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high and upward, and states that the porcupine feeds on
its bark. Here also grew the red pine (Pinus resinosd).
I saw where the Indians had made canoes in a little
secluded hollow in the woods, on the top of the rock,
where they were out of the wind, and large piles of whit-
tlings remained. This must have been a favorite resort
for their ancestors, and, indeed, we found here the point
of an arrowhead, such as they have not used for two
centuries and now know not how to make. The Indian,
picking up a stone, remarked to me, " That very strange



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 297

lock (rock)." It was a piece of hornstone, which I told
him his tribe had probably brought here centuries before
to make arrowheads of. He also picked up a yellowish
curved bone by the side of our fireplace and asked me
to guess what it was. It was one of the upper incisors of a
beaver, on which some party had feasted within a year
or two. I found also most of the teeth, and the skull, etc.
We here dined on fried moose-meat.

One who was my companion in my two previous
excursions to these woods, tells me that when hunting
up the Caucomgomoc, about two years ago, he found
himself dining one day on moose-meat, mud turtle,
trout, and beaver, and he thought that there were few
places in the world where these dishes could easily be
brought together on one table.

After the almost incessant rapids and falls of the
Madunkchunk (Height-of-Land, or Webster Stream),
we had just passed through the dead water of Second
Lake, and were now in the much larger dead water of
Grand Lake, and I thought the Indian was entitled to
take an extra nap here. Ktaadn, near which we were to
pass the next day, is said to mean "Highest Land." So
much geography is there in their names. The Indian
navigator naturally distinguishes by a name those parts
of a stream where he has encountered quick water and
forks, and again, the lakes and smooth water where he
can rest his weary arms, since those are the most inter
esting and more arable parts to him. The very sight
of the Nerlumskeechticook, or Deadwater Mountains, a
day's journey off over the forest, as we first saw them,
must awaken in him pleasing memories. And not less



298 THE MAINE WOODS

interesting is it to the white traveler, when he is crossing
a placid lake in these out-of-the-way woods, perhaps
thinking that he is in some sense one of the earlier dis
coverers of it, to be reminded that it was thus well known
and suitably named by Indian hunters perhaps a thou
sand years ago.

Ascending the precipitous rock which formed this
long narrow island, I was surprised to find that its sum
mit was a narrow ridge, with a precipice on one side, and
that its axis of elevation extended from northwest to
southeast exactly like that of the great rocky ridge at the
commencement of the Burnt Ground, ten miles north
westerly. The same arrangement prevailed here, and we
could plainly see that the mountain ridges on the west
of the lake trended the same way. Splendid large hare
bells nodded over the edge and in the clefts of the cliff,
and the blueberries (V actinium Canadense) were for
the first time really abundant in the thin soil on its top.
There was no lack of them henceforward on the East
Branch. There was a fine view hence over the sparkling
lake, which looked pure and deep, and had two or three,
in all, rocky islands in it. Our blankets being dry, we set
out again, the Indian as usual having left his gazette on
a tree. This time it was we three in a canoe, my com
panion smoking. We paddled southward down this
handsome lake, which appeared to extend nearly as far
east as south, keeping near the western shore, just out
side a small island, under the dark Nerlumskeechticook
Mountain. For I had observed on my map that this was
the course. It was three or four miles across it. It struck
me that the outline of this mountain on the southwest



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 299

of the lake, and of another beyond it, was not only like
that of the huge rock waves of Webster Stream, but in
the main like Kineo, on Moosehead Lake, having a
similar but less abrupt precipice at the southeast end;
in short, that all the prominent hills and ridges here
abouts were larger or smaller Kineos, and that possibly
there was such a relation between Kineo and the rocks
of Webster Stream.

The Indian did not know exactly where the outlet
was, whether at the extreme southwest angle or more
easterly, and had asked to see my plan at the last stop
ping-place, but I had forgotten to show it to him. As
usual, he went feeling his way by a middle course
between two probable points, from which he could
diverge either way at last without losing much distance.
In approaching the south shore, as the clouds looked
gusty and the waves ran pretty high, we so steered as to
get partly under the lee of an island, though at a great
distance from it.

I could not distinguish the outlet till we were almost
in it, and heard the water falling over the dam there.

Here was a considerable fall, and a very substantial
dam, but no sign of a cabin or camp. The hunter whom
we met at Telos Lake had told us that there were plenty
of trout here, but at this hour they did not rise to the bait,
only cousin trout, from the very midst of the rushing
waters. There are not so many fishes in these rivers as
in the Concord.

While we loitered here, Polis took occasion to cut
with his big knife some of the hair from his moose-hide,
and so lightened and prepared it for drying. I noticed



300 THE MAINE WOODS

at several old Indian camps in the woods the pile of hair
which they had cut from their hides.

Having carried over the dam, he darted down the
rapids, leaving us to walk for a mile or more, where for
the most part there was no path, but very thick and
difficult traveling near the stream. At length he would
call to let us know where he was waiting for us with his
canoe, when, on account of the windings of the stream,
we did not know where the shore was, but he did not call
often enough, forgetting that we were not Indians. He
seemed to be very saving of his breath, yet he would
be surprised if we went by, or did not strike the right
spot. This was not because he was unaccommodating,
but a proof of superior manners. Indians like to get
along with the least possible communication and ado.
He was really paying us a great compliment all the
while, thinking that we preferred a hint to a kick.

At length, climbing over the willows and fallen trees,
when this was easier than to go round or under them, we
overtook the canoe, and glided down the stream in
smooth but swift water for several miles. I here observed
again, as at Webster Stream, and on a still larger scale
the next day, that the river was a smooth and regularly
inclined plane down which we coasted. As we thus
glided along we started the first black ducks which we
had distinguished.

We decided to camp early to-night, that we might
have ample time before dark ; so we stopped at the first
favorable shore, where there was a narrow gravelly
beach on the western side, some five miles below the out
let of the lake. It was an interesting spot, where the



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 301

river began to make a great bend to the east, and the
last of the peculiar moose-faced Nerlumskeechticook
Mountains not far southwest of Grand Lake rose dark
in the northwest a short distance behind, displaying its
gray precipitous southeast side, but we could not see this
without coming out upon the shore.

Two steps from the water on either side, and you
come to the abrupt bushy and rooty if not turfy edge of
the bank, four or five feet high, where the interminable
forest begins, as if the stream had but just cut its way
through it.

It is surprising on stepping ashore anywhere into this
unbroken wilderness to see so often, at least within a few
rods of the river, the marks of the axe, made by lum
berers who have either camped here or driven logs past
in previous springs. You will see perchance where,
going on the same errand that you do, they have cut
large chips from a tall white pine stump for their fire.
While we were pitching the camp and getting supper,
the Indian cut the rest of the hair from his moose-hide,
and proceeded to extend it vertically on a temporary
frame between two small trees, half a dozen feet from the
opposite side of the fire, lashing and stretching it with
arbor- vitse bark which was always at hand, and in this
case was stripped from one of the trees it was tied to.
Asking for a new kind of tea, he made us some, pretty
good, of the checkerberry (Gauliheria procumbens),
which covered the ground, dropping a little bunch of it
tied up with cedar bark into the kettle ; but it was not
quite equal to the Chiogenes. We called this therefore
Checkerberry-Tea Camp.



302 THE MAINE WOODS

I was struck with the abundance of the Linncea
borealis, checkerberry, and Chiogenes hispidula, almost
everywhere in the Maine woods. The wintergreen
(Chimaphila umbellata) was still in bloom here, and
clintonia berries were abundant and ripe. This hand
some plant is one of the most common in that forest. We
here first noticed the moose-wood in fruit on the banks.
The prevailing trees were spruce (commonly black),
arbor-vitse, canoe birch (black ash and elms beginning
to appear), yellow birch, red maple, and a little hemlock
skulking in the forest. The Indian said that the white
maple punk was the best for tinder, that yellow birch
punk was pretty good, but hard. After supper he put on
the moose tongue and lips to boil, cutting out the sep
tum. He showed me how to write on the under side of
birch bark, with a black spruce twig, which is hard and
tough, and can be brought to a point.

The Indian wandered off into the woods a short dis
tance just before night, and, coming back, said, "Me
found great treasure, fifty, sixty dollars' worth."
"What's that?" we asked. " Steel traps, under a log,
thirty or forty, I did n't count 'em. I guess Indian work,
worth three dollars apiece." It was a singular coinci
dence that he should have chanced to walk to and look
under that particular log, in that trackless forest.

I saw chivin and chub in the stream when washing
my hands, but my companion tried in vain to catch
them. I also heard the sound of bullfrogs from a swamp
on the opposite side, thinking at first that they were
moose; a duck paddled swiftly by; and sitting in that
dusky wilderness, under that dark mountain, by the



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 303

bright river which was full of reflected light, still I heard
the wood thrush sing, as if no higher civilization could
be attained. By this time the night was upon us.

You commonly make your camp just at sundown, and
are collecting wood, getting your supper, or pitching
your tent while the shades of night are gathering around
and adding to the already dense gloom of the forest.
You have no time to explore or look around you before
it is dark. You may penetrate half a dozen rods farther
into that twilight wilderness, after some dry bark to
kindle your fire with, and wonder what mysteries lie hid
den still deeper in it, say at the end of a long day's walk;
or you may run down to the shore for a dipper of water,
and get a clearer view for a short distance up or down
the stream, and while you stand there, see a fish leap, or
duck alight in the river, or hear a wood thrush or robin
sing in the woods. That is as if you had been to town or
civilized parts. But there is no sauntering off to see the
country, and ten or fifteen rods seems a great way from
your companions, and you come back with the air of a
much-traveled man, as from a long journey, with adven
tures to relate, though you may have heard the crackling
of the fire all the while, and at a hundred rods you
might be lost past recovery, and have to camp out. It is
all mossy and moosey. In some of those dense fir and
spruce woods there is hardly room for the smoke to go
up. The trees are a standing night, and every fir and
spruce which you fell is a plume plucked from night's
raven wing. Then at night the general stillness is more
impressive than any sound, but occasionally you hear
the note of an owl farther or nearer in the woods, and if



304 THE MAINE WOODS

near a lake, the semihuman cry of the loons at their
unearthly revels.

To-night the Indian lay between the fire and his
stretched moose-hide, to avoid the mosquitoes. Indeed,
he also made a small smoky fire of damp leaves at his
head and his feet, and then as usual rolled up his head
in his blanket. We with our veils and our wash were
tolerably comfortable, but it would be difficult to pursue
any sedentary occupation in the woods at this season;
you cannot see to read much by the light of a fire through
a veil in the evening, nor handle pencil and paper well
with gloves or anointed fingers.

FHIDAY, July 81.

The Indian said, "You and I kill moose last night,
therefore use 'em best wood. Always use hard wood to
cook moose-meat." His "best wood" was rock maple.
He cast the moose's lip into the fire, to burn the hair off,
and then rolled it up with the meat to carry along.
Observing that we were sitting down to breakfast with
out any pork, he said, with a very grave look, " Me want
some fat," so he was told that he might have as much as
he would fry.

We had smooth but swift water for a considerable
distance, where we glided rapidly along, scaring up
ducks and kingfishers. But, as usual, our smooth pro
gress ere long came to an end, and we were obliged to
carry canoe and all about half a mile down the right
bank, around some rapids or falls. It required sharp
eyes sometimes to tell which side was the carry, before
you went over the falls, but Polis never failed to land us



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 305

rightly. The raspberries were particularly abundant
and large here, and all hands went to eating them, the
Indian remarking on their size.

Often on bare rocky carries the trail was so indistinct
that I repeatedly lost it, but when I walked behind him
I observed that he could keep it almost like a hound, and
rarely hesitated, or, if he paused a moment on a bare
rock, his eye immediately detected some sign which
would have escaped me. Frequently we found no path
at all at these places, and were to him unaccountably
delayed. He would only say it was " ver strange."

We had heard of a Grand Fall on this stream, and
thought that each fall we came to must be it, but after
christening several in succession with this name, we gave
up the search. There were more Grand or Petty Falls
than I can remember.

I cannot tell how many times we had to walk on
account of falls or rapids. We were expecting all the
while that the river would take a final leap and get to
smooth water, but there was no improvement this fore
noon. However, the carries were an agreeable variety.
So surely as we stepped out of the canoe and stretched
our legs we found ourselves in a blueberry and raspberry
garden, each side of our rocky trail around the falls being
lined with one or both. There was not a carry on the
main East Branch where we did not find an abundance
of both these berries, for these were the rockiest places,
and partially cleared, such as these plants prefer, and
there had been none to gather the finest before us.

In our three journeys over the carries, for we were
obliged to go over the ground three times whenever the



306 THE MAINE WOODS

canoe was taken out, we did full justice to the berries,
and they were just what we wanted to correct the effect of
our hard bread and pork diet. Another name for making
a portage would have been going a-berrying. We also
found a few amelanchier, or service, berries, though
most were abortive, but they held on rather more gener
ally than they do in Concord. The Indian called them
pemoymenuk, and said that they bore much fruit in
some places. He sometimes also ate the northern wild
red cherries, saying that they were good medicine, but
they were scarcely edible. We bathed and dined at the
foot of one of these carries. It was the Indian who com
monly reminded us that it was dinner-time, sometimes
even by turning the prow to the shore. He once made an
indirect, but lengthy apology, by saying that we might
think it strange, but that one who worked hard all day
was very particular to have his dinner in good season.
At the most considerable fall on this stream, when I was
walking over the carry, close behind the Indian, he
observed a track on the rock, which was but slightly
covered with soil, and, stooping, muttered "caribou."
When we returned, he observed a much larger track
near the same place, where some animal's foot had sunk
into a small hollow in the rock, partly filled with grass
and earth, and he exclaimed with surprise, "What
that?" " Well, what is it ?" I asked. Stooping and lay
ing his hand in it, he answered with a mysterious air,
and in a half whisper, " Devil [that is, Indian Devil, or
cougar] ledges about here very bad animal pull
'em rocks all to pieces." " How long since it was made ? "
I asked. " To-day or yesterday," said he. But when I



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 307

asked him afterward if he was sure it was the devil's
track, he said he did not know. I had been told that the
scream of a cougar was heard about Ktaadn recently,
and we were not far from that mountain.

We spent at least half the time in walking to-day, and
the walking was as bad as usual, for the Indian, being
alone, commonly ran down far below the foot of the
carries before he waited for us. The carry-paths them
selves were more than usually indistinct, often the route
being revealed only by the countless small holes in the
fallen timber made by the tacks in the drivers' boots, or
where there was a slight trail we did not find it. It was a
tangled and perplexing thicket, through which we
stumbled and threaded our way, and when we had fin
ished a mile of it, our starting-point seemed far away.
We were glad that we had not got to walk to Bangor
along the banks of this river, which would be a journey
of more than a hundred miles. Think of the denseness
of the forest, the fallen trees and rocks, the windings of
the river, the streams emptying in, and the frequent
swamps to be crossed. It made you shudder. Yet the
Indian from time to time pointed out to us where he had
thus crept along day after day when he was a boy of ten,
and in a starving condition. He had been hunting far
north of this with two grown Indians. The winter came
on unexpectedly early, and the ice compelled them to
leave their canoe at Grand Lake, and walk down the
bank. They shouldered their furs and started for Old-
town. The snow was not deep enough for snowshoes,
or to cover the inequalities of the ground. Polis was soon
too weak to carry any burden; but he managed to catch



308 THE MAINE WOODS

one otter. This was the most they all had to eat on this
journey, and he remembered how good the yellow lily
roots were, made into a soup with the otter oil. He
shared this food equally with the other two, but being so
small he suffered much more than they. He waded
through the Mattawamkeag at its mouth, when it was
freezing cold and came up to his chin, and he, being
very weak and emaciated, expected to be swept away.
The first house which they reached was at Lincoln, and
thereabouts they met a white teamster with supplies,
who, seeing their condition, gave them as much of his
load as they could eat. For six months after getting
home, he was very low, and did not expect to live, and
was perhaps always the worse for it.

We could not find much more than half of this day's
journey on our maps (the " Map of the Public Lands of
Maine and Massachusetts," and "Colton's Railroad
and Township Map of Maine," which copies the
former). By the maps there was not more than fifteen
miles between camps at the outside, and yet we had been
busily progressing all day, and much of the time very
rapidly.

For seven or eight miles below that succession of
" Grand " falls, the aspect of the banks as well as the
character of the stream was changed. After passing a
tributary from the northeast, perhaps Bowlin Stream,
we had good swift smooth water, with a regular slope,
such as I have described. Low, grassy banks and muddy
shores began. Many elms, as well as maples, and more
ash trees, overhung the stream, and supplanted the
spruce.



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 309

My lily roots having been lost when the canoe was
taken out at a carry, I landed late in the afternoon, at a
low and grassy place amid maples, to gather more. It
was slow work, grubbing them up amid the sand, and
the mosquitoes were all the while feasting on me. Mos
quitoes, black flies, etc., pursued us in mid-channel, and
we were glad sometimes to get into violent rapids, for
then we escaped them.

A red-headed woodpecker flew across the river, and
the Indian remarked that it was good to eat. As we
glided swiftly down the inclined plane of the river, a
great cat owl launched itself away from a stump on the
bank, and flew heavily across the stream, and the Indian,
as usual, imitated its note. Soon the same bird flew
back in front of us, and we afterwards passed it perched
on a tree. Soon afterward a white-headed eagle sailed
down the stream before us. We drove him several miles,
while we were looking for a good place to camp, for we
expected to be overtaken by a shower, and still we
could distinguish him by his white tail, sailing away from
time to time from some tree by the shore still farther
down the stream. Some shecorways being surprised by
us, a part of them dived, and we passed directly over
them, and could trace their course here and there by a
bubble on the surface, but we did not see them come up.
Polis detected once or twice what he called a "tow"
road, an indistinct path leading into the forest. In the
meanwhile we passed the mouth of the Seboois on our
left. This did not look so large as our stream, which was
indeed the main one. It was some time before we found
a camping-place, for the shore was either too grassy and



310 THE MAINE WOODS

muddy, where mosquitoes abounded, or too steep a hill
side. The Indian said that there were but few mosqui
toes on a steep hillside. We examined a good place,
where somebody had camped a long time ; but it seemed
pitiful to occupy an old site, where there was so much
room to choose, so we continued on. We at length found
a place to our minds, on the west bank, about a mile
below the mouth of the Seboois, where, in a very dense
spruce wood above a gravelly shore, there seemed to be
but few insects. The trees were so thick that we were
obliged to clear a space to build our fire and he down in,
and the young spruce trees that were left were like the
wall of an apartment rising around us. We were obliged
to pull ourselves up a steep bank to get there. But the
place which you have selected for your camp, though
never so rough and grim, begins at once to have its
attractions, and becomes a very centre of civilization to
you: "Home is home, be it never so homely."

It turned out that the mosquitoes were more numer
ous here than we had found them before, and the Indian
complained a good deal, though he lay, as the night
before, between three fires and his stretched hide. As I
sat on a stump by the fire, with a veil and gloves on, try
ing to read, he observed, " I make you candle," and in a
minute he took a piece of birch bark about two inches
wide and rolled it hard, like an allumette fifteen inches
long, lit it, and fixed it by the other end horizontally in a
split stick three feet high, stuck it in the ground, turning
the blazing end to the wind, and telling me to snuff it
from time to time. It answered the purpose of a candle
pretty well.



THE ALLEGASH AND EAST BRANCH 311

I noticed, as I had done before, that there was a lull
among the mosquitoes about midnight, and that they
began again in the morning. Nature is thus merciful.
But apparently they need rest as well as we. Few, if any,
creatures are equally active all night. As soon as it was
light I saw, through my veil, that the inside of the tent
about our heads was quite blackened with myriads, each
one of their wings when flying, as has be,en calculated,
vibrating some three thousand times in a minute, and
their combined hum was almost as bad to endure as
their stings. I had an uncomfortable night on this
account , though I am not sure that one succeeded in his
attempt to sting me. We did not suffer so much from
insects on this excursion as the statements of some who


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