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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
outfit.

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-beans, 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



30 THE MAINE WOODS

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



KTAADN 31

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



32 THE MAINE WOODS

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-



KTAADN 33

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



34 THE MAINE WOODS

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, 1 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 pi^juer de fond.



KTAADN 35

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 cany 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



36 THE MAINE WOODS

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



KTAADN 37

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, a 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 ferrees de rockers, shod with rocks. See also No.
10 Relations, for 1647, p. 185.



38 THE MAINE WOODS

" 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



KTAADN 39

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



40 THE MAINE WOODS

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-country 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



KTAADN 41

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



42 THE MAINE WOODS

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 here 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



KTAADN 43

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



44 THE MAINE WOODS

recounted by turns the most interesting discoveries in



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