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implements of death in the form of guns and fishing-rods. For the most part, however, these are well-mannered and inoffensive persons, whose murderous intentions toward fish, fowl, and quadruped are rarely put into effect. Every cup of wholesome pleasure contains at least a drop of sacrifice, and the lover of nature ought to find some consolation. for the loss of solitude in the thought that the beneficence of that noble country is bestowed with royal generosity. That which gives the Adirondacks their peculiar charm is inviolable; tourists cannot stain a sky visible always from horizon to horizon; nor despoil those countless lakes in which another sky floats responsive to every wind and wave;
nor blur the vision of the great hills, in which the silence and solitude of the woods seem to be sublimely visible. This noble country, whose value as a means of sane and wholesome living we have hardly begun as yet to understand, is in imminent danger; not from the throngs who visit it, but from rapacious land speculators, from selfish lumbermen, and from the aggressions of the railroads. If the woods can be secured and kept for public uses; if the destructive axe of the lumberman is restrained, and the extension of the railroads resisted, the Adirondacks may be safely committed to the custody of the people, whom they will educate to the proper care of so noble a possession.
There is one season, however, when the most jealous lover of nature will find himself in undisturbed possession of the landscape and all its resources. In summer the crack of the rifle may break the stillness of the most remote woods, or the plash of the oar disturb the tranquillity of the most secluded lake; at every carry one may meet adventurers pressing on to the heart of the wilderness, or returning from their novel voyaging; but in winter the crowds have vanished, and no trace of their coming and going remains save the deserted hotels, given over to utter silence, or to those deliberate and long-continued repairs which are sometimes made in the Adirondacks. Nowhere is there a broader or more effective contrast between winter and summer than in the North Woods; nowhere are the divergent sentiments and aspects of the two seasons more sharply accented. Not only is the population vastly reduced in winter, but its character is entirely changed; not only are the activities of life immensely restricted in volume and variety, but they suffer a notable change of direction; not only is one aspect of nature substituted for another, but the whole appearance of things is completely transformed. So radical is the change that takes place that one cannot lay claim to real knowledge of the woods until he has seen them when the hand of winter, like a more spiritual artist, has struck into sudden prominence the structure of the landscape by disrobing it, and, discarding all the tricks of color, has substituted for end
less variety of hue and tint the stainless purity of the most delicate monochrome, and the exquisite beauty of pure form. If the figure were permissible, one might say that in summer one sees the woods under the spell of the romantic mood; while in winter one looks upon them with the clear vision of the classical spirit; in summer affluence of color, splendor and variety of verdure compose the charm of every landscape; in winter flawless perfection of form, delicate precision of outline, exquisite tracery of bough and twig, imposing disclosure of mass create a different and more complex impression. In summer the senses are fed by a series of charming aspects; in winter the mind receives more directly an image of the harmony and completeness of a world whose bare structure stands out in naked majesty.
The summer life of the Adirondacks is diffused over a vast tract of country, heavily wooded for the most part, and thickly strewn with lakes and ponds. In winter this volume of life contracts, the wilderness is practically deserted, and only a few outposts are held as bases of supplies and activity. Chief among these winter retreats, and, indeed, the only community in the heart of the woods, is the village of Saranac. The Saranac region is the most beautiful and healthful section of the wilderness. Commanding at numerous points the noblest views of the mountain groups dominated by Marcy and Whiteface, including, within a comparatively small territory, lakes of such diverse beauty as St. Regis, Loon, Placid, the Upper and Lower Saranac, it offers the sportsman and nature-lover an inexhaustible variety of resources and attractions. Its elevation, its sandy soil, its vast environment of forest, full of spruce and pine, and the dryness of its atmosphere make this region a natural sanatorium, to which the victims of lung and throat diseases are drawn in increasing numbers. The village of Saranac is the only resort which the wilderness offers to invalids and semi-invalids in winter, although one or two of the larger hotels keep cottages open for guests during the same season.
Before the extension of the Chateaugay Railroad, a year ago, the long stage
ride to Saranac was often in severe weather no slight hardship; but now that one can leave New York by a night express, breakfast at Plattsburgh, and reach Saranac by noon without further change, the journey has lost its terrors. It is, in fact, no small pleasure in itself. If one makes it by daylight the winter scenery of the upper Hudson and of Lake Champlain furnishes a charming introduction to the wilder and more solitary winter landscapes of the woods. I was so fortunate as to make this journey for the first time on a day of crystalline purity and phenomenal frigidity. The thermometer registered fifteen degrees below zero at eight o'clock, and the mercury sank steadily during the day and the succeeding night until it touched forty-five degrees. The country was covered with snow of a dazzling purity, and the light was of a brilliancy unknown to summer days. The narrow-gauge railroad between Plattsburgh and Saranac makes its devious way through a sombre and lonely country, thinly settled, sparsely wooded, with tracts of dreary upland denuded by the axe of the woodcutter and by forest fires. It steadily climbs skyward until, on the ridge of Lyon Mountain, it reaches an altitude of two thousand feet. Noble outlooks break the monotony of the landscape from time to time, and after leaving Lyon Mountain the country rapidly takes on a bolder and more impressive character. Commanding mountain ranges interrupt the horizon line, great forests stretch away toward the wilderness of which they form the outskirts, snow-covered lakes and ponds are skirted and left behind, and one begins to feel the sentiment of the wintry woods. In the intense cold every outline of tree or mountain-peak is sharply defined, and the stainless white below and the stainless blue above give the day a dazzling radiancy. The trackmen, in their red overstockings, their manycolored blouses, and their brilliant toques, look like gnomes, the frost having whitened their beards so artistically that Father Time himself might well be envious of the skill which effects so striking a transformation.
In the keen, clear air the little village of Saranac takes on an almost pictu
resque air, and nestles among the wintry hills as if conscious of the immense capital of health and pleasure upon which it can draw at will. The white smoke from every chimney rises in a straight or sinuous column, sharply defined against the blue sky; the minor uglinesses are concealed by the charitable mantle of snow; and the mere fact of the presence of human life in the wilderness, at such temperature, inspires one with interest and respect. With the exception of an occasional load of logs one sees few indications of active life in the little community. It is the vacation season with many of the permanent residents, whose brief harvest-time is during the summer months; others are in the lumber camps; still others are in the service of the winter colony of visitors. The natives of the Adirondacks are, as a class, a kindly and trustworthy people, thoroughly capable in their own lines of work, frank in speech and courteous in manner. They are not given to undue rapacity in their dealings with the throngs who annually invade their territory, and in their civility and honesty they certainly differ very pleasantly from most men whose fortune it is to live on the tourist, the sportsman, or the invalid. The Adirondack guide is often a man of parts and resource— skilled in woodcraft, apt in emergencies, full of good sense and good humor, and a companion of one's vacation mood who adds not a little to its zest and pleasure.
One readily falls into the ways of the winter colony at Saranac, and finds them ways of pleasantness; not at all akin to the rigor of the climate, but rather suggestive of tropical deliberation and leisureliness. The health-seekers usually number from fifty to seventy persons, and although some form of pulmonary trouble has transplanted them to this wintry clime there is no suggestion of invalidism in the atmosphere of the place. A more aggressively active set of persons is probably not to be found the world over. Now that the physicians have practically agreed that air and nutrition are the principal if not the only means of overcoming pulmonary weakness or disease, out-of-door life is the invariable prescription for all