페이지 이미지

in the reflection that it was “most onaccount- even a requiescat in pace, and again springing able!"

and stumbling from rock to rock, and from log to At the Dog-Hole you must again betake your log, make our way up the stream. The brook self to the road, and you will do well to keep which now comes in from the ravine on the right, therein, until you reach the sprawling shanties is that which we have already followed in our of a deserted tannery in the Upper Clove." descent from the High Falls near the Mountain These tanneries are numerous in the Catskills ; House—to the Clove. We pass it by now, and and the business affords employment and bread advance upon the other branch. The rest of our to very many people. The great abundance of way is as novel and romantic in its continually the hemlock, which supplies the necessary bark, changing revelations, as it is arduous in achievegives extraordinary facilities for the labor. In ment. Prattsville, some thirty miles west of the Clove, Here is the favorite studio of the many artists, Colonel Zadoc Pratt has established one of the whom the cummer months always bring to the most extensive tanneries in the land. This foature Catskills. Nowhere else do they find, within the of the country is not at all calculated to win the love same narrow range, so great and rich a field for of the hunter of the picturesque. It destroys the study. Every step is over noble piles of wellbeauty of many a fair landscape-discolors the marked rocks, and among the most grotesque once pure waters—and, what is worse than all, forest fragments; while each successive bend in drives the fish from the streams! Think of the the brook discloses a new and different cascade. sacrilege! The bright-tinted trout offered up The total absence of a nomenclature prevents any upon the ignoble altar of calf-skin, sheep-skin, successful attempt to individualize the many fine and cow-skin! It boots nothing to protest points here, until we reach the base of the last against the infamy, or, “O! ye gods and little and highest of the cascades, the Little Falls, to fishes !" we would summon the venerated shade which we have already referred as having excited of our beloved Walton, to share our indignation the jealousy of good Peter Schutt, the Prospero at the shameful innovation.

of the “ High Falls.” Often in these wild glens Let us then pass the falling tanneries without have we looked upward, where

[graphic][merged small]
[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

" Higher yet the pine-tree hung

upon the comparative charms of Nature, in her Its darksome trunk, and frequent flung

varying aspects, with the seasons' change. One Where seem'd the cliffs to meet on high

loved the fresh and sparkling emeralds of spring, His bows athwart the narrowed sky."

and her pure and buoyant airs; another rejoiced Or we have gazed below, where

and dreamed happy dreams, fanned by the warmer Rock upon rock incumbent hung:

and more soothing breezes of summer; while a And torrents down the gullies flung,

third reveled in the fanciful and gorgeous apparJoin'd the rude river that brawl'd on,

eling of motley autumn-in the rainbow beauty Recoiling now from crag and stone."

of the forest leaves. Uncle Joe listened with With Uncle Joe as a guide, and accompanied truthful sympathy to all their varying preferby two of our friends, we took our first walk up ences; but he thought the terrors of winter, this devious path, resolute in purpose and step as when the fathomless depths of snow buried the the youth who “bore the banner with the strange hills, and the giant stalactites of ice sentineldevice.” We sallied forth in high glee on that ed their narrow passes the most onaccount. lovely morn, “with health on every zephyr's | able.” wing;” and even Uncle Joe failed to look upon it “You should see,” said he, as we stood beas “most onaccountable,” when one of our party neath the towering rocks of Little Falls, “you vented his superabundant enthusiasm in a recita should see those thousand rills, trickling and leaption of Mrs. Ellis's verses :

ing down so merrily from the summit of the “Were I a prince, it is not all

mountain, as they appear in winter, in the shape The charms or court or crowded hall,

of glittering icicles a hundred feet in length! Could keep me from the lovelier sight

You should look upon those waters when bitter or blooming earth and rivers bright; But here I'd come,

frosts have chilled them with their own icy monAnd find my home,

uments." Sweet scene of peace, no more to roam."

As our worthy thus discoursed, though in more As we trudged joyously along, our chat fell homely phrase, the fanciful poem of Bryant sug

gested by similar scenes at the Mountain House other extremity, while we were yet vainly awaitCascades, came to our mind :

ing a realization of our magnificent expectations.

There is a lakelet in this pass from which a " 'Midst greens and shades the Catterskill leaps From cliffs where the wood-flower clings;

certain author once drew a trout weighing five All summer he moistens his verdant steeps,

pounds; but in a second edition of his travels he With the light spray of the mountain springs;

reduced the extraordinary fish—at our particular And he shakes the woods on the mountain side,

and most conscientious request—to a tonnage of When they drip with the rains of autumn tide.

a pound and a half! “But when in the forest, bare and old, The blast of December calls,

Plauterkill, the second of the two great cloves He builds in the star-light, clear and cold,

of the Catskills, is entered five miles south of A palace of ice where his torrent falls,

Palenville. It is scarcely less fruitful in the picWith turret and arch and fret-work fair,

turesque than is the Kauterskill; while it retains And pillars blue as the summer air."

yet more of its native luxuriance and wildness. From the top of the Little Falls, we have a The hand of man, however, is now busy in its noble view of the gorge of the Kauterskill, with forest haunts—felling the royal tree-obstructing the distant glimpse of the valley of the Hudson, its foaming torrents, and winding the smooth and and the remote plains of Connecticut. “There,trodden path through its fastnesses. The stream as Miss Martineau writes, “ where a blue expanse which makes its rugged way in the gorge of the lies beyond the triple range of hills, are the Plauterskill, falls, in the passage of two miles, no churches of religious Massachusetts, sending up less than twenty-five hundred feet. Its banks their Sabbath psalms—praise which we are too rise in colossal mountain walls, towering high high to hear, while God is not.”

in air, and groaning with all their mighty Half a dozen miles onward, we may enter the strength, beneath the weight of their dense for* Stony. Clove," a pass in the western chain of ests. A monarch among these hills is South these hills, generally known as the Shandaken Peak, with its crown lifted four thousand feet Mountains. This gorge had been described to us toward heaven. It is full of remarkable localias one of sublime beauty; so narrow as scarcely ties, each enwrapt in legendary lore. Not the to admit of the passage of more than a single file least lovely of its possessions is a gentle lake, of voyagers; and with such mighty walls as to perched in solitude upon its summit. exclude the faintest beam of sunshine ; while ice Before we take our leave of those hills, we must and snow were to be seen there at all seasons of go back a while to the Kauterskill, and ascend the year. Our experience afterward corrected those giant spurs looking down into its glens—the this report. Compared with other regions of the lofty Round Top and the illustrious High Peak. Catskills, we thought the Stony Clove extremely from these grand elevations the Mountain monotonous ; and indeed we found ourself at the House and its soaring perch are seen far, far

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[graphic][merged small]

below in the valley. Glorious are the vistas of account of this same memorable expedition. To plain and river opened here and there in the great this end we shall venture to draw at pleasure, as forests, which shelter you in all your long ascent. we have already done throughout this paper, upon When the dawning is auspicious, you may gaze letters and descriptions of the Catskills which we in wonder as upon a vast expanse of ocean, with have written for other occasions than the present. the surface here and there writhing in mad bil- Gazing from the window of our little hostelry, in lows: now it is a frozen sea, with huge heaps of the mountains, one sunny morn in July, as the snow-drift, which anon is rent into mighty squad- sound of many wheels struck upon our ears, we rons of giant icebergs. Magical is the effect of beheld a suite of carriages, heavily laden with fair the sunbeams upon this great sea of mist, making dames and gallant lords, bent, as was evident it a Proteus in form, and a chameleon in color. from their excess of glee and basketry, upon a Once, after passing an adventurous night with a frolic of some sort. A single glance was sufficient large and merry party of dames and cavaliers, for much mutual recognition between the travelupon the proudest heights of the High Peak, we ers and ourselves; and as some of the party watched such a scene as this until the sun, rising alighted to greet us, we felt that marching orders high in heaven, bathed farm and cot below in the for our idle feet had at length arrived. So it fell full effulgence and glory of the day. We can not out and we were speedily enrolled a full private, perhaps better amuse our readers than with some in the largest and most genial expedition which

ever set forth for the conquest of “High Peak.” | the electric glare. The bough-house, which we Our troupe was to reach the head of the Clove had fully completed, was soon crowded, in the (the average summit of the mountains) in the car- vain hope of shelter. The water quickly peneriages, and proceed thence, on foot, six miles to trated its dense roof of leaves, until every devoted the crest of High Peak, where we were to pass the noddle served as a rock for the gambols of a mis night. Preceded by our guides, laden with stores, chievous little cascade. It was soon found to rain we made a very gallant appearance, not lessened harder inside than without, those exposed to the by the orthodox costume of both ladies and gen- full blast of the storm having the heat of the fires tlemen—the former in a demi-composite Bloomer as an antidote. Thus passed a long hour, when rig. Through bush and brake, wading in deep the storm, wearied with our obstinate resistance, mosses and clambering over and under fearful took itself off, with the whole baggage of mist and rocks, we merrily urged our way; now and then cloud. The moon again gleamed forth, decking halting for a general council of travel, by the side the dripping forest leaves with pearl and diamond. of the cool mountain springs. The ladies per- The scene which followed, as one after another formed the journey stoutly, until, without let or emerged from the bower, and gathered around the hindrance from bears, snakes, or panthers, we fires to dry, was grand and solemn in the exrested on the crown of the noble peak, upon a treme. The artists of our party made—as artists grand table-rock covered with mosses of extra- | always will-good use of the occasion. Each ordinary length, and of the softest texture. The strove to rival the other in excess of caricature ; promised land thus gained, we set about selecting but no exaggeration could exceed the reality. a site for our camp, which we formed under the We had no idea that we possessed so large a stock ledge of our trysting rock. Then what an indus- of dry goods (wet goods we mean), until we betrious colony we were, to be sure !--some felling held the vast array of submerged beaver, dripping trees for the construction of the castle, others broad-cloth, and innundated muslin and linen, gathering mosses and hemlock sprigs for roofing steaming on rock and bough. As it was deemed and bedding, building fires, boiling coffee, and unsafe to sleep after the rain, we were reduced to other preparations for the evening meal and the the necessity of sitting up throughout the night, an night's repose. All this while a heavy storm, alternative which proved, however, to be no great which had been long gathering, threatened mo- hardship. Each member of the party seemed to mentarily to break upon us, in anger at our bold feel the necessity of being more than usually amiinvasion of cloud-land. Night grew apace, and able, and all discomfort was quickly exorcised the newly risen moon hid herself in affright: by the magic wand of cheerfulness Story and nearer and louder boomed the deep thunder, and jest and song followed rapidly, and none were more fiercely and frightfully flashed the lightning, permitted to take cold, either physically or menuntil our huge camp.fires looked dim and pale in tally, by remaining quiet and unoccupied. Among

[graphic][merged small]
« 이전계속 »