henderson. It 
is a great help, but filled with sad associations. At 
length we came to the spot where twenty -five worlc- 
men watched with the body in the forest all night. 
It was too late to get through, and here they kindled 
their camp-fire, and stayed. The rough poles are 
still there, on which the corpse rested. " Here," 
says Cheney, '' on this log I sat all night, and held 


Mr. Henderson's little son, eleven years of age, in my 
arms. Oh, how he cried to be taken in to his mother ; 
but it was impossible to find our way through the 
woods ; and he, at length, cried himself to sleep in 
my arms. Oh, it was a dreadful night." A mile 
further on, and we came to the rock where he w^as 
shot. It stands by a little pond, and was selected by 
them to dine upon. Cheney was standing on the 
)ther side of the pond, with the little boy, whither 
he had gone to make a raft, on which to take some 
trout, when he heard the report of a gun, and then a 
scream ; and looking across, saw Mr. Henderson clasp 
his arms twice over his breast, exclaiming, '' I am 
shot !" The son fainted by Cheney's side ; but in a 
few moments all stood round the dying man, who 
murmured, " What an accident, and in such a place !' 
In laying down his pistol, with the muzzle unfortu- 
nately towards him, the hammer struck the rock, and 
the cap exploding, the entire contents were lodged in 
his body. After commending his soul to his Maker, 
and telling his son to be a good boy, and give his 
love to his mother, he leaned back and died. It 
made us sad to' gaze on the spot ; and poor Cheney, 
as he drew a long sigh, looked the picture of sorrow. 


Perhaps some of us would thus be carried out of the 
woods. He left New York as full of hope as myself; 
and here he met his end. Shall I be thus borne 
back to my friends ? It is a little singula.r that he 
was always nervously afraid of. fire-arms, and car- 
ried this pistol solely as a protection against wild 
beasts ; and yet, he fell by his own hand. He never 
could see a man walking in the streets with a gun in 
his hand, without stepping to the door to inquire if 
it were loaded. Poor man ! it was a sad place to die 
in ; for his body had to be carried over thirty miles 
on men's shoulders, before they came to a public 

The exhausting march, however, soon drove these 
sad thoughts from our minds, and we strained for- 
ward — now treading over a springy marsh — now 
stooping and crawling like lame iguanas, through a 
swamp of spruce trees, and anon following the path 
made by deer and moose, as they came from the 
mountains to the streams, or climbing around a cata- 
ract, until, at length, we reached Lake Golden, per- 
fectly embosomed amid the gigantic mountains, and 
looking for all the world like an innocent child sleep- 
ing in a robber's embrace. Awfully savage and wild 


are the mountains that enclose this placid sheet of 
water. Crossing a strip of forest, we next strnck the 
Opalescent River, so called from the opals found in its 
bed. The forest here is almost impassible ; and so, for 
fiA'^e miles, we kept the bed of the stream, chasing it 
backward to its source. The channel is one mass of 
rocks ; and hence, our march was a constant leap 
from one to another, requiring a correct eye, and a 
steady foot, to keep the balance. Thus, zigzaging 
over the bed of this turbulent stream,, we flitted 
backward and forward, like flies over the surface of 

a river, till, at length, I heard a shout. S th had 

missed his footing, and slipping from a rock, gone 
plump into a deep pool. Gathering himself up, he 
laughed louder than the loudest, and pushed on. 

Suddenly Cheney stopped and listened ; for the 
deep bay of his hound in the distance, rang through 
the forest. "He has stopped something," he ex- 
claimed; "hark, how fierce he is. I shouldn't won- 
der if it was a moose ; for a cow moose, with her calf, 
will stop and fight a dog this time a year. If it is a 
moose, it would he worth v.diile tc go back." But I 
was after Mount Tahawus, and could ill afford to lin- 
ger on the way, although soon after we heard the low 


ing of a moose in a distant gorge — how lonely tlie 
deep echo sounded. 

At length we all came to a halt on the rocks, and 
prepared for- dinner, and no one was more glad than 
myself to rest. A blazing fire was kindled of dry logs, 
and soon each one had his piece of fat pork on a long 
stick, and was holding it over the flame. I counted 
four pieces all coming to a focus before I added mine 
to the list. Putting them together was a capital ar- 
rangement, for the fat dropping off into the fire in- 
creased the blaze, and hence facilitated the cookino-. 
Dipping my slice every few seconds into the river to 
freshen it, and then laying it upon my bread to pre- 
serve the gravy, I at length had the satisfaction of 
seeing it well done. It was eaten with an appetite 
that quite alarmed me, for it indicated such a radical 
change in my notions and taste, that I was afraid I 
might turn into something monstrous. 

Soon after, our packs were all slung again, and we 
on the march. Yf e continued diving deeper and deeper 
into the hills, until we at last reached the base of 
the mountain, and the foot of a lofty cataract. I have 
climbed the Alps and Appenines, but never found foot 
and eye in such requisition before. It was literally 


" riglit up," ^Yllile the spruce trees, with their dry 
limbs like thorns a yard long, stuck out on every side, 
ready to transfix us, and compelling us to duck and 
dodge at every step. Now sinking through the treach- 
erous moss that covered some gap in the rocks, and 
now swinging from one dead tree to another, we con- 
tinued for two miles panting and straining up the 
steep acclivity, flogged and torn at every step. "We 
had already gone fifteen miles, and such a winding up 

of the tramp was too much. H thought ''the 

Millerites had better start from this elevation." A— — 
said 'twould '' tear their ascension robes so that they 

would look rather shabby on the wing." T was 

sure the notion would take with them, as they 

" Could make such a dale of the journey on foot.'''' 

One large athletic hunter we had taken along as 
an assistant, gave out, so that we were compelled fre- 
quently to halt and let him rest. The fir trees 
grew thicker and more dwarfish as we ascended, ti^ 
they became mere shrubs, and literally matted to- 
gether, so that you could not see two feet in advance 
of you. Through, and over these we floundered, and 
urged our steps ; yet, tired as I was, I could not but 


stop and laugh to see B n fight his way through. 

Rolling himself over like a cart-wheel, he would dis* 
appear in the tiiick evergreens — in a short time, hi? 
face, red with the fierce struggle, would rise like that 
uf a spent swimmer's over the waves ; and then, with 
a crash, he went out of sight again ; and so kept up 
the battle for at least half an hour. Here we passed 
over the bed of a moose, which we doubtless roused 
from his repose, for the rank grass was still matted 
where he had lain. At length, we emerged upon the 
brow of a cliff", across a gulf at the base of which arose 
a bare, naked pyramid, that pushed its rocky forehead 
hisfh into the heavens. This was the summit of 
Tahawus. A smooth grey rock, shaped like an in- 
verted bowl, stood before us, as if on purpose to 

mock all our efforts. Halfway up this was S th, 

looking no larger than a dog, as with his pack on his 
back he crawled on all fours over the rocks. Hitherto 
notliing could knock the fun out of him ; and as he 
from time to time stumbled on a log, or heard the 
complaint of some one behind, he would sing in a 
comical sort of a chorus, " go-in-up,^^ followed by his 
hearty ha-ha-ha, as if he v^^ere impervious to fatigue 
To every halloo we sent after him, he would le* 


turn that everlasting " go-in-uj)^'' sung out so funnily 
that we invariably echoed back his laugh, till the 
mountains rang again. But now he was silent— 
the ^^ go-in-up^^ had become a serious matter, audit 
required all his breath to enable him to ^' go up." 

As we ascended this bald cone, the chill wind swept 
by like a December blast ; and well it might, for the 
snow had been gone but a few weeks. The fir 
trees had gradually dwindled away, till they wore not 
taller than your finger, and now disappeared altoge- 
ther ; for nothing but naked rock could resist the 
climate of this high region. The dogs, which had 
hitherto scoured the forest on every side, crouched 
close and shivering to our side — evidently frightened, 
as they looked off on empty space— and all was 
dreary, savage, and wild. 

At length we reached the top ; and oh, what a view 
spread out before, or rather below us. Here we were 
more than a rriile up in the heavens, on the highest 
point of land in the Empire State ; and with one 
exception the highest in the Union ; and in the centre 
of a chaos of mountains, the like of which I never 
saw before. It was wholly different from the Alps. 
There were no snow peaks and shining glaciers ; but 


all was grey, or green, or l)lack, as far as the vision 
could extend. It looked as if the Almighty had once 
set this vast earth rolling like the sea ; and then, in 
the midst of its maddest flow, bid all the gigantic 
billows stop and congeal in their places. And there 
they stood, just as He froze them — grand and gloomy. 
There was the long swell — and there the cresting, 
bursting billow — and there, too, the deep, black, 
cavernous gulf. Far away — more than fifty miles 
to the south-east — a storm was raging, and the mas- 
sive clouds over the distant mountains of Vermont, 
or rather between us and them, and below their sum- 
mits, stood balanced in space, with their white tops 
towering over their black and dense bases, as if they 
were the margin of Jehovah's mantle folded back to 
let the earth beyond be seen. That far-away storm 
against a background of mountains, and with 
nothing but the most savage scenery betv/een— how 
mysterious — how awful it seemed ! 

Mount Golden, with its terrific precipices — Mount 
Mclntyre, with its bold, black, barren, monster-like- 
head — A'Vliite Face, with its white spot on its forehead, 
and countless other summits pierced the heavens in 
every direction. And then, such a stretch of forest, 



for more tlian tliree liundyed miles in circumference — 
ridges and slopes of green, broken only by lakes that 
dared just to peep into view from their deep hiding- 
places — one vast wilderness seamed here and there by 
a river whose surface you could not see, but whose 
course you could follow by the black winding gap 
through the tops of the trees. Still there was beauty 
as well as grandeur in the scene. Lake Champlain, 
with its islands spread away as far as the eye could 
follow towards the Canadas, while the distant Grreen 
Mountains rolled their granite summits along the 
eastern horizon, with Burlington curtained in smoke 
at their feet. To the north-west gleamed out here and 
there the lakes of the Saranac Eiver, and farther to 
the west, those along the Raquette ; nearer by, Lake 
Sanford, Placid Lake, Lake Golden, Lake Henderson, 
shone in quiet beauty amid the solitude. Nearly 
thirty lakes in all were visible — some dark as polished 
et beneath the shadow of girdling mountains ; others 
flashing out upon the limitless landscape, like smiles 
to relieve the gloom of the great solitude. Through 
out the wide extent but three clearings were visible — > 
all was as Nature made it. My head swam in the 
wondrous vision ; and I seemed lifted up above the 


earth, and sllo^Yn all its mountain' and forests and 
lakes at once. But the impression of the whole, it 
is impossible to convey — nay, I am myself hardly 
conscious what it is. It seems as if I had seen 
vagueness, terror, sublimity, strength, and beauty, all 
embodied, so that I had a new and more definite know- 
ledge of them, Qod appears to have wrought in these 
old mountains with His highest power, and designed 
to leave a symbol of His omnipotence. Man is noth- 
ing here, his very shouts die on liis lips. One of our 
company tried to sing, but his voice fled from him 
into the empty space. "We fired a gun, but it gave 
only half a report, and no echo came back, for there 
was nothins: to check the sound in its flio^ht. " God 
is great !" is the language of the heart, as it swells 
over such a scene. 

And this is in New York, I at length exclaimed, 
whose surface is laced vvitli railroads and canals, and 
whose rivers are turbulent with steamboats and 
fringed with cities. Yet here is a mountain in its 
centre but few feet have ever trod, or will tread for a 
century to come. 

"We designed to encamp as near the summit as we 
could, and obtain firewood, so that we might see the 


sun rise from the summit, but the heavens grew dark- 
er every moment, warning us to find shelter for tho 
night. About 5 o'clock we left the top and v/ent hel- 
ter-skelter down the precipitous sides. After going at 
a break-neck pace for several miles over rocjvs, along 

ravines and through the bushes, S th shouting at 

every leap ^^ go-in-down ^^^ we at length stopped and be- 
gan to peel bark to cover us for the night, for we were 
twelve miles from a clearing, and it was getting darli. 
Soon the axe resounded through the forest, and tree 
after tree came to the earth to furnish us fuel. *' Every 
man must pick his own bed," cried our guide ; for he 
had his hands full to erect a shanty. Our knapsacks 
were laid aside, and we scattered ourselves among the 
balsam trees with knife in hand to cut boughs to sleep 
on. The mossy ground was damp, and T picked me a 
thick couch and stretched myself upon it while supper 
was preparing. Our fire was made of logs more than 
twenty feet long, and as the flames arose and cau^'ht 
the spruce trees they shot ;ip in pyramids of flames, 
crackling in the night air like so many fire-crackers 
One dry tree took fire, and I asked if it might not burn 
in two during the night and fall on us. Cheney 
walked around it to ascertain the way it leaned, then 


quietly seating himself said, " yes, it will burn in two, 
but it will fall t'other way." I must confess, this 
cool reply was not wholly satisfactory, for burning 
trees sometimes take curious whims, — ^liowever, thero 
was no help, and so I lay down to sleep. The storm 
which had been slowly gathering soon commenced, 
and all night hnvg the rain fell, but the good fire kept 
crackling and blazing away, and I was so completely 
fagged out that I slept deliciously. I awoke but 
once, and then enjoyed such a long and hearty laugh, 
that I felt quite refreshed. The immense logs in 
front of us, becamxC in time a mass of lurid coals send 
ing forth a scorching heat. Hence, as \ve lay packed 
together like a row of pickled fish, those in the centre 
took the full force of the fire. First a sleeper vv^ould 
strike his hand upon his thigh and roll over — then 
give the other a slap, dreamung, doubtless, of being 
boiled like a turkey, till at length the heat waked him 
up, when he rose and shot like an arrow into the 
woods. The next went through the same operation — 
the third, and so on, till all but the two " outsiders," 
of which I was one, were in the woods cooling them- 
iselves off in the rain. Not a word was spoken for 
some time, for they were not fairly awake, but as one 


began to ask another, why he was out there in the 
dark, the answers were so honest and yet so droll, 
that I went into convulsions. If you had heard 
them comparing notes as I did, back of the shanty, 
your sides would have ached for a fortnight. And 
then the sheepish way they crawled back one after 
another, looking in stupid amazement at me rolling 
and screaming on the balsam boughs, would have 
quite finished a soberer man than you. 

The tramp of twelve miles, next morning, was tlio 
hardest, for the distance, I ever took. StilT and lame, 
with nothing to excite my imagination, I dragged 
myself sullenly along, and at noon reacned the Iron 

"Oh, but a weary wij^ht was he. 
When he reached the foot of the dogwood tiee," 




Backwoods, July 6. 

Dear H : 

The famous Indian Pass is probably the most 
remarkable gorge iii this country, if not in the 
world. On Monday morning, a council was called 
of our party, to determine whether we should 
visit it, for the effects of the severe tramp two 
days before., had not yet left us, and hardly ono 
walked without limping — as for myself, I could 
not wear my boots and had borrowed a pair of large 
shoes. But the Indian Pass I was determined to see, 
even if I remaincvl ^ehind alone, and so we all to- 
gether started off. It was six miles through the 
forest, and we were compelled to march in single file 
At one moment skirting the margin of a beautiful 
lake, and then creeping through thickets, or stepping 


daintily across a springing morass, we picked our 
way until we. at length struck a stream, the bed of 
which we followed into the bosom of the mountains. 
"We crossed deer paths every few rods, and soon the 
two hounds Cheney had taken with him, parted from 
us, and their loud deep bay began to ring and echo 
through the gorge. 

The instincts with which animals are endowed by 
their Creator, on purpose to make them successful in 
the chase, is one of the most curious things in nature. 
I watched for a long time the actions of one of these 
noble hounds. With his nose close to the leaves, he 
would double backwards and forwards on a track, to 
see whether it was fresh or not — then abandon it at 
once, when he found it too old. At length, striking a 
fresh one, he started off; but the next moment, finding 
he was going back instead of forwards on the track, ho 
wheeled, and came dashing past on a furious run, 
his eyes glaring with excitement. Soon his voice 
made the forest ring ; and I con^ 1 imagine the quick 
start it gave to the deer, quietly grazing, it might 
have been, a mile away. Lifting his beautiful head 
a moment, to ascertain if that cry of death was 
on his track he bounded off in the long chase and 


Cheney's hound. 69 

bold swim for life. Well ; let them pass : the cry 
grows fainter and fainter ; and they — the pursued 
and the pursuer — are but an emblem of what is 
going on in the civilized world from which I am 
severed. Life may be divided into two parts — -the 
hunters "and the hunted. It is an endless chase, 
where the timid and the weak constantly fall by 
the way. The swift racers come and go like sha- 
dows on the vision ; and the cries of fear and of 
victory swell on the ear and die away, only to give 
place to another and another. Thus musing, I 
pushed on ; — at length, we left the bed of the 
stream, and began to climb amid broken rocks that 
were piled in huge chaos, up and up, as far as the 
eye could reach. My rifle became such a burden, 
that I was compelled to leave it against a tree, 
with a mark erected near by, to determine its lo- 
cality. I had expected, from paintings I had seen 
of this Pass, that I was to walk almost on a level 
into a huge gap between two mountains, and look 
np on the precipices that toppled heaven high above 
me But here was a world of rocks, overgrown with 
trees and moss — over and under and between which 
we were compelled to crawl and dive and work our 



way with so much exertion and care, that the 
strongest soon began to be exhausted. Caverns opened 
on every side ; and a more hideous, toilsome, break- 
neck tramp I never took. Leaping a chasm at one 
time, we paused upon the brow of an overhanging 
cliff, while Cheney, pointing below, said, " There, 
I've scared panthers from those caverns many times ; 
we may meet one yet : if so, I think he'll remember 
us as long as he lives /" I thought the probabilities 
were, that we should remember him much longer than 
he would us. At least I had no desire to task his 
memory, being perfectly willing to leave the matter 
undecided. There was a stream somewhere ; but no 
foot could follow it, for it was a succession of cascades, 
with perpendicular walls each side hemming it in. 
It was more ike climbing a broken and shattered 
mountain, than entering a gorge. At length, how- 
ever, we came where the fallen rocks had made an 
open space around, and spread a fearful ruin in their 
place. On many of these, trees were growing fifty 
feet high, while a hundred men could find shelter in 
their sides. As the eye sweeps over these fragments 
of a former earthquake, the imagination is busy with 
the past — ^the period when an interlocking range of 


mountains was riven, and the enp'^-'^^'"js ^^'^^.I^s bowing 
in terror, reeled like ships upon a toss^ig ocern c:nd 
the roar of a thousand storms roiled away irom the 
yawning gulf, into which precipices and forests went 
down with the deafening crash of a falling world. A 
huge mass that then had been loosened from its high 
bed, and hurled below, making a clifFof itself, from- 
which to fall would have been certain death, our 
guide called the "Church," — and it did lift it>;e]f there 
like a huge altar, right in front of the main precipice 
that rose in a naked wall more than a thousand feet^ 
perpendicular. It is two thousand feet from the sum- 
mit to the base, but part of the chasm, has been filled 
with its own ruins, so that the spot on which you 
fitand is a thousand feet above the valley below, and 
nearly three thousand above tide water. Thus it 
stretches for three-quarters of a mile — in no place less 
than five hundred feet perpendicular. By dint of 
scrambling and pulling each other up, v/e at last suc- 
ceeded in reaching the top of the church, while from 
our very feet rose this awful clifT that really oppressed 
me with its near and frightful presence. Majestic, 
solemn and silent, with vhe daylight from above pour- 
* Some say a thousand, others twelve hundred. 


in g "all over its dread form, it stood the impersonation 
of strength and grandeur. 

I never saw but one precipice that impressed me so. 
and that was in the Alps, in the Pass of the G-rand 
Scheideck. I lay on my back filled with strange 
feelings of the power and grandeur of the God who 
had both framed and rent this mountain 'asunder. 
There it stood still and motionless in its majesty 
Far, far away heavenward rose its top, fringed with 
fir trees, that looked, at that immense height, like 
mere shrubs ; and they, too, did not wave, but stood 
silent and moveless as the rock they crowned. Any 
motion or life would have been a relief — even the 
tramp of the storm ; for there was something fearful 
in that mysterious, profound silence. How loudly 
God speaks to the heart, when it lies thus awe-struck 
and subdued in the presence of His works. In the 
shadow of such a grand and terrible form, man seems 
but the plaything of a moment, to be blow^n away 
with the first breath. Persons not accustomed to 
scenes of this kind, would not at first get an adequate 
impression of the magnitude of the precipice. Every- 
thing is on such a gigantic scale — all the proportions 
so vast, and the mountains so high about it, that the 


real individual cjreatness is lost si«:lit of. But that 
wall of a thousand feet perpendicular, with its seams 
and rente and stooping cliifs, is one of the few things 
in the world the beholder can never forget. It frowns 
yet on my vision in my solitary hours ; and with 
feelings half of s^anpathy, half of terror, I think of 
»fc rising there in its lonely greatness. 

*'Has not the sou!, the being of your life, 
Received a shock of awful consciousness, 
In some calm season, when these lofty rocks. 
At night's approach, bring down th' unclouded sky 
To rest upon the circumambient walls; 
A temple framing of dimensions vast. 
* * The whispering air 
Sends inspiration from the shadowy heights 
And blind recesses of the cavern'd rocks j 
The little rills and waters numberless, 
Insensible by daylight, blend their notes 
With the loud streams ; and often, at the hour 
When issue forth the (iist pale stars, is heard 
Within the circuit of the fabric huge. 
One voice — one solitary raven, flying 
Athwart the concave of the dark blue dome, 
Unseen, perchance, above the power of sight — 
An iron knell ! with echoes from afar, 
Faint and still fainter." 



I will only add, that none of the drawings or paint- 
ings I have seen of this pass, give so correct an idea 
of it, as the one accompanying this description. We 
turned our steps homeward, and after having chased a 
deer into the lake in vain, reached the Adirondack 
Iron Works at noon. We had traveled twelve miles, 
a part of the way on our hands and knees. 

I had received a fall in the pass which stunned me 
dreadfully, and made every step like driving a nail 
into my brain. Losing my footing, I had fallen back- 
wards, and gone down head foremost among the rocks 
— a single foot either side, and T should have been 
precipitated into a gulf of broken rocks, from which 
nothing of myself but a mangled mass would ever 
have been taken. Stunned and helpless, I was borne 
by my friends to a rill, the cool water of which re- 
vived me 

Yours, &c., 





Backwoods, July 12 

Dear H : 

You know one expects to hear of hunting achieve- 
ments upon our western frontier, where the sounds of 
civilization have not yet frightened away the wild 
beasts that haunt the forest. But here in the 
heart of the Empire State is a man whose fame 
is known far and wide as the " mighty hunter," 
and if desperate adventures and hair-breadth escapes 
give one a claim to the sobriquet, it certainly be- 
longs to him. Some ten or fifteen years ago, Cheney,, 
then a young man, becoming enamored of forest life 
left Tio^nderoga, and with his rifle on his shoulder, 
plunged into this then unknown, untrodden wilder- 
ness. Here he lived for year^ on what his gun 


brouglit him. Finding in his long stretches through 
the wood, where the timber is so thick you can- 
not see an animal more than fifteen rods, that a 
heavy rifle was a useless burden, he had a pistol made 
about eleven inches in length, stocked like a rifle, 
which, with his hunting knife and dog, became his 
only companions. I had him with me several days as 
a guide, for he knows better tlmn any other man the 
mysteries of this wilderness, though there are vast 
tracts even he would not venture to traverse. Moose, 
deer, bears, panthers, wolves, and wild cats, have by 
turns, made his acquaintance, and some of his en- 
counters would honor old Daniel Boone himself. 
Once he came suddenly upon a panther that lay 
crouched for a spring within a single bound of him. 
He had nothing but his gun and knife with him, 
while the glaring eyes and gathered form of the furi- 
ous animal at his feet, told him that a moment's 
delay, a miss, or a false cap, would bring them locked 
. in each other's embrace, and in a death-struggle. 
But without alarm or over-haste, he brought his rifle 
to bear u=pon the creature's head, and fired just as he 
was sallying back for the spring. The ball entered 
the brain, and with on 3 wild bound his life departed, 


and he lay quivering on the leaves. Being a xittle 
curious to know whether he was not somewhat agi- 
tated in finding himself in such close proximity to a 
panther all ready for the fatal leap, I asl^ed him how 
he felt when he saw the animal crouching so near. 
"I felt," said he coolly, "as if I should kill him." I 
need not tell you that / felt a little foolish at the 
answer, and concluded not to tell him that I expected 
he would say that his heart suddenly stopped beating, 
and the woods reeled around him ; for the perfect sim- 
plicity of the reply took me all aback — yet it was 
rather an odd feeling to be uppermost in a man's 
mind just at that moment — it was, however, per- 
fectly characteristic of Cheney. 

His fii2:ht with a wolf was a still more serious 
affair. As he came upon the animal, ravenous with 
hunger, and floundering through the snow, he raised 
his rifle and fired ; but the wolf, making a spring jast 
as he pulled the trigger, the ball did not hit a 
vital part. This enraged her still more ; and she 
made at him furiously. He had now nothing but an 
empty rifle with which to defend himself, and instant- 
ly clubbing it, he laid the stock over the wolf's head. 
So desperately did the creature fight, that he broke 


the stock into fragments without disabling her. Hfl 
then seized the barrel, which, making a better 
bludgeon, told with more effect. The bleeding and 
enraged animal seized the hard iron with her teeth, 
and endeavored to wrench it from his grasp- 
but it was a matter of life and death with Cheney, 
and he fought savagely. But, in the meantime,, 
the wolf, by stepping on his snow-shoes as she closed 
with him, threw him over. He then thought the 
game was up, unless he could make his dogs, which 
were scouring the forest around, hear him. He 
called loud and sharp after them, and soon one — a 
young hound — sprung into view : but no sooner did 
he see the condition of his master, than he turned in 
affright, and with his tail between his legs, fled into 
the woods. But, at this critical moment, the other 
hound burst with a shrill savage cry, and a wild 
bound, upon the struggling group. Sinking his teeth 
to the jaw 'none in the wolf, he tore her fiercely from 
his master. Turning to grapple with this new foe, 
she gave Cheney opportunity to gather himself up, 
and fight to better advantage. At length, by a vvel!- 
directed blow, he crushed in the skull, which finished 
the work. After this he got his pisto made. 


Y(»u kno\Y that a bear always sleeps through the 
winter. Curled up in a cavern, or under a fallen tree, 
in some warm place, he composes himself to rest, 
and, Rip-Yan-Yrinkle-like, snoozes away the season. 
True, he is somewhat tjiin when he thaws out in the 
spring, and looks voracious about the jaws, making 
it rather dangerous to come in contact with him. 
Cheney told me, that one day, while hunting on snow 
shoes, he suddenly broke through the crust, and came 
upon a bear taking his winter's nap. The spot this 
fellow had chosen, was the cavity made by the roots 
of an upturned tree. It was a warm, snug place ; 
and the snow having fallen several feet deep over him, 
protected him from frosts and winds. The uncere- 
monious thrust of Cheney's leg against his carcass, 
roused up Bruin, and with a growl that made the 
hunter withdraw his foot somewhat hastily, he leaped 
forth on the snow. Cheney had just given his- knife 
to his companion, who had gone to the other side of 
the mountain to meet him farther on ; and hence, had 
nothing but his pis4;ol to defend himself with. Ho 
had barely time to get ready before the huge creature 
was close upon him. Unterrified, however, he took 
deliberate aim right between the fellow's eyes, and 


pulled the trigger ; but the cap exploded ^Yithou1 
discharging the pistol. He had no time to put on 
another cap ; so, seizing his pistol by the muzzle, he 
aimed a tremendous blow at the creature's head. But 
the bear caught it on his paw with a cufF that sent it 
ten yards from Cheney's hand, and the next moment 
was rolling over Cheney himself in the snow. His 
knife being gone, it became simply a contest of 
physical strength ; and, in hugging and wrestling, the 
bear evidently had the advantage ; and the hunter's 
life seemed not worth asking for. But, just then, his 
dog came up, and seizing the animal from behind, 
made him loosen his hold, and turn and defend him- 
self. Cheney then sprang to his feet, and began to 
look around for his pistol. By good luck he saw the 
breech just peeping out of the snow. Drawing it 
forth, and hastily putting on a fresh cap, and re- 
fastening his snow-shoes, which had become loosened 
in the struggle, he made after the bear. When he 
and the dog closed, both fell, and began to roll, one 
over the other down the side-hill, locked in the 
embrace of death. The bear, however^ was too much 
for the dog, and, at length, shook him off, leaving the 
latter dreadfully lacerated — " t )rn," as Cheney said, 


* all to pieces. But," he added, " I never saw such 
pluck m a dog before. As soon as he found I was 
ready for a fight he was furious, bleeding as he was, 
to be after the bear. I told him we would have the 
rascal, if we died for it ; and away he jumped, leav- 
ing his blood on the snow as he went. * Hold on,' 
said I, and he held on till I came up. I took aim at 
his head, meaning to put the ball in the centre of his 
brain ; but it struck below, and only tore his jaw to 
pieces. I loaded up again, and fired, but did not kill 
him, though the ball went through his head. The 
third time I fetched him, and he was a bouncer, I tell 
you." " But the dog, Cheney," said I ; " what 
became of the poor, noble dog ?" " Oh, he was 
dreadfully mangled. I took him up, and carried him 
home, and nursed him. He got well, but was never 
good for much afterwards — ^that fight broke him 
down." I asked him if a moose would ever show 
light. " Yes^" he said, " a cow moose,, with her calf; 
and so will any of them when wounded or hard 
pushed. I was once out hunting, when my dog 
started two. I heard a thi-ashing through the bushes, 
and in a minute more I saw both of them coming 

right towards me. As soon as they saw me they 



bent ck wn their heads, and made at me at full speed 
The bushes and saplins snapped under them like 
pipe-stems. Just before they reached me, I stepped 
behind a tree, and fired as they jumped by The ball 
went clear through one,, and lodged in the other." 

Cheney kills about seventy deer per annum. He 
has none of the roughness of the hunter ; but is one 
of the mildest, most unassuming, pleasant men you 
will meet with anywhere. Among other things, he 
told me of once following a bear all day, and treeing 
him at night when it was so dark he could not see to 
shoot ; then sitting down at the root, to wait till morn- 
ing that he might kill him. But, after awhile, all 
being still, he fell asleep, and did not wake till day- 
light. Opening his eyes in astonishment, he looked 
up for the bear, but the cunning rascal had gone. 
Taking advantage of his enemy's slumbers, he had 
crawled down and waddled off. Cheney said he 
never felt so flat in his life, to be outwitted thus, and 
by a bear. 

With one anecdote illustrating his coolness, 1 
will bid his hunting adventures adieu. He was 
once hunting alone by a little lake, when his 
dogs brought a noble buck into the water. Cook- 

A hunter's coolness. 83 

ing his gun, and laying it in the bottom of the 
boat, he pulled after the deer, which was swimming 
boldly for his life. In the eagerness of pursuit, he 
hit his rifle either with his paddle oi* foot, when it 
went off, sending the ball directly through one of his 
ankles. He stopped, and looking at his benumbed 
limb, saw where the bullet had come out of his boot. 
The first thought was, to return to the shore ; " the 
next was," said he, " I may need that venison before 1 
get out of these woods ;" so, without waiting to ex- 
amine the wound, he pulled on after the deer. 
Coming up with him, he beat him to death with his 
paddles, and pulling him into the boat, rowed ashore. 
Cutting off his boot, he found his leg was badly man- 
gled and useless. Bandaging it up, however, as well 
as he could, he cut a couple of crotched sticks for 
crutches, and with these walked fourteen miles to the 
nearest clearing. There he got help, and was carried 
slowly out of the woods. How a border-life sharpens 
a man's wits. Especially in an emergency does he 
show to what strict discipline he has subjected his 
mind. His resources are almost exhaustless, and his 
presence of mind equal to that of one who has been 
in a hundred battles. "WDunded, perhaps mortally, it 


nevertheless flashed on this hunter's thoughts, that 
he might be so crippled that he could not stir for days 
and weeks, but starve to death there in the woods 
" I may need that venison before I get out," said he ; 
and so, with a mangled bleeding limb, he pursued 
and killed a deer, on which he might feed in the 
last extremity. 




m A TRAP. 

Backwoods, July 14, 1846. 
Dear H— : 

Gtame of all kinds swarm the forest ; bears, wolves, 
panthers, deer, and moose. I was not aware that so 
many moose were to be found here : yet I do not 
believe there is an animal of the African desert with 
which our people are not more familiar than with. it. 
In size, at least, he is worthy of attention, being 
much' taller than the ox. You will sometimes find an 
old bull moose eight feet high. The body is about the 
size of a cow, while the legs are long and slender, giv- 
ing to the huge bulk the appearance of being mounted 
on stilts. The horns are broad, flat, and brancidng, 
shooting in a horizontal curve from the head. I saw 


one pair from a moose that a cousin of Cheney Killed, 
that were nearly four feet across from tip to tip, and 
the horn itself fifteen inches broad. The speed of 
these animals through the thick forests, seems almost 
miraculous, when we consider their enormous bulk 
and branching horns. They seldom break into a 
gallop, but when roused by a dog, start off on a rapid 
pace, or half trot, with the nose erect and the head 
working sideways to let their horns pass through 
the branches. They are rarely, if ever, taken by 
dogs, as they run on the start twenty miles without 
stopping, over mountains, through swamps, and 
across lakes and rivers. They are mostly killed early 
in the spring — ^being then unable to travel the woods, 
as the snow is often four and five feet deep, and 
covered with a thick sharp crust. At these times, 
and indeed in the early part of winter, they seek 
out some lonely spot near a spring or water-course, 
and there " yard," as it is termed r i. e. they tramplo 
down the snow around them and browse, eating 
everything clean as far as they go. Sometimes you 
will find an old bull moose '^ yarding" alone, some- 
times two or three together. ^Yhen found in this 
state, they are easily killed, for they cannot run fast, 


as they sink nearly up to their backs in the snow at 
every jump. 

Endowed,, like most animals, with an instinct that 
approaches marvelously near to reason, they have 
another mode of "yarding," which furnishes greater 
security than the one just described. You know that 
mountain chains are ordinarily covered with heavy 
timber, while the hills and swelling knolls at their 
bases are crowned with a younger growth, furnishing 
buds and tender sprouts in abundance. If you don't, 
the moose do ; and so, during a thaw in January or 
early spring, when the snow is from three to five feet 
deep, a big fellow will begin to travel over and 
around one of these hills. He knows that " after a 
thaw comes a freeze ;" and hence, makes the best 
use of his time. He will not stop to eat, but keeps 
moving until the entire hill is &z-sected and inter- 
sected from crown to base with paths he himself has 
made. Therefore, when the weather changes, his 
field of operations is still left open. The crust 
freezes almost to the consistency of ice, and yet not 
sufficiently strong to bear his enormous bulk ; little,, 
however, does he care for that : the hill is at his 
disposal, and he quietly loiters along the paths he 


lias made, '' browsing" as lie goes — expecting, most 
rationally, tliat before lie lias finished the hill, another 
thaw will come, when he will be able, without incon- 
venience, to change his location. Is not this adapt- 
ing one's self to circumstances ? 

But it is no child's play to go after these fellows in 
midwinter ; for the places they select are remote and 
lonely. It generally requires one to be absent days, 
and from the more open settlements, weeks, to take 
them. The hunters lash on their great snow-shoes, 
which, like an immense webbed foot, keep them 
on the surface ; and taking a sled and blankets with 
them, start for some deep, dark, and secluded spot 
which these animals are known to haunt. By night 
they sleep on the snow, wrapped in their blankets ; 
and when they draw near the place where they expect 
to find a " yard," the utmost circumspection is used, 
and every advance made with the steal thine ss of an 
Indian. Sometimes a moose will wind his enemies, 
and then he is all agitation and excitement ; but the 
fatal bullet ends at once his troubles and fears, and 
his huge carcass is cut up, and the choicest parts car- 
ried home on the sled or sleds. Many a crimson spot 
is thus left or the snow in this wilderness, around 


vvliicli at night the wolves and panthers gather, fiU- 
insr the solitude with their cries. 


Two Indians killed eie:hteen in this re2:ion last 
spring, and one hunter told me that he had shot thice 
in a single day in the early part of March. These 
enormous wild cattle are of a black color, and when 
closely pressed, will fight desperately. Wolves have 
fine picking in deep snow, especially when there is a 
stiff crust % on the surface. The slender hoof of the 
deer, which yard like the moose, cuts through at every 
leap, letting them up to the belly without giving firm 
ground to spring from, even then ; while the broad- 
spreading paw of the wolf supports him and he slcims 
along the surface. In this unequal chase, he soon 
overtakes his victim, and devours him. " But the 
wildest chase I ever saw," remarked a hunter to me 
once, with whom I was in the forest several days, 
*'was between a panther and a deer, in the open 
woods." They were not fifteen feet apart, he said, 
when they passed him, and such lightning speed he 
never before witnessed. Though he had his rifle in 
his hand, and they were but a few rods distant when 
he saw them, he never thought of firing. 

They came and went more like shadows than living 


things. The mouths of both were wile open, and the 
tonofue of the deer han^^^ino' out from *fati£rue, while 
tlieir eyes seemed starting from their sockets — 
one from fear, the other from rage. Swift as the 
arrow in its flight, and as noiseless, save the strokes 
of their rapid bounds on the leaves — ^they fled away, 
and the forest closed over them. Over rocks, and logs, 
and streams, that slender and delicate form went fly- 
ing on, winged with terror, while, so near that he 
almost felt his hot breath on his sides, he heard his 
foe pant after him. Ah, hunger will outlive fear, and 
before many miles were sped over, that harmless thing 
lay gasping in death, and its entrails were torn out 
ere the heart had ceased to beat. 

And thus, methought, it happens everywhere in 
God's universe. Innocence is safe nowhere : — even in 
the solitude of the forest — in nature's sacred temple — 
it falls before the power of cruel passion. The hunters 
and the hunted come and go like shadows, and the 
appealing accents of fear, and the fierce cry of pursuit 
or vengeance, ring a moment on the ear, and then are 
lost in a solitude deeper than that of the wilderness. 

The panther like the lion depends more upon his 
first spring than any after effort. Lying close to a 


limb, he watches the approach of his victim ; then 
with a single bound lights upon its back, planting his 
claws deep in the quivering flesh. It requires a 
strong effort then to shake him off, or loosen his 

His cry of hunger is very much like that of a child 
in distress, and is indescribably fearful when heard at 
night in the forest. It is seldom,' however, that a 
traveler sees any of these animals of prey. They are 
more afraid of him, than he of them ; and winding 
him at a long distance, flee to their hiding places. 
It is only in winter that they are dangerous. I have 
often, however, roused them up by my approach. I 
once heard a catamount scream in a thick clump of 
bushes not a hundred yards from me — ^^it was just at 
twilight, and made me bound to my feet as if struck 
by a sudden blow, and sent the blood tingling to the 
ends of my toes and fingers. You have heard of elec- 
trical shocks, galvanic batteries, etc. — well, their 
effects are mere slight nervous stimulants compared to 
the wild, unearthly screech of a catamount at night 
in the woods. This fellow was not satisfied with one 
yell, but moving a little way off. coolly squatted down 
and gave another and another, as if enraged at oui 


proximity, yet afraid to confront us. They will smell 
a human form an inconceivable distance. 

On another occasion, if I had had a dog with me, 1 
should have brought you home a bear skin a< a 
trophy. I was passing through a heavy windfall, 
where berry bushes, &c., had grown up over the 
fallen timber, when I suddenly heard a hoarse 
"humph, humph ,^' and then a crashing through the 
bushes. I had come upon a huge bear w^hich was 
quietly picking berries. The fellow put off at a tre- 
mendous rate, and I after him. I should judge he 
was about three hundred yards distant at the outset,- 
which he soon increased to four hundred. He made 
for a swamp which he probably crossed, and climbed 
up the steep mountain on the farther side to his den. 

Allien he w^ent down the bank to the swamp, he 
sljov,'ed the size of his track, and he must have been a 
rouser. With a dog I should have "treed" him, and 
then he could have been easily shot. The hunter 
with me caught one a short time before, in a trap, on 
this same mountain. Wliere two large trees had 
fallen across each other so as to make an acute angle, 
he placed a piece of meat, and a strong spiked steel 
trap directly in front of it, covered over with leaves 


The bear of course could not get at the meat without 
first stepping over the trap, and as bad luck ^\"ould 
have it, he stepped in. The trap was not fastened in 
its place, but attached by a chain to a long stick 
-r— the old fellow therefore traveled off till the clog 
caught against a tree. I would not have supposed it 
possible that a bear could make such rending work 
with, his teeth as he did. For six feet upward from 
the root, the tree against which he was caught, was 
not only peeled of its bark, but the hard fibres were 
torn away in large splinters, while the clog itself 
was all chewed up, and the ground around furrow^ed, 
in his struggles and rage. 

Beavers were once found in abundance here, and 
Cheney says he knows where there is a colony of 
them now. Otter and sable are now and then taken, 
but trappers are fast exterminating the fur tribe. 
Yet for game and fish ther; is no region like it on the 

Yours truly, 



My Dear H : 

I AM just recovering from the exhaustion of the 
last few days' tramping, and, quiet and renovat- 
ed, enjoy everything around me. On the banks of 
Lake Henderson — a charming sheet of water — 
I have been reclining for hours, drinking in the 
fresh breeze at every inspiration. It is a summer 
afternoon, and I know by the atmosphere that 
veils these mountain tops, and the force of the sun 
when I step out of the shade, that it is a hot 
July day. At this very moment, while I am 
stretched at my ease, watching the still lake, 
and those two deer that for the last hour have 


been wading along the farther shore, drinking the 
cool water, and nibbling the long grass that 
skirts the bank, and lazily beating off the flies, 
you are sauntering up Broadway, or, perhaps, have 
just returned from a stroll in Union Park, and 
are wooing the sea breeze, that, entering the city 
at the' Battery, is gently diffusing itself through 
every street and alley. Ah, that sea breeze is the 
only salvation of New York. After a hot, pant- 
ing day, when the fiery pavements and red brick 
v/alls have concentrated and redoubled the heat,, 
how refreshingly, and like a good angel, comes 
that, at fii'st slight, but gi'adually increasing sea- 
wind, to the fevered system. Moist from its long 
dalliance with the salt waves, its kiss is soft and 

welcome as that of a I beg your pardon, I 

m(5ant to say, as a doctor once remarked to me, 
^' it, is* a very pleasant stimulant." Yet I know 
Broadway is looking like a furnace just cooled off; 
and with all your windows and doors thrown 
open, you are still languid, while a sultry and op- 
])ressive night awaits you. I pity you from my heart ; 
you have been in Wall street the whole of this scorch- 
ing day, and have not drawn a breath below your 


throat, for the air you live on was never made for tho 

You are pale and exhausted, while now and then 
comes over you, a sweet vision of rushing streams 
and waving tree tops, and cool floods of air. I see 
you in imagination, flung at full length upon the sofa, 
and hear that expression of impatience which escapes 
your lips. But here it is delicious — my lungs heave 
freely and strongly, and every moment refreshes in- 
stead of enervates me. Before me spreads away this 
beautiful lake, shaped like a tea leaf, while all along 
the green shores and up the greener mountain side, 
there is a barely perceptible motion among the leaves, 
as if they were so many living things stirring about 
upon a carpet of velvet. Farther on, the Adirondack 
Pass lifts its startling cliff" into the air, and farther 
still the solemn mountains stand bathed in the splen- 
dor of the departing sun. The placid surface before 
me is now and then broken by the leap of a trout as 
some poor fly ventures too near where he swims — but 
all else is still and calm. Oh, that I iould catch the 
shadows of thoughts and feelings that flit over me. 
1'here is an atmosphere of beauty around my spirit, 
that Alls me with a thousand sweet but vaguo visions. 



There is something I would grasp and retain, but 
cannot — would speak, but have not the power to utter 
it The soul is powerless to act and, 

" Dizzy and drunk with beauty, reels 
In its fullness." 

Just look at the glorious orb of day as it rolls down 
that distant mountdin slope, into the gorge which 
seems made on purpose to receive it. Lower and 
and lower sinks the fiery circle, till at last it disap- 
pears, leaving an ocean of flame where it stood, while 
dark shadows be^in to creep offer the lake and shores. 
On the mountains, there is a bright line of light 
which slowly ascends as if striving to linger around 
the loveliness below. Inch by inch it creeps upward, 
growing brighter as it rises, till at length the highest 
summit is reached — irradiated and forsaken. Its last 
baptism was on that bald peak which blazed up a 
moment like an altar-fire to God, then sunk in dark- 
ness — and now the pall of niefht is slowly drawn over 

Thus, my friend, dia this July evening pass with 
me, and with a sigh over the gorgeous dream that had 
vanished, I turned awav. Thousfh the nisht was 


lovely with its stars and sky, which seemed doubly 
brilliant in contrast with the black mountain masses 
that shut out half the heavens ; yet the dash of a 
stream over its broken channel, and the hoot of the 
distant owl conspired to give a loneliness to the scene 
the former could not enliven. I thought of home, and 
those I loved — of life and its lights and shadows — oi 
death and its deepeT mysteries — of the far world be- 
yond the stars, and that " palace" to which " even 
the bright sun itself is but a porch lamp." 

But these reveries will not fit me for to-morrow'3 
toil, and so good-night t« you. 

Yours truly. 





Backwoods, July. 
Dear H^ : 

There is a path across the mountains to the road 
that leads into the centre of this vast plateau, and to 
the lake region. But I am going out to a settlement 
before I start for that still more untrodden field, filled 
with scenes far more beautiful. This is the last 
morning I shall, probably, ever look on the summit of 
Tahawus. You cannot conceive what an affection 
one has for a majestic old mountain few have ever 
ascended, and on whose top he himself has stood. 
For six years not a foot has profaned this almost inac- 
cessible peak, and I feel as if I had paid a visit to a 
hermit and left him in his solitude, thinking over the 


tlic woods. But *n this we were disappointed, and 
therefore traveled on until the shades of evening be- 
gan to gather over the forest, admonishing us to seek 
a place of rest for the night. We had now gone six- 
teen miles from Adirondack, which, added to the 
twelve miles in the morning, made nearly thirty miles 
— a severe day's work. Twilight brought us to the 
Boreas River, and here we found a log shanty, which 
some timber cutters had put up the winter before, and 
deserted in the spring. It was a lonely looking thing, 
dilapidated and ruinous, with some straw below, and a 
few loose boards laid across the logs above by way of a 
chamber. I expected to have had some trout for sup- 
per, for a young clergyman who had joined us a day 
or two before, said that on his way up he took sixteen 
out of one pool as fast as he could cast his line. But 
it was nearly dark when we reached the river, and so, 
kindlinj? a blazino- fn-e outside, we dined on our last 
provisions, and turned in. As I said, only a few boards 
were laid across the logs above, leaving the rest of the 
loft perfectly open. By getting on a sort of scaffold- 
ing, and reaching the timbers overhead, we were able 
to swing ourselves up on the scanty platform. After 
1 succeeded in gaining this per3h, I helped the other;? 


up ; but the clergyman was rather too heavy, and just 
as he had fairly landed on the boards, one gave way, 
and down he went. I seized him by the collar, while 
he, with one hand fastened to my leg, and with the 
other grasped a timber, and thus succeeded in arrest- 
ing his fall, and probably saved himself a broken 

We lay in a row on our backs along this frail scaf- 
folding, filling it up from end to end, so that, if the 
outside ones should roll a half a yard in their sleep, 
they would be precipitated below. A more uncom- 
fortable night I never passed ; and after a short and 
troubled sleep, I lay and watched the chinks in the 
roof, for daylight to appear, till it seemed that 
mornino: would never come. I resolved never as^ain 
to abandon my couch of leaves for boards, and a 
ruined hut through which vermin swarmed in such 
freedom, that I dreamed I had turned into a spider, 
and speculated a long time on my unusual quantity 
of legs, endeavoring in vain to ascertain their respec- 
tive uses. 

At length the welcome light broke slowly, over the 
still fo;:est, and I turned out. Huge stones and 
billets of wood hurled on the roof soon brought forth 


tlie rest of our companions, and we started off. We 
had nothing to eat, and seven weary miles were to be 
measured before we could reach the nearest clearing. 
"WTiat with the night I had passed, and that seven 
miles' tramp on an empty stomach, I v/as completely 
knocked up. The clear morning air could not revive 
me — my rifle seemed to weigh fifty pounds— my legs 
a hundred and fifty, and I pushed on, more dead than 
alive. At length we emerged into a clearing, and 
there, in a log hut, sat our teamster, quietly eating 
his breakfast. The day before, he had started through 
the forest.; but becoming frightened at the wildness 
and desolation that increased at every step, had turned 
back — choosing to leave us to our fate rather than 
run the risk of making a meal for wolves and bears. 
I could have seen him flogged with a good will, I was 
so indignant. Hungry, cross, dnd weary, we sat down 
to breakfast, and then stowed ourselves away into a 
lumber wagon, and rode thirty miles to our respectiv3 
stopping-places. The little settlement seemed like a 
large village to me, and the inhabitants the most re- 
fined 1 had ever met. 

Several days' rest here has restored me, and I be- 
gin to feel my system rally, and am conscious of 


strength and vitality to which I have been a stranger 
for six months. 

I shall remain here a few days, and then start for 
the lake region — ^the only land route to which is a 
rude road ending at Long Lake. The Adirondack 
chain subsides away there into more regular ridges — it 
is, however, wilder than the region I have left, and 
w^e shall have to rely for food on what we ourselves 
can eaten and kill. 

Yours truly, 



Backwoods, July 12. 

Dear E — 

Thunder storms are not particularly pleasant things 
in the woods, but you are now and then compelled to 
take them. I have just passed through one, and, like 
all grand exhibitions of nature, they awaken pleasure 
in the midst of discomfort. I have never witnessed 
anything sublime, even though dangerous, that did 
not possess attractions, except standing on the deck 
of a ship in the midst of a storm, and looking off 
on the ocean. The wild and guideless waves run- 
ning half-mast high, shaking their torn plumes as 
they come — the turbulent and involved clouds — 
the shrieks of the blast amid the cordage, and groans 
of the ship, combine to make one of the most awful 
scenes in nature. Yet I loathe it and loathe my- 


self as I stand cr try to stand, reeling to and fro, 
holding on to a belaying pin or rope, for support. 
But give me firm footing, and I love the sea. I 
don't believe Byron ever thought of writing about it 
till he got on shore. The idea of a man thinking, 
much less making poetry while he is staggering like a 
drunken man, is preposterous. 

But I like to have forgot myself — I was reclining 
on the slope of a hill the other day, near a lake, 
from which I had a glorious view of the broken 
chain of the Adirondack. From the ravishing beauty 
of the scene, my mind, as it is wont, fell to musing 
over this mysterious life of ours^-on its strange con- 
trasts and stranger destinies, and I wondered how its 
selfishness and sorrow, blindness and madness, pains 
and death, could add to the glory of G-od ; or how 
angels could look on this world without turning away, 
half in sorrow and half in anger, at such a blemished 
universe, when suddenly, over the green summit of the 
far mountain, a huge thunder-head pushed itself into 
view. As the mighty black mass that followed slowly 
after, forced its way into the heavens, darkness began 
to creep over the earth. The song of birds was 
hushed — ^the passing breeze paused a moment, and 



Backwoods, July 12. 

Dear E — 

Thunder storms are not particularly pleasant things 
in the woods, but you are now and then compelled to 
take them. I have just passed through one, and, like 
all grand exhibitions of nature, they awaken pleasure 
in the midst of discomfort. I have never witnessed 
anything sublime, even though dangerous, that did 
not possess attractions, except standing on the deck 
of a ship in the midst of a storm, and looking off 
on the ocean. The wild and guideless waves run- 
ning half-mast high, shaking their torn plumes as 
they come — the turbulent and involved clouds — 
the shrieks of the blast amid the cordage, and groans 
of the ship, combine to make one of the most awful 


scenes in nature. Yet I loathe it and loathe my- 


self as I stand cr try to stand, reeling to and fro, 
holding on to a belaying pin or rope, for support. 
But give me firm footing, and I love the sea. I 
don't believe Byron ever thought of writing about it 
till he got on shore. The idea of a man thinking, 
much less making poetry vrhile he is staggering like a 
drunken man, is preposterous. 

But I like to have forgot myself — I was reclining 
on the slope of a hill the other day, near a lake, 
from which I had a glorious view of the broken 
chain of the Adirondack, From the ravishing beauty 
of the scene, my mind, as it is wont, fell to musing 
over this mysterious life of ours — on its strange con- 
trasts and stranger destinies, and I wondered how its 
selfishness and sorrow, blindness and madness, pains 
and death, could add to the glory of Grod ; or how 
angels could look on this world without turning away, 
half in sorrow and half in anger, at such a blemished 
universe, when suddenly, over the green summit of the 
far mountain, a huge thunder-head pushed itself into 
view. As the mighty black mass that followed slowly 
after, forced its way into the heavens, darkness began 
to creep over the earth. The song of birds was 
hushed — ^the passing breeze paused a moment, and 



then swept by in a sudden gust, which whirled the 
leaves and withered branches in wild confusion 
through the air. An ominous hush succeeded, while 
the low growl of the distant thunder seemed forced 
from the deepest caverns of the mountain. 

I lay and watched the gathering elements of 
strength and fury, as the trumpet of the storm sum- 
moned them to battle, till at length the lightning be- 
gan to leap in angry flashes to the earth from the 
dark womb of the cloud, followed by those awful and 
rapid reports that seemed to shake the very walls of 
the sky. The pine trees rocked and roared above me 
— for wrath and rage had taken the place of beauty 
and placidity — and then the rain came in headlong 
masses to the earth. Keeping under my shelter of 
bark, I listened to the uproar without, as I had often 
done under an Alpine cliff in the Oberland, waiting 
for the passage of the storm. In a short time its fury 
was spent, and I could hear its retiring roar in the 
distant gorges. The trees stopped knocking their 
green crowns together, and stood again in fraternal 
embrace, while the rapid dripping of the heavy rain 
drops from the leaves, alone told of the deluge that 
had swept overhead. I stole forth again, and but foi 


this ceaseless drip, and the freshened look of every- 
thing about me in the clearer atmosphere, I should 
hardly have known there had been a change. 

Scarce a half hour had elapsed — yet there the blue 
sky showed itself again over the mountain where 
the dark cloud had been — ^the sun came forth in re- 
doubled splendor, and the tumult was over. Now 
and then a disappointed peal was heard slowly 
traveling over the sky, as if conscious it came too- 
late to share the conflict ; but all else was calm, 
and tranquil, and beautiful, as nature ever is after a 
thunder-storm. But while I lay watching that blue 
arch, against which the tall mountain, now greener 
than ever, seemed to lean ; suddenly a single circular 
white cloud appeared over the top, and slowly rolled 
into view, and floated along the radiant west. 
Bathed in the rich sunset — glittermg like a white 
robe — ^how beautiful ! how resplendent ! A moving 
glory, it looked as if some angel-hand had just rolled 
it away from the golden gate of heaven. I watched . 
it till my spirit longed to fly away and sink in its 
bright foldings. ,iVnd then I thought were I in the 
midst of it, it would be found a heavy bank of fog— « 
damp and chill like the morning mist, which obscures 


the vision and ruffles the spirit, till it prays for one 
straggling sunbeam to disperse the gloom. But seen 
at that distance — shone upon by that setting sun — > 
how glorious I And here, me thought, I had a solution 
of my mystery of life. With its agitations and 
changes — its blasphemies and songs — its revelries and 
violence — its light and darkness — its ecstasies and 
agonies — its life and death — so strangely blent — ^it is 
a mist^ a gloomy fog, that chills and wearies us as 
we walk in its midst. Dimming our prospect, it 
shuts out the spiritual world beyond us, till we weep 
and pray for the rays of heaven to disperse the gloom. 
But seen by angels and spiritual beings from afar — 
shone upon by God's perfect government and grand 
designs of love — it may, and doubtless does, appear 
as glorious as that evening cloud to me. The bright- 
ness of the throne is cast over us, and its glory 
changes this turbulent scene into a harmonious part 
of his vast whole. " G-od's ways are not as our ways, 
neither are his thoughts as our thoughts." After Ic 
has all passed, and the sun of futurity breaks on the 
scene, light and gladness will batke it in undying 


I turned away with that summer cloud fastened in 
my memory forever, and thankful for the thunder 
«torm that had taught my heart so sweet a lesson. 

Yours truly, 




Backwoods, August. 

Dear H : 

I am off again for the woods — resolved to penetrate 
to the heart of this wild country, whose scenery can- 
not be matched this side of the Alps. For fifty miles, 
we can with care go on horseback, and -^^^^^ we must 
be our own beasts of burden. 

Our company consists of five — a young clergyman, 
whom I persuaded to try bivouacking in the forest, in- 
stead of lounging at Saratoga Springs for his health, 
R — ffe, formerly a merchant in Maiden Lane, but now 
a thorough backwoodsman, cutting down forests and 
putting up mills, &c., and Doctor T — 11, and young 

It was a bright morning, as, mounted on fresh 


horses, with our rifles on our shoulders, Ave passed 
from the more open settlements, which gradually 
grew thinner and wilder, and entered the unbroken 
forest. In the trouble we were at to obtain an extra 
horse, and afterwards a saddle, we forgot to take pro- 
visions for the way ; so, after traveling for nearly thirty 
miles, we found ourselves on the banks of the Boreas 
River, (our old friend, with v/hom we encamped a 
week or two since, some thirty miles to the north- 
east,) weary and hungry, and twelve miles of forest to 
the nearest clearing. It was now one o'clock, and v/e 
had been in the saddle since early in the morning. 
Our horses needed food and rest, so did we ; but the 
former was easier obtained for our beasts than for us. 
Taking off their saddles and tying them head and foot 
to prevent them from straying away, we turned them 
loose, to broAvse in the forest. AY — d hunted around 
for berries to allay his hunger, while the doctor smok- 
ed his pipe and chewed spruce gum which he peeled 
from the trees, by way of stomach-stayers. R — ffe 
and myself thought of trying the trout ; but the 
heavily timbered and tangled banks forbade all access 
to the stream except oy plunging in. Hungi-ier than I 
ever remember to have been before, I floundered 


thiough the woods down the stream, seeking in vain 
for an opening ; until, driven to desperation, I jumped 
in. But fly fishing with a crooked and green stick is 
rather unsatisfactory business, and though raising 
some twenty, I succeeded' in taking only one, and he 
of small dimensions. Just as I had got him nicely 
stowed away in my pocket, a rifle shot — the signal to 
return — called me back. Wlien I reached our resting 
place, I found my companions all in the saddle and 
ready for departure. " What I" said I, " are you 
going?" "Yes, let us hurry on !" "Not I," I re- 
plied, " till I devour this trout, for between my long 
ride and fast, and the effort to catch him, I am on the 
extreme limit of starvation. Come, doctor, strike me 
a fire while I dress him," So the doctor kindled 
a blaze, while I cut off" the trout's head on a stone, 
and spitted him on a stick, ready for roasting. A few 
minutes in the blaze rendered him fit for my not over- 
nice palate, and I chewed him with a vigor I had 
never before exhibited, and when his tail finally dis- 
appeared, I heaved a sigh like one whose days of hap- 
piness are over. I looked around in despair, for there 
was nothins: else eatable to be seen ; so mounting 
iny steed, I pushed on after the rest of the company 

nature's temple. 115 

Straoi^lins; en in Indian file, we went in a sort of 
hurry scurry through the woods, saying nothing, but 
each one evidently aware that he could not get to a 
supper too soon. Over mountains and across swamps, 
through a break in the Adirondack chain, which we 
here again struck ; we urged on our jaded animals, 
with naught but the rush of the wild bird's wing, and 
the scared look of the pheasant or the deer, as he hur- 
ried from our path, to break the monotony of the ride. 
Yet this traveling along a narrow path in the forest is 
a right kingly march. Only think of riding all day 
through a magnificent colonnade, the columns lifting 
a hundred feet above your head, and crowned with 
Corinthian capitals, .made after a richer model than 
the acanthus leaf. How the soul awakes in this new 
existence, and casting off the fetters that has bound 
it, rejoices in broader liberty, and leaps with a new, 
exultant feeling. The green, moving arch over your 
head does not confine you as it sheds down its fresh- 
ness and fragrance on the path, for it reveals between 
its glorious fret- work of leaves and twigs a limitless 
dome beyond, that carries away the soul .to farther, 
freer, brighter regions. Oh I how I love the glorious 
woods, and the sense of freedom they I ring. How 


can one stay where he is cheated, exasperated, slan- 
dered, and mortified, when he has the broad forest to 
rejoice in, and such companions only as his own choice 
may select ? 

Towards night, we came to a clearing, the five 
families of which composed the entire town. Just 
before sunset, our host, a cousin of Cheney, and my- 
self, went to a lake close by, on the opposite shore of 
which two deer were quietly grazing. Stepping into 
a boat, we endeavored to get within shot, but a loon 
a little way off, kept up such, a loud and continual 
scream, that they were more than usually cautious, 
and soon moved away. Cheney had a huge black dog 
with which I became on the most intimate terms, 
much to the surprise of his master who declared he 
h;i(l never before seen him so playful with a stranger. 
I told him I did not doubt it, for hunters had often 
made the same remark to me, but that I prided my- 
self on only one quality — the power to win the love of 
children and dogs. He said he was an excellent dog 
for bears, and only a few months before attacked one 
on the side^hill opposite the house, and kept him ai 
bay all day. Soon as Bruin attempted to run he 
would fasten on his haunches, thus compelling him to 


turn and figlit. Cheney was away at the time — hut 
on returning at evening, he heard his dog barking 
furiously in the woods, and taking down his rifle, 
went to him, and shot the bear. 

Next morning we plunged again into the forest, and 
as we rode along, I noticed trees at certain intervals, 
marked " H," which, after vainly attempting to ac- 
count for, I finally enquired the reason of. " Oh, it 
means liighivay^'' was the reply. This was a rather 
comical mode of telling one he was on the highway, 
still I was thankful for the information. In another 
place we came upon fires built over a huge rock in 
the middle of the track, compelling us to take a semi- 
circle in the woods. On inquiring the cause of this, 
to me, Angular procedure, I was told that settlers, 
hired by the State, v/ere working on the road, and in 
the absence of drills, took this method of breaking the 
rocks to pieces. Being sand-stone, the fire slowly 
crumbled them apart, so that the crowbar or lever 
could remove them. I thought of Hannibal, and his 
fire and vinegar on the rocks of the San Bernard ; and 
men seemed going back to their primitive state. In- 
stead of culting down the trees that stood in the way, 
they hewed off the roots, and then hitciiing a rope to 



the tops, pulled tliem over with oxen. And tlma 
they work and toil away here in the woods — ^yet not 
wholly heedless of the great world without. How 
strange it seems to behold men thus occupied — living 
contentedly fifty miles from a post office or village — 
and hear their inquiries about the war with Mexico, 
asking of events that have been forgotten months ago 
in New York ! 

The path grew rapidly worse as we proceeded — in 
some places endangering the limbs of our animals, and 
indeed our own necks. Sometimes we were up to the 
girths in a morass, and again leaping a huge tree — 
but at last we arrived at Long Lake, and it was lite- 
rally reaching the end of the journey. The path as we 
approached the shore, had dwindled to a mere Indian- 
trail, and there entirely disappeared. "With no road 
around, and no sign of life in sight, save a solitary log 
hut on the farther side of the lake, we waded up and 
down the shore till stopped by the rocks — looking in 
vain for some way of escape. Just then a flock of 
wild ducks shot out of a small bay at our feet, when 
crack ! crack ! went our rifles. The next moment a 
boat put off from the opposite shore, rowed by a boy. 
*' Wliere is the path," was our inquiry as ho ap- 


proached, '' that leads along tlie lake to some clear- 
ing?" ''You can't go," was the reply, "there hain't 
none." " But what shall we do with our horses ?" "I 
don't know." — After planning awhile, we concluded to 
fasten them in the woods, and bring over gi-ass in the 
boat. So, tying them to the trees, and hanging our 
saddles on the branches, we crossed over. AVith all 
Hamilton County for a stable, our jaded animals 
passed the first night. 

But carrying provender across the lake took up too 
much time, and therefore the next morning we con- 
cluded, after a long consultation, to swim them over. 

W d first rode his powerful black horse, which the 

day before, by his amazing strength, had saved him 
from a broken neck or limb, into the lake. The noble 
animal was accustomed to the swamps and the forest, 
but not to deep water, and he sunk almost to his ears. 

W d, somewhat frightened, as he found himself 

submerged to the armpits, began to pull sharply on 
the rein, which brought the horse nearly perpendicu- 
lar in the water, with his fore feet pawing the air. 
The more erect the poor animal stood, the harder he 
was forced to pull the rein to keep from sliding off. 
Looking up, I saw his danger — for. thrown backward 



SO by the bit, the struggling animal would, in a 
minute more, have fallen over upon him. I shouted 
out, " Let go the rein instantly, and grasp th^ mane !" 
He did so, and the horse relieved from the strain on 
his head, righted himself and brought his rider safely 
to the shore. In swimming the lake, however, he 
sunl Co his ears, and groaned and grunted with every 
stroke. Another would not swim at all ; but the mo- 
ment he got beyond his depth, flung himself upon his 
side compelling us to hold his head on the stern of 
the boat and tow him across. The rest took to their 
work more kindly, especially a sorrel mare, which 
swam without an effort — the ridge of her back just 
skimming the surface, and her motion easy and steady 
as that of a swing. 

We were right glad to reach the opposite forest ; — 
and dragging our dripping btasts-up the rocky bank, 
threaded our way to the only hvt we had seen since 

Yours, &.C. 




Long Lake, Aug. 10. 

Dear H- 

Let me introduce you to our camp. It is a litt!n 
after noon, and a most lovely day. and there, at the 
toot of tlie lake, back a few rods, in the forest, lis 
burning a camp-fire. On a stick that is thrust into 
the ground and leans over a log, hangs a small kettle 
of potatoes — a little one side is suspended to a tree a 
noble buck just dressed, som.c of the nicest bits of 
which are already roasting in a pan over the fire. In 
a low shantee, made of hemlock bark, entirely open in 
front, lazily recline the young clergyman and the doc- 
tor, watching with most satisfied looks the cooking of 
the savoiy venison. On the other side are stretched 
the weary hounds in profound slumber. An old 


hunter is watching, with knife in hand, the progress of 
a johnnjr-cake he is baking in the aslies, giving every 
now and then* a most comical hitch to his v/aistbands 
while, as if to keep up the balance, one whole side of 
his face twitches at the same time. Close hj him is 
my Indian guide whom I obtained yesterday, coldly 
scrutinizing my new modeled rifle. Taciturn and 
emotionless as his race always are, he neither smiles 
noir speaks. 

Knowing that his curiosity was excited, T remarked, 
*' Mitchell, I wish you would try my rifle, for I havo 
some doubts whether it is perfectly correct." With- 
out saying a word, he took up an axe, and going to a 
distant tree struck out a chip, leaving a white spot. 
Returning as silent as he went, he raised my gun to 
his face, where it rested for a moment immovabJe as 
stone, then spoke sharp and quick through the foicb':. 
The bullet struck the white spot in the centre. He 
handed back the rifle without uttering a word — that 
shot was a better comment on its correctness than 
anything he could say. 

Our venison and johnny-cake and potatoes were 
at length done ; and each of us peeling off a bit 
of clean hemlock bark for a plate, we sat down 


on the leaves, and placing our bark dishes across 
our legSj with a sharp stick in one hand for a fork, 
and our pocket knives in the other, commenced 
our repast. I have dined in palaces, hotels, and 
amid ancient ruins, but never so right royally before. 
We were kings here, with our rifles by our side, and 
no one to dispute our sway ; and then such a palace 
of countless column.* encompassing us, while the 
gentle murmur of the tiny wave as it laid its cheek 
on the smooth pebbles below, made harmony with the 
refreshing breeze that rustled in the tree tops and 
lifted the ashes of our already smouldering camp fire. 
I thought last winter, at the Carlton House, that the 
venison made a dish that might please a gourmet, but 
it was tasteless, savorless, compared to this venison, 
cat off from the freshly killed carcass, and roasted in 
the open forest. A clear stream near by furnished us 
with a richer beverage than wine ; while the fresh air, 
and gleaming lake, and sweet islands sleeping on its 
bosom, gave to the spirits a healthier excitement than 

After the repast was fmished, we stretched our- 
selves along the ground and smoked our cigars, and 
talked awhile of trout and deer and bears anil 


wolves and moose. At length the Indian arose and 
made preparations for departure. Taking our rifles 
and fishing tackle, we pushed our boats into the lake, 
and made for Raquette River, the outlet of the lake, 
and thence into Cold River. 

I wish I could give you some conception of this 
stream. At this season of the year it is almost as 
moveless as a pond, while its v/aters are clear as fluid 
crystal, revealing a smooth and pebbly bottom. The 
shores of both the rivers are all trodden over with 
moose and deer and bear tracks. During the after- 
noon we had endeavured to take some trout, of 
which Mitchell told me the river was full. But the 
unruffled surface of the stream, combined with its 
pellucid waters, and an unclouded sun, made every 
fish fly to his lurking place long before we got sight 
of him. Under the deep shadow of an overhanging 
and v/ooded bank, Mitchell at length took one, whife 
1 had the pleasure of seeing a two pounder rise to my 
fly with open mouth and dilated eyes ; but just as he 
was going to snap it, he caught a glimpse of us, and 
darted like a flash of lightning to the bottom, from 
whence no after-coaxing could lure him. But as the 
sun went down I ha 1 better success. Being tlie only 


one who used a fly, I took all tlie trout. They were, 
however, of a small size and difficult to hook, foT I 
had nothing but a common pole cut from the forest, 
on which to rig my line. I had left my light and 
delicate rod in the settlements, as I should advise 
every one to do, who endeavors to penetrate this path- 
less region. "When one is compelled to carry his own 
rifle, overcoat, and underclothing, and sometimes hij 
cooking utensils, and that, too, with a walk of 
twenty miles on a stretch before him, he would do 
vvell not to lumber himself up with fishing rods. 

But when the sun at length totally disappeared be- 
hind the mountains, and the surface of Cold River, 
overshadowed by an impenetrable forest, became black 
as ink, the trout left their retreats ; and in a short 
time the water was in a foam with their constant 
leaoinor. Where but a short time before we had 
passed, looking down through the clear depths 
without seeing a single finny rover, now there 
seemed an innumerable multitude. Here a sudden 
bold bound — there a lons^ shoot as a fierce fellow 
swept along after a large fly, kept the bosom of tho 
stream in a bubble. The Indian and my companions 
had stiff poles, core lines, and large hooks, with a 


oiecG of raw venison for bait. This tliey would 
''' skill er^'' along the surface, and the moment it 
caught the eye of a trout, away he would rush with a 
leap and plunge after it. I found that my light tackle 
was entirely out of place in this new mode of fishing, 
for while I was drowning one big fellow, those in the 
boat with me would take half a dozen. Besides the 
time for fishing was short, for twilight had already 
settled on the forest — and so, after in my hurry break- 
ing two or three snells, I, too, rigged on a cord line, 
big hook, and piece of venison. I never saw anything 
like it in my life — it was a constant leap, roll, and 
plunge there around our lines — and some of them 
such immense fellows for brook trout. In a half an 
hour we took at least a half a bushel, many of them 
weighing three pounds, and few less than a pound. 

At length, however, it became too dark to fish, and 
a single rifle shot of the Indian recalling our scat- 
tered boats, we started for the camp. 

Turning the head oi our boat, we drifted down to 
Raquette River, and then pulled for the lake. This 
was a mile of hard rowing, and it was late before wo 
reached the outlet. One skiff Jiaving started sooner 
than we, was already at the camp — the cheerful fire 


of which, burst on us through the trees as we rounded 
a pomt of the outlet, and shot upon the bosom of the 
quiet lake. "Look, R — fTe," I exclaimed, "yonder 
is the camp fire, and now another light moves down 
to the beach, where they are dressing the trout for 
supper." He sprang to the oars, and the light boat 
fled like a wild deer toward that cheerful flame. 
Islands and rocks flew by, and under a cloudless sky, 
and myriads of bright and glorious stars, we sped 
gaily on, till, at length, the boat grated on the pebbly 
beach, and a joyous shout that made the solemn old 
forest ring, went up from the camp and shorfe. In a 
moment all was bustle and preparation for supper, and 
the noblest dish of trout I ever ate I took there by 
fire light in the woods. My appetite, it is true, was 
sharp, and we made a sad inroad into our pile of 

After supper we lay around in every variety of 
attitude upon the dry earth, lazily snuffing up the fra- 
grance of the woods, and looking off on the still sur- 
face of the lake in whose clear depths the stars of 
heaven stood tremblins:, and listeninsr to wild huntinar 
stories, interspersed now and then with flashes of 
broad humor, till at length the deep breathing of the 


Indian admonished ns that we, too, needed repose to 
prepare us for the toils of the next day. "We did not 
retire to our rooms and bloAv out the lights, but 
spreading a blanket on the earth and leaves, stretched 
ourselves upon it in a row, and with our feet to the 
blazing fire, composed ourselves to rest — that is, all 
the party but myself. I sat up for some time by 
the crackling fire, and watched the others as they 
dropped one after another to sleep, until exhausted 
and weary, I also stretched myself heside the Indian 
with a log for my pillow, between two knots of which 
I placed m}^ head to keep it from rolling. 

A little after midnight I awolvC — the wind had 
shifted to the east, and was blowing strong and chill, 
sending a rapid swell on the beach, and a loud mur- 
mur though the cedar tops overhead. The fire had 
died away, except a few smouldering brands, while 
the bright stars, those ceaseless watchers, looked 
kindly down from their high sentinel posts in heaven. 
The wild and lonely scream of the northern diver, 
came at interval's through the darkness, as he floated 
far away on the water ; and night, solemn night, with 
the great forest, was around me. I strolled down to 
the lake shore, and .^et the breeze fall on my fevered 


head, while the glimmer of the dying embers of our 
camp-fire through the trees rendered the scene doubly 
lonely. I returned, and seizing the axe, soon had a 
bright and crackhng fire sending its light over the 
sleepers. The sparks, borne higher and higher by the 
wind, danced about in the forest, and shed a clear 
light on a noble ^Yhite hound that lay sleeping in 
careless ease at the foot of a tree. Tall trunks stooa 
column-like and still, on every side — gradually grow 
ing dimmer and dimmer, till lost in a mass of black- 
ness, and contrasting strangely with the motion ana 
roar of the tops, through which the wind swept in fitful 
gusts. Again I stretched^ myself on the ground, and 
woke no more till light was dawning in the east, and 
then with a shudder and start as though a tomahawk 
were gleaming over my head. The Indian's dog had 
crawled upon me, and lay heavily along my body, his 
head resting on my bosom, his mouth to my mouth, 
while a low growl which issued from' his chest, 
startled the Indian by my side. I never was so struck 
with the alertness of an Indian. I am not slow to 
wake myself, especially in a case like this ; but 
before I opened my eyes, Mitchell v/as • on his feet ; 

and as I looked up, I saw hin standing over me with 


his piercing black eye fixed on the dog. " Be still !" 
he exclaimed, and then, as if talking to himself, 
added, '' it is strange, but he is watching you, he 
smelt danger." His keen nose probably winded some 
wild animal prowling about our camp — attracted 
blither by the savory smell of venison. I gently car- 
essed the noble fellow, and rose from my hard couch 
The whole group were standing listlessly around the 
fire, yawning and stretching, while the few jokes that 
were cracked created only a mockery of laughter. 

Yours truly. 




Long Lake, August 1. 

Dear H : 

My last left us yawning and stretching around our 
camp fire a little after daylight in the morning, look- 
ing and feeling stupid and heavy — ^but a fresh wash 
in a mountain rill near by restored us to life, while 
the answers to the inquiries how each other 'had slept, 
brought back the merriment that seldom flags in 
the woods. "Well, R — ffe, how did you sleep?" 
*' Pretty well, only H — Jvcpt punching me to keep me 
off from him." "And how did you sleep, H — ?" 
"As I'll never' sleep again. I was on the lower hill- 
side, and served as a block to the whole of you. You 
rolled down against me and wedged me in so tight 
that I couldn't, with my utmost effort, turn over, to 


save my life." " Mr. W — d, was you broke of your 
rest?" "No: I slept pretty well, considering tire 
circumstances." Turning to Mr. P — , I remarked, 
" Well, Mr. P — , I saw you get up once when I roso 
to put some wood upon the fire. You lay rolled up in 
your blanket like a mrfhimy, while the sparks from 
the fire fell in a shower upon you. I thought you 
would find it rather too hot before morning." " I 
don't remember getting up at all," he replied ; "proba- 
bly the roaring fire you made did cause the smoke to 
choke me. I never waked but once, and then I was 
startled by the sound of an axe ; I opened my eyes, 
and saw you splitting down the stump — ^the root of 
which I had made my pillow — directly over my head." 
This, of course, I stoutly denied, amidst the uproari- 
ous laugh of the company. I then remembered the 
. frightened look he gave me, as I v/as cutting into a 
stump near by him, and in the next moment roll 
rapidly in his blanket down the hill. The suddenness 
and oddity of the movement surprised me at the timCj 
but now it was all explained. In his half- wakened 
state, he saw the bit of my axe gleaming in the fire 
light, and thought it was descending directly on 


his skull. No wonder he performed those sudden 
evolutions I 

At length Mitchell having finished his pipe, called 
to the hounds, " Come, Rover, come Maj,'' and with 
shouldered rifle moved down to the shore. The night 
before, as we sat around the camp fire, we bid for the 
first fire at the deer we should start in the morning. 
I outbid the rest, when Mitchell dryly remarked, " I'll 
take you in my boat." He had not forgotten his 
promise, or rather the reward, and so beckoning to me, 
we started ofi*. After rowing a mile or two, we 
landed the old hunter and the dogs, who soon disap- 
peared in the forest. Just then, Mitchell pointed to a 
lofty pine tree, towering above the surrounding forest, 
on an upper limb of which sat a grey eagle in her 
nest; " I believe I'll try to get a shot at her," said 
he, and started ofi". With the stealthiness of his race, 
he crept and dodged through the woods till I thought 
he never loould shoot. I watched the noble bird 
through my glass, and could see her head ever and 
anon turn quickly as she heard the snapping of a 
stick, ar rustling of a leaf, which Mitchell with all hia 
care could not prevent, till, at length, rising on hei 



nest, she cast her piercing eye on every side, and then 
detecting the danger, gathered her strong pinions and 
soared away. Wheeling round and round the place 
of her young, she finally stooped on the top of an 
immense pine tree. Again and again she rose and 
circled away, and then alighted where she could 
overlook her offspring. She had discovered the In- 
dian, but the love of her young was stronger than her 
fear, and she would not leave them. At length the 
sharp crack of a rifle rang though the woods, and the 
noble bird, unscathed, rose and sailed over where I 
stood. I lifted my rifle and again let it fall, saying to 
myself, " This time, at least, you shall not fall a 
victim to parental love." Mitchell soon joined me, 
and I remarked, ''Well, you missed her." "Yes, it 
wants close squinting to pick one off from the top of 
■such a pine as that." 

Pushing off, we rowed over to an island where we 
could have a fair view of the lake on every side, and 
awaited the deer ; and here I felt some of the miseries 
of a hunter's life. A cold east wind swept the bosom 
of ihe lake, and I sat and shivered, thinking there 
would be vastly more poetry in staying by the camp* 


fire, and eating venison already killed, than waiting 
for that which was yet running on the mountain. 
Mitchell climbed a cedar and stood looking over 
the broken top to catch the first cry of the hounds 
as they opened on the track, while I sat with my 
back against a hemlock, my rifle across my lap, 
and my coat collar turned up over my ears, wish- 
ing it was over with, and thinl^ing the while of 
breakfast, as my eye turned evei and anon, most 
wistfully down the lake, where R ffe was row- 
ing backwards and forwards from the camp to a 
rock in the water, on which we had spread our 
venison, killed the day before. The dry east wind 
proved too strong — ^the dogs could not follow the 
scent, and soon appeared again, trotting along the 
shore with the hunter. 

It was not long after this, before I was discussing 
a noble trout, that lay, fresh from the pan, along 
my bark plate. 

After breakfast, our little fleet of three skiff's, 
was launched, and we paddled slowly up the lake. 
In the mean time, the east wind, which always 
poisons me^ died away, and this beautiful sheet of 


water lay like a mirror in which the blue heavens 
were quietly gazing on their own beauty. After 
rowing two or three miles, Mitchell remarked it w^aa 
a good time to start a deer. I hailed the boats, 
and in a few minutes W" were in close consulta- 
tion as to the best mountain on which to put out 

the dogs. "Anywhere," said P , "will fetch 

one; but that mountain (pointing to the left,) is 
the best, for the echo of the cry- of the hounds 

comes down from it in grand style. I want H 

to hear the echo of the chase alons: its sides 
once, — it is more blood-stirring than the sound of 
a trumpet." Sending one boat on a mile and a 
half a head, and one back, Mitchell and myself 
landed the hunter and do^^s and took a middle sta- 
tion. They had scarcely reached the shore, before 
the dogs opened. Pushing back into the lake, 1 
saw the white hound appear on the beftch at a 
little distance, shoot backward and forv/ard a few mo- 
ments with his nose to the ground, then utter a 
loud deep cry." "Ah," said I to myself, "that has 
started at least one 'nohle stag,' from his couch of 
leaves, and he stands this moment with dilated 
nostril and extended neck, whil^ a pang of terror 


shoots through his wild heart as the yell again 
ringing through the forest, tells him that the voice 
is on his track." 

The west ^Yind had now risen, and we sat and 
rocked on the waves, listening to the farious out- 
cry that the mountain sent down to the water. 
The green forest shut in both hounds and deer, but 
you could follow the chase by the rapidly flying 
sound along the steep acclivities. How earnest and 
eager is the bay of a blood-hound on a fresh track — 
ah, it was exciting, cruel as it may seem to some. 
Suddenly the boat, a mile and a half above us, shot 
out like an arrow, from behind a rock, and flew 
over the water. The qnick eye of the Indian caught 
it, and exclaiming " the deer has took" to the water 
there," sprang to his oars. ''It is not possible," 1 
replied; '-it is scarcely half an hour since the dogs 
started." He stopped, rose to his full length in 
the boat — stood for a moment like i. statue, then 
dropping on his seat, he exclaimed, " it is," and 
seized the oars. I did not deem it possible he could 
discover it that distance with his naked eye; but 
he had been trained from infancy in the forest. In 
that short time such a change had passed over the 


man, that I scarcely knew him. Taciturn, slo\^ 
and indolent in his movements, I had not thought 
him capable of sudden excitement. But now the 
energy and fire of ten men seemed concentrated in 
him. His strokes fell with a rapidity and power T 
had never before witnessed. I have seen men row 
for wagers and for dear life; but never saw blows 
tell on a boat as did those of his. 

It is true the skiff was liglit, for it was made to 
be carried on one man's shoulders across the country 
from lake to lake — it is true also, that I threw 
myself on the paddle with which I steered, with 
all the strensfth I was master of; but the strokes 
of Mitchell seemed each time to lift the cockle-shell 
from the lake. As he fell back on the oars, so 
rapid was the passage of the boat, that the water, 
. as it parted before it, rose up on each side as high 
as his shoulders, and foamed like a torrent past me. 
On, on we sped like a winged creature, when a rifle 
shot rang dull and heavy in the distance, and the 
wind lifting the smoke bore it down towards us. 
" Did he hit him ?" exclaimed Mitchell. I dropped 
my paddle and lifting my glass to my eye, replied, 
" No, and it is a buck. I see his antlers, and he ig 


bearing right down on us. Pull, pull away my brave 
fellow." He did pull, and so did I, and we flew over 
the surface. The other boat had been compelled to 
lay-to a moment to mend an oar, which had given 
us the advantas^e, but it was now as^ain sent with 
no stinted strokes down the lake. At length I could 
see the head and antlers of the noble buck, as with 
dilated nostrils and terror-stricken glance, he swam 
and doubled on his pursuers. "Hold," 1 exclaimed, 
as he glanced away towards the shore. The boat fell 
into the trough of the waves just as I raised my 
rifle to my shoulder, and the little cockle-shell rocked 
so like mad on the water, and my frame was quiver- 
in2f so with the exhaustins: effort of the last few 
minutes, that the muzzle of my piece described all 
sorts of mathematical diagrams around the head of 
the deer, as I endeavored to make it bear for a 
single second upon it. I could not shoot — but "fire! 
fire!" shouted Mitchell, and " fire" it was. The bul- 
let struck just under his throat, throwing the water 
over his head, while he made a desperate spring and 
pulled for the shore. Shame on me, but I might as 
well have shot on horseback under a full gallop. 
At that moment the other boat flew like a spirit 



past, and crack \yent the rifle of W — d. He missed, 
and again our slaff was rapidly dividing the waves 
before her, while in scarcely more time than I have 
been relating it, another ball was in my gun, and 
I exclaimed, " Now, Mitchell, as we approach him, 
throw the head of the boat on the wave* so the 
motion shall be steady, and if I miss him I will 
fling my rifle into the lake." As we came up, a 
single stroke of the oar sent her round, and as she 
rose and fell on the short sea, I "watched my time'* 
and pulled. A desperate plunge and a bloody streak 
upon the water, told that the bullet had found the 
life-blood. Struggle on, bold fellow, but your life 
is reached, and never again shall your foot press, 
the mountain-side! Just then another shot struck 
the water close by our boat, glanced, and also en- 
tered the deer. He bowed his antlered head in the 
waves, and turned over on his side, while the short, 
convulsive efforts told of his death agony. A few 
strokes of the oar, and our boat lay alongside — the 
knife of the Indian entered his throat, and the deed 
was done. I raised him by the horns, and towed 
him slowly along t :)ward the shore. Th{3 excitemeni 


of the cliase was over, and as I gazed on tlie wild, yet 
mild and gentle eye of the noble creature, now glaz- 
ing in death, a feeling of remorse arose in my heart. 
I could have moralized an hour over the beautiful 
form as it floated on the water. The velvet antlers 
(they are now in their velvet) gave a more harmless 
aspect to the head than the stubborn horn, and I 
almost wished to recall him to life. It seemed impos- 
sible that, a few minutes before, that delicate limbed 
creature was treading in all the joy of freedom his 
forest home. How wild had been his terror, as the 
fierce cry of the hound fii-st opened on his track ! 
— ^how swift the race down the mountain side, and 
how free and daring his plunge from the rock into the 
wave ! How noble his struggles for life. But the 
bold swimmer had been environed by foes too strong 
for him, and he fell at last, where he could not 
even turn at bay. The delicate nostril was relaxed 
in death, and the slender limbs stiff and cold. 

I was awakened from my moralizing by Mitchell, 
who that moment ceased rowing and gave a call. 
The gallant white hound had followed the track of 
the deer to the water, where he stoa. perplexed and 


anxious till the first rifle shot fell over the lake. 
He then plunged in, and had ever since been swim- 
ming after us in the chase. We lay-to, and took 
the noble fellow in and then pulled for shore 




Owl's Head, August 5 
Dear H-^ : 

Have you ever been on the summit of the Highi. in 
Switzerland ? It is said to command the finest view 
in that land of magnificent prospects. I once stood 
on its top, and saw the sun come up in his glory, till 
forests, lakes, rivers, and villages sprang into life and 
beauty, and the whole range of the Bernese Alps, from 
Sentis to the Jungfrau, glittered in red and gold, while 
the vast snow fields slept in deep shadow between. 

My eye never opened on a more glorious panorama, 
and I stood amid its surpassing beauties in silent 
amazement. The view, it is said, embraces a tract of 
country three hundred miles in circumference, with 
eleven lakes in sight from the summit, though I never 


could make out more than half that number. Tht; 
Righi has become almost a classic name, while the 
" Owl's Head," from which I date my letter, has 
never yet dared to show its face in civilized life. In- 
deed, the cognomen has been given by a man wander- 
ing by, from its shape, and it waits a new christening. 
A forester here has requested me to give it a name, 
promising it shall keep it. If you will send me one, 
I will see to the baptism, and you shall have the 
honor of naming a mountain ; which is far more im- 
posing than giving a name to a baby. It deserves a 
good one, for insignificant as it may seem, to plant 
your feet on an "owl's head," it looks off on a pro- 
spect that would make your heart stand still in your 
bosom. Look away toward that distant horizon ! In 
its broad sweep round the heavens, it takes in nearly 
four hundred miles, while between slumbers an ocean 
— but it is an ocean of tree tops. Conceive, if you 
can, this vast expanse stretching on and spreading 
away, till the bright green becomes shaded into a deep 
black, with not a sound to break the solitude, and not 
a hand's breadth of land in view throughout the 
whole. It is a vast forest-ocean, with mountain- 
ridges for billows, rolling smoothly and gently on like 


the subsidins: swell of a storm. I stand on the ed^^o 
of a precipice which throws its naked wall far down to 
the tops of the fir trees below, and look off on this 
surpassingly wild and strange spectacle. The life that 
villages, and towns, and cultivated fields give to a 
landscape is not here, neither is there the barrenness 
and savae:eness of the view from Tahawus. It is all 
vegetation— luxuriant, gigantic vegetation ; but man 
has had no hand in it. It stands as the Almighty 
made it, majestic and silent, save when the wind or 
the storm breathes on it, waking up its myriad low- 
toned voices, which sing 

" The wild profound eternal bass 
In nature's anthem." 

Oh, how still and solemn it slumbers below me ; 
while far away yonder, to the left, shoot up into the 
heavens the massive peaks of the Adirondack chain, 
mellowed here, by the distance, into beauty. Yet 
there is one relief to this vast forest solitude — like 
gems sleeping in a moss bed, lakes are everywhere 
glittering in the bright sunshine. How calm and 
trustingly they repose on the bosom of the wilder- 
ness ! Thirty-six, a hunter tells me, can be counted 
from this summit, though I do not see over twenty. 

- & 


There, like a snake crawling out from the mountain 
gorge, comes Long Lake, with its glittering head — 
and yonder is Forked Lake, and farther on Raquette 
Lake — and farther still, Great and Little Tuppers 
Lake, and away, a mere luminous point — but I will 
cut short the list, for, indeed, many have no names. 
Some of these are from, four to six miles in width, 
and yet they look like mere pools at this distance, 
and in the midst of such a mass of green. 

I have gazed on many mountain prospects in this 
and the old world, but this and the view from 
Tahawus have awakened an entirely new class of 
emotions. They are American scenes, constituting 
one of the distinctive features of our country, where 
nature seems to have formed everything on such 
a large model, merely because she had so much 
room to work in. I wanted to set fire to the trees on 
the summit of the mountain, so as to present an un- 
obstructed view, but the foliage was too green to 
burn. A deep moss bed covered the whole top, on 
which w^e reclined as on the softest couch. You will 
get some conception of the wildness of the country, 
when I tell you that it took us nearly five hours to 
find this mountain after we first came in sig-ht of ?Y, 


though at the time not more than two m^es distant, 
in a straight line, from its base. "VYe rowed six miles 
and landed with its blue top in clear view — then 
took the direction with our pocket compasses, and 
started off. One who had been to the summit before 
acted as guide, but after circling round one or two 
swamps, and falling unconsciously out of our way, by 
following ridges that seemed to go in the direction we 
wished, we found ourselves wholly at loss. Hills and 
swamps, and a dense forest on every side, completely 
obstructed our view, and we stumbled on hour after 
hour, and ascended two mountains, before we could 
finally get another glimpse of the one we were after. 
"We breakfasted about six in the morning, and had left 
our fishing-tackle on the shore, where we expected to 
be again by noon, and take some trout for dinner — 
but it was half-past three when we reached the top of 
this mountain, making nine hours of the most* des- 
perate toil ; with nothing to eat, and, what was worse, 
with no prospect of getting anything till we should 
again reach our boats. The doctor was .in perfect 
despair, and declared he could not return without 
food. As a last resort, he took from his pocket a 
piece of venison he had brought along for trout bait, 


(a Frencliman could not have wished it older ^ and 
devoured it. I besfsred the half of a cia^ar of one of the 
company, (I offered him five dollars for the whole of 
it,) to stimulate my exhausted system, and we began 
(lur descent. We again lost our course and wandered 
about till, wearied out, and hungry, we sat down in a 
bed of wild '' sheep sorrel," and plucked the green 
leaves and ate them. An owl fluttered on a branch 
over head, and I drew up my rifle and fired, but miss- 
ed him. I verily believe, if I had killed him I should 
have eaten him on the spot. The doctor declared 
he would not stir — he would rather die than go any 
further. We cheered him up with the remembrance of 
his venison^ at which he made sundry wry faces, not 
to be mistaken, and which drew peals of laughter 
from us, weary and faint as we were. The doctor 
would then stagger on, but it was really pitiful to 
look back and see him stop, put his shoulder to a tree, 
and sink his head against the trunk, then slide down 
in utter exhaustion, on the green moss at the root. 

At length the rifle shot of the clergyman, who had 
gone on while we tarried for the doctor, announced 
that he had at last found the lake. This ^ave new 
life to our spirits, and we scrambled joyously for- 


ward. Those slender boats never loolced so beautiful 
to me before, as they then did, resting quietly on the 

It was now nearly dark, and the nearest hut was 
four miles off. Three of us sat down in one boat 
and looked despairingly on each other, as much as to 
say, "AVlio can row these four miles?" Invalid 
as I was, I seemed to have the m-ost strength left, 
and so took the oars and rowed two miles and a 
half, though every stroke seemed to tear out my very 
stomach — ribs and all. We at length moored our 
skiff at the base of a hill, and began the ascent to a 
clearing. "With both hands on the muzzle o-f my rifle, 
which I used as a pole to push myself along with, I 
dragged one foot after another, till I at length stopped, 
and bowing my head on my gun, declared I was fairlj 
done up, and could go no farther. Just then there 
came a flash of lightning that set the dark forest in a 
blaze, followed by a peal of thunder that made the 
shores and mountains tremble, as it rolled like the 
report of a hundred cannon down the lake. I in- 
stinctively straightened up, as the thought flashed 
over me, what sort of a mathematical line the bullet 
of my rifle would just then have made through my 


brain, had the powder but ignited. I immediately 
stepped forward with considerable alertness, though 
not without reflecting on the wonderful power elec- 
tricity and magnetism exerted over the human" sys- 
tem, especially under such circumstances. 

I at length reached the hut, with a head burst- 
ing with pain ; and, throwing myself on the floor, 
begged most piteously for a morsel of bread. I had 
Deen fourteen hours without food, and most of the 
»ime under^^oins: the severest toil. That nisht was 
)ne of pain to me, and as I turned on my rude bed, 
. felt that for once I had '' paid too dear for tho 

Yours truly. 



Long Lake, AugTist. 

My Dear H : 

Yo«a must expect now and then a hiatus in my 
journal, for hours of idleness are indulged in here as 
well as in civilized life. To-day, wearied with yes- 
terday's tramp, we may be loitering around the camp, 
cleaning our rifles, and recruiting oLirselves for a long 
to-morrow. Sometimes we idle away the entire morn- 
ing, and spend the afternoon in fishing — again take a 
deer in the morning, and after dinner dress him, then 
perhaps, practice rifle-shooting towards evening. At 
another time a rain-storm sets in, which lasts two or 
three days, compelling us to keep close and do no- 
thing. As these are all rather monotonous to me, tho 
relation would be so to you — beside, one trout fishing 


and one deer hunt is very much like another ; and 
though the excitement is ever new to him who is 
engaged in them, they liave no freshness in the de- 

Long Lake is one of the most beautiful sheets of 
water I ever floated over, and its frame-work of moun- 
tains becomes the glorious picture. No artist has 
ever yet visited it ; and alas, as I have no s.kill with 
the pencil, its beauties, like the "rose in the wil- 
derness," must, for a while, blush unseen. I never 
saw a more beautiful island than " Round Island," as 
it is called, situated midway of the lake. As you 
look at it from above or below, it appears to stand 
between two promontories, whose green and rounded 
points are striving to reach it as they push boldly out 
into the water ; while, Avith its abrupt, high banks, 
from which go up the lofty pine trees, it looks like a 
huge green cylinder, sunk there endwise, in the 
waves. I wished I owned that Island — it would be 
pleasant to be possessor of so much beauty. 

Mitchell went yesterday to the foot of this lake to 
meet his father and sister, who were on the way to 
visit him. They had started some time before, a 
hundred and fifty miles distant, in a bark can )e, and 


he calculated that, that day or the next, thoy would 
be at the outlet. He not having returned, I thought 
in the afternoon I would row down and find him. I 
had some thirteen miles to go, and unfortunately, 
neither of the two young men with me could handle 
the oars or steer, so I stripped to the task. Luckily, 
however, there was a strong gale blowing down the 
lake, and I landed on an island and cut a bush, which 
I hung over with pocket handerchiefs to make it hold 
the wind, and then set it upright in the centre of the 
boat as a mainsail. The breeze was strong and steady, 
and worked admirably. Far away to the south- 
west, the gollen sky shone in brilliant colors, and 
over its illuminated depths the fragmentary clouds 
went trooping as if joyous with life, while to the 
northwest, towards which our frail craft was driving 
the heavens were black as midnight, and the retir- 
ing storm-cloud looked dark and fierce — retreating, 
though still unconquered. The sun was hastening to 
the ridge of the sky-seeking mountains, and his de- 
parting beams threw in still deeper contrast the black 
masses that curtained in the eastern heavens. But 
still the waves kept dancing in the light, as if deter- 
mined not to be frowned out of their frolic, and it was 


with no little pleasure I saw that threatening cloud 
yield to the balmy and swift careering breeze that 
swept the bosom of the lake. 

At length, just as we were glancing away from the 
head of a beautiful island, I saw a boat coming 
towards us, impelled against the wind by the steady 
strokes of a powerful rower. As it shot near, I bo- 
held the swarthy and benevolent face of Mitchell. He 
lay on his oars a minute to hear my salutation and 
my proposition, then pointed to a deep bay a mile dis- 
tant, around which stretched a white line of sand ; 
and again bent to his oars. I followed after, for I 
lme\v there was his camp ; and soon after our boats 
grated on the smooth beach, and we were sitting be- 
side a bark shanty, and discussing our future plans. 
But those few barks, piled against some poles, were 
not enough to cover us, and soon every one was at 
Work, peeling spruce trees, or picking hemlock boughs 
The cloudless sun went proudly, nay, to me, triumph- 
antly to his royal couch amid the mountain summits 
— and as twilight deepened over the wild landscape, 
our camp fire shot its cheerful flame heavenward, and 
we lay scattered around amid the trees in delightful 
indolence. Mitchell had caught some trout, and these 


with the contents of our knapsacks, furnislied us a 
noble supper. With my back against a stump, I held 
a splendid trout in one hand, while my hunting-knife 
in the other, peeled off his salmon-colored sides in 
most tempting, delicious morsels. 

After supper I asked Mitchell if we could not get a 
deer before going to bed. He said yes, if the wind 
went down so that we could float them. This floating 
deer I will describe in another place, for there was no 
stirrina: out that nis^ht. The wrathful little swells 
came rushing furiously agamst the unoflending beach, 
the tall tree-tops swayed to and fro, and sighed in 
the blast — our roughly-fanned fire threw its sparks 
in swift eddies heavenward, and all betokened a wild 
and fearful night. " No boat must leave the beach," 
and so carefully loading our rifles and setting them up 
against the trees, we began to prepare for our night's 
repose. Some with their heads under the bark shan- 
ty, and their feet to the fire — others in the open forest, 
with their heads across a stick of wood — lay stretched 
their full length upon the earth. I lay down for a 
while, but the wind, which had increased at sunset, 
now blew furiously, fillins; the forest with such an 
uproar that it was with difliculty I could shake oif 


the delusion that I was in the midst of € :)cean. 
I could not sleep, so rising from my couch of "boughs, 
I went out and sat down on the ground, and looked 
and listened. The steady roar of the waves on the 
beach below mingled in with the rush of the blast 
above, the tall trees rocked and swung on every 
side, and flung out their long arms into the night 
— ^their leafy tresses streaming before them — and 
groaned on their ancient foundations with a deep and 
steady sound — till my heart was filled with emotions 
at once solemn and fearful. To add to the sublimity 
and terror of the scene, ever and anon came a dull and 
heavy shock, like the report of distant cannon. It was 
made by a tree falling all alone there, in the depths of 
the forest. Oh, what strange emotions those muffled 
echoes awoke within me. Sometimes I thought one 
of these gigantic forms near me, must ' also fall in the 
struggle, and crush some of our company into the 
earth ; and then again forgetting the danger, my soul 
would bow to the lordly music, till that great pri- 
meval forest seemed one vast harp — its trunks and 
branches the mighty wires, and the strong blast the 
fierce and fearless hand that swept them. Now faint 
and far in the distance I could catch the commg 


anthem till, swelling fuller and clearer oa my excited 
ear, it at length went over me with a sea-like roar, 
then died away in the far solitude. G-od seemed near 
me, there, in the fearful night, and His voice was 
speaking to me. How calm the sleepers around me 
lay in the firelight, reposing as quietly in the wild 
uproar, as if naught but the dews of heaven were 
gently distilling, and yet how helpless they appeared 
in their slumbers I G-od alone was their keeper, and 
I never felt more deeply the protection of that pa- 
rental hand, than there at midnight. 

The moon at length arose on the darkness, and tho 
wind gradually lulled to a gentler motion. I threw 
myself on the ground, and watched the bright orb as 
it slowly mounted the heavens, with feelings I will 
not attempt to describe. 

It was now about one o'clock, and I was endeavor- 
ing to compose myself to slumber, when there occur- 
red one of those ludicrous incidents that makes one's 
romance vanish like mist, and yet derives half of its 
comicality from the time and circumstances in which 
it occurs. As my eyes were resting on the fine pro- 
portions of a yoang, athletic backwoodsman, who was 
lying near the smouldering brands on the open earth, 


his head resting across a stick of wood for a pillow, 
and his heavy breathing telling of the profoundest 
slumber, I saw a rabbit steal from the bushes and 
cautiously approach him. With his nose close to the 
ground, he smelt around until he came to the sleeper's 
brawny hand outstretched upon the leaves. Some 
fragments of the johnny-cake still clinging to his 
thumb, deceived the rabbit into the belief that the 
whole digit was edible, and he put his teeth into it. 
This wakened the backwoodsman, who, rising to a 
sitting posture, looked wildly around him and then 
examined his thumb. All was quiet there ; and im- 
agining he had, in his dreams, thrashed his hand 
about and struck a splinter, he fell back, and was 
soon fast asleep. After waiting a proper time, the 
rabbit stole forth again, and creeping cautiously up to 
the large greasy hand, made his teeth meet through it. 
This roused the poor fellow with a start, and he 
caught a glimpse of his assailant as, with his long ears 
laid flat on his back, he scampered into the bushes. 

K g looked a moment at the place where he had 

disappeared, and then at his bleeding thumb, mutter- 
ing in the mean while, " There, I've ketched you at it 
— now — you had better be off." The serious tone in 


which this was said, finislied me, and I went into con- 
vulsions of laughter. The look of innocent wonder — 
the dreadful imprecation, and the surprise and terror 
of.- the poor rabbit, crouching far away in the bushes, 
combined so much of the " serio-comico," that I 
laughed till I awoke the entire camp, who inquired 
what was the matter. A loud shout followed the ex- 
planation, which gradually died away into silence, as 
one after another dropped to sleep again. I, too, at 
length sunk in slumber, and was just in the midst of 
a sweet dream, when "crack" went a rifle, not ten 
yards from me, sending me to my feet with a start. 
The poor rabbit, however, was the only sufferer 

B n, after I had thus unceremoniously roused the 

camp, lit his pipe, and sitting down behind a stump, 
w^atched-for the rabbit. Seeing him steal cautiously 
forth, he had put a bullet through him, and thus 
ended the innocent creature's existence. 

At length the welcome morning appeared, and 
launcliing oui boats, we started for Cold River to take 
some trout. 

Yours truly. 



Long Lake, Aug 

Dear H- 

I believe I broke off my last letter to go a-fisliing — 
well the Indian and myself went aliead, hoping to 
surprise some deer feeding in the marshes, but were 
disappointed. Reaching the foot of the lake, we shot 
noiselessly down the Raquette River, till we came to 
a huge rock that rose out of the bed of the stream, 
when we turned off and bei^an to ascend Cold River. 
When we reached it, the surface was covered with 
foam bubbles, made by the constant springing of the 
trout after flies. They had absolutely churned it up, 
and for awhile our hooks brous-ht them to the surface 
fast — ^but we were too late — the sun soon rising over 
the forest, shed such a flood of light on the water, and 


indeed throtbgh it, to the very bottom, tliat scarcely a 
fish could be coaxed from his hiding-place. Our 
boats and ourselves also threw strong shadows, suffi- 
cient to frighten less wary fish than trout. AYe how- 
ever took enough for breakfast, and started for home. 
By the way, is it not a little singular that fish should 
eat their own flesh; iha first one loe caught served as 
bait for the others. 

As we were returning, IMitchell left the main 
stream and entered a narrow and shallow channel, 
that by making a circuitous route, reached the lake 
close beside the outlet. Passing silently along, we 
roused up a brood of ducks among the reeds. The 
mother first took the alarm, and seeing at a glance 
that she could not escape with her young, left them 
and fluttered out, directly ahead of our boat. She 
then began to make a terrible ado, striking her wings 
on the water, and screaming, and darting backwards 
and forwards, as if dreadfully wounded and could be 
easily picked up. I instinctively raised my rifle to 
my shoulder : then thinking the shot might frighten 
the deer we were after, I turned to Mitchell and in- 
quired if I should fire. " I guess I wouldn't," he 
replied; "she has young ones." My gun dropped in 


a moment. I stood rebuked, not only by my own 
feelings, but by the Indian ^Yitll me. I was shocked 
that this hunter who had lived so many years on the 
spoils of the forest, §hould teach me tenderness of 
fcelins?. That mother's voice found an echo in his 
heart, and he would not harm one feather of her 
plumage ; nor could the bribe be named that would 
then have induced me to strike the anxious affec- 
tionate creature. As I saw her thus sacrificing her- 
self to save her young, provoking the death-shot in 
order to draw attention from them, I wondered how I 
could for a single moment have wished to destroy her. 
I leaned over the boat and watched her movements for 
nearly half a mile. She would keep just ahead of us. 

sailins: backwards and forwards, now strikinar her 
wings on the water, as if struggling with all her 
strength to fly, yet unable to rise ; and now screaming 
out as if distressed to death at her perilous position ; 
yet cunningly moving off in the meantime, so as to 
allure us after, .*n order to increase the distance be- 
tween us and her offspring. While we were near the 
nest, she swam almost under our bow ; but as we 
continued to advance she grew more timorous, as if 
beginning to think a little more of herself. I could 



not blams her for this, for she had hitherto kept 
within reach of certain death if I had chosen to fire. 
But it was curious to observe in what exact proportion 
her care for herself increased as the danger to her off- 
spring lessened. She would rise and fly some dis- 
tance, then alight in the water, and await our 
approach. If she sailed out of sight a moment, she 
would wheel and look back, and even sicim bacl^^ till 
she saw us following after, when she would move off 
again. The foolish thing really believed she was out- 
witting us, and, I have no doubt, had many self-com- 
placent reflections on the ease with which ducks could 
humbug human beings. After we had proceeded in 
this v.Mv about half a mile, she rose into the air, and 
striking the Raquette River, sped back by a circular 
sweep to her young. As her form disappeared round 
a bend of the stream, I could not help murmuring, 
*' Heaven speed thee, anxious mother." Ah, what a 
chattering there was amid the reeds when her shadow 
darkened over the hiding-place, and she folded her 
wings amid her offspring, and listened with matronly 
dignit}' to the story each one had to tell ? 

All this, however, was speedily forgotten as wo 
emerged on the lake, whose bosom was swept by a 


sirong wind, agains-t which, we were compelled to 
force our tiny skiffs as we pulled for the camp. It 
was now nine o'clock, and I never waited with so 
much impatience for a meal as I did for the johnny- 
cake that was slowly roasting amid the ashes. We 
had but one pan, and until the cake was done we 
could not cook our trout — and so stretched under the 
shadow of a huge stump, with my chip-plate in my 
hand, I lay and watched the crackling flames with all 
the philosophy I could muster. 

Mitchell, however, acted on philosophy of another 
description, and while we were waiting for the pan, 
dressed a pound trout, and cutting a long limber stick, 
thrust one end of it through the fish lengthwise, and 
sticking the other end in the ground, placed it at a 
proper distance and angle over the fire. He then lay 
down near it to superintend the cooking, which after 
sundry changes and turns was completed. This 
I had seen him do before, but now came the per- 
fection of laziness. Sitting up, he swung the stick 
around towards him, so that as he fell back on his 
elbow, the trout hung suspended over his head ; and 
thus while it bobbed up and down, he quietly peeled 
off the delicious morsels and ate them. That grave, 


swarthy Indian strctclied on the leaves, with the trout 
nodding above him, as he slowly stripped away 
the flesh, furnished a picture I should like to have 

After breakfast we had no dishes or forks to clean, 
but throwing them both away, wiped our knives on a 
chip, and in a moment were ready for a start. It was 
Saturday, and the heavens which had been so clear 
the night before, now began to gather blackness— 
the burdened wdnd moaned through the forest, or went 
sobbing over the lake that was every moment fretting 
itself into greater excitement, and everything be- 
tokened a gloomy and tempestuous day. "We were 
fourteen miles from a human habitation ; and though I 
expected that day to have gone thirty miles farther 
into the forest and spent the Sabbath, the storm that 
was approaching made the shelter of a log cabin seem 
too inviting, and I changed my mind. But to row 
fourteen miles against a head wind and sea was no 
child's play, and for one I resolved not to do it. So, 
making a bargain with Mitchell, the Indian, I wrap- 
ped my oil-skin cape about me, and laying my rifle 
across my lap, ensconced myself in the stern of the 
boat, and made up my mind to a drencher. The 


black clouds came rusliing over the huge mountains, 
and the rain soon began to fall in torrents. Now hug* 
ging the shore to escape the blast, and now sailing 
under the lee of an island — once compelled to land till 
the hurricane had passed^ — we crawled along until at 
length, late in the afternoon, we found ourselves com- 
fortably housed. 

The log hut of Mitchell, in which I spent the Sab- 
bath, was in the centre of two or three acres of 
cleared land ; all the rest was forest. During the day, 
I was struck with the sense of propriety, and delicacy 
of feeling shown by him. Sunday must have been a 
weary day to him, yet he engaged in no sports, per- 
formed no work, that I saw, inappropriate to it. In 
the afternoon, however, he took down his violin, and I 
expected such music as would distress one to hear 
on the Sabbath. But he refrained from all those 
tunes I knew he preferred, and played only sacred 
hymns, most of them Methodist ones. I could not 
imagine where he had learned them ; but this silent 
respect for my feelings made me love him at once, and 
I conceived a respect for him I shall never lose. 

The day went out in storms, and as I ]ay down that 
night on my rough couch, I could hardly believe I 



was in the same State of ^Y]licll A'ew York ^vas the 
emporium, whose myriad spires pierced the heavens. 

I have been thus particular, because in no othex 
•\V9y can you get a correct idea of the daily life one is 
compelled to lead who would penetrate these wilds. 
It is nonsense to talk of dignity, and the impropriety 
of a man's carrying a rifle and fishing-tackle, and 
spending his time in shooting deer and catching trout. 
Such folly is becoming to him only, who sits on the 
piazza of a hotel at Saratoga Springs, at the expense 
of twelve dollars a week for his health. I love nature 
and all things as God has made them. I love the 
freedom of the wilderness and the absence of conven- 
tional forms there. I love the lonsr stretch throui^h 
the forest on foot, and the thrilling, glorious prospect 
from some hoary mountain top. I love it, and I know 
it is better for me than the thronged city, aye, better 
for soul and body both. How is it that even good men 
have come to think so little of nature, as if to love her 
and seek her haunts and companionship were a waste 
of time ? I have been astonished at the remarks 
sometimes made to me on my long jaunts in the 
woods, as if it were almost wicked to cast off the 


gravity of society, and wander like a child amid the 
beauty which Grod has spread out with such a lavish 
hand over the earth. Why, I should as soon think of 
feeling reproved for gazing on the midnight heavens, 
gorgeous with stars, and fearful with its mysterious 
floating worlds. I believe that every man degenerates 
without frequent communion with nature. It is one 
of the open books of G-od, and more replete with 
instructions than anything ever penned by man. A 
single tree standing alone, and waving all day long its 
green crown in the summer wind, is to me fuller of 
meaning and instruction than the crowded mart or 
gorgeously built town. 




Forked Lake, August. 

Dear H : 

Taking Mitchell along with me, we embarked on 
Monday in his birch bark canoe for Forked and Ra- 
quette Lakes. Paddling leisurely up Long Lake, I 
was struck with the desolate appearance of the settle- 
ment. Scarcely an improvement has been made since 
I was last here, while some clearings are left to go 
back to their original wildness. Disappointed pur- 
chasers, lured in by extravagant statements, ha^e 
given up in despondency and left — the best people 
are all going away, and in a short lime there will be 
nobody left but hunters. This wilderness will be 
encroached upon in time, though it will require years 
to give us so crowded a population as to force settle- 
ments into this desolate interior of the State. 


But our light canoes soon left the last clearing ; and 
curving round the shore, we shot into Raquette 
River, and entered the bosom of the forest. As we 
left the lake, I saw a northern diver some distance up 
the inlet, evidently anxious to get out once more into 
open space. These birds (about the size of a goose,) 
you know, cannot rise from the water except by a 
long effort, and against a strong damp wind ; and de- 
pend for safety entirely on diving, and swimming. 
At the approach of danger, they go under like a duck, 
and when you next see them, they are perhaps sixty 
rods distant, and beyond the reach of your bullet. If 
cornered in a small pond, they will sit and watch 
your motions with a keenness and certainty that is 
wonderful, and dodge the flash of a percussion-lock 
gun all day long. The moment they see the blaze 
from the muzzle they dive, and the bullet, if well 
aimed, will strike exactly where they sat. I have 
shot at them again and again, with a dead rest, 
and those watching, would see the ball each time, 
strike in the hollow made by the wake of the 
water above the creature's back. There is no killing 
them except by firing at them when they are not ex- 
pecting it, and then their head and neck are the only 


\Tilnerable points. Tliey sit so deep in the water, 
and the quills on their backs are so hard and com- 
pact that a ball seems to make no impression on 
them. At least, I have never seen one killed by be- 
ing shot through the body. Such are the means of 
self-preservation possessed by this curious bird, whose 
wild, shrill, and lonely cry, on the lake at midnight 
is one of the most melancholy sounds I ever heard 
in the forest. 

This diver, of which I was just now speaking, I 
wished very much to kill, in order to carry his skin 
to New York with me ; and so, after firing at him 
in vain, I asked Mitchell if we could not both of us 
together manage to take him. He told me to land 
him where the channel was narrow that entered Long 
Lake, and paddle along towards where the fellow was 
sitting, and drive him out. As I approached the bird, 
he dived. Knowins: that he would make straioht fo 
the lake, I watched the whole line of his progress 
with the utmost care : but though my range took in 
nearly a third of a mile, I never saw him again. 
After a while I heard the crack of a rifle around the 
bend of the shore ; and hastening thither, I found Mit- 
chell loading his gun. He said the rascal just raised 


his head above water for a single second, opposite 
where he stood, and he of course missed him. The 
frightened bird did not appear again till it rose far 
out in the lake. 

I mention this circumstance merely to show the 
habits of this, to me, most singular bird of our north- 
ern waters. I forgot to say that although it cannot 
rise from the water except with great difFiculty, and 
never attempts it to escape danger, neither can it 
walk on the shore. Diving is about the only gift it 
possesses, which it uses, I must say, with great 
ability and success. 

Paddling up Ptaquette river, we at length came to 
Buttermilk Falls, around which we were compelled 
to carry our canoes. So in another place we were 
compelled to carry them two miles, around rapids, 
throuo-h the woods. Nothins^ can be more comical 
than to stand and see a party thus passing through 
the forest. First a yoke is placed across the guide's 
neck, on which the boat is balanced bottom side up, 
covering the poor fellow down to the shoulders, and 
sticking out fore and aft over the biped below in such 
a way as to make him appear half human, halt-super- 
natural, or, at least, entirely ?/??-naturaL But it was 



no joke to me to carry n y part of the freight. Two 
rilies, one overcoat, one tea-pot, one lantern, one 
basin, and a piece of pork, were my portion. Some- 
times I had a change — namely, two oars and a pad- 
dle, balanced by a tin pail in place of a rifle. Thus 
equipped, I would press on for a while, and then stop 
to see the procession — each poor fellow staggering 
under the weight he bore, while in the long intervals 
appeared the two inverted boats, walking through the 
woods on two human legs in the most surprising 
manner imaginable. Though tired and fagged out, I 
could not refrain from frequent outbursts of laughter, 
that made the forest ring again. But there was no 
other way of getting along, and each one had to 
become a beast of burden. 

It was a relief to launch again, and when at last 
we struck the river just after it leaves Forked Lake, 
and gazed on the beautiful sheet of water that was/ 
rolling and sparkling in the sunlight ahead, an invol- 
untary shout burst from the party. A flock of wild 
ducks, scared at the sound, made the water foam as 
they rose at our feet and sped away. Stemming thrt 
rapid stream with our light prows, we were soon afloat 
<:n the bosom of the lake. The wind was blowin^^ 


directly in our teoth, making the miniature waves 
leap and dance around us as if welcoming us to tlieir 
home — a white gull rose from a rock at our side — a 
fish hawk screamed around her huge nest on a lofty 
pine-tree on the shore, as she wheeled and circled 
above her offspring — a raven croaked overhead — the 
cry of loons arose in the distance — and all was wild 
yet beautiful. The sun was stooping to the west- 
ern mountains, whose sea of summits were calmly 
sleeping against the golden heavens : the cool breeze 
stirred a world of foliage on our right — green islands, 
beautiful as Elysian fields, rose out of the water as 
we advanced ; the sparkling waves rolled as merrily 
under as bright a sicy as ever bent over the earth, and 
for a moment I seemed to have been transported into 
a new world. I never was more struck by a scene in 
my life : its utter wildness, spread out there where 
the axe of civilization has never struck a blow — the 
evening — the sunset — the deep purple of the moun- 
lains — the silence and solitude of the shores, and the 
cry of birds in the distance, combined to render it one 
of enchantment to me. My feelings were more ex- 
cited, perhaps, by the consciousness that we were 
without any definite object before us — no place of 


rest, but sailing along looking out for some good point 
of land on which to pitch our camp. 

Mitchell made no replies to our inquiries, but kept 
paddling along among the lily pads until he reached 
a point near the Raquette river and mooring our 
boats to +he shore, began ^Jj prepare for the night. 

Yours truly. 




FoRKEP Lake, Aug. 

After we had pitched (not our tent, but) our 
shanty, we began to cast about for supper. I told 
Mitchell I could not think of eating a piece of salt 
pork, and we must get some trout. So rigging our 
Vines upon poles we cut on the shores of the lake, and 
taking our rifles with us, we jumped into our bark 
canoe, and pushed for some rapids in the Raquette 
River, where it entered Forked Lake. As we vere 
paddling carefully along the edge of a marsh that put 
out from the main land, Mitchell, who was at tho 
stern, suddenly exclaimed, " Hist I — I see the head of 
deer coming down to feed." I sometimes thought he 
could sincll a'deer, for he would often sa<v he saw one 


before both his ears had fairly emerged from the 
bushes. " Shoot him," he said to me. " I can't," I 
replied; '' T am too tired: shoot him yourself." So 
stooping my head to let the bullet pass over me, I 
watched him as he took aim ; and it was a sight 
worth seeing. The careless, indolent manner so 
natural to him had disappeared as if by magic, and he 
stood up in the stern of the boat as straight as his own 
rifle, while his dark eye glanced like an eagle's. 
Every nerve in him seemed to have been suddenly 
touched by an electric spark — and as he now stooped to 
elude the watchfulness of the deer, and now again 
stood erect, with his rifle raised to his shoulder, he 
was one of the most picturesque objects I ever saw. 
The timorous doe was feeding on the marsh, and ever 
and anon lifted her head as if she scented dansfer in 
the air. Then Mitchell would drop like a flash, and 
gently rise again as the deer returned to her feed. She 
was about twenty rods off", and now stood fairly ex- 
posed amid the grass. It was a long shot for arm's 
length, and a tottlish boat to stand in, but he resolved 
to try it. Slowly bringing his rifle to his face, he 
stood for a moment as motionless as a pillar of marble, 
while his gun seemed suddenly to have frozen in its 



place, SO still and steady did it lie in his l^ronze hand. 
A flasli — a quiclv sharp report, and the noble deef 
bounded several feet into the air, then wheeled and 
sprang into the forest. He had shot directly over my 
head, and the mad bound of the animal told too well 
that the unerrinsr bullet had struck near the life. 
Rowing hastily to the spot, we could find no traces 
of blood, but Mitchell, with his eye bent on the 
ground, paced backward and forward without saying 
a word. At length he stopped and peering down 
amid the long grass, said, " Here is blood." How he 
discovered it is a perfect mystery to me, for the grass 
was a foot long and very thick, while the drop 
which had fallen on the roots of a single blade, 1 
never should have noticed, and if I had, have con- 
sidered it a mere discoloration of the leaf, fac 
similies of which occurred at every step. The keen 
hawk eye of the Indian hunter, however, could not be 
deceived, and he simply remarked, "She is hit deep, 
or she would have bled more," and struck on the 
trail. But this baffled even, for the marsh was 
covered with deer tracks, while the bushes into whicl 
the wounded one had sprung were a perfect matting 
of laurels and low shrubs. There was no more blood 


to be found, and we were completely at fauit in out 

At length, tired and disappointed, I returned to the 
boat ; and stood waiting the return of Mitchell, when 
the sharp crack of his rifle again rang through the 
forest, followed soon after by a shrill whistle. I 
knew then that a deer had fallen, and hastened to the 
spot. There lay the beautiful creature stretched on 
the moss, with the life-blood welling from her throat, 
and over the body, watching, stood Mitchell, leaning 
on his rifle. Unable to find the trail, he had made a 
shrewd guess as to the course the animal had taken, 
and making a circuit, finally came upon her, lain 
down to die. At his approach she sprang to her feet, 
ran a few rods, fell again exhausted, when his deadly 
aim planted a bullet directly back of her ear, and her 
career was ended. 

(Satisfied with our game, we gave up the fishing, 
and dragging the body to the boat, put back to our 
camp. The rest of our company stood on the shore 
v/aiting our return, for they had heard the shots, and 
were expecting the spoils. Some, no doubt, will think 
this very cruel, and congratulate themselves on their 
kinder natures. I have seen such people, and heard 


them expend whole sentences of sentimentality upon 
the hard-heartedness that could take the life of so 
innocent a creature, who very coolly wrung the 
necks of chickens every night for their breakfast, and 
devoured with great gusto the shoulder of a lamb for 
dinner. They slay without remorse the most harm- 
less, trusting creatures that haunt their meadows, or 
sport upon their lawns and take food from their hands, 
and yet are shocked at the idea of killing a deer or 
shooting a wild pigeon. They kill God's creatures, 
not from necessity, but to gratify their palates and 
minister to their luxurious tastes. But if any one 
supposes we shot this noble doe for sport, he must 
have a very vague idea of the toils we had endured 
that day, or of our keen appetites. A man of great 
sentimentality might eat boiled eggs and toast with 
his coffee for breakfast, rather than sanction the death 
of an animal by partaking of flesh. I say he might 
do it, though I have never seen an instance of such 
great self-denial ; but I doubt whether, if he were a 
day's journey from a human habitation, hungry and 
tired, with the prospect of nothing but a piece of salt 
pork, toasted on the end of a stick for supper and 
oreakfast, he would hesitate to eat a venison steak 


But I like to have forgot — the pork, too, was the flesh 
of an animal, and it would be difficult to convince a 
hog that he had not as good a right to life as a deer. 
At all events, we enjoyed the venison, though perhaps 
the sentimentalist might say we were punished in the 
end, for it made us all outrageously sick. We either 
cooked it too soon, (for in twenty minutes from the 
time the deer fell, a part of her was roasting;) or we 
ate it too rare, (for we were too hungry to" wait till it 
was perfectly done ;) or we ate too much, (for we were 
hungry as famished wolves ;) or probably did all three 
things together, which quite upset me. 

But after the things (i. e. the chips) were cleared 
away, I stretched myself on the ground under a tree 
whose dark trunk shone in the light of the cheerful 
fire, and began to muse on the day that had past. 
How is it that a scene of quiet beauty makes so much 
deeper an impression than a startling one ? The 
glorious sunset I had witnessed on that sweet lake — 
the curvinsr and forest-mantled shores — the o-recn 
islands — the mellow mountains, all combined to make 
a scene of surpassing loveliness : and now as I lay and 
watched the ^rars coming out one after another, and 
twinkling down on me through the tree-tops, all thai 


beauty came back on me with strange power. The 
gloomy gorge and savage precipice, or the sudden 
storm, seem to excite the surface only of one's feelings, 
while the sweet vale, with its cottages and herds and 
evening bells, blends itself in with our very thoughts 
and emotions^ forming a part of our after existence. 
Such a sceiie sinks away into the heart like a gentle 
rain into the earth, while a rougher, nay, sublimer 
one, comes and goes like a sudden shower. I do not 
know how it is that the gentler influence should be 
the deeper and more lasting, but so it is. The still 
small voice of nature is more impressive than her 
loudest thunder. Of all the scenery in the Alps, and 
there is no grander on the earth, nothing is so 
plainly daguerreotyped on my heart as two or three 
lovely valleys I saw. Those heaven-piercing sum- 
mits, and precipices of ice, and terrific gorges, and 
fearful passes, are like grand but indistinct visions 
on my memory, while those vales, with their carpets 
of greensward, and murmuring rivulets, and perfect 
repose, have become a part of my life. In moments 
of high excitement or turbulent grief they rise before 
me with their gentle aspect and quiet beauty, hushing 


the stoitii into repose, and subduing the spirit like a 
sensible presence. 

But Mitchell has arisen from his couch of leaves, 
where he has been reclining silent and thoughtful as 
his race, and is looking up to the sky and out upon 
tliG lake, and I know something is afoot. 

Yours truly. 




Forked Lake, Aug. 

Dear H- 

As I stated in my last, Mitchell looked up to the 
sky, and out upon the lake a moment, and then, in 
that quiet way so characteristic of his race, said, " If 
you want to go after a deer it is time we started." It 
took but five minutes to load my rifle, put on my 
overcoat, and announce myself ready. Lifting our 
bark canoe softly from the rocks, we launched it on 
the still water, and stepping carefully in, pushed off. 
Previously, however, Mitchell requested me to try 
one of my ma+ohes, to see if the damp had affected 

You know that deer-floatmg amid backwoodsmen 
is very different from deer-stalking in Scotland. In 


the warm, summer months, the deer come down 
from the mountains at night to feed on the marshes 
that line the shores of the lakes and rivers.* While 
they are thus feeding, if you pass along in a dark, 
still night, \\ithout making a noise, you can hear 
them, as they step about in the edge of the water, or 
snort as they scent approaching danger. The moment 
you become aware of the proximity of one, strike a 
light and fix it firmly in the bow of your boat, or in a 
lantern on }'our head, and advance cautiously. The 
deer, attracted by the flame, stops and gazes intently 
upon it. If he hears no sound he will not stir till you 
are close to him. At first you catch only the sight of 
his tw^o eyes, burning like fire-balls in the gloom, but 
as you approach nearer, the light is thrown on his red 
flanks, and he stands revealed in all his beautiful pro- 
portions before you. The candle serves to distinguish 
the animal, and, at the same time, give you a clear 
view of the sights along your gun-barrel, and he must 
be a poor shot who misses at five rods' distance. 

* Sportsmen may wondei at our killing deer in mkhummer, but 
I would say that we never shot a sucking doe. Bucks never are 
better than in July, for the food is then so abundant they are 
extremely fat. We killed only one doe in all, and that was a 


This niglit, the only good feeding spot for deer had 
been so trampled over by us, before dark, that they 
would not come out upon it, and we floated on for a 
a Irng time without hearing anything. I never be- 
fore saw such an exhibition of the stealthy move- 
ments of an Indian. The lake was as still and 
smooth as a polished mirror, and our frail canoe 
floated over it as if impelled by an invisible hand. I 
knelt at the bow, with my rifle before me, while Mit- 
chell sat in the stern as fixed as a statue, yet urging 
the boat on by some strange movement of the paddle, 
which I tried in vain to comprehend. He did not 
even make a ripple on the water, and I could tell we 
were moving only by marking the shadow of trees we 
crossed, or the stars we passed over. Though strain- 
ing every nerve to catch a sound, I never once heard 
the stroke of his paddle. It was the most mysterious 
ride I ever took. We entered the mouth of a river, 
whose shores were black with the sombre fir trees, 
while ever and anon would come more clearly on the 
ear the roar of a distant waterfall. It was so dark I 
could make out nothing distinctly on shore, and the 
island-like tufts that here and there rose from the 
prater — the little bays and rocky points we passed, 


assumed the most grotesque shapes to my fancy, till I 
had all the feelmgs of one suddenly transported to 
a fairy land. Now th^^ silent boat would cross the 
shadow of a lofty pine tree, that lay dark and calm 
in the water below, and now sail over a bright 
constellation that sparkled in our path, while the 
scream of a far-off loon came ringing like a spirit's 
cry through the gloom. Oh, how bright lay the sky, 
with its sapphire floor beneath us, and how black was 
the fringe of shadow that encroached on its beauty, 
and yet added to it by contrast. The silent night 
around me — the strangeness of the place, and the far 
removal from human habitations, were enough in 
themselves; but the dim, impalpable objects on shore, 
just distinct enough to confuse the senses, added ten- 
fold mvsterv to the scene. I seemed movins: throuoh 
a boundless world of shadows, with nothing clear and 
natural, but the bright constellations below me. 

Thus we continued on for a mile, without a whisper 
or sign having passed between us. At length the ca- 
noe entered what seemed at first a leep bay, but soon 
changed to the mouth of a gloomy cavern. I leaned 
forward, striving in vain to make out the misshapen 
objects before me ; but the more I looked, the more 


confused I grew ; while to add to my bewilderment, 
suddenly the dim outlines I was struggling to make 
out, began to vanish as if melting away in the dark- 
ness. At first, I thought the whole had been a struc- 
ture of ■ mist, and was dissolving in my sight, but 
casting my eyes beneath me, I saw we were receding 
over the stars. Then I understood it all. Mitchell, 
without making a sound, had drawn the boat slowly 
backwards, causing the objects before me to fade thus 
strangely from my sight. He knew the ground per- 
fectly well, and could enter every bay and inlet as 
accurately as in broad daylight. 

Pursuing our way up the channel, I was at length 
startled by a low "hist!" The next moment I 
caught the tread of n deer on shore, when the light 
canoe shot along the surface till I could hear the 
low ripple of the water around the bow. " Light 
up I" said Mitchell in a whisper. As quietly as possi- 
ble, I kindled a match, and lighting a candle, put it in 
a lantern made to fit the head like a hat, and clapping 
it in the place of my cap, cocked my rifle and leaned 
forward. The bright flame flared out upon the sur- 
rounding gloom, and all was hush as death. But as 
we advanced towards where the deer was standing, 


the boat suddenly struck^ the dry Ihnbs of a spruce 
tree that had fallen in the water. Snap, snap, went 
the brittle twigs — one of them piercing our bark 
canoe. We backed out of the dilemma as quick as 
possible, but the sound had alarmed the deer, and I 
could hear his lonsr bounds as he cleared the bank 
and made off into the forest. 

After cruising about a little while longer, we put 
back, and crossed the lake to a deep bay on the 
farther side. But the moon now began to show her 
disc over the fir trees, and our last remaining chance 
was to find a deer in the bay before the silver orb 
should climb the lofty pines that folded it in. But 
in this too we were disappointed, and the unclouded 
light now flooding lake and forest, we turned wearily 
towards • our camp fire that was blazing cheerfully 
amid the trees on the farther shore. Just then a 
merry laugh came floating over the water from our 
companions there, breaking the silence which had en- 
chained us, and for the first time we spoke. My 
»imbs were almost paralyzed from having been kept so 
.ong in one position, and I was sick and weary. Still 
I would not have missed that mysterious boat-ride 
and the strange sensations it had awakened, to have 



been saved from thrice the inconvenience it had occa- 
sioned me. It was one of those new things in this 
stereotyped life of ours, imparting new experiences, 
and giving one as it were a deeper insight into his owi' 

At length we stretched ourselves upon the boughs, 
and were soon fast asleep. I awoke, however, about 
midnight, and found our fire reduced to a few em- 
bers, while the rain was coming down as if that were 
its sole business for the night. It is gloomy in the 
woods without a fire ; and I never seem so com- 
panionless as when in the still midnight I awake and 
find nothing but the dark forest about me, cheered by 
no light. A bright, crackling flame seems like a 
living thing, keeping awake on purpose to watch over 

Leaving my companions, whose heavy breathings 
told how profound were their slumbers, I sallied out 
in search of fuel. But there was nothing but green 
fir trees, which would not burn, to be found ; and after 
striking my axe into several, and getting my lower 
extremities thoroughly wet, I returned, and lay down 
again and slept till morning. With the first dawn I 
was up, and taking the Indian's canoe, pushed off in 

OMENS OF A S'lORM. 19'' 

search of a deer. The heavy fog lay in masses iipoi^ 
the water, and the damp morning was still and quiet 
as the night that had passed. I floated about till the 
sun rose over the mountains, turning that lake into a 
^heet of gold, and sending the mist in spiral wreaths 
skyward, and then slowly paddled my way back to our 
camp. As I was thus floating tranquilly along over 
the water, I heard far up the lake, where it lost itself 
in the mountains, two distinct and heavy reports like 
the discharsre of fire-arms. Wlio could be in that 
solitude besides ourselves ? was the first enquiry. I 
mentioned the circumstance when I reached the 
camp, and found that my companions, who had been 
busy in preparing breakfast, had also been startled by 
the sound. Mitchell, just then returned from an expe- 
dition after a fish-hawk, which he brought back with 
him, hearing our conjectures, very quietly remarked, 
they were not rifle shots. His quick ear never de- 
ceived him. " What, then, were they ?" I enquired. 
" Trees," he replied. " But," said I, " there is not 
a breath of air this morning, while it blew very hard 
yesterday afternoon." " They always fall," he re- 
plied, " before a storm — it will storm to-morrow." 
There was something sad in thinking of those two 


trees thus falling all alone on a still and beautiful 
morning, foretelling a coming tempest. Sombre 
omens these, and mysterious, as becomes the un- 
trodden forest. 

Mitchell had shot an immense fish-hawk, breaking 
only the tip of his wing, so as to prevent him from 
flying. He brought him and set liim down before the 
fire, when the fearless bird drew himself proudly up 
and steadily faced us down without attempting to run 
away. His savage eye betokened no fear, and when 
any one of us approached him, his leg would be lifted 
and his talons expanded ready to strike. I was never 
so struck with the boldness of a bird in my life. At 
length Mitchell took him and placed him on a rock 
by the edge of the lake, when, for a moment, ho 
forgot his wound, and spreading his broad wings, 
leaped from his resting place. But the broken pinion 
refused to carry him heavenward, and he fell heavily 
into the water. I saw Mitchell bring his rifle to his 
shoulder, and the next moment .a bullet crushed 
through the head of the poor creature, and its sufler- 
ings were over. 

Such are the incidents cf a life in the woods, and 
thus do the days and nights pass — not without mean* 


ing or instruction. A man cannot move or look 
without thinking of G ocl, for all that meets his eye is 
just as it left his mighty hand. The old forest as it 
nods to the passing wind speaks of him — the still 
mountain points towards his dwelUng-place, and the 
calm lake reflects his sky of stars and sunshine. The 
glorious sunset and Ihe blushing dawn — the gorgeous 
midnioht and the noon-day splendor, mean more in 
these solitudes than in the crowded city. Indeed, 
they look different — they are different. 

Yours t/uiv 



The "Woods, August. 

Dear H : 

How vftcu wo speali of ilie solitude of the forest, 
meaDing by that, the contrast its still nes.'- presents to 
the hum and motion of busy life. When you first 
step from the crowded city into the centre of a vast 
wilderness, the absence of all the bustle and activity 
you have been accustomed to makes you at first be- 
lieve there is no sound, no motion there. So a man 
accustomed for a lonsr time to the sur<2fes of the ocean 
'3annot at first hear the murmur of the rill. Yet these 
solitudes are full of sound, aye, of rare music, too. 
I do not mean the notes of birds, for they rarely sing 
in the darker, deeper oortions of the forest. Even the 
robin, which in the fields cannot chirp and carol 
enough, and is so tame that a tyro can shoot him^ 



ceases liis song the moment he enters the forest, and 
flits silently from one lofty branch to another, as if in 
constant fear of a secret enemy. If you want to lis- 
ten to the music of birds, go to some field that borders 
on the woods, and there, before sunrise of a summer 
morning, you will hear such an orchestra as never be- 
fore greeted your ears. There are no dying cadences 
and rapturous bursts and prolonged swells, but one 
continuous sti'ain of joy. Yet there is every variety 
of tone, fi'om the clear, round note of the robin, to the 
shrill piping of the sparrow., No time is kept, and nc 
scale is followed — each is striving? to outwarble the 
other, and yet there seems the most perfect accord. 
No jar is made b}^ all the conflicting instrumxcnts — « 
the whole heavens are full of voices tuned to &• 
different key — each pausing or breaking in as it suits 
its mood — and yet the harmony remains the same. 
It is uniuritten music such as nature furnL«;hes— fillinfy 
the soul with a delight and joy it never before 

But this is found only in the fields — our great 
forests are too sombre and shadowy for such glees. 
S'-ill you f.nd music there. There is a certain kind 
occurring only at intervals, which chills the heart lika 


a dijad-marcli, and is fearful as the echo of bursting 
billows along the arches of a cavern. The shrill 
scream of a panther in the midst of an impenetrable 
swamp, rising in the intervals of thunder claps — the 
long, discordant howl of a herd of wolves at midnight, 
slowly traveling along the slope of a high mountain, 
you may call strange music ; yet there are certain 
chords in the heart of man, that quiver, espe- 
cially when he feels there is no cause of alarm. The 
(owing of a moose, echoing miles away in the gorges 
— the solitary cry of the loon in some deep bay — the 
solemn hoot of the owl, the only lullaby that cradles 
you to sleep, all have their charms, and stir you at 
times like the blast of a bugle. So the scream of 
the eagle, and cry of the fish-hawk, as they sweep in 
measured circles over the still bosom of a lake after 
their prey, or the low, half suppressed croak of the 
raven — his black form like some messenger of death, 
slowly swinging from one mountain to another — are 
sights and sounds that arrest and chain you. Yet 
ihcse are not all — the ear grows sensitive when you 
feel that everything about you treads stealthily ; and 
the slightest noise will sometimes startle you like the 
unexpected crack of a rifle. 


After \Yatclim£> for a loiif? time for deer on the 
banks of some still stream, almost motiortless mys'^lf, 
the unexpected spring of a trout to the surface has 
sent the blood to my temples as suddenly as though 
it had been the leap of a panther. 

By living in the woods, your sense of hearing be* 
•comes so acute that the wilderness never seems silent. 
It is said that a nice and practised ear can hear at 
night, in the full vigor of spring, the low sound of 
growing, bursting vegetation, and in the winter, the 
shooting of crystals, "like moon-beams splintering 
along the ground." So in the forest, there is a faint 
and indistinct hum about you, as if the spreading and 
bursting of the buds and barks of trees, the stretching 
out of the roots into the earth, and the slow and affec- 
tionate interlacing of branches and kiss of leaves, were 
all perceptible to the ear. The passage of the scarcely 
moving air over the unseen tree tops, the motion it 
gives to the trunk — too slight to be detected by the eye 
— the dropping of an imperfect leaf; all combine to 
produce a monotonous sound, which lulls you into a 
feeling half melancholy and half pleasing. You may, 
on a still summer afternoon, recline for hours on some 
gentle slope, and listen without weariness to this low, 


perpetual chant of nature. Sometimes tlie holloAV 
tap of the woodpecker, or the loud, babbling voice 
of the streamlet, rushing under arches of evergreens, 
gives animation to the song. If you are on the bor- 
ders of a ]ali:e, the clear and limpid sound of the 
ripples, as they hasten to lay their lips on the smooth 
pebbles, blend in with the anthem, till the soul sinks" 
into reveries it dare not speak aloud. 

But there is one kind of forest music I love best of 
all — it is the sound of wind amid the trees. I have 
lain here by the hour, on some fresh afternoon, when 
the brisk west w4nd swept by in gusts, and listened to 
it. All is comparatively still, when, far away, you 
catch a faint murmur, like the dying tone of an organ 
with its stops closed-^gradually swelling into clearer 
distinctness and fuller volume, as if gathering strength 
for some fearful exhibition of its power ; until, at 
length, it rushes like a sudden sea overhead, and 
everything sways and tosses about you. For a mo- 
ment an invisible spirit seems to be near — the fresh 
leaves rustle and talk to each other — the pines and 
cedars whisper ominous tidings, and then the retiring 
swell subsides in the distance, and silence again 
slowly settles on the forest. A short interval only 


elapses when the murmur, the swell, the rush, and 
the retreat, are repeated. If you abandon yourselt 
entirely to the influence, you soon are lost in strange 
illusions. I have lain and listened to the wind mov- 
ing thus among the branches, until I fancied every 
gust a troop of spirits, whose tread over the bending 
tops I caught afar, and whose rapid approach I could 
distinctly measure. My heart would throb and pulses 
bound, as the invisible squadrons drew near, till as 
their sounding chariots of air swept swiftly overhead, 
I ceased listening, and turned to look. Thus troop 
after troop, they came and went on their mysterious 
mission — waking the solitude into sudden life, as they 
passed, and filling it with glorious melody. 

From such a state of reverie I was once aroused by 
my Indian guide quietly saying, "It biows most too 
hard to fish to-night." Oh, yes, it blows too hard : ye 
splendid train of spirits treading the soft and velvet 
bosom of the boundless forest, and with ten times ten 
thousand branches and twigs and leaves for harp 
strings, discoursing sweet music, you march alto- 
gether too heavily, and sing too loudly for good fish- 
ing, (jrood Mitchell, you are right ; those spirits have 
kicked the lake all into a bubble. Wc both have 


been listening to this wind, but with how di fife rent 
ears — you as a practical man, and I as a dreamer. 1 
am half a mind to tell you what I hare been thinking 
about, just to see your black eyes stare. But it is of 
no use ; we must take a little salt pork instead of 
trout for supper to-night — thanks to the " forest 


Yours truly. 





Eaquette Lake, Autmst. 


Dear H- 

It is only about a mile and a half from Crotched or 

Forked to Raquette Lake. For about three quarters 

of a mile up the inlet, where Mitchell shot the 

deer the first night we arrived at Forked Lake, it is 

fair rowing to the falls — then for a half a mile you are 

compelled to shoulder your boats. But at length the 

beautiful sheet of Raquette Lake opens on the view, 

shining like an opal amid an interminable mass of 

green. Stretching away for nearly thirteen miles, it 

lies embosomed in the unshorn shores, and reflecting 

in its pellucid depths the clouds, as they float over the 

heavens which seem immeasurably high here in this 


clear atmosphere — and presents one of the most beau- 
tiful scenes the eye ever rested upon. "VYhen, how- 
ever, the mountain storm sweeps over its breast, and 
the confined thunder breaks and bursts upon it, it 
looks like any thing but a gentle being. 

It is the largest body of water in this wild region, 
and with a shore as irregular as it could well be 
made. Though only thirteen miles long and six 
broad, it has a coast of fifty miles i7i extent. With 
its long, wooded points and promontories and deep 
bays, it would look, to a man placed above it, like 
a huge scollop. This waving outline completely 
ieceives one, in sailing over it, as to the extent 
md direction of the main body of water. As you 
round one point, the lake seems to take a turn, 
for it goes miles away, piercing the very heart of 
the distant forest. But, by the time a second point 
is weathered, a broad and beautiful surface is seen 
spreading in another direction. Thus there is a 
constant succession of new views — in fact, as you 
slowly float along, you seem to behold a dozen dif- 
ferent lakes, each rivalling the other in picturesque 
beauty. It has three large inlets, one of which 
comes from the Eckford ^r,* as the hunters call 


them. Blue Mountain and Taliow Lakes, pouring a 
stream of crystal into its bosom. The south inlet is 
a river of such magnitude that it can be navigated 
for eight miles by a boat of a ton's burthen. The 
third is Brown's inlet, of almost half the size of the 

Imagine this broad expanse of water in the midst 
of a vast wilderness, dotted with islands, with deep 
bays fringed wdth green — bold slopes reaching to the 
clouds, clothed with green — distant mountains en- 
folding mountains, all waving with the same rich 
verdure — blue peaks dreaming far away, and far up 
in the heavens, and not a sign of vegetation — not 
a boat to break the solitude, and you will have 
some idea of the sights that meet you at every 
turn, charming the soul into pleasure. 

Thus rowing along, with no living thing but the 
wild bird, and wilder deer, which has come down from 
the mountains to drink, and raises his head as the 
sound of your voice is borne to his ear, to interrupt 
the Sabbath quietness around, you at length come 
in sight of " Indian Point," so called because there 
was once an Indian settlement upon it. Now two 
huts are standing there, looking like oases in the 


desert, occupied by two men, who dwell thus shut 
out from civilized life. 

These two cabins are the only ones on this whole 
fifty miles of coast,* and the two hunters that 
occupy them the only inhabitants that are or have 
been on the shore for the last nine years. With- 
out a wife or child they have lived here winter 
and summer, as ignorant of what is going on in the 
great world without, and as indifferent to it as the 
savage of the Rocky Mountains. One of them was 
once a wealthy manufacturer ; but overtaken by suc- 
cessive misfortunes, he at length fled to the wilder- 
ness, where he has ever since lived. There is also a 
rumor, of some love adventure— of blasted affections 
followed by morbid melancholy, which is probably 
" ower true" — being the cause of this strange self- 

However that may be, here he lives, and here he is 
likely to live and be buried. These two Robinson Cru- 
soes have cleared about ten acres of land, on which 
they raise such vegetables as they need, while the 
fishing line and rifle supplies them with meat. An 
easy life is theirs — no taxes to pay — no purchases to 
* There are others now. 


make — and during most of the yeai^ iish and dee: 
and moose ready to come almost at their call. 

This beautiful lake is thronged with salmon and 
speckled trout. Talk about Pisico Lake and Lake 
Pleasant, and other border waters, where fishing has 
become a business. Come here, if you wish to see 
the treasures the wilderness encloses. The most 
beautiful and savory trout that ever swam are found 
in such quantities that you can take them without 
even a fly, or bait of any description. Look at that 

inlet — there sits my friend B n with a pole and 

line big enough to play a sturgeon with, and nothing 
but a piece of white paper on his coarse hook. He is 
skipping it, or as the fishermen call it, " skittering " 
it over the water, and there rises a two pounder, 
and there a three pounder, and a one pounder by his 
side — heigh ho, a full dozen of them, with their 
speckled, gleaming sides and wild eyes, are making 
the water foam about it. The hungry, unsophisti- 
cated fellows have never yet learned that there is such 
a thing as a hook, and dart fiercely at every object 
that tempts their appetite, without fear of being 
caught. You can sit here of a fine day, and with 
bait take out these speckled trout till your arms 


ache Avith lifting them. No sooner does the worm, or 
piece of venison, sink in the water than they crowd 
round it in swarms. 

The salmon trout are noble fellows — these two 
hunters say they have caught them weighing over 
thirty pounds. 

I have often been struck with the sins^ular attach- 
ment hunters sometimes have for some bird or ani- 
mal, while all the rest of the species they pursue with 
deadly hostility. 

About five hundred yards from Beach's hut, stands 
a lofty pine tree, on which a grey eagle has built its 
nest annually during the nine years he has lived on 
the shores of the Raquette. The Indian who dwelt 
there before him, says that the same pair of birds 
made their nest on that tree for ten years previous 
— making in all, nineteen .years they have occu- 
pied the same spot, and built on the same branch. 
It is possible, however, that the young may have 
taken the place of their parents. At all events^ 
Beach believes them to be the same old dwellers, and 
hence regards them as squatters like himself, and en- 
titled to equal privileges. From his cabin door he 
can see them in sunshine and storm — quietly perched 

hunter's love of ax eagle. 207 

on the tall pine, or wildly cradled as tlie mighty 
fabric bends and sways to the blast. He has become 
attached to them, and hence requests every one v>'ho 
visits him not to touch them. I verily believe he 
would like to shoot the man who should harm one 
of their feathers. They are his companions in that 
solitude — proud occupants of the same wild home, 
and hence bound together by a link it would be hard 
to define, and yet which is strong as steel. If that 
pine tree should fall, and those eagles move away to 
some other lake, he would feel as if he had lost a 
friend, and the solitude become doubly lonely. 

Thus it is — you cannot by any education or expe- 
rience, drive all the poetry out of a man — it lingers 
there still, and blazes up unexpectedly — revealing the 
human heart with all the sympathies, attachments, 
and tenderness that belong to it. 

He, however, one day came near losing his hold 
eagle. He was lying at anchor, fishing, when he saw 
his favorite bird high up in heaven, slowly sweeping 
round and round in a huge circle, evidently awaiting 
the approach of a fish to the surface. For an hour or 
more, he thus sailed with motionless wings above the 
water, when all at once he stopped and hovered a mo- 


ment, witli an excited gesture — then rapid as a flasH 
of liglit, and with a rush of his broad pinions, like tho 
passage of a sudden gust of wind, came to the stih 
bosom of the lake. He had seen a huge salmon trout 
swimming near the surface — and plunging from his 
high watch-tower, drove his talons deep in his vic- 
tim's back. So rapid and strong was his swoop that 
he buried himself out of sight when he struck, but tho 
next moment he emerged into view, and flapping his 
wings, endeavored to rise with his prey. But this 
time he had miscalculated his strength — in vain he 
struggled nobly to lift the salmon from the water. 
The frightened and bleeding fish made a sudden dive, 
and took eagle and all out of sight, and was gone a 
quarter of a minute. Again they arose to the surface, 
and the strong bird spread his broad, dripping pinions, 
and gathering force with his rapid blows, raised the 
salmon half out of water. The weight, however, was 
too great for him, and he sank again to the surface, 
beating the water into foam about him. The salmon 
then made another dive, and they both went under, 
leaving only a few bubbles to tell where they had 
gone down. This time they were absent a full half 
minute, and Beach said he thought it was all ovei 


with Ills bird. He soon, however, reappeared ^vith his 
talons still buried in the flesh of his foe, and again 
made a desperate effort to rise. Ail this time the fish 
was shooting like an arrow through the lake, carrying 
his relentless foe on his back. He could not keep the 
eagle down, nor the bird carry him up — and so now 
beneath, and now upon the surface, they struggled on, 
presenting one of the most singular yet exciting 
spectacles that can be imagined. It was fearful to 
witness the blows of the eagle as he lashed .the lake 
with his wings into spray, and made the shores echo 
with the report. At last, the bird thinking, as they 
say west, that he had " waked np the wrong pas- 
senger," gave it up ; and loosening his clutch, soared 
heavily and slowly away to his lofty pine tree, where 
he sat for a long time sullen and sulky — the picture 
of disappointed ambition. So might a wounded and 
baffled lion lie down in his lair and brood over his de- 
feat. Beach said that he could easily have captured 
them, but he thought he would see the fight out. 
When, however, they both staid under a half minute 
or more, he concluded he should never see his eagle 
again. "Whether the latter in his rage was bent on 
capturing his prize, and would retain his hold though 


at the hazard of his life, or ^yhether in his terrible 
swoop he had struck his crooked talons so deep in the 
back of the salmon, he could not extricate himself, the 
hunter said he could not tell. The latter, however, 
was doubtless the truth, and he would have been glad 
to have let go, long before he did. The old fellow 
probably spent the afternoon in studying avoirdupois 
weight, and ever after tried his tackle on smaller fish. 
As for the poor salmon, if he survived the severe 
laceration, he doubtless never fully understood the 
operation he had gone through. 





The AVoods, August. 
Dear H : 

I DESIGNED to givG you a lengthy description of Ra- 
quette Lake, vv^hich surpasses all the others in the 
beauty of its scenery, and can hardly be matched in 
the wide world. I was the more anxious to do this, 
becaus?e its sloping shores and fertile land make it 
the most desirable portion of this whole region for 
settlers. The Adirondack chain terminates here in 
the isolated peak of ]\rount Emmons, and the land 
sinks into an elevated plateau, furnishing many in- 
ducements to the emigrant. In place of this, how- 
ever, I give you an extract from an interesting letter 



wliicli I received from a gentleman who has spent 
months around tlie Raquctte. 

''There arc, perhaps, but few sections in our coun- 
try, where the amateur of the beauties of nature, and 
the lover of sport, can better enjoy a few days of 
retreat from the thronged city and the cares of busi- 
ness, than at Raquctte Lake. Here he feels liberated 
from the restraints of organized society, and meets the 
rude yet agreeable change, produced by an escape from 
the formalities of the world — indeed, he enters upon 
the enjoyment of that pure and artless freedom which 
the society of nature alone can impart. As a striking 
proof of the effect of this change, one can scarcely 
turn his attention from the objects around him, to the 
calculations of business, or the schemes of selfishness 
and pride — and I venture to say, if the mines of "Cali- 
fornia were planted upon the shores of this beautiful 
lake, the miser even, would forsake his sordid labor, 
till he had viewed and re-viewed the enchanting land- 
scape around him, while the man of taste would be 
absorbed as it were, in the midst of a new creation ; 
and not an htur would pass, but what he would find 
something to admire, or amuse him. 

"The natural scenery of the Raquctte is, however, 


not SO mucli distinguislied for its suhlimily as its 
beauty. Unlike the lakes of Switzerland, those ol 
northern New York, making an extensive chain from 
the Saranac waters to the Moose River Lakes, are not 
surrounded by summits of perpetual snow, nor by 
naked rocks towering one above another in fragmen- 
tary peaks and disordered masses, but, for the most 
part, especially the south-western, are surrounded by 
gently-receding shores, swelling into moderate ridges, 
and bounding the view with a clear and beautiful 
outline of green hills — with here and there a conical 
mountain-top elevated in the distance. Nor do we, 
about the Raquette, discover any Alpine glaciers glit- 
tering in the sun, or huge masses of ice thundering 
down from their heights to the valleys below, but the 
country is made up of a broad ^plateau., elegantly 
varied upon its surface, and clothed by a rich and 
luxurious forest, and excelling all the others in the 
beauty of its situation, as well as in the fertility of 
its soil. 

"x\s we take a more particular view of. this lake, and 
the objects of interest in its immediate vicinity, we 
are at first struck with the crystal purity of its 
waters, and the irregularity of its form. Its waters 


are so clear, tliat objects on a bright, sunny day, can 
be seen to the depth of thirty or forty feet — the 
angler often finds himself in a state of suspense, 
between hope and fear, as he loolvs into the depths of 
the lake, and sees his speckled majesty darting about 
the hook, artfully trying the bait. 

The irregular form of the lake also, when the 
whole from some eminence is brought under the eye 
of the spectator, presents an interesting feature 
in the prospect. It is wholly embraced within 
an area of seven miles square, and yet it is so in- 
dented with deep bays, projecting points, and head 
lands, that it presents a shore of about fifty miles in 
extent, varying to every point of the compass, and 
marking the outlines of the lalvc, with a continuous 
round of graceful curves and angles ; all of which 
are highly embellished by clusters of tall pines that 
stand upon the points, and skirt the shores, flinging 
their darlcening shadows upon the water — while the 
thick wood and level surface, that fall back for some 
distance from the lake, gives a mellow aspect to the 
whole, and a highly satisfying indication of the cha- 
racter of the adjacent lands. But the islands that 
dot the lake with their dark, green forms, in lively 


contrast witli the silvery surface of the \Yaters that 
embrace them, are the most interesting obiects con- 
nected with this landscape. From fifteen to twenty 
ill number, they vary in size and form, from mere 
islets that cluster together in fantastic groups, to those 
of sufficient size for ordinary farms. Ospray Island, 
lying across the bay, one mile south of Beach and 
"Woods, and half a mile west of Jos. AYoods on 
Ospray Point, contains about thirty acres. This island 
derived its name from the ospray, that yearly builds 
her nest and rears her young thereon. Her nest 
is a prominent object in the view, being some three 
feet in diameter, and planted upon the top of the high- 
est of a cluster of stately pines ; and is so strongly 
interwoven with bouohs and 2:rass, as to resist the 
wind and storm. The sportsman delights to gaze 
upon this bird of solitude, as she returns from her ex- 
cursions up the lake in quest of food, bearing the 
struggling trout in her talons, while her uniledgcd 
oilspring, standing upon the verge of their aerial 
house, with untutored voices and fluttering wings, 
welcome her return. None disiarb her domicile, or 
question her right to protection. 

" Woods' Island, containins^ about three hundred 


a'^.res, lies in the southerly section cf the lake. It 
has a level surface, fine dry soil, shaded with a clean 
and tasteful forest of beech and maple. In a warm 
summer's day, a ramble over this island, enjoying its 
shady groves, its gentle breezes from the lake, and its 
charming scenery, is truly delightful. Off its eastern 
extremity is a group of four islands, of nearly equal 
size, rising up out of the water, and studding the 
lake with their high conical forms, and their steep 
yet graceful shores. To the south the eye ranges 
along the blue surface of South Bay, until it rests 
upon the white sand beach that encircles its extrem- 
ity ; marking a line of separation between the land 
and the water, as white as a line of snow. This 
bay, moreover, is the favorite place of resort for the 
sportsman. Here the stately buck, after trying his 
speed with the hound, is wont to seek his safety by 
plunging into the water — unconscious that there is a 
worse enemy at hand, than the brute that hangs 
upon his track. 

" Let the spectator overlook a scene like this, and 
nt the same time bring within the scope of his vision 
the whole southern section of the lake, with its 
islands, indented shores, and conterminous forests. 


and a richer and more picturesque view can scarcely 

be imao^ined. Add to this the sullen stillness of the 

wilderness, where nature, unmarred by the hand of 

man, dwells in her primeval glory — her music the 

pealing thunder — the eagle's shrill voice — the wild 

notes of the loon — and the sound of the gentle breeze 

as it ruffles the surface of the lake — and no man of 

sensibility can escape the enchantment. 

'' The inlets of the lake form another interesting 

feature connected with its scenery. These, for the 

first few miles from the lake, move sluggishly along 

the valleys, through which they pass with singular 

tortuous windings, and of sufficient depth to float boats 

of large size. In the warm summer months, these 

inlets become the place of resort for the trout, where 

they are often taken with the hook in great numbers 

They collect in sdiools around the cold springs that 

make into the inlets, and if approached with care 

and skill may be taken out, so eager are they for the 

bait, to the last, in the school. They will even dash 

at the hook as it approaches the surface of the water, 

and as the pole from time to time bends under the 

weight of its load, the skillful angler will deliberately 

bring his unwary captive to the shore. The salmon, 


or lake trout, however, seeks his summer retreat in 
the depths of the lake. These are usually found in 
its northern section, and are taken from a boat, with 
a long line let deep into the water. This is a more 
sober business, and often taxes the patience of the 
angler, before he feels the cautious bite — but if he is 
so fortunate as to fix his bearded hook in the jaws of 
his victim, he swells with pride and glories in his vic- 
tory, as he plies the reel, or tugs at the line, and with 
hand over hand draws the ponderous fish into the 
boat. The largest trout of this description, known to 
have been taken in the lake, weighed forty-five 
pounds. Such a prize ought to satisfy the reasonable 
ambition of any sportsman. 

*' The Marion River is the largest inlet of the lake. 
It comes in from the east, and forms the connecting 
link between the Raquette and the Eckford Lakes. 
The valley embracing this stream and the last men- 
tioned lakes, extends due east from the E-aquette 
some twenty miles, and terminates at the base of 
M,)unt Emmons, which flings up its round head and 
giant form far above the blue range of hills that 
stretch on to the southeast. Mount Emmons is the 
most westerly of that group of high mountains that 


occupy the section of country between the Ecivford 
Lakes and Lake Champlain ; and overlooking the 
valley of the Raquette, forms the most prominent 
object in view towards the east. South and West 
inlets are also navigable streams, but more tortuous, 
if possible, in their course, than the Marion River. 
Tlie boatman in passing up the west inlet, rows four 
miles to gain two in distance ; he then arrives at the 
portage between the Raquette and Moose River 

" INearly opposite Indian Point, connected with the 
Raquette by a small inlet only ten feet wide and four 
rods in length, there is a beautiful little lake, about 
cne mile long and half a mile wide, of oval form, con- 
cealed in a rich, dark forest, where the pine, spruce, 
and hemlock, are gi-acefully intermixed with decidu- 
ous trees. This lovely retreat, called Lake Eldon, is 
protected from the winds in every direction, and 
affords a calm and delightful resort. 

" Eagle Lake, which is an object of interest and 
curiosity, lies about three miles due south from tho 
mouth of "West Lilet, and two miles east of Eighth 
Lake. It is of small dimensions, not varying essen* 
tially fiom eighty chains in length and forty in 


breadth. This lake was discovered under circum- 
stances somewhat amusing ; and in a manner that 
presented its features in a bold and impressive aspect. 
Two gentlemen with their packs or their backs, left 
the east shore of Eighth Lake, in search of a lake 
discovered by Prof. Emmons, lying in that vicinity ; 
but, as afterwards appeared, to the south of the one 
in question. After tugging some four or five hours, 
and surmounting several high ridges, crossing valleys, 
climbing over wind-falls, and tearing their way 
through the thick under-brush, they came to the sum- 
mit of a still higher ridge, covered with thick 
spruces, so dense and dark, as to obstruct the view in 
every direction. Here they seated themselves upon a 
log to rest, and while calculating upon the probable 
proximity to the object of their search, they were 
startled by the cracking of the dry brush, under the 
footsteps of some heavy animal. They had left their 
trusty rifle behind them to lighten their burden, and 
tlieir onty means of defence consisted in an antiquated 
pistol, a family relivi, that had seen much service, 
but which in this age of revolvers and improvements 
v/as, to say the least, of doubtful character. They, 
however, placed themselves in a posture of defence— 


the redoubtable knight of the pistol, holuing un to his 
anchorac^e on the lo^f ; while his defenceless comna* 
nion veered round upon his stern, and tooiv up his 
position squat^ in the rear — this last movement having 
doubtless been made, not so much with a view to 
personal protection, as to form a corps de reserve^ to 
fall upon the foe in the heat of the conflict. The 
heavy footsteps of the beast drew near, but the 
thicket still concealed him from their view. This 
suspense, however, did not continue long ; for in 
due time, old Bruin presented his black visage, 
raised himself erect upon his haunches, slcinned his 
teeth, uttered his hideous growl, and viewed the 
strangers with his keen, black eye. After exchanging 
glances for a short time, however, Bruin came to the 
conclusion " that discretion was the better part of 
valor," and with manifest symptoms of alarm, turned 
and fled, with the bullet from old '76 whistling 
through the tliicket, in pursuit. Thus ended the 
fright and the bloodless contest, probably to the entire 
satisfaction of both parties concerned. But this ad- 
venture was followed by another, if not so dangerous, 
yet somewhat more amusing — Vv^hich gave the name 
to the lake in question. Our travelers having been 


relieved from their unwelcome visitor, concluded, 
before tliey proceeded on with their journey, to take 
an observation from the high grounds where they 
were, with a view to examine the country to the 
south and east, and discover, if possible, the position 
of the lake, which was the object of their search. To 
accomplish this purpose, the knight of the pistol 
vola >teered his services to climb a tall spruce that 
etood near by ; and accordingly flung aside his pack, 
pulled off his boots, and depositing them ivith his 
armoi', at the foot of the tree, commenced the ascent, 
After climbing some fifty or sixty feet, his ears were 
suddenly pierced by the screams of a huge eagle, and 
his face at the same time brushed by her wings, 
and torn by her claws. As the enraged bird passed 
round her airy circuit, repeating her sharp and threat- 
ening notes, the eye of the adventurer fell upon a 
deep, black lake below him, and he for the first time 
discovered that the tree he had ascended stood upon 
the brink of a precipice of fearful height, overhanging 
the dark abyss where the jealous bird of liberty .had 
planted her nest, and secured her young. By this 
time the gathering foe had again made her circle, 
and coming like an arrow through the air, pounced 


upon his head, and striking her talons through his 
cap and wig, tore them from his naked scalp, and 
hurled them to the ground. Not exactly a back out^ 
but a back doivn^'Was the immediate result — and tho 
vanquished knight, as he landed upon ^erra firmay 
audibly thanked his stars, and remarked to his com- 
panion, that his satisfaction was unbounded ; seeing 
that the matter had ended no worse — and as they pro- 
ceeded to gather up the "duds," they entered upon a 
discourse, wherein the rules of chivalry were gravely 
considered, and a decision soberly made, that there 
was no loss of honor in the affair ; since such cases 
were of rare occurrence and did not happen under 
those circumstances by which a man's courage and 
valor were ordinarily tested. 

On examining the lake, it was found that it was 
nearly surrounded by rocks, for the most part of per- 
pendicular ascent, rising like a wall of masonry with 
its face to the lake, and from two to three hundred 
feet above the surface of the water. It was of oval 
form, and gave the appearance of an immense reser- 
voir prepared by art — a section of its western wall, 
however, overhung the water, forming a high arched 
cavern beneath. No streams were discovered falling 



into the lake, but an outlet, running constantly from 
it, was noticed at the extreme south end, where the 
lieights became depressed and fell to a level with the 
surface of this secluded yet interesting object of 
nature. A day spent in visiting this little lake will 
well repay the toil and labor it will cost. 

Our travelers took an easterly dh-ection from this 
point ; and after undergoing the fatigue of the day 
wearied to excess, hungry, chafed, and with their 
faces swollen from the bite of the poisonous flies, they 
arrived at night at an old hunter's lodge (near the 
lower falls of South Inlet) covered with bark, and as 
usual in such half-decayed shanties, filled with filth 
and vermin. Here necessity, drove them to take up 
their quarters for the night — they accordingly struck 
up a fire, disposed of a few hard crackers, and a rem- 
nant of unsavory venison well jammed and mellowed, 
and before the light of day had fully disappeared, 
flung themselves down to rest. But the process of 
hardenins: as^ainst the bite of the flea, as a necessarv 
preparation for sleep, was to be undergone ; and 
while this w^as in progress, the agonizing knight of the 
pistol rolled over upon his back, drew up his kneeS; 
and with his journal and pencil in hand, gave vent tc 


his experience in a poetical stanza — ^which he then 
and there entered down upon his diary, as follows: 

"'In this rude spot, where weary pilgrims rest, 
With bugs, an'd fleas, and fetid venison blessed, 
With swollen limbs, unfit to rest or range, 
We breathe the smoke of Catamount Exchange. 
Meanwhile, oar eyes are closed, by poisonous gnats and flios, 
And »****»• 

"It is proper to remark, that the interesting section 
of country connected with the Raquette is now flung 
open to easy access, by the recent completion of tho 
Champlain and Carthage road, which passes near the 
northern shore of Raquette Lake. Light carriages, 
and teams with heavy loads, may pass from Lake 
Champlain, or the Black River valley, to this lake 
Township forty, embracing the most desirable section 
of land in that vicinity, already contains a few fami- 
lies who have broken into the wilderness and com- 
menced their improvements ; and the prospect is, 
that this township will soon be occupied by pros- 
perous and enterprising settlers Those who reside 
there, not only enjoy their beautiful localities, pure 
water, and healthful atmosphere, but their crops 

of Indian corn, wheat, potatoes, and garden veget- 



ablcs. The first persons who came into tliis town^ 
ship were Messrs. Beach and Woods, who planted 
their rude dwelling upon Indian Point, command- 
ing a most interesting view of the lake and its 
islands. The case of Mr. Woods should not pass 
unnoticed ; as it furnishes an instance of man's 
capacity to overcome the serious deprivations rarely 
to be found. By exposure in the woods and snow 
through a cold winter's night, his feet and limbs 
were so badly frozen, that it became necessary to 
amputate both below the knee joints. Since that 
time he has used his knees as a substitute for feet ; 
and, strange as it may seem, he follows his line of 
traps for miles through the wilderness, or with rifle in 
hand, hops through the woods in pursuit of deer. He 
may be seen plying his oars, and driving his little 
Dark over the lakes and along the streams ; and when 
he comes to a portage, the upturned boat will sur- 
mount his head, and take its course to the adjacent 
waters. His is a case that proves that there are 
instances in reality, 'where truth is stranger than 

fiction.' " 

Yours, &c. 




Raquette Lake, August. 
Dear H : 

You can spend days and weeks around the Ra- 
quette, sailing over its beautiful waters, penetrating 
its deep and quiet bays, taking trout at every cast of 
your line, aud killing a deer whenever you choose to 
put forth the effort. The sun rises on you from this 
green wilderness fresh as when it first looked on crea- 
tion, and sets as lovingly in the mass of green, on the 
western slope, as though it had seen no sin and suf- 
fering in its course. 

Let the light canoe rock awhile on the tiny waves 
that this glorious western breeze, redolent w4th the 
Idss of leaves, and pure from its long dalliance with 
nature, has set in motion. The shadows are flitting 


like sweet visions along that far-stretching slope of 
brilliant green, and disappear one after another over 
the summit. Yonder is a deer walking up and down 
the shore in the water, ever and anon lifting his ant- 
lered head, lest the garisn day might reveal him to 
some lurking foe ; and lo, there comes his consort, 
her white breast shining amid the leaves, as she also 
steps forth to drink. And here, out of this narrow 
cove, completely enveloped in bushes that sweep the 
water, and reeds that grow almost across its entrance 
— which seems to lurk in perpetual ambush on the 
shore — a wild duck from the Atlantic is leading forth 
her brood which she has hatched in this far-seques- 
tered spot. "What a chattering they make as they 
swim after the proud matron who is pushing boldly 
for a point near by. They move in the form of the 
figure Y inverted, and the still water of the cove as- 
sumes the same shape clear to the shore. But the 
ever- watchful mother has caught sight of our boat, 
^nd prattling to her offspring, is off wdth incredible 
speed. She knows her young cannot fly, and hence 
will not rise herself from the water. True lo her 
maternal instinct, she is willing to bide the worst, but 
both wings and fee of the whole chattering squadron 


are in full play, making the lake foam where they 
pass. There, you are once more in the reeds, settling 
yourselves with a vast deal of self-congratulation into 
composure again, while your black heads and eyes 
turn and nod to catch the first approach of danger. 
Poor things, you are safe here ; but next fall every rod 
of your flight from ]\rontauk Point to Barnegat Bay, 
will be disturbed by the shot of the sportsman, and 
scarcely a pair of you will be left to revisit this far 
retreat again I 

Yain dreaming this, I know, but the listless mood 
is upon me, and I cannot pull a strong and steady and 
practical stroke. The waves are out on a frolic — the 
deer stand idly lashing their tails in the ^a ater — the 
great, green forest just rustles to show that the 
leaves are all at play — the clouds move la^ dy across 
the sky and all nature seems dreaming m ihis fresh 
noon-day — and why should I not drink in the influ- 
ence of the scene ? I know a hard afternoon's toil is 
before me, and a bivouack on the ground at night, yet 
I seem enchained here by beauty. Sad thoaghts and 
gentle feelings rise one after another an indistinguish- 
able throng, and strange memories long since buried, 
come back with overpowering freshness. Here tb« 


great world of strife and toil speaks not, and its fierce 
struggles for gain seem the madness of the maniac. 
You do not hate it — you pity it, and pity yourself that 
you ever loved it. The good you had forgotten re- 
turns, for nature v^^akes up the dead divinity within 
you, and rouses the soul to purer, nobler purposes. 
Besides, all things are free about me — the leap of the 
wave — the dash of the mountain stream — the flight 
of the eagle — the song of the wind, and the swaying of 
trees — all, all are free. Unmarred, unstained, the 
bright and happy world is spread out in my sight : 

"Ah, when the wild turmoil of this wearisome life, 
With its scenes of oppression, corruption, and strife; 
The proud man's power, and the base man's fear — 
The scorner's laugh, and the sufferer's tear — 
And malice, and meanness, and falsehood, and folly, 
Dispose me to musing and dark melancholy : 
When my bosom is full, and my thoughts are high, 
And my soul is sick with the bondman's sigh — 
Oh, then, there is freedom, and joy, and pride, 
Afar through the * forest' alone to ride. 
With the death-fraught firelock in my hand, 
The only law of the desert land." 

But to return to practical matters : yonder comes 


the boat of Woods and Beach, the two solitary dwell- 
ers of this region. It is rather a singular coincidence 
that the only two inhabitants of this wilderness 
should be named Woods and Beach. I should not 
wonder if the next comers should be called '^ Hem- 
locW^ and " PineP These two men have killed 
hundreds of deer since they settled down here to- 
gether, and a great many moose. Their leisure hours 
they spend in preparing the furs they have taken, and 
in tanning the deer skins, of which they make mittens. 
They need something during the long winter days and 
evenings for employment. "Wlien the snow is five feet 
deep on the level, and the ice three and four feet 
thick on the lake, and not the sign of a human foot- 
step any where to be seen, the smoke of their cabin 
rises in the frosty air like a column in the desert — 
enhancing instead of relieving the solitude. The 
pitch pine supplies the place of candles, and the deep, 
red light from their humble window, at night, must 
present a singular contrast with the rude waste of 
snow, and the leafless forest around them. 

"Wlien a quantity of these mittens are made up, 
Beach straps on his snow shoes, and with his trusty 
rifle in his hand, carries them out to the settlements, 


where they meet with a ready sale — for mittens made 
here in the woods are known to be " made upon 
honor." No buff-colored sheepskin comes from the 
shores of Raquette Lake, nor is the stout buckskin 
spoiled by destructive materials used to expedite the 

Since the above was written, I am informed by my 
friend B — n that another family, composed of a man, 
his wife, and seven children, has emigrated to Ra- 
quette Lake. This woman — ^the only one now on the 
shores of the Raquette — took, last sumimer, an infant 
six months old, and a daughter fourteen years of age, 
and started for a clearing thirty miles distant, on a 
visit. Now carrying the boat on her head around the 
rapids — in one place two miles on a stretch while 
the girl lugged along the infant and oars — now stem- 
ming the swift current, and anon floating over the bo- 
som of a calm lake, she pursued her toilsome way — 
accomplishing the thirty miles by night. "What think 
you of that ? As Captain Cuttle would say, " she is 
a woman as is a woman." To make a visit cf 
thirty miles through an unbroken forest, with a babe 
six months old, and a girl only fourteen years of age, 
and carry and row her own boat the whole distance. 


is "spinning street yarn" on a large scaje. I hopG 
she had a glorious gossip to pay her for hsr trouble. 
It shows most conclusively that the visiting propen- 
sity, so strong in woman, is not a conventional thing, 
but inherent — belonging to her very nature. 

This woman deserves to be the Ji?'st on Raquette 
Lake. She bids fair to have seven children more, and 
.' trust, when she dies, a monument will be creccea in 

her memory. 

Yours, &;c 


VOOS»=: LAKES "murderer's point" A GRAVE IN THE 



Dear H- 

From the Raquette your nearest way out of the 
woods is towards the Black River country. Ascend- 
ing the Brown Tract Inlet four miles, you carry your 
boat over a portage two miles in extent to the Eighth 
Moose Lake, w^hicli forms the summit level of the 
waters of this region — those on the west flowing west 
into the Black River. This sheet of water is the first 
of a chain of lakes, eight in number, connected by 
streams, and forming a group of surpassing beauty. 
Being on the height of land, it is filled wholly by 
springs and rills, and of course its water is unrivalled 
m clearness and coldness. It is completely embo- 


somed in trees, while a beach ot sand, white as the 
driven snow, and ahiiost as line as table salt, shows 
between the green frame work of the forest and tho 
lake, presenting a beautiful and strange contrast 
here in this land of rocks and cliffs. The bottom is 
composed of this white sand also, and can be seen 
through the clear water at an astonishing depth. In 
such cold water, with such a clear bottom, how can 
the trout be otherwise than delicious ? 

This charming sheet of water is about three miles 
in length, with an average width of a mile and a 

The seven lakes that follow are not a mere repeti- 
tion of the first, but vary both in size and shape, with 
a different frame- work of hills. The change is ever 
from beauty to beauty, yet a separate description 
would seem monotonous. 

There they repose, like a bright chain in the forest, 
the links connected by silver bars. You row slowly 
through one to its outlet, and then, entering a clear 
stream, overhung with bushes, or fringed with lofty 
trees, seem to be suddenly absorbed by the wilder- 
ness. At length, however, you emerge as from a 
cavern, and lo ! an untroubled lake, with all its varia- 



tions of coast, and timber, and islands, greets the eye 
Through this you also pass like one m a diearn, 
wondering why such beauty is wasted where the eye 
of man rarely beholds it. Another narrow ouf.lot 
receives you, and guiding your frail canoe along the 
rapid current, you are again swallowed up by the 
wilderness, to be born anew in a lovelier scene. Thus 
on, as if under a wizard's spell, you move along, 
alternately lost in the narrow channels, and strug- 
gling to escape the rocks on which the current would 
drive you, then floating over a broad expanse, extend 
ing as far as the eye can see into the mountains 

A ride through these eight lakes is an episode in a 
man's life he can never fors^et. It furnishes a new 
cx]")criencc — gives rise to a new train of thoughts and 
feelings, ^nd opens to the dweller of our cities an 
entirely new world. 

They vary in size from two to six miles, except 
the fifth and eighth, which are mere ponds. Thus, for 
more than twenty miles, you float through this prime- 
val wilderness in a skiff that can be carried on the 
head, and yet are not compelled to take it from the 


water but once, the ^vliole distance, and then only 
to pass over some five hundred yards. 

Near the foot of the first lake, (or last in the 
route,) is "murderer's point," where a white man, 
some ten years since, shot an Indian. The latter, 
who was trapping around these waters, in some way 
gave offence to the white hunter, whose name was 
Johnson. A quarrel ensued, and the Indian was 
killed. "Whether the murder was committed in the 
heat of a sudden fight, or in cold blood, is not known 
— ^the forest alone witnessed the bloody transaction : 
yet there, on the shore of that lonely river, sleeps the 
poor savage. A simple wooden cross, erected by some 
of his tribe, stands over the grave, awakening sad 
emotions in the breast of the wanderer. If it were 
on an open bank it would not seem so solitary, 
but surrounded as it is by an interminable forest, it 
jooks fearfully forlorn. 

By one of those singular discoveries which, so often 
detect the murderer, Johnson was convicted of the 
crime. The people of Herkimer County, however, 
claiming him as their criminal, he v^as tried there 
and acquitted, and carried about the town on men's 
shoulders. The good Dutchmen of that county had 


suffer sd so much in former times from tlie depre- 
dations of the Indians, that they considered the 
man a public benefactor, rather than murderer, 
who slew one. To hang a man for killing an In- 
dian was a monstrous absurdity — they would as 
soon think of punishing him for shooting a rattle- 
snake or wolf. 

You cannot conceive the shock one feels in coming 
on a spot in the forest, where a murder has been com- 
mitted. In the streets of a crowded city, or on 
the highway, all remembrance of the deed is soon 
effaced — changes take place, and the mere fact that 
ten thousand other things have transpired since it 
occurred, serves to weaken the associations connected 
with it, and indeed removes it much farther off. But 
in the still woods, the solitary grave and you are 
alone together. The motionless trunks seem stern 
watchers there ; and you impart a consciousness to the 
sleeper, and imagine that the uneven surface around 
him was made by the fierce death-struggle, and that 
the leaves are yet tinted with his blood. I have often 
thought that a murderer in the heart of a boundless 
forest must feel more restless and wretched than if ho 
were in a crowd of men. The suspicious eyes of his 


fellows could be encountered with far more firmness 
than those of that invisible presence which seems there 
to surround him. There is no way to escape himsolt 
— nothins^ to resist or to dare. ^^ The scowl of revencre 
or stare of defiance, may be met, for there is a visi- 
ble object" on which the passions can act ; but to 
struggle with conscience — to hush the awful voice of 
laiv which God's universe about him is thunderiniv in 
his ear, is a hopeless task. 

Near the last of this chain of lakes is a small sheet 
of water called Moose Lake, from its being a favorite 
haunt of moose. Like the first mentioned in the 
group, it is embosomed in trees, but no mountains 
rise from its shores. It has also a beach of incom- 
parable whiteness, and the bottom of the lake ^ooks 
like a vast bed of fine white salt. As you sit in your 
boat, you can see it glittering beneath at an immense 
depth, while ever and anon a huge trout flits lilce a 
shadow over it. A certain judge and his lady are ac- 
customed in summer to come from the western set- 
tlements, and camp out for two or three weeks at a 
time on its shores, and fish. The lady, accomplished 
and elegant, enjoys the recreation amazingly, and once 
caught herself a trout weighing nineteen pounds-. 


There are no islands upon it, but a ong green pro- 
montory a -most cuts it in two, from which you get an 
entrancing: view of the whole lake. 

My friend B n, with a hunter, had great sport 

here one day. He did not fish over an hour, and yet 
in that short time, took a hundred and twenty pounds 
of trout, and left them biting as sharp and fast as 
when he began. Going back through the lake to- 
wards Brown's tract, two moose with their broad- 
spreading horns and huge black forms, were seen 
standing on the shore. They can see to an astonishing 
distance ; and at the first glimpse of the boat, they 
wheeled into the woods and made off. One, however, 
was killed the next day. Deer were stumbled on al- 
most every half mile. B n said he counted six, 

two of which the rifle of the hunter fetched down. A 
Jeer seems unable to measure distance correctly on 
the water, or else reasons very poorly on what he sees ; 
for if a man will approach noiselessly and without 
changing his posture, he can often, in broad daylight, 
j'ct within fair shootinsr rans^e. 

To strike through the woods, it is only about five 
miles from the head of this lake to " Brown's tract," 
tis it is called, where the signs of civilized life first ap' 

brown's tract. 241 

pear, though it will be a great mistake if when you 
get here you imagine yourself " out of the woocW^ — 
a long road yet remains to be traveled. 

This "tract" receives its name from John Brown, 
formerly governor of Rhode Island. Some fifty years 
affo, he bought two hundred thousand acres here — all 
wilderness — with the intention of forming a large set- 
tlement. By presents of , land and putting up at his 
own expense, mills and a forge for the manufacture 
of iron, he induced many families to migi-ate — at 
one time, it is said, there were thirty located in 
this solitary spot. But at that period, there was not a 
single public improvement west of Albany, hence 
there were no facilities for getting to market. Added 
to this, the land was cold and unproductive — the win- 
ters long and severe, which so disheartened the set- 
tlers that they one after another* left. (3-overnor 
Brown, who had constantly furnished large supplies 
at length died, and then the colony broke up. 

Three thousand acres had been cleared up, which 

now lies a vast common, with only one inhabitant to 

cultivate it. He occupies it without being owner, yet 

pays no rent, and no taxes : the Robinson Crusoe of 

this little territory, he has what he can raise, and no 


one to dispute his domain. The log d\Yel]ings of tho 
settlers have all rotted away — tlic milLs fallen in mwii 
the mill stones, and the forge upon the hammers. 
One house alone, which formerly belonged to the 
agent, remains standing ; and in this Arnold and his 
family reside. Boonville, twenty miles distant, is 
the nearest settlement. Yet here he lives contented, 
year after year, with his family of thirteen children — ■ 
twelve girls and one boy — by turns trapping, shooting 
and cultivating his fields. The agricultural part, 
however, is performed mostly by the females who 
plow, sow, rake, bind, &c., equal to any farmer. Two 
of the girls threshed alone, wdth common flails, five 
hundred bushels of oats in one winter, while their 
father and brother were away trapping for marten , 
Occupying such a large tract of land, and cultivating 
as much as he chooses, he is able to keep a great 
many cattle, and has some excellent horses which 
these sirls of his ride with a wildness and recklessness 
that makes one tremble for their safety. You will 
often see five or six of them, each on her own horse, 
some astraddle, and some sideways, yet all "bare 
back ;" i. e. without any saddle, racing it like mad 
creatures over the huge common. They sit (I was 


going to say tlieir saddles) their horses beautifully ; 
and with their hair streaming in the wind, and dresses 
flying about their white limbs and bare feet, careering 
across the plains, they look wild and spirited enough 
for Amazons. They frequently ride without a bridle 
or even halter, guiding the horse by a motion or stroke 
of the hand. AYhat think you of a dozen fearless girls 
mounted on fleet horses, without a saddle, on a dead 
run ? I should like to see them going down Broadway. 
Yet they are modest and retiring in their manners, 
and mild and timid as fawns amonof strans^ers. 

There was a lad about nineteen years of age with 

my friend B n, whom one of these girls challenged 

to a race. He accepted it, and they whipped their 
horses to the top of their speed. The barn, nearly a 
mile distant, was to be the goal. Away they went, 
pell-mell — the girl without a saddle, across the field. 
The boy plied the whip lustily, ashamed to be beaten 
by a woman, yet he fell behind, full a hundred yards. 
Mortified at his discomfiture, and the peal of laughter 
that went up, he hung his head, saying it was no 
fault of his, for she had the best horse. She then 
oft'ered to exchange with him, and try the race over. 
This was fair, and he was compelled to accept the 


second cliallenge. Taking their old station, they 
started again. It would have done a jockey good to 
have seen that stout frontier youth use his whip, and 
beat his horse's ribs with his heels, and heard him 
yell. But all would not do — that girl sat quietly 
leaning over her steed's neck ; and with her low, clear 
chirrup, and her sharp, well-planted blows inspired 
the beaten animal with such courage and speed, that 
he seemed to fly over the ground, and she came out 
full as far ahead as before. The poor fellow had to 
give up beaten, humiliating as it was, and the girl 
with a smile of triumph, slipped the bridle from her 
nag's head, and turned him loose in the fields to 

The mother, however, is the queen of all wood- 
man's wives — but you must see her and hear her 
talk^ to appreciate her character. If she will not 
stump the coolest, most hackneyed man of the world 
that ever faced a woman, I will acknowledge myself 
to have committed a very grave error of judgment. 

Her husband's ^^ saple line^'' as she termed it, (sable 
line,) that is line of trapping, is thirty miles long, and 
he is often absent on it several days at a time. 

It is thirty miles through the woods to BoonvillO; 


from whence you can easily make your way to 

My next will be on my return route through Forlced 
and Long Lakes, and the woods to Warren County. 

Yours truly. 





In THE Woods, August. 

Dear II- 

It was with weary forms and saddened hearts that 
we left this morning our encampment on Forked 
Lake, and turned the prows of our boats homeward. 
A person who has never traveled in the woods, cannot 
appreciate the feelings of regret with which one leaves 
the spot where he has once pitched his tent. The 
half-extinguished firebrands scattered around — the 
broken sticks that for the time being seemed valuable 
as silver forks, and the deserted shanty, all have a 
desolate appearance, and it seems like forsaking trusty 
friends, to leave them there alone in the forest. 

The morning was sombre, and the wind fresh as we 


pulled down the lake, and again entered the narrow 
river that pierced so adventurously the dark bosom of 
the forest. The fatiguing task of carrying our boats 
was performed over again, with the additional burden 
of a deer we had partially consumed. At one portage 

P , with two rifles and an overcoat as his part of 

the freight, started off in advance of the rest. We 
were each of us too much engaged with our own af- 
fairs to notice the direction he took ; but supposing, ol 
course, he was ahead, pushed on. But as we came to 
the next launching place, he was nowhere to be found. 
''He has gone on, I guess," said one, "to the next 
carrying place." ^Ye shouted, but the echo of our 
own voices was the only reply the sullen woods sent 
back, and one was despatched farther on to ascertain 
whether our conjecture was true. The report was 

soon brought back that P was nowhere to be 

found. I, by this time, began to feel somewhat 
alarmed, for the lost one vjas my brother^ and taking 
Mitchell with me, hastened back towards the spot 
\\here he had parted from us. I shouted aloud, but 
the deep waterfall drowned my voice, and its mo- 
notonous roar seemed mocking my anxious halloo. I 
then fired my rifle, but the sharp report was fol- 



lowed only b}' its own echo. Mitchell tlien dis- 
charged his. and after listening anxiously awhile, we 
heard a shot far up the river. Soon after^ "bang, 
bang," went two more guns in the same direction 
The poor fellow had heard our shots, and fearing we 
might not hear his in return, and hence take a 
wrong direction in pursuit of him, just stood, and 
loaded and fired as fast as he could. A¥hen we 
found him he was as pale as marble, and looked like 
one who had been in a state of complete bewilderment. 
On leaving us, instead of going down stream as he 
should have done, he turned directly up. After 
awhile he came out on the bank of, to him, a strange 
river. As it was on the wrong side to be the one we 
had floated down, he thought he must have crossed 
over to another, but finally concluded it would be the 
safest course to retrace his steps. This he was doing 
to the best of his ability when he heard our rifle shots. 
We scolded him for his stupidity in thus causing us 
alarm and delay, which, he very coolly remarked was 
neither very just nor sensible, and then trudged on. 

One gets lost in the woods when he least expects it. 
Awhile ago, a man from the settlements, a hunter, 
too, left the shores of Long Lake, with a dog to 


start a deer on the mountain, for a friend who was to 
watch in the boat. He left his rifle behind him so as 
to climb the mountain more easily, but after beating 
about awhile, got lost. Three days after the hound 
came home with a long gash in his side, and in a 
week or so more the body of the master was found on 
the shore of the lake. The dog evidently clung to 
him faithfully, till the man — having no gun with 
which to kill game — had endeavored to stab him for 
food. With this he left him, and the poor wretch 
wandered about, till prostrated by hunger, he laid 
down and died. 

Towards night B n and myself arrived with 

Mitchell at his hut, where he found his aged Indian 
father and young sister waiting his return. " Old 
Peter," as he is called, is now over eighty years of 
age. He shakes with the palsy, and is constantly 
muttering to himself in a language half French and 
half Indian, while his daughter scarcely twenty years 
old, is silent as a statue. She is quite pretty, and hei 
long hair is not straight like that of her race, but 
hangs in waving masses around her bronzed neck and 
shoulders. She will sp^ak to no one, not even to 
answer a question, except to her father and brother, 



I have tried in vain to make her say no or yes, but 
she invariably turns to her father or Mitchell, and 
makes them answer. This old man still roams the 
forest, and stays where night overtakes him. 

It was sad to look upon his once powerful frame, 
now bowed and tottering, while his thick gray hair 
hunsr like a hus^e mat around his wrinkled and 
seamed visage. His tremulous hand and faded eye 
could no longer send the unerring rifle ball to its 
mark, and he was compelled to rely on a rusty fowl- 
ing-piece. Everything about him was in keeping — 
even his dog was a mixture of the wolf and dog, and 
was the quickest creature I ever saw move : his very 
gambols frightened me, for when leaping to a caress, 
his bound was so quick and eager, that he seemed 
about to tear me in pieces — indeed it was always a 
dubious matter with me, when I approached him, 
whether he intended to play or fight. 

But poor old Peter cannot stand another winter, I 
fear, — and some lonely night, in the lonely forest, 
that dark-haired maiden will see him die, far from 
human habitations ; and her slender arm will carry 
his corpse many a weary mile, to rest among hi& tribe. 
As I have seen her decked out with water-lilies pad- 



dling that old man over the lake, I have sighed over 
her fate. She seems wrapt up h. him, and to have 
but one thought — one purpose of life — to guard and 
nurse her parent. The hour that sees her sitting 
by the camp-fire beside her dead father, will wit- 
ness a grief as intense and desolate as ever visited 
a m.ore cultivated bosom. G-od help her then. I 
can conceive of no sadder sight than that forsaken 
maiden, in some tempestous night, sitting all in the 
forest, holding the dead or dying head of her father, 
while the moaning winds sing his dirge, and the 
flickering fire sheds a ghastly light on the scene. 

How strong is habit. That old man cannot be per- 
suaded to sit down in peace beneath a quiet roof- 
ministered to and cherished as his wants require — but 
still clings to his wandering life, and endures hunger, 
cold, and fatigue, and wanders houseless and home- 
less. He continues to hunt, though his shot seldom 
strikes down a deer ; and he still treads the forest, 
though his trembling limbs but half perform their 
office, and his aged shoulders groan under the burden 
of his light canoe. I saw him looking at a handful of 
specimens of birch bark he had collected, and balano- 


insr which to choose as material for a new canoe. He 
still looks forward to years of hunting, and days of 
toil, when the bark oi life is already touching those 
dark waters that roll away from this world and all i1 

Aug. 31. — Yesterday as I was leaving Long Lake, 
I met the old Lidian and his daughter just starting on 
their return journey of a hundred and fifty miles. 
The father was sitting in the middle of the bark 
canoe on the bottom, while the daughter occupied tho 
stern and paddled the boat. Her head was uncovered, 
and her long hair which almost swept the water, 
was filled with white lilies she had plucked by the 
shore. Noiseless and steady swept on the frail craft, 
impelled by her sinewy arm — stretching down the 
middle of the lake towards the dark outlet. It was a 
sad sight to behold spring and winter thus united, one 
decked out in flowers and the other covered with the 
frosts of time, and know the fate before them. I 
watched their lessening forms till they were a mere 
speck in the distance, and then struck across the 
lake and began my fifty miles stretch through the 

Mitchell accompanied us several miles on our way. 


as if loth to leave us. In parting I gave him a canis- 
ter of powder, a pocket compass, and a small spy- 
glass, to keep as mementos of me, and shook his 
honest hand with as much regret as I ever did that of 
a white man. I shall long remember him — he is a 
man of deeds and not of words — kind, gentle, delicate 
in his feelings, honest and true as steel. I would 
start on a journey of a thousand miles in the woods 
w^ith him alone, without the slightest anxiety, al- 
though I carried a million of dollars about my person 
I never lay down beside a trustier heart than his, and 
never slept sounder than I have with one arm thrown 
across his brawny chest. 

There is one thing I have not mentioned, which 
mars very much a tramp through these woods — I 
mean the mosquitoes and black flies. The latter dis- 
appear about the first of July, but the former are like 
the locusts of Egypt. However, I was troubled less 
than I anticipated — on the lakes the fresh wind drives 
them away, and at night your camp fire keeps them 
off. In the woods of a damp, still morning, or just at 
evening, away from a fire, they assail one by bat- 
talions. Hence, fishing along the inlets or outlets is 
often a protracted agony. I once stood on a rock and 


dragged my fly over a pool so crowded with trout that 
half a dozen would be on the surface at once, and 
yet by the time 1 had taken ten or fifteen, I was 
compelled to fling down my rod and run and scream, 
for the blood was pouring in rivulets from my neck, 
face and hands. If, however, you are where you can 
sit in a boat, by placing some earth in the bottom of 
it, and building a little fire, (a " smudge,") you may 
fish quite comfortably. 

I mention the mosquitoes solely to relieve my con- 
science, so that no one — if any may be tempted here 
by my descriptions — shall say I have deceived him. 
However, I never suffered more from their bite than I 
have on Long Island. A green veil wrapped around 
the face and neck when traveling, is often a great 

Sept. 1. The fifty miles of forest were safely 
made, and with a pair of antlers on one side of my 
saddle, and a noble pheasant I shot with my rifle, on 
the other, I landed at an humble dwelling where I 
had left my traps, and was soon accoutered again lilce 
a civilized man. 

Yours truly. 



SciiRooN Lake. 
Dear H : 

Lake Schroon is some nine miles long, gently wav- 
ing in its shape and clotted with green islands. Some 
have compared it to Lake Como — from one point it 
bears an exact resemblance in shape to the neck of a 
swan. It is a most beautiful sheet of water — the 
shores sloping down to it on one side like those of 
Skaneateles, and a bold mountain kneeling in it on 
the other. At the foot is the residence of Mr. Ben- 
thuysen, commanding one of the finest views I have 
ever seen. The lake here is narrow, and as it half 
encircles the house, it looks like the Hudson River in 
its windings. There could hardly be a more pic- 
turesque situation for a summer residence ; and in 
England it would soon be crowned by a magnificent 


pile of buildings. The lake slioiild be called 
" Scaroon," from a French family that first gave it 
the name — the rapid way of pronouncing it has 
changed it into Schroon. The water is very pure and 
cold, and salmon trout were once found in it in abun- 
dance. Latterly, however, they have become more 
scarce, so four years since some men living on its 
banks got a few pickerel and put them in as a basis 
of a new stock of fish. It was agreed on all hands 
■= not to take any out for four years. The time being 
expired this spring, they commenced spearing them, 
and the quantities they have caught almost surpasses 
belief. Hundreds of pounds have been taken, some of 
the fish, weighing tivelve and thirteen pounds. The 
rapidity with which they bred is equalled only by the 
ratio of increase in size, for a growth of four pounds 
per annum in weight is almost incredible. It was 
doubtless owing to the abundance and richness of the 
food and the perfect adaptness of the water to their 
wants and habits. Fish of all kinds are ea&ily 
affected by the place they are in, and the quantity and 
kind of food with which they are supplied. A trout 
kept in a well, though fed ever so bounteously will 
scarceh gain a pound in three years, while I have 


seen those that Aveighed two ounces in June, by hav 
hig fine food and water, weigh six in August. The 
spawn that run up the cool streamlets into meadows 
where the water is always fresh and filled with 
worms or grasshoppers, will treble their size in two 
months. There is another curious fact about trout 
and pickerel as well as some other species of fresh 
water fish — their size will vary in proportion to the 
magnitude of the pond or lake they inhabit. Thus 
you will find in two lakes in Massachusetts, lying side 
by side — one, a half a mile round, and the other three 
miles, the same fish differing altogether in size. In 
the latter you will take a great many pickerel weigh- 
ing three and four pounds, and now and then one 
much larger, while in the former the average weight 
will be from ei":ht to eisihteen ounces. 


Last night witnessed a scene of sublimity that 
baffles all attempts to describe it worthily — for the 
forests all around were a mass of surging, tossing, 
billowy flame. I have seen the woods on fire upon 
Long Island, when the flames traveled so rapidly 
that a man on horseback could scarcely, at an easy 



gallop, keep ahead of them — and it was a grand spec* 
tacle. The vast columns of smoke rolling into the 
heavens, yet leaning eagerly forward, as if straining 
on the chase — the lambent tongues of flame, shooting 
at intervals above the murky mass that hui2:2:ed the 
tree tops, and the steady roar, liJie that of the surge, 
filled me with new ideas of terror and sublimity. 
The rabbits and foxes in countless numbers, smellinar 
the danger from afar, scoured the thickets in every 
direction — the deer ran frightened from their haunts, 
and nature herself seemed to stand aghast at the fury 
of the devouring element. But the leaves and shrubs 
alone fed the flames — the tall trees were only scathed 
and blackened, which, together v/ith the lowness of 
the land, lessened and concealed the effect of the 

A prairie on fire is simply a mass of flame, rush- 
insr like a race horse over the around — terrible to 
behold, but exhibiting a sameness in its aspect that 
leaves no room to the imagination. But a mountain 
of masrnificent timber ablaze is another matter — from 
base to ridge your eye takes in the whole extent, and 
you look on a bosom of fire, from which rise waving 
columns and lofty turrets of flama. 


There has been a loni]c drou2:ht in this section, 
which so dried up everything combustible, that the 
forest became one great tinder box, needing only a 
spark to make a conflagration. This was accident- 
ally furnished by some men burning a fallow. First 
a column of blue smoke be<?an to ascend throus'li 
the trees, which rapidly swelled in size and increased 
in velocity, until at length the fire got under way, and 
took up its fierce march, and by night the whole 
mountain was wrapt in a fiery mantle. It came roar- 
ing down to the clearing where I stood, threatening to 
leap over the narrow barrier, in its eagerness to burst 
all bonds that would restrain it. Trees a hundred 
feet high, and five and six and eight feet in circumfer- 
ence, were on fire from the root to the top — vast pyr- 
amids of flame, now sursfins: in the eddies of air that 
caught them, now bending as if about to yield the 
struggle, then lifting superior to the foe. and dying, 
martyr-like, in the vast furnace. One tree enlisted 
for awhile all my sympathies — it was a noble stem, 
and stood for a lono; time erect and motionless amid 
the enveloping smoke and flame, sometimes buried 
from my sight and then appearing again — its black 
form looming mysteriously through the murky cloud 


that shrouded it, as though defymg its enemy, ^ven 
after the blaze had curled itself around the entire 
trunk, and run out to the extreme limits of the 
branches, it still retained its calm and dignified aspect 
— its head, and body, and arms reaching out into the 
night, all on fire, and yet scorning to show signs of 
pain. At length, however, the heat seemed to have 
reached its vitals, for it suddenly swung backward, as 
if in agony, while a shower of embers fell like sky 
rockets around the blazing outline, to its roots. Shorn 
of its glory, the flashing, trembling form stood thus 
awhile, crisping and writhing in the blaze, till weary 
with its long suffering, it threw itself with a sudden 
and hurried sweep, on the funeral pile around. From 
the noble pine to the bending sprout, the trees were 
aflame, wdiile the crackling underbrush seemed a 
fiery net- work cast over the prostrate forms of the 
monarchs of the forest. ^'Vlien the fire caught a dry 
stub, it ran up the huge trunk like a serpent, and, 
coil ins: around the withered branches, shot out its 
fiery tongue as if in mad joy, over the raging element 
below ; while ever and anon, came a crash that 
reverberated far away in the gorges — the crash of 
falling trees, at the overthrow of which there went 


up a cloud of sparks and cinders and ashes. Sweeping 
along on its terrible path, the tramp of that confla- 
gration filled the air with an uproar like the bursting 
of billows on a roclvy shore. 

In one direction the forest made down into a valley 
through which coursed a rapid stream, on the farthei 
side of which arose a mountain of rocks, almost naked 
from base to summit. Trees and shrubs, however, 
had grown in the interstices, but the drought had 
killed them all, and the v/hite and withered stems 
could scarcely be distinguished from the bleached 
rocks against which they grew. 

Along this valley the conflagration swept ; and, 
skirting the bank of the stream with fearful velocity, 
and licking up everything to the water's brink ; went 
for a while careering onward as if satisfied with the 
field before it. But suddenly there seemed to be a 
division of the forces — while one portion was content 
with a direct invasion, the other made a halt as if re- 
solved on a more desperate attack. The white, dry 
mountain on the opposite side of the stream had at- 
tracted its attention ; and clearing the channel with 
one bold bound, it began to scale the opposing clifl*s. 
As the flames got amongst this vast collection of com. 



bustible matter, they raged with a strength and fury 
to which all their former madness seemed placidity. 
Have you ever in a still summer day heard the roar of 
a coming hurricane ? if so, you have a faint conception 
of the terrific rushing sound of the fire as it wrapped 
those mountains. It was near midnight, and that 
rocky ridge became in the gloom a vast elevation of 
fire — laced with lines of fire of brighter hue, and 
shooting up jets of flame against the murky sky, as if 
resolved to assail the heavens also. As I stood afazinsr 
on this wild spectacle, and listening to its wilder up- 
roar, suddenly a shrill and distant scream cleaved the 
flames, and v/as borne with startling clearness through 
the air. Some wild animal, probably a panther, had 
been roused from his sleep by the heat, but awoke 
only to find himself hemmed in on every side by a 
burning wall. Bounding madly from side to side, ho 
had at last sprang into the fire, and that last cry was 
his death shriek. 

This morning, a black and smouldering mass alone 
remains of last nisrht's wild work. Trees half burnt 
in two, others broken off at the middle, and all 
smoking amidst the devastation, present a most for- 
lorn aspect in the bright morning air. 


The backwoodsman never sees a city on f re, but he 
beholds a far more imposing spectacle. Aromid the 
haunts of men the devouring element is everywhere 
met by resistance. T\ot only do solid walls obstruct 
its progress, but human eflbrt fights it at every step, 
subduing its fury and lessening its force. But in the 
woods it has free scope — no arm arrests it — no con- 
finement smothers its rage. Free as the forest it 
ranges, it puts forth all its energy, and is fanned into 
greater fury, by the wind, itself creates. 

Thus, my friend, do scenes of beauty and terror 
succeed each other on the margin and in the heart of 
the wilderness. There is no monotony in nature and 
no lack of excitement. 

Youis truly. 





ScHRooN Lake, August. 

Dear H : 

After the description I have given of the wilder- 
ness and its extent, I seem to hear you inquiring, 
" What do people live on there ?" Well, not much of 
anything ; yet money is made in this region — that is, 
out nearer the settlements. You have no conception 
of the quantity of lumber that is taken every winter 
from some part of this vast plateau to Albany. A 
thousand people will be in these woods, where, in the 
summer, there is not a living being. Speculators buy 
the land for the sake of the timber, and then in the 
winter carry in provisions, etc., for the lumbermen 
who are to cut it. Log huts are put up in the shel- 


tercd gorges for themselves and cattle, and some poles 
driven into the loj^s for bedsteads ; and thus equipped 
and encamped, they lay siege to the pines. Teams 
are made to work, and logs are drawn, where you 
would say it was impossible for cattle to stand. A 
great deal of land is bought of government solely for 
the pine on it ; and after that is cut down, it is al- 
lowed to revert .back to the State to pay its taxes. 
In the more central regions, however, there is 
no timber cut, as it is impossible to get it out to mar- 
ket : but as civilization extends, the interior of the 
Empire State will, no doubt, be reached by roads, or 
water navigation. 

Speaking of living, reminds me of an anecdote re- 
lated to me by a professor of mathematics in one of 
our colleges. Sent here for scientific purposes, he took 
with him as a companion a younger brother who had 
just graduated, and an old hunter, for a guide, cook, 
and provider-general. Passing one day a clearing, in 
which some fine peas were growing, they purchased a 
small quantity to give relish to a dinner some time in 
the forest. Not long after, being fatigued by a 
hard forenoon's worl:, they pitched their camp on 

the borders of a lonely lake, and the professor said, 


" Come, let us have those peas to-day." So while ho 
was taking some observations down by the lalce, the 
old hunter and the young gi-aduate prepared the din- 
ner. After a while (the professor told me) he no- 
ticed an unusual chuckling between the student and 
the backwoodsman. Suspecting some trickery, ho 
strolled quietly up towards the fire, as if endeavoring 
to get a new point of observation, but in fact to watch 
narrowly their proceedings. Supposing that the profes- 
sor was deep in equations and angles and mathemati- 
cal lines, they relaxed their caution, and he observed 
that they were making wooden spoons with their pen- 
knives. All at once it flashed on him that he and 
they had nothing but penknives to eat the peas with, 
and that here was a conspiracy to rob him of his 
share. Saying nothing, he walked back to the lake 
shore, and picking up one of those large muscle shells 
which are found in all our fresh water lakes and 
rivers, and will hold more than an ordinary spoon, ho 
fitted a split stick to it for a handle, and clapped 
them both in his pocket. Then sauntering back in 
order to prevent them making very extensive prepara- 
tions, he kept around, until the dinner was cooked 
His presence restricted very much their operations, and 


tliey were able to finish but very shallow spoons aftei 
all. The peas being at length done, they wei'e poured 
into the common dish, and lo ! it was all soiip. To 
prevent the possibility of the professor's getting even 
a moiety, they had cooked them so that the peas were 
like Yirgil's " rari nantes in gurgite vastoP 

Imagine them now all seated on the ground around 
their food, each stabbing with his penknife at the 
peas, wdiich dodge under the surface at every 
blow, like frogs when pelted with stones by mis- 
chievous boys. After this ridiculous process had been 
carried on awhile, to the ill-suppressed merriment of 
the student and hunter, they whipped out their 
wooden spoons, and flourishing them over their heads 
with a loud " hurrah," made a dive at the peas. The 
professor said nothing, but coolly drawing fGrch his 
huge muscle shell and stick, and fitting then, together, 
began to ladle up the soup. The hunter aud graduate 
stopped in utter amazement at this new development, 
and with their spoons suspended half way to their 
mouths, gazed with blank countenances at the quiet 
professor, who, without uttering a w^ord, or changing 
a feature, diligently plied his shell. By his accurate 
and mathematical mode of ladliiisr, he was enabled to 


take lip an enormous quantity at every dip, and in a 
few moments every pea had vanished. The whole 
operation had been carried on with the sobriety with 
which he would have reduced an equation, while the 
hunter and student looked inquiringly at each other, 
yet without venturing a word of expostulation against 
the strange proceeding. "When the last pea disap- 
neared, he looked up as much as to say, " Is there any- 
thing more to eat, gentlemen?" This was carrying 
out the joke so capitally that the two conspirators 
were compelled to laugh. The old hunter, as he 
licked his empty spoon, confessed that for once he had 
been outwitted. 

The other day I took a heavy boot to a shoemaker, 
or rather mender^ to be repaired before I set forth on a 
new expedition, of whom I was told a capital anec- 
dote. An Enolish emis^rant had settled down in a 
remote part of the forest, where he cleared a little 
space about him and built a log hut. He had been 
there but a year or two, when one day as he was 
absent in the woods with his eldest daughter, his hut 
took fire and burned down. His wife was sick, but 
she managed to crawl out, taking the straw bed on 
which she lay with her. At evening the husband 


returned to find liis house in ruins. It was a wintei 
night, and the snow lay deep on the ground. Calling 
aloud, he heard a faint voice reply, and going in 
the direction from which it came, found his wife 
stretched on the bed in the snow. Gettinsr tosfether 
a few boards left from the conflagration, he made a 
shelter over her. That night she was safely deliv- 
ered of a child which survived and is now livinsf. 
But under the exposure and excitement together, 
the husband took a violent cold, which, having 
fastened on his lungs, and being resisted by no medi- 
cal treatment w^hatever, terminated in the consump- 
tion. He, however, reared another hut, and during 
the summer a young settler came in and purchased a 
tract near by him. His being the only family within 
a long distance, this backswoodsman often passed the 
evening in their society. It was not long before he 
discovered that his neighbor could not long survive, for 
the most ignorant in this region know all the symp- 
toms of pulmonary disease which carries off three- 
fourths of those who die. Accompanying this conclu- 
sion came naturally the reflection, what would become 
of the wife ; and as she was good-looking and indus- 
trious he thought he could not do better than marn 



her himself. Acting on this consideration, he n:ien- 
tioned the matter to her, remarking that her hushand 
could not live long, and asking if she would marry 
him after he was dead ? 

She replied that she had no objections at all if " her 
husband ivas loiUingP He said he had no doubt on 
that point, and he would speak to him about it. Ho 
did so, and the husband unhesitatingly gave his con- 
sent, adding that he was glad she would be so well 
provided for after his death. So when winter ap- 
proached, the young settler would come and "court" 
the prospective widow, while the dying husband laid 
and coughed on the bed in the corner. 

Now there was not much sentiiiient in this, I grant, 
but there was a vast deal of philosophy. It was 
rather cool on her part, to be sure, but vastly sensible 
on his. What could his wife and children do, all 
alone there in the woods, without a protector ? The 
toughest part of the proceeding, and that which no 
doubt tested the baclv woodsman's philosophy the 
severest, was the courtship. To lie gasping for 
breath in one part of the room, and see (he young 
athletic and healthy backwoodsman and his wife 
sitting together by the fire, and know thai after a few 


more painful weeks, lie ^YOllld occupy that place per- 
manently, and yet bear it all patiently, required a 
good deal of stamina. Especially must the reflection 
that they were both probably very anxious to have 
him take his departure, have been rather a bitter pill 
to swallow. I go into all these little particulars, you 
know, to show the character of my hero to the best 
advantage — the heroine speaks for herself. Thes^j 
two interesting personages were my shoemaker and 
liis wife. 

Yours truly, 


odds and ends trial of a thief in the back* 

woods new mode of reporting an election- 
paradox lake von raumer and his statements. 

Dear H : 

They have a curious way of disposing of civil and 
political matters in the backwoods ; for they are not 
trammelled by the formalities of law, having imbibed 
the very ridiculous notion that its end is secured by 
the administration of justice. It will be some time, 1 
am afraid, before they become sufficiently educated to 
understand that the science of law as reduccil to prac- 
tice now-a-days, is based on two great principles — 
first, to give the scoundrel a better chance than the 
honest man — and second, to make technicalities weigh 
against truth and justice. The idea never entered 
their heads, poor souls, that a ?;light informality 


should ahvays be sufficient to defeat the causo of a 
good man, and advance that of a bad one. 

Bemg so barbarous as to love simple justice, somo 
of their trials are conducted on a singular plan. On 
one occasion, a little settlement of some half a dozen 
families having discovered a thief among their num- 
ber, without farther ado, assembled, tried, and con- 
demned him. The nearest jail, however, was fifty 
miles distant, through the forest : yet they resolved 
to despatch him thither, and two men were appointed 
as his conductors 

The first day they made about twenty-five miles, 
and then built up a fire and lay down for the night, 
with ^their prisoner. In the morning, feeling rather 
stiff" and lame, they declared that the tramp of a hun- 
dred miles was going to cost more than it would como 
to, and so turned him loose in the woods to find his 
wav out as he best could. 

I was much amused at a method of voting adopted 

in another settlement composed of a few clearings- 

the only ones in the township — in which were some ten 

or a dozen voters. The candidate for their suffrages 

— I forget his name — lived in G-len's Falls, near 

Saratoga Springs. Having assembled together in 


one of the log lints of the settlers, they talked over the 
matter, and finally concluded to vote all one way, and 
for this gentleman. It was a grave and solemn de- 
liberation, and the sound political maxims there 
uttered were worthy of the momentouso ccasion that 
called them together. Having folded up their some 
dozen votes, they put them in a little wooden box with 
a lid to it, and despatched a man with them eighty 
miles distant to Grlen's Falls, fifty of which were 
through a dense forest. After several days' hard 
Graveling, he reached the place ; but instead of going 
to the proper authorities, he went straight to the can- 
didate's house, and opening the box, counted the votes 
saying, " Here, them's all for you — every one of 'em.' 
The man laughed, and said that he was much obliged 
for the votes, but they could do him no good, brought 
in this informal way. 

I causfht a terrible drubbinsf in a school house, the 
other day, from a Methodist exhorter. Seeing me 
present, and hearing or surmising that I was from 
New York, he thought it was a good opportunity to 
give his opinion of the inhabitants of that wicked 
city. Among other severe things which he uttered, 
he said the people were so affected that they could 


not say '' Tuesday ^^^ but must say '' Chuseday^'' and 
could not say ink, ''like a man, but writirC jiuidP 
I fairly writhed under the scorching rebuke, feeling 
as I often have done under some of the criticisms on 
my books in the Magazines. I have no doubt he also 
felt very much as the writer or penny-a-liner did, 
who concocted those annihilatins: reviews. It re- 
minded me of an article I once saw in the "New 
Englander," written by an ignorant conceited clergy- 
man, who, irritated by the itching after notoriety, 
was willing to expose his folly, if he only could 
be talked about. I forget the article, but I remember 
one sentence, over which I had a hearty laugh — first, 
at the long ears, which everywhere stuck out, and 
second, at the ludicrous gravity with which I knew 
he contemplated the feat he had performed, while his 
readers were smiling at his stupidity. He was re- 
viewing my '' Napoleon and his Marshals," and 
among other defects, (some of which he made up 
deliberately,) he said I used the phrase "deliv- 
ered battle," which was entirely wrong. He con- 
demned it, intimating that it was very corrupt En- 
glish, unscholarlike and vicious " — when he ought 
^f> have known it was a technical military phrase, 



for whicli I was no more responsible than for the 
phrase '''' artillery practice ^^"^ or '-^advancing en eche- 
lori^''^ and which is perfectly proper, as any, but an 
ignoramus knows. "Delivered battle!" "very bad 
English" — ah, he said ^^ writiri' fluid,'''' he did not say 
" ink /" So another critic rebuked me for usins: the 
word " stand-poinf- — saying I should have written 
^'' standing point 1 1 V How very small a dog can 
hark ! 

A few miles from the head of Schroon Lake is 
Lake Paradox, which derives its name from the fact 
that its waters flow two ways. Its outlet empties 
into the east branch of the Hudson (i. e.) in ordinary 
times. But when, as it frequently happens in 
the spring, the river suddenly rises even with ita 
banks, its surface is above the level of the lake, 
which, of course, swells much slower. The current 
of the outlet is then reversed and flows back into the 
lake. This double motion of the stream has given it 
the name " Paradox." 


I came across the country to Lake Champlain, tak- 
ing some fine trout on the way. About six nnlesi 


from Crown Point, I for the first time m my life 
oauglit a full view of the G-reen Mountains of Ver- 
mont. They were a long way off, but in the bright 
light of the setting sun, their bold outline showed 
beautifully against the clear sky. I was struck with 
the soft, blue coloring over them, like that we so often 
see in Italy, and which is generally thought to be 
peculiar to that country. Burlington is one of the 
most beautiful places on the continent, though I was 
provoked with a remark made by Prof. Yon Raumer 
one day in company with some of the professors of 
the college. He said he had traveled from Boston 
through the Atlantic States to New Orleans, and up 
the Mississippi, tlii*ough Canada, and back to Yer 
mont ; and that Niagara and Burlington furnished the 
only scenery that could be called fine he had found in 
all his route. Now so old a traveler as Yon Raumer 
ought to be ashamed of such a remark. If he will go 
through the country on railroads and steamboats, at 
the rate of fifteen and twenty miles an hour, he 
should not complain of dearth of scenery. I have 
seen both continents, (not excepting even the Profes- 
sor's favorite G-ermany,) and I affirm that in natural 
scenery the United States stands unrivalled ; and if 



this remark is an index of the book he designs to pub- 
lish about us, I would not give a straw for it. How 
supremely foolish for a man to hurry through the 
country by steam, taking all the lowland in his route, 
and then pretend to write about our scenery. These 
three months' tourists are not the most reliable in the 
world. To add to the Professor's wisdom, he took the 
night boat up the lake. Yery likely he went doion 
the Hudson by night also. Suppose he had gone up 
by daylight, and across the country from Burlington 
to Boston, and then through Massachusetts and Con- 
necticut to Albany, and down the Hudson on a pleas- 
ant day — every hour w^ould have been crowded with 
rich and varied scenery. 

A man who should visit Switzerland and never gz 
into the Oberland or Tyrol, and then say there was no 
scenery in the country that could be called sublime, 
would be deemed insane — but a foreign traveler no 
more thinks of visiting the wild and almost untrodden 
portions of our land, than he does of committing sui- 
cide. He expects to see everything worth seeing, 
without leaving the lines of railroads, or going beyond 
the precincts of good hotels. As well might a man 
give an opinion of the scenery of the Highlands after 


passing only from Edinburgh to Glasgow, as speak oi 
that of our country after traveling only on the great 
thoroughfares that intersect it. Our gorges are yet 
dark with fir trees, amid which the seeker after 
natural beauty must sleep — our heaven piercing 
mountains encircled by vast forests or broader deserts 
through which he must toil, if he would reach the 
commanaino: summits. 

YouT5* truly, 

■D ' 



Leaves bnve their time to fall, 

Anu riowers to wither at the North wind's breath." 

Dear H 

No country can compare with ours in the richness, 
at least of its autumn scenery. The mountains of thei 
eastern world are not wooded like ours, and henca 
cannot exhibit such a mass of foliage as they present. 
But if you wish to behold autumn in its glory, you 
must stand on some height that overlooks this vast 
wilderness. What seemed to you in summer an inter- 
minable sea of green, becomes a limitless expanse of 
the richest colors — a vast collection of fragmentary 
rainbows. And the different effects of light on dif- 
ferent portions is most astonishing. Here a moun- 
tain blazes in splendor, and there a valley looks like a 
kaleidescope — just so variegated and confused. 


Autumn has been written and rhymed about from 
the days of Thomson down, but always in the same 
general tone of sadness. The text of every one has 

been — 


" The melancholy days have come — 
The saddest of the year " 

There must be something natural in this, or it would 
not be so universal ; and my own experience has 
heretofore corresponded with this prevailing senti- 
ment. Indeed the effect of the dying year is palpable 
on those least affected by such changes and least con- 
scious of them. You notice it in the very sports of 
children. In spring time the most vigorous games 
and boisterous merriment are seen on every -village 
green. But in autumn these are thrown aside for 
forest strolls or wallvs by the river side. The scene 
subdues and chastens the very spirit of childhood ; 
and there is something sad in seeing the glorious 
summer, that has been so full of life and health and 
beauty, lie down and die on the bosom of Nature. 
Hope, which comes with spring, yields in autumn to 
reflection, and man looks forward to decay rather 
than to maturity and strength. But this feeling 


becomes deeper and sadder as one enters the forest 
and hears the leaves rustling to his tread, and the 
sound of the squirrel cracking the nuts amid the 
dying tree-tops. 

The trees have a melancholy aspect about them — 
they appear to be conscious that their glory is depart- 
ing ; and every leaf, as it loosens itself from the stem 
where it has nodded and sv^^ayed the livelong summer 
in joy, and flutters to the earth, seems to lie down as 
a sad memorial of the departing year. 

But for once in autumn I have had none of these 
feelings. Roaming through this glorious region, and 
along the foot of these mountains, I have seen summer 
die as I never saw it die before. There has been a 
beauty and brightness and glory about the changing 
foliage this year, I never, before witnessed. 1^% 
drenching rains faded the colors before their time, and 
amid the clear weather and slight frosts, the summer 
has died like the dolphin, changing from beauty to 
beauty ; and Autumn, the usually sober, serious, 
sober Autumn, has seemed the most frolicsome fellow 
of all the year. Stand in. one of these deep valleys, 
and look around you on the shores and hill-slopes and 
mountain ridges ! Autumn, with his brush and 


colors, has been painting with the most reckless 
prodigality and in endless variety of beauty and 
brightness. There is no end to his whims and' con- 
ceits — the changed landscape seems the work of one 
in his most joyous, frolicsome mood. There stands a 
single maple tree ; Autumn approached it last night, 
and apparently from a mere whim, threw his brush 
over the top, making it a scarlet red one third of the 
way down, while the other portion he left green as in 
its spring-time. He simply put a red cap on it and 
passed on. On another, he has run his brush along a 
single limb, which flashes out from the deep bosom of 
green in singular contrast. Yonder is an open grove 
VA'hich he has hurried through, touching here and 
there a tree with hig reckless brush, till it is spotted 
up with all the colors of the rainbow. He has 
painted one all yellow, another all red, a third left 
untouched, and a fourth sprinkled over with a shower 
of colors, as if he had simply shaken his brush over 
it in mirth. 

He has brought out colors where you never dis- 
covered anything but barrenness betore. A yellow 
wreath is running along a rock and festooning a tree, 
where yesterday was only an humble unseen vine. 


He has painted it in a single night. He has trod the 
gloomy swamp also, and lit up its solemn arcades 
with brightness and beauty. The bushes that lifted 
themselves modestly beside the dark fir trees, un- 
noticed before, he has touched with his pencil, while 
the evergreens, which he always avoids, stand in their 
native greenness — and lo, a yellow lake is spread 
under their sombre tops, as if a flood of molten 
gold had suddenly been poured through them. He 
has tipped the bush that dips the water with his 
pencil, and lo, the liquid mirror blushes with the re- 
flection at morning. Like a giant he has stood at th<? 
base of the sky-seeking mountain, and swept his brush 
with a bold stroke all over its forest-covered sides, tiL 
it fairly dazzles the eye as the evening sunbeams flood 
it. There, where the ridges stoop into a long steady 
.slo[)e, he has wrought on a grander scale. The 
different nature of the soil has given birth to several 
varieties of timber, which lie like so many separate 
strata for miles along the mountain side ; and here he 
has swept his brush in long stripes of yellow and red 
and green and gold, till acres on acres of carpeting 
spread away on the vision, vrhile here and there sepa- 
rate clumps of trees have been touched with varie- 


gated hues to serve as figures in the inagnifieent 
ground work. It is astonishing how well Autumn 
understands the effect of light, especially as he worka 
so much in the dark. But there, on the bold spur of 
that hill, right where the sunlight falls at evening 
through a gorge in the western range, he has laid on 
his richest and most gorgeous colors. And when the 
western sky is melting and flowing into fluid gold, and 
the glowing orb of day is swimming in its own splen- 
dor as it sinks to rest, it pours its full brightness upon 
that already bright projection, till it is converted into 
a throne of light. 

Thus does this frolicsome Autumn roam abroad 
with brush and colors in hand, obeying no law but 
that of beauty. But while he paints on such a grand 
scale, and with such long sweeps, and so rapidly, too, 
finishing millions of acres in a single night, he omits 
none of the details. Each leaf is as carefully shaded, 
and as delicately touched as if miniature painting was 
his only profession. 



There are several routes to the region described in 
the foregoing letters. One goes by way of Lake 
George, where you take a wagon to Chester and 
Schroon Lake. From this point you can go either to 
Long Lake, or the Adirondack Iron Works. 

Another is by way of Westport on Lake Champlain, 
where you take a wagon to Elizabeth town. At the 
latter place, as at Chester on the other route, you will 
obtain all the information necessary as to the best 
way of getting into the woods. 

A third route goes bv way of Keysville. Launch- 
ing your boats on the Saranac River, you pass up it^ 
carrying your boat around rapids — sailing through 
beautiful lakes, until at length you cross over to Ra- 
quette River up which you can wind your tedious way 
day after day until you reach Raquette Lake. 


On the western side you start from Rome aiid go to 
Boonville, thence to Brown's tract, where you lake 
boats for the Raquette, &:.c. There is another route 
still, leading in on the southern side from INrew Ajh- 
sterdam, the particulars of which I am unacquainted 

In passing through this region, one should neve? 
wpmder from his guide, for it does not require more 
than a mile's aberration sometimes to lose one effectu- 
ally. Neither should he, even ivith his guide, depart 
far frem the water courses, for it is almost impossible 
to get through the woods. The quantities of fallen 
timber scattered throughout the forest in every direc- 
tion — huge trees lying across each other, presenting 
an endless succession of barricades and impenetrable 
thickets, arrest the traveler at every step. A direct 
line cannot be pursued, and a man might work hard 
all day and not make ten miles' progress. And more 
than this, away from the lakes and streams you are 
not sure of game, especially on the higher grounds. 
These mountains are silent as the ccrave — the owl 
perchance being the only bird you will see in a day's 
tramp. It is true, deer, bear, wolves, panthers, and 
moose roam over them, or retire to their summits to 


take the cool air and escape the flies of the lower 
grounds, but you make such a thrashing among the 
branches, both green and dry, that they are off, long 
before you come in sight of them. These forests aro 
so dense that you can see but a short distance ahead 
A good rifle, a knife, three or four shirts, and a blan. 
Iret or overcoat, making a package of only a few 
pounds weight, must be all that you take with you — 
for, in the first place, your rifle weighs from eight to 
twelve pounds, and in the second place, you are often 
compelled to carry that of your guide also, together 
with a tin kettle, perhaps, or pan which you need 
in cooking. Over th" nortages he can carry only the 
boat, and it would be a great waste of time to com- 
pel him to go back after the traps. Your guide must 
have also a little sack of Indian meal with which to 
make Johnny-cakes. A small bit of pork is likewise 
desirable to fry your trout with. Thus equipped, 
with a good pair of legs under you, a spirit not easily 
discouraged, and a love for the wild, and free, you 
c;an have a glorious tramp — enjoy magnificent scenery 
— catch trout and kill deer to your heart's content, 
and come back i > civilized life a healthier and a bet« 
ler man. 



The Woods, July 9th. 
Dear H >: 

The savage is man's normal state, at least physically, 
and he is compelled every now and then to go back 
towards it, if not to it, to recover the lost tone of both 
mind and body. 

The same cause that sent me the last time to the 
woods,- viz. a shattered nervous system and a disturbed 
brain, has driven me there again, to find in the untrod- 
den wilderness that health which all the " poppies and 
mandragoras of the world " cannot give. The Yevj air 
of the woods is composed of different ingredients than 

that of the outer world, filling the cells of the lungs with 



a new substance, and sending a different arterial blood 
coursins; thronoh the system. 

Having so often tried it before, it was no mere experi- 
ment with me to seek the Adirondacks for health ; ond 
so, after batthng with exhaustion till I could see the 
little ones safely through the pyrotechnics of the Fourth 
of July, I shouldered my long neglected rifle, and with 
a longing heart once more turned my footsteps hither- 

I had gone in twice by the way of Lake George, 
striking the centre of the lake region, and came out 
once by the Tahawus and Adirondack Iron Works, and 
so, by way of variety, resolved this time to go to the 
extreme north, by way of Port Kent, and, beginning 
with the Saranac lakes, work whichever way took my 
fancy. But after we had got afloat on Lake Champlain, 
one of my companions (I had two) discovered that a 
carpet-bag had been left behind somewhere between 
Saratoga and Whitehall, and so we stopped at Westport 
while he went back in search of it. While waiting here 
I ascertained that we could reach the Saranac by cross- 
ing a ridge near the base of the lordly Tahawus, and so 
we resolved at the last moment to try this, to me en- 
tirely new route. 


It was as bright and beautiful a day as ever blessed 
tlie earth when we rattled out of Westport and struck 
inland towards Elizabethtown. My joj, however, on 
feeling myself once more bound for the woods, was soon 
damped by the fear that I had put off my trip too long, 
for a dreary sense of exhaustion began to steal over me, 
and a deadly sinking of the heart made me hesitate 
about placing myself beyond the reach of medical 
advice and friends to take care of me. If I had been 
alone, I should at once have turned back ; but I could 
not bear to disappoint my companions, and so I pushed 
on to Elizabethtown, where I lav down, feeling^ that a 
bed was a fitter place for me than the rough bivouac of 
the woods. Fortunatelj^, I found here a good Samari- 
tan in the person of Judge H , who furnished me 

with some medicine that I needed. Fortified with this, 
I ventured to push on. 

The old familiar top of " "White Face " now loomed 
far up against the heavens, furnishing a landmark that 
seemed alwaj^s to keep nearly at the same distance with 
every turn. Mile after mile we wound up a clear 
trout-brook that went leaping and laughing down 
its rocky bed, filled with the small mountain trout, 
that could be seen darting around the transparent 


pools. After indulging in sundry strong exclamations, 

r could stand it no longer, and taking out his city 

tackle, began to whip the stream. But it was soon evi- 
dent that, however expert he might be in larger streams, 
with larger fish, he could do nothing with his flies with 
these nimble little fellows. They would be on the sur- 
face, and back again to the bottom of the pool long 
before he began to jerk. Keane was the last settlement 
we reached before we began the ascent of the mountain. 
Here we took a breathing spell, and were told that we 
should find it no child's-play to get over the mountain 
with a wagon. A water-spout had burst a year or two 
before on its top, and, taking the road for its channel, 
had rushed down like an Alpine torrent into the valley, 
sweeping, in some places, three feet deep over the grain 
fields, and carrying desolation in its path. We had 
scarcely turned out of the settlement, with our faces 
towards the distant mountain, before we came upon the 
evidences of its ravages. Long stretches, paved with 
stones, piled just as the torrent had left them ; great cuts 
into clayey banks, which the current had undermined, 
showed what wild work this sudden avalanche of water 
had made. So complete was the destruction of the 
roaa, chat the inhabitants had not attempted to repair it 

OYER THE mou:n'taix. 293 

It was travelled only at rare intervals, and was a mere 
mountain-path at best. Where it was totally impassable, 
the frontiersman had cut a path around the spot, and on 
bis four wheels, joined by a buck-board, succeeded in. 
making his way up and down the steep acclivity. 

A lofty plateau, like a great step, jutted out from the 
base of the mountain proper, from the edge of which 
the eye roamed over a wide expanse of country, broken 
up- into every imaginable shape, with her§ and there 
quiet settlements, that looked like calm ' resting-places 
outside of the great restless world. 

At length we entered the forest and began the sharp 
ascent of the mountain. Then began the toil of the 
day ; there was no turning out to avoid bad places, for 
the forest was too dense ; and right up the rocky bed of 
the torrent our panting team w^as compelled to strain. 
A gentleman and two ladies from the city were stopping 
a few days at Westport, and their imagination being 
excited by my description of the glories of the wilder- 
ness, resolved to accompany us as far as the Lower Sara- 
nac. These ladies were soon the sole occupants of the 
wagon, but even they at length became loo great a load ; 
for, as it careened and pounded over the huge rocks, it 
broke down, when they, too, were compelled to foot it 


lip the mountain. The sun had just disappeared bojond 
the far-off forest when we reached the wild and dreaiy 
summit. To our great relief, however, the road now 
became quite passable and the descent gentle, and we 
rattled merrily along. We knew there was but one 
clearing within reach, but whether the family that lived 
there was at home we knew not, and were equally igno- 
rant at what hour of the night we sliould reach it. 
Darkness was now settling around the mountain top, 
qnd the road", that seemed a mere channel cut through 
the forest, grew every moment more indistinct, and I 
began to feel a little anxious about a lodging-place for 
the ladies over night. Being chiefly responsible for 
their attempting the trip, I was not a little worried lest 
I should receive a corresponding amount of blame for 
any awkward results. 

But at length, about nine o'clock, we emerged into 
the solitary clearing, with its single silent habitation. 
Not a ray of light shone from its windows ; not a dog 
welcomed us with his bark ; and I thought for a moment 
it was wholly deserted. We, however, set up a loud 
halloo, which soon brought the owner to the door. All 
the inmates had retired for the night, knowing that day- 
light was more economical than candle-light to work by. 

A TllOUT JiKEAKFASl'. 295 

'We never asked if we could be accommodated for tlie 
night; that would have been superfluous politeness, and 
would have quite astonished the man. Of course we 
had got to be accommodated, so thought the whole 
family, for they turned out of bed with the utmost 
cheerfulness. By the time our horses were well taken 
care of for the night, a nice fire was crackling in the 
stove and a pan of short-cake baking for supper. A 
cup of tea was soon ready, and these, with some wild 
strawberries the children had picked the day before, 
made us a most excellent supper. 

In two hours from the time we drove up to that lonely 
dwelling, it was again silent and dark as before, and we 
were all stowed away after a fashion for the night. 

As I stepped out of doors in the early morning, and 
stood looking at the desolate scene, I saw a little boy bare- 
foot, with nothing on but shirt and pantaloons, thread- 
ing his way amid the stumps towards the house, bearing 
something heavy in his hands. As he drew near, I dis- 
covered that he was the son of our host, who had started 
off with the dawn for a trout-brook, and was now com- 
ing back loaded down with fresh, bright brook-trout for 
our breakfast. I venture to say that no gourmand of 
the city ever looked on a sumptuous breakfast with 


more pciTcct inward satisfaction than 1 did on tbat 
tempting string of freshly caught trout. I knew we 
should have a breakfast fit for a king, and was not 

I have found on inquiry that a new state of things 
exists in the Adirondack, one very different from that 
I have been accustomed to. New highways cut the 
forest, hunters' boarding-houses have sprung up along 
the lake shores, and the business of guides has become a 
regular profession. Where I once roamed alone with, 
my companions, I must now expect to meet white tentd 
and ladies and gentlemen from every part of the coun- 
try. A little of this is pleasant, but the wilderness 
without solitude loses balf its charm for me, and I am 
resolved to strike off to some point where no sights 
or sounds shall meet me to remind me of the outer 

Man grows better to be sometimes removed from the 
stir, and clang, and rush of life, and muse alone with 
nature. He may jot down only sporting incidents, or 
describe striking scenery, or relate anecdotes, because 
these are the things men care to read about ; yet there 
are sweet, solemn times to the soul, when the inward 
voice says : — 


!* And here, \vliile the night winds round me sigh, 
And the stars burn bright in the midnight skj, 
As I sit apart by the desert stone, 
Like Ehjah at Horeb's cave alone, 

* A still small voice ' comes through the wild 

(Like a father consohng his fretful child), 

Which banishes bitterness, wrath, and fear, 

Saying Man is distant but Gtod is near." 



Scott's Clearing, July 10th. 
Dear H : 

The little clearing is destined, in my opinion, to be 
as well known in a few years as Catskill Mountains 
or the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I had 
never heard of it before, and am surprised that its 
peculiar location has not attracted more attention. A 
man by the name of Scott has cleared a piece of 
land here, with no neighbor within two miles of him. 
It is on a high plateau, right in the very heart of 
the Adirondack peaks. You are surrounded, as in 
some of the little Alpine valleys, with the most 
imposing mountain masses. Mount Tahawus, like 


King Saul, bead and shoulders above all his brethren, 
with his round and naked head resting serenely in 
the heavens ; Mount Macintjre, with its distorted and 
savage outline; Mount McMartin, and a fearful assem- 
blage of other peaks, pushing and shouldering each 
other, summit crowding above summit, ridge folding 
away upon ridge against the clear sky, rise above you 
and hem you in on one side ; while White Face, with 
its colossal proportions, and another host of Titanic 
forms which it seems to have suddenly summoned 
into its presence, stretch away in long and stately pro^ 
cession on the other. It looks like a fortress built by 
the gods, some of the bastions of which tower more 
than a mile high in the heavens, and whose irregular 
stupendous w^alls of granite would withstand any shock 
short of Omnipotent power. I looked upon the soli- 
tary dweller in the midst of so much savage grandeur, 
beauty, and sublimity with a good deal of curiosity. 
It seemed a suitable place for Jupiter to dwell in, 
grand, gloomj^, and alone ; but why should this man 
thus isolate himself from his race, and pitch his habi- 
tation amid these savage mountains ? His answer to 
my inquiry for his reason in so doing was simple and 
practical enough. He found this piece of table-land 


excellent soil for farming purposes. So in fact it was, 
but I hinted that most of his transactions in jDroduce 
must be with himself 

Eut the superb view here obtained of the Adirondack 
masses, though the finest beyond all comparison I have 
ever seen from their bases, is not the only attraction this 
place presents. The panorama from the top of Mount 
Tahawus, embracing as it does nearly three hundred 
miles of forest, lake, and mountain, is one of the most 
striking and peculiar that our country affords. The 
closely surrounding peaks, gloomy and stern — the mul- 
titude of lakes of every shape and size, dotted with 
islands and framed in green — the deep interminable. ' 
gashes in the forest, showing where the broad, deep, but 
invisible rivers flow — the innumerable ridges that lap 
and enfold each other till the whole seem involved in an 
inextricable labyrinth — and, where the mountains melt 
away into gentler swells, the ocean of vast green billows 
that roll on towards the distant horizon — combine to 
make it one which leaves an impression on the beholder 
that he can never forget. Yet the ascent of this moun- 
tain has been such a difficult task that few ever attempt- 
ed it. When I formerly ascended it no human foot had 
profaned its summit for six years. I took my guide 


from the Adirondack Iron Works, which themselves 
were twcntj-five miles from a travelled highway. 
From this far starting point it was considered two hard 
days' work to go to the summit and back, with a niglit 
in the woods. Severe as the task was, I did not regret 
it. But from his house, Scott told me, it was only 
seven miles to the foot of the mountain, with a good 
path and a comparative easy ascent. It was the same 
distance to the flmious Indian Pass. To give the 
finishing touch to this collection of fine scenery a new 
road to it is planned, which, of itself, will be a sufl&cient 

curiosity to tempt the traveller in. • Mr. C got a 

bill through the Legislature last winter, appropriating 
the taxes of non-resident land-owners in the vicinity to 
the repairing of this mountain road. While examining 
the route he came across an old hunter who offered to 
show him a way to avoid the mountain altogether. It 
is now some six miles of ascent and descent, and it 
occupies nearly as many hours to traverse them. Near 

this road, and wholly unknown before, Mr. C • 

informs me there is a cleft in the mountain parting it 
from summit to base, through which a road can be made 
of so easy a grade that a horse may trot almost the 
whole distance. 


AloDg tbis savage gorge the traveller will pass awe- 
struck at the terriflc scenery around him. In one place, 1 
was told, the rock iovjers fourteen hundred feet high. This 
is three hundred feet higher than the precipice in the 
Indian Pass, and the highest that I know of this side of 
the Kockj Mountains. Of itself, without reference to 
the scenery to which it will be only the stupendous 
gateway, it will be well worth a visit. Imagine such a 
wonderful assemblage of sublime and varied scenery 
remaining unknown in the heart of New York State, 
and in two days' travel from the metropolis. Picture 
yourself starting some summer evening from Kew'York, 
and the second day in the afternoon, slowly winding 
through this terrific gorge into which the sunlight ven- 
tures timorously and but for a moment, and gazing on the 
confused wreck around you left by some former convul- 
sion of nature, or pausing reverently under the beetling 
cliff on w^hose far top the waving pines are dwindled to 
mere shrubs, and then when the sun is about to bury 
himself in the ocean of peaks beyond, emerging on the 
plateau I have attempted to describe — would it not be a 
day long to be remembered? The next morning you 
ascend Mount Tahawus, and obtain one of the most 
wonderful views on this continent. The succeeding day 


you visit the Indian Pass, and in the afternoon trot 
down through the woods to the lower Saranac, where 
the road ends. Here, at Martin's, you have a 
fair bed, an excellent table, with trout and venison 
ad lihiium, and can loiter and fish and hunt in the 
vicinity, or take a boat and a guide, and go through 
lakes dotted with islands, through ponds, along rivers, 
unmarred by the hand of man, a hundred miles, and not 
be compelled to walk, altogether, further than from the 
City Hall to Union Square. 

The morning after we reached Scott's was misty, 
the clouds ran low, at times enfolding the mountains to 
their waists, with gleams of sunshine between. Then 
again the whole shifting canopy would slowly lift, as if 
unseen hands were rolling up a vast curtain to reveal 
the glories beyond. 

"While the party were getting ready, I had quite a 
conversation with Scott, who, instead of being taciturn 
and sombre as I supposed a man living alone amid such 
mountains would be, is a great wag, and bubbling over 
with humor. From what strange source he draws his 
fun I could not divine. Nothing, I should imagine, 
could be more dreary than this solitary spot, especially 
in winter. With tliese towering mountains standing 


white and cold against the wintry heavens — the snow five 
feet deep on the level — the single highway blocked with 
drifts, and the wind howling and shrieking through the 
(cep gorges, I should suppose a man would feel solitary 
and desolate beyond expression. I asked him if he 
never did get lonely. "No," he said, "I never was 
lonely but twi-ce in my life, and then I was in New 
York City. Both times I was there I got very hoine- 

What creatures of habit and education we are ! The 
Highland Chief finds the lowland castle all too confined 
and cramped for his free heart. The Arab spurns the 
city, and joyously scans the open plain. 

" With his trusty firelock in his hand, • 

The only law of the desert land." 

The Laplander must have the reindeer — the Esqui- 
maux his dogs and seal-oil — the backwoodsman the 
forest, and freedom from conventional restraints — from 
each and all of which the town-bred man turns wearily 
to the comforts and luxuries and enervating pleasures 
of city life. But who is right — who is the wiser man 
after all ? 



Lower Saranac, July 11th. 

Dear H- 

I AM house-bound by a cold rain. The morning we 
left Scott's was anything but promising, but as we 
descended to the Au Sable river the sun came out warm 
and bright again. Coming to a blacksmith's shop, we 
stopped to repair our broken wagon. While this was 
doing, I rigged my rod and tried the Au Sable. The 
stream was low and the sun bright, so that if there were 
any large trout in the pools they would not have made 
themselves visible, but the small ones were everywhere. 
I believe in two hours I could have caught more than I 
could have carried. 


From Scott's to Martin's, here on the Lower Saranac. 
it is about thirteen miles. After passing through a set- 
tlement of two or three houses, the road goes all the way 
through a forest of fir trees. "We had loitered on our 
route, so that it was one o'clock before we reached the 
lake. This sheet of water forms one extremity of the 
extraordinary group of lakes that stretch a hundred 
miles through the forest, with any quantity of smaller 
parallel lakes or ponds, not half of which have ever 
been visited, except by the Indian or hunter. 

One log-house is visible from Martin's, occupied by a 
guide, whose little boy, four years old, had just been 
brought in dead. Playing with a younger brother in 
the water, he slipped from a log and was drowned. The 
little survivor tried in every way to help him out, but 
finding bis strength insufficient, hurried home for help, 
which, however, came too late. As you look down the 
lake from Martin's, its farther extremity is hid by nume- 
rous islands that are sprinkled in profusion over its sur- 
face. Boats, fishing-rods, and guns are the chief staple 
here, and I had got but partly through examining the 
different modelled rifles belonging to sportsmen, like us 
on their way to the woods, when I heard the welcome 
announcement that dinner was ready. Venison steaks, 


lake and brook-trout in abundance, furnislied a meal 
that would tempt an anchorite. 

After dinner there was a heavy shower of rain, wkicli, 
leaving, a blue sky as it passed off, promised a cool and 
pleasant *' to-morrow." But the wind, after veering and 
shifting for some time, finally settled down stubbornly 
in the north-east, and blew cold and cheerless. With a 
heavy sigh I remarked, " I am afraid we are in for it ;" 
and sitting down, took up " Sparrowgrasg " and tried to 
read. As evening drew on, it became so cold that a fire 
was built in the stove, around which we gathered. 
Everything is democratic in the woods, and several 
guides, engaged to go out with different parties the 
coming week, dropped in to have a chat with the gentle- 
men. One of these, whom they called " Sam," was an 
original. He was a capital guide, willing, cheerful, a 
good cook, and strong as an ox. Standing full six feet 
in his stockings, he thought no more of putting his boat 
on his head, paddles, oars, and all, and carr3'ing it for 
three miles over streams, and logs, and hills, and 
through swamps, than I would an empty basket. Sam 
has only one fault — his tongue never stops. He says a 
great many queer, laughable things, and a great deal 
that is " stale, flat, and unprofitable." Still he is au 


lionost, kiiul, capable, aiul aoooininodating guide. Last 
year he Avent out AvitU a party tVoin Boston and Cam- 
bridge, and his democratic notions received a shock 
from which he will never recover. His harmless rattJo 
was considered disrespectful, and Sam, who had never 
before seen anybody too good for him, was taken wholly 
aback bv the distance at which he was kept, lie was 
treated simply as a paid servant at home. This was a 
new revelation to him. In his long life in the woods ho 
had seen nothing like it before. A rollicking, free-and- 
easy set he had always been with hitherto, and so much 
stateliness and dignity in camp-life quite bewildered 
him. lie said, "however, that he had his revenge on one 
of them. On a long and uneven carrying-place, over 
which he was tloundering with his boat on his head, the 
gentleman began to grumble at the dil^culties of the 
wav, and repeatedly asked Sam if there was no way 
for him to get across except by walking. " Yes,'' re- 
plied the latter, at last, "ketch a sucker, and put him 
between your legs and scull over." Sam said that ever 
at\er the man regarded hin\ as some strange animal, 
whose companv should be carefully avoided. 

His dislike of Bostonians and Cambridge men, as he 
calls them, has become chronic, and he will run on for 

A CURIOUS tp:nt. 809 

liours iibout tlicm. lie lias a large tent, wliieli my corn* 
j)anions wish to take along with them. ]>ut I dislike 
tents ; they are heavy to carry, in a rain they are damp, 
while you are afraid to build up those roaring fires near 
them which make a hark shanty so comfortable, by 
serving the double purpose of driving off the mosqui- 
toes and of keeping you warm. They were, however, 
determined to strike a bargain with Sam, and I, who 
liad hitherto been a mere listener, asked him how many 
his tent would hold. " Just two Boston men — I have 
tried it — they will fill it full, but it will hold six Ntw 
Yorkers easyP " Why, Sam," I replied, " I did not 
know the Bostonians were so much larger than Kew 
Yorkers." " Well, they are," said he ; " I have mea- 
sured them with my tent. One takes up just as much 
room as three Kew- Yorkers." " It seems to me," I 
added, " that you bear the Bostonians some malice. 
What is the matter — why don't you like them ?" He 
drew himself up, a la Webster, and in a severe, grave 
tone, replied: "Sir, iliey have (joi more digraty than dol- 
larsy Pretty fair hits, those, for a backwoodsman. 

The next morning dawned cold and drear, and a 
drizzling rain from the north-east made lake and shore 
look sad and sombre. I strolled out to the boat-shqp. 


and was somewhat startled to come upon Martin rudely 
staining the pine coffin for the guide-bo}^, who was to be 
taken in the afternoon to a little settlement on the An 
Sable and buried. The break fast- table was dull, the 
two ladies looked disappointed, and in-doors and out- 
doors everything seemed uncomfortable. A north-east 
storm is welcome nowhere, bad enough on the sea coast, 
and still worse in the woods. Two gentlemen, how- 
ever, contributed very much to relieve the tedium of 
the day by their account of parties that had been in and 

out. Dr. E , formerly of New York, and Mr. 

B , have been here all summer, and design to re- 
main till fall. They came in invalids, but are now as 
robust as lions. Having been here so long, the}^ con- 
sider new comers as rather guests, and pleasanter hosts 
could not be found. Two more thorough gentlemen 
and agreeable companions one could not wish to meet 
in or out of the woods. 

Tow^ards noon, as I was looking down or up the lake, 
for it is both down and up (the outlet being a little over 
midway on one side), I saw in the narrow channel 
between two islands, nearly two miles distant, three row- 
boats approaching. There was no place to come from 
but the woods, and it ^vas evident they w^ere some camp 


ins" party retuniini::. As tliev drew near, I discovered 
that two of the boats contained ladies. It was rainino- 
steadilj^, and they were apparently taking a cold bath. 
AVben the boats reached shore, I saw, however, that 
they were well protected with gentlemen's India-rubber 
overcoats and rubber boots ; so that, in a few minutes 
after they came out of their chrysalis state, they stood in 
their short dresses and Turkish trowsers as dry as 
though they had just emerged from their own apart- 
ments. They were the party of Judge E of Ver- 
mont, and had been up as far as Long Lake, at the foot 
of which they had encamped. The ladies, instead of 
grumbling at the mosquitoes and flies that had torment- 
ed them, and the cold rain through which they had been 
so long rowing, expressed great regret that they were 
compelled to leave the woods. These lakes, dotted 
with islands — the dark, solemn rivers runnins- all day 
long, almost without a sound, through the still forest — ■ 
the distant mountain views — the wildness and beauty 
that perpetually surround them, have a greater charm 
for the ladies than even the fine sporting has foi 


Yours truly. 



Lower Saranac, July 12, 1858. 
My Dear H : 

The rain is fallino; in torrents-^the mountains around 
are draped almost to their feet in clouds — tlie distant 
islands, with their tall, blasted, leafless pine trees, loom 
diml}^ through the mist, and all is damp and drear and 

Last evening I saw a young man jump into one of ihi) 
boats and push off across the lake. I hailed him and 
asked him wliere he was going. He replied : " After 
butter." Seeing nothing but an unbroken forest on the 
other side, I could not imagine from what secret recepta- 
cle or hidden cave he was to obtain that certainly very 


desirable article, if this raiii-.-torm coutiiiuccl. There 
being only a light mist falling at the time, and liaving 

nothing else to do, F and I concluded to accompany 

him. Crossing the lake, we struck a narrow foot-path in 
the forest, wdiich, after following for a quarter of a mile 
over a ridge, we came upon a sheet of w^ater completely 
embosomed in the woods, while its lower margin was 
starred with white and yelloW' lilies. A boat lay moor- 
ed to the shore, into which we stepped, and, under the 
lusty strokes of the oarsman, wxre soon shooting like 
an arrow over the miniature waves that the fierce north- 
easter rolled down the bosom of the lakelet. At the 
extreme furthest limit was a single clearing, with a log 
hut standing by the shore. This w^as the dsdry from 
which our butter was to come. In front of this hovel 
stood the settler himself, the "raggedest" man (if I 
except an occasional Italian beggar I have encountered 
in Italy) that I ever saw. I scrutinized him in vain to 
ascertain on wdiat principle of adhesion his clothes kept 
on him. He was employed in playing with a calf which 
was butting his leg. In conversing with him I noticed 
an extraordinary vehicle ttat I had never seen before. 
It was mounted on four wheels about the size and shape 

of four good-sized pumpkins. They had been cut off 



from tlie end of a gnarled log, and holes knocked 
through them, into which axle-trees had been put strong 
enough to bear a small house. A pair of immense 
shafts were attached, near which was lying a single 
yoke, which looked as if it were a ,good load for one man 
to carry. After puzzling my brain aw^hile in vain 
conjectures as to what sort of monster this extraordinary 
structure belonged to, I turned to the settler and inquir- 
ed of him. He gave a low chuckle, as if enjoying 
hugely some pleasant recollection ; tlien replied, " Why, 
you see, that's for my bull. I was passing Johnson's 
clearing one day, who had a big, savage bull. Now 
this bull had, a few days before, come near killing him, 
and he wanted to get rid of the brute, for he was afeard 
of him. So he hollered to me, and asked me if I didn't 
want to buy his bull. I told him yes. ' What'll you 
give V said he. I put down a low figure. ' Take him,' 
says he. I drove him hum, and he was as ugly a devil 
as you'd want to see. Wall, I got this consarn made for 
him, and put him in it, and w^orked him right down, 
and I keep him worked down so that he is now tame as 
a cow." " But what do yoi\draw with him?" I asked. 
" That heavy thing with those four round billets of wood 
for wheels must be a load of itself over these rocks, and 


stump?, and uneven ground." '' Ob, no,'' says he ; '' he 
does all mj work ; he thinks nothing of a ton of hay ; and. 
a saw log, two foot through, he snakes along slick as can 
be." I should honestly judge that an animal that could 
drag a ton of hay on such wheels as those, over hi.s 
rough clearings, could carry, in a wagon constructed 
on an ordinary model, ten tons easily. Tiie old man 
had a granddaughter, some ten years old, that quite 
surprised me. Her complexion, without having tht 
least sickly hue, was of that exceeding fairness so rarely 
seen. Her head was covered with a mass of dark 
auburn ringlets, which fell in a golden shower about 
her neck. Her eye was large, of a dark hazel color^ 
and dreamy, over which closed long and equally dark 
lashes. No painter could have drawn a more perfect 
brow. Her mout^h wanted delicacy of formation to 
make it correspond with the other features. But for 
this she would have been almost faultless. As she sat 
there in her rags and bare feet I could not but reflect 
on her certain destiny, and how different it might have 
been. I never can see such a cast of features without 
believing there must be latent, if not developed germs 
of refinement, perhaps of genius. How many wealthy 
parents would give half their fortunes to have such a 


daughter grow up into beauteous womanhood by their 
side. It was sad to feel that, no matter what dormant 
beauties or excellencies of character lay concealed in 
that young creature, they would never waken into life 
to bless and cheer herself and others; but, buried deeper 
every year by the animal life and coarse language and 
ignorance that surround her, at length become entirely 
obliterated, and that fair flice lose all its delicate lines, 
nnd bv'^ transformed into the buxom beauty so much 
admired by backwoodsmen. 

Soon after my return I saw a man step into the same 
boat with a tin pail and row off down the lake. Martin 
was standing by me, and I asked where that man was 
going. "After milk," he replied. "After milk!" I 
exclaimed. "Where does he find milk in that direction ?" 
"Oh," said he, "I have a piece of cleared land half a 
mile down the lake, where I pasture my cow." " So," 
said I, "you travel in boats, go on pleasure excursions 
in boats, get all your meat, and fish, and vegetables in 
boats, and finally your milk and butter in boats. Well, 
a boat with you is a great institution." 

I had been jotting down these odds and ends while 
the rain came down as if the clouds would never empty 
themselves. Towards evening it cleared up partially. 


and we concluded to row down to Cold Brook, seven 
miles distant, and try the trout. This is a cold stream 
that empties into the Saranac river, three miles from the 
outlet. It is full of trout, and, when the weather and 
water are favorable, a single fisherman will take out 
thirty or forty pounds in almost as many minutes. But 
the heavy rains had so swollen the streams and made 
them turbid that it was almost impossible to make the 
fish rise to a fly. Martin and I paddled up stream and 
succeeded, with great effort, in taking some two or three 
dozen. I care not how plenty the trout are, nor how 
unmolested they have been, you cannot take them in a 
freshet. Isow and then. one can be caught with a white 
bait, but the success does not pay for the trouble. In 
the first place, the high water scatters the fish, and they 
are no longer in their accustomed pools, but roaming 
around, feeding in places where you never look for 
them. In the second place, the sudden rills that come 
tumbling in from every side bring with them a large 
amount of food in the shape of worms and bugs, and 
other insects, so that the fish soon become gorged and 
are not easily tempted by a bait. This state of the 
water is especially bad for fly-fishing, for the trout are 
then feeding on ground-bait, and not seeking for flies, 


whicli remain quiet for some time after a heavy 

It is too late for lake-trout. In May they take tl^cm 
on all these lakes in great quantities and of large size, 

occasionally weighing thirty pounds. Mrs. , of 

3'our city, was here last spring, and in trolling one 
morning, hooked one that weighed fifteen pounds. She 
had a rod and reel, and the boatman, knowing how 
much skill it required to play one of these large active 
fellows without losing him, reached forward to take the 
rod from her hand, supposing, of course, that she would 
not dream of trying to kill him. To his utter astonish- 
ment, she quietly told him to mind his own business, 
and she would take care of the fish. Cool and collected, 
and with all the dexterity of an old experienced fisher- 
man, she managed her victim, till the astonishment of 
the rough boatman gave way to unbounded delight. 
Now the frightened trout would make a spring and 
shoot awa}^ with such velocity that any attempt to 
arrest his progress would have snapped the light tackle 
like a thread. With just enough pressure on the hook 
to make his flight painful, she gave him line. At 
length, exhausted, he sullenly plunged to the bottom. 
But he could not remain there long, for a steady pull 


Oil the line roused him up with pain, and he came up 
with a rush and bound, flinging himself clear out of 
the water, his gleaming belly and speckled sides pre- 
senting one of those sights that make a sportsman' 
heart leap with excitement. Baffled in this, he would 
stop and shake the hook as a dog w^ould a snake, and 
failing to clear himself, come dashing on the line, 
hoping in this way to get "slack" enough to spit the 
barbed iron out of his mouth. Watching every move- 
ment, she would reel up with a rapidity that, despite 
of his efforts, kept the line taut, and meeting every new 
attempt with the same steady skill, she at length had 
the pleasure of seeing him turn over on his side con- 
quered at last. She took three in this way in a short 
time, the whole weighing, if I remember right, over 
thirty pounds. The old boatman was not booked up as 
to ISTew York belles. They have hooked larger game 
than trout, and played them longer, and killed them 
more remorselessly, hence they take to this sort of sport 
naturally as a duck does to water. 

Yours truly. 



EouND Lake, Bartlett's, July. 
Dear H : 

We are finally off for a camping time. To-day, after 
dinner, the wind shifted, and here and there a patch of 
blue sky appearing, we determined to push on twelve 
miles to Bartlett's, another excellent house for sports- 
men, where good beds, good table, good rooms, and 
every attention j'O'u desire can be obtained. 

The outfit Martin gave us rather surprised me. It is 
some twelve ^^ears since I was in these woods, and 1 was 
not prepared, for the march of civilization. Then I went 
in on horseback along a wood road, following it a day 
and a half until it disappeared at the edge of Long Lake, 
across which we had to swim our horses, five in number, 
to a solitary clearing. Now you can reach several 
points in this wilderness by very passable roads. Then 


I took no baggage, my entire wardrobe being tucked 
away in the lining of mj overcoat, wkich I converted 
into a pocket by ripping it loose at the top. Kow a 
carpet-bag and a roll of blankets were necessary to each 
man. Then a single tin pan furnished our entire kitchen 
and table furniture. .Kow Martin packed away two 
frying-pans, one gridiron, a noseless tea-kettle, ditto coffee- 
pot, a rusty tin basin a-piece for our tea, the same number 
of black tin plates, with knifes and forks to match-. 
Then some Indian-meal for johnny-cake, and a piece of 
pork to cook our trout with, supplied our commissary 
department. Now twenty-five pounds of pork, the same 
quantity of Indian-meal and wheat-flour, bread and bis- 
cuits, soda and cream of tartar, West India and maple 
sugar, "Worcestershire sauce and currant jelly, tea and 
chocolate, were stowed away together, filling a cham- 
pagne-basket full. I regarded these preparations for a 
while in dumb amazement, and finally protested against 
this needless luxury and downright extravagance. My 
companions, who had never before been in the woods, 
ooked incredulous. They had been congratulating 
themselves on the snug and contracted space to which 
things had been reduced. " Well," said I, " don't ask 
me to back that vile assemblage of old tinware over the 


carrviiig-places — that's all.*' To complete mj discom- 
fiture, and give the finishing touch to this stage-load of 
plunder, out came Sam's huge tent, stowed away in an 
immense bag. When I looked on all this piled on the 

shore, I became reconciled to F 's arrangement for a 

guide and a boat to each of us. Two boats and two 

guides were sufficient, but F had been persuaded 

by a laz}^ guide into this arrangement against my wishes, 
as the best that could be made. My other companion, 
" the Lord High Constable," as we called him, in the 
free-and-easy spirit which always characterized him, did 
not " stand upon the order of (our) going," so that we 
luenL , 

Saluted with waving of hats, we at length pushed 
from shore and swept doiun the lake, which order was 
to be reversed in four miles, when the same course 
would carry us zip the lake. The wind was dead 
ahead, and against it and the waves together it was slow 
pulling, but our oarsmen kept steadily at work, and as 
we passed island after island, beguiled the way with 
hunting-stories, which always have a charm in the 
woods. As we skirted one island, Chet, the guide, 
pointed to a loose log that lay against the shore, and 
said : " Do you see that log ? Well, last spring, as Mar- 


tin and I were coming up the lake, we saw a bear 
swimming across. We put after him, when he made 
for that island. I was heavily loaded, or I could have 
caught him. As it was, I believe I should, but for that 
rock you see just under the water below the log. The 
bear undertook to crawl out on the log, but every time 
he mounted it it rolled over, dumping him again into 
the lake. The third time he tried it I was close upon 
him, and should have run my boat slap against him had 
it not grounded on that rock. If I had reached him 
and got one -blow of my oar across his nose, I think I'd 
have fetched him." 

Looking with some interest on the spot where bruin 
had such a narrow escape, we kept on until Chet, look- 
ing behind him, pointed to another island, and said : 
" There Steve, Martin's brother, came on a panther 
swimming the lake. His boat was loaded down with 
furniture, or he would have caught him. He had no 
gun, but he rowed after him, hoping to head him off. 
The panther got ashore before he could reach him. 
If he had only thought," added Chet, ''that his 
furniture would float, he could have dumped it 
overboard and put after the panther and killed 
him, then con>e back and picked up his furniture." 


He looked upon this oversight as a very great blun- 

The wind when we started was very fresh, and Mar- 
tin said he was afraid that when we reached Round Lake, 
wdiich seems, from some cause or other, to be thrown into 
twice the agitation that either of the lakes is between 
which it lies, we should get a wetting. But when we 
entered the crooked inlet, three miles long, which con- 
nects the Lower Saranac with it, the sudden silence and 
repose that followed seemed to indicate that the gale had 
all at once subsided. "We kept on up the q.uiet stream, 
startling the wild fowl as we advanced, until at length 
the roar of rapids ahead echoed down through the 
forest. Soon after they came in sight, Charlie, who was 
ahead, endeavored to push up a few feet around a cer- 
tain rock, but was caught by the current, and hurled 
back against our boat, throwing it amid the rocks and 
boiling water, from which Chet, in trying to extricate it, 
snapped one oar short off. " Well," I exclaimed, " we 
are now in a fix ; four or five miles to go before dark 
against a head wind, with one oar." There was no 
remedy for this mishap, and the guide must paddle the 
boat the whole distance, no easy job against wind and 
sea. We got along very well while in the still inlet, 


but as we approached Round. Lake, the steadj^ roar of 
the pine trees overhead, and the louder roar of the 
waves of the lake breaking on the shore, told us too 
well that the calm we had enjoyed was that of shelter, 
and did not result from the subsidence of the gale. 

But as we swept round the last point, and opened up 
the lake, we found it was not as rough as we anticipated. 
Still there was a strong wind blowing, and a sufficient 
sea running to make our boats labor heavily. I saw at • 
once that we could not paddle the length of this lake 
before dark, so I took one oar and rowed against the 
paddling of the guide. By this . means we got along 
almost as fast as before. This sheet of water derives its 
name from its shape being in the form of the letter " 0." 
It contains several islands, and from the upper extremity 
commands a* fine view — a noble group of mountains 
forming the background. 

Now past a barren, naked rock, lifting its round top 
from the waters, the only object on it a solitary raven, 
standing out in bold relief against the sky, and now 
along the shores of " Umbrella Island," named from the 
lofty pine tree on it, which looks exactly like a palm 
tree in the distance, and by other islands still waiting to 
be christened, we kept steadily on until, just at dusk^ 


we came in sight of Bartlett's Clearing. It was a cold, 
cbilly night, and our host soon had a roaring fire in the 
stove, and by the time we got rested, a supper of fried 
trout and broiled venison steaks was ready for us. 

The morning dawned brightly, and for the first time 
our expedition began to wear a cheerful aspect. As I 
strolled out of doors before breakfast, I was surprised to 
see a multitude of dogs, and of " every degree." Some 
twenty hounds were either loose or in the leash. Some 
of these were beautiful creatures, being white as snow. 
They were too large to be pure-blooded, but this is no 
objection : the pure imported breed, though staunch, 
are too slow for our rugged cover. Before one of them 
our deer are in no haste to get to water. They can 
feed half the time, and yet keep out of harm's way. 

Yours truly. 





Eaquette Kiyer, July. 
Dear H : 

"With a brisk west wind driving the fragmentary 
clouds before it, and the light mist springing up the 
sides of the distant blue mountains with that elastic 
movement which tells of pure air and fine weather, we 
set out from Bartlett's in high spirits. To hear my 
companions cry out, "Ho! for the vv^oods!" one would 
think they had just left the crowded streets of a city, 
instead of a single clearing fifty miles from anybody. 
A carrj^ing-place of a quarter of a mile, round some 
rapids near Bartlett's, brought us on the Upper Saranac. 
Leaving this unexplored, we crossed the foot of it to 


another carrying-place of a mile, which would bring us 
on the waters that run into the Kaquette River. By 
the way, did it ever occur to you what an extraordinary 
T. ater-shed the State of New York is ? It helps supply- 
Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the River St. Lawrence, Lake 
Champlain, the Atlantic Ocean, and, last of all, the 
Mississippi and Gulf of Mexico. 

In crossing this portion of the Upper Saranac, when 
within about a mile of the carrj^ing-place, you find a 
little to the right of your course a spot where there is 
an extraordinary echo. The voice is repeated five, dis- 
tinct times. The last and fifth time the echo is exceed- 
ingly soft and musical, instead of loud and startling, as 
on the Wengern Alp. On the latter ten distinct echoes 
return on the discharge of a mortar, tumbling back in 
extraordinary confusion and rapidity until the ninth is 
counted, when there is a pause, and the whole seems 
over. Suddenly, and without premonition, there comes 
thundering through the clear atmosphere a report seem- 
ingly louder than the original explosion, and which rolls, 
-> ud rattles, and storms through the cliffs, as if about to 
unseat them and send them headlong to the gulfs below. 
It is the voice of the stern and distant Wetterliorn, bid- 
ding his children keep silence. 


The spot on the Saranac from which the echo is best 
heard is, near Cjry's buoy. You must kuow that in 
every lake on which is a single settler there are one or 
more buoys. Earlier and later in the season than this, 
when they lish with drop lines in deep water for the 
large lake-trout, they fish entirely around buoys. These 
are simply billets of wood, anchored by a bark rope to a 
stone. Around these they will cast quantities of chop- 
ped minnows and small fish, and thus make a feeding- 
ground for the trout. After some days, the fisherman 
goes out with his lines, and hitching his boat to the 
buo}', drops out his bait upon the crowd fifty feet below. 
The accounts of the quantities sometimes taken in this 
w^ay would seem fabulous. A friend of mine, with his 
guide, once took sixty pounds in a little more than an 
hour, and left them biting as voraciously as at the first. 

A settler at the further end of the carrying-place 
keeps a horse and wagon to draw over the boats of 
sportsmen who take this route. While this was being 

done, F and I shouldered our rifles, and striking 

through the woods, soon came to Ampersand Pond, as 
the beautiful lakelet is called on which we were to 
launch our boats. There we met a party on their re- 
turn route, whose appearance certainly was not calcu- 



lated to excite very liighly the expectations of a 
novice. Their flices and necks were all scarrec] up, and 
about the color of boiled lobster. They had been out 
only five days, but in that time the thorough phlebo- 
tomy practised by the mosquitoes and midges had com- 
pletely disfigured them. The midges are worse than the 
mosquitoes, for, almost invisible from their small size, 
they penetrate everywhere. Webster, in his dictionary, 
says the word " midge " is not mucli used. If he had 
visited the Adirondacks before lie compiled his work, 
he would have left that out. He would have found 
that the word comprised half the vernacular of the 

These two gentlemen said they had killed five de^r. 
That was at the rate of one a day. I could not b.ut ask 
mentally what they did with the carcases. One would 
be amjile for the entire party the whole five days ; 
hence the four others must have been shot down for 
sport, and left to rot on the shores.- This is constantly 
done by men who visit this region in summer, and who 
call themselves sportsmen. They cannot bring out the 
deer in hot weather, yet are unable to resist the tempta- 
tion to fire at every one they see, and hence the butch- 
ery. I was told of one clergyman, a doctor of divinity 

BUTCHERY. - 331 

who had done this in one section of this region so long, 
that the scattered settlers and guides at length sent him 
word that if he ever came there again they would make 
an example of him, and he has since prudently stayed 
away. I had started for Mud Lake, a region seldom 
visited, as it is difficult of access, and where guides are 
very unwilling to go. Left so much to itself, it is 
thron2;ed with sfame. Martin told me before we started 
that two men, common marauders, had gone in before 
me, who would slaughter deer by the wholesale, and he 
had no doubt that I should be able to trace their route 
up Bog River b}^ the smell of decaying carcases they had 
left on the shore. Sportsmen who wish to visit this region 
should club together, and authorize guides whose routes 
lie through and in the vicinity of these feeding grounds 
of deer to prosecute every such interloper. They would 
gladly do it if others would pay for the trouble and 
expense of going sixty or a hundred miles to procure a 
writ. Lidependent of the mere waste and brutality of 
the. thing, the practice is supremely selfish. Parties who 
travel through this wilderness have to depend entiiely 
on fish and deer for food, and thous:h the suckinsr doefi 
are worthless, bucks and yearling does are very eatable 
and the saddle of one is indispensable to the comfort of 


a camp. Bat deer leave the place wliere clecayin<_^ 
carcases are left. The fetid odor that arises from thein 
fills the surrounding atmosphere to a great extent, and 
the deer, with his keen smelling powers, will snuff it a 
mile away, and avoid the spot with instinctive fear. 

Soon as our first boat arrived, we took one guide and 
started for the foot of the pond, where a cold stream 
comes in, to take some trout, while the other two guides 
and boats with the baggage were getting across. After 
rowing a mile we reached the spot, and soon the smooth 
surface of the lake was alive with the leaping fish. In 
a short time we caught more than we could eat for din- 
ner, and our boats heaving in sight, we reeled up and 
prepared to descend Stony Creek to the Eaquette Eiver. 
This erratic stream enters the lake at one extremity, and 
instead of passing across or through it, turns directly 
baclv, as if its only object was to string this pretty sheet 
of water on itself like a pendant on a cord. So near 
together are the inlet and outlet, that one can stand on 
the point of land made by the two streams, and without 
moving from his place, fish in both. 

Of all the crooked streams it bas been my fortune to 
see or traverse, this certainly will bear the palm. So 
sharp are the angles, that in turning them the boal 


seems to swing on its bow ah on a pi vol, an J comes 
round with a swirling sound A snai^e in motion is a 
straight line compared to it. In one place it is only 
three rods across a neck of land to the creek again, 
while following the channel, it is a mile to the same 
point. In the fall there is good tislung in this creek. 
Brown, the sculptor, told me that here or near by he 
once took from a single pool, as fast as he could cast his 
line, thirty trout that weighed sixty pounds. 

At length we twdsted out of this snarled- up stream, 
and shot forth upon the dark bosom of the Raquetie, 
which we were to follow twenty miles through the 
solemn forest before leaving it for Great Tupper's Lake. 
The Eaquette River is a broad stream, and flowing 
through a level country and over a sandy bed, presents 
a smooth surface, and sweeps noiselessly on through the 
silent forest. There is something exceedingly solemn 
and impressive in thus moving on hour after hour, 
hemmed in by those walls of green that leave you but a 
narrow strip of sky overhead, and which bends and 
turns with the rushing stream. 

Yours truly. 



Kaquette Eiver, July. 

Dear H : 

The Raquette River is tortuous like Stony Creek, 
but its sweeps are so wide asd majestic that you do 
not observe it. Above where we' struck it there is a 
bend of two miles from point to point, while across 
the neck of land between them it is only 20 rods. 
The knowledge of the spot, which is known only to 
few, enabled Steve Martin, as he is called, and who 
lives at the carrying-place on the Ampersand Pond, 
to serve a couple of selfish fishermen a very nice trick. 
It is several miles from the mouth of Stony Creek up 
to Raquette Falls, at the foot of which, early in the 

A fisherman's trick. 835 

spring, immense quantities of tLe large- river trout are 
caught. These two men stopped at Martin's one morn- 
ing while he was at brealvfast, and told him they were 
on the way to Raquette Falls after trout. He replied 
that he was going, also, soon as he had finished his 
breakfast. Martin is a great fisherman, and they did 
not care to have him along to interfere with their 
sport, and immediately resolved to push on, and get the 
first of the fishing. But they told him that they would 
row down to the mlet of Stony Creek, and fish there 
till he joined them, when they would go up together. 
To this he assented, and having leisurely finished his 
breakfast and got his boat ready he followed on ; but 
when he reached the spot where they were to wait for 
him he found they were gone. He at once saw through 
the mano3uvre — not wishing his company, they, instead 
of waiting as they had promised, had taken two pairs 
of oars and pushed on with all their might, and know- 
ing that it would be slow rowing for one alone against 
the rapid heavy current, they expected to get at least 
an hour's start of him. Martin, happening to know the 
" Plumb Gut" route, rowed his boat ashore at the riglit 
point, and turning it over his head, quietly walked across 
the narrow neck and launched it again. Arriving at the 


Falls, he commenced fishing, and had got the bottom 
of his boat half covered with splendid fellows before 
his friends arrived. They were utterly confounded 
when they caught sight of him. At first they could 
not believe their senses — it must be his appari- 
tion. They had left him eating breakfast, and had 
come the only possible route, as they supposed, by 
which the Falls couhl be reached, and as fast as two 
pairs of oars, worked by two stout pairs of arms, could 
bring them ; yet there Martin was, fishing, and as far as 
they could account for it, might have been there a week. 
But the way he was lifting the two-pounders out did 
not look like the work of an apparition ; and, recovering 
a little their senses, they bawled out, " Where on earth 
did you comei from?" " From home," coolly replied the 
imperturbable Martin, as he laid a rouser in his boat. 
*' What way" did 3^ou come ?" they asked. " Up the 
Li.iquette," was the quiet response, as he lifted another 
from the foaming rapids. To all their questions he 
returned evasive answers, determined, as a punishment 
for then meanness, not to reveal the short cut. 

It IS easy going down the Raquette, and six or seven 
miles an liour can be made without severe labor, so 
that our twenty miles' stretch yesterday was mere 

dtnnp:r in the woods. 337 

pastime. You cannot imagine what an important event 
dinner is in tlie forest. You not onl\^ tLink of it with 
an appetite wbetted b}- the braeing air of the woods, but 
3'ou have to consult w4iere it sliall be taken. Of course 
you can at any time go ashore, kindle up a fire, and 
cook 3'our trout and venison ; but then a cold, fresh 
spring of water is indispensable to a forest dinner. 
About noon I hailed Charlie, who was cook and head 
man in everything relating to the culinary department, 
as well as in selecting sites for camps, and inquired where 
we were to dine. " There is a clearing a little ahead," 
he replied, " where there is a fine spring of water," and 
soon after rounding a point we came upon a small patch 
of cleared land, the only signs of civilization we had 
seen since morning. As we rowed ashore, we saw two 
men standing before a little log hut that seemed disput- 
ing with the stumps the right to the spot. In a few 
minutes the champagne basket, with its extraordinary 
accumulation of tin plates and basins, and forks and 
knives, and pork and Indian meal, and flour, and soda 
and saleratus, and " other things too numerous to men- 
tion," was deposited in the hut; and while Chet was 
dressing the trout, Charlie pounded on a chip the veni- 
son steaks, and John fried some pork. Charlie moved 



around as if he owned the house. lie built a fire in 
the stove and put the tea-kettle on — he drew out the 
rickety old table, and went to some rude shelves nailed 
against the logs, and which served to those who owned 
the dwelling as a pantry, and took down everything he 
found that he wanted; in short, made himself so free 
and easy, that I 'thought the occupants must be great 
personal friends. I saw the woman w^as away, but one 
of the men, whom I noticed going into the only bed- 
room in the house with his rifle, I supposed to be the 
owner. I thought, however, he took it amazing coolly, 
neither interfering nor offering any assistance. The 
other was evidently a sportsman, though not from the 

After we had finished our meal I asked Charlie how 
much we ought to pay the man for giving up his house 
so generously to us. I think I never was taken more 
aback than when he replied, "ISTothing. There hain't no- 
body here to give anything to; the man and his wife are 
both away." " Away !" I exclaimed ; " well, who are 
these men ?" " A guide and a man with him. They 
have been hunting up the river, and, killing a couple 
of deer, stopped here to dress them and jerk the meat." 
*' Then they are strangers to the people who live here ?" 


I sciid. ''Certainly," be answered. "But," I con- 
tinued, "don't people shut up their houses when they 
go away to be gone a Aveek or two ?" " Xo ; thcj^ 
leave 'em open a purpose for anybody that might 
come along and want to stop. They expect every- 
body to go in and help themselves. That's the w^ay 
we do in the woods. Have to be accommodating, you 
know." I thought this was being accommodating with 
a vengeance. To ransack a man's apartments, rummage 
his cupboard, dirty up his floor, and sleep in the only 
bed in the house, certainly is being accommodated. 

Before we started, the strange guide gave a speci- 
men of his rifle- shooting. He wished to discharge his 
gun, and, looking around for some object at which to 
fire, noticed a robin sitting on the limb of a dry hem- 
lock, full a hundred j^ards distant, I should judge. At 
all events, it was so far off that the bird did not look 
larger than a sparrow. I watched the bird wdien the 
rifle cracked, and saw the bark fly directly beneath him. 
The frightened, bewildered, or stunned creature made 
two or three wild gyrations, and then dropped, as if 
wounded, in the bushes. 

We had resolved to pitch our camp for the night on 
Tupper's Lake, but as we proceeded down the river, 


t'ho trampled shore and nipped lilj^-pads, showing that 
a great many deer fed here at evening, we concluded 
to stop rowing and let the guides take the stern and 
] addle silently along, hoping to get a shot. ITot see- 
ing any, John proposed that we should go ashore at 
a certain point, as, just over the bank, was a marsh, 
and deer, he said, were generally feeding there. "We 
did so, and hardly touched the marsh before we saw 
a young buck quietly feeding some thirty rods off. 

F had by this time landed also, and as he had never 

fired at a deer I told him to take the shot. He whisper- 
ed that he was too far off for him. " Then watch me," 
said Charlie, " and do as I do." The graceful creature 
was feeding unsuspiciously — whisking off the flies with 
his tail, and ever and anon, as is the habit of all deer, 
lifting his head and looking cautiousl}?" around. When 
his head was buried in the grass feeding, we would 
move up, the moment he lifted it we would stop. We 
continued in this manner until we got within close 

range, when I whispered to F to fire. He did so 

and missed. The creature gave two or three wild 
jumps, and supposing he was off, I sent a ball after him 
on the wing. He immediately stopped and looked all 
around, apparently at loss what to make of the extra 

A BAD SHOT. . 841 

ordinar}^ sounds. lie gave us plenty of time to load, 
but our ammunition was back in the boat, and the first 
movement to return for it showed him his enemy, and 
lifting his flag in the air, awav he galloped, a wiser deer 
than befoT3. 

Yours truly. 



Eaquette Eiver, Jalj. 

Dear H : 

Having wasted too mucli time, yesterday, in pad- 
dling down the Saranac for deer, we found we should 
not have time to reach Big Tapper's Lake and pitch our 
camp before dark, so, coming to another clearing, we 
concluded to stop there over night, and in the evening 
go after deer with "jacks." A jack consists of a box 
of wood or tin, or a pifece of spruce bark, a foot long, 
closed at the ends and open and flaring in front. This 
is nailed upright on a stick of wood some four feet long, 
which is made to stand up in the bow of the boat, 


Into tliis box, open in front, are placed tw^ ir three 
lighted candles. The box is closed at the back and 
sides in order to prevent the light from shining on those 
in the boat, and fling it all forward over the water and 
on the shore. The hunter sits close behind this, while 
the guide occupies the stern, and paddles the boat with- 
out lifting the paddle from the water. In this waj^ j^ou 
glide along without making any sound. At a little 
distance one might mistake it for Charon's boat carrying 

a soul over the Styx. F was to take Charlie, and 

after descending the river for a mile, turn off into a 

pond. As we had but two jacks, I told C that he 

should have the other and " Chet," while I would go 
along as spectator. Soon, therefore, as it was dark, we 
lighted our candles, and pushing quietly off, floated 
down stream. Charlie told " Chet" that not far below, 
where he himself turned off to the left, there was a 
^' slue" to the right, which he could follow a mile 
through a swamp which furnished fine feeding-ground 
for deer. Wherever the banks are level with the river 
the water sets back some distance inland, making wliat 
they call a " slue" (slough). 

After mistaking one or two coves for this " slue," we 
at length struck it. In doing so we got rid of a curious 


companion. As we were gliding noiselessly clown the 
stream, suddenly from the dark and overhanging shores 
there burst a sharp " Heck ! heck! heck 1" sounding for 
;dl the world like an explosion of scornful, derisive 
laughter. Breaking in so abruptly upon the deep 
silence, and issuing from the impenetrable gloom of 
the forest, it startled me for the moment as much as 
if it had been the scream of a panther. The next 
moment, however, this strange challenger revealed who 
lie was, for a long ringing " Hoo-oo-hoo-oo," echoed 
through the woods. It was not the ordinary hoot of 
the owl, but rose and fell like the howl of a dog when 
baying the moon. It seemed to be scornfully asking 
" Who ?" with a prolonged accent on the upper note. 
His gravit}^ was evidently upset by the ball of fire 
moving noiselessly over the water, and he would silently 
flit from tree to tree to keep opposite us, uttering each 
time, almost under our very noses, that prolonged and 
sneering " ivho-oo.^^ As we turned into the " slue," this 
queer river sentinel lapsed into silence. ISTot a word 
was now uttered by either of us ; not a sound broke the 
silence, save when the boat grazed a lily-pad that lay in 
its path, or a frog, disturbed from his resting-place, 
plunged with a sharp '' gullook" into the water. Isovi 


backing out from a mass of lilj-pads and rushes too 

dense to allow us to pass through, and now winding 

slowly along the narrow devious channel, we kept 

slowly on, expecting every moment to hear the tread of 

a deer moving about in the water, or catch the fiery 

gleam of his eyes as he stood spell-bound by the light. 

We had paddled in this way for a full hour, when the 

guide whispered, " It's strange, I declare, there are no 

deer here." We had nearly reached the end of the 

" slue," where the tall fir trees that hemmed us in and 

bent over us, made a gloom like that of a cavern, and 

I was just about to whisper to " Chet" that we had 

better turn about, when I heard a low. human cough. 

The scream of a panther or the howl of a wolf would 

not have sounded half so strange in that place and at 

that hour. Had there been a jack-light, I, of course, 

should have known that it was some hunter on the same 

beat with ourselves. '' Chet" said nothing, but he was ' 

evidently a little startled, for he instantly wheeled the 

boat about. I strained my eyes in every direction to 

pierce the gloom that lay beyond the bright glare of 

our ''jack," but for a long time in vain. At length I 

thought I saw something like a shadow creeping along 

the shore, which was overhung with trees. It kept 


6-±b THE ADir.OXDACK. 

panillel with us, and liiiall}^ crossing a clearer space, 
revealed the dim outlines of a boat. It now emero-ed 


from the deeper shadow of the shore, and approached us 
in an oblique direction. When it came within the re- 
flection of our light, I discovered that it was a bark 
canoe, paddled by a gigantic Indian. In order to keep 
the channel, he had now to come within three oars' 
length of ns. I hailed him, when he made some reply 
in broken English. After a short pause, he growled 
out, " Whar shanty?" meaning to ask where our camp 
was. I told him, to which he replied with a single 
grunt. I tlien made some remark, but not finding him 
inclined to be communicative, I said no more. Side by 
side, not more than thirty or forty feet apart, we kept 
silently on — his light boat moving, apparently, without 
an effort. It was a weird place and hour to meet such 
a character. It was near midnight, and we were in the 
heart of a swamp a mile from the river, where very 
likely not another white man may go for a year. lie 
was undoubtedly just as harmless a person as myself, 
and possessed of equally good intentions ; still I am not 
ashamed to confess I much preferred he would talk or 
leave us and go ahead. I knew it was foolish to have a 
suspicion of him, and I supposed also that the fact that 


we had two guns to his one would have its due effect on 
even an ugly customer. Still, if he had a double-bar- 
relled gun, it would not take him long to knock us, who 
were armed, over ; and before "Chet," who was a small, 
slight man, and slow withal, could recover from his 
astonishment and spring forward and disentangle our 
guns from our bodies, the savage would be aboard of 
the boat and easily dispatch him. His purpose once 
accomplished, there would not have been the slightest 
chance of detection, for no mortal but himself knew he 
had been there. 

Although ashamed of myself at the time, -all these 
thoughts passed through my head, and I kept close watch 
of him, determined, if I saw him lay down his paddle, 
to snatch my companion's double-barrelled gun, loaded 
with buck-shot, from him, and be ready if he should 
raise his piece. Accustomed to shoot on the wing and 
in thick cover, I w^ould not have asked but a single 
second to have covered the swarthy rascal. But the 
strokes of his paddle continued to flill steady and strong, 
and he kept on silent as ever, till we reached the river, 
when he turned down stream and soon disappeared in 
the gloom. I was not at all sorry to see him leave, and 
could not help saying mentally, '' Good night, my fine 


fellow ; I have no doubt you are a very honest, respect 
able sort of a savage, but if you would cultivate your 
colloquial powers a little more, you would be a much 
pleasanter companion at midnight in a swamp in the 
heart of this vast wilderness." 

Soon after, in making a bend in the river, we saw the 
light of our companions ahead. They had been equally 
•unsuccessful. After seeing such sigus of deer in the 
afternoon, we could not account for our ill-luck. After- 
wards we learned there was a large party of Indians 
from Canada encamped somewhere in the vicinity, who 
had killed. or scared away the game. If v/e had gone 
up the river we should, undoubtedly, have had better 

Yours truly. 


"multum in parvo" — A backwoodsman's interest 

buck's HORN — BOG RIVER. 

LooN Pond, July Stb, 1858. 

Dear H : 

The log-Lut in which we stayed last night consisted 
of two rooms, one of which answered for parlor, sitting- 
room, dining-room, pantry, kitchen, and, last of all, bed- 
room, for in two corners of it were beds with sheets 
dropped over them, in one of which slept the man and 
his wife, and in the other two females belonging to the 
family; the other room was a loft with loose boards 
thrown across the logs for a floor. This was filled up 
with beds placed alongside of each other. Into these 
we, with our guides and two others, making eight in all, 
crept and slept as v^e best could. The owner of this 


clearing was really a fine-looking man, and evidently 
designed by nature for a different sphere. He bad a 
small garden, in wliicli the vegetables looked well, with 
the exception of cabbages. They appeared to have been 
just set out. I spoke of this to him, and asked if they 
would have time to head. "Kot much," he said, " but 
1 can't raise cabbages; the flea destroys them all." 
*' Why, that is very easily prevented," I replied. 
*' Build a close board fence where you raise the young 
plants so as to keep them in shadow all day long, or, if 
that is too much trouble, get some shingles or slabs of 
wood and stick over them — the flea never crosses the 
sun-line." He seemed to think it very strange that a 
sportsman should teach a backwoodsman how to raise 
vegetables — especially propose so simple a remedy as 
that. I have no doubt it furnished a topic of conver- 
sation for the family for some time. 

In the two clearings I have mentioned I saw no 
books, not the sign of a paper, however old. The 
people take no interest in what is going on in the 
moving world around them — never asking any questions 
whatever respecting it. They are so completely away 
from the current of events that they do not try to keep 
up the connection. 

BIG T upper's. 851 

Taking in a new sappij of butter here, we dropped 
down to Big Tupper's Lake. Hearing that a couple of 
gentlemen were encamped here, w^e made them a morn- 
ing call. They had a fine bark shanty enclosed on tb]\ i 
sides, with a fire in front. It looked nice and comforta- 
ble, and quite homelike to me in the woods ; for I bad 
been accustomed to such quarters. " There," said I to 
my companions, "that's the way to camp out." For the 
prairie and desert a tent is all well enough, but it is out' 
of place in the woods. Bidding our fellow-travellers 
adieu, we pulled leisurely np the lake. It was a warm 
day, and we were glad to take the shadows of the 
islands when w^e could. This is a handsome lake, and, 
like the Saranac, filled with islands covered with heavy 
forest trees. There is, however, no background of dis- 
tant mountains as in Long and Raquette Lakes. Moun- 
tains of moderate height form a framework, but your 
vision is bounded by the immediate shores. 

As we were passing one island, the guide said that 
some hunters, two or three years ago, drove a deei 
upon it. Taking the dogs over, they put them on the 
track again, and drove him to the water's edge. But 
the deer, when he reached the shore, found he was on 
the brink of a precipice over thirty feet high. He waa 

852 THE adihoxdack:. 

pressed so close bj the hounds that he could not turn 
back, so, cleaving the air with one wild bound, he 
plunged into the lake below ; rising to the surface 
again, he struck boldly out for the opposite shore. A 
boat that was on the watch, however, started in pursuit 
and overtook him, but through admiration of his bold 
and gallant leap, the men captured him alive. Soon 
after, he managed to escape, but the next year was 

Towards noon we came in sight of Buttermilk Falls, 
where the water, issuing out of the green forest, shoots 
a mass of feathery foam into the placid lake below. 
Before reaching them we stopped at a spring famous 
in this whole region. It is several feet in diameter, 
and the bottom dark with the debris of leaves that 
have fallen into it, except where the water boils up. 
Here the sand, which is white as snow, is rolled over 
and over by the force of the jet beneath, and appears 
like some light, foamy substance. • The water is pure, 
cold, and sweet as ever passed human lips. I wanted 
to take the spring with me. It is only a few rods 
around these falls to Bog River, up which our course 
lay. While the guides were transporting the boats 
and baggage across, I rigged my line to take some 


trout for dinner. But v.^o found here tlic same difficulty 
that we did in coming down the Eaquette. 

The heavy rains had so swollen and discolored the 
streams that in places vJiere ordinarily, in a few minutes, 
one could catch all the trout he could carry, we were 
unable to take one. This, toofether with our ill-luck 
after the deer, had now reduced us to low rations. Tliis 
state of affairs required some attention, for to live on 
pork in such a region of game as this, w^as disreputable, 
at least. I knew there were trout in abundance, but I 
could not raise one, either at the foot of the Falls or in 
the rapids above. I came across, however, in a little 
open space, as I was leaving the rapids, a very singular 
spectacle. It was the head of a j'oung buck, wdth the 
body, bones and all gone, though it evidently had Iain- 
there but a short time, as some of the tissues still clung 
to the jaw-bones. The fleshless jaws ^vere stretched 
wide apart as if the animal had died in agony — probably 
bleating. On one of its horns w^as a large weasel com- 
pletely impaled, the horn having passed clean through 
him. The weasel was still undecomposed, showing that 
he had been there but a short time. ITow came tliat 
weasel upon that horn was a problem I could not solve. 
Had the buck been wounded and lain down here to die^ 


and this little animal, with that boldness which charac- 
terizes it, attempted to suck his blood before life was 
extinct, when the suffering creature, in a last death, - 
struggle, by chance drove his horn through his enemj- ? 
This seemed inconsistent and almost impossible, but 
how came those two animals in that strange position? 
That skeleton head, with the jaws stretched wide apart, 
and a weasel impaled on one horn, interested me exceed- 
ingly from the mj^sterj that attached to it. N^ow and 
then the woods exhibit phenomena that even the old, 
experienced hunter cannot explain. Bog River, on 
which we had now embarked, we designed to mount to 
its source. It is a narrow stream, possessing no beauty, 
and awakens anything but pleasant feelings as it winds 
its sluggish way through' the silent forest. But I had 
long known that it was famous for game, and that at its 
sources dwelt the moose. It was not in the hope of kill- 
ing many deer that I determined to visit it, but to see 
them in. broad day, feeding on the wild meadows like 
calves in the fields, and visit the home of the moose. 

Boats ascend three miles of this river on their way to 
Little Tupper's Lake, a favorite resort of sportsmen. 
Beyond this point neither *of our guides had ever been, 
«.nd they as well as myself had to depend on the know 

EOCx ETVEE. 855 

ledge we Lad derived from others. Cliarlie, however, 

knevv^ one thing, and C did nothing but whine about 

it — that there were nine carrying-jplaces on the route, and 
those not beaten paths, across comparatively even ground, 
but mere trails leading over rocks and swamps and steep 
acclivities. The first, half a mile in length, was not 
very difficult, but in passing over it I noticed the skill 
these men acquire in carrying their boats upon their 
heads. In crossing a deep hollow, they came to a miry 
{spot. Over this, on a stick not more than four inches 
in diameter, thej^ stepped with far more steadiness and 
ease than we did. After launching our boats and row- 
ing about four miles, we came to the "Winding Falls," 
so called from their shape — the water swinging itself 
down the precipice in a peculiarly graceful manner. 
This was a short but rough carrying-place. 

Now thum[)ing against the rocks as we attempted 
to force our way over rapids, and now sinking our boats 
under a huge pine-tree that spanned the stream, almost 
touching the surface, we kept on our toilsome way until 
the last carrj'ing-place was reached before we arrived at 
a chain of ponds where vs-'e were to camp for the night. 
We had got the impression that this was a short and 
easy one, but it proved to be the most desperate piece 


of ground over which I had ever seen a boat carried. 
The indistinct trail lay along the face of a steep moun- 
tain that overhung a wild, loud torrent below. The 
footing was so uncertain and the way so broken, that my 
heart smote me for having brought our guides into such 
an inhospitable region. When we again shoved our 
boats from shore all were thoroughly used up, for tak- 
ing compassion on the guides, our party had carried 
nearly all the baggage, oars, benches, &c., each taking 
two loads across. 

Just as the sun was sinking behind the forest we heard 
the loud, clear cry of the great Northern diver just 
ahead, and knew at once that we were near the three 
ponds, on one of which we must find a camping-place 
for the night. 

Yours truly. 



Loon Pond, July 19 th. 

My Dear H : 

My last closed as we were about to ememe from the 


dreary, sluggish, tortuous Bog River. Just as the sun 
was stooping near the western mountains our boats shot 
forth on " Spectacle Ponds," as the two lakelets are 
called, because they lie in the forest like two great spec- 
tacle glasses, united by a narrow strip of water that an- 
swers to the bow that rests on the bridge of the nose in 
a pair of spectacles. Heretofore my guides had known 
just where to steer to find good camping-ground, for 
they were familiar with every spring and sheltered nook 
in the region ; but now they were all at sea (if that 
metaphor is allowable in the woods), and for once we 


were on equal footing. Althougli the sky was clear 
and the woods were green, and the sunlight fell in gold- 
en floods all over the surrounding heights, there was 
no beauty in the scene. The inconceivable loneliness of 
the place weighed on the spirits, and repressed all plea- 
surable emotions. Perhaps I should have felt different 
had not the guides worn such a lugubrious, melancholy 
aspect. To see your guides in an untrodden wilder- 
ness look dejected and worried, affects you as it does 
to behold a serious expression on the face of the cap- 
tain of a vessel at sea as he scans the heavens at night- 
fall. Yet there was something amusing to me to see 
such hardy woodsmen wear a funereal aspect, simply 
because they had got off their familiar beat. 

As we rowed quietly along the little lake, scarce a 
word was spoken by the guides, and I at length halloo- 
ed to Charlie, who was ahead, to know where he was going 
to camp, for it was full time to be making preparations 
for supper. He mournfully replied he did not know, 
and-so we kept skirting along the base of a mountain until 
at length we entered the passage to the other lake. 
Shooting forth on to this, the same monotonous shores 
met our gaze, but at the farther end, on a low, grassy 
point, green as emerald, stood a noble deer ; bis graceful 


form flooded in a stream of sunlight, that, pouring 
througli a gorge in the hills, full in one mass of golden 
splendor on him and the quiet spot on which he was 
feeding. F was electrified at the sight, and pre- 
pared at once to go after him, but Charlie shook his 
head, saying: "It was no time to go after deer; we must 
find a camping-ground." " But," I inquired, " where 
^re you going?" "Well," he replied, "I suppose we 
might stop at one place as well as another," and steered 
his boat towards a point which seemed to me the most 
forbidding spot in sight. We, however, pushed ashore, 
and, climbing the steep sides of a hill, selected a little 
level spot and began to cut away the bushes so as to 
pitch our tent. Lugging up our traps over the fallen 
trees, we began to prepare for supper. " We shall 
have to drink lake water to-night," grumbled Charlie. 
"I do not believe it," I replied. "The mountains that 
feed this lake must be filled with springs." So going 
down to the narrow strip of level ground that inter- 
vened between the lake and hill, I be2;an to search for 
a spring. It w^as hard travelling through the thick 
underbrush, but at length I came to a moist spot neor 
the root of a tree, and suspecting water to be under- 
neath, I scooped out the black soft earth w^ith my hand. 


and in a few minutes Lad the satisfaction of seeing tbe 
water babble up. It soon cleared itself, and we bud 
fresh cool water to drink. A roaring fire and a good 
supper made us more cheerful, but the musquitoes were 
thick as the locusts of Egypt, rendering it impossible 
to live except we kept enveloped in smoke. In the 
evening John and I rigged up a jack, and went out 
in search of deer. We skirted the whole shore of the 
lake without seeing one, and finally steered for the 
mouth of Bog River, two or three miles away, and pro- 
ceeding down it, soon heard the careful step of one in 
the water. Paddling carefully towards the spot whence 
the sound came, I just caught a glimpse of the red 
sides of the cautious fellow, as he sneaked softly out of 
the tall reeds and disappeared in the bushes. It was 
not strange that we saw no deer where there were such 
abundant signs of them, for the sounds of the axe in 
preparing wood for the night echoed far and wide, to 
say nothing of the bright blaze of our fire, which from 
the hill-side gleamed, in every direction over the water. 
Besides, the noise and laughter of those left behind 
echoed in the still night at a great distance — enough of 
itself to frighten a less timid animal than the deer. 

Between ihe great black shadows of the mountains 


tbat from either side iieaHy met aiider the still bosom. 
of the lake, the starlit sky stretched like a sa[)phire way, 
over wliicli we silently gHded back towards camp. The 
mirthful sounds that had rung^ out on the clear air as 
we sailed awaj^, awakening strange feelings in that 
lonely spot, were now all hushed, and utter silence 
reigned over the hillside towards which our light boat 
was shooting. Groping our way through the thick 
bushes, we at length came upon the camp, before which 
only a few embers were smouldering. All were locked 
in profound slumber, and kicking a few fagots among 
the coals, I stretched myself on the hemlock boughs and 
was soon also in the land of dreams. 

With the first dawn I was up, and descending to the 
lake shore for my morning bath, was welcomed by the 
shrill clarion-cry of the great northern diver. IIow 
lonely and wild it sounded there amid the mountains. 
A heavy mist lay along the farther shore and floated in 
detached masses above the surface of the lake. Think- 
ing I might steal unobserved on some deer feeding upon 
the marshes, I jumped into a boat and rowed for the 
upper end of the lake. But frightened by the strange 
sights and Bounds that had invaded their hitherto quiet 

retreat, they had gone to other feeding-grounds. Soon 



the sounds of the aroused camp arose over the distant 
tree-tops, and I turned back. The fog began to lift in 
the clear morning air, and soon the lake lay without 
a ripple, smooth as a polished mirror in the clear sun- 
light. The cry of a loon, evidently not far from me, 
had kept the mountain-sides ringing with echoes ever 
since I set out, and now, there being nothing to obstruct 
my vision, I saw it within close range of my boat. I 
thought its actions were rather singular, and observing 
it more narrowly, discovered it to be a female bird with 
two young ones, which from the size were apparently 
just hatched. This I had never seen before in the 
woods. The wildest of birds, it chooses the loneliest 
waters, and hides its nest and its vouns: where the keen- 
est hunter cannot find them. I determir;ed at once to 
catch one of the little fellows from mere curiositj^, and 
rapidly rowed towards where the three were sitting. 
The young ones were black as a coal, and scarcely 
bigger than my fist. They allowed me to get very near 
them, when wdth a dip like a flash of lightning they dis- 
appeared under the water. The mother had gone under 
long before, and now carne up a little distance off, utter- 
ing that prolonged cry so unlike anything else heard in 
the forest. Seeing her young ones dive, she again went 


under, and came up witlnii an oar's length of mj^ boat 
as if to see whether her young were there. Quicker 
than thought she disappeared again, and the next time 
came to the surface within fair shot. I had often 
amused myself firing at these birds, sometimes by the 
hour, just to see them dodge the flash of the gun from 
the muzzle, and I thought I would now see if she could 
keep her eye on her young ones and me, too. Taking 
a steady aim, I fired. A quill flew from her back, and 
for a long time I saw no more of her. I knew I had not 
killed her, or she would have floated on the surface. 
Besides, I was quite certain that if the ball had hit the 
hard quills of her wings it would have glanced from 
them as from a rock, and soon her loud cry a quarter of 
a mile away assured me that she was safe. The heavy 
blow of the bullet had frightened her, so that she kept 
aloof from her young. For a time chasing them seemed 
like chasing fish. The quickness of their movements 
was astonishing. They would allow me to approach 
within a few feet of them, all the time watching every 
movement, and then the little bullet-black heads would 
vanish like a flash. I succeeded, however, in tiring one 
out, and so far as I know was the first person that evei 
held a young northern diver in his hand. 



I was not sorry to break up camp, and thougli tlie 
guides evidently wanted to turn back, I bad set my 
heart on Mud Lake, notwithstanding its repugnant name, 
for reasons of my own. I was convinced that a trip to 
it woukl be an episode in the expedition. Two of our 
guides were willing to undertake anything we asked, 
still none of them was particularly fond of hard work. 
G-Liides do not understand the fan of tramping day after 
day over rocks and logs and bogs, when you can have 
a comfortable shanty on a beautiful lake by a cool 
spring, with plenty of fish and deer within reasonable 
reach, to take which only a moderate amount of exercise 
is necessary. They like to shift occasionally from point 
to point by way of variety, but if you want to be popu- 
lar among these men, don't follow my exam|)le. They 
think my curiosity is quite out of proportion to my com- 
Qion sense. 

Yours truly. 



Mud Lake, July 20th. 
Dear H 

As we passed out of "Loon Pond," and just before 

we entered the river again on our tedious upward route, 

John, who could not get over the ill-luck of the night 

before, remarked as he looked on the lily -pads that 

fringed the shore: " I tell you, if we had come here last 

night, as I wanted to, ^ve should have got a deer ; I 

heard the frogs going it strong, and I knew that deer 

was feeding here.'' This was the second time he had 

referred to the croaking of frogs as evidence of deer. It 

was something new to me, and I asked him what he 

meant. "Why, you see," said he, "the deer love to 

feed on the lily-pads on which the frogs sit by thou- 


sands at night. As tbej walk along nipping tlie pads, 
the frogs jump off with a 'gulluck.' So when you hear 
that sound all the time, 3'oa may be sure deer are feed- 
ing there." Well, I thought to myself, live and learn ; 
111 make a note of that for future use. After leaving 
the pond we came to some rapids around which we had 
to carry our boats. The stream then became shallow 
and swift, and for a long distance we had to pole our 
boats, which every few feet bumped against the rocky 
bottom. After six miles of hard labor, w^e came to the 
first of two small lakes that were connected by a short 
strait. Here a strong fetid odor filled the air, and 
we knew at once that we were approaching the 
camp of the two hunters I have before mentioned. 
The stench arose from the entrails, and perhaps carcasses, 
of deer they had left on the shore of the lake. As we 
emerged on the second lake, we saw a boat shoot out 
from behind a point a little w^ay off, with a single man 
in it. We hailed him, w^hen* he turned his head and 
for a moment seemed uncertain whether to stop or not. 
But observing three boats and six men, he seemed to 
think it best to be civil, and rested on his oars. AVhen 
we came up, and he found w^e were after Mud Lake and 
not him, he at once thawed out, and was very sociable 


and eager to show liis politeness. Pointing to a beauti- 
ful green little cape in the distance, lie said there was 
his camp; and, to make it especially attractive, add- 
ed : '' There is a capital spring of water there," and 
asked us to go over to it. As we swept lazily along, he 
told us of his success in huntinsr, which, from the hio;li 


water, had been poor. I think he had killed but six or 
eight deer. " But," said he, " last night I killed a moose," 
You must know that killino; a moose amono: these back- 
woodsmen is equal to winning a battle. Though no 
bigger than a buffalo, it is a very different animal. 
Wilder than the deer, it dwells in the most inaccessible 
haunts, and it is only on rare occasions that a bold 
fellow ventures on the ordinary hunting-grounds of this 

The camp was beautifully located on a gentle slope in 
an open wood — giving here and there, between the tall 
trees, glimpses of the sparkling lake. They had erected 
a nice bark shanty, and were busy jerking venison. 
The man who had killed the moose had not yet got over 
the excitement of the event, and was fall of his exploit. 
"Tell me how it happened?" I said. "Well," he 
replied, " I and Moody were out hunting deer with a 
jack; I had killed one with buck-shot, and we were 


paddling softly along the upper end of the lake, when 
all at onci3 I saw something black in the water standing 
way up in the air almost over me. I never saw a 
moose before, but knew at once 'twas nothing else. 
Thinks I, quick as lightning, buck-shot won't do for you, 
so took up my rifle without making any sound. The 
light now fell full on his strapping sides, and Moody at 
once saw him, too, and he began to back the boat. I 
whispered : 'What are you backing for?' He stopped, 
and the next second I fired. Thunder, what a rush he 
made ! I thought at first he was coming right top of 
the boat. You never heard such a floundering in your 
life. I tell you the w^ater flew for a minute. He then 
made two or three awful big jumps to land, when he 
stopped. I couldn't see him, and we sat about a minute 
still, when we heard him fall. I tell you he came down 
like an ox, and made the ground shake. I knew it was 
all up with him. "We rowed ashore, and there lie lay 
amid the bushes — his great eyes rolling, but he couldn't 
stir. We had a big job skinning and dressing him." 

They had already cut him up and were jerking his 
meat. This was done by building a fire twelve or four- 
teen feet long, over which w^ere stretched two long poles 
close together, and resting on forked sticks at either end. 


On these, thin shces of meat are laid, which, while the 
juices are exhausted by the heat, become saturated with 
the smoke from the fire. (The meat is first thoroughly 
filled with salt before it is placed over the fire.) Here it 
is kept till it becomes dry as a pine shaving. I was glad 
to find that they were saving their game instead of kill- 
ing it, as they sometimes do, solely for the skins ; though 
if I had known, as I afterwards did, that a deer thus 
jerked was worth, when out of the woods, less than two 
dollars, I should have been less gratified. 

These two hunters were rough specimens, and, as they 
louDged there before their huge fire, I fell to musing on 
the strange destinies of men. We are all immortal, all 
bound to a higher state of existence, and yet how little 
above the brute is a large majorit}^ of the race I Week 
after week these men stayed alone in the woods, with no 
thought above the game they should kill. They were 
never puzzled with the strange mysteries of life and 
death. To them this great solitude was void of meaning 
or expression — no spirit-voices filled the forest, and the 
starry heaven that nightly bent over them, with its only 
half-revealed wonders, was as meaningless as the roof of 
their bark shanty, except as its aspect told them of fair 

or foul weather. Their hearts never ached with strange 



unutterable yearnings, or sighed over the shadowy forms 
it vainly sought to grasp. Still, there are doubtless 
times when even these rouoh sons of the forest feel sub- 
dued and solemn, and are conscious of another nature 
belonging to them besides the mere animal one. Their 
\vhole life moving on a different plane from ours, it 
requires other objects and associations to stir the deeper 
wells of feeling. The tall pine lifting its green crown 
so far into the heavens, filled with strange whisperings, 
and swaying so majestically above the forest below, 
su2;2:ests nothino- to them but the amount of clean lumber 
it will cut. The thousand low and delicate sounds, that to 
a cultivated ear make the great forest like a harp swept 
by invisible fingers, he never hears. But when the 
thunder goes crashing through its green arcades, and the 
fast-rooted tree is shivered into fragments before his 
eyes, he thinks of a power above and beyond him. So 
the starry sky, bending so strangely beautiful above the 
sleeping lake, fails to kindle his imagination ; but let a 
comet go streaming through the azure depths, and it is 
aroused to intensest action, showing his common brother- 
hood, and that w^e differ only in degree, not in kind. 
Thus we stand, alike, yet separate on the earth. 


Columns left alone 

Of a temple once complete." 

I must confess there was a charm about this camp 
that quite tempted one to turn his back on civilized 
life. I have rarely met one, even in this wonderful 
region, so picturesque and lonely. It was quite evi- 
dent that these men had something of an artist-eye 
after all. Perhaps the day had something to do with 
making it attractive, for a brighter one never blessed 
the world. The sky never seemed so blue ■ or the trees 
so green before, while the air was so pure that each 
respiration was a positive luxury. 

Looking: at our watches, and findinp; it was but ten 

O 7 O 

o'clock, we concluded to eat our dinner at Mud Lake, 
now six miles distant; so, taking a little moose-meat 
by way of lunch, and a long draught at the delicious 
spTing, we pushed off, and soon entered Bog River 
again, which, taking its rise in the lake our faces were 
turned towards, passes through pond after pond and 
long stretches of forest before it finally empties itself 
over " Buttermilk Falls" into Great Tupper's Lake. 
It had o-radually narrowed and shallowed as we ascend- 
ed, and now became so contracted that it was with 
difficulty we could use our oars in many places. It 


was hard rowing through this marshj, flat, disagreea- 
ble region ; and as we toiled up the narrow, tortuous,, 
muddy stream, our oars constantly getting tangled in 
the bushes on the shore, while nothing but swamp, 
swamp met us at every turn, we thought we had 
seen the worst of it, and longed to reach the open 
lake ahead. At length when a broad, round opening 
in the forest told us it was close at hand, our spirits 
revived. But, alas ! when our boats at last floated on 
its dead, stirless bosom, they sank lower than before, 
and we looked at each other in mute inquiry or blank 
astonishment. It became painfully evident to me at that 
moment that I, who had insisted on making this expedi- 
tion, was not the most popular man among the few who 
at that particular time occupied that region. " So this is 
Mud Lake," I said, with a tone that was meant to be 
cheerful. There was no response except from John, 
who, with an expression of intense disgust on bis face, 
slowly muttered, ^^ Mad Holer 

The first thing to be done was to select a camping- 
place, but round the whole circle of the marshy lake 
there seemed not a dry spot big enough to pitch our 
tent upon, except a single, narrow, rocky point near us, 
from which arose about a dozen tall, dead, limbless hem- 


locks that had evidently been blasted with lightning, 
while the multitudinous huge trunks that lay piled 
across each other in every imaginable shape, showed 
that a tornado had at some previous period swept 
it, leaving only here and there a withered tree 
standing to be the sj^ort of the lightning. No choice 
being left us, we steered our boats towards this deso- 
late spot. It was with difficulty that we could scrape 
away a space big enough for our tent between the 
fallen timber and the shore. You can have no idea 
what a wind-fall is, as woodsmen call it, until you see 
this spot. You could not go three rods back from 
the shore, and not a single yard of that distance would 
your feet touch the ground. You could not move at 
all, except by crawling along and over and under logs, 
that in some places lay piled five feet high, j ust as the 
hurricane had left them. 

"While we were getting dinner, one of the guides saw 
a deer a little way oif feeding on the marshy shore, so 

F stepped into a boat with John, and in a few minutes 

we heard the crack of a rifle. As the boat returned we 
saw the carcass of a deer stretched on the bottom. We 
were now sure at least of fresh venison, which was a 
relief after a diet of hard salt pork. Yours truly. 



Mud Lake, July 21st. 
Dear II : 

I HAVE been so long getting to Mud Lake, I suppose 
you would be glad to know what it is like, and what 
sights it furnishes to pay for such a tramp. 

It is an oval sheet of water, about a mile in diameter, 
and covered with lily-pads in its entire surface, except 
in spots here and there. Hence, in looking over it you 
do not see a smooth e-xpanse of water, but a smooth 
expanse of lily-pads ; in fact, it is a lake vegetating — 
turning into a huge vegetable. Standing on our rocky 
point and looking up it, there seems to stretch away 
from the farther end an interminable flat country cover- 
ed with evergreens. 

MUD LAKE. 875 

To the left and far inland rises a lofty, stern-looking 
mountain. Standing way back in the solitude by itself 
— blue from its distance and nameless, it awakens 
strange feelings. A v/ilderness' probably never trodden 
by human foot stretches away from its base, while from 
its lonely summit spreads a view never seen by the eye 
of man. To the right, nearly as distant and as if placed 
there on purpose to match it, frowns a savage precipice 
scowling across to its solitary neighbor. Between these 
two silent monuments stretches a vast extent of natural 
meadows, interspersed with fir-trees, standing sometimes 
singly and sometimes in groups. But no details can 
give you any conception of the indescribable loneliness 
of the scene. ISTot a ripple disturbed the surface of the 
lake, or indeed could disturb it ; not a sound broke the 
stillness, not a bird or water-fowl enlivened the desola- 
tion. A single fish- hawk or eagle, lazily sailing far away 
across the heavens, only made the solitude more com- 
plete. I never saw guides so affected by mere scenery 
before. It was evidently as new to them as to me ; in 
fact more so, for they had never even imagined anything 
like it. 

After dinner I resolved to take John and go on an 
expedition of my own. We had explored the adjacent 


shores in vain in search of a spring, and being com- 
pelled to drink the water of this torpid lake with my 
dinner, made me determined to find its inlet, for I was 
sure it must be spring water. This, however, was not so 
easy a matter. The whole upper end was a vast bog, 
cut up with numberless little lagoons, each one of which 
we in turn took for the inlet, only to find ourselves 
plump ashore, or emerging again into the lake a short 
distance from where we started. John at length lost all 
patience at being thus baffled, and stepping ashore and 
mounting a bog higher than the rest, took a survey of 
the ground. Getting again into the boat, he said ho 
thought he could strike the inlet. Fortunately we did 
so, and soon found ourselves out of the lake. The, 
stream, however, was very narrow, and soon became 
altogether impassable. An otter, disturbed from his 
slumbers by our approach, gave one startled look and 
plunged into the dark-colored water. 

As we backed down the stream, I put my hand over 
the sides of the boat, and found the water cold as a 
mountain spring. Dipping up a cup full I tcok a long 
drausfht, and then handed it to John. As he tasted it 
he looked up in surprise, then quietly remarked: "Well, 
we've got some water to drink, anyhow, while we stay 


here." [^ Yes," I replied, " and that is not all — there are 
trout here !" You should have seen his look of supreme 
disgust at the suo-o-cstion that so noble lish as the trout 
would live in such a dirty hole as this. "We'll see, 
John,*' I said, and ris'a'ino; mv line, I told him to let 
the boat float by itself. I then cast my fly, and in an 
instant two or three spotted fellows rose to the surface. 
In a few minutes I had enough for supper. 

1 was convinced that this was not the main inlet, and 
told John so. By the merest luck in coming out of 
this, we struck the other. Pushing up this some dis- 
tance, the boat suddenly ran against a pole, the ends of 
which were completely imbedded in the soft shores. John 
got out, and by the greatest effort succeeded in wrench- 
inof one end loose and svvinoino- it around. He then 
examined it long and attentively. I inquired what he was 
staring at. " This stick," he replied, " has been here a 
great many years ; it's half- rotted through, and see, here 
is a stick stuck right alongside of it to keep it from 
being washed away. Iso boat has passed here for fifty 
years. This has been the crossing-place of some trapper 
some time or another ;" and he Vv^ent on accumulating 
evidence npon evidence clear as sunlight to a hunter, 
and which he made equally clear to me, to show when 


and for what purpose the stick had been placed thera 
Having removed this obstacle, we kept on, and soon 
entered a vast natural meadow ; in fact, there seemed no 
limit to it. After a while the stream became too narrow 
to row, and we then went ashore. John stood and look- 
ed around him like one in a new world. There were no 
great landmarks in sight. The spruce-trees and thickets, 
though often fiir apart, completely shut out everything 
from view, leaving only opening and shutting vistas on 
every side. It was very plain that we could easily get 
lost ; for go which way you would, the same flat surface 
and clustering evergreens met the eye ; but the danger of 
this did not occur to me, and I proposed to explore back 
for some distance. But John shook his head. He, 
however, stuck his oar in the ground, w^ith the blade 
uppermost, and said he would go as far as he could see 
that. Keeping this in view, we moved around as far as 
we dared. That great natural meadow seemed inter- 
minable, and rested apparently on a body of water, for 
whenever we jumped upon it, it would shake and vibrate 
like a spring floor. We went some distance up the 
stream, and it was marvellous to see how it was tracked 
and beaten into paths by wild animals. It looked as if 
cattle had pastured there. In one place we saw where a 


moose had crossed the stream evidently but a few lioura 
before. The soft earth was displaced as though an ox 
had trodden there. 

As we were returning, we saw a deer feeding on the 
marsh, and John told me to shoot him. I stood up in 
the boat and fired, missing him. Not accustomed to 
fire with a rifle while standing up in such a tottlish craft, 
it was impossible to hold my gun steady. The deer 
bounded oflPa few rods, then stopped, threw up his head 
and began to whistle, or, as one not familiar with a 
hunter's vocabulary would say, snort. lie had evidently 
never seen a man or heard a rifle-shot before, and did 
not know what to mahe of us. I quietly loaded up in 
full view, and asked John if he would like to try a shot. 
Wiser than I had been, he stepped out on the marsh 
where there was solid standing-ground, and, taking deli- 
berate aim, fired. The deer gave a few bounds and fell 
dead, lie was full a hundred and sixty yards off, yet 
John had put the bullet within an inch of his heart. 

As we emerged once more into the lake, the column 
of blue smoke, ascending through the quiet air beside 
the white tent standing alone on the distant point, 
looked cheerful amid the solitude, and the more so 
after having been locked in by the fir-trees on that vast 


meadow. What I had seen, explained one thing that 
had always been a mj^stery to me. The full-grown 
moose I knew could travel where he liked — the rocky 
ground would not injure his hard hoof nor the "fallen 
timber obstruct his progress ; but where the calves could 
be reared puzzled me. The deer with their fawns 
keep along the river-banks and around the soft shores 
of the ponds and lakes, and are often visible to the 
hunter. Not so the moose. With her young she keeps 
m inaccessible places, but it was evident those could 
not be rough mountain gorges. Kow the mystery 
was solved. This vast soft meadow was one of 
their chief feeding and breeding-grounds. Here the 
mother could find food enough without travelling far, 
and yet be safe from the hunter ; for, except in case 
of a freshet, no boat could easily reach this desolate 
spot; and here, too, the young calf found a carpet for 
its tender hoof softer than the smoothest lawn. 

Our story of the moose-tracks set F wild and he 

determined to get sight of him that night, if possible. 
So Charlie rigged up a jack, and after dark they started 
and did not return till midnight. They found the out- 
let from our description of it, and had entered it but a 
little way when they actually came upon the moose — but 


unfortunatel}^ caught sight of liim just as he was trot- 
ting off into the darkness. They said he saw theni by 
the light of our camp-fire a mile distant. It might 
easily be so ; for I remembered that John, maddened by 
the myriads on myriads of musquitoes, collected an 
enormous pile of brush and threw it all together on the 
fire. Instantly a flame shot up high as the tree-tops, 
lighting up the lake like a conflagration. Unluckily 
this was done just as they were unconsciously approach- 
\ng the moose. But for this they probably would 
have got a shot. 

That night was one long to be remembered. I 
thought that there could be no new experience to me 
in the way of musquitoes, but this dead lake of mud 
furnished one. The atmosphere seemed made of them, 
while smoke, their deadliest enemy, they apparently no 
longer feared. John, whom I always had found pecu- 
liarly indiflerent to their bite, was here compelled to 
surrender, and, in his desperation, rolled himself into 
the very sparks of the fire, where I thought he must 
roast. I wrapped myself in my blanket and tried to 
sleep. In the morning the roof of the tent was literally 
black with them ; you could have hived them like bees. 

Yours truly. 



Little Tupper's Lake, July. 
Dear H : 

The gloom and desolation of Mud Lake so weiglied 
on the spirits of all, and the high . state of the water 
having driven the deer away to other feeding grounds, we 
concluded on the third day to strike our tents and leave 
for brighter spots. The night previous to leaving I 
went with John, jack-hunting — not to kill deer, for we 
had more venison than we could, carry away with us, 
but from curiosity, as we had nothing else to do. We 
started several, and were amused at the different effect 
of our light on them. One sneaked away with his tail 


down like a whipped dog, another ruslied off with a 
bound, while a third, a buck, stood and leaped round 
and round in the same spot, his eyes shining like two 
balls of fire in the darkness, and he whistling all the 
time at such a furious rate that you could have heard 
him half a mile. He made such a ludicrous exhibition 
of himself that I at lenoth lauo-hed aloud. This seemed 
to bring him to his senses, and giving one loud whistle, 
he wheeled and bounded awny. 

Early next morning I was wakened by a peal of 
thunder that made the-wild shores tremble. 1 crawled 
out of the tent and stood and surveyed the scene. The 
lake at my feet was black as ink and still as death, 
while a half twilight, like an eclipse, rested on the sur- 
rounding shores. At the west, with its flirther extre- 
mity reaching to that far-off lonely mountain, a cloud 
black as night was lifting its dark massive pall over 
the woods. Its corrusrated edpjes looked like the brow 
of wrath, while its inky bosom seemed inherent with 
fire. Incessant flashes shot hither and thither through 
it, as if seeking there some object on which to vent their 
fury ; while ever and anon the whole mass would light 
up at once, and become a sheet of flame that made the 
darkness that succeeded still more appalling. The 


tliander-peals that followed were awful, rolling along 
the trembling heavens with a loose and reckless power 
I had never before heard. The sound was like that of 
ten thousand chariots driven furiously along subter- 
ranean arches. Heavy thunder early in the morning is 
not common, and I have always noticed, whether at sea 
or on shore, that it has a different sound from thunder 
in the afternoon. The mighty claps, instead of coming 
in one great mass of compact sound, seemed broken, and 
the fragments tumbled along the sky with a strange, 
unearthly clamor. 

As the cloud slowly rose in the heavens, I heard in the 
far-off forest the rush and roar of the advancing storm. 
I looked at the tent, and thought it would be carried 
away in the gale ; but that did not disturb me so much 
as those tall dry hemlock stubs, that had evidently 
before felt the lightning's stroke. They seemed on that 
solitaiy point like so many conductors to lead the fluid 
down into our very midst. I confess to a very uncom- 
fortable feeling as I watched their blighted tops, expect- 
ing every moment to see them shivered into a thousand 
fragments. A moment after, I caught the steady rush- 
ing sound of the rain as it came sweeping over the bend- 
ing tree-tops, and the next minute the great big diops 


came down one by one, striking me with a blow like 
hail, and then fell the deluge. I made one divx for 
the tent, and rolling m3-self up in my blanket, lay and 
listened to the wild uproar without. It seemed as if 
tent, point, and all must be carried away in the fierce 
tornado. But at length the peals grew less frequent, 
and rolled with a muffled sound back from the east, 
showing that the storm was travelling away over the 

We now prepared breakfast, and packing up our 
traps, turned our boats down Bog River ; and soon the 
winding stream shut Mud Lake from view. But for 
the dreadfully rough, fatiguing carrying-places we knew 
we must traverse on our way back, we should have 
been exhilarated at the thought of returning once more 
to the beautiful lake region we had left. 

As we approached the spot where the moose had 

been killed, we came upon a bear swimming the 

stream. He had evidently just finished his breakfast 

from the entrails of the moose, and was going back 

to his retreat. Had we turned the bend of the river 

a minute sooner we should have rowed plump on him, 

and had we been expecting such an encounter we 

could easih' have killed him. 



But the stream being but a few yards across, be got 
into the tall grass before a single rifle was ready. A 
shot was sent into the waving reeds that marked his 
passage, but without any apparent effect, except to 
accelerate his speed. Nothing occurred on the back- 
ward trip to break the monotony and tedium of our 
toil, except in crossing Loon Pond we met a single 
hunter, who had been for two weeks all alone in the 
woods. In answer to our inquiries, he said he had had 
poor luck ; the ponds were all too high, and he had 
killed but seventeen deer. Towards evening, in floating 
round a bend, I came suddenly upon a magnificent 
buck, standing broadside to me in full view in the 
open forest. He was a picture. But as he caught 
sight of us he threw up his antlered head, and in a 
moment was out of sight. We were all sore-weary 
that night, and next morning, when we proposed to 
strike across to Little Tupper's Lake, and from there 
through the mountains on to Forked Lake, Charlie 
rebelled. He had enough of this kind of tramping, 
and we resolved to send him home with one of the 
boats. When he found it came to this, he yielded to 
our wishes, and we started for this, one of the most 
beautiful of all the great chain of lakes. When about 


tliree miles above Big Tupper's, we drew our boats 
from Bog River, and shouldering them, started for Little 
Tupper's. This was the longest carrjing-place I had 
ever yet been on, and the path in some places being- 
very rough, we made slow progress. AVhen a little 
more than half way across, we stood our boats up 
against the trees to be ready for shouldering again, 
and prepared our dinner. Charlie made a kettle-full 
of strong tea, black as your hat, which was served to 
us in tin basins black as the tea. These backwoods- 
men, when on a hard tramp, do not want liquor but 
tea, and one who has not tried it when completely 
fagged out in the woods, has not the faintest concep- 
tion of its invigorating properties. I took three brim- 
ming pint-basins full, strong enough, as the old women 
say, "to bear up an egg." At home it would have 
completely upset me, but here, on the contrarj^, it set 
me up, so that when we were ready to start, I was 
fresh as ever. At length we struck this beautiful sheet 
of water, and, launching our boats, swept lazily for- 
ward towards the upper end. It was a lovely after- 
noon. A gentle breeze, redolent with the perfume of 
the woods, just rijiplcd tlie bosom of the lake; the 
ei'cen cncirclina" forest stood bathed in the \'clIow 


sunlight, while here and there a deer browsing on the 
shore and raismg liis liead as the sound of our voices 
came borne to him across the water, gave still greater 
picturesqueness to the enchanting scene. I lay back 
in the boat and gave myself up to its delicious influ- 
ence. The air was pure and balmy, and the heavens 
bright and loving. Soon, however, I forgot all, for 
my imagination was off into a land of its own crea- 
tion. The gentle dip of the oars, the low tinkling 
murmur of the ripples against the boat, and the slightly 
swaying motion, lulled me into a half dreamy state, 
and at length I slept. I was awakened by the prow 
of the boat grating on a sand-beach, and rousing up, I 
inquired if we had reached our camping-ground. " Xo," 
said John, " but when I was here two weeks ago with 
a gentleman, I buried some potatoes that we didn't want 
to lug back, and I am going to get them for supper." 
I was not sorry to hear this, and having bagged them, 
we pushed on to the upper end of the lake. Here, 
in a beautiful little ba}^, on a gently sloping piece of 
ground, we found two bark shanties standing, in one 
of which were the traps of some gentlemen who had 
already taken possession. Near by hung a deer dress- 
ed. The party was off on the lake somewhere in boats, 


and after appropriating the other shaiit}^, we rested till 

sundown, when F took one of the guides and went 

after a deer, while I, with " Chet," rowed up the inlet in 
search of trout. We were unsuccessful ; and as we 
drifted slowly back, two distant rifle-shots rang out 
clear in the evening air, showing that mj companions 
were having better luck than myself. The edges of the 
narrow stream were a perfect matting of bushes, and 
just as we swept around a bend, I was startled by a 
loud whistle apparentlj'" not fifty feet off. It came fierce 
and rapid from the bushes four or five times, and then 
I saw the form of a noble buck sailing through the air 
high over the undergrowth. As he rose in that tre- 
mendous spring, he gave another loud whistle. He had 
scarcely disappeared in the bushes when his form hung 
asrain in the air above them, and he asrain made the 
woods ring with his whistle. Three times ho repeated 
this, making three separate, rapid, clear bounds over the 
bushes, to see who and what we were, and then we 
heard his long gallop in the open woods beyond, as, 
sending forth his spasmodic whistles, he sped away. 
That splendid form and wild eye, flashing out from 
those dense bushes into the air and disappearing as sud* 
denlj^, only to reo,ppear again, and so near, too, left an 


impression on my imngi nation that can never grow 

S:»on after we landed, F came back with a deer. 

Our unknown companions had also returned, and we 
had a chat together over a roaring lire, and then stretch- 
ed ourselves on the hemlock boughs for the night. 

Little Tupper lacks the background of lofty moun- 
tains that give a charm to Long Lake, but, with this 
exception, it is one of the most beautiful lakes of this 
enchanting wilderness. Its waters are blue and limpid, 
the shores green and hard, while the beach is composed 
of fine sand. It is famous for its deer ; I think I count- 
ed ten feeding at different points oh the shores in broad 
daylight during our passage up it. 

Yours truly. 



Forked Lake, J\ily. 
Dear H : 

Here I am, on old familiar ground. Fifteen years 
ago I camped here one night with mj old friend 
Mitchell, the Indian, whose bark canoe had borne me 
over the rippling waters on an evening of one of the 
most beautiful days that ever blessed the world. It 
has changed but little since that time. Then not a 
hut was to be found on all its shores, and though so 
long an interval has elapsed, but one log shanty has 
since been reared to break the solitude. A road, how- 
ever, I am told, has been cut near it leading to Raquette 
Lake, which is passable for teams, while at that time it 
could be reached only by boats. 

Yesterday we broke up camp early to cross the moun- 


tains between this and Little Tapper, bj a route 
"wliolly unknown when I was here before. Striking 
the main inlet of Little Tapper, we ascended it, rousing 
up an otter and deer in our passage, and soon came to 
Rock Pond, so called from the enormous mass of rocks 
and stones at the lower end of the lakelet, as well as 
from a sins-le hu2;e rock in its centre, which forms a little 
oval island. I had never heard of this pond before, 
and was quite struck with its appearance, so unlike, from 
its rough surroundings, all other sheets of water that I 
had visited. On the single bare rock, in the centre, two 
sea-gulls had built their nest, whose white wings, flash- 
ing along the green background of woods, carried the 
imagination far back to the sounding sea shore from 
which they had wandered. 

As we drew our boats forth on to the mountain side, 
I experienced an entirely new sensation. Hitherto in 
all my journeyings, the carrying-places of any length 
had always been along streams that, in the woods, you 
come to regard as a sort of companionship. Besides, 
they are unerring guides, leading you surely to another 
body of water which you know to be only a little way 
ahead. But to pull our boats into the woods with no 
path before us and no watercourse 'to guide us. and 


strike straight off along a mountain side, seemed a most 
extraordinary and somewhat venturesome undertaking 
None of the guides but Charlie had ever been over this 
route, and I could not but think if we had sent him 
back, as we at one time contemplated, I should hardly 
have ventured to take it. He, however, knew it well, 
and so we pushed on. The three guides turned their 
boats over their heads and struck boldly into the woods, 
while w^e loaded ourselves down with rifles, paddles, 
carpet-bags, blankets, and tinware, and trudged after. 
Charlie estimated it to be three miles to the nearest 
pond, but he must have measured the distanje with long 
paces, for it seemed to me full ten miles. At all events 
it took us almost the entire long summer d^y to traverse 
it.* It is true, we had to go it twice over, for we could 
not carry all our traps in one journey. Leaving the 
first load in the woods, when well tired o it, we would 
go back for the rest. It was the hardest d ly 's tramp I 
ever experienced. Many a time my eyes would search 
earnestly for the carpet-bags which we had left standing 

* I liave found since, in French's great map of the State of New- 
York, by far the best that has ever been pubUshed, that the dis- 
tance by his scale is fall six miles, and I am inclined to think that 

his measurement is much nearer right than Charhe's guess-work, 



at the roots of the trees, lonof before we reached them. 

Once C , in coming back with his second load, 

trudged ahead, thinking he could not miss the trail that 
he had twice just traversed ; but he did — and wandered 
on for a long^ time without knowino^ that he was lost. 
Neitlier did we miss him till we had all assembled at the 
new starting-place; and then finding he was gone, we 
felt a good deal alarmed, for on comparing notes, we dis- 
covered that it had been some time since the last one 
saw him. We immediately began to halloo, and made 
the old forest ring with our shouts, but no answering 
voice came back. We knew that if he once got entirely 
out of hearing, the chances were a hundred to one we 
should never see him again. He would keep wandering 
on till, exhausted and faint, he would lie down to die ; 
and no human eye would probably ever rest on his 
bones. We thought he could not yet be beyond the 
hearing of a rifle-shot, the sound of which can be heard 
at a great distance on a still day in the woods (which this 
fortunately was), and so we successively discharged our 
pieces. In the intervals we shouted, and then stopped 
to listen. At length we heard, faint and far, his answer- 
ing halloo. At the welcome sound we sent up a wild 
hurrah, and soon with delight caught a glimpse of his 


form tbroogli the trees, toiling slowly along witli his 
burden. The rest of the day he kept close to the heels 
of one or the -other of the party. His experience had 
thoroughly sobered him, and he seemed but little inclin- 
ed to talk. 

Indeed, we none of us felt much inclined to talk the 
latter part of the day, except as we at short intervals 
questioned Charlie as to the distance yet to be traversed. 
Our dinner, beside a mossy rill, somewhat refreshed us ; 
but, for one, I did not wonder that Charlie grumbled at 
taking this tramp. IS'ow we would flounder through a 
springy morass, wnth our loads bearing us down, and 
now crawl and climb under and over a windfall that 
v/ould form a respectable abattis to a fort, and again 
swing ourselves wearily along the sides of the moun- 

But every journey must have its end, and we at 
length came to a boggy meadow, w^hich, we were sure, 
was the head of some lake. In this we were not dis- 
appointed, and soon gladly launched our boats on a little 
pond. On one side of it a fine deer was feeding, and it 

was proposed that C , who had not yet had a shot 

at one, should try his double-barrelled fowling-piece, 
loaded with buckshc^t, on him. So we lay on our oars. 


"while Charlie cautiously and noiselessly paddled him up 
to it. A deer depends almost entirely upon his hearing, 
or, at least, seems to have no idea of distance when 
looking over water, and hence will allow a hunter to 
approach close to him if the latter will make no noise. 
But at the least sound, the slightest dip of the paddle, 
he is off like an arrow. 

As Charlie slowly approached this one, he occasion- 
ally raised his head, as if suspicious of the object that 
kept advancing towards his feeding-ground, but did not 
move away. It was necessary to get very near to him, 
for a shot-gun, you know, will not carry like a rifle. At 

length I saw C raise his piece. The next moment 

a puff of smoke shot out over the lake, followed by a 
loud report. I expected, of course, to see the deer flill 
or vanish like a flash into the woods. But he only look- 
ed up astonished. Some of the buck-shot had evidently 
struck his flank, inflicting a smarting wound; for he 
turned and began to lick his sides as if something had 
stung him. The second barrel seemed to alarm him, 
and he walked off into the woods. Charlie thought 

that C , who was not accustomed to guns, had put 

in too small a charge of powder, so that the shot only 
barely punctured the skin, and did not enter the animal 


at all. With a laugh at C 's luck and the deer's 

coolness, we pushed across the little lake and landed. 
Charlie said a ridge, a quarter of a mile wide, sepa- 
rated this from another pond, and so we shouldered 
our boats and crossed over. As we were paddling 
across this, we saw a doe and fawn feeding, at which 
we sent one random rifle-shot, and then pulled to the 
farther shore. Another ridge separated this from Fork- 
ed Lake, over which we must carry our boats. The 
sun had now gone down, and twilight was beginning to 
settle on the forest, making the prospect of reaching the 
solitary hut on Forked Lake that night rather dubious. 
We had got tired of lugging our big tent over the 
carrying-places, and so had left it at Big T upper's, on 
our return from Mud Lake, to be transported by 
a settler back to Martin's. We were, therefore, the 
more anxious to reach this hut; for, to build a camp, 
tired as we were, at that late hour, would be no slight 
job. As at every carrying-place we had to make two 
trips in order to get all our traps over, Charlie proposed 
that we should leave one boat here — turned over part 
of our baggage — so that we could cross the intervening 
ridge at a single trip, and, getting into the two boats, 
push on for the hunters' cabin. He said two of the 


guides could come back next da}^ for it. We agreed to 
tliis, and pushed across to Forked Lake. It was dark 
when we launched on its bosom; and the mountains 
being very high around it at this end, and there being 
no moon, we soon were inclosed in utter blackness, save 
where the narrow sky, scolloped up by the inky heights 
above us, revealed a winding^ belt of twinkling: stars. 
The lake is well named " Crooked or Forked^''' for we 
wound in and out amid the mountains as though we were 
following the channel of a stream. The shadows of the 
overhanging masses made the water black as ink, and I 
began to be suspicious that Charlie did not know where 
he was going, and I finally asked him if he wasn't lost. 
" No," he replied, '' I think not. Just ahead must be a 
narrow pass through a long row of rocks — once beyond 
that, and I shall be all right." Sure enough, we soon 
reached a black, jagged line across the water. Shooting 
through this, we came to the open lake, and sweeping 
rapidly past overhanging islands, soon came in sight 
of the hunters' cabin — so Charlie said — though I 
could not see it. "Let's fire a salute," he exclaimed, 
and tlie next minute our rifles cracked together through 
the still air. In a few moments a loud halloo came out 
of the darkness, which we answered with a will. 

A hunter's cabin. 899 

The inmates l^ad gone to bed, but tbey now turned 
out to receive us. The good wife, a nice, charming 
looking young person, flew about with the utmost 
cheerfahiess, and soon had a smoking supper of fried 
venison on the table for us. 

Completely fagged out, we were glad to " turn in," 
oblivious of the doctor's advice — never to go to bed on 
a hearty supper. 

Yours truly. 



Eaquette Lake, July. 

Dear H : 

Notwithstanding the tremendous tramp of yester- 
day, the late heavy supper I ate prevented me from 
having one of those deliciously profound slumbers 
which are the luxuries of a life in the backwoods. The 
early light found me in a dozing, dreamy state, from 
which I was half aroused by what seemed the delicious 
notes of a French horn. The mellow strains melted 
away into my dreams, and I fancied that I was back 
again in the vale of Chamouni, and heard the Alpine 
horn echoing among the green pasturages of the mouu- 


tain cliffs. The strains grew more distinct and clear, 
until I was finally wide awake. I opened my eyes on 
the rough boards and logs that inclosed me, and knew 
at once that I was in the heart of tlie Adirondack wil- 
derness, on Forked Lake, upon which was but a single 
hut, and that, the one I occupied; and yet it could be 
BO delusion — the delicious prolonged notes of a French 
horn were filling all the air, and coming back in surpass- 
ingly sweet echoes from the breast of the bold moun- 
tain across the lake. You cannot imaorine what stransfe, 
mj^sterious feelings they awoke within me. It was a 
plaintive air, that swept in sweet, softened gushes over 
the water, and I lay and wondered if really invisible 
fmgers were playing it. In a few minutes it changed to 
a wild and martial measure, that sent the echoes career- 
ing along the mountain side, and ringing away through 
the far wilderness with startling clearness, and made the 
blood leap as though a cavalry bugle was pealing the 
charge. Hastily throwing on my hunting dress, I went 
out, and there sat my host of the evening before, bare- 
foot, with nothing but his shirt and pantaloons on, lean- 
ing back against the log hut and pouring forth those 
ravishing strains from a veritable French horn. lie 
was a tall, slender man, with splendid large dark eyes, 


ricli chestnut hair, foiling in long, natural curls over his 
shoulders, an aquiline nose, and the air and bearing of 
one who had seen much of the world. As he sat thus, 
pouring forth strain after strain of delicious music, T 
gazed on him in wonder, and could not but think that 
his memory was busy with other scenes than the quiet 
one before him. It was certainly a new and curious 
sight to me in the woods. 

I afterwards made inquiries about him, but could 
ascertain nothing very definite. I learned, however, 
that he was once a student in Williams College, had 
been to California, had hunted wild cattle in Mexico, 
and finally returned home to New England only to 
seek a home in this wilderness of Xew York State. I 
was told, also, that he had a wife living in Boston who 
makes an annual visit to him, meeting him in one of the 
settlements on the outskirts of the forest. The great 
tragedies of human existence are not acted outwardly 
on the public stage, nor are its strangest romances to be 
found in the imagination of the novelist, but are every 
day going on in the personal histories of men — pa^ssing 
unseen under our very eyes, and go to make up what 
we call the stream of common life. 

After breakfast, Charlie and Chet started off for the 


boat and traps we bad left behind, and we lay around 
sunning ourselves in the little clearing until afternoon, 
when our strange acquaintance proposed to put his 
bounds out on the mountain, that we might at least bear 
the music of the chase. Having nothing else to do, we 
consented; and so, rowing to the upper end of the lake, 
our friend stationed John and me near the point of an 
island to watch for the deer, while he pushed on to the 
main shore with the do2;s. We watched the boat strike 
the beach, and saw the three disappear in the woods. 
Soon the cry of the hounds assured us that they had 
struck tlie track of a deer. The cry of one of the dogs 
had a peculiarly sharp, quick snap to it, showing bis 
tainted blood, and which had an almost ludicrous sound 
as it broke in between the prolonged, deep bayings of 
the other, that made the mountain side seem like a great 
sounding-board. We sat and traced the line ©f progress 
by the cries ringing up through the tree-tops, until 
at length they reached the mountain-summit, dipped 
over the other side, and were gone. Unbroken silence 
now brooded over the summer lake, and after listening 
a while in vain to hear the quarry coming back, I re- 
marked to John that I reckoned the deer had gone to 
some other lake or pond, and wo should hear no more 


of him. To this he assented ; and feeling no longer 
any iuduceraent to keep on the watch, I slid down to 
the bottom of the boat, and, leaning my head on the 
bow, and laying my rifle across my lap, prepared for a 
doze. I told John I thought I should take a nap, and, 
if a deer should make for the lake, to waken me. He 
promised to do so, and in a few minutes I was sound 
asleep. But alas ! John was quite as much fagged out 
by the previous day's tramp as I was, and, leaning over 
the gunwale, was soon as oblivious of hounds and deer 
as myself. How long we two slumbered I do not know, 
but John was the first to awake, and roused me with 
the quick cry : '• There goes the deer P^ The next moment 
the boat seemed to jump from beneath me, as his oars 
fell into the water. " Where ?" I exclaimed. He sim- 
ply gave his head a jerk in the direction, as he bent to 
his oars. Looking across the water, I could just see 
the head of a buck in the distance, making for a thickly 
wooded island far down the lake. I saw at once that 
the odds were rather against us m the race ; still, swift 
rowing might head him off, and laying down my rifle, I 
seized the paddle and bent to the work. The light boat 
flew like a bird over the water, and with every stroke 
the head of the deer showed plainer, and our distance 


to the island grew less. The deer at last saw us, and 
sprang forward for life. Before he had seemed to be 
swimming leisurely, as if he knew the hounds were dis 
posed of; but here was a new enemy he had not looked 
for. We were approaching the island at different 
angles, and for a time it was impossible to tell whether 
he had a hopeless advantage over us or not, and we 
worked like beavers. As we rapidly n eared the com- 
mon point, however, it was plain that our struggle had 
been useless. He reached the shore a lono^ wav ahead, 
and I saw him crawl out of the water and steal softly 
into the thick cedars that lined the shore. In mere 
chagrin, 1 sent a bullet into the bushes where he disap- 
peared, while John rested on his oars, with the remark, 
'' 'Twas no use firing." " I know it," I replied ; " but he 
gave us a hard row, and I thought I would give him a 
big scare." Soon one of the hounds appeared on the 
shore, and seeing us out in the lake, gave one iong^ deep 
bay, and plunged in. As he swam to the side of the boat, 
we took him in and turned homeward. Shortly after 
the boats of our guides were seen like specks in the dis- 
tance, and being joined on their way down by the hun- 
ter, followed after. The other dog^ coming^ to the lake, 

7 7 

seemed to know by instinct that the deer had crossed 


over to the nearest island, and swimming over himself^ 
beat up and down the shore till he struck the track, 
which he swiftly followed over to the other side. 
Where it entered the water he again struck out, and 
reaching the main land, coursed up and down till he 
again took the trail, and soon his sharp, quick cry rang 
up the heart of the mountain. Ilis owner, however, 
said, when he came up, that it would be of no use to 
wait, for the deer would not come back, but go to some 
other sheet of water. '' But," said I, " what wnll become 
of your dog?" "Oh," he replied, "he will be back 
to-night or to-morrow." As we were rowing home I 
asked him how many deer he and his friend had killed 
during the year. " Well, about two hundred ; the 
wolves were so thick that they drove them away." 

I had heard much of Blue Mountain Lake, and 
determined to visit it. Kot having our tent with us, 
and not wishing to be lumbered with our camp baggage, 
we determined to go and return the same day. But 
this would be impossible unless we went to the last 
clearing in our route, the night before, and took an early 
start from it. So, carrying our boats across to Kaquette 
Lake late in the afternoon, we started for " Beach's 
Clearing." (It will be remembered that in a former 


expedition I spoke of Beach and AYoods, the then sole 
occupants of this lake, with its scalloped shore sixty 
miles in length.) We did not expect to get there till 
bed-time, but there being ev^ery appearance of a star- 
lit night, this was a matter of small consequence. But 
" the plans of mice and men oft gang aglee." Ours 
certainly did in this instance, for before we had half 
crossed the lake, whose golden surface was just dimpled 
by the summer breeze, I saw in the west a thunder- 
cloud slowly pushing itself over the forest-clad moun- 
tain. I pointed it out to the guides, and just then the 
far-off sound of thunder passed through the shuddering 
air, and travelled slowly, sullenly across the heavens. 
The sun was just at its edge, and lighted up for a 
moment its dense, corrugated edges with a furnace-like 
glow, making, by contrast, the inky surface below seem 
blackness itself. The bright orb that had travelled all 
day long over the cloudless heavens, had a look of de- 
spair as it turned its face for the last time on the smiling 
earth ere it disappeared behind this angry, surging mass. 
The next instant night fell on the lake, and its troubled 
waters spread black as the cloud that shoved swiftly 
over it. We looked anxiously at each other, and then 
at the distant clearing that began to grow dim and in- 


distinct in the gathering darkness. The guides bent to 
their oars with a will, and we swept silently forward. 
At the west, shore and mountain were soon lost in the 
overhanging blackness, but at the east the sickly sky 
was still streaked with the dying light. I had just 
wrapped my overcoat about me, when there came a 
flash of lightning that for a moment blinded me, and 
before it had fairly passed, there fell a thunder-clap so 
sudden and awful that the boats seemed to stop and 
shiver before it. The storm was now upon us, and in a 
few minutes after, darkness fell on everything. We 
could not see each other's boats, except as the lightning 
revealed them, nor should we have known which way 
to steer except for the incessant flashes that would light 
up for an instant that far-off clearing on the breast of 
the mountain, with its solitaiy log-hut, and then leave 
it engulfed in the blackness. A moment, every stump 
and dead tree would stand out more distinct and clear 
than at noonday, and then we would be left alone with 
our voices in the all-surrounding darkness. The thun- 
der was frightful, and as it ever and anon broke from 
the heavens down upon the lake, I bent to it as to a 
bh^w. The rain fell in one great cataract, and the wind, 
howling along the bosom of the lake, sent the waves 


dashino; over the ofunwales. A wilder niolit I never 
saw, and our position off there in the centre of the 
angrj lake made it still more fearful. I, however, kept- 
my eye steadily turned in the direction of the clearing, 
and felt relieved as each flash showed us steadily ad- 
vancino^ towards it. But after a Ion oer interval between 
the flashes than usual, I saw by the sudden o-leam, that 
instead of being right ahead as before, it was over my 
right shoulder. I immediately hallooed to Charlie, and 
asked where he was going. "To the nearest shore,-' he 
replied. " What for?'' I asked. " The waves are get- 
ting too high," he shouted back, " and we must get 
ashore and turn our boats over, and get under them till 
morning." " No, we don't,'' I exclaimed, for such a 
prospect was worse to me than the horrible uproar and 
crash around us on the lake. " Steer by the flashes 
straight for that clearing; I'll risk the waves." He 
protested loudly, and I could see by tlie souud of his 
voice that he was thoroughly cowed. I, however, made 
him go on, and we rowed forward, drenched to our 
skins. The fury of the storm soon broke, as I knew it 
would, and by the time we reached the shore the rain 
was nearly over. Shouldering our carpet-bags, we 

stumbled on up to the log-hut, and entered without 



knocking. The man and his wife, and two or tbree 
great black-ejed daughters, looked at us without saying 
a word, while two rough-looking men sitting before tlie 
fire scarcely turned to notice us. Not a word of greet- 
ing — not a word of inquiry respecting who we were or 
where we came from, or a remark about tlie storm. 
This strange reception made me at first feel a little 
nervous, but I soon saw that the guides took it all as a 
matter of course. There was nothing said about our 
staying — that was taken for granted; nothing about 
supper — that we wanted it was taken for granted, too ; 
and soon the good woman had the rude table spread with 
the best her house afforded. Woman — the glory and the 
light of every house— -is the same in the cabin of the 
hunter as everywhere else. Her presence is a guarantee 
of safety and kind treatment, and when she begins to 
lay the table a sort of home feeling creeps over you 
wherever you. may be. 

Yours truly. 



Long Lake, July. 
Dear II : 

You see I date from mj old tramping-ground. Fol- 
lowing a blind trail on horseback, I first reached this 
lake in the summer of 1S48. Thousrh so Iodg^ a time 
has elapsed, the only changes visible are — a few more 
patches of cleared land, and two or three more dwellings 
alonor the shore. There is no inducement for the settler 
to clear up more land than will furnish him with grass 
and vegetables for his two or three cattle and his family. 
Though land bears a mere nominal price, he can raise 


nothing for market, for the transportation out costs 
more than the article is worth. Hence he can neither 
sell for money without loss, nor do anything in the way 
of barter, except he carries out venison or deer skins. 
The hunter, therefore, is the only man able to buy or 
sell. Consequently, until a railroad shall be driven 
through this wilderness, it will never be cleared up, 
except here and there a hunter makes an opening for his 
rude hut. The very slight increase in the way of popu- 
lation that I detect, is owing almost entirely to the in- 
crease of tourists, who necessarily leave considerable 
money in the woods, and give occupation also to quite a 
corps of guides. For the part I have taken in effecting 
this change, I think the backwoodsmen and the owners 
of this wild land should vote me at least a pair of 
un tiers. 

But I forget that I was to tell you about Blue Mountain 
Lake. The morning after that stormy night-sail I rose 
early and went out among the stumps of Beach's little 
clearing to get a view of Kaquette Lake. It did not 
look as if it ever could be in such an angry mood as it 
was the night before. The ripples danced and laughed in 
the early sunlight, and went frolicking around the green 
islandsj and in and out along the scalloped shores, as 


though delighted with their late tussle with the thunder- 
storm, and victory over it. The long-wooded points 
and numerous islands so broke up the surface, that I 
could not see the outline of the lake, nor its farther end. 
The great green mountains, however, that enfolded it, 
showed its extent ; and what a magnificent basin it made 
here in the wilderness! Strolling back to the cabin^ I 
noticed a log pen, and through the crevices something 
moving briskly about. Stepping up, I saw a wolf with- 
in, which Beach had caught when young, and now kept 
IS a grim sort of pet. 

Getting our breakfast, and firing off all our rifles that 
had received a thorough wetting the night before, and 
reloading them, we pushed out into the lake and steer- 
ed for the mouth of the narrow stream that we were to 
follow to its source — the Blue Mountain Lake. Enter- 
ing this, we wound along through the mighty forest, 
the tall trees opening and stretching before us like an 
endless colonnade. Hour after hour we pulled steadily 
up the sluggish current, with nothing to break the im- 
pressive silence, and naught to disturb the solitude, 
save once, when we almost ran our boats into a deer 
sleeping in the thick bushes that lined the shore. 

..\t one place, where the stream swept round a rocky 


ridge in a long bencl, we were compelled to take our 
boats out and ^ cross over to the head of the rapids. 
Thus, for seven long hours we wound up this little stream, 
which, as you looked forward or backward, appeared 
like a mere crooked gash in the forest ; and at length 
came to a lakelet or pond. The storm of the night 
before had broug^ht a chang^e of weather, and here we 
met a cold north-west wind that chilled us throuo;h 
and through, and swept the surface with such fury 
tbat it was hard pulling against it. Passing through 
this Y/e a2:ain entered the stream, and soon came to 
another pond on which was a single clearing. Here 
we went ashore and cooked our dinner of trout that 
w^e had caught on the way. The solitary settler had 
heard of the projected railroad through this region, 
which was to connect Sackett's Harbor with Lake 
Cliamplain, for the surveyors had been at his cabin. 
He was making a fortune in prospect, but I am afraid, 
like many other men, he was building castles in the 
air. He did not know how much I was responsible 
for his extravagant expectations, for a few years be- 
fore I had taken a prominent part in forcing a bill 
through the Legislature, granting an immense tract of 
land to a company, by mortgaging which to foreign 


capitalists, tliej expected to raise sufficient money to 
build tlie road. I advocated the grant in good faith, 
believing their declarations that in this way the road 
could be built, and thus this vast region, with its iron 
mines and timber and lands, be laid open to market. 
But somebody was certainly very much deceived, and 
I am afraid it will be a long^ time before the moose 
or the wild deer of this wilderness will be startled by 
the sound of the locomotive-whistle. 
• The stream at the head of this pond was so shallow 
that in some places we could hardly float our boats, but 
by dint of pushing and pulling, we got on, and finally 
emerged into Blue Mountain Lake. The view that 
opened on us was wild and beautiful. The waters of 
this elevated lake are as clear and limpid as those of 
Lake George, allowing the e3'e to penetrate to an asto- 
nishing depth. Before us, the lake stretched like a broad 
river, straight up to Blue Mountain at its head, from 
which it derives its name, and whose round top rises so 
high in the heavens that it always is draped in a 
blue vapor, or rather bathed in a perfectly transparent 
blue atmosphere. Its forest-covered side comes in an 
unbroken slope to the water's edge, and it seems to be 
reverently kneeling in the beautiful lake. At the right, 


the mountains make a straight shore, but to the left it 
seems all scalloped up. As you advance, however, you 
find that this irregular line is formed by the points of 
numberless islands, which open in endless bewildering 
vistas. Before you are aware, you are in a perfect 
labyrinth — there is no lake, no mainland — nothing but 
"winding water-ways, laving shores of pure white sand. 
Indeed, the whole bottom of the lake is of white sand, 
which flashes up from the clear depths like a floor of 

Lying on this elevated plateau, it is unlike any other 
sheet of water in this whole region, not only in its trans- 
parent clearness and its bottom and island shores of 
"white sand, but in the peculiar manner in which it is 
divided. One half is without an island of any kind, 
presenting a smooth expanse of water, while the other 
half cannot be seen from the islands that crowd it. 
They seem to have been shaken down upon the water 
like particles from a sieve. This appears the more 
strange from the high mountains that surround it, and 
that ought to give deep water and bold shores. I longed to 
ascend Blue Mountain, for I knew that a wondrous pros- 
pect must be visible from its top, but the drenching of 
the night before, the toils of the morning, and the cold 


November-like wind that howled down tlie gorges, made 
a heavy tramp up the high precipitous sides and a 
chilly bivoiiac at night on the shores seem too formi- 
dable, and we concluded to turn back. It was very 
solitary ; not a wing disturbed the surface of the lake — 
not a deer could be seen on its shores. The settler back 
told us we should see no deer, for the wolves had been 
around in great quantities, making night hideous with 
their howling, and driving the deer to safer, pleasanter 

It w^as swifter rowing dowm stream on our return, 
and we reached our old quarters on Forked Lake by 
dusk. The husband had returned the night before, and 
welcomed us with true backwoods politeness. ■ 

In the morning he accompanied us part way down 

the lake, and j)ut his hounds out on the mountain to 

give us the pleasure of a deer-chase. But after w^aiting 

some time without hearing the cry of the dogs, we 

passed on towards the foot of the lake — only stopping 

long enough to take what trout we needed for dinner. 

The carrying-place, of- a mile long, which on my first 

visit to the woods seemed so formidable, appeared now 

like a travelled highway, compared to the frightful ones 

I had just traversed. Long Lake looked like an old 



friend, and I at once thought of mj old faithful Indian 
guide, Mitchell. The last time I liad heard from Mm, 
he had travelled fifty miles to send the skin of a north- 
ern diver to me in New Y'ork. 

In passing down the lake, w^e came opposite a board- 
ed house, and Charlie said we would stop and get some 
saleratus, as he was out. As our boat approached the 
»hore, I saw a gentleman in fancy hunter's costume 
standing on the beach, who eyed me very narrowly. I 
returned his gaze, trying to recall features which cer- 
\ainly were familiar. At length we both spoke toge- 
ther — it was my cousin. Prof B — ■ , of Col- 
lege, who, with his wife and two other friends and their 
wives, was on his way to Raquette Lake to spend a 
month. A boarding-house has been put up there to 
accommodate those who do not have the fear of mos- 
quitoes before their eyes, and who like a wild life and a 
table loaded with venison and trout. One of the gen- 
tlemen, from New York, had been taken sick on their 
way in from the settlements, and was very much 
alarmed to find himself fifty miles from a physician. I 
sent word for his consolation that nobody kept sick in 
the woods. 

As we passed down the lake, I saw on an open wood 


ed point ahead, scarlet dresses and a mixed group that 
looked like a pic-nic party. As we came opposite, they 
stepped into their boats and swept out into the lake. 
They had seen a shower rising over the forest, and were 
havstening to their camp. As they joined us, we dis- 
covered that they were our two acquaintances that we 

had left at Martin's, with Judge — of Yermont and 

his family, who had come out to spend a few weeks in 
the woods. They invited us down to their camp to 
spend the night. We gladly accepted the invitation, 
and moved off together, six boats abreast, down the 
lake. Soon the rain began to come down in torrents^ 
but the ladies were safely encased in oiled-silk capes and 
India rubber blankets, and laughed at the storm. I 
intended to stop and see my friend Mitchell, but the 
rain prevented me, and we passed on to the foot of the 
lake, which was fourteen miles from the head where we 
had entered it. 

The camp was pitched in a beautiful grove in a 
sheltered nook, and consisted of three tents — one for 
the guides, one for the gentlemen, and one for the 
ladies — the two latter strewed with hemlock boughs and 
spread with buffalo robes. A table made of poles, • 
resting on crotched sticks and covered with bark, stood 


in front, on whicli the guides soon bad a smoking sup- 
per, composed of venison and trout. 

Their hospitality gave the men rather an uncomfort* 
able night, for three more added to their number packed 
the tent rather close, but the Judge took it " cool as a 
judge," and we made out to get a little sleep. 

Yours truly. 

Lake Champlain. 

I WILL wind up the record of my tramp by saying 
that the next morning we started down the Raquette 
River, with the adieus of our friends wafted after us, 
and late in the afternoon came near Stony Creek, 
through which we had at first entered the stream. 
Stopping towards evening at a spot where the trout 
covered the bottom of the stream like a black carpet, 
we took all we could carry, and pushing on, reached 
Bartlett's at dark. The next day we rowed up to 
Martin's, and then came on to Port Kent. There is a 
plank-road near Martin's which leads to this place 
through the settlements, over which a wagon passes 
twice or three times a week to accommodate parties 
■ wishing to enter the woods. This is the easiest way of 
getting in ; and if one wishes to see something of the 


wilderness without encountering its bardships, I should 
advise him to take this route and stop a while on the 
Lower Saranac. He will be well paid for his trouble. 

Yours truly. 








Among the many strange novelties that have sprung 
lip in the Adirondack region, is a remote, solitary log 
cabin, which the guides have named the '* pliilosopher's 
camp." It is situated on a little mountain lake, en- 
tirely removed from the ordinary route of travellers, or 
even hunters. In his wanderings through this wild 
region Agassiz stumbled on this out-of-the-way place, 
and its complete isolation — being almost a day's jour- 
ney from any travelled route, and five miles from the 
nearest point that a boat can reach — struck him as a 

philosopher's camp. 423 

favorable spot to establish a forest retreat for himself 
and friends. The blind path to it, leading through 
swamps, across creeks, and over a steep mountain, 
cannot be followed without a guide. The lakelet on 
wdiich it stands is called Ampersand or Ambersand, 
and the wooded sides of the mountains that hem it 
In are filled with deer, while its clear depths swarm 
W'ith trout. A club was formed, wdth Agassiz at its 
head, wdio were to make this a summer resort where 
they could live independent as kings, or rather as 
woodsmen. The next thing was to get a title to the 
land. Agassiz discovered, either accidentally or on 
inquiry, that the wild township (for it had been set 
ofi' by surveyors) was owned by a man who had neg- 
lected to pay taxes on it, nntil by law it was liable 
to be sold at public auction by the State. "Whether 
the comptroller, in the routine discharge of his duties, 
advertised it for sale, or whether Agassiz on inquiry 
found it Avas liable to be sold, and asked that it 
should be put up to the highest bidder, or whether 
he was informed of the circumstances of the ^ case by 
friends, I could not ascertain. At all events, he 
bought it for a mere song — in fact, it was dear as a 
, ' present, if one had to pay the taxes. Having become 


the proprietor of the township, the next thing was 
to put np a building on the borders of the lake. 
But he wanted something more than a mere shanty. 
He wanted board floors, a good roof, and rooms par- 
titioned off, with slee^Ding bunks for members of the 
club. But how to get these materials on the spot — 
to which there was not even a lumber road, and 
with which there was no water communication — 
over a mountain standing at an angle of nearly forty- 
flve degrees, was a difhcult question. The matter, 
however, was put in Martin's hands, the well-known 
keeper of the forest hotel on the Lower Saranac ; and 
he, when the lakes and streams were frozen hard, by 
cutting his way through the woods, managed to get in, 
by small instalments, the requisite material, and next 
spring the building was put up. 

This is of logs, and consists of one large room, 
with two narrow rooms partitioned off and run- 
ning the whole length on each side. In these side 
rooms are two state-rooms, with two bunks in 
'I each, — one above the other, as you find them in 
steamboats,— making eight bunks in all. These are 
made of rough boards, nailed on to rough posts, into 
■which hemlock boughs can be piled for a mattress. 


A cookinD;-stove was also Ino^o^ed over the monn- 
tain, and at leiig'tli Agassiz found himself ready for 
house-keeping. With such men as Holmes and 
Lowell, and learned professors and amateur sports- 
men around him, the great naturalist seemed to 
have reached the beau ideal of life in the forest. 
But, alas! misfortunes will come even in the woods. 
The original owner of the township somehow got 
wind of the sudden notoriety that his forgotten, 
worthless wild land had acquired, and finding that 
the time for the redemption of it had not ex- 
pired, paid up his dues, and once more came into 
possession of it. Whether he designed to speculate 
out of the distinguished occupant, or thought tliere 
was a prospect now of his land becoming valuable, 
I do not know. Probably the latter, for I was 
informed that he oifered to give Agassiz the spot 
on which he had located his cabin, together with 
the lake and its immediate shores. But this the 
latter would not take. He did not Avish to be 
thus circumscribed. Besides, this would take from 
him the power of^ securing that entire isolation 
that he wished. Like Leather Stocking, he didn't 
want settlers near him, and the result was, that he 


abandoned the whole enterprise, and leaving his 
household gods behind him, consisting of a stove, 
an axe, and a boat, wrapped his mantle aronnd 
him, and giving a last look on his not exactly an- 
cestral halls, took his mournful departure, and has 
never again re-visited them. Untenanted, desolate, 
and alone, " the philosopher's camp " has ever since 
stood in the heart of the forest, a monument of 
disappointed hopes, and a warning to all specula- 
tors in wild lands. ISTow and then a hunter strays 
hither in the autumn, and installing himself in the 
neglected mansion, kindles a fire in the old stove, 
and w^ith his dog by his side lies down, thanking 
the world-renowned naturalist as much for this wel- 
come shelter, as the outside world does for his 
learned works. When he has a sufficient number 
of the carcasses of deer hung up in the woods, 
he takes them one by one on his back, and toil- 
ing over the mountain five long weary miles to his 
boat, hid in the bushes, transports them out to 
where they can be carried to market. 

Having visited almost every, spot known to the 
guides in this wild region but this, I determined to 
make a special pilgrimage to it. So one pleasant 


day, leaving packed away cooking utensils, flour, 
pork, &c., I aud my little boy ten years old, with 
our guides, took our departure from Martin's. I 
gave my boy a boat, guide, and hound, and took 
the same for myself. After some seven or eiirht 
miles of steady rowing up the Saranac Lake, we 
turned into the outlet, and, following this down I 
do not know how many miles, we came to the 
mouth of Cold Brook, a clear, cold trout stream 
winding between densely wooded banks. At length 
we came to a tree fallen directly across the stream, 
and scarcely a foot above its surface. Slowly work- 
ing the boats forward under this by sinking them 
almost to the gunwales, we crawled over 'it into the 
bows, and kept on till we reached the spot where we 
were to strike oif into the forest. Here we hid our 

The path we struck was so blind that the guides 
had some difficulty in following it for a while, but at 
length, as we left the marshy bottom near the 
stream, and began to enter the more open woods, it 
became plainer. Each had his load. Mine was a 
heavy Spencer rifle, and a carpet-bag loaded with 
various articles that we might need. My little boy 


carried a shot-gun, a lish-basket packed with ah 
sorts of traps, and a pail of butter, while the guides 
were weighed down with cooking utensils, sleeping 
blankets, and all things necessary to a camp life. 
Accustomed as I am to the woods, and to long and 
tedious tramps, yet this was one of the hardest I 
ever took. Once the guides lost their way, and it 
was some time before they could determine what 
direction to take ; but at length the right trail was 
hit, and we pushed on, — now floundering through 
the tops of fallen trees, and now crossing and I'e- 
crossing a little mountain rivulet that was alive 
with tiny trout, — until at last, when completely 
exhausted, we came to the foot of the mountain 
that separated us from the lake beyond. We all 
stopped and rested here, casting various discourag- 
ing glances up the steep ascent before us. But the 
camp was beyond, and, bending to- our loads, we 
slowly, silently toiled up it. teaching the top, we 
floundered down the other side, and at length, just 
as the last rays of sunlight had left the tree-tops, 
came npon the camp, so hidden among the trees that 
we did not see it till almost at the threshold. It 
was with a lonely, desolate feeling I entered the 


deserted building, jet with a sense of comfort to 
find myself with night coming on under a shelter. 

We had no boat, and of course were as helpless 
there as though on a desert island. 

Agassiz' boat had fallen into Martin's hands, but the 
latter had never brought it away. He, however, kept 
it hid, now one side of the lake and now on another, 
so that unless some one was acquainted with the marks 
and signs, known only to the hider, it was a hopeless 
search to look after it. But Martin's brother, my 
guide, had received such an accurate description of 
the place where it was concealed, that he had no doubt 
of being able to find it. So while Nye, the other 
guide, cut some wood and prepared supper, he took 
his rifle and struck into the woods for the other side 
of the lake. He was gone so long that we began to 
fear the boat could not be found. It finally became 
so dark tliat we struck a light, when Martin entered 
the room and said the boat was not there. Our hearts 
snnk within us. We could catch no trout, and if the 
doo-s should brino* a deer to water, we had no wav of 
securing him. In short, we were helpless, and must 
retrace our weary steps in the morning. "We discussed 
our situation in no very amiable mood. But at length 


Nje announced that snpper Avas ready — that is, the 
venison we had brought along with us was fried, and 
the " dog-chokers," as the hnge tliick cakes, some- 
what resembling pancakes, were called, w^ere on the 

After supper the matter was talked over again, when 
we concluded to turn in. A huge pile of dead hem- 
lock bouglis lay in one corner, reaching almost to the 
stove, left there by some hunters. My boy and I, 
while supper had been preparing, had picked fresh 
ones and strewed over this, and spreading our blankets 
on the top, lay down, and with our feet to the stove. 
Boon forgot our disappointment in slumber. I was 
awaked early in the morning by the loud screams 
of the great northern divers that were sailing within 
a hundred feet of our door. Sending a rifle-ball at 
one, that disappeared beneath the surface to rise no 
more, I roused up the sleepers, and we began again 
to talk over our disagreeable position. Finally l^ye 
said, ''Wait till I get breakfast, and then Martin and 
I will go together and see if we can't find the boat." 
So, after another turn at the " dog-chokers," they left 
us alone and disappeared in the forest. An hour 
passed by, and then I and mj boy strolled to the 

IN LUCK. 431 

water's edge, to see if any boat was in sight. [N'ot 
an object, not a sound disturbed the loneliness of the 
wild yet beautiful ' scene. "Ah," said I, "Joe, it is 
of no nse — there is nothing left for us but the long 
tramp back again." But suddenly I heard a sound in 
the woods, on the farther side of the cove, like that 
of an oar hitting the sideT)f a boat. It was very faint, 
and came out from the depths of the forest, so that I 
was uncertain, but I thought I could not mistake it. 
The sound made by an oar hitting a boat, or moving 
in the rowlocks, is so unlike that of any other heard 
in the forest, that one accustomed to life in the woods 
knows it at once. But some time passing without any 
repetition of it, I began to despair, when I caught it 
again, a little more distinctly — the same dull, hollow 
Bound. A few minutes later and there came the quick 
rattle of oars tumbling into a boat, and .the next mo- 
ment Martin and ISTye emerged from the dense woods, 
bearing the boat between them. The almost rapturous 
delight with which we saw it shoot out on the quiet 
bosom of the lake, seems from this distant view to 
border on the ludicrous. But, small a matter as it 
appears now, then it aw-akened a joy as intense as 
ever filled the bosom of a great discoverer. 


We found it leaked some ; but we had taken the 
precaution to bring along with us a little tin box of 
white lead, which soon stopped it. This reminds me, 
by the way, that one should alwa3^s carry with him in 
these woods a small box of tliis, and a handful of cop- 
per tacks, so that a leaky boat can be easily mended. 
Kunning some of the rapids on these streams, your 
boat, in spite of the utmost precaution, will sometimes 
swing against a rock and start a seam, or run upon a 
knot, or a fallen submerged tree, and a leak be started 
that will make you very uncomfortable. With a little 
white lead and a few tacks it can be stopped in fif- 
teen minutes, and these can be carried in a side pocket. 

A boat being secured, the next thing w^as to 
put out the dogs. Bounding on shore from the 
boat, they had scarcely disappeared in the woods 
before tlieir . cr^^ rung along the mountain sides. 
But the deer, instead of making at once for the 
lake, stretched off to other waters, and the loud bay 
grew less and less distinct, until it was lost alto- 
gether in tlie f'ciY forest. Perched on the high point 
of an island that commanded the lake in three di- 
rections, I w^aited for hours, till at length I saw the 
hounds skirtins: the beach. This w^as a si^n that 


tliej had lost the deer on the shore of some other 
lake, and had returned to their master. Taking 
them in, we put hack, disappointed, to camp, and 
dined on salt pork. 

In the afternoon we set some lines for trout. 

!Nio:ht came on with a cold, lashino- rain. The 
tall trees swayed and roared over head, and utter 
darkness settled on the camp. Amid the rustling 
rain on the leaves, and the surging blast, came at 
intervals the mournful cry of the great northern 
diver, and I sat and wondered how Agassiz and 
his aristocratic friends of " the hub " amused them- 
selves on such a night as this. Did they talk 
learnedly of philosophy and poetry, and fill this 
lonely cabin with strange thoughts and lofty senti- 
ments, or did they sit in their shirt-sleeves and 
smoke pipes, and talk fish and deer like any loafer ? 
Judging from my own experience, I thought more 
probably the latter. 

In the morning we got some trout for breakfast, 

and then put out the hounds again. Two deer were 

started in a few minutes, but they made off as before 

to some of the numerous lakes or ponds with which 

this vast region is dotted. It is a peculiarity of deer, 



tliat if started near the shore of one body of water 
they usnally make for one more distant. Why they 
do not at once take to the lake, and thns throw the 
dosrs off the scent at the outset, .instead of stretchinsr 
away in a long and wearisome chase, and then do it, 
I never could understand. It may be that they sus- 
pect danger to be near the spot where the hounds 
have found them. Certainly in our case they invari- 
ably pursued this course. Hence the very abundance 
of the deer made it almost impossible to capture even 
one to eat. You could hardly go ten rods in any direc- 
tion without seeing tracks. Not a soul had been to 
the lake during the year, and, undisturbed in their 
feeding-ground, the deer had become so plenty that 
the dogs would hardJy leap from the boat before 
their sharp fierce cry told tliat they had struck a 
fresh track, Hence, day after day the hounds were 
put out, and day after day I sat on my look-out 
and heard their bay recede in the forest till lost 
altogether, Sometimes the barking of a fox on tlie 
mountain side, or the mulfled croak of a distant 
raven, resembling the faint far off bay of a hound, 
would rouse me up and keep me keenly scanning the 
lake for a while, but I soon detected the cheat. It 


was vexatious to know that deer were all around us, 
yet not one could be taken. 

*' Water, water everywhere, 
, But not a drop to drink." 

Thus the week wore away, until a sort of gloom fell 
on the camp, and I wished to break up and go some- 
where else. But Saturday a heavy rain came on, and 
we could not stir out. 

The Sabbath day opened cold, and wet, and gloomy. 
The trees hung heavy and dripping — tlie bosom of 
the lake was striped and spotted with those lighter 
and darker streaks of shade one alwavs sees in a rain 
storm, and everything was dull, chill, and forbidding. 
During the forenoon it slackened a little, and tlit^ 
guides went off in the boat to see what they could find, 
and I was left alone in the " philosopher's camp," 
sadly in need of a good deal of philosophy to help 
me through the day. ISTot anticipating that I should 
spend the Sabbath here, I had brought no books 
along, not even a paper. My pocket 'Greek Testa- 
ment was my solitary resource the livelong day, and 
I spent hours striding backwards and forwards across 
the apartment, whose only furniture was a bench with 


some boards for a table, and wondering to m^^self how 
Agassiz and his friends spent such a rainy Sabbath as 
this. I never lieard of their having a private chaplain, 
and if they had I am afraid he would have found 
it necessary to belong to a most liberal school of 
theology to have suited the audience. I am inclined 
to believe that if one of the old patriarchs had hap- 
pened along about noon he wouldn't have named it 

The fore part of the week brought the same 
ill luck, and we had made our last hunt and 
were returning to camp discouraged, determined to 
pull up stakes and leave, when suddenly, while pull- 
ing along the shore of an island, the sharp deep 
cry of a strange hound broke over the crest of a 
distant ridge, and came steadily and swiftly in an 
oblique direction down towards the lake. Tliere 
could be no doubt he was bringing a deer straight 
to the water, and it was not difficult to determine 
very nearly tlie point where he would strike it, so 
tlie boat w^as drawn up close against the shore for 
the purpose of concealment. In a few minutes a 
threshing was heard in the bushes, and the next 
moment a buck, without looking to the right or 


left, bounded boldly into the water. l^je shot the 
boat out a little too soon, for the buck saw it and 
wheeled for the shore, reaching it before he could 
be cut off. As he rose from the water, Martin 
fired, wounding him. At that moment, the cry of 
the hound that was followino: up the track ran(>- 
sharply out ; and the poor animal, confronted by tliis 
new dano^er, wheeled and took to the water ao:ain. 
The boat flew after liim, and as it came near, my lit- 
tle boy, who, though usually marvellously calm and 
collected, had been completely flustered at the first 
appearance of the deer — a strange sight to him — now 
had time to collect himself, and remember the instruc- 
tions I had so often given him. I myself was stand- 
ing on the shore at the time, not a little anxious to 
- know how the brave little fellow w^ould bear himself. 
It is a peculiarity of his, never to ask advice when 
lie sees for himself how matters are moving around 
him ; so now he sat perfectly still, asking no ques- 
tions, but with his gun cocked and ready in his 
hands. As the boat approached the swimming 
deer, whose head alone was visible above the water, 
there came a sudden pufi" of smoke, and tlien the re- 
port, I knew of a fowling-piece, which never can be 


mistaken by a hunter for the sliarp crack of a rifle. 
The buck dropped his aiitlered liead and turned over ~ 
on his side — the little fellow had planted his entire 
load of buck-shot close to his ear, and, being so 
near when he tired, the charge had entered the 
head like a single ball, making an ugly hole. Of 
course every one was delighted to see the spell that 
had been upon us broken at last, and the boat 
was turned towards the camp. It was pitiful, how- 
ever, to see the poor hound. The deer had been 
pulled aboard in full sight of him, and he now 
Rtood whining to be taken on board also. He 
had had a long run, and now wanted his dinner of 
the oifals; but this would not do. According to 
the hunter's code, he must be scolded as though 
he had done wrons:, and driven back to his mas- 
ter ; and the poor fellow, a moment before so de- 
lighted with his success, now, with drooping head 
and tail, turned into the woods and took his long 
and weary way back, dinnerless, to his master's camp. 
The deer was hung up and dressed, and we sat 
down to the first pleasant dinner we had had. I 
finished first, and strolled down to the lake to take a 
last look at it — for we were to break up camp after 


dinner — ^'hen I saw crossing the cove wli^t I first 
took to be a loon. But the next moment I dis- 
covered that it was a deer's head. He was swim- 
ming over to a long point that put out half way 
across the lake. I rushed back to camp, and shout- 
ing " Hi hi ! a deer is swimming across the cove," 
startled the guides from tlieir seats as if I had cried 
"fire." Rushing to the sliore, they seized the boat, 
which had been pulled entirel}^ out of the water, 
and almost hurled it into the lake, and jumping in 
as it shot awav, sprang to their oars. The deer, 
startled at the sound of the launching boat and 
shouts, stopped swimming, and sank himself so deep 
in the water that nothing but the tips of his ears 
were visible. This they will sometimes do, hoping 
thus to escape discovery, and it is what the hunters 
call " skulking." But he soon saw this was useless, 
and struck out desperately towards the point, which 
was but a little way off. Although the boat, under 
the tremendous strokes of tlie rowers, went ten feet 
to his one, yet he had greatly the advantage in the 
distance to be traversed. The race was an excitino; 
one. They were moving at an angle to each other 
— the deer endeavoring to reach the point and the 


"boat striving to cut liim off. As they iieared land it 
was difficult from where I stood to determine at iii'st 
which would win, but it soon became evident that 
the deer had slio-htlv the advanta^^e. At last, when 
the boat was not more than twenty yards from the 
beach, I saw the deer strike bottom. Quickly lifting 
his o;raceful form from the water, he bounded hisrh 
above the surface, and, with the water streaming 
from his sides, strained up the bank. Martin, seeing 
it was his only chance, drew up his rifle and fired. 
But the swaying motion and headway of the boat 
to2:ether, made his aim uncertain, and he missed him. 
In an instant his hound, which had stood whining 
as he saw the deer, went over the boat simul- 
taneously with the flash, uttering a cry almost 
human in its eagerness. Struggling up the steep 
bank, he opened so fierce and sharp on tlie deer, 
that the poor wearied thing wheeled and again 
took to the water. The boat soon headed him off, 
when he was easily dispatched, and the poor disap- 
pointed hound scolded back like the other. 

This made two deer in one forenoon. We found 
afterwards that we were indebted for our good luck 
to a party of hunters who had encamped on the 


Saranac River, some ten miles distant. Their dogs, 
like om^s, had driven the deer to water, distant from 
the spot where thej started them. 

Having hnng np the carcasses, the saddle of one 
was wrapped in the hide, and a guide, putting it on 
his back, with the legs coming forward around his 
neck for a handle, started with it across the moun- 
tain, and we followed after. 

By dark we were at Martin's again, my little boy 

sporting the buck-tail, proud as a young Indian 









My first trip to the Adirondack region was made 
a quarter of a century ago. It was then a, terra in- 
cognita, and the idea of a ladj visiting it for pleasure 
never entered the head of any one. ]Row ladies go 
in crowds. Then there were no houses in the out- 
skirts in which they could have stopped ; now there 
are many, and some of them of very respectable dimen- 
sions. Then, if I had occasion to pass a night in the 
log cabin of a settler, if he made any charge at all, 
it was sixpence for lodging and sixpence a piece for 
the meals — now they ask their two dollars a day as 
coolly as any landlords Then there were no cabins 


located at the carrjing-placeSj where men earned a 
liv'ing by dragging over boats and luggage for travel- 
lers ; now the}^ are found all along the main routes. 
In primitive times the guide turned his boat upside 
down over his liead, and marched through the forest 
with it, the sj)ortsmen or explorer carrying oars, rifles, 
&c. But ladies need baggage, hence oxen or horses 
are now employed to transport it. Beyond these 
"modern improvements" there is little change. This 
vast region remains as uncultivated to-day as it was 
twenty-five years ago. J^ew lakes and ponds hav^e 
been discovered, opening new fields to the sportsman,, 
while game, by the steady rush of visitors, is driven 
away from the main line of traveL 

To me, the change was not in the wilderness, but 
in the multitude and class of people that thronged it. 
Long strings of boats, fluttering with gay colors, were 
met on the various lakes — the merry voices of maidens 
rano- over the waters, rivallincr the birds of the forest 
in sweetness of soncr. The eflfect of all this on the 
guides is amazing. The easy rollicking life these 
pleasure parties live, have made the guides lazy, so 
that they do not fancy the long hard tramps and steady 
stretches I used to give them. 


Two classes of ladies now visit the Adirondack, to 
one of which I would make some sno^o^estions based 
on experience ; as in my recent and last visit I had 
six ladies under mj charge, who were equally divided 
into these two classes. One class goes to the woods 
to rough it like any man. They like the tent-life — • 
the distant exploration and the hunter's fare, and 
sometimes use his rifle or the sportsman's rod. To 
such I have nothino- to sav. Willino: to take the evil 
and good together, the wild scenery and wilder life 
have a charm for them tliat makes them laugh at 
mosquitoes and the thousand little inconveniences to 
which they are subjected. 

But there is another large class who have no taste 
for these things — they want to see a little of the 
wilderness without being deprived of their usual com- 
forts. These stay on the outskirts, while the others, 
with the gentlemen, press into the interior with their 
tents. Of course. Bloomer costume is alone fit for 
those wdio literally take to the woods. IS'ow I found 
but very few of the great number that stayed in the 
outskirts who did not become disgusted, or at least 
discontented, and declared that they would never come 
again. On conversing, wdth them, and thinking over 


the whole matter, I found, I believe, a solution of the 

The most common route, especially for ladies, is 
by way of Port Kent and Keeseville. From the 
latter place, carriages are taken for the Lower Saranac, 
fifty miles distant. It is a long day's ride, but full of 
beauty and novelty to ladies from civilized life. Here 
Martin has a house, with some thirty or more rooms 
in it, from which there is a view up the lake that 
is charming. Heavily Avooded heights on either shore, 
green islands far away in the middle, make a picture 
that one never wearies of looking at. But I found that 
ladies did not like to stop here. It was not woods 
enough for them,. It was only two miles from a settle- 
ment, and a road led up to it, and vehicles of every 
kind were coming and going. Twelve miles farther 
on is Bartlett's, which can be reached only by boats. 
They therefore push on to this stopping-place, because 
the building is just as comfortable as Martin's, while it 
is literally out of the world. I spent nearly a month 
here with half of my party of ladies, and hence saw a 
great number that came as they did, to get a taste 
of the woods with as little of its discomforts as possible. 
These all for the first two or three days were delighted ; 


tlien came ennui, lassitude, and the wish they were 
home again. But the husbands and friends had gone 
farther on into the interior, and they w^ere compelled 
to kill time the best w^ay they could until their return. 
My party became so disgusted that I was compelled at 
last to break up, and, thinking I had found the root of 
the difficulty, took up my abode for a while at Martin's. 
As I expected, the ladies soon recovered their spirits 
and were contented, i^ow the trouble was threefold. 
First, Bartlett's is out of sight of any lake, a little 
stream that connects the Upper and Lower Saranac 
alone being visible. There is not one object to look 
at, except a side hill dotted with old stumps, or an old 
barn at the foot of it. This alone would give one the 
blues. At Martin's, on the other hand, there is a 
beautiful view, and the waters of the breezy lake come 
rippling up almost to the very door, giving you always 
a pleasant lookout. In the second place, one needs 
to be in the woods, tramping and camping out, to be 
content with only trout, venison, and potatoes. But as 
everything has to be brought by boat twelve miles 
to Bartlett's, fresh meat, except venison, and green 
vegetables, are out of the question. During the 
three or four weeks we were thei'e I do not think 

bartlett's, martin's. 447 

we had anv meat but venison more tlian twice or three 

"Within two miles of Martin's the country be2:ins to 
be settled, furnishinoj fresh vegetables, while teams 
come every day from Keeseville, wliere there is a mar- 
ket. Thus he has a variety of meat and vegetables. 

Again, at Bartlett's, and the same is true of those 
places still farther in the woods where one can stay, 
there are no roads, hence no carriages and drives, and 
indeed no walks, and the ladies are consequently shut 
up to the most monotonous life possible. There being 
no amusements of any kind, time must necessarily hang 
heavy on their hands. They have but one resource 
— rowing. At Martin's, on the other hand, a road ter- 
minates that runs back to various points of interest. 
For instance, it is but twelve miles by a comfortable 
road to the very heart of the highest peaks of the 
Adirondack range. Again, at Bartlett's and similar 
places, the occasional arrival of boats alone breaks up 
the dull routine of the dav : — at Martin's the stasres 
arrive every night, and sometimes during the day, 
bringing the mail and papers which always enliven 
one. At the same time the advantages for rowing are 
greater, and the points to visit more varied and inter- 

448 THE Adirondack:. 

esting tlian at Bartlett's. Ladies, therefore, who do not 
design to camp out, or rough it, and yet wish lo see 
somewhat of the wild life of this region, or who wait 
for friends to make an expedition into the interior, 
shonld,.if they come in by the Lower Saranac, make 
Martin's their stopping-phice if tliey would not get 
w^earv and wish themselves home as^ain. From Mar- 
tin's to Bartlett's is a pleasant excursion for one or two 
days. From his house the Upper Saranac can be 
explored in one day, or a trip made to the Racket 
Kiver, so that an accurate idea can be got of this wild 
region, and the mode of travel through it. I am con- 
vinced, if the ladies could divest themselves of the idea 
that they must get out of sight of roads and houses 
before they stop, they could make a trip to the Adiron- 
dacks a pleasant one, and yet have all the substantial 
comfort they do on the sea-shore. They can see as 
much of the woods as they like from Martin's, while 
those who are content with little, can find resources 
til at will prevent time from hanging heavily on their 

But there is still one more important thing, or rather 
I should say indispensable, to those who propose to stay 
one or two or three weeks at any of these stopping- 


places on the outskirts of the forest, or for that manner 
anywhere in this region. Mosqnito-nets are cnnibersonje 
things to carry, but withont some protection tlie niglits 
are intolerable. The fore part of the evening, if sitting 
out of doors, yon can find security behind a ^'' smudge^'' 
which vou sliould insist on beinty built every nio-lit, for 
laziness or indifference is a peculiarity of the people up 
here, as everywliere else. Half the time I was com- 
pelled to gather the chips myself and kindle them, so 
that we could sit with any comfort on the rnde piazza. 
But you cannot have smndges in yonr bed-rooms, and 
to share them with rav^enons mosqnitoes makes sleep' 
impossible and life intolerable. There is a very simple 
way of protecting yourselves from these, so that in this 
high, cool region, with its fresh air fragrant with the 
perfume of woods, yon can sleep without annoyance, 
and awake without languor. 

All that is necessary is to carry along a piece oi" mos- 
quito netting, Avhich takes up but little room. Any one 
can lash with a cord, four upright sticks to the four bed- 
posts in fifteen minutes ; and the netting thrown over 
these, enables one to sleep as securely as though it 
were suspended on a patent frame, and decorated with 
gaudy tassels and trimmings. I tried the experiment 


witli my party with complete snccess, and the ladies 
could get a siesta by day and sleep b}' night without 
annoyance. Young ladies are apt to scorn all these 
contrivances, and take to the tent in the solemn forest, 
and the camp-fire. But their mothers and elders who 
would like to be near them, and take things more 
soberly and stay in comfortable quarters, would do well 
to remember the suggestions contained in this letter. 
In the excitement of the sail all day through the 
solemn forest — the w^ild scenery shifting with every 
new body of water on which you launch your frail boat 
—the cry of wild fowl and lonely scream of the great 
northern diver — the sight of deer in their native wild- 
ness — the rough meal under the arching trees — the 
gleaming camp-fire on the shore of some solitary lake, 
and the strano^e feelins^s that come with the conscious- 
ness that you are out of civilization, away from human 
customs and beyond human laws, where the trusty 
firelock of vour iruides is 


" The only law of the desert land," 

make you forget even great inconveniences and annoy- 
ances. But one fixed down in a rude frontier hotel 
has none of these offsets or counterbalances, and hence 


needs, in order to receive any enjoyment, to be rid of 
all the discomforts possible. By following these rules 
such can obtain both health and pleasure by a trip 
to the woods of Northern New York. 

Added to all this, both Martin and his wife make 
yon feel as much at home as though you owned the 
premises, and enter with spirit into every plan you 
propose for amusement. 









In the various editions of this work, published as 
new expeditions into new territory were made, a 
description of all the scenery, of any interest to the 
tourist, has been given. . The different routes by 
which it can be reached are also given, together with 
the best mode of traversing it — the requisite prepara- 
tions, outfits, drawbacks — indeed, everything neces- 
sary to enable the tourist to make a journey through 
it both pleasant and healthfiil. There remained, 
therefore, only to be added a correct map and some 


statistics which an accurate survey alone could 
^^^PPb'- Tiiese are now furnished. The state having 
at last awakened to the importance of these things, 
appointed an accomplished engineer and surveyor, 
Yerplanck Colviii, to make a thorough exploration 
and topographical survey of the entire region, the 
results of Avhich we give. As it had never been 
accurately surveyed, much of it was unknown, 
and the elevations of the mountains and lakes 
altogether incomplete. This vast wilderness, em- 
bracing nearly 5,000 square miles, has now been 
triangulated. Mr. Colvin, by the use of novel 
signals of his own invention, which he anchored 
on the tops of the most isolated mountains, with 
great toil, and often great danger, has, within the 
last two or three years, accomplished this Her- 
culean task. Taking the coast survey of the gov- 
ernment on Lake Champlain for his base line, 
he triangulated his way from peak to peak, until 
the whole wilderness lay under a net-work of 
mathematical lines. Pushing his explorations and 
surveys in the winter time, Avhen the lakes and 
swamps are frozen solid, he was enabled to reach 
points never before visited; and has not only 


ascended and measured mountains never befor© 
named, but discovered more than two hundred 
new lakes and ponds. Haystack, never before 
measured, he found to be the second highest moun- 
tain in the wilderness. He has thus been able 
to construct tlie first accurate map of the region. 
He discovered two small bodies of water far up the 
sides of Mount Taliawus, one of which he named 
Moss Lake, 4,312 feet above tide water. In this 
cool, pellucid spring, small, white, beautiful bivalve 
shells were found. How they found their way nearly 
5,000 feet above the sea, to the sides of this granite 
mass, can only be conjectured. The other, a little 
more elevated, ])eing four thousand three hundred 
and twenty-six feet ahove the sea-level, he named 
" Tear of the Clouds," and believes it should be 
regarded as the true source of the Hudson. There 
are two wavs of determinino^ the head waters of 
a stream : either by ascertaining the longest branch 
or the highest elevation of any body of water on 
the water-shed. Tiiere are nearly a dozen streams 
and rivers that conibine to form the Hudson. Of 
these, Jesup's river is 85|- miles long; Opalescent 
river, 85^; and Cedar and Indian Pass streams, 


each about SO miles in length. The two former, it 
■^111 be seen, differ only a quarter of a mile in length, 
and hence it would be difficult to saj which should 
be called the head-waters of the Hudson. But if the 
highest body of water is to be taken, then " Tear of 
the Clouds " must be considered the true source of 
the Hudson, for it rests nearly a mile high in the 
heavens and in the yery heart of the wilderness. 

Below we give a table showing the elevations 

of the principal mountains, plateaus, lakes, and 

rivers of this remarkable region, measured and 

computed by, or under the superintendence of 

Yerplanch Colvin : 

Title, Height above tide. 

Adirondack Yillage (Main street) 1,836.40 feet. 

Ampersand Pond 2,078 . 80 " 

Aropersand Mountain 3,432 . 62 " 

Ansable Pond (npper) 2,064. 62 " 

Avalanche Lake 2,856 . 44 '' 

Baldface Mountain (No. 1) 3,903 . 60 " 

Bald Mountain 2,302.35 " 

Bald Peak (Moriah) 2,120 . 06 " 

Bartlett Mountain . 3,715 . 31 " 


Basin Mountain 4,905 . 54 " 


Title. Height above Tide. 

Beach's or Brandreth's Lake 1,913. 79' feet. 

Blue Mountain 3,824.95 " 

Blue Mountain Lake 1,821 .81 " 

Bog Lake 1,715 .48 " 

Camel's Hump Mountain 3,548 . 38 " 

Caraboo Pass ....3,662.54 " 

Cedar Lakes 2,529.80 " 

Colden (Lake Colden) 2,770 . 39 " 

Colvin Lake 1,990.76 " 

Crain's Mountain 3,289 . 17 " 

Fairy Ladder Falls 3,111 . 00 " 

Giant of the Yalley (Mountain) 4,530 . 35 " 

Gothic Mountain 4,744.15 " 

Graves' Mountain 2,345 . 29 " 

Grey Peak (by level, etc.) 4,902 . 64 " 

Gull Lake 2,018 . 88 " 

Haystack Mountain 5,006 . 73 " 

Haystack Mountain (Little) 4,854.71 " 

Henderson (Lake Llenderson) 1,874.66 '' 

Hopkins' Peak 3,136.91 " 

Hunters Pass, The 3,247 . 73 " 

Hurricane Mountain 3,763 . 32 '' 

Indian Lake (IIamilto]i County) 1,705.74 " 

Title. Height above Tide. 

Indian Pass (center) 2,937.90 feet, 

Indian Pass (top precipice) 3,870 . 85 " 

Keene Flats (Beede's) 1,240 . 60 " 

Long Pond (Oregon) 1,960 . 96 " 

Long Lake 1,620.48 " 

Long Tom Monntain 2,604 . 28 " 

Macomb's Mountain (bj level, etc.). . .4.371.. 25 " 

Minnie Pond 2,131 .18 " 

Mirror Lake (13) 1,985.45 " 

Mount Skylight * 4,977 . 76 " 

Moose Lake...., 2,239.21 " 

Moose Mountain (Ampersand Mtn) . . . 3,432 . 62 " 

Moss Lake 4,312.22 " 

Mount Clinton 4,937.79 " 

Mount Golden 4.753.14 " 

Mount Colvin 4,142.00 " 

Mount Dix 4,916 . 01 " 

Mount Haystack 5,006.73 " 

Mount Hoffman 3,727.78 " 

Mount Hurricane 3,763 . 32 '' 

Mount Maclntyre 5,201 . 80 " 

MOUNT MAKCY (Mt. Tahawus) . . . 5,402 . 65 " 

Mount Maxbam 2 510.54 " 


Title. Height above Tide. 

Mount Eedfield 4,688 . 20 feet. 

Mount Seymour 3,928 . 82 " 

Mount Seward 4,384.70 " 

Mud Lake (Bog Eiver) 1,745 . 33 " 

Nipple Top Mountain 4,684 . 25 " 

North Eiver Mountain 3,758 , 75 *• 

Ouluslvxi Pass (near Mount Seward. . .3,086.85 " 

Owl's-IIead Mountain 2,825 .41 " 

Panther Gorge (mean station in) 3,378.71 " 

Pkcid (Lake Phacid),*Essex county. . .1,990.98 " 

Pleasant (Lake Pleasant) 1,615 . 32 " 

Preston Ponds (upper) 2,206 . 35 " 

Eagged' Mountain (summit) 4,163 . 21 " 

Eaquette Lake (taken on the ice) 1,766.25 " 

Eound Lake (middle Saranac Lake) . . .1,576 .15 " 

Eonnd Mt. Notch. . .2,546.43 " 

Eustic Lodge (Whiteface Mountain). .4,116.60 " 

Saddle Mountain 4,536.40 " 

Salmon Lake (Eed Horse) 1,756 . 48 " 

Sandford (Lake Sandford) 1,721 . 86 " 

Santanoni 3Ionntain 4,644 . 14 " 

Saranac Lake (upper) 1,605 .99 " 

Saranac Lake (lower) 1,556 . 63 " 


Title. Height above Tide. 

Scott's Ponds, Ko. 2 3,168.39 feet 

Silver Lake Mountain 2,604.28 " 

Skylight Mountain (nearly 5,000) 4,977.76 " ^ 

Snowy Mountain 3,903. 60 « 

South Mclntyre Mountain 4,937 . 79 " 

Speculator Mountain 3,041 . 37 '' 

Spring Pond (Bog Kiver) 1,809 . 01 ** 

Suminit-Water Pond 4,326 . 69 " 

Tear of the Clouds (lake), mean 4,326.69 " 

Thirteenth Pond 1,953 . 47 " 

Tupper's Lake 1,554.29 " 

Tupper's Lake (little) 1 ,737 . 58 " 

Upland Valley (Boquet R. crossing) . . 2,425 . 45 " 

Wallf ace Mountain (top) 3,893 .18 " 

Wallf ace Precipice, greatest height . .(1,355 , 47) " 

"Whiteface Mountain 4,955 . 09 « 

The question next in importance was to ascer- 
tain the hydraulic power of this vast water-shed, 
for if the Champlain ship canal is ever built, it 
must draw its supply from the reservoirs to be 
gathered in this solitude. It was also important in 
reference to the supj^ly of pure water, in some 
future time, to all the cities on the Hudson, from 


Troy to N"ew York and the Metropolis itself. "With 
out going into details, Mr. Colvin makes the area 
of the Korth River water-shed to be 45 square miles, 
embracing nearly 413,000 acres, and the mean flow 
to be 852,480 gallons a minute, enough to make a 
sea of itself. 

Much has been said lately about turning this 
whole region into a state park. Without presenting 
the arguments so strongly urged, we would say that 
the obstacles in the way of such an enterprise are 
almost insurmountable, while the benefits sought for 
can be secured by a much easier mode. In the first 
place, this Adirondack park would embrace over 
4,000,000 of acres, of which the State does not now 
own 40,000. These 4,000,000 of acres, with all their 
timber, water privileges, mineral beds, railroad, etc., 
would have to be purchased. That a commission 
can ever satisfactorily adjust the value of all this is 
hardly possible. The attempt to do so would lead 
to endless litigation and legislation. It is claimed 
that the ownership of this region by the State is 
necessary to save the forests that protect and shelter 
the Avater springs that feed the rivers, and prevent 
their drying np. In the first place, the forest will 


never be cut down. The whole eastern water-shed 
has been himbered over three times, and yet the forest 
remains, to all appearance, the same. Every year a 
fire destroys more timber than tlie axe of the settler 
hns done for half a centnr3\ Besides, when timber 
is cut down, an nndergrowth immediately shoots np, 
which effectually shelters the springs. Only here 
and there a patch can be cultivated, while the hard 
wood timber will not pay for cutting down. To 
make it sure, however, it is needed only to buy up 
the Adirondack railroad, and let there be no more 
taxation of non-resident landowners for building 
highways, and the forest will remain, practically, 
what it is forever. To suppose such ownership 
would protect? the game is absurd. The game laws 
are stringent enough now, but w^ho can enforce them 
in the heart of this wilderness ? Deer are already 
driven, in a great measure, from the main routes of 
travel, while before the pickerel and other fish, with 
which the waters have been recently stocked, the trout 
will soon disappear, except in the mountain streams 
or isolated ponds. The magnificent scenery and 
forests will remain the same, without any protection 
from the State. 

t Vl^ 

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