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One of the paddles rested on the cross-bars in the bows.
I took the canoe upon my head and found that I could



208 THE MAINE WOODS

carry it with ease, though the straps were not fitted to
my shoulders ; but I let him carry it, not caring to estab
lish a different precedent, though he said that if I would
carry the canoe, he would take all the rest of the bag
gage, except my companion's. This shingle remained
tied to the cross-bar throughout the voyage, was always
ready for the carries, and also served to protect the back
of one passenger.

We were obliged to go over this carry twice, our load
was so great. But the carries were an agreeable variety,
and we improved the opportunity to gather the rare
plants which we had seen, when we returned empty
handed.

We reached the Penobscot about four o'clock, and
found there some St. Francis Indians encamped on the
bank, in the same place where I camped with four
Indians four years before. They were making a canoe,
and, as then, drying moose-meat. The meat looked very
suitable to make a black broth at least. Our Indian said
it was not good. Their camp was covered with spruce
bark. They had got a young moose, taken in the river
a fortnight before, confined.in a sort of cage of logs piled
up cob-fashion, seven or eight feet high. It was quite
tame, about four feet high, and covered with moose-
flies. There was a large quantity of cornel (C. stoloni-
fera), red maple, and also willow and aspen boughs,
stuck through between the logs on all sides, butt ends
out, and on their leaves it was browsing. It looked at
first as if it were in a bower rather than a pen.

Our Indian said that he used black spruce roots to sew
canoes with, obtaining it from high lands or mountains.



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 209

The St. Francis Indian thought that white spruce roots
might be best. But the former said, " No good, break,
can't split 'em ; " also that they were hard to get, deep
in ground, but the black were near the surface, on higher
land, as well as tougher. He said that the white spruce
was subekoondark, black, skusk. I told him I thought
that I could make a canoe, but he expressed great doubt
of it ; at any rate, he thought that my work would not be
" neat " the first time. An Indian at Greenville had told
me that the winter bark, that is, bark taken off before
the sap flows in May, was harder and much better than
summer bark.

Having reloaded, we paddled down the Penobscot,
which, as the Indian remarked, and even I detected,
remembering how it looked before, was uncommonly
full. We soon after saw a splendid yellow lily (Lilium
Canadense) by the shore, which I plucked. It was six
feet high, and had twelve flowers, in two whorls, forming
a pyramid, such as I have seen in Concord. We after
ward saw many more thus tall along this stream, and
also still more numerous on the East Branch, and, on the
latter, one which I thought approached yet nearer to the
Lilium superbum. The Indian asked what we called it,
and said that the "loots" (roots) were good for soup,
that is, to cook with meat, to thicken it, taking the place
of flour. They get them in the fall. I dug some, and
found a mass of bulbs pretty deep in the earth, two
inches in diameter, looking, and even tasting, somewhat
like raw green corn on the ear.

When we had gone about three miles down the
Penobscot, we saw through the tree-tops a thunder-



210 THE MAINE WOODS

shower coming up in the west, and we looked out a
camping-place in good season, about five o'clock, on the
west side, not far below the mouth of what Joe Aitteon,
in '53, called Lobster Stream, coming from Lobster
Pond. Our present Indian, however, did not admit this
name, nor even that of Matahumkeag, which is on the
map, but called the lake Beskabekuk.

I will describe, once for all, the routine of camping at
this season. We generally told the Indian that we would
stop at the first suitable place, so that he might be on the
lookout for it. Having observed a clear, hard, and flat
beach to land on, free from mud, and from stones which
would injure the canoe, one would run up the bank to
see if there were open and level space enough for the
camp between the trees, or if it could be easily cleared,
preferring at the same time a cool place, on account of
insects. Sometimes we paddled a mile or more before
finding one to our minds, for where the shore was suit
able, the bank would often be too steep, or else too low
and grassy, and therefore mosquitoey. We then took
out the baggage and drew up the canoe, sometimes turn
ing it over on shore for safety. The Indian cut a path to
the spot we had selected, which was usually within two or
three rods of the water, and we carried up our baggage.
One, perhaps, takes canoe birch bark, always at hand,
and dead dry wood or bark, and kindles a fire five or six
feet in front of where we intend to lie. It matters not,
commonly, on which side this is, because there is little
or no wind in so dense a wood at that season ; and then
he gets a kettle of water from the river, and takes out the
pork, bread, coffee, etc., from their several packages.



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 211

Another, meanwhile, having the axe, cuts down the
nearest dead rock maple or other dry hard wood, col
lecting several large logs to last through the night, also a
green stake, with a notch or fork to it, which is slanted
over the fire, perhaps resting on a rock or forked stake,
to hang the kettle on, and two forked stakes and a pole
for the tent.

The third man pitches the tent, cuts a dozen or more
pins with his knife, usually of moose-wood, the common
underwood, to fasten it down with, and then collects an
armful or two of fir twigs, 1 arbor- vitse, spruce, or hem
lock, whichever is at hand, and makes the bed, begin
ning at either end, and laying the twigs wrong side up,
in regular rows, covering the stub ends of the last row;
first, however, filling the hollows, if there are any, with
coarser material. Wrangel says that his guides in Siberia
first strewed a quantity of dry brushwood on the ground,
and then cedar twigs on that.

Commonly, by the time the bed is made, or within
fifteen or twenty minutes, the water boils, the pork is
fried, and supper is ready. We eat this sitting on the
ground, or a stump, if there is any, around a large piece
of birch bark for a table, each holding a dipper in one
hand and a piece of ship-bread or fried pork in the other,
frequently making a pass with his hand, or thrusting his
head into the smoke, to avoid the mosquitoes.

Next, pipes are lit by those who smoke, and veils are
donned by those who have them, and we hastily examine
and dry our plants, anoint our faces and hands, and go
to bed and the mosquitoes.

1 These twigs are called in Rasle's Dictionary Sediak.



THE MAINE WOODS

Though you have nothing to do but see the country,
there 's rarely any time to spare, hardly enough to exam
ine a plant, before the night or drowsiness is upon you.

Such was the ordinary experience, but this evening
we had camped earlier on account of the rain, and had
more time.

We found that our camp to-night was on an old, and
now more than usually indistinct, supply road, running
along the river. What is called a road there shows no
ruts or trace of wheels, for they are not used; nor, in
deed, of runners, since they are used only in the winter
when the snow is several feet deep. It is only an indis
tinct vista through the wood, which it takes an experi
enced eye to detect.

We had no sooner pitched our tent than the thunder-
shower burst on us, and we hastily crept under it, draw
ing our bags after us, curious to see how much of a shel
ter our thin cotton roof was going to be in this excursion.
Though the violence of the rain forced a fine shower
through the cloth before it was fairly wetted and shrunk,
with which we were well bedewed, we managed to keep
pretty dry, only a box of matches having been left out
and spoiled, and before we were aware of it the shower
was over, and only the dripping trees imprisoned us.

Wishing to see what fishes there were in the river
there, we cast our lines over the wet bushes on the
shore, but they were repeatedly swept down the swift
stream in vain. So, leaving the Indian, we took the canoe
just before dark, and dropped down the river a few rods
to fish at the mouth of a sluggish brook on the opposite
side. We pushed up this a rod or two, where, perhaps,



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 213

only a canoe had been before. But though there were a
few small fishes, mostly chivin, there, we were soon
driven off by the mosquitoes. While there we heard the
Indian fire his gun twice in such rapid succession that
we thought it must be double-barreled, though we
observed afterward that it was single. His object was to
clean out and dry it after the rain, and he then loaded it
with ball, being now on ground where he expected to
meet with large game. This sudden, loud, crashing noise
in the still aisles of the forest, affected me like an insult to
nature, or ill manners at any rate, as if you were to fire
a gun in a hall or temple. It was not heard far, however,
except along the river, the sound being rapidly hushed
up or absorbed by the damp trees and mossy ground.
The Indian made a little smothered fire of damp
leaves close to the back of the camp, that the smoke
might drive through and keep out the mosquitoes ; but
just before we fell asleep this suddenly blazed up, and
came near setting fire to the tent. We were considerably
molested by mosquitoes at this camp.

SUNDAY, July 26.

The note of the white-throated sparrow, a very inspir
iting but almost wiry sound, was the first heard in the
morning, and with this all the woods rang. This was the
prevailing bird in the northern part of Maine. The
forest generally was all alive with them at this season,
and they were proportionally numerous and musical
about Bangor. They evidently breed in that State.
Though commonly unseen, their simple ah, te-te-te,
te-te-te, te-te-te, so sharp and piercing, was as distinct to



214 THE MAINE WOODS

the ear as the passage of a spark of fire shot into the
darkest of the forest would be to the eye. I thought that
they commonly uttered it as they flew. I hear this note
for a few days only in the spring, as they go through
Concord, and in the fall see them again going south
ward, but then they are mute. We were commonly
aroused by their lively strain very early. What a glori
ous time they must have in that wilderness, far from
mankind and election day!

I told the Indian that we would go to church to
Chesuncook this (Sunday) morning, some fifteen miles.
It was settled weather at last. A few swallows flitted
over the water, we heard Maryland yellow-throats along
the shore, the phebe notes of the chickadee, and, I
believe, redstarts, and moose-flies of large size pursued
us in midstream.

The Indian thought that we should lie by on Sunday.
Said he, "We come here lookum things, look all round;
but come Sunday, lock up all that, and then Monday
look again." He spoke of an Indian of his acquaintance
who had been with some ministers to Ktaadn, and had
told him how they conducted. This he described in a
low and solemn voice. " They make a long prayer every
morning and night, and at every meal. Come Sunday,"
said he, " they stop 'em, no go at all that day, keep
still, preach all day, first one, then another, just
like church. Oh, ver good men." " One day," said he,
" going along a river, they came to the body of a man in
the water, drowned good while, all ready fall to pieces.
They go right ashore, stop there, go no farther that
day, they have meeting there, preach and pray just



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 215

like Sunday. Then they get poles and lift up the body,
and they go back and carry the body with them. Oh,
they ver good men."

I judged from this account that their every camp was
a camp-meeting, and they had mistaken their route,
they should have gone to Eastham; that they wanted
an opportunity to preach somewhere more than to see
Ktaadn. I read of another similar party that seem to
have spent their time there singing the songs of Zion.
I was glad that I did not go to that mountain with such
slow coaches.

However, the Indian added, plying the paddle all the
while, that if we would go along, he must go with us, he
our man, and he suppose that if he no takum pay for
what he do Sunday, then ther 's no harm, but if he takum
pay, then wrong. I told him that he was stricter than
white men. Nevertheless, I noticed that he did not for
get to reckon in the Sundays at last.

He appeared to be a very religious man, and said his
prayers in a loud voice, in Indian, kneeling before the
camp, morning and evening, sometimes scrambling
up again in haste when he had forgotten this, and saying
them with great rapidity. In the course of the day, he
remarked, not very originally, " Poor man rememberum
God more than rich."

We soon passed the island where I had camped four
years before, and I recognized the very spot. The dead-
water, a mile or two below it, the Indian called Beska-
bekukskishtuk, from the lake Beskabekuk, which empties
in above. This deadwater, he said, was " a great place
for moose always." We saw the grass bent where a



216 THE MAINE WOODS

moose came out the night before, and the Indian said
that he could smell one as far as he could see him;
but, he added, that if he should see five or six to-day
close by canoe, he no shoot 'em. Accordingly, as he was
the only one of the party who had a gun, or had come
a-hunting, the moose were safe.

Just below this, a cat owl flew heavily over the stream,
and he, asking if I knew what it was, imitated very well
the common hoo, hoo, hoo, hoorer, hoo, of our woods;
making a hard, guttural sound, "Ugh, ugh, ugh,
ugh, ugh." When we passed the Moose-horn, he said
that it had no name. What Joe Aitteon had called Rag-
muff, he called Paytaytequick, and said that it meant
Burnt Ground Stream. We stopped there, where I had
stopped before, and I bathed in this tributary. It was
shallow but cold, apparently too cold for the Indian, who
stood looking on. As we were pushing away again, a
white-headed eagle sailed over our heads. A reach some
miles above Pine Stream, where there were several
islands, the Indian said was Nonglangyis Deadwater.
Pine Stream he called Black River, and said that its
Indian name was Karsaootuk. He could go to Caribou
Lake that way.

We carried a part of the baggage about Pine Stream
Falls, while the Indian went down in the canoe. A
Bangor merchant had told us that two men in his employ
were drowned some time ago while passing these falls in
a batteau, and a third clung to a rock all night, and was
taken off in the morning. There were magnificent great
purple fringed orchises on this carry and the neighboring
shores. I measured the largest canoe birch which I saw



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 217

in this journey near the end of the carry. It was 14J
feet in circumference at two feet from the ground, but
at five feet divided into three parts. The canoe birches
thereabouts were commonly marked by conspicuous
dark spiral ridges, with a groove between, so that I
thought at first that they had been struck by lightning,
but, as the Indian said, it was evidently caused by the
grain of the tree. He cut a small, woody knob, as big as a
filbert, from the trunk of a fir, apparently an old balsam
vesicle filled with wood, which he said was good medicine.

After we had embarked and gone half a mile, my com
panion remembered that he had left his knife, and we
paddled back to get it, against the strong and swift cur
rent. This taught us the difference between going up and
down the stream, for while we were working our way
back a quarter of a mile, we should have gone down a
mile and a half at least. So we landed, and while he and
the Indian were gone back for it, I watched the motions
of the foam, a kind of white water-fowl near the shore,
forty or fifty rods below. It alternately appeared and
disappeared behind the rock, being carried round by an
eddy. Even this semblance of life was interesting on
that lonely river.

Immediately below these falls was the Chesuncook
Deadwater, caused by the flowing back of the lake. As
we paddled slowly over this, the Indian told us a story
of his hunting thereabouts, and something more inter
esting about himself. It appeared that he had repre
sented his tribe at Augusta, and also once at Washing
ton, where he had met some Western chiefs. He had
been consulted at Augusta, and gave advice, which he



218 THE MAINE WOODS

said was followed, respecting the eastern boundary of
Maine, as determined by highlands and streams, at the
time of the difficulties on that side. He was employed with
the surveyors on the line. Also he had called on Daniel
Webster in Boston, at the time of his Bunker Hill oration.

I was surprised to hear him say that he liked to go to
Boston, New York, Philadelphia, etc., etc.; that he
would like to live there. But then, as if relenting a little,
when he thought what a poor figure he would make
there, he added, " I suppose, I live in New York, I be
poorest hunter, I expect." He understood very well both
his superiority and his inferiority to the whites. He crit
icised the people of the United States as compared with
other nations, but the only distinct idea with which he
labored was, that they were "very strong," but, like
some individuals, " too fast." He must have the credit of
saying this just before the general breaking down of rail
roads and banks. He had a great idea of education, and
would occasionally break out into such expressions as
this, "Kademy a-cad-e-my good thing I suppose
they usum Fifth Reader there. . . . You been college ? "

From this deadwater the outlines of the mountains
about Ktaadn were visible. The top of Ktaadn was con
cealed by a cloud, but the Souneunk Mountains were
nearer, and quite visible. We steered across the north
west end of the lake, from which we looked down south-
southeast, the whole length to Joe Merry Mountain,
seen over its extremity. It is an agreeable change to
cross a lake, after you have been shut up in the woods,
not only on account of the greater expanse of water, but
also of sky. It is one of the surprises which Nature has in



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 219

store for the traveler in the forest. To look down, in this
case, over eighteen miles of water, was liberating and
civilizing even. No doubt, the short distance to which
you can see in the woods, and the general twilight, would
at length react on the inhabitants, and make them sal
vages. The lakes also reveal the mountains, and give
ample scope and range to our thought. The very gulls
which we saw sitting on the rocks, like white specks, or
circling about, reminded me of custom-house officers.
Already there were half a dozen log huts about this end
of the lake, though so far from a road. I perceive that in
these woods the earliest settlements are, for various
reasons, clustering about the lakes, but partly, I think,
for the sake of the neighborhood as the oldest clearings.
They are forest schools already established, great
centres of light. Water is a pioneer which the settler
follows, taking advantage of its improvements.

Thus far only I had been before. About noon we
turned northward, up a broad kind of estuary, and at its
northeast corner found the Caucomgomoc River, and
after going about a mile from the lake, reached the
Umbazookskus, which comes in on the right at a point
where the former river, coming from the west, turns
short to the south. Our course was up the Umbazook
skus, but as the Indian knew of a good camping-place,
that is, a cool place where there were few mosquitoes
about half a mile farther up the Caucomgomoc, we went
thither. The latter river, judging from the map, is the
longer and principal stream, and, therefore, its name
must prevail below the junction. So quickly we changed
the civilizing sky of Chesuncook for the dark wood of



220 THE MAINE WOODS

the Caucomgomoc. On reaching the Indian's camping-
ground, on the south side, where the bank was about a
dozen feet high, I read on the trunk of a fir tree, blazed
by an axe, an inscription in charcoal which had been left
by him. It was surmounted by a drawing of a bear pad
dling a canoe, which he said was the sign which had been
used by his family always. The drawing, though rude,
could not be mistaken for anything but a bear, and he
doubted my ability to copy it. The inscription ran thus,
verbatim et literatim. I interline the English of his Indian
as he gave it to me.

[The figure of a bear in a boat.]

July 26

1853



niasoseb

We alone Joseph
Polis elioi
Polis start
sia olta
for Oldtown

onke ni
right away
quambi



July 15

1855
niasoseb

He added now below :

1857

July 26

Jo. Polis



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH

This was one of his homes. I saw where he had some
times stretched his moose-hides on the opposite or
sunny north side of the river, where there was a narrow
meadow.

After we had selected a place for our camp, and kin
dled our fire, almost exactly on the site of the Indian's
last camp here, he, looking up, observed, "That tree
danger." It was a dead part, more than a foot in diame
ter, of a large canoe birch, which branched at the
ground. This branch, rising thirty feet or more, slanted
directly over the spot which we had chosen for our bed.
I told him to try it with his axe ; but he could not shake
it perceptibly, and therefore seemed inclined to disre
gard it, and my companion expressed his willingness to
run the risk. But it seemed to me that we should be
fools to lie under it, for though the lower part was firm,
the top, for aught we knew, might be just ready to fall,
and we should at any rate be very uneasy if the wind
arose in the night. It is a common accident for men
camping in the woods to be killed by a falling tree. So
the camp was moved to the other side of the fire.

It was, as usual, a damp and shaggy forest, that
Caucomgomoc one, and the most you knew about it
was, that on this side it stretched toward the settle
ments, and on that to still more unfrequented regions.
You carried so much topography in your mind always,
and sometimes it seemed to make a considerable
difference whether you sat or lay nearer the settlements,
or farther off, than your companions, were the rear or
frontier man of the camp. But there is really the same
difference between our positions wherever we may be



222 THE MAINE WOODS

camped, and some are nearer the frontiers on feather-
beds in the towns than others on fir twigs in the back
woods.

The Indian said that the Umbazookskus, being a
dead stream with broad meadows, was a good place for
moose, and he frequently came a-hunting here, being out
alone three weeks or more from Oldtown. He some
times, also, went a-hunting to the Seboois Lakes, taking
the stage, with his gun and ammunition, axe and blan
kets, hard-bread and pork, perhaps for a hundred miles
of the way, and jumped off at the wildest place on the
road, where he was at once at home, and every rod was
a tavern-site for him. Then, after a short journey
through the woods, he would build a spruce-bark canoe
in one day, putting but few ribs into it, that it might be
light, and, after doing his hunting with it on the lakes,
would return with his furs the same way he had come.
Thus you have an Indian availing himself cunningly of
the advantages of civilization, without losing any of his
woodcraft, but proving himself the more successful
hunter for it.

This man was very clever and quick to learn anything
in his line. Our tent was of a kind new to him ; but when
he had once seen it pitched, it was surprising how
quickly he would find and prepare the pole and forked
stakes to pitch it with, cutting and placing them right
the first time, though I am sure that the majority of
white men would have blundered several times.

This river came from Caucomgomoc Lake, about ten
miles farther up. Though it was sluggish here, there
were falls not far above us, and we saw the foam from



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 223

them go by from time to time. The Indian said that
Caucomgomoc meant Big-Gull Lake (i. e., herring gull,
I suppose), gomoc meaning lake. Hence this was Cau-
comgomoctook, or the river from that lake. This was the
Penobscot Caucomgomoctook; there was another St.
John one not far north. He finds the eggs of this gull,
sometimes twenty together, as big as hen's eggs, on rocky


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