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one returns the sun is sinking and the mountains are passing through that magical transformation of light by which their massive outlines are softened and spiritualized. Instead of flat surfaces of dead white, each tree is individualized and stands out in marvellous distinctness, with every branch and leaf outlined in exquisite frost-work. While the light of the western sky falls on those rich masses of frost-tracery a vision of evanescent loveliness passes before one, the flush of the rose slowly fading into the light of the first star.
But there are pleasures afoot in the wintry woods, and one of the most exhilarating is associated with the snowshoe. This ingenious device of the higher latitudes adjusts man to a winter environment which would otherwise narrowly circumscribe his activity. When the snow lies deep along the woodland roads or in the depths of the forest, the pedestrian is practically imprisoned; walking through snow-drifts is a form of exercise from which even the most vigorous shrink. But the snow-shoe, by diffusing one's weight over a larger surface, makes the heaviest snow tributary to a new kind of pleasThere is no art which is learned with so much personal humiliation as the art of putting the snow-shoe to its normal use; the novice invariably disCovers a marvellous inventiveness in turning it to other and more calamitous uses. Once mastered, the snow-shoe puts the whole country into one's possession; road and field, hill and wood offer no obstacles which cannot be overcome. There is, indeed, no other way in which one may really see all there is to be seen, and do all there is to be done. The charm of the winter woods can only be felt when one seeks the very heart of their solitude, and the key of these remote recesses is the snow-shoe. The stimulating air, the consciousness of freedom to scale all heights and to storm the very citadel in which winter has intrenched itself give the man on snow-shoes a feeling of superiority over his fellows which only the noblest natures can bear with equanimity. One comes back from such an exploration of the woods enriched beyond his deserts; he recalls the exquisitely etched branches
day it is a virgin solitude, and following swiftly the lines of its wooded shores, one feels that here the genius of winter is incarnated. The sky has become gray, the lake is a stainless plain, the clustering hills show their green masses touched with snow, while Whiteface rises from the shore, as noble a pile, seen from the surface of the lake, as stars ever rested upon in their long journeying. It is the hour of enthronement, and a few fortunate persons are present at the very moment when winter takes its seat and puts on its crown. A great wreath of snow gathers about the summit of the mountain and slowly descends, expanding as it sinks; the sky becomes more and more indistinct; snowflakes begin to fall, slowly at first, but with increasing rapidity, until the landscape is folded out of sight and the whole world is given up to the silent mystery of the storm.
The Lower Saranac offers a drivingtrack of a unique kind on a clear, cold day, when its surface is an unbroken stretch of snow, and one passes swiftly from island to island over the frozen waters, through which his fragile boat may have carried him under the enchantment of summer skies. I was so fortunate as to make the circuit of this charming lake during a driving storm, when all traces of travel were instantly obliterated, all landmarks concealed, and nothing remained but the whirling snow. The silent fury of the storm, the remoteness and solitude of the scene recalled those studies of winter life and scenery with which the genius of Schreyer has made the world familiar. Another novel experience awaited me when for the first time I left the road and followed the winding course of the Saranac River. The lumber sledges had made a smooth, narrow track on the ice, but not sufficiently marked to make it distinguish able at a distance from the level whiteness of the surface. The river is narrow and full of curves, trees line the shores in many places, and to the east there is a noble background of mountains. One charming bit of scenery gives place to an other in a long succession of winter pictures, touched with a refinement of form and a delicacy of color denied the riper and more affluent beauty of summer. As
The game laws conspire with the climate to limit the activity of the sportsman from December to May. During this period the cunning trout and the retiring deer are constructively secure from the hand of the spoiler. It is generally believed, however, that both venison and trout are sometimes served on Adirondack tables, and numbers of innocent persons are made accessories after the fact to flagrant violations of the law. When trout are caught during these months they suffer a change of name and are known as "chubs." Under various names venison also appears during the same period. The legitimate sport of the season, however, is the hunting of the fox and rabbit; an occupation full of zest and excitement for those whose love of the chase makes them indifferent to long tramps and extreme cold. To the uninitiated the lion's share of the excitement of fox and rabbit hunting seems appropriated by the dogs, who discover the scent, follow the game, and are engrossed in the absorbing interest of pursuit, while the hunter warms his hands, keeps up his spirits, and waits as patiently as he can for the chance of a shot. It not unfrequently happens that the fox takes a course of his own and disappears early in the day with the dogs on his track, leaving the hunter to cultivate that philosophy which Socrates is reputed to have domesticated among men. On the other hand, there are clear, bracing days when the game comes within range with the most considerate promptness, and the brush is the symbol of an experience whose zest none but the lover of sport can adequately appreciate.
There is a large class of men in the Adirondacks to whom the winter months bring the real work of the year, a work of much hardship even under the most favorable circumstances. As one drives along the roads in some sections of the woods he comes not unfrequently upon the deserted log-houses that have served as lumber camps. In winter these rude but warmly built huts are centres of the greatest activity. A camp generally numbers from twenty to thirty men, mostly French-Canadians, with some admixture of the native woodsmen. The season of work begins early in the au
tumn, when the trees are felled and cut into logs of uniform length. In this part of his work the Adirondack woodsman has exchanged the picturesque axe for the more manageable saw. The logs are then "skidded" by horses or oxen into skidways, which hold from one to two hundred. In the meantime, wood roads are made, and preparations are completed for the coming of snow. In December winter sets in, the roads are broken, and the logs are drawn to the nearest river, where they are piled in great roll-ways either on the ice or on a high bank, there to remain until the spring floods launch them and carry them to the various mills. The timber is often cut on the mountain sides, and the logs are shot down substantial slides built for that purpose. The descending logs in long slides attain such velocity that they sometimes shoot hundreds of feet through the air with the impetus of a cannon-ball. The life of the wood-cutters, although a hard one, is not without its enlivening features; indeed a vein of gayety runs through it. The French Canadians retain something of the cheerfulness of the Latin temperament, and in point of general good feeling and light-heartedness the lumber camp differs very sharply from the mining camp. Every hut contains at least one selfinstructed fiddler, and when the pipes. are lighted for the after-supper smoke Kanuck songs shorten the long winter evenings. Hard work in the intense cold naturally promotes early retiring, and the twenty or thirty men are in their bunks at an hour when the evening has hardly begun for social purposes in more luxurious circles. One does not care to dwell even in thought on the quality of the air in those huts, hermetically shut against cold, and shared by such a company of sleepers. The wages earned by the wood-cutters vary from eighteen to twenty-five dollars a month, and in spite of their narrow quarters and coarse fare the health of the men is said to be uniformly good. The impression prevails that all cutting of timber is injurious to the forest; as a matter of fact, much of it is highly beneficial. There are lumbermen whose rapacity spares nothing and leaves behind it barrenness and devastation; there are
others whose intelligent management of their business conserves the woods by removing superfluous and dying trees. Some of these far-seeing men have studied the systems of forestry abroad, and are adapting them to the very different conditions of timber-cutting in our own forests. The spruce in the Adirondacks is dying rapidly, and its removal is a matter of the highest importance to the preservation of the woods. Proper legislative restrictions, with intelligence and vigilance on the part of the lumbermen, would make the business of woodcutting conservative of the public interests in this noble park. Thoreau says that a broad margin of
leisure is as beautiful in a man's life as in a book. It is perhaps the most penetrating charm of winter life in the Adirondacks that it conveys a sense of the amplitude of nature and of man's life enfolded in it. One feels himself continually in the presence of a power so deep and great that all its processes are hushed into silence, and something of its own beautiful security enters into the soul. The stillness of the woods on a winter day, the vastness of the sky, the spaciousness of a snow-bound world allay the fever of life, calm the pulses of its unrest, and assure one that he too is part of this eternal order which nature keeps inviolate.
Yet mothers kneel before thee still
Time waits without the sacred spot
Where fair and young the mother stands;
By H. C. Bunner.
I obeyed him mechanically, and in a few seconds saw the stream swirl off from my point, leaving it in a safe space of calm water. The Indians on the other shore must have felt gloomy forebodings.
HERE had been a there-there where you have it now-rain the might set off current ever so little way, before, and I was play- that's it! Now build your sea-walling with sand and wa- good boy!" ter in the deep trench between the road and the lower wall of my father's garden, and enjoying it as much as a boy of eight years can enjoy anything without the company of other boys. A swift stream of clear water rushed down this sandy gutter, and made for me a far-western river, on whose bank I was constructing a fort to defy the hostile Indians. I had selected a grassy promontory, jutting out into the stream, and had pulled all the grass out by the roots and levelled the earth, and was beginning on my fortifications, when I observed with alarm the dissolution of the point of my site, which, no longer held together by the fibrous grass roots, was rapidly turning into black mud and going down the current in a cloud.
I tried to stem the flood with a flat stone set on end; but it would not stay on end, and I was contemplating the necessity of a change of base for my military operations, when the end of a thick walking-stick was thrust between my face and the water, and I heard a tremulous, eager old voice cry earnestly: "Farther up-farther up, my lad
I looked up. A tall, gaunt old gentleman, with a Roman nose and a delicate mouth, with deep wrinkles about it, as though he drew his lips together a good deal, stood and looked hard at the water. He did not look at me at all; but I looked hard at him-at his sad old face, his shabby brown broadcloth coat, the great rusty black satin stock about his neck, and his napless beaver hat with its rolling brim.
He stared at the water for a moment or two, gave an odd sort of half-choked sigh, and passed on his way.
That was the first time Squire FiveFathom spoke to me.
The town where I lived and fought Indians was called Gerrit's Gate. (For the benefit of a generation that pronounces Coney Island and Hoboken as they are spelled, that knows not oelykoeks, and that desecrates suppawn by calling it mush, let me say that Gerrit to the eye is Garrit to the ear.) The story of Gerrit's Gate is the story of Myndert Gerrit and his son, the old