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ledges on the west side of Millinocket River, for instance,
and eats them.

Now I thought I would observe how he spent his
Sunday. While I and my companion were looking about
at the trees and river, he went to sleep. Indeed, he
improved every opportunity to get a nap, whatever the
day.

Rambling about the woods at this camp, I noticed
that they consisted chiefly of firs, black spruce, and
some white, red maple, canoe birch, and, along the river,
the hoary alder (Alnus incana) . I name them in the order
of their abundance. The Viburnum nudum was a com
mon shrub, and of smaller plants, there were the dwarf
cornel, great round-leaved orchis, abundant and in
bloom (a greenish-white flower growing in little com
munities), Uvularia grandiflora, whose stem tasted like
a cucumber, Pyrola secunda, apparently the commonest
pyrola in those woods, now out of bloom, Pyrola ellip-
tica, and Chiogenes hispidula. The Clintonia borealis,
with ripe berries, was very abundant, and perfectly at'
home there. Its leaves, disposed commonly in triangles
about its stem, were just as handsomely formed and
green, and its berries as blue and glossy, as if it grew by
some botanist's favorite path.



224 THE MAINE WOODS

I could trace the outlines of large birches that had
fallen long ago, collapsed and rotted and turned to soil,
by faint yellowish-green lines of feather-like moss,
eighteen inches wide and twenty or thirty feet long,
crossed by other similar lines.

I heard a night-warbler, wood thrush, kingfisher,
tweezer-bird or parti-colored warbler, and a nighthawk.
I also heard and saw red squirrels, and heard a bullfrog.
The Indian said that he heard a snake.

Wild as it was, it was hard for me to get rid of the
associations of the settlements. Any steady and monot
onous sound, to which I did not distinctly attend, passed
for a sound of human industry. The waterfalls which I
heard were not without their dams and mills to my
imagination ; and several times I found that I had been
regarding the steady rushing sound of the wind from
over the woods beyond the rivers as that of a train
of cars, the cars at Quebec. Our minds anywhere,
when left to themselves, are always thus busily drawing
conclusions from false premises.

I asked the Indian to make us a sugar-bowl of birch
bark, which he did, using the great knife which dangled
in a sheath from his belt; but the bark broke at the
corners when he bent it up, and he said it was not good;
that there was a great difference in this respect between
the bark of one canoe birch and that of another, i. e.,
one cracked more easily than another. I used some thin
and delicate sheets of this bark which he split and cut,
in my flower-book; thinking it would be good to sepa
rate the dried specimens from the green.

My companion, wishing to distinguish between the



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 225

black and white spruce, asked Polls to show him a twig
of the latter, which he did at once, together with the
black; indeed, he could distinguish them about as far
as he could see them; but as the two twigs appeared
very much alike, my companion asked the Indian to
point out the difference; whereupon the latter, taking
the twigs, instantly remarked, as he passed his hand over
them successively in a stroking manner, that the white
was rough (i. e., the needles stood up nearly perpendicu
lar), but the black smooth (i. e., as if bent or combed
down). This was an obvious difference, both to sight
and touch. However, if I remember rightly, this would
not serve to distinguish the white spruce from the light-
colored variety of the black.

I asked him to let me see him get some black spruce
root, and make some thread. Whereupon, without look
ing up at the trees overhead, he began to grub in the
ground, instantly distinguishing the black spruce roots,
and cutting off a slender one, three or four feet long, and
as big as a pipe-stem, he split the end with his knife,
and, taking a half between the thumb and forefinger of
each hand, rapidly separated its whole length into two
equal semicylindrical halves; then giving me another
root, he said, " You try." But in my hands it immedi
ately ran off one side, and I got only a very short piece.
In short, though it looked very easy, I found that there
was a great art in splitting these roots. The split is skill
fully humored by bending short with this hand or that,
and so kept in the middle. He then took off the bark
from each half, pressing a short piece of cedar bark
against the convex side with both hands, while he drew



226 THE MAINE WOODS

the root upward with his teeth. An Indian's teeth are
strong, and I noticed that he used his often where we
should have used a hand. They amounted to a third
hand. He thus obtained, in a moment, a very neat,
tough, and flexible string, which he could tie into a knot,
or make into a fish-line even. It is said that in Norway
and Sweden the roots of the Norway spruce (Abies
excelsa) are used in the same way for the same purpose.
He said that you would be obliged to give half a dollar
for spruce root enough for a canoe, thus prepared. He
had hired the sewing of his own canoe, though he made
all the rest. The root in his canoe was of a pale slate-
color, probably acquired by exposure to the weather,
or perhaps from being boiled in water first.

He had discovered the day before that his canoe
leaked a little, and said that it was owing to stepping
into it violently, which forced the water under the edge
of the horizontal seams on the side. I asked him where
he would get pitch to mend it with, for they commonly
use hard pitch, obtained of the whites at Oldtown, He
said that he could make something very similar, and
equally good, not of spruce gum, or the like, but of
material which we had with us; and he wished me to
guess what. But I could not, and he would not tell me,
though he showed me a ball of it when made, as big as a
pea, and like black pitch, saying, at last, that there were
some things which a man did not tell even his wife. It
may have been his own discovery. In Arnold's expedi
tion the pioneers used for their canoe " the turpentine of
the pine, and the scrapings of the pork-bag."

Being curious to see what kind of fishes there were



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 227

in this dark, deep, sluggish river, I cast in iny line just
before night, and caught several small somewhat yellow
ish sucker-like fishes, which the Indian at once rejected,
saying that they were michigan fish (i. e. 9 soft and
stinking fish) and good for nothing. Also, he would not
touch a pout, which I caught, and said that neither
Indians nor whites thereabouts ever ate them, which I
thought was singular, since they are esteemed in Massa
chusetts, and he had told me that he ate hedgehogs,
loons, etc. But he said that some small silvery fishes,
which I called white chivin, which were similar in size
and form to the first, were the best fish in the Penobscot
waters, and if I would toss them up the bank to him, he
would cook them for me. After cleaning them, not very
carefully, leaving the heads on, he laid them on the coals
and so broiled them.

Returning from a short walk, he brought a vine in his
hand, and asked me if I knew what it was, saying that
it made the best tea of anything in the woods. It was
the creeping snowberry (Chiogenes hispidula), which
was quite common there, its berries just grown. He
called it cowomebagosar, which name implies that it
grows where old prostrate trunks have collapsed and
rotted. So we determined to have some tea made of this
to-night. It had a slight checkerberry flavor, and we
both agreed that it was really better than the black tea
which we had brought. We thought it quite a discovery,
and that it might well be dried, and sold in the shops. I,
for one, however, am not an old tea-drinker, and cannot
speak with authority to others. It would have been par
ticularly good to carry along for a cold drink during the



228 THE MAINE WOODS

day, the water thereabouts being invariably warm. The
Indian said that they also used for tea a certain herb
which grew in low ground, which he did not find there,
and ledum, or Labrador tea, which I have since found
and tried in Concord; also hemlock leaves, the last
especially in the winter, when the other plants were
covered with snow; and various other things; but he
did not approve of arbor-vitse, which I said I had drunk
in those woods. We could have had a new kind of tea
every night.

Just before night we saw a musquash (he did not say
muskrat), the only one we saw in this voyage, swimming
downward on the opposite side of the stream. The
Indian, wishing to get one to eat, hushed us, saying,
"Stop, me call *em;" and, sitting flat on the bank, he
began to make a curious squeaking, wiry sound with his
lips, exerting himself considerably. I was greatly sur
prised, thought that I had at last got into the wilder
ness, and that he was a wild man indeed, to be talking
to a musquash ! I did not know which of the two was the
strangest to me. He seemed suddenly to have quite for
saken humanity, and gone over to the musquash side.
The musquash, however, as near as I could see, did not
turn aside, though he may have hesitated a little, and the
Indian said that he saw our fire ; but it was evident that
he was in the habit of calling the musquash to him, as he
said. An acquaintance of mine who was hunting moose
in those woods a month after this, tells me that his
Indian in this way repeatedly called the musquash
within reach of his paddle in the moonlight, and struck
at them.



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 229

The Indian said a particularly long prayer this Sun
day evening, as if to atone for working in the morning.

MONDAY, July 27.

Having rapidly loaded the canoe, which the Indian
always carefully attended to, that it might be well
trimmed, and each having taken a look, as usual, to
see that nothing was left, we set out again descending
the Caucomgomoc, and turning northeasterly up the
Umbazookskus. This name, the Indian said, meant
Much Meadow River. We found it a very meadowy
stream, and deadwater, and now very wide on account
of the rains, though, he said, it was sometimes quite nar
row. The space between the woods, chiefly bare mea
dow, was from fifty to two hundred rods in breadth, and
is a rare place for moose. It reminded me of the Con
cord; and what increased the resemblance was one old
musquash-house almost afloat.

In the water on the meadows grew sedges, wool-grass,
the common blue flag abundantly, its flower just show
ing itself above the high water, as if it were a blue water-
lily, and higher in the meadows a great many clumps
of a peculiar narrow-leaved willow (Salix petwlaris),
which is common in our river meadows. It was the pre
vailing one here, and the Indian said that the musquash
ate much of it; and here also grew the red osier (Cornus
stolonifera), its large fruit now whitish.

Though it was still early in the morning, we saw
nighthawks circling over the meadow, and as usual
heard the pepe (Muscicapa Cooperi), which is one of the
prevailing birds in these woods, and the robin.



230 THE MAINE WOODS

It was unusual for the woods to be so distant from the
shore, and there was quite an echo from them, but when
I was shouting in order to awake it, the Indian reminded
me that I should scare the moose, which he was looking
out for, and which we all wanted to see. The word for
echo was Pockadunkquaywayle.

A broad belt of dead larch trees along the distant edge
of the meadow, against the forest on each side, increased
the usual wildness of the scenery. The Indian called
these juniper, and said that they had been killed by
the backwater caused by the dam at the outlet of Che-
suncook Lake, some twenty miles distant. I plucked
at the water's edge the Asclepias incarnata, with quite
handsome flowers, a brighter red than our variety
(the pulchra). It was the only form of it which I saw
there.

Having paddled several miles up the Umbazookskus,
it suddenly contracted to a mere brook, narrow and
swift, the larches and other trees approaching the bank
and leaving no open meadow, and we landed to get a
black spruce pole for pushing against the stream. This
was the first occasion for one. The one selected was
quite slender, cut about ten feet long, merely whittled to
a point, and the bark shaved off. The stream, though
narrow and swift, was still deep, with a muddy bottom,
as I proved by diving to it. Beside the plants which I
have mentioned, I observed on the bank here the Salix
cordata and rostrata, Ranunculus recurvatus, and Rubus
triflorus with ripe fruit.

While we were thus employed, two Indians in a canoe
hove in sight round the bushes, coming down stream.



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 231

Our Indian knew one of them, an old man, and fell into
conversation with him in Indian. He belonged at the
foot of Moosehead. The other was of another tribe.
They were returning from hunting. I asked the younger
if they had seen any moose, to which he said no ; but I,
seeing the moose-hides sticking out from a great bundle
made with their blankets in the middle of the canoe,
added, " Only their hides." As he was a foreigner, he
may have wished to deceive me, for it is against the law
for white men and foreigners to kill moose in Maine
at this season. But perhaps he need not have been
alarmed, for the moose-wardens are not very particu
lar. I heard quite directly of one who being asked by
a white man going into the woods what he would say if
he killed a moose, answered, " If you bring me a quarter
of it, I guess you won't be troubled." His duty being,
as he said, only to prevent the " indiscriminate " slaugh
ter of them for their hides. I suppose that he would con
sider it an indiscriminate slaughter when a quarter was
not reserved for himself. Such are the perquisites of
this office.

We continued along through the most extensive larch
wood which I had seen, tall and slender trees with
fantastic branches. But though this was the prevailing
tree here, I do not remember that we saw any afterward.
You do not find straggling trees of this species here and
there throughout the wood, but rather a little forest
of them. The same is the case with the white and red
pines, and some other trees, greatly to the convenience
of the lumberer. They are of a social habit, growing
in "veins," "clumps," "groups," or "communities," as



232 THE MAINE WOODS

the explorers call them, distinguishing them far away,
from the top of a hill or a tree, the white pines towering
above the surrounding forest, or else they form extensive
forests by themselves. I should have liked to come
across a large community of pines, which had never
been invaded by the lumbering army.

We saw some fresh moose-tracks along the shore, but
the Indian said that the moose were not driven out of
the woods by the flies, as usual at this season, on account
of the abundance of water everywhere. The stream was
only from one and one half to three rods wide, quite
winding, with occasional small islands, meadows, and
some very swift and shallow places. When we came to
an island, the Indian never hesitated which side to take,
as if the current told him which was the shortest and
deepest. It was lucky for us that the water was so high.
We had to walk but once on this stream, carrying a part
of the load, at a swift and shallow reach, while he got up
with the canoe, not being obliged to take out, though he
said it was very strong water. Once or twice we passed
the red wreck of a batteau which had been stove some
spring.

While making this portage I saw many splendid speci
mens of the great purple fringed orchis, three feet high.
It is remarkable that such delicate flowers should here
adorn these wilderness paths.

Having resumed our seats in the canoe, I felt the
Indian wiping my back, which he had accidentally spat
upon. He said it was a sign that I was going to be
married.

The Umbazookskus River is called ten miles long.



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 233

Having poled up the narrowest part some three or four
miles, the next opening in the sky was over Umbazook-
skus Lake, which we suddenly entered about eleven
o'clock in the forenoon. It stretches northwesterly four
or five miles, with what the Indian called the Caucom-
gomoc Mountain seen far beyond it. It was an agreeable
change.

This lake was very shallow a long distance from the
shore, and I saw stone-heaps on the bottom, like those
in the Assabet at home. The canoe ran into one. The
Indian thought that they were made by an eel. Joe
Aitteon in 1853 thought that they were made by chub.
We crossed the southeast end of the lake to the carry
into Mud Pond.

Umbazookskus Lake is the head of the Penobscot in
this direction, and Mud Pond is the nearest head of the
Allegash, one of the chief sources of the St. John. Hodge,
who went through this way to the St. Lawrence in the
service of the State, calls the portage here a mile and
three quarters long, and states that Mud Pond has been
found to be fourteen feet higher than Umbazookskus
Lake. As the West Branch of the Penobscot at the
Moosehead carry is considered about twenty-five feet
lower than Moosehead Lake, it appears that the Penob
scot in the upper part of its course runs in a broad and
shallow valley, between the Kennebec and St. John, and
lower than either of them, though, judging from the
map, you might expect it to be the highest.

Mud Pond is about halfway from Umbazookskus to
Chamberlain Lake, into which it empties, and to which
we were bound. The Indian said that this was the wet-



234 THE MAINE WOODS

test carry in the State, and as the season was a very wet
one, we anticipated an unpleasant walk. As usual he
made one large bundle of the pork-keg, cooking-utensils,
and other loose traps, by tying them up in his blanket.
We should be obliged to go over the carry twice, and our
method was to carry one half part way, and then go back
for the rest.

Our path ran close by the door of a log hut in a clear
ing at this end of the carry, which the Indian, who alone
entered it, found to be occupied by a Canadian and his
family, and that the man had been blind for a year. He
seemed peculiarly unfortunate to be taken blind there,
where there were so few eyes to see for him. He could
not even be led out of that country by a dog, but must
be taken down the rapids as passively as a barrel of
flour. This was the first house above Chesuncook, and
the last on the Penobscot waters, and was built here, no
doubt, because it was the route of the lumberers in the
winter and spring.

After a slight ascent from the lake through the
springy soil of the Canadian's clearing, we entered on a
level and very wet and rocky path through the universal
dense evergreen forest, a loosely paved gutter merely,
where we went leaping from rock to rock and from side
to side, in the vain attempt to keep out of the water and
mud. We concluded that it was yet Penobscot water,
though there was no flow to it. It was on this carry that
the white hunter whom I met in the stage, as he told me,
had shot two bears a few months before. They stood
directly in the path, and did not turn out for him. They
might be excused for not turning out there, or only tak-



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 235

ing the right as the law directs. He said that at this
season bears were found on the mountains and hillsides
in search of berries, and were apt to be saucy, that
we might come across them up Trout Stream; and he
added, what I hardly credited, that many Indians slept
in their canoes, not daring to sleep on land, on account
of them.

Here commences what was called, twenty years ago,
the best timber land in the State. This very spot was
described as "covered with the greatest abundance of
pine," but now this appeared to me, comparatively, an
uncommon tree there, and yet you did not see where
any more could have stood, amid the dense growth of
cedar, fir, etc. It was then proposed to cut a canal from
lake to lake here, but the outlet was finally made farther
east, at Telos Lake, as we shall see.

The Indian with his canoe soon disappeared before
us ; but ere long he came back and told us to take a path
which turned off westward, it being better walking, and,
at my suggestion, he agreed to leave a bough in the regu
lar carry at that place, that we might not pass it by mis
take. Thereafter, he said, we were to keep the main
path, and he added, "You see 'em my tracks." But I
had not much faith that we could distinguish his tracks,
since others had passed over the carry within a few days.

We turned off at the right place, but were soon con
fused by numerous logging-paths, coming into the one
we were on, by which lumberers had been to pick out
those pines which I have mentioned. However, we kept
what we considered the main path, though it was a wind
ing one, and in this, at long intervals, we distinguished a



236 THE MAINE WOODS

faint trace of a footstep. This, though comparatively
unworn, was at first a better, or, at least, a drier road
than the regular carry which we had left. It led through
an arbor-vitae wilderness of the grimmest character.
The great fallen and rotting trees had been cut through
and rolled aside, and their huge trunks abutted on the
path on each side, while others still lay across it two or
three feet high. It was impossible for us to discern the
Indian's trail in the elastic moss, which, like a thick
carpet, covered every rock and fallen tree, as well as the
earth. Nevertheless, I did occasionally detect the track
of a man, and I gave myself some credit for it. I carried
my whole load at once, a heavy knapsack, and a large
india-rubber bag, containing our bread and a blanket,
swung on a paddle ; in all, about sixty pounds ; but my
companion preferred to make two journeys, by short
stages, while I waited for him. We could not be sure that
we were not depositing our loads each time farther off
from the true path.

As I sat waiting for my companion, he would seem to
be gone a long time, and I had ample opportunity to
make observations on the forest. I now first began to be
seriously molested by the black fly, a very small but
perfectly formed fly of that color, about one tenth of an
inch long, which I first felt, and then saw, in swarms
about me, as I sat by a wider and more than usually
doubtful fork in this dark forest path. The hunters tell
bloody stories about them, how they settle in a ring
about your neck, before you know it, and are wiped off
in great numbers with your blood. But remembering
that I had a wash in my knapsack, prepared by a



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 237

thoughtful hand in Bangor, I made haste to apply it to
my face and hands, and was glad to find it effectual,
as long as it was fresh, or for twenty minutes, not only
against black flies, but all the insects that molested us.
They would not alight on the part thus defended. It was
composed of sweet oil and oil of turpentine, with a little
oil of spearmint, and camphor. However, I finally con
cluded that the remedy was worse than the disease. It
was so disagreeable and inconvenient to have your face
and hands covered with such a mixture.

Three large slate-colored birds of the jay genus
(Garrulus Canadensis), the Canada jay, moose-bird,
meat-bird, or what not, came flitting silently and by
degrees toward me, and hopped down the limbs inquisi
tively to within seven or eight feet. They were more
clumsy and not nearly so handsome as the bluejay.
Fish hawks, from the lake, uttered their sharp whistling
notes low over the top of the forest near me, as if they
were anxious about a nest there.

After I had sat there some time, I noticed at this fork
in the path a tree which had been blazed, and the letters
" Chamb. L." written on it with red chalk. This I knew
to mean Chamberlain Lake. So I concluded that on the
whole we were on the right course, though as we had come
nearly two miles, and saw no signs of Mud Pond, I did
harbor the suspicion that we might be on a direct course
to Chamberlain Lake, leaving out Mud Pond. This I
found by my map would be about five miles north
easterly, and I then took the bearing by my compass.

My companion having returned with his bag, and also
defended his face and hands with the insect-wash, we set



238 THE MAINE WOODS

forward again. The walking rapidly grew worse, and the
path more indistinct, and at length, after passing through
a patch of Calla palustris, still abundantly in bloom,
we found ourselves in a more open and regular swamp,


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