Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Half Title
 The Allegash and east branch

Group Title: Writings of Henry David Thoreau
Title: The writings of Henry David Thoreau
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00050303/00002
 Material Information
Title: The writings of Henry David Thoreau
Physical Description: 20 v. : ; fronts. (ports., v.1, 6, 7) illus., plates, (1 fold.) fold. map.|20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862
Torrey, Bradford, 1843-1912 ( ed )
Sanborn, F. B ( Franklin Benjamin ), 1831-1917 ( ed )
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Place of Publication: Boston
Publication Date: [c1906]
Edition: [Walden ed.]
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00050303
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000593509
oclc - 01297983
notis - ADC2380

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
    List of Illustrations
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Half Title
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
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        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
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        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
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        Page 33
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        Page 88a
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        Page 134a
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    The Allegash and east branch
        Page 174
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        Page 194a
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        Page 328
        Page 329
            Page 329
        Flowers and shrubs
            Page 330
            Page 331
            Page 332
            Page 333
            Page 334
        List of plants
            Page 335
            Page 336
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            Page 346
        List of birds
            Page 347
            Page 348
            Page 349
        Outfit for an excursion
            Page 350
        A list of Indian words
            Page 351
            Page 352
            Page 353
            Page 354
            Page 355
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Full Text

Walben edition


Squaw Mountain, Moosehead Lake





belt 1ibersite Prees, Cambrlbge



All rights reserved



I. TREES 329





THE MAINE WOODS was the second volume collected
from his writings after Thoreau's death. Of the material
which composed it, the first two divisions were already
in print. Ktaadn and the Maine Woods" was the title
of a paper printed in 1848 in The Union Magazine,
and Chesuncook" was published in The Atlantic
Monthly in 1858. The book was edited by his friend
William Ellery Channing.
It was during his second summer at Walden that
Thoreau made his first visit to the Maine woods. It was
probably in response to a request from Horace Greeley
that he wrote out the narrative from his journal, for
Mr. Greeley had shown himself eager to help Thoreau
in putting his wares on the market. In a letter to Emer-
son, January 12, 1848, Thoreau writes: "I read a part
of the story of my excursion to Ktaadn to quite a'large
audience of men and boys, the other night, whom it
interested. It contains many facts and some poetry."
He offered the paper to Greeley at the end of March,
and on the 17th of April Greeley responded: "I inclose
you $25 for your article on Maine scenery, as promised.
I know it is worth more, though I have not yet found
time to read it; but I have tried once to sell it without
success. It is rather long for my columns, and too fine
for the million; but I consider it a cheap bargain, and
shall print it myself if I do not dispose of it to better
advantage. You will not, of course, consider yourself


under any sort of obligation to me, for my offer was in
the way of business, and I have got more than the worth
of my money." But this generous, high-minded friend
was thinking of Thoreau's business, not his own, for in
October of the same year he writes, "I break a silence
of some duration to inform you that I hope on Monday
to receive payment for your glorious account of Ktaadn
and the Maine Woods,' which I bought of you at a
Jew's bargain and sold to The Union Magazine. I am
to get $75 for it, and as I don't choose to exploiter you
at such a rate, I shall insist on inclosing you $25 more
in this letter, which will still leave me $25 to pay various
charges and labors I have incurred in selling your arti-
cles and getting paid for them, the latter by far the
most difficult portion of the business."
The third of Thoreau's excursions in the Maine woods
was made very largely for the purpose of studying In-
dian life and character in the person of his guide. He
had all his life been interested in the Indians, and Mr.
Sanborn tells us what is also evident from his journal
that it was his purpose to expand his studies into a
separate work on the subject, for which he had col-
lected a considerable amount of material from books
as well as from his own observations. After his return
from the Allegash and East Branch he wrote as fol-
lows to Mr. Blake under date of August 18, 1857: ."I
have now returned, and think I have had a quite profit-
able journey, chiefly from associating with an intelligent
Indian. Having returned, I flatter myself that the
world appears in some respects a little larger, and not
as usual smaller and shallower for having extended my



range. I have made a short excursion into the new
world which the Indian dwells in, or is. He begins
where we leave off. It is worth the while to detect new
faculties in man, he is so much the more divine; and
anything that fairly excites our admiration expands us.
The Indian who can find his way so wonderfully in the
woods possesses so much intelligence which the white
man does not, and it increases my own capacity as
well as faith to observe it. I rejoice to find that intel-
ligence flows in other channels than I knew. It redeems
for me portions of what seemed brutish before. It is a
great satisfaction to find that your oldest convictions
are permanent. With regard to essentials I have never
had occasion to change my mind. The aspect of the
world varies from year to year as the landscape is dif-
ferently clothed, but I find that the truth is still true, and
I never regret any emphasis which it may have inspired.
Ktaadn is there still, but much more surely my old
conviction is there, resting with more than mountain
breadth and weight on the world, the source still of fer-
tilizing streams, and affording glorious views from its
summit if I can get up to it again."




ON the 31st of August, 1846, I left Concord in Massa-
chusetts for Bangor and the backwoods of Maine, by
way of the railroad and steamboat, intending to accom-
pany a relative of mine, engaged in the lumber trade
in Bangor, as far as a dam on the West Branch of the
Penobscot, in which property he was interested. From
this place, which is about one hundred miles by the river
above Bangor, thirty miles from the Houlton military
road, and five miles beyond the last log hut, I proposed
to make excursions to Mount Ktaadn, the second highest
mountain in New England, about thirty miles distant,
and to some of the lakes of the Penobscot, either alone
or with such company as I might pick up there. It is
unusual to find a camp so far in the woods at that season,
when lumbering operations have ceased, and I was glad
to avail myself of the circumstance of a gang of men be-
ing employed there at that time in repairing the injuries
caused by the great freshet in the spring. The mountain
may be approached more easily and directly on horse-
back and on foot from the northeast side, by the Aroos-
took road, and the Wassataquoik River; but in that
case you see much less of the wilderness, none of the
glorious river and lake scenery, and have no experience
of the batteau and the boatman's life. I was fortu-
nate also in the season of the year, for in the summer
myriads of black flies, mosquitoes, and midges, or, as
the Indians call them, "no-see-ems," make traveling in


the woods almost impossible; but now their reign was
nearly over.
Ktaadn, whose name is an Indian word signifying
highest land, was first ascended by white men in 1804.
It was visited by Professor J. W. Bailey of West Point
in 1836; by Dr. Charles T. Jackson, the State Geolo-
gist, in 1837; and by two young men from Boston in
1845. All these have given accounts of their expeditions.
Since I was there, two or three other parties have made
the excursion, and told their stories. Besides these, very
few, even among backwoodsmen and hunters, have ever
climbed it, and it will be a long time before the tide of
fashionable travel sets that way. The mountainous re-
gion of the State of Maine stretches from near the White
Mountains, northeasterly one hundred and sixty miles,
to the head of the Aroostook River, and is about sixty
miles wide. The wild or unsettled portion is far more
extensive. So that some hours only of travel in this di-
rection will carry the curious to the verge of a primitive
forest, more interesting, perhaps, on all accounts, than
they would reach by going a thousand miles westward.
The next forenoon, Tuesday, September 1, I started
with my companion in a buggy from Bangor for "up
river," expecting to be overtaken the next day night at
Mattawamkeag Point, some sixty miles off, by two more
Bangoreans, who had decided to join us in a trip to the
mountain. We had each a knapsack or bag filled with
such clothing and articles as were indispensable, and
my companion carried his gun.
Within a dozen miles of Bangor we passed through
the villages of Stillwater and Oldtown, built at the falls


of the Penobscot, which furnish the principal power by
which the Maine woods are converted into lumber.
The mills are built directly over and across the river.
Here is a close jam, a hard rub, at all seasons; and then
the once green tree, long since white, I need not say as
the driven snow, but as a driven log, becomes lumber
merely. Here your inch, your two and your three inch
stuff begin to be, and Mr. Sawyer marks off those spaces
which decide the destiny of so many prostrate forests.
Through this steel riddle, more or less coarse, is the ar-
rowy Maine forest, from Ktaadn and Chesuncook, and
the head-waters of the St. John, relentlessly sifted, till
it comes out boards, clapboards, laths, and shingles such
as the wind can take, still, perchance, to be slit and slit
again, till men get a size that will suit. Think how stood
the white pine tree on the shore of Chesuncook, its
branches soughing with the four winds, and every in-
dividual needle trembling in the sunlight, think how
it stands with it now, sold, perchance, to the New
England Friction-Match Company! There were in
1837, as I read, two hundred and fifty sawmills on the
Penobscot and its tributaries above Bangor, the greater
part of them in this immediate neighborhood, and they
sawed two hundred millions of feet of boards annually.
To this is to be added the lumber of the Kennebec, An-
droscoggin, Saco, Passamaquoddy, and other streams.
No wonder that we hear so often of vessels which are
becalmed off our coast being surrounded a week at a
time by floating lumber from the Maine woods. The
mission of men there seems to be, like so many busy
demons, to drive the forest all out of the country, from




every solitary beaver swamp and mountain-side, as soon
as possible.
At Oldtown, we walked into a batteau-manufactory.
The making of batteaux is quite a business here for the
supply of the Penobscot River. We examined some on
the stocks. They are light and shapely vessels, calculated
for rapid and rocky streams, and to be carried over long
portages on men's shoulders, from twenty to thirty feet
long, and only four or four and a half wide, sharp at
both ends like a canoe, though broadest forward on the
bottom, and reaching seven or eight feet over the water,
in order that they may slip over rocks as gently as pos-
sible. They are made very slight, only two boards to a
side, commonly secured to a few light maple or other
hard-wood knees, but inward are of the clearest and
widest white pine stuff, of which there is a great waste
on account of their form, for the bottom is left perfectly
flat, not only from side to side, but from end to end.
Sometimes they become "hogging" even, after long
use, and the boatmen then turn them over and straighten
them by a weight at each end. They told us that one
wore out in two years, or often in a single trip, on the
rocks, and sold for from fourteen to sixteen dollars.
There was something refreshing and wildly musical to
my ears in the very name.of the white man's canoe, re-
minding me of Charlevoix and Canadian Voyageurs.
The batteau is a sort of mongrel between the canoe and
the boat, a fur-trader's boat.
The ferry here took us past the Indian island. As we
left the shore, I observed a short, shabby, washerwoman-
looking Indian, they commonly have the woebegone


look of the girl that cried for spilt milk, just from
"up river," land on the Oldtown side near a grocery,
and, drawing up his canoe, take out a bundle of skins
in one hand, and an empty keg or half-barrel in the other,
and scramble up the bank with them. This picture will
do to put before the Indian's history, that is, the history
of his extinction. In 1837 there were three hundred and
sixty-two souls left of this tribe. The island seemed de-
serted to-day, yet I observed some new houses among
the weather-stained ones, as if the tribe had still a design
upon life; but generally they have a very shabby, for-
lorn, and cheerless look, being all back side and wood-
shed, not homesteads, even Indian homesteads, but in-
stead of home or abroad-steads, for their life is domi aut
militia, at home or at war, or now rather venatus, that
is, a hunting, and most of the latter. The church is the
only trim-looking building, but that is not Abenaki,
that was Rome's doings. Good Canadian it may be,
but it is poor Indian. These were once a powerful tribe.
Politics are all the rage with them now. I even thought
that a row of wigwams, with a dance of powwows, and
a prisoner tortured at the stake, would be more respect-
able than this.
We landed in Milford, and rode along on the east side
of the Penobscot, having a more or less constant view of
the river, and the Indian islands in it, for they retain all
the islands as far up as Nicketow, at the mouth of the
East Branch. They are generally well-timbered, and
are said to be better soil than the neighboring shores.
The river seemed shallow and rocky, and interrupted by
rapids, rippling and gleaming in the sun. We paused a




moment to see a fish hawk dive for a fish down straight
as an arrow, from a great height, but he missed his prey
this time. It was the Houlton road on which we were
now traveling, over which some troops were marched
once towards Mars' Hill, though not to Mars' field, as
it proved. It is the main, almost the only, road in these
parts, as straight and well made, and kept in as good
repair as almost any you will find anywhere. Every-
where we saw signs of the great freshet, this house
standing awry, and that where it was not founded, but
where it was found, at any rate, the next day; and that
other with a waterlogged look, as if it were still airing
and drying its basement, and logs with everybody's
marks upon them, and sometimes the marks of their
having served as bridges, strewn along the road. We
crossed the Sunkhaze, a summery Indian name, the
Olemmon, Passadumkeag, and other streams, which
make a greater show on the map than they now did on
the road. At Passadumkeag we found anything but
what the name implies, earnest politicians, to wit, -
white ones, I mean, on the alert to know how the elec-
tion was likely to go; men who talked rapidly, with sub-
dued voice, and a sort of factitious earnestness you could
not help believing, hardly waiting for an introduction,
one on each side of your buggy, endeavoring to say much
in little, for they see you hold the whip impatiently, but
always saying little in much. Caucuses they have had,
it seems, and caucuses they are to have again, vic-
tory and defeat. Somebody may be elected, somebody
may not. One man, a total stranger, who.stood by our
carriage in the dusk, actually frightened the horse with


his asseverations, growing more solemnly positive as
there was less in him to be positive about. So Passa-
dumkeag did not look on the map. At sundown, leaving
the river road awhile for shortness, we went by way of
Enfield, where we stopped for the night. This, like most
of the localities bearing names on this road, was a place
to name which, in the midst of the unnamed and unin-
corporated wilderness, was to make a distinction with-
out a difference, it seemed to me. Here, however, I no-
ticed quite an orchard of healthy and well-grown apple
trees, in a bearing state, it being the oldest settler's house
in this region, but all natural fruit and comparatively
worthless for want of a grafter. And so it is generally,
lower down the river. It would be a good speculation,
as well as a favor conferred on the settlers, for a Massa-
chusetts boy to go down there with a trunk full of choice
scions, and his grafting apparatus, in the spring.
The next morning we drove along through a high and
hilly country, in view of Cold-Stream Pond, a beautiful
lake four or five miles long, and came into the Houlton
road again, here called the military road, at Lincoln,
forty-five miles from Bangor, where there is quite a vil-
lage for this country, the principal, one above Old-
town. Learning that there were several wigwams here,
on one of the Indian islands, we left our horse and wagon
and walked through the forest half a mile to the river,
to procure a guide to the mountain. It was not till after
considerable search that we discovered their habita-
tions, small huts, in a retired place, where the scenery
was unusually soft and beautiful, and the shore skirted
with pleasant meadows and graceful elms. We paddled




ourselves across to the island side in a canoe, which we
found on the shore. Near where we landed sat an Indian
girl, ten or twelve years old, on a rock in the water, in
the sun, washing, and humming or moaning a song
meanwhile. It was an aboriginal strain. A salmon-spear,
made wholly of wood, lay on the shore, such as they
might have used before white men came. It had an
elastic piece of wood fastened to one side of its point,
which slipped over and closed upon the fish, somewhat
like the contrivance for holding a bucket at the end of a
well-pole. As we walked up to the nearest house, we were
met by a sally of a dozen wolfish-looking dogs, which
may have been lineal descendants from the ancient In-
dian dogs, which the first voyageurs describe as "their
wolves." I suppose they were. The occupant soon ap-
peared, with a long pole in his hand, with which he beat
off the dogs, while he parleyed with us, a stalwart,
but dull and greasy-looking fellow, who told us, in his
sluggish way, in answer to our questions, as if it were
the first serious business he had to do that day, that there
were Indians going up river -he and one other to-
day, before noon. And who was the other ? Louis Nep-
tune, who lives in the next house. Well, let us go over
and see Louis together. The same doggish reception,
and Louis Neptune makes his appearance, a small,
wiry man, with puckered and wrinkled face, yet he
seemed the chief man of the two; the same, as I remem-
bered, who had accompanied Jackson to the mountain
in '37. The same questions were put to Louis, and the
same information obtained, while the other Indian stood
by. It appeared that they were going to start by noon,



with two canoes, to go up to Chesuncook to hunt moose,
- to be gone a month. "Well, Louis, suppose you get
to the Point (to the Five Islands, just below Mattawam-
keag) to camp, we walk on up the West Branch to-
morrow, four of us, and wait for you at the dam,
or this side. You overtake us to-morrow or next day,
and take us into your canoes. We stop for you, you stop
for us. We pay you for your trouble." "Ye'," replied
Louis, "may be you carry some provision for all, -
some pork, some bread, and so pay." He said,
"Me sure get some moose;" and when I asked if he
thought Pomola would let us go up, he answered that
we must plant one bottle of rum on the top; he had
planted good many; and when he looked again, the
rum was all gone. He had been up two or three times;
he had planted letter, English, German, French,
etc. These men were slightly clad in shirt and panta-
loons, like laborers with us in warm weather. They did
not invite us into their houses, but met us outside. So
we left the Indians, thinking ourselves lucky to have
secured such guides and companions.
There were very few houses along the road, yet they
did not altogether fail, as if the law by which men are
dispersed over the globe were a very stringent one, and
not to be resisted with impunity or for slight reasons.
There were even the germs of one or two villages just
beginning to expand. The beauty of the road itself was
remarkable. The various evergreens, many of which are
rare with us, delicate and beautiful specimens of the
larch, arbor-vitae, ball-spruce, and fir-balsam, from a
few inches to many feet in height, lined its sides, in



some places like a long front yard, springing up from
the smooth grass-plots which uninterruptedly border it,
and are made fertile by its wash; while it was but a step
on either hand to the grim, untrodden wilderness, whose
tangled labyrinth of living, fallen, and decaying trees
only the deer and moose, the bear and wolf can easily
penetrate. More perfect specimens than any front-yard
plot can show grew there to grace the passage of the
Houlton teams.
About noon we reached the Mattawamkeag, fifty-six
miles from Bangor by the way we had come, and put up
at a frequented house still on the Houlton road, where
the Houlton stage stops. Here was a substantial cov-
ered bridge over the Mattawamkeag, built, I think they
said, some seventeen years before. We had dinner, -
where, by the way, and even at breakfast, as well as
supper, at the public-houses on this road, the front rank
is composed of various kinds of "sweet cakes," in a con-
tinuous line from one end of the table to the other. I
think I may safely say that there was a row of ten or a
dozen plates of this kind set before us two here. To
account for which, they say that, when the lumberers
come out of the woods, they have a craving for cakes
and pies, and such sweet things, which there are almost
unknown, and this is the supply to satisfy that demand.
The supply is always equal to the demand, and these
hungry men think a good deal of getting their money's
worth. No doubt the balance of victuals is restored by
the time they reach Bangor, Mattawamkeag takes
off the raw edge. Well, over this front rank, I say, you,
coming from the "sweet cake" side, with a cheap phi-

losophic indifference though it may be, have to assault
what there is behind, which I do not by any means
mean to insinuate is insufficient in quantity or quality
to supply that other demand, of men, not from the woods
but from the towns, for vonison and strong country fare.
After dinner we strolled down to the "Point," formed by
the junction of the two rivers, which is said to be the
scene of an ancient battle between the Eastern Indians
and the Mohawks, and searched there carefully for
relics, though the men at the bar-room had never heard
of such things; but we found only some flakes of arrow-
head stone, some points of arrowheads, one small leaden
bullet, and some colored beads, the last to be referred,
perhaps, to early fur-trader days. The Mattawamkeag,
though wide, was a mere river's bed, full of rocks and
shallows at this time, so that you could cross it almost
dry-shod in boots; and I could hardly believe my com-
panion, when he told me that he had been fifty or sixty
miles up it in a batteau, through distant and still uncut
forests. A batteau could hardly find a harbor now at its
mouth. Deer and caribou, or reindeer, are taken here
in the winter, in sight of the house.
Before our companions arrived, we rode on up the
Houlton road seven miles to Molunkus, where the Aroos-
took road comes into it, and where there is a spacious
public house in the woods, called the "Molunkus
House," kept by one Libbey, which looked as if it had
its hall for dancing and for military drills. There was
no other evidence of man but this huge shingle palace
in this part of the world; but sometimes even this is
filled with travelers. I looked off the piazza round the




corner of the house up the Aroostook road, on which
there was no clearing in sight. There was a man just
adventuring upon it this evening in a rude, original,
what you may call Aroostook wagon, a mere seat,
with a wagon swung under it, a few bags on it, and a
dog asleep to watch them. He offered to carry a mes-
sage for us to anybody in that country, cheerfully. I
suspect that, if you should go to the end of the world,
you would find somebody there going farther, as if just
starting for home at sundown, and having a last word
before he drove off. Here, too, was a small trader,
whom I did not see at first, who kept a store, but no
great store, certainly, in a small box over the way,
behind the Molunkus sign-post. It looked like the bal-
ance-box of a patent hay-scales. As for his house, we
could only conjecture where that was; he may have
been a boarder in the Molunkus House.' I saw him
standing in his shop door, his shop was so small, that,
if a traveler should make demonstrations of entering in,
he would have to go out by the back way, and confer
with his customer through a window, about his goods
in the cellar, or, more probably, bespoken, and yet on
the way. I should have gone in, for I felt a real impulse
to trade, if I had not stopped to consider what would
become of him. The day before, we had walked into
a shop, over against an inn where we stopped, the puny
beginning of trade, which would grow at last into a firm
copartnership in the future town or city, indeed, it
was already "Somebody & Co.," I forget who. The
woman came forward from the penetralia of the at-
tached house, for "Somebody & Co." was in the burn-


ing, and she sold us percussion-caps, canals and smooth,
and knew their prices and qualities, and which the hunt-
ers preferred. Here was a little of everything in a small
compass to satisfy the wants and the ambition of the
woods, a stock selected with what pains and care,
and brought home in the wagon-box, or a corner of the
Houlton team; but there seemed to me, as usual, a pre-
ponderance of children's toys, dogs to bark, and cats
to mew, and trumpets to blow, where natives there hardly
are yet. As if a child born into the Maine woods, among
the pine cones and cedar berries, could not do without
such a sugar-man or skipping-jack as the young Roth-
schild has.
I think that there was not more than one house on the
road to Molunkus, or for seven miles. At that place we
got over the fence into a new field, planted with potatoes,
where the logs were still burning between the hills; and,
pulling up the vines, found good-sized potatoes, nearly
ripe, growing like weeds, and turnips mixed with them.
The mode of clearing and planting is to fell the trees,
and burn once what will burn, then cut them up into
suitable lengths, roll into heaps, and burn again; then,
with a hoe, plant potatoes where you can come at the
ground between the stumps and charred logs; for a first
crop the ashes sufficing for manure, and no hoeing
being necessary the first year. In the fall, cut, roll, and
burn again, and so on, till the land is cleared; and soon
it is ready for grain, and to be laid down. Let those talk
of poverty and hard times who will in the towns and
cities; cannot the emigrant who can pay his fare to
New York or Boston pay five dollars more to get here, -




I paid three, all told, for my passage from Boston to
Bangor, two hundred and fifty miles, and be as rich
as he pleases, where land virtually costs nothing, and
houses only the labor of building, and he may begin life
as Adam did ? If he will still remember the distinction
of poor and rich, let him bespeak him a narrower house
When we returned to the Mattawamkeag, the Houl-
ton stage had already put up there; and a Province
man was betraying his greenness to the Yankees by his
questions. Why Province money won't pass here at par,
when States' money is good at Fredericton, though
this, perhaps, was sensible enough. From what I saw
then, it appears that the Province man was now the only
real Jonathan, or raw country bumpkin, left so far be-
hind by his enterprising neighbors that he did n't know
enough to put a question to them. No people can long
continue provincial in character who have the propen-
sity for politics and whittling, and rapid traveling, which
the Yankees have, and who are leaving the mother coun-
try behind in the variety of their notions and inventions.
The possession and exercise of practical talent merely
are a sure and rapid means of intellectual culture and
The last edition of Greenleaf's Map of Maine hung
on the wall here, and, as we had no pocket-map, we re-
solved to trace a map of the lake country. So, dipping
a wad of tow into the lamp, we oiled a sheet of paper on
the oiled table-cloth, and, in good faith, traced what we
afterwards ascertained to be a labyrinth of errors, care-
fully following the outlines of the imaginary lakes which


the map contains. The Map of the Public Lands of
Maine and Massachusetts is the only one I have seen
that at all deserves the name. It was while we were
engaged in this operation that our companions arrived.
They had seen the Indians' fire on the Five Islands,
and so we concluded that all was right.
Early the next morning we had mounted our packs,
and prepared for a tramp up the West Branch, my com-
panion having turned his horse out to pasture for a week
or ten days, thinking that a bite of fresh grass and a
taste of running water would do him as much good as
backwoods fare and new country influences his master.
Leaping over a fence, we began to follow an obscure
trail up the northern bank of the Penobscot. There was
now no road further, the river being the only highway,
and but half a dozen log huts, confined to its banks, to
be met with for thirty miles. On either hand, and be-
yond, was a wholly uninhabited wilderness, stretching
to Canada. Neither horse nor cow, nor vehicle of any
kind, had ever passed over this ground; the cattle, and
the few bulky articles which the loggers use, being got
up in the winter on the ice, and down again before it
breaks up. The evergreen woods had a decidedly sweet
and bracing fragrance; the air was a sort of diet-drink,
and we walked on buoyantly in Indian file, stretching
our legs. Occasionally there was a small opening on the
bank, made for the purpose of log-rolling, where we got
a sight of the river, always a rocky and rippling
stream. The roar of the rapids, the note of a whistler
duck on the river, of the jay and chickadee around us,
and of the pigeon woodpecker in the openings, were the




sounds that we heard. This was what you might call a
bran-new country; the only roads were of Nature's
making, and the few houses were camps. Here, then,
one could no longer accuse institutions and society, but
must front the true source of evil.
There are three classes of inhabitants who either fre-
quent or inhabit the country which we had now entered:
first, the loggers, who, for a part of the year, the winter
and spring, are far the most numerous, but in the sum-
mer, except a few explorers for timber, completely de-
sert it; second, the few settlers I have named, the only
permanent inhabitants, who live on the verge of it, and
help raise supplies for the former; third, the hunters,
mostly Indians, who range over it in their season.
At the end of three miles we came to the Mattaseunk
stream and mill, where there was even a rude wooden
railroad running down to the Penobscot, the last rail-
road we were to see. We crossed one tract, on the bank
of the river, of more than a hundred acres of heavy tim-
ber, which had just been felled and burnt over, and was
still smoking. Our trail lay through the midst of it, and
was well-nigh blotted out. 'The trees lay at full length,
four or five feet deep, and crossing each other in all di-
rections, all black as charcoal, but perfectly sound
within, still good for fuel or for timber; soon they would
be cut into lengths and burnt again. Here were thou-
sands of cords, enough to keep the poor of Boston and
New York amply warm for a winter, which only cum-
bered the ground and were in the settler's way. And
the whole of that solid and interminable forest is doomed
to be gradually devoured thus by fire, like shavings, and


no man be warmed by it. At Crocker's log-hut, at the
mouth of Salmon River, seven miles from the Point,
one of the party commenced distributing a store of
small, cent picture-books among the children, to teach
them to read, and also newspapers, more or less recent,
among the parents, than which nothing can be more
acceptable to a backwoods people. It was really an im-
portant item in our outfit, and, at times, the only cur-
rency that would circulate. I walked through Salmon
River with my shoes on, it being low water, but not
without wetting my feet. A few miles farther we came
to "Marm Howard's," at the end of an extensive clear-
ing, where there were two or three log huts in sight at
once, one on the opposite side of the river, and a few
graves even, surrounded by a wooden paling, where
already the rude forefathers of a hamlet lie, and a
thousand years hence, perchance, some poet will write
his Elergy in a Country Churchyard." The Village
Hampdens," the "mute, inglorious Miltons," and
Cromwells, "guiltless of" their "country's blood,"
were yet unborn.
"Perchance in this wild spot there will be laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre."
The next house was Fisk's, ten miles from the Point
at the mouth of the East Branch, opposite to the island
Nicketow, or the Forks, the last of the Indian islands.
I am particular to give the names of the settlers and the
distances, since every log hut in these woods is a public
house, and such information is of no little consequence




to those who may have occasion to travel this way. Our
course here crossed the Penobscot, and followed the
southern bank. One of the party, who entered the house
in search of some one to set us over, reported a very neat
dwelling, with plenty of books, and a new wife, just im-
ported from Boston, wholly new to the woods. We found
the East Branch a large and rapid stream at its mouth
and much deeper than it appeared. Having with some
difficulty discovered the trail again, we kept up the south
side of the West Branch, or main river, passing by some
rapids called Rock-Ebeeme, the roar of which we heard
through the woods, and, shortly after, in the thickest
of the wood, some empty loggers' camps, still new,
which were occupied the previous winter. Though we
saw a few more afterwards, I will make one account
serve for all. These were such houses as the lumberers
of Maine spend the winter in, in the wilderness. There
were the camps and the hovels for the cattle, hardly
distinguishable, except that the latter had no chimney.
These camps were about twenty feet long by fifteen
wide, built of logs, hemlock, cedar, spruce or yellow
birch, one kind alone, or all together, with the bark
on; two or three large ones first, one directly above an-
other, and notched together at the ends, to the height
of three or four feet, then of smaller logs resting upon
transverse ones at the ends, each of the last successively
shorter than the other, to form the roof. The chimney
was an oblong square hole in the middle, three or four
feet in diameter, with a fence of logs as high as the ridge.
The interstices were filled with moss, and the roof was
shingled with long and handsome splints of cedar, or


spruce, or pine, rifted with a sledge and cleaver. The
fireplace, the most important place of all, was in shape
and size like the chimney, and directly under it, defined
by a log fence or fender on the ground, and a heap of
ashes, a foot or two deep within, with solid benches of
split logs running round it. Here the fire usually melts
the snow, and dries the rain before it can descend to
quench it. The faded beds of arbor-vitae leaves extended
under the eaves on either hand. There was the place
for the water-pail, pork-barrel, and wash-basin, and
generally a dingy pack of cards left on a log. Usually a
good deal of whittling was expended on the latch, which
was made of wood, in the form of an iron one. These
houses are made comfortable by the huge fires, which
can be afforded night and day. Usually the scenery
about them is drear and savage enough; and the loggers'
camp is as completely in the woods as a fungus at the
foot of a pine in a swamp; no outlook but to the sky
overhead; no more clearing than is made by cutting
down the trees of which it is built, and those which are
necessary for fuel. If only it be well sheltered and con-
venient to his work, and near a spring, he wastes no
thought on the prospect. They are very proper forest
houses, the stems of the trees collected together and
piled up around a man to keep out wind and rain, -
made of living green logs, hanging with moss and lichen,
and with the curls and fringes of the yellow birch bark,
and dripping with resin, fresh and moist, and redolent
of swampy odors, with that sort of vigor and peren-
nialness even about them that toadstools suggest.1 The
I Springer, in his Forest Life (1851), says that they first remove the




logger's fare consists of tea, molasses, flour, pork (some-
times beef), and beans. A great proportion of the beans
raised in Massachusetts find their market here. On
expeditions it is only hard bread and pork, often raw,
slice upon slice, with tea or water, as the case may be.
The primitive wood is always and everywhere damp
and mossy, so that I traveled constantly with the im-
pression that I was in a swamp; and only when it was
remarked that this or that tract, judging from the qual-
ity of the timber on it, would make a profitable clearing,
was I reminded, that if the sun were let in it would make
a dry field, like the few I had seen, at once. The best
shod for the most part travel with wet feet. If the ground
was so wet and spongy at this, the dryest part of a dry
season, what must it be in the spring ? The woods here-
abouts abounded in beech and yellow birch, of which
last there were some very large specimens; also spruce,
cedar, fir, and hemlock; but we saw only the stumps
of the white pine here, some of them of great size, these
having been already culled out, being the only tree
much sought after, even as low down as this. Only a
little spruce and hemlock beside had been logged here.
The Eastern wood which is sold for fuel in Massachu-

leaves and turf from the spot where they intend to build a camp, for
fear of fire; also, that "the spruce-tree is generally selected for camp-
building, it being light, straight, and quite free from sap;" that "the
roof is finally covered with the boughs of the fir, spruce, and hemlock,
so that when the snow falls upon the whole, the warmth of the camp
is preserved in the coldest weather;" and that they make the log seat
before the fire, called the "Deacon's Seat," of a spruce or fir split in
halves, with three or four stout limbs left on one side for legs, which are
not likely to get loose.


setts all comes from below Bangor. It was the pine
alone, chiefly the white pine, that had tempted any but
the hunter to precede us on this route.
Waite's farm, thirteen miles from the Point, is an
extensive and elevated clearing, from which we got a
fine view of the river, rippling and gleaming far be-
neath us. My companions had formerly had a good
view of Ktaadn and the other mountains here, but
to-day it was so smoky that we could see nothing of
them. We could overlook an immense country of un-
interrupted forest, stretching away up the East Branch
toward Canada on the north and northwest, and to-
ward the Aroostook valley on the northeast; and im-
agine what wild life was stirring in its midst. Here was
quite a field of corn for this region, whose peculiar dry
scent we perceived a third of a mile off, before we saw it.
Eighteen miles from the Point brought us in sight of
McCauslin's, or "Uncle George's," as he was familiarly
called by my companions, to whom he was well known,
where we intended to break our long fast. His house
was in the midst of an extensive clearing or intervale,
at the mouth of the Little Schoodic River, on the op-
posite or north bank of the Penobscot. So we collected
on a point of the shore, that we might be seen, and fired
our gun as a signal, which brought out his dogs forth-
with, and thereafter their master, who in due time took
us across in his batteau. This clearing was bounded
abruptly, on all sides but the river, by the naked stems
of the forest, as if you were to cut only a few feet square
in the midst of a thousand acres of mowing, and set
down a thimble therein. He had a whole heaven and




horizon to himself, and the sun seemed to be journey-
ing over his clearing only the livelong day. Here we
concluded to spend the night, and wait for the Indians,
as there was no stopping-place so convenient above.
He had seen no Indians pass, and this did not often
happen without his knowledge. He thought that his
dogs sometimes gave notice of the approach of Indians
half an hour before they arrived.
McCauslin was a Kennebec man, of Scotch descent,
who had been a waterman twenty-two years, and had
driven on the lakes and headwaters of the Penobscot
five or six springs in succession, but was now settled
here to raise supplies for the lumberers and for himself.
He entertained us a day or two with true Scotch hospi-
tality, and would accept no recompense for it. A man
of a dry wit and shrewdness, and a general intelligence
which I had not looked for in the back woods. In fact,
the deeper you penetrate into the woods, the more in-
telligent, and, in one sense, less countrified do you find
the inhabitants; for always the pioneer has been a
traveler, and, to some extent, a man of the world; and,
as the distances with which he is familiar are greater,
so is his information more general and far reaching
than the villager's. If I were to look for a narrow, un-
informed, and countrified mind, as opposed to the intel-
ligence and refinement which are thought to emanate
from cities, it would be among the rusty inhabitants
of an old-settled country, on farms all run out and
gone to seed with life-everlasting, in the towns about
Boston, even on the high-road in Concord, and not in
the back woods of Maine.


Supper was got before our eyes in the ample kitchen,
by a fire which would have roasted an ox; many whole
logs, four feet long, were consumed to boil our tea-
kettle, birch, or beech, or maple, the same summer
and winter; and the dishes were soon smoking on the
table, late the arm-chair, against the wall, from which
one of the party was expelled. The arms of the chair
formed the frame on which the table rested; and, when
the round top was turned up against the wall, it formed
the back of the chair, and was no more in the way than
the wall itself. This, we noticed, was the prevailing
fashion in these log houses, in order to economize in
room. There were piping-hot wheaten cakes, the flour
having been brought up the river in batteaux, no
Indian bread, for the upper part of Maine, it will be re-
membered, is a wheat country, and ham, eggs, and
potatoes, and milk and cheese, the produce of the farm;
and also shad and salmon, tea sweetened with molasses,
and sweet cakes, in contradistinction to the hot cakes
not sweetened, the one white, the other yellow, to wind
up with. Such we found was the prevailing fare, or-
dinary and extraordinary, along this river. Mountain
cranberries (Vaccinium Vitis-Idea), stewed and sweet-
ened, were the common dessert. Everything here was
in profusion, and the best of its kind. Butter was in such
plenty that it was commonly used, before it was salted,
to grease boots with.
In the night we were entertained by the sound of
rain-drops on the cedar splints which covered the roof,
and awaked the next morning with a drop or two in
our eyes. It had set in for a storm, and we made up




our minds not to forsake such comfortable quarters with
this prospect, but wait for Indians and fair weather. It
rained and drizzled and gleamed by turns, the livelong
day. What we did there, how we killed the time would
perhaps be idle to tell; how many times we buttered
our boots, and how often a drowsy one was seen to sidle
off to the bedroom. When it held up, I strolled up and
down the bank, and gathered the harebell and cedar
berries, which grew there; or else we tried by turns the
long-handled axe on the logs before the door. The axe-
helves here were made to chop standing on the log, -
a primitive log of course, and were, therefore, nearly
a foot longer than with us. One while we walked over
the farm and visited his well-filled barns with McCaus-
lin. There were one other man and two women only
here. He kept horses, cows, oxen, and sheep. I think
he said that he was the first to bring a plow and a cow
so far; and he might have added the last, with only
two exceptions. The potato-rot had found him out here,
too, the previous year, and got half or two thirds of his
crop, though the seed was of his own raising. Oats,
grass, and potatoes were his staples; but he raised, also,
a few carrots and turnips, and "a little corn for the
hens," for this was all that he dared risk, for fear that
it would not ripen. Melons, squashes, sweet corn, beans,
tomatoes, and many other vegetables, could not be
ripened there.
The very few settlers along this stream were obvi-
ously tempted by the cheapness of the land mainly.
When I asked McCauslin why more settlers did not
come in, he answered, that one reason was, they could


not buy the land, it belonged to individuals or compa-
nies who were afraid that their wild lands would be set-
tled, and so incorporated into towns, and they be taxed
for them; but to settling on the State's land there was
no such hindrance. For his own part, he wanted no
neighbors, he did n't wish to see any road by his
house. Neighbors, even the best, were a trouble and
expense, especially on the score of cattle and fences.
They might live across the river, perhaps, but not on
the same side.
The chickens here were protected by the dogs. As
McCauslin said, The old one took it up first, and she
taught the pup, and now they had got it into their heads
that it would n't do to have anything of the bird kind
on the premises." A hawk hovering over was not
allowed to alight, but barked off by the dogs circling
underneath; and a pigeon, or a "yellow-hammer," as
They called the pigeon woodpecker, on a dead limb or
stump, was instantly expelled. It was the main business
of their day, and kept them constantly coming and
going. One would rush out of the house on the least
alarm given by the other.
When it rained hardest, we returned to the house,
and took down a tract from the shelf. There was the
"Wandering Jew," cheap edition, and fine print, the
"Criminal Calendar," and "Parish's Geography,"
and flash novels two or three. Under the pressure of
circumstances, we read-a little in these. With such aid,
the press is not so feeble an engine, after all. This house,
which was a fair specimen of those on this river, was
built of huge logs, which peeped out everywhere, and




were chinked with clay and moss. It contained four or
five rooms. There were no sawed boards, or shingles,
or clapboards, about it; and scarcely any tool but the
axe had been used in its construction. The partitions
were made of long clapboard-like splints, of spruce or
cedar, turned to a delicate salmon-color by the smoke.
The roof and sides were covered with the same, instead
of shingles and clapboards, and some of a much thicker
and larger size were used for the floor. These were all
so straight and smooth, that they answered the purpose
admirably, and a careless observer would not have sus-
pected that they were not sawed and planed. The chim-
ney and hearth were of vast size, and made of stone.
The broom was a few twigs of arbor-vitae tied to a stick;
and a pole was suspended over the hearth, close to the
ceiling, to dry stockings and clothes on. I noticed that
the floor was full of small, dingy holes, as if made with
a gimlet, but which were, in fact, made by the spikes,
nearly an inch long, which the lumberers wear in their
boots to prevent their slipping on wet logs. Just above
McCauslin's, there is a rocky rapid, where logs jam in
the spring; and many "drivers" are there collected,
who frequent his house for supplies; these were their
tracks which I saw.
At sundown McCauslin pointed away over the forest,
across the river, to signs of fair weather amid the clouds,
- some evening redness there. For even there the
points of compass held; and there was a quarter of the
heavens appropriated to sunrise and another to sunset.
The next morning, the weather proving fair enough
for our purpose, we prepared to start, and, the Indians


having failed us, persuaded McCauslin, who was not
unwilling to revisit the scenes of his driving, to accom-
pany us in their stead, intending to engage one other
boatman on the way. A strip of cotton cloth for a tent,
a couple of blankets, which would suffice for the whole
party, fifteen pounds of hard bread, ten pounds of
"clear" pork, and a little tea, made up "Uncle George's"
pack. The last three articles were calculated to be pro-
vision enough for six men for a week, with what we
might pick up. A tea-kettle, a frying-pan, and an axe,
to be obtained at the last house, would complete our
We were soon out of McCauslin's clearing, and in
the evergreen woods again. The obscure trail made
by the two settlers above, which even the woodman is
sometimes puzzled to discern, ere long crossed a narrow,
open strip in the woods overrun with weeds, called
the Burnt Land, where a fire had raged formerly,
stretching northward nine or ten miles, to Millinocket
Lake. At the end of three miles, we reached Shad Pond,
or Noliseemack, an expansion of the river. Hodge, the
Assistant State Geologist, who passed through this on
the 25th of June, 1837, says, "We pushed our boat
through an acre or more of buck-bearis, which had taken
root at the bottom, and bloomed above the surface in
the greatest profusion and beauty." Thomas Fowler's
house is four miles from McCauslin's, on the shore of
the pond, at the mouth of the Millinocket River, and
eight miles from the lake of the same name, on the latter
stream. This lake affords a more direct course to
Ktaadn, but we preferred to follow the Penobscot and




the Pamadumcook lakes. Fowler was just completing
a new log hut, and was sawing out a window through
the logs, nearly two feet thick, when we arrived. He
had begun to paper his house with spruce bark, turned
inside out, which had a good effect, and was in keeping
with the circumstances. Instead of water we got here a
draught of beer, which, it was allowed, would be better;
clear and thin, but strong and stringent as the cedar sap.
It was as if we sucked at the very teats of Nature's pine-
clad bosom in these parts, the sap of all Millinocket
botany commingled, the topmost, most fantastic,
and spiciest sprays of the primitive wood, and whatever
invigorating and stringent gum or essence it afforded
steeped and dissolved in it, a lumberer's drink, which
would acclimate and naturalize a man at once, which
would make him see green, and, if he slept, dream that
he heard the wind sough among the pines. Here was a
fife, praying to be played on, through which we breathed
a few tuneful strains, brought hither to tame wild
beasts. As we stood upon the pile of chips by the door,
fish hawks were sailing overhead; and here, over Shad
Pond, might daily be witnessed the tyranny of the bald
eagle over that bird. Tom pointed away over the lake
to a bald eagle's nest, which was plainly visible more
than a mile off, on a pine, high above the surrounding
forest, and was frequented from year to year by the same
pair, and held sacred by him. There were these two
houses only there, his low hut and the eagles' airy cart-
load of fagots. Thomas Fowler, too, was persuaded to
join us, for two men were necessary to manage the bat-
teau, which was soon to be our carriage, and these men


needed to be cool and skillful for the navigation of the
Penobscot. Tom's pack was soon made, for he had not
far to look for his waterman's boots, and a red flannel
shirt. This is the favorite color with lumbermen; and
red flannel is reputed to possess some mysterious vir-
tues, to be most healthful and convenient in respect to
perspiration. In every gang there will be a large pro-
portion of red birds. We took here a poor and leaky
batteau, and began to pole up the Millinocket two miles,
to the elder Fowler's, in order to avoid the Grand Falls
of the Penobscot, intending to exchange our batteau
there for a better. The Millinocket is a small, shallow,
and sandy stream, full of what I took to be lamprey-
eels' or suckers' nests, and lined with musquash-cabins,
but free from rapids, according to Fowler, excepting at
its outlet from the lake. He was at this time engaged
in cutting the native grass rush-grass and meadow-
clover, as he called it on the meadows and small, low
islands of this stream. We noticed flattened places in
the grass on either side, where, he said, a moose had
laid down the night before, adding, that there were
thousands in these meadows.
Old Fowler's, on the Millinocket, six miles from
McCauslin's, and twenty-four from the Point, is the
last house. Gibson's, on the Sowadnehunk, is the only
clearing above, but that had proved a failure, and was
long since deserted. Fowler is the oldest inhabitant of
these woods. He formerly lived a few miles from here,
on the south side of the West Branch, where he built his
house sixteen years ago, the first house built above the
Five Islands. Here our new batteau was to be carried




over the first portage of two miles, round the Grand
Falls of the Penobscot, on a horse-sled made of saplings,
to jump the numerous rocks in the way; but we had to
wait a couple of hours for them to catch the horses,
which were pastured at a distance, amid the stumps, and
had wandered still farther off. The last of the salmon
for this season had just been caught, and were still fresh
in pickle, from which enough was extracted to fill our
empty kettle, and so graduate our introduction to sim-
pler forest fare. The week before they had lost nine
sheep here out of their first flock, by the wolves. The
surviving sheep came round the house, and seemed
frightened, which induced them to go and look for the
rest, when they found seven dead and lacerated, and"
two still alive. These last they carried to the house, and,
as Mrs. Fowler said, they were merely scratched in the
throat, and had-no more visible wound than would be
produced by the prick of a pin. She sheared off the wool
from their throats, and washed them, and put on some
salve, and turned them out, but in a few moments they
were missing, and had not been found since. In fact,
they were all poisoned, and those that were found swelled
up at once, so that they saved neither skin nor wool.
This realized the old fables of the wolves and the sheep,
and convinced me that that ancient hostility still ex-
isted. Verily, the shepherd-boy did not need to sound
a false alarm this time. There were steel traps by the
door, of various sizes, for wolves, otter, and bears, with
large claws instead of teeth, to catch in their sinews.
Wolves are frequently killed with poisoned bait.
At length, after we had dined here on the usual back-


woods fare, the horses arrived, and we hauled our bat-
teau out of the water, and lashed it to its wicker carriage,
and, throwing in our packs, walked on before, leaving
the boatmen and driver, who was Tom's brother, to
manage the concern. The route, which led through the
wild pasture where the sheep were killed, was in some
places the roughest ever traveled by horses, over rocky
hills, where the sled bounced and slid along, like a ves-
sel pitching in a storm; and one man was as necessary
to stand at the stern, to prevent the boat from being
wrecked, as a helmsman in the roughest sea. The philos-
ophy of our progress was something like this: when
the runners struck a rock three or four feet high, the
sled bounced back and upwards at the same time; but,
as the horses never ceased pulling, it came down on
the top of the rock, and so we got over. This portage
probably followed the trail of an ancient Indian carry
round these falls. By two o'clock we, who had walked
on before, reached the river above the falls, not far from
the outlet of Quakish Lake, and waited for the batteau
to come up. We had been here but a short time, when
a thunder-shower was seen coming up from the west,
over the still invisible lakes, and that pleasant wilder-
ness which we were so eager to become acquainted with;
and soon the heavy drops began to patter on the leaves
around us. I had just selected the prostrate trunk of a
huge pine, five or six feet in diameter, and was crawling
under it, when, luckily, the boat arrived. It would have
amused a sheltered man to witness the manner in which
it was unlashed, and whirled over, while the first water-
spout burst upon us. It was no sooner in the hands of



the eager company than it was abandoned to the first
revolutionary impulse, and to gravity, to adjust it; and
they might have been seen all stooping to its shelter, and
wriggling.under like so many eels, before it was fairly
deposited on the ground. When all were under, we
propped up the lee side, and busied ourselves there
whittling thole-pins for rowing, when we should reach
the lakes; and made the woods ring, between the claps
of thunder, with such boat-songs as we could remem-
ber. The horses stood sleek and shining with the rain,
all drooping and crestfallen, while deluge after deluge
washed over us; but the bottom of a boat may be
relied on for a tight roof. At length, after two hours'
delay at this place, a streak of fair weather appeared
in the northwest, whither our course now lay, promis-
ing a serene evening for our voyage; and the driver
returned with his horses, while we made haste to launch
our boat, and commence our voyage in good earnest.
There were six of us, including the two boatmen.
With our packs heaped up near the bows, and ourselves
disposed as baggage to trim the boat, with instructions
not to move in case we should strike a rock, more than
so many barrels of pork, we pushed out into the first
rapid, a slight specimen of the stream we had to navi-
gate. With Uncle George in the stern, and Tom in the
bows, each using a spruce pole about twelve feet long,
pointed with iron,' and poling on the same side, we
shot up the rapids like a salmon, the water rushing and
roaring around, so that only a practiced eye could dis-
tinguish a safe course, or tell what was deep water and
1 The Canadians call it picquer de fond.

what rocks, frequently grazing the latter on one or both
sides, with a hundred as narrow escapes as ever the Argo
had in passing through the Symplegades. I, who had
had some experience in boating, had never experienced
any half so exhilarating before. We were lucky to have
exchanged our Indians, whom we did not know, for
these men, who, together with Tom's brother, were
reputed the best boatmen on the river, and were at
once indispensable pilots and pleasant companions.
The canoe is smaller, more easily upset, and sooner
worn out; and the Indian is said not to be so skill-
ful in the management of the batteau. He is, for the
most part, less to be relied on, and more disposed
to sulks and whims. The utmost familiarity with dead
streams, or with the ocean, would not prepare a
man for this peculiar navigation; and the most skill-
ful boatman anywhere else would here be obliged to
take out his boat and carry round a hundred times,
still with great risk, as well as delay, where the prac-
ticed batteau-man poles up with comparative ease and
safety. The hardy "voyageur" pushes with incredible
perseverance and success quite up to the foot of the
falls, and then only carries round some perpendicular
ledge, and launches again in
"The torrent's smoothness, ere it dash below,"

to struggle with the boiling rapids above. The Indians
say that the river once ran both ways, one half up
and the other down, but that, since the white man
came, it all runs down, and now they must laboriously
pole their canoes against the stream, and carry them




over numerous portages. In the summer, all stores -
the grindstone and the plow of the pioneer, flour, pork,
and utensils for the explorer must be conveyed up
the river in batteaux; and many a cargo and many a
boatman is lost in these waters. In the winter, however,
which is very equable and long, the ice is the great
highway, and the loggers' team penetrates to Chesun-
cook Lake, and still higher up, even two hundred miles
above Bangor. Imagine the solitary sled-track run-
ning far up into the snowy and evergreen wilderness,
hemmed in closely for a hundred miles by the forest,
and again stretching straight across the broad surfaces
of concealed lakes!
We were soon in the smooth water of'the Quakish
Lake, and took our turns at rowing and paddling across
it. It is a small, irregular, but handsome lake, shut in
on all sides by the forest, and showing no traces of man
but some low boom in a distant cove, reserved for
spring use. The spruce and cedar on its shores, hung
with gray lichens, looked at a distance like the ghosts
of trees. Ducks were sailing here and there on its
surface, and a solitary loon, like a more living wave,
- a vital spot on the lake's surface,- laughed and
frolicked, and showed its straight leg, for our amuse-
ment. Joe Merry Mountain appeared in the northwest,
as if it were looking down on this lake especially; and
we had our first, but a partial view of Ktaadn, its sum-
mit veiled in clouds, like a dark isthmus in that quarter,
connecting the heavens with the earth. After two miles
of smooth rowing across this lake, we found ourselves
in the river again, which was a continuous rapid for one


mile, to the dam, requiring all the strength and skill of
our boatmen to pole up it.
This dam is a quite important and expensive work
for this country, whither cattle and horses cannot pene-
trate in the summer, raising the whole river ten feet,
and flooding, as they said, some sixty square miles by
means of the innumerable lakes with which the river
connects. It is a lofty and solid structure, with sloping
piers, some distance above, made of frames of logs
filled with stones, to break the ice.1 Here every log
pays toll as it passes through the sluices.
We filed into the rude loggers' camp at this place,
such as I have described, without ceremony, and the
cook, at that moment the sole occupant, at once set
about preparing tea for his visitors. His fireplace,
which the rain had converted into a mud-puddle, was
soon blazing again, and we sat down on the log benches
around it to dry us. On the well-flattened and some-
what faded beds of arbor-vitse leaves, which stretched
on either hand under the eaves behind us, lay an odd
leaf of the Bible, some genealogical chapter out of the
Old Testament; and, half buried by the leaves, we
found Emerson's Address on West India Emancipation,
which had been left here formerly by one of our com-
pany, and had made two converts to the Liberty party
here, as I was told; also, an odd number of the West-
minster Review, for 1834, and a pamphlet entitled

1 Even the Jesuit missionaries, accustomed to the St. Lawrence
and other rivers of Canada, in their first expeditions to the Abenaqui-
nois, speak of rivers ferries de rochers, shod with rocks. See also No.
10 Relations, for 1647, p. 185.




" History of the Erection of the Monument on the Grave
of Myron Holly." This was the readable or reading
matter in a lumberer's camp in the Maine woods,
thirty miles from a road, which would be given up to
the bears in a fortnight. These things were well
thumbed and soiled. This gang was headed by one
John Morrison, a good specimen of a Yankee; and was
necessarily composed of men not bred to the business of
dam-building, but who were jacks-at-all-trades, handy
with the axe, and other simple implements, and well
skilled in wood and water craft. We had hot cakes
for our supper even here, white as snowballs, but with-
out butter, and the never-failing sweet cakes, with which
we filled our pockets, foreseeing that we should not
soon meet with the like again. Such delicate puffballs
seemed a singular diet for backwoodsmen. There was
also tea without milk, sweetened with molasses. And so,
exchanging a word with John Morrison and his gang
when we had returned to the shore, and also exchang-
ing our batteau for a better still, we made haste to
improve the little daylight that remained. This camp,
exactly twenty-nine miles from Mattawamkeag Point
by the way we had come, and about one hundred from
Bangor by the river, was the last human habitation of
any kind in this direction. Beyond, there was no trail,
and the river and lakes, by batteaux and canoes, was
considered the only practicable route. We were about
thirty miles by the river from the summit of Ktaadn,
which was in sight, though not more than twenty, per-
haps, in a straight line.
It being about the full of the moon, and a warm and


pleasant evening, we decided to row five miles by moon-
light to the head of the North Twin Lake, lest the wind
should rise on the morrow. After one mile of river, or
what the boatmen call thoroughfare," for, the river
becomes at length only the connecting link between the
lakes,- and some slight rapid which had been mostly
made smooth water by the dam, we entered the North
Twin Lake just after sundown, and steered across for
the river" thoroughfare," four miles distant. This is a
noble sheet of water, where one may get the impression
which a new country and a "lake of the woods are
fitted to create. There was the smoke of no log hut
nor camp of any kind to greet us, still less was any
lover of nature or musing traveler watching our batteau
from the distant hills; not even the Indian hunter was
there, for he rarely climbs them, but hugs the river
like ourselves. No face welcomed us but the fine fan-
tastic sprays of free and happy evergreen trees, waving
one above another in their ancient home. At first the
red clouds hung over the western shore as gorgeously
as if over a city, and the lake lay open to the light
with even a civilized aspect, as if expecting trade and
commerce, and towns and villas. We could distin-
guish the inlet to the South Twin, which is said to
be the larger, where the shore was misty and blue, and
it was worth the while to look thus through a narrow
opening across the entire expanse of a concealed lake
to its own yet more dim and distant shore. The shores
rose gently to ranges of low hills covered with forests;
and though, in fact, the most valuable white-pine timber,
even about this lake, had been culled out, this would




never have been suspected by the voyager. The impres-
sion, which indeed corresponded with the fact, was, as
if we were upon a high table-land between the States
and Canada, the northern side of which is drained by
the St. John and Chaudiere, the southern by the Pe-
nobscot and Kennebec. There was no bold, mountain-
ous shore, as we might have expected, but only isolated
hills and mountains rising here and there from the
plateau. The country is an archipelago of lakes, -
the lake-qountry of New England. Their levels vary
but a few feet, and the boatmen, by short portages, or
by none at all, pass easily from one to another. They
say that at very high water the Penobscot and the
Kennebec flow into each other, or at any rate, that you
may lie with your face in the one and your toes in the
other. Even the Penobscot and St. John have been
connected by a canal, so that the lumber of the Alle-
gash, instead of going down the St. John, comes down
the Penobscot; and the Indian's tradition, that the
Penobscot once ran both ways for his convenience, is, in
one sense, partially realized to-day.
None of our party but McCauslin had been above
this lake, so we trusted to him to pilot us, and we could
not but confess the importance of a pilot on these
waters. While it is river, you will not easily forget
which way is up-stream; but when you enter a lake,
the river is completely lost, and you scan the distant
shores in vain to find where it comes in. A stranger is,
for the time at least, lost, and must set about a voyage
of discovery first of all to find the river. To follow the
windings of the shore when the lake is ten miles, or


even more, in length, and of an irregularity which will
not soon be mapped, is a wearisome voyage, and will
spend his time and his provisions. They tell a story of
a gang of experienced woodmen sent to a location on
this stream, who were thus lost in the wilderness of
lakes. They cut their way through thickets, and carried
their baggage and their boats over from lake to lake,
sometimes several miles. They carried into Millinocket
Lake, which is on another stream, and is ten miles
square, and contains a hundred islands. They explored
its shores thoroughly, and then carried into another,
and another, and it was a week of toil and anxiety'
before they found the Penobscot River again, and then
their provisions were exhausted, and they were obliged
to return.
While Uncle George steered for a small island near
the head of the lake, now just visible, like a speck on
the water, we rowed by turns swiftly over its surface,
singing such boat songs as we could remember. The
shores seemed at an indefinite distance in the moonlight.
Occasionally we paused in our singing and rested on
our oars, while we listened to hear if the wolves howled,
for this is a common serenade, and my companions
affirmed that it was the most dismal and unearthly of
sounds; but we heard none this time. If we did not
hear, however, we did listen, not without a reasonable
expectation; that at least I have to tell,- only some
utterly uncivilized, big-throated owl hooted loud and
dismally in the drear and boughy wilderness, plainly
not nervous about his solitary life, nor afraid to hear
the echoes of his voice there. We remembered also that




possibly moose were silently watching us from the
distant coves, or some surly bear or timid caribou had
been startled by our singing. It was with new emphasis
that we sang there the Canadian boat song, -
"Row, brothers, row, the stream runs fast,
The rapids are near and the daylight's past!"
which describes precisely our own adventure, and was
inspired by the experience of a similar kind of life, -
for the rapids were ever near, and the daylight long past;
the woods on shore looked dim, and many an Utawas'
tide Ibre emptied into the lake.
"Why should we yet our sail unfurl ?
There is not a breath the blue wave to curl!
But, when the wind blows off the shore,
Oh, sweetly we '11 rest our weary oar."
"Utawas' tide! this trembling moon
Shall see us float o'er thy surges soon."
At last we glided past the "green isle," which had
been our landmark, all joining in the chorus; as if by
the watery links of rivers and of lakes we were about
to float over unmeasured zones of earth, bound on un-
imaginable adventures, -
"Saint of this green isle hear our prayers,
Oh, grant us cool heavens and favoring airs !"
About nine o'clock we reached the river, and ran
our boat into a natural haven between some rocks,
and drew her out on the sand. This camping-ground
McCauslin had been familiar with in his lumbering
days, and he now struck it unerringly in the moonlight,
and we heard the sound of the rill which would supply


us with cool water emptying into the lake. The first
business was to make a fire, an operation which was a
little delayed by the wetness of the fuel and the ground,
owing to the heavy showers of the afternoon. The fire
is the main comfort of the camp, whether in summer
or winter, and is about as ample at one season as at
another. It is as well for cheerfulness as for warmth
and dryness. It forms one side of the camp; one bright
side at any rate. Some were dispersed to fetch in dead
trees and boughs, while Uncle George felled the birches
and beeches which stood convenient, and soon we had
a fire some ten feet long by three or four high, which
rapidly dried the sand before it. This was calculated
to burn all night. We next proceeded to pitch our tent;
which operation was performed by, sticking our two
spike-poles into the ground in a slanting direction,
about ten feet apart, for rafters, and then drawing our
cotton cloth over them, and tying it down at the ends,
leaving it open in front, shed-fashion. But this evening
the wind carried the sparks on to the tent and burned
it. So we hastily drew up the batteau just within the
edge of the woods before the fire, and propping up
one side three or four feet high, spread the tent on the
ground to lie on; and with the corner of a blanket, or
what more or less we could get to put over us, lay down
with our heads and bodies under the boat, and our
feet and legs on the sand toward the fire. At first we
lay awake, talking of our course, and finding ourselves
in so convenient a posture for studying the heavens,
with the moon and stars shining in our faces, our con-
versation naturally turned upon astronomy, and we




recounted by turns the most interesting discoveries in
that science. But at length we composed ourselves
seriously to sleep. It was interesting, when awakened
at midnight, to watch the grotesque and fiend-like
forms and motions of some one of the party, who, not
being able to sleep, had got up silently to arouse the
fire, and add fresh fuel, for a change; now stealthily
lugging a dead tree from out the dark, and heaving it
on, now stirring up the embers with his fork, or tiptoe-
ing about to observe the stars, watched, perchance, by
half the prostrate party in breathless silence; so much
the more intense because they were awake, while each
supposed his neighbor sound asleep. Thus aroused, I,
too, brought fresh fuel to the fire, and then rambled
along the sandy shore in the moonlight, hoping to meet
a moose come down to drink, or else a wolf. The little
rill tinkled the louder, and peopled all the wilderness
for me; and the glassy smoothness of the sleeping lake,
leaving the shores of a new world, with the dark, fan-
tastic rocks rising here and there from its surface,
made a scene not easily described. It has left such an
impression of stern, yet gentle, wildness on my memory
as will not soon be effaced. Not far from midnight we
were one after another awakened by rain falling on our
extremities; and as each was made aware of the fact
by cold or wet, he drew a long sigh and then drew up
his legs, until gradually we had all sidled round from
lying at right angles with the boat, till our bodies
formed an acute angle with it, and were wholly pro-
tected. When next we awoke, the moon and stars were
shining again, and there were signs of dawn in the


east. I have been thus particular in order to convey
some idea of a night in the woods.
We had soon launched and loaded our boat, and,
leaving our fire blazing, were off again before break-
fast. The lumberers rarely trouble themselves to put
out their fires, such is the dampness of the primitive
forest; and this is one cause, no doubt, of the frequent
fires in Maine, of which we hear so much on smoky
days in Massachusetts. The forests are held cheap
after the white pine has been culled out; and the ex-
plorers and hunters pray for rain only to clear the
atmosphere of smoke. The woods were so wet to-day,
however, that there was no danger of our fire spreading.
After poling up half a mile of river, or thoroughfare,
we rowed a mile across the foot of Pamadumcook
Lake, which is the name given on the map to this
whole chain of lakes, as if there was but one, though
they are, in each instance, distinctly separated by a
reach of the river, with its narrow and rocky channel
and its rapids. This lake, which is one of the largest,
stretched northwest ten miles, to hills and mountains
in the distance. McCauslin pointed to some distant,
and as yet inaccessible, forests of white pine, on the
sides of a mountain in that direction. The Joe Merry
Lakes, which lay between us and Moosehead, on the
west, were recently, if they are not still, "surrounded
by some of the best timbered land in the State." By
another thoroughfare we passed into Deep Cove, a part
of the same lake, which makes up two miles, toward
the northeast, and rowing two miles across this, by
another short thoroughfare, entered Ambejijis Lake.




At the entrance to a lake we sometimes observed
what is technically called "fencing-stuff," or the un-
hewn timbers of which booms are formed, either se-
cured together in the water, or laid up on the rocks
and lashed to trees, for spring use. But it was always
startling to discover so plain a trail of civilized man
there. I remember that I was strangely affected, when
we were returning, by the sight of a ring-bolt well
drilled into a rock, and fastened with lead, at the head
of 4hi.ksolitary Ambejijis Lake.
It was easy to see that driving logs must be an ex-
citing as well as arduous and dangerous business. All
winter long the logger goes on piling up the trees which
he has trimmed and hauled in some dry ravine at the
head of a stream, and then in the spring he stands on
the bank and whistles for Rain and Thaw, ready to
wring the perspiration out of his shirt to swell the tide,
till suddenly, with a whoop and halloo from him, shut-
ting his eyes, as if to bid farewell to the existing state
of things, a fair proportion of his winter's work goes
scrambling down the country, followed by his faithful
dogs, Thaw and Rain and Freshet and Wind, the whole
pack in full cry, toward the Orono Mills. Every log is
marked with the owner's name, cut in the sapwood
with an axe or bored with an auger, so deep as not to
be worn off in the driving, and yet not so as to injure
the timber; and it requires considerable ingenuity to
invent new and simple marks where there are so many
owners. They have quite an alphabet of their own,
which only the practiced can read. One of my com-
panions read off from his memorandum book some


marks of his own logs, among which there were crosses,
belts, crow's feet, girdles, etc., as, "Y-girdle-crow-
foot," and various other devices. When the logs have
run the gauntlet of innumerable rapids and falls, each
on its own account, with more or less jamming and
bruising, those bearing various owners' marks being
mixed up together, since all must take advantage of
the same freshet, -they are collected together at the
heads of the lakes, and surrounded by a boom fence of
floating logs, to prevent their being dispersed by the
wind, and are thus towed all together, like a flock of
sheep, across the lake, where there is no current, by
a windlass, or boom-head, such as we sometimes saw
standing on an island or headland, and, if circum-
stances permit, with the aid of sails and oars. Some-
times, notwithstanding, the logs are dispersed over many
miles of lake surface in a few hours by winds and fresh-
ets, and thrown up on distant shores, where the driver
can pick up only one or two at a time, and return with
them to the thoroughfare; and before he gets his flock
well through Ambejijis or Pamadumcook, he makes
many a wet and uncomfortable camp on the shore. He
must be able to navigate a log as if it were a canoe,
and be as indifferent to cold and wet as. a muskrat.
He uses a few efficient tools, -a lever commonly of
rock maple, six or seven feet long, with a stout spike
in it, strongly ferruled on, and a long spike-pole, with
a screw at the end of the spike to make it hold. The
boys along shore learn to walk on floating logs as city
boys on sidewalks. Sometimes the logs are thrown up
on rocks in such positions as to be irrecoverable but by




another freshet as high, or they jam together at rapids
and falls, and accumulate in vast piles, which the driver
must start at the risk of his life. Such is the lumber
business, which depends on many accidents, as the
early freezing of the rivers, that the teams may get up
in season, a sufficient freshet in the spring, to fetch the
logs down, and many others.' I quote Michaux on
Lumbering on the Kennebec, then the source of the
best white pine lumber carried to England. "The per-
sons engaged in this branch of industry are generally
emigrants from New Hampshire. In the summer
they unite in small companies, and traverse these vast
solitudes in every direction, to ascertain the places in
which the pines abound. After cutting the grass and
converting it into hay for the nourishment of the cattle
to be employed in their labor, they return home. In
the beginning of the winter they enter the forests again,
establish themselves in huts covered with the bark of
the canoe-birch, or the arbor-vitse; and, though the cold
is so intense that the mercury sometimes remains for
several weeks from 40 to 500 [Fahr.] below the point
of congelation, they persevere, with unabated courage,
in their work." According to Springer, the company
consists of choppers, swampers, who make roads, -
barker and loader, teamster, and cook. "When the
1 A steady current or pitch of water is preferable to one either
rising or diminishing; as, when rising rapidly, the water at the middle
of the river is considerably higher than at the shores, so much so
as to be distinctly perceived by the eye of a spectator on the banks,
presenting an appearance like a turnpike road. The lumber, there-
fore, is always sure to incline from the centre of the channel toward
either shore." Springer.


trees are felled, they cut them into logs from fourteen
to eighteen feet long, and, by means of their cattle,
which they employ with great dexterity, drag them to
the river, and, after stamping on them a mark of pro-
perty, roll them on its frozen bosom. At the breaking
of the ice, in the spring, they float down with the cur-
rent. The logs that are not drawn the first year,"
adds Michaux, "are attacked by large worms, which
form holes about two lines in diameter, in every direc-
tion; but, if stripped of their bark, they will remain
uninjured for thirty years."
Ambejijis, this quiet Sunday morning, struck me as
the most beautiful lake we had seen. It is said to be
one of the deepest. We had the fairest view of Joe
Merry, Double Top, and Ktaadn, from its surface. The
summit of the latter had a singularly flat, table-land
appearance, like a short highway, where a demigod
might be let down to take a turn or two in an afternoon,
to settle his dinner. We rowed a mile and a half to near
the head of the lake, and, pushing through a field of lily-
pads, landed, to cook our breakfast, by the side of a large.
rock, known to McCauslin. Our breakfast consisted
of tea, with hard-bread and pork, and fried salmon,
which we ate with forks neatly whittled from alder
twigs, which grew there, off strips of birch-bark for
plates. -The tea was black tea, without milk to color or
sugar to sweeten it, and two tin dippers were our tea
cups. This beverage is as indispensable to the loggers
as to any gossiping old women in the land, and they,
no doubt, derive great comfort from it. Here was the
site of an old logger's camp, remembered by McCauslin,




now overgrown with weeds and bushes. In the midst
of a dense underwood we noticed a whole brick, on a
rock, in a small run, clean and red and square as in
a brick-yard, which had been brought thus far formerly
for tamping. Some of us afterward regretted that we
had not carried this on with us to the top of the moun-
tain, to be left there for our mark. It would certainly
have been a simple evidence of civilized man. McCaus-
lin said that large wooden crosses, made of oak, still
sound, were sometimes found standing in this wilder-
ness, which were set up by the first Catholic mission-
aries who came through to the Kennebec.
In the next nine miles,. which were the extent of our
voyage, and which it took us the rest of the day to get
over, we rowed across several small lakes, poled up
numerous rapids and thoroughfares, and carried over
four portages. I will give the names and distances, for
the benefit of future tourists. First, after leaving
Ambejijis Lake, we had a quarter of a mile of rapids
to the portage, or carry of ninety rods around Ambe-
jijis Falls; then a mile and a half through Passa-
magamet Lake, which is narrow and river-like, to the
falls of the same name, Ambejijis stream coming in
on the right; then two miles through Katepskonegan
Lake to the portage of ninety rods around Katepskone-
gan Falls, which name signifies "carrying-place," -
Passamagamet stream coming in on the left; then three
miles through Pockwockomus Lake, a slight expansion
of the river, to the portage of forty rods around the
falls of the same name,-Katepskonegan stream com-
ing in on the left; then three quarters of a mile through


Aboljacarmegus Lake, similar to the last, to the portage
of forty rods around the falls of the same name; then
half a mile of rapid water to the Sowadnehunk dead-
water, and the Aboljacknagesic. stream.
This is generally the order of names as you ascend
the river: First, the lake, or, if there is no expansion,
the deadwater; then the falls; then the stream empty-
ing into the lake, or river above, all of the same name.
First we came to Passamagamet Lake, then to Passa-
niagamet Falls, then to Passamagamet Stream, empty-
ing in. This order and identity of names, it will be
perceived, is quite philosophical, since the deadwater
or lake is always at least partially produced by the
stream emptying in above; and the first fall below,
which is the outlet of that lake, and where that tribu-
tary water makes its first plunge, also naturally bears
the same name.
At the portage around Ambejijis Falls I observed
a pork-barrel on the shore, with a hole eight or nine
inches square cut in one side, which was set against an
upright rock; but the bears, without turning or upset-
ting the barrel, had gnawed a hole in the opposite side,
which looked exactly like an enormous rat-hole, big
enough to put their heads in; and at the bottom of the
barrel were still left a few mangled and slabbered slices
of pork. It is usual for the lumberers to leave such
supplies as they cannot conveniently carry along with
them at carries or camps, to which the next comers do
not scruple to help themselves, they being the property,
commonly, not of an individual, but a company, who
can afford to deal liberally.




I will describe particularly how we got over some of
these portages and rapids, in order that the reader may
get an idea of the boatman's life. At Ambejijis Falls,
for instance, there was the roughest path imaginable
cut through the woods; at first up hill, at an angle of
nearly forty-five degrees, over rocks and logs without
end. This was the manner of the portage. We first
carried over our baggage, and deposited it on the shore
at the other end; then, returning to the batteau, we
dragged it up the hill by the painter, and onward, with
frequent pauses, over half the portage. But this was a
bungling way, and would soon have worn out the boat.
Commonly, three men walk over with a batteau weigh-
ing- from three to five or six hundred pounds on their
heads and shoulders, the tallest standing under the
middle of the boat, which is turned over, and one at
each end, or else there are two at the bows. More
cannot well take hold at once. But this requires some
practice, as well as strength, and is in any case ex-
tremely laborious, and wearing to the constitution, to
follow. We were, on the whole, rather an invalid party,
and could render our boatmen but little assistance.
Our two men at length took the batteau upon their
shoulders, and, while two of us steadied it, to prevent
it from rocking and wearing into their shoulders, on
which they placed their hats folded, walked bravely
over the remaining distance, with two or three pauses.
In the same manner they accomplished the other por-
tages. With this crushing weight they must climb and
stumble along over fallen trees and slippery rocks of
all sizes, where those who walked by the sides were


continually brushed off, such was the narrowness of
the path. But we were fortunate not to have to cut
our path in the first place. Before we launched our
boat, we scraped the bottom smooth again, with our
knives, where it had rubbed on the rocks, to save
To avoid the difficulties of the portage, our men de-
termined to "warp up" the Passamagamet Falls; so
while the rest walked over the portage with the bag-
gage, I remained in the batteau, to assist in warping
up. We were soon in the midst of the rapids, which
were more swift and tumultuous than any we had
poled up, and had turned to the side of the stream
for the purpose of warping, when the boatmen, who felt
some pride in their skill, and were ambitious to do
something more than usual, for my benefit, as I sur-
mised, took one more view of the rapids, or rather
the falls; and, in answer to our question, whether we
could n't get up there, the other answered that he
guessed he 'd try it. So we pushed again into the midst
of the stream, and began to struggle with the current.
I sat in the middle of the boat to trim it, moving
slightly to the right or left as it grazed a rock. With
an uncertain and wavering motion we wound and
bolted our way up, until the bow was actually raised two
feet above the stern at the steepest pitch; and then,
when everything depended upon his exertions, the bow-
man's pole snapped in two; but before he had time
to take the spare one, which I reached him, he had
saved himself with the fragment upon a rock; and so
we got up by a hair's breadth; and Uncle George ex-




claimed that that was never done before, and he had
not tried it if he had not known whom he had got in
the bow, nor he in the bow, if he had not known him
in the stern. At this place there was a regular portage
cut through the woods, and our boatmen had never
known a batteau to ascend the falls. As near as I can
remember, there was a perpendicular fall here, at the
worst place of the whole Penobscot River, two or three
feet at least. I could not sufficiently admire the skill
and coolness with which they performed this feat,
never speaking to each other. The bowman, not look-
ing behind, but knowing exactly what the other is
about, works as if he worked alone. Now sounding in
vain for a bottom in fifteen feet of water, while the
boat falls back several rods, held straight only with
the greatest skill and exertion; or, while the sternman
obstinately holds his ground, like a turtle, the bowman
springs from side to side with wonderful suppleness
and dexterity, scanning the rapids and the rocks with
a thousand eyes; and now, having got a bite at last,
with a lusty shove, which makes his pole bend and
quiver, and the whole boat tremble, he gains a few
feet upon the river. To add to the danger, the poles
are liable at any time to be caught between the rocks,
and wrenched out of their hands, leaving them at the
mercy of the rapids, -the rocks, as it were, lying in
wait, like so many alligators, to catch them in their
teeth, and jerk them from your hands, before you have
stolen an effectual shove against their palates. The
pole is set close to the boat, and the prow is made to
overshoot, and just turn the covers of the rocks, in


the very teeth of the rapids. Nothing but the length
and lightness, and the slight draught of the batteau,
enables them to make any headway. The bowman
must quickly choose his course; there is no time to
deliberate. Frequently the boat is shoved between
rocks where both sides touch, and the waters on'either
hand are a perfect maelstrom.
Half a mile above this two of us tried our hands at
poling up a slight rapid; and we were just surmounting
the last difficulty, when an unlucky rock confounded our
calculations; and while the batteau was sweeping round
irrecoverably amid the whirlpool, we were obliged to
resign the poles to more skillful hands.
Katepskonegan is one of the shallowest and weed-
iest of the lakes, and looked as if it might abound in
pickerel. The falls of the same name, where we stopped
to dine, are considerable and quite picturesque. Here
Uncle George had seen trout caught by the barrelful;
but they would not rise to our bait at this hour. Half-
way over this carry, thus far in the Maine wilderness
on its way to the Provinces, we noticed a large, flaming,
Oak Hall handbill, about two feet long, wrapped round
the trunk of a pine, from which the bark had been
stripped, and to which it was fast glued by the pitch.
This should be recorded among the advantages of this
mode of advertising, that so, possibly, even the'bears
and wolves, moose, deer, otter, and beaver, not to men-
tion the Indian, may learn where they can fit themselves
according to the latest fashion, or, at least, recover
some of their own lost garments. We christened this
the Oak Hall carry.




The forenoon was as serene and placid on this wild
stream in the woods, as we are apt to imagine that Sun-
day in summer usually is in Massachusetts. We were
occasionally startled by the scream of a bald eagle,
sailing over the stream in front of our batteau; or of
the fish hawks on whom he levies his contributions.
There were, at intervals, small meadows of a few acres
on the sides of the stream, waving with uncut grass,
which attracted the attention of our boatmen, who re-
gretted that they were not nearer to their clearings,
and calculated how many stacks they might cut. Two
or three men sometimes spend the summer by them-
selves, cutting the grass in these meadows, to sell to
the loggers in the winter, since it will fetch a higher
price on the spot than in any market in the State. On
a small isle, covered with this kind of rush, or cut-grass,
on which we landed to consult about our further course,
we noticed the recent track of a moose, a large, round-
ish hole in the soft, wet ground, evincing the great size
and weight of the animal that made it. They are fond
of the water, and visit all these island meadows, swim-
ming as easily from island to island as they make their
way through the thickets on land. Now and then we
passed what McCauslin called a pokelogan, an Indian
term for what the drivers might have reason to call a
poke-logs-in, an inlet that leads nowhere. If you get in,
you have got to get out again the same way. These,
and the frequent runrounds which come into the
river again, would embarrass an inexperienced voyager
not a little.
The carry around Pockwockomus Falls was exceed-


ingly rough and rocky, the batteau having to be lifted
directly from the water up four or five feet on to a rock,
and launched again down a similar bank. The rocks
on this portage were covered with the dents made by
the spikes in the lumberers' boots while staggering
over under the weight of their batteaux; and you could
see where the surface of some large rocks on which
they had rested their batteaux was worn quite smooth
with use. As it was, we had carried over but half the
usual portage at this place for this stage of the water,
and launched our boat in the smooth wave just curving
to the fall, prepared to struggle with the most violent
rapid we had to encounter. The rest of the party
walked over the remainder of the portage, while I re-
mained with the boatmen to assist in warping up. One
had to hold the boat while the others got in to prevent
it from going over the falls. When we had pushed up
the rapids as far as possible, keeping close to the shore,
Tom seized the painter and leaped out upon a rock
just visible in the water, but he lost his footing, not-
withstanding his spiked boots, and was instantly amid
the rapids; but recovering himself by good luck, and
reaching another rock, he passed the painter to me,
who had followed him, and took his place again in the
bows. Leaping from rock to rock in the shoal water,
close to the shore, and now and then getting a bite
with the rope round an upright one, I held the boat
while one reset his pole, and then all three forced it
upward against any rapid. This was warping up."
When a part of us walked round at such a place, we
generally took the precaution to take out the most




valuable part of the baggage for fear of being
As we poled up a swift rapid for half a mile above
Aboljacarmegus Falls, some of the party read their
own marks on the huge logs which lay piled up high
and dry on the rocks on either hand, the relics prob-
ably of a jam which had taken place here in the Great
Freshet in the spring. Many of these would have to
wait for another great freshet, perchance, if they lasted
so long, before they could be got off. It was singular
enough to meet with property of theirs which they had
never seen, and where they had never been before, thus
detained by freshets and rocks when on its way to
them. Methinks that must be where all my property
lies, cast up on the rocks on some distant and unex-
plored stream, and waiting for an unheard-of freshet
to fetch it down. O make haste, ye gods, with your
winds and rains, and start the jam before it rots!
The last half mile carried us to the Sowadnehunk
Deadwater, so called from the stream of the same name,
signifying running between mountains," an important
tributary which comes in a mile above. Here we decided
to camp, about twenty miles from the Dam, at the mouth
of Murch Brook and the Aboljacknagesic, mountain
streams, broad off from Ktaadn, and about a dozen miles
from its summit, having made fifteen miles this day.
We had been told by McCauslin that we should here
find trout enough; so, while some prepared the camp,
the rest fell to fishing. Seizing the birch poles which
some party of Indians, or white hunters, had left on
the shore, and baiting our hooks with pork, and with


trout, as soon as they were caught, we cast our lines
into the mouth of the Aboljacknagesic, a clear, swift,
shallow stream, which came in from Ktaadn. In-
stantly a shoal of white chivin (Leuciscus pulchellus),
silvery roaches, cousin-trout, or what not, large and
small, prowling thereabouts, fell upon our bait, and one
after another were landed amidst the bushes. Anon
their cousins, the true trout, took their turn, and alter-
nately the speckled trout, and the silvery roaches,
swallowed the bait as fast as we could throw in; and
the finest specimens of both that I have ever seen, the
largest one weighing three pounds, were heaved upon
the shore, though at first in vain, to wriggle down into
the water again, for we stood in the boat; but soon we
learned to remedy this evil; for one, who had lost his
hook, stood on shore to catch them as they fell in a
perfect shower around him, sometimes, wet and slip-
pery, full in his face and bosom, as his arms were out-
stretched to receive them. While yet alive, before their
tints had faded, they glistened like the fairest flowers,
the product of primitive rivers; and he could hardly
trust his senses, as he stood over them, that these jewels
should have swam away in that Aboljacknagesic water
for so long, so many dark ages; -these bright fluviatile
flowers, seen of Indians only, made beautiful, the Lord
only knows why, to swim there! I could understand
better for this, the truth of mythology, the fables of
Proteus, and all those beautiful sea-monsters, -how
all history, indeed, put to a terrestrial use, is mere his-
tory; but put to a celestial, is mythology always.
But there is the rough voice of Uncle George, who




commands at the frying-pan, to send over what you've
got, and then you may stay till morning. The pork
sizzles and cries for fish. Luckily for the foolish race,
and this particularly foolish generation of trout, the
night shut down at last, not a little deepened by the
dark side of Ktaadn, which, like a permanent shadow,
reared itself from the eastern bank. Lescarbot, writ-
ing in 1609, tells us that the Sieur Champdor6, who,
with one of the people of the Sieur de Monts, ascended
some fifty leagues up the St. John in 1608, found the
fish so plenty, "qu'en mettant la chaudiere sur le feu
ils en avoient pris suffisamment pour eux disner avant
que l'eau fust chaude." Their descendants here are
no less numerous. So we accompanied Tom into the
woods to cut cedar twigs for our bed. While he went
ahead with the axe and lopped off the smallest twigs of
the flat-leaved cedar, the arbor-vitae of the gardens, we
gathered them up, and returned with them to the boat,
until it was loaded. Our bed was made with as much
care and skill as a roof is shingled; beginning at the
foot, and laying the twig end of the cedar upward, we
advanced to the head, a course at a time, thus succes-
sively covering the stub-ends, and producing a soft and
level bed. For us six it was about ten feet long by six
in breadth. This time we lay under our tent, having
pitched it more prudently with reference to the wind
and the flame, and the usual huge fire blazed in front.
Supper was eaten off a large log, which some freshet
had thrown up. This night we had a dish of arbor-
vite or cedar tea, which the lumberer sometimes uses
when other herbs fail, -


"A quart of arbor-vitae,
To make him strong and mighty," -
but I had no wish to repeat the experiment. It had
too medicinal a taste for my palate. There was the
skeleton of a moose here, whose bones some Indian
hunters had picked on this very spot.
In the night I dreamed of trout-fishing; and, when
at length I awoke, it seemed a fable that this painted
fish swam there so near my couch, and rose to our
hooks the last evening, and I doubted if I had not
dreamed it all. So I arose before dawn to test its truth,
while my companions were still sleeping. There stood
Ktaadn with distinct and cloudless outline in the
moonlight; and the rippling of the rapids was the only
sound to break the stillness. Standing on the shore, I
once more cast my line into the stream, and found the
dream to be real and the fable true. The speckled trout
and silvery roach, like flying-fish, sped swiftly through
the moonlight air, describing bright arcs on the dark
side of Ktaadn, until moonlight, now fading into day-
light, brought satiety to my mind, and the minds of my
companions, who had joined me.
By six o'clock, having mounted our packs and a good
blanketful of trout, ready dressed, and swung up such
baggage and provision as we wished to leave behind
upon the tops of saplings, to be out of the reach of
bears, we started for the summit of the mountain, dis-
tant, as Uncle George said the boatmen called it, about
four miles, but as I judged, and as it proved, nearer
fourteen. He had never been any nearer the mountain
than this, and there was not the slightest trace of man




to guide us farther in this direction. At first, push-
ing a few rods up the Aboljacknagesic, or open-land
stream," we fastened our batteau to a tree, and traveled
up the north side, through burnt lands, now partially
overgrown with young aspens and other shrubbery;
but soon, recrossing this stream, where it was about
fifty or sixty feet wide, upon a jam of logs and rocks,
- and you could cross it by this means almost any-
where, we struck at once for the highest peak, over
a mile or more of comparatively open land, still very
gradually ascending the while. Here it fell to my lot,
as the oldest mountain-climber, to take the lead. So,
scanning the woody side of the mountain, which lay
still at an indefinite distance, stretched out some seven
or eight miles in length before us, we determined to
steer directly for the base of the highest peak, leaving a
large slide, by which, as I have since learned, some of our
predecessors ascended, on our left. This course would
lead us parallel to a dark seam in the forest, which
marked the bed of a torrent, and over a slight spur,
which extended southward from the main mountain,
from whose bare summit we could get an outlook over
the country, and climb directly up the peak, which
would then be close at hand. Seen from this point, a
bare ridge at the extremity of the open land, Ktaadn
presented a different aspect from any mountain I have
seen, there being a greater proportion of naked rock
rising abruptly from the forest; and we looked up at
this blue barrier as if it were some fragment of a wall
which anciently bounded the earth in that direction.
Setting the compass for a northeast course, which was


the bearing of the southern base of the highest peak,
we were soon buried in the woods.
We soon began to meet with traces of bears and
moose, and those of rabbits were everywhere visible.
The tracks of moose, more or less recent, to speak lit-
erally, covered every square rod on the sides of the
mountain; and these animals are probably more numer-
ous there now than ever before, being driven into this
wilderness, from all sides, by the settlements. The track
of a full-grown moose is like that of a cow, or larger,
and of the young, like that of a calf. Sometimes we
found ourselves traveling in faint paths, which they had
made, like cow-paths in the woods, only far more in-
distinct, being rather openings, affording imperfect vis-
tas through the dense underwood, than trodden paths;
and everywhere the twigs had been browsed by them,
clipped as smoothly as if by a knife. The bark of trees
was stripped up by them to the height of eight or nine
feet, in long, narrow strips, an inch wide, still showing
the distinct marks of their teeth. We expected nothing
less than to meet a herd of them every moment, and
our Nimrod held his shooting-iron in readiness; but
we did not go out of our way to look for them, and,
though numerous, they are so wary that the unskillful
hunter might range the forest a long time before he
could get sight of one. They are sometimes dangerous
to encounter, and will not turn out for the hunter, but
furiously rush upon him and trample him to death, un-
less he is lucky enough to avoid them by dodging round
a tree.' The largest are nearly as large as a horse, and
weigh sometimes one thousand pounds; and it is said




that they can step over a five-foot gate in their ordinary
walk. They are described as exceedingly awkward-look-
ing animals, with their long legs and short bodies,
making a ludicrous figure when in full run, but making
great headway, nevertheless. It seemed a mystery to us
how they could thread these woods, which it required
all our suppleness to accomplish,- climbing, stooping,
and winding, alternately. They are said to drop their
long and branching horns, which usually spread five
or six feet, on their backs, and make their way easily
by the weight of their bodies. Our boatmen said, but
I know not with how much truth, that their horns are
apt to be gnawed away by vermin while they sleep.
Their flesh, which is more like beef than venison, is
common in Bangor market.
We had proceeded on thus seven or eight miles, till
about noon, with frequent pauses to refresh the-weary
ones, crossing a considerable mountain stream, which
we conjectured to be Murch Brook, at whose mouth we
had camped, all the time in woods, without having once
seen the summit, and rising very gradually, when the
boatmen beginning to despair a little, and fearing that
we were leaving the mountain on one side of us, for
they had not entire faith in the compass, McCauslin
climbed a tree, from the top of which he could see the
peak, when it appeared that we had not swerved from
a right line, the compass down below still ranging with
his arm, which pointed to the summit. By the side of
a cool mountain rill, amid the woods, where the water
began to partake of the purity and transparency of the
air, we stopped to cook some of our fishes, which we had


brought thus far in order to save our hard-bread and
pork, in the use of which we had put ourselves on short
allowance. We soon had a fire blazing, and stood around
it, under the damp and sombre forest of firs and birches,
each with a sharpened stick, three or four feet in length,
upon which he had spitted his trout, or roach, previ-
ously well gashed and salted, our sticks radiating likd
the spokes of a wheel from one centre, and each crowd-
ing his particular fish into the most desirable exposure,
not with the truest regard always to his neighbor's
rights. Thus we regaled ourselves, drinking meanwhile
at the spring, till one man's pack, at least, was con-
siderably lightened, when we again took up our line of
At length we reached an elevation sufficiently bare
to afford a view of the summit, still distant and blue,
almost as if retreating from us. A torrent, which proved
to be the same we had crossed, was seen tumbling
down in front, literally from out of the clouds. But this
glimpse at our whereabouts was soon lost, and we were
buried in the woods again. The wood was chiefly yel-
low birch, spruce, fir, mountain-ash, or round-wood,
as the Maine people call it, and moose-wood. It was
the worst kind of traveling; sometimes like the densest
scrub oak patches with us. The cornel, or bunch-ber-
ries, were very abundant, as well as Solomon's-seal and
moose-berries. Blueberries were distributed along our
whole route: and in one place the bushes were droop-
ing with the weight of the fruit, still as fresh as ever.
It was the 7th of September. Such patches afforded a
grateful repast, and served to bait the tired party for-




ward. When any lagged behind, the cry of "blueber-
ries" was most effectual to bring them up. Even at
this elevation we passed through a moose-yard, formed
by a large flat rock, four or five rods square, where
they tread down the snow in winter. At length, fearing
that if we held the direct course to the summit, we
should not find any water near our camping-ground,
we gradually swerved to the west, till, at four o'clock,
we struck again the torrent which I have mentioned,
and here, in view of the summit, the weary party de-
cided to camp that night.
While my companions were seeking a suitable spot
for this purpose, I improved the little daylight that was
left in climbing the mountain alone. We were in a
deep and narrow ravine, sloping up to the clouds, at
an angle of nearly forty-five degrees, and hemmed in
by walls of rock, which were at first covered with low
trees, then with impenetrable thickets of scraggy birches
and spruce trees, and with moss, but at last bare of all
vegetation but lichens, and almost continually draped
in clouds. Following up the course of the torrent which
occupied this, and I mean to lay some emphasis on
this word up, pulling myself up by the side of per-
pendicular falls of twenty or thirty feet, by the roots of
firs and birches, and then, perhaps, walking a level rod
or two in the thin stream, for it took up the whole
road, ascending by huge steps, as it were, a giant's
stairway, down which a river flowed, I had soon cleared
the trees, and paused on the successive shelves, to look
back over the country. The torrent was from fifteen
to thirty feet wide, without a tributary, and seemingly


not diminishing in breadth as I advanced; but still it
came rushing and roaring down, with a copious tide,
over and amidst masses of bare rock, from the very
clouds, as though a waterspout had just burst over
the mountain. Leaving this at last, I began to work
my way, scarcely less arduous than Satan's anciently
through Chaos, up the nearest though not the highest
peak. At first scrambling on all fours over the tops of
ancient black spruce trees (Abies nigra), old as the flood,
from two to ten or twelve feet in height, their tops flat
and spreading, and their foliage blue, and nipped with
cold, as if for centuries they had ceased growing up-
ward against the bleak sky, the solid cold. I walked
some good rods erect upon the tops of these trees, which
were overgrown with moss and mountain cranberries.
It seemed that in the course of time they had filled
up the intervals between the huge rocks, and the cold
wind had uniformly leveled all over. Here the prin-
ciple of vegetation was hard put to it. There was ap-
parently a belt of this kind running quite round the
mountain, though, perhaps, nowhere so remarkable as
here. Once, slumping through, I looked down ten feet,
into a dark and cavernous region, and saw the stem of
a spruce, on whose top I stood, as on a mass of coarse
basket-work, fully nine inches in diameter at the ground.
These holes were bears' dens, and the bears were even
then at home. This was the sort of garden I made my
way over, for an eighth of a mile, at the risk, it is true,
of treading on some of the plants, not seeing any path
through it, certainly the most treacherous and porous
country I ever traveled.




Nigh foundered on he fares,
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,
Half flying,"
But nothing could exceed the toughness of the twigs,
- not one snapped under my weight, for they had
slowly grown. Having slumped, scrambled, rolled,
bounced, and walked, by turns, over this scraggy coun-
try, I arrived upon a side-hill, or rather side-mountain,
where rocks, gray, silent rocks, were the flocks and
herds that pastured, chewing a rocky cud at sunset.
They looked at me with hard gray eyes, without a bleat
or a low. This brought me to the skirt of a cloud, and
bounded my walk that night. But I had already seen
that Maine country when I turned about, waving, flow-
ing, rippling, down below.
When I returned to my companions, they had se-
lected a camping-ground on the torrent's edge, and
were resting on the ground; one was on the sick list,
rolled in a blanket, on a damp shelf of rock. It was
a savage and dreary scenery enough, so wildly rough,
that they looked long to find a level and open space
for the tent. We could not well camp higher, for want
of fuel; and the trees here seemed so evergreen and
sappy, that we almost doubted if they would acknow-
ledge the influence of fire; but fire prevailed at last, and
blazed here, too, like a good citizen of the world. Even
at this height we met with frequent traces of moose,
as well as of bears. As here was no cedar, we made
our bed of coarser feathered spruce; but at any rate
the feathers were plucked from the live tree. It was,
perhaps, even a more grand and desolate place for a


night's lodging than the summit would have been, being
in the neighborhood of those wild trees, and of the
torrent. Some more aerial and finer-spirited winds
rushed and roared through the ravine all night, from
time to time arousing our fire, and dispersing the em-
bers about. It was as if we lay in the very nest of a
young whirlwind. At midnight, one of my bed-fellows,
being startled in his dreams by the sudden blazing
up to its top of a fir tree, whose green boughs were
dried by the heat, sprang up, with a cry, from his bed,
thinking the world on fire, and drew the whole camp
after him.
In the morning, after whetting our appetite on some
raw pork, a wafer of hard-bread, and a dipper of con-
densed cloud or waterspout, we all together began to
make our way up the falls, which I have described;
this time choosing the right hand, or highest peak,
which was not the one I had approached before. But
soon my companions were lost to my sight behind the
mountain ridge in my rear, which still seemed ever re-
treating before me, and I climbed alone over huge rocks,
loosely poised, a mile or more, still edging toward the
clouds; for though the day was clear elsewhere, the
summit was concealed by mist. The mountain seemed
a vast aggregation of loose rocks, as if some time it had
rained rocks, and they lay as they fell on the moun-
tain sides, nowhere fairly at rest, but leaning on each
other, all rocking stones, with cavities between, but
scarcely any soil or smoother shelf. They were the raw
materials of a planet dropped from an unseen quarry,
which the vast chemistry of nature would anon work




up, or work down, into the smiling and verdant plains
and valleys of earth. This was an undone extremity
of the globe; as in lignite we see coal in the process of
At length I entered within the skirts of the cloud
which seemed forever drifting over the summit, and yet
would never be gone, but was generated out of that
pure air as fast as it flowed away; and when, a quarter
of a mile farther, I reached the summit of the ridge,
which those who have seen in clearer weather say is
about five miles long, and contains a thousand acres of
table-land, I was deep within the hostile ranks of clouds,
and all objects were obscured by them. Now the wind
would blow me out a yard of clear sunlight, wherein I
stood; then a gray, dawning light was all it could ac-
complish, the cloud-line ever rising and falling with the
wind's intensity. Sometimes it seemed as if the sum-
mit would be cleared in a few moments, and smile in
sunshine; but what was gained on one side was lost on
another. It was like sitting in a chimney and waiting
for the smoke to blow away. It was, in fact, a cloud-
factory, -these were the cloud-works, and the wind
turned them off done from the cool, bare rocks. Occa-
sionally, when the windy columns broke in to me, I
caught sight of a dark, damp crag to the right or left;
the mist driving ceaselessly between it and me. It
reminded me of the creations of the old epic and dra-
matic poets, of Atlas, Vulcan, the Cyclops, and Prome-
theus. Such was Caucasus and the rock where Prome-
theus was bound. 1Eschylus had no doubt visited such
scenery as this. It was vast, Titanic, and such as man


never inhabits. Some part of the beholder, even some
vital part, seems to escape through the loose grating of
his ribs as he ascends. He is more lone than you can
imagine. There is less of substantial thought and fair
understanding in him than in the plains where men in-
habit. His reason is dispersed and shadowy, more thin
and subtile, like the air. Vast, Titanic, inhuman Na-
ture has got him at disadvantage, caught him alone,
and pilfers him of some of his divine faculty. She does
not smile on him as in the plains. She seems to say
sternly, Why came ye here before your time. This
ground is not prepared for you. Is it not enough that
I smile in the valleys? I have never made this soil for
thy feet, this air for thy breathing, these rocks for thy
neighbors. I cannot pity nor fondle thee here, but for-
ever relentlessly drive thee hence to where I am kind.
Why seek me where I have not called thee, and then
complain because you find me but a stepmother?
Shouldst thou freeze or starve, or shudder thy life away,
here is no shrine, nor altar, nor any access to my ear.
"Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy
With purpose to explore or to disturb
The secrets of your realm, but .
as my way
Lies through your spacious empire up to light."

The tops of mountains are among the unfinished
parts of the globe, whither it is a slight insult to the
gods to climb and pry into their secrets, and try their
effect on our humanity. Only daring and insolent men,
perchance, go there. Simple races, as savages, do not
climb mountains, their tops are sacred and mysteri-




ous tracts never visited by them. Pomola is always
angry with those who climb to the summit of Ktaadn.
According to Jackson, who, in his capacity of geo-
logical surveyor of the State, has accurately measured
it, the altitude of Ktaadn is 5300 feet, or a little more
than one mile above the level of the sea, and he adds,
" It is then evidently the highest point in the State of
Maine, and is the most abrupt granite mountain in New
England." The peculiarities of that spacious table-land
on which I was standing, as well as the remarkable
semicircular precipice or basin on the eastern side, were
all concealed by the mist. I had brought my whole
pack to the top, not knowing but I should have to
make my descent to the river, and possibly to the settled
portion of the State alone, and by some other route, and
wishing to have a complete outfit with me. But at length
fearing that my companions would be anxious to reach
the river before night, and knowing that the clouds
might rest on the mountain for days, I was compelled
to descend. Occasionally, as I came down, the wind
would blow me a vista open, through which I could see
the country eastward, boundless forests, and lakes, and
streams, gleaming in the sun, some of them eniptying
into the East Branch. There were also new mountains
in sight in that direction. Now and then some small
bird of the sparrow family would flit away before me,
unable to command its course, like a fragment of the
gray rock blown off by the wind.
I found my companions where I had left them, on
the side of the peak, gathering the mountain cranberries,
which filled every crevice between the rocks, together


with blueberries, which had a spicier flavor the higher
up they grew, but were not the less agreeable to our
palates. When the country is settled, and roads are
made, these cranberries will perhaps become an article of
commerce. From this elevation, just on the skirts of the
clouds, we could overlook the country, west and south,
for a hundred miles. There it was, the State of Maine,
which we had seen on the map, but not much like that, -
immeasurable forest for the sun to shine on, that east-
ern stuff we hear of in Massachusetts. No clearing, no
house. It did not look as if a solitary traveler had cut
so much as a walking-stick there. Countless lakes, -
Moosehead in the southwest, forty miles long by ten
wide, like a gleaming silver platter at the end of the
table; Chesuncook, eighteen long by three wide, without
an island; Millinocket, on the south, with its hundred
islands; and a hundred others without a name; and
mountains, also, whose names, for the most part, are
known only to the Indians. The forest looked like a
firm grass sward, and the effect of these lakes in its
midst has been well compared, by one who has since
visited this same spot, to that of a mirror broken into
a thousand fragments, and wildly scattered over the
grass, reflecting the full blaze of the sun." It was a
large farm for somebody, when cleared. According to
the Gazetteer, which was printed before the boundary
question was settled, this single Penobscot County, in
which we were, was larger than the whole State of
Vermont, with its fourteen counties; and this was only
a part of the wild lands of Maine. We are concerned
now, however, about natural, not political limits. We




were about eighty miles, as the bird flies, from Bangor,
or one hundred and fifteen, as we had ridden, and
walked, and paddled. We had to console ourselves
with the reflection that this view was probably as good
as that from the peak, as far as it went; and what were
a mountain without its attendant clouds and mists ?
Like ourselves, neither Bailey nor Jackson had obtained
a clear view from the summit.
Setting out on our return to the river, still at an early
hour in the day, we decided to follow the course of
the torrent, which we supposed to be Murch Brook, as
long as it would not lead us too far out of our way.
We thus traveled about four miles in the very torrent
itself, continually crossing and recrossing it, leaping
from rock to rock, and jumping with the stream down
falls of seven or eight feet, or sometimes sliding down
on our backs in a thin sheet of water. This ravine
had been the scene of an extraordinary freshet in the
spring, apparently accompanied by a slide from the
mountain. It must have been filled with a stream of
stones and water, at least twenty feet above the present
level of the torrent. For a rod or two, on either side of
its channel, the trees were barked and splintered up to
their tops, the birches bent over, twisted, and sometimes
finely split, like a stable-broom; some, a foot in dia-
meter, snapped off, and whole clumps of trees bent
over with the weight of rocks piled on them. In one
place we noticed a rock, two or three feet in diameter,
lodged nearly twenty feet high in the crotch of a tree.
For the whole four miles we saw but one rill emptying
in, and the volume of water did not seem to be increased


from the first. We traveled thus very rapidly with a
downward impetus, and grew remarkably expert at leap-
ing from rock to rock, for leap we must, and leap we did,
whether there was any rock at the right distance or not.
It was a pleasant picture when the foremost turned
about and looked up the winding ravine, walled in with
rocks and the green forest, to see, at intervals of a rod
or two, a red-shirted or green-jacketed mountaineer
against the white torrent, leaping down the channel
with his pack on his back, or pausing upon a conven-
ient rock in the midst of the torrent to mend a rent in
his clothes, or unstrap the dipper at his belt to take a
draught of the water. At one place we were startled by
seeing, on a little sandy shelf by the side of the stream,
the fresh print of a man's foot, and for a moment real-
ized how Robinson Crusoe felt in a similar case; but
at last we remembered that we had struck this stream
on our way up, though we could not have told where,
and one had descended into the ravine for a drink.
The cool air above and the continual bathing of our
bodies in mountain water, alternate foot, sitz, douche,
and plunge baths, made this walk exceedingly refresh-
ing, and we had traveled only a mile or two, after
leaving the torrent, before every thread of our clothes
was as dry as usual, owing perhaps to a peculiar qual-
ity in the atmosphere.
After leaving the torrent, being in doubt about our
course, Tom threw down his pack at the foot of the
loftiest spruce tree at hand, and shinned up the bare
trunk some twenty feet, and then climbed through the
green tower, lost to our sight, until he held the topmost




spray in his hand.' McCauslin, in his younger days,
had marched through the wilderness with a body of
troops, under General Somebody, and with one other
man did all the scouting and spying service. The
General's word was, "Throw down the top of that
tree," and there was no tree in the Maine woods so
high that it did not lose its top in such a case. I have
heard a story of two men being lost once in these woods,
nearer to the settlements than this, who climbed the
loftiest pine they could find, some six feet in diameter
at the ground, from whose top they discovered a soli-
tary clearing and its smoke. When at this height, some
two hundred feet from the ground, one of them became
dizzy, and fainted in his companion's arms, and the
latter had to accomplish the descent with him, alter-
nately fainting and reviving, as best he could. To Tom
we cried, Where away does the summit bear ? where
the burnt lands ?" The last he could only conjecture;
he described, however, a little meadow and pond, lying
probably in our course, which we concluded to steer
for. On reaching this secluded meadow, we found
fresh tracks of moose on the shore of the pond, and the
water was still unsettled as if they had fled before us.
1 "The spruce tree," says Springer in '51, "is generally selected,
principally for the superior facilities which its numerous limbs afford
the climber. To gain the first limbs of this tree, which are from twenty
to forty feet from the ground, a smaller tree is undercut and lodged
against it, clambering up which the top of the spruce is reached. In
some cases, when a very elevated position is desired, the spruce tree
is lodged against the trunk of some lofty pine, up which we ascend to
a height twice that of the surrounding forest."
To indicate the direction of pines, one throws down a branch, and
a man on the ground takes the bearing.


A little farther, in a dense thicket, we seemed to be
still on their trail. It was a small meadow, of a few
acres, on the mountain-side, concealed by the forest,
and perhaps never seen by a white man before, where
one would think that the moose might browse and
bathe, and rest in peace. Pursuing this course, we soon
reached the open land, which went sloping down some
miles toward the Penobscot.
Perhaps I most fully realized that this was primeval,
untained, and forever untamable Nature, or whatever
else men call it, while coming down this part of the
mountain. We were passing over "Burnt Lands,"
burnt by lightning, perchance, though they showed no
recent marks of fire, hardly so much as a charred
stump, but looked rather like a natural pasture for the
moose and deer, exceedingly wild and desolate, with
occasional strips of timber crossing them, and low pop-
lars springing up, and patches of blueberries here and
there. I found myself traversing them familiarly, like
some pasture run to waste, or partially reclaimed by
man; but when I reflected what man, what brother or
sister or kinsman of our race made it and claimed it,
I expected the proprietor to rise up and dispute my
passage. It is difficult to conceive of a region unin-
habited by man. We habitually presume his presence
and influence everywhere. And yet we have not seen
pure Nature, unless we have seen her thus vast and
drear and inhuman, though in the midst of cities. Na-
ture was here something savage and awful, though
beautiful. I looked with awe at the ground I trod on,
to see what the Powers had made there, the form and




fashion and material of their work. This was that
Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and
Old Night. Here was no man's garden, but the un-
handseled globe. It was not lawn, nor pasture, nor
mead, nor woodland, nor lea, nor arable, nor waste
land. It was the fresh and natural surface of the planet
Earth, as it was made forever and ever, to be the
dwelling of man, we say, -so Nature made it, and
man may use it if he can. Man was not to be as-
sociated with it. It was Matter, vast, terrific, not
his Mother Earth that we have heard of, not for him
to tread on, or be buried in, no, it were being too
familiar even to let his bones lie there, -the home,
this, of Necessity and Fate. There was clearly felt the
presence of a force not bound to be kind to man. It
was a place for heathenism and superstitious rites, -
to be inhabited by men nearer of kin to the rocks and
to wild animals than we. We walked over it with a
certain awe, stopping, from time to time, to pick the
blueberries which grew there, and had a smart and
spicy taste. Perchance where our wild pines stand,
and leaves lie on their forest floor, in Concord, there
were once reapers, and husbandmen planted grain; but
here not even the surface had been 'scarred by man,
but it was a specimen of what God saw fit to make this
world. What is it to be admitted to a museum; to
see a myriad of particular things, compared with being
shown some star's surface, some hard matter in its
home! I stand in awe of my body, this matter to which
I am bound has become so strange to me. I fear not
spirits, ghosts, of which I am one, that my body


might, but I fear bodies, I tremble to meet them.
What is this Titan that has possession of me ? Talk
of mysteries! Think of our life in nature, daily to
be shown matter, to come in contact with it, rocks,
trees, wind on our cheeks! the solid earth! the actual
world! the common sense I Contact I Contact! Who
are we ? where are we ?
Erelong we recognized some rocks and other features
in the landscape which we had purposely impressed on
our inemories, and, quickening our pace, by two o'clock
we reached the batteau.' Here we had expected to
dine on trout, but in this glaring sunlight they were
slow to take the bait, so we were compelled to make
the most of the crumbs of our hard-bread and our
pork, which were both nearly exhausted. Meanwhile
we deliberated whether we should go up the river a mile
farther, to Gibson's clearing, on the Sowadnehunk,
where there was a deserted log hut, in order to get a
half-inch auger, to mend one of our spike-poles with.
There were young spruce trees enough around us, and
we had a spare spike, but nothing to make a hole with.
But as it was uncertain whether we should find any
tools left there, we patched up the broken pole, as well
as we could, for the downward voyage, in which there
would be but little use for it. Moreover, we were un-
willing to lose any time in this expedition, lest the wind
should rise before we reached the larger lakes, and de-
tain us; for a moderate wind produces quite.a sea on
1 The bears had not touched things on our possessions. They some-
times tear a batteau to pieces for the sake of the tar with which it is




these waters, in which a batteau will not live for a
moment; and on one occasion McCauslin had been
delayed a week at the head of the North Twin, which
is only four miles across. We were nearly out of
provisions, and ill prepared in this respect for what
might possibly prove a week's journey round by
the shore, fording innumerable streams, and threading
a trackless forest, should any accident happen to our
It was with regret that we turned our backs on Che-
suncook, which McCauslin had formerly logged on,
and the Allegash lakes. There were still longer rapids
and portages above; among the last the Ripogenus
Portage, which he described as the most difficult on the
river, and three miles long. The whole length of the
Penobscot is two hundred and seventy-five miles, and
we are still nearly one hundred miles from its source.
Hodge, the Assistant State Geologist, passed up this
river in 1837, and by a portage of only one mile and
three quarters crossed over into the Allegash, and so
went down that into the St. John, and up the Mada-
waska to the Grand Portage across to the St. Lawrence.
His is the only account that I know of an expedition
through to Canada in this direction. He thus describes
his first sight of the latter river, which, to compare
small things with great, is like Balboa's first sight of the
Pacific from the mountains of the Isthmus of Darien.
" When we first came in sight of the St. Lawrence," he
says, "from the top of a high hill, the view was most
striking, and much more interesting to me from having
been shut up in the woods for the two previous months.


Directly before us lay the broad river, extending across
nine or ten miles, its surface broken by a few islands
and reefs, and two ships riding at anchor near the
shore. Beyond, extended ranges of uncultivated hills,
parallel with the river. The sun was just going down
behind them, and gilding the whole scene with its part-
ing rays."
About four o'clock, the same afternoon, we com-
menced our return voyage, which would require but
little if any poling. In shooting rapids the boatmen
use large and broad paddles, instead of poles, to guide
.the boat with. Though we glided so swiftly, and often
smoothly, down, where it had cost us no slight effort
to get up, our present voyage was attended with far
more danger; for if we once fairly struck one of the
thousand rocks by which we were surrounded, the boat
would be swamped in an instant. When a boat is
swamped under these circumstances, the boatmen com-
monly find no difficulty in keeping afloat at first, for
the current keeps both them and their cargo up for a
long way down the stream; and if they can swim, they
have only to work their way gradually to the shore.
The greatest danger is of being caught in an eddy be-
hind some larger rock, where the water rushes up stream
faster than elsewhere it does down, and being carried
round and round under the surface till they are drowned.
McCauslin pointed out some rocks which had been the
scene of a fatal accident of this kind. Sometimes the
body is not thrown out for several hours. He himself
had performed such a circuit once, only his legs being
visible to his companions; but he was fortunately




thrown out in season to recover his breath.1 In shoot-
ing the rapids, the boatman has this problem to solve:
to choose a circuitous and safe course amid a thousand
sunken rocks, scattered over a quarter or half a mile,
at the same time that he is moving steadily on at' the
rate of fifteen miles an hour. Stop he cannot; the only
question is, where will he go ? The bowman chooses
the course with all his eyes about him, striking broad
off with his paddle, and drawing the boat by main
force into her course. The sternman faithfully follows
the bow.
We were soon at the Aboljacarmegus Falls. Anxious
to avoid the delay, as well as the labor, of the portage
here, our boatmen went forward first to reconnoitre,
and concluded to let the batteau down the falls, carry-
ing the baggage only over the portage. Jumping from
rock to rock until nearly in the middle of the stream,
we were ready to receive the boat and let her down over
the first fall, some six or seven feet perpendicular. The
boatmen stand upon the edge of a shelf of rock, where
the fall is perhaps nine or ten feet perpendicular, in
from one to two feet of rapid water, one on each.side
of the boat, and let it slide gently over, till the bow is
run out ten or twelve feet in the air; then, letting it
drop squarely, while one holds the painter, the other
leaps in, and his companion following, they are whirled

1 I cut this from a newspaper: "On the llth (instant ?) [May, '49],
on Rappogenes Falls, Mr. John Delantee, of Orono, Me., was drowned
while running logs. He was a citizen of Orono, and was twenty-six
years of age. His companions found his body, enclosed it in bark, and
buried it in the solemn woods."


down the rapids to a new fall or to smooth water. In
a very few minutes they had accomplished a passage in
safety, which would be as foolhardy for the unskillful
to attempt as the descent of Niagara itself. It seemed
as if it needed only a little familiarity, and a little more
skill, to navigate down such falls as Niagara itself with
safety. At any rate, I should not despair of such men
in the rapids above Table Rock, until I saw them ac-
tually go over the falls, so cool, so collected, so fertile
in resources are they. One might have thought that
these were falls, and that falls were not to be waded
through with impunity, like a mud-puddle. There was
really danger of their losing their sublimity in losing
their power to harm us. Familiarity breeds contempt.
The boatman pauses, perchance, on some shelf beneath
a table-rock under the fall, standing in some cove of
backwater two feet deep, and you hear his rough voice
come up through the spray, coolly giving directions how
to launch the boat this time.
Having carried round Pockwockomus Falls, our oars
soon brought us to the Katepskonegan, or Oak Hall
carry, where we decided to camp half-way over,,leaving
our batteau to be carried over in the morning on fresh
shoulders. One shoulder of each of the boatmen showed
a red spot as large as one's hand, worn by the batteau
on this expedition; and this shoulder, as it did all the
work, was perceptibly lower than its fellow, from long
service. Such toil soon wears out the strongest consti-
tution. The drivers are accustomed to work in the cold
water in the spring, rarely ever dry; and if one falls in all
over he rarely changes his clothes till night, if then, even.




One who takes this precaution is called by a particular
nickname, or is turned off. None can lead this life who
are not almost amphibious. McCauslin said soberly,
what is at any rate a good story to tell, that he had seen
where six men were wholly under water at once, at a
jam, with their shoulders to handspikes. If the log did
not start, then they had to put out their heads to breathe.
The driver works as long as he can see, from dark to
dark, and at night has not time to eat his supper and
dry his clothes fairly, before he is asleep on his cedar
bed. We lay that night on the very bed made by such
a party, stretching our tent over the poles which were
still standing, but re-shingling the damp and faded bed
with fresh leaves.
In the morning we carried our boat over and launched
it, making haste lest the wind should rise. The boat-
men ran down Passamagamet, and soon after Ambejijis
Falls, while we walked round with the baggage. We
made a hasty breakfast at the head of Ambejijis Lake
on the remainder of our pork, and were soon rowing
across its smooth surface again, under a pleasant sky,
the mountain being now clear of clouds in the north-
east. Taking turns at the oars, we shot rapidly across
Deep Cove, the foot of Pamadumcook, and the North
Twin, at the rate of six miles an hour, the wind not being
high enough to disturb us, and reached the Dam at noon.
The boatmen went through one of the log sluices in the
batteau, where the fall was ten feet at the bottom, and
took us in below. Here was the longest rapid in our
voyage, and perhaps the running this was as dangerous
and arduous a task as any. Shooting down sometimes


at the rate, as we judged, of fifteen miles an hour, if
we struck a rock we were split from end to end in an
instant. Now like a bait bobbing for some river mon-
ster, amid the eddies, now darting to this side of the
stream, now to that, gliding swift and smooth near to
our destruction, or striking broad off with the paddle
and drawing the boat to right or left with all our might,
in order to avoid a rock. I suppose that it was like
running the rapids of the Sault Sainte Marie, at the
outlet of Lake Superior, and our boatmen probably
displayed no less dexterity than the Indians there do.
We soon ran through this mile, and floated in Quakish
After such a voyage, the troubled and angry waters,
which once had seemed terrible and not to be trifled
with, appeared tamed and subdued; they had been
bearded and worried in their channels, pricked and
whipped into submission with the spike-pole and pad-
dle, gone through and through with impunity, and all
their spirit and their danger taken out of them, and the
most swollen and impetuous rivers seemed but playthings
henceforth. I began, at length, to understand the boat-
man's familiarity with, and contempt for, the rapids.
" Those Fowler boys," said Mrs. McCauslin, are per-
fect ducks for the water." They had run down to
Lincoln, according to her, thirty or forty miles, in a
batteau, in the night, for a doctor, when it was so dark
that they could not see a rod before them, and the river
was swollen so as to be almost a continuous rapid, so
that the doctor cried, when they brought him up by day-
light, "Why, Tom, how did you see to steer?" "We




did n't steer much, only kept her straight." And yet
they met with no accident. It is true, the more difficult
rapids are higher up than this.
When we reached the Millinocket opposite to Tom's
house, and were waiting for his folks to set us over, -
for we had left our batteau above the Grand Falls, -
we discovered two canoes, with two men in each, turn-
ing up this stream from Shad Pond, one keeping the
opposite side of a small island before us, while the other
approached the side where we were standing, examin-
ing the banks carefully formuskrats as they came along.
The last proved to be Louis Neptune and his compan-
ion, now, at last, on their way up to Chesuncook after
moose, but they were so disguised that we hardly knew
them. At a little distance they might have been taken
for Quakers, with their broad-brimmed hats and over-
coats with broad capes, the spoils of Bangor, seeking a
settlement in this Sylvania, -or, nearer at hand, for
fashionable gentlemen the morning after a spree. Met
face to face, these Indians in their native woods looked
like the sinister and slouching fellows whom you meet
picking up strings and paper in the streets of a city.
There is, in fact, a remarkable and unexpected resem-
blance between the degraded savage and the lowest
classes in a great city. The one is no more a child of
nature than the other. In the progress of degradation
the distinction of races is soon lost. Neptune at first
was only anxious to know what we kill," seeing some
.partridges in the hands of one of the party, but we
had assumed too much anger to permit of a reply. We
thought Indians had some honor before. But Me


been sick. Oh, me unwell now. You make bargain,
then me go." They had in fact been delayed so long by
a drunken frolic at the Five Islands, and they had not
yet recovered from its effects. They had some young
musquash in their canoes, which they dug out of the
banks with a hoe, for food, not for their skins, for
musquash are their principal food on these expeditions.
So they went on up the Millinocket, and we kept down
the bank of the Penobscot, after recruiting ourselves
with a draught of Tom's beer, leaving Tom at his
Thus a man shall lead his life away here on the edge
of the wilderness, on Indian Millinocket Stream, in a
new world, far in the dark of a continent, and have a
flute to play at evening here, while his strains echo to
the stars, amid the howling of wolves; shall live, as it
were, in the primitive age of the world, a primitive man.
Yet he shall spend a sunny day, and in this century be
my contemporary; perchance shall read some scattered
leaves of literature, and sometimes talk with me. Why
read history, then, if the ages and the generations are
now ? He lives three thousand years deep into time, an
age not yet described by poets. Can you well go further
back in history than this ? Ay! ay!- for there turns up
but now into the mouth of Millinocket Stream a still
more ancient and primitive man, whose history is not
brought down even to the former. In a bark vessel
sewn with the roots of the spruce, with horn-beam pad-
dles, he dips his way along. He is but dim and misty
to me, obscured by the eons that lie between the bark
canoe and the batteau. He builds no house of logs, but




a wigwam of skins. He eats no hot bread and sweet
cake, but musquash and moose meat and the fat of
bears. He glides up the Millinocket and is lost to my
sight, as a more distant and misty cloud is seen flitting
by behind a nearer, and is lost in space. So he goes
about his destiny, the red face of man.
After having passed the night, and buttered our boots
for the last time, at Uncle George's, whose dogs almost
devoured him for joy at his return, we kept on down
the river the next day, about eight miles on foot, and
then took a batteau, with a man to pole it, to Matta-
wamkeag, ten more. At the middle of that very night,
to make a swift conclusion to a long story, we dropped
our buggy over the half-finished bridge at Oldtown,
where we heard the confused din and clink of a hun-
dred saws, which never rest, and at six o'clock the next
morning one of the party was steaming his way to

What is most striking in the Maine wilderness is the
continuousness of the forest, with fewer open inter-
vals or glades than you had imagined. Except the few
burnt lands, the narrow intervals on the rivers, the
bare tops of the high mountains, and the lakes and
streams, the forest is uninterrupted. It is even more
grim and wild than you had anticipated, a damp and
intricate wilderness, in the spring everywhere wet and
miry. The aspect of the country, indeed, is universally
stern and savage, excepting the distant views of the
forest from hills, and the lake prospects, which are
mild and civilizing in a degree. The lakes are some-


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