The Project Gutenberg eBook of White Mountain Trails

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Title: White Mountain Trails

Author: Winthrop Packard

Release date: February 11, 2022 [eBook #67377]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: Small, Maynard and Company, 1912

Credits: Steve Mattern, Tom Cosmas and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)

White Mountain Trails, by Winthrop Packard

Transcriber Note

The term "Ursus Major" appears on page 88. As Ursus is a genus of the family Ursidæ (Bears), it is assumed the author meant to use Ursus instead of the usual "Ursa Major" of astronomers.

- i -


Sunrise from the summit of Mount Washington

- iii -






Author of "Florida Trails," "Literary Pilgrimage
of a Naturalist," "Wild Pastures," etc.



- iv -

Copyright, 1912

By Small, Maynard and Company

Entered at Stationers' Hall


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- vi -

- vii -


The author wishes to express his thanks to the editors of the "Boston Evening Transcript" for permission to reprint in this volume matter originally contributed to the columns of that paper; to Mr. Frederick Endicott of Canton, Massachusetts, for permission to reproduce his photographs of "Sunrise on Mount Washington," "Clouds Cascading over the Northern Peaks," "Fog on Mount Cannon," and "Lafayette from Bald Mountain"; to the Appalachian Mountain Club for the shelter of cosy camps so hospitably open to all wayfarers; and to many mountain people, especially those who dwell summers in the tiny hamlet on Mount Washington Summit, for unassuming hospitality and friendly guidance.

- ix -


I. Up Chocorua 1
II. Bobolink Meadows 17
III. Climbing Iron Mountain 32
IV. June on Kearsarge 48
V. Rain in the Mountains 64
VI. Carter Notch 79
VII. Up Tuckerman's Ravine 96
VIII. On Mount Washington 112
IX. Mount Washington Butterflies 128
X. Mountain Pastures 144
XI. The Northern Peaks 160
XII. The Lakes of the Clouds 175
XIII. Crawford Notch 191
XIV. Up Mount Jackson 206
XV. Carrigain the Hermit 222
XVI. Up the Giant's Stairs 238
XVII. On Mount Lafayette 252
XVIII. A Mountain Farm 268
XIX. Summer's Farewell 284
Index 299

- xi -


Sunrise from the summit of Mount Washington Frontispiece
"The smooth highway over which thousands of automobiles skim in long summer processions from Massachusetts to the Mountains" 2
"You realize the grandness and beauty of this outpost sentinel of the White Hills" 8
"The shadowy coolness of evening was welling up and blotting the gold of sunset from the treetops" 16
The Glen Ellis River at Jackson, New Hampshire, Thorn Mountain in the distance 20
Down the Wildcat River, over the brink of Jackson Falls, Moat Mountain in the distance 24
"From nowhere does one get a better view of Kearsarge than from this little cairn on the plateau which is the summit of Iron Mountain" 44
Sunset over Iron Mountain and Jackson, seen from Thorn Mountain 46
Kearsarge and Bartlett, seen from Middle Mountain, near Jackson 48
From Eagle Mountain one may see Kearsarge, blue and symmetrical in the distance, peering over the shoulder of Thorn 50
Sunset light on the Southern Peaks, seen from the summit of Mount Washington 64
Clouds on Mount Washington, from the Glen Road, Jackson 78
- xii - Carter Notch seen over Doublehead from Kearsarge summit 80
"Always climbing by easy gradients toward the great V in the Carter-Moriah Range" 84
The Appalachian Mountain Club camp in Carter Notch 90
"The snow arch at the head of Tuckerman's Ravine holds winter in its heart all summer long" 96
"Then the shadows are deep under the black growth that spires up all about the little placid sheet of water, though it still reflects the sapphire blue of the clear sky above" 100
The Appalachian Mountain Club camp in Tuckerman's Ravine 104
"The giant is awake, has tossed his bed-clothes high in air, and is striding away along the notch behind their shielding fluff" 108
"It all depends on what winds Father Æolus keeps chained, perhaps in the deep caverns of the Great Gulf, or which ones he lets loose to rattle the chains of the Tip Top House" 112
"The more distant valleys were deeply hazed in this amethystine blue, but the nearer peaks and plateaus stood so clear above them that it seemed as if one might leap to the Lakes of the Clouds or step across the Great Gulf to Jefferson in one giant's stride" 118
"Dawn on the mornings of those days was born out of the sky above the summit, as if the fading stars left some of their shine behind them" 120
Butterfly-time on Mount Washington, the summit seen over the larger of the Lakes of the Clouds 128
The fantastic lion's head which, carved in stone, guards the trail along Boott's Spur toward the summit cone of Washington 136
- xiii - "Semidea persistently haunts the great gray rock-pile which is the summit cone" 138
"The stocky, square-headed, white-faced cattle may well feel themselves superior to these beings far below who groom and feed them" 144
Mountain Sandwort in bloom on a little lawn near Mount Pleasant on the last day in July 154
Clouds on the Northern Peaks, Mount Adams seen from Mount Washington summit 160
"Where the path swings round the east side of Jefferson" 164
Cataract of clouds pouring over the Northern Peaks into the Great Gulf, seen from the summit of Mount Washington 168
"Dwarfed firs, beautiful in their courage, set spires along portions of their borders, dark, straight lashes for clear blue eyes" 182
Spaulding Lake at the head of the Great Gulf, Mounts Adams and Madison in the distance 188
"Profile of Webster," looking toward Crawford Notch from the old Crawford farm-house site 192
"Where railroad, highway, and river draw together and touch elbows in passing through the gateway of the Notch" 198
"Just below the nick of the Notch you may see where the Silver Cascade and the Flume Cascade hurry down from their birth on Mount Jackson, and farther down the vast slope of Webster" 202
In the heart of Crawford Notch, the summit of Jackson on the distant horizon 204
"As if giants had carved a huge, preposterous figure of a flying bird there for a sign to all who pass" 224
"Nor is this to be said in any scorn of the lumberman. He bought the woods and is using them now for the purpose for which he spent his money" 232
- xiv - "My way to the Giant's Stairs lay over the high shoulder of Iron Mountain, where the road shows you all the kingdoms of the mountain world spread out below" 238
"From the top tread of the Giant's Stairs one sees half of the mountain world, the half to southward" 248
"On the way the gray brow of Mount Cannon looks in through the gaps in the foliage" 256
Profile Lake, Franconia Notch, and Mount Lafayette from Bald Mountain 264
"Such beauties as these the mountains set daily before the eyes of the man who hewed out the highest farm in New England on the high shoulder of a westerly spur of Wildcat Mountain" 270
"The Glen Boulder has a George Washington nose, a Booker Washington chin, and the low forehead of the cave man" 288
The Crawford trail along Franklin, Mount Pleasant in the distance 294
"The world was blotted out in a gray mass of scudding vapor that gradually became black night out of which by and by rain came hissing" 296

- 1 -



The Mountain and Its Surroundings in Mid-May

The smooth highway over which thousands of automobiles skim in long summer processions from Massachusetts to the mountains, coquettes with Chocorua as it winds through the Ossipees. Sometimes it tosses you over a ridge whence the blue bulk and gray pinnacle stand bewitchingly revealed for a second only to be eclipsed in another second by the lesser, nearby beauties of the hill country, and leave you wistful. Sometimes it gives you tantalizing flashes of it through trees or by the gable of a farm-house on a round, hayfield hill, but it is only as you glide down the long incline to the shores of Chocorua Lake that the miracle of revelation is complete. Then indeed - 2 - you must set your foot hard on the brake and gaze long over the Scudder farm-house gate down a green slope of field to the little lake, and as the eye touches approvingly Mark Robertson's rustic bridge, set in just the right spot to give the human touch to the wild beauty of the landscape, and leaps beyond to the larger lake framed in its setting of dark growth, and on again to the noble lift of the great mountain with its bare pinnacle of gray granite, you realize the grandeur and beauty of this outpost sentinel of the white hills. It is hard to believe that Switzerland or Italy or any other country has anything finer than this to show the traveller.

"The smooth highway over which thousands of automobiles skim in long summer processions from Massachusetts to the Mountains"

- 3 -

It was a wonder day in May when I first stopped, spell-bound, upon this spot. A soft blue haze of spring was over all the mountain world, making mystery of all distant objects and lifting and withdrawing the peak into the sky of which it seemed but a part, only a little less magical and intangible. Hardly was this a real world on this day, but rather one painted by some mighty master out of semi-transparent dust of gems. The lake was a mirror of emerald stippled about its distant border with the chrysophrase reflection of young leaves, carrying deep in its heart another, more magical, Chocorua of softest sapphire tapering to a nadir-pointing peak of beryl. Out of the nearby woods came the song of the white-throated sparrow, the very spirit of the mountains, a song like them, built of gems that fade from the ear into a trembling mist of sound, the nearby notes sapphire peaks, the others distant and more distant till they seem but the recollection of a dream. Such days come to the mountains in May and they bring the white-throats up with them from the haze of the subtropics where they are born.

If one would climb Chocorua by the Hammond trail he must leave the smooth road that winds onward to Crawford Notch after he passes Chocorua Lake. There another, less smooth but still available to carriage or motor, will take him across Chocorua Brook and end at a house in the woods. Just before the end it crosses a second brook, and there is the beginning of the trail, a slender footpath only, but well defined - 4 - in the earth and well marked by little piles of stone wherever it goes over ledges. It is hardly possible to miss it in daylight; after dark it would be hardly possible to find it. Twice it crosses the brook, the second time leaving it to gurgle contentedly on in its ravine and rising more directly skyward. Beech and birch branches shimmered overhead with the translucent green of half-grown young leaves along the lower reaches of this trail. Maples flushed the green in spots with tapestry of coral red. Scattered evergreens, pine, spruce, hemlock and fir lent backgrounds of green that was black in contrast to the lighter tints. Smilacina, checkerberry and partridge berry wove carpets of varying color in the tan brown of last year's leaves, climbing the slope as bravely as anyone, and painted and purple trilliums did their best to follow, but had not the courage to go very far. The pipsissewa, bellwort and Solomon's seal did better. A few of them dared the ledges well up to the top of the first great southerly spur which the trail ascends.

It was the day after I had first seen Chocorua - 5 - and a wind out of the west had blown the blue haze of unreality away from the mountain, massing it to the east and south where it still held the land in thrall. I got the blue of it through straight stems of beech and birch and through the soft quivering of their young leaves painted with the delicate coral tracery of maple fruit.

All the way up the lower slope one is drowned in Corot. I watch yellow-bellied sap-suckers make love among the beeches, the crimson of their crowns and throats flashing with ruby fire, the blotched gray and white of wings and bodies a living emanation of the bark to which they cling. Their colors seem the impersonal fires of the young trees personified. In this, another wonder day of May, the goodness of God to the green earth flows in a tide of unnameable colors up the mountain-side, enflaming bird and tree alike and from the great shoulder of the mountain I look down through its mist of mystery and delight to Chocorua Lake, a clear eye of the earth, wide with joy and showing within its emerald iris as within a crystal lens magic mountains, upside down, and between - 6 - their peaks the turquoise gateway to another heaven, infinitely deep below. The lowland forest sleeps green at my feet, a green of sea shoals that deepen into the tossing blue of mountains far to the south, Ossipee, Whittier, Bear Camp and the lesser hills of the Sandwich range.

Many of the shrubs and trees of the lower slopes climb well to the top of this great southerly spur of the mountain, but straggle as they climb and lessen in number as they reach the height. Few of the lowland birds get so far, but among the dense spruces and firs which crowd one another wherever there is soil for their roots among the weather worn ledges, deciduous trees sprinkle a green lace of spring color, and among the spruces, too, is to be heard the flip of bird wings and an occasional song. Here the hardier denizens of the country farther to the north find a congenial climate. Myrtle warblers show their patches of yellow as they flit about, feeding, making love and selecting nest sites, and with them the slate-colored juncos glisten in their very best clothes and show the - 7 - flesh color of their strong conical bills. These two are birds of the mountain and they climb wherever the spruce does.

Beyond the crest of this great southerly spur the path dips through ravines and climbs juts of crag and débris of crumbled granite to the base of the great cone which is the pinnacle. Now and then one gets a level bit for the saving of his breath and his aching leg muscles and may find a seat on fantastically strewn boulders, dropped by the glaciers when they fled from the warmth to come. On up the mountain go the small things of earth, too. Here are sheep laurel and mountain blueberries, stockily defiant of the winter's zero gales, the laurel clinging as firmly to its last year's leaves as it does on the sunny pastures of the sea level hundreds of miles to the south, the roots set in the coarse sand that the frost of centuries has crumbled from rotten red granite. Poplars climb among the spruces and willows are there, their Aaron's rods yellow with catkins in the summer-like heat that quivers in the thin air. - 8 - The trees feel in them the call to the summit as does man.

As they go on you seem to see this eagerness to ascend expressed in the attitudes of the trees themselves. To the southwest a regiment of birches has charged upward toward the base of the pinnacle. Boldly they have swarmed up the steep slope and, though the smooth acclivities of the ledges about the base of the cone have stopped all but a corporal's guard, and though they stand, theirs is the very picture of a turbulent, onrushing crowd. Motionless as they are, they seem to sway and toss with all the restless enthusiasm of a mighty purpose; nor could a painter, depicting a battle charge, place upon canvas a more vivid semblance of a wild rush onward toward a bristling, defiant height. Few are the birches that have passed this glacis of granite that forever holds back the body of the regiment, yet a few climb on and get very near the summit of the gray peak. More of the dwarf spruces have done so. In compact, swaying lines they rush up, marking the wind and spread of slender defiles and leaning with such eagerness toward the summit that you clearly see them climbing, though they are individually motionless, rooted where they stand. There is a black silence of determination about these spruces that must indeed carry them to the highest possible points, and it does, while to the eye the birches behind them toss their limbs frantically and cheer.

"You realize the grandness and beauty of this outpost sentinel of the White Hills"

- 9 -

Whether the little blue spring butterflies climb the mountain or whether they live there, each in his chosen neighborhood, going not far either up or down, it is difficult to say, but I found them in many places along the trail to the base of the cone, little thumbnail bits of a livelier, lovelier blue than either the sky or the distant peaks could show, frail as the petals of the bird-cherry blossoms that fluttered with them along the borders of the path, yet happy and fearless in the sun. With them in many places I saw the broad, seal-brown wings of mourning cloaks, and once a Compton tortoise flipped from the path before me and hurried on, upward toward the summit. I looked in vain for him there, but as proof that butterflies do climb to the - 10 - very top of Chocorua I saw, as I rested on the square table of granite which crowns it, a mourning cloak, which soared up and circled me as I sat, rose fifty feet above, then coasted the air down toward the place where the birches seemed to toss and cheer in the noonday sun. He had won the height, and more, and I envied him the nonchalant ease with which his slanting planes took the descent.

One other creature I saw, higher yet, a broad-winged hawk that swung mighty circles up from the ravine to the southeast, down which one looks in dizzy exaltation from the very summit. There was a climber that outdid all the rest of us in the swift ease of his ascent. Out of nothing he was borne to my sight, a mote in the clear depths three thousand feet below, a mote that swept in wide spirals grandly up with never a quiver of the wing. Up and up he came till he swung near at the level of my eye, then swirled on and on, a thousand feet above me. A moment he poised there, then with a single slant of motionless wings turned - 11 - and slid down the air mile on mile, one grand, unswerving coast, to vanish in the blue distance toward Lake Ossipee.

Southerly from Chocorua summit the land was soused in the steam of spring. Chocorua Lake lay green at my feet, an emerald mirror of the world around it. To its right a little way Lonely Lake was a dark funnel in the forest, a shadowy crater opening to unknown depths in the earth below, filled with black water, and all to the east and south the country lay flat as a map, colored in light green, the lakes in dark green or steel blue, the roads in dust brown, the villages scattered white dots, while beyond a blue mist of mountains was painted on the margin for the horizon's edge.

To look north and west was to look into another world, to realize for what mountains Chocorua stands as the sentinel at the southeast gate. Paugus lifted, a blue-black, toppling wave to westward, seemingly near enough to fall upon Chocorua summit, while over its shoulder peered Passaconaway flanked with - 12 - Tripyramid and White Face. Northward and westward from these toppled the pinnacles of jumbled, blue-black waves of land that passed beyond the power of vision. Northward again the glance touched summit after summit of this dark sea of mountains till the crests lifted and broke in the white foam of the Presidential Range with Mount Washington towering, glittering and glacial, above them all. Here was no steam of spring to soften the outlines and blur the distance in blue. Rather the crystal clearness of the winter air still lingered there, and though but a few drifts of December's snow lay on Chocorua and none were to be seen on the other, nearer mountains, Carrigain was white crested and Washington topped the ermine of the Presidential range like a magical iceberg floating majestically on a sea of driven foam. Chocorua is not a very high mountain. Three thousand feet it springs suddenly into the blue from the lake at its feet, 3508 feet is its height above the sea level, but its splendid isolation and the sharpness of its pinnacle give one on its summit a sense of height and of exaltation far greater - 13 - than that to be obtained from many a summit that is in reality far higher.

Yet to him who stays long on the summit of Chocorua thus early in the spring is apt to come a certain sense of sadness, following the exaltation of spirits, sadness for the inevitable passing of this inspiring pinnacle. The work of alternating heat and cold, of sun and rain, are everywhere visible, beating the granite dome to flinders and carrying it down into the valley below. The bare granite shows the sledgehammer blows of the frost as if a giant had been at work on it making repoussé work with the weapon of Thor. Not a square foot of the sky-facing ledges but has felt the welts of this hammer of the frost, each lifting a flake of the stone, from the size of one's thumbnail to that of a broad palm. These crumble into nodules of angular granite that make drifts of coarse sand even on the very summit. The sweep of the wind and the rush of the rain come and send these in streams down the mountain side. The rain and the water of melted snow do - 14 - another work of destruction, also. Such water has a strong solvent power, even on the grim granite. Always after rain or during the snow-melting season of early spring, there is a little basin full of this water in the bare rock just northeast of the very summit. There it stands till the winds blow it away or the thirsty sun dries it up, and year after year it has dissolved a little of the rock on which it rests till it has worn quite a basin in the granite,—a basin which looks singularly as if it had been hollowed roughly out by mallet and chisel. So the work goes on, and Chocorua summit is appreciably lowered, century by century.

Fortunately man thinks in years and not in geological epochs, else the sadness of the thought were more poignant. After all, the work of erosion of the centuries to come can never be so great on the mountain as that of the centuries that have passed, for the geologists tell us that all the summits of the Appalachians were once but valleys in the vast table-land which towered far higher above them than they now do above the sea. The forces of erosion whose - 15 - patient work one now sees on Chocorua summit have hammered at the hills thus long. So wears the world away, but the great square block which sits on the very peak of the mountain shows none of the bruises which fleck the soft granite below it, and it may well be many a thousand years before it slides down into the ravine below.

The black bulks of Paugus and the mountains beyond were rimmed with the crimson fire of the westering sun as I reluctantly climbed down from the peak of this hill of enchantment, greeted by the evensongs of the juncos and myrtle warblers in the first broad patches of spruce about the base of the cone. A pigeon hawk swung up from the westerly ravine and hovered a moment so near me that I could see the white tip of his tail and the rusty neck collar, then slid down the air and vanished in the ravine on the opposite side of the mountain. He builds his nest on mountains and was well fitted to show me the easiest way down. I grudged him his wings as I waked the yelps in a new set of leg muscles, slumping down the - 16 - slopes and climbing laboriously down the almost perpendicular, rocky ravines. The Hammond trail is no primrose path, for all its beauties, and it was my first climb of the year. I was glad indeed to drink deep of the mountain brook near the end of the trail and then rest a bit to the soothing contralto of its song.

The shadowy coolness of the evening was welling up and blotting the gold of sunset from the treetops as I rounded Chocorua Lake and watched the sunset fire the summit where I had lingered so long,—a fire reflected deep in the very heart of the mirroring waters. The roar of the little river on its way down to Chocorua town came faintly to me, a sleepy song, half that of the wind in pines, half an echo of droning bees that work all day in the willow blooms by its side. Liquid, clear, through this came the songs of wood thrushes out of the shadows. The peace of God was tenderly wrapping all the world in night, and the mountain loomed farther and farther away in blue mystery and dignity, while from its pinnacle slowly faded the rosy glow of the passing, perfect day.

"The shadowy coolness of evening was welling up and blotting the gold of sunset from the treetops"

- 17 -


Early June about Jackson Falls and Thorn Mountain

On a May morning after rain the bobolinks came to the meadows up under the shadow of Thorn Mountain. The morning stars had sung together and the breaking of day let tinkling fragments of their music through, or so it seemed. Something of the sleighbell melodies that have jingled over New Hampshire hills all winter was in this music, something of the happy laughter of sweet-voiced children, and something more that might be an echo of harps touched in holy heights. Surely it is good to be in the mountains at dawn in May, when such sweet tinklings of melody fall out of celestial spaces! The high hills were veiled in the mists of the storm that had passed, but the nearer summit of Thorn leaned friendly out of them, - 18 - and over it from the south pitched the fragments of heavenly music, fluttering down on short wings like those of cherubs. The bobolinks had come to Jackson.

It is as easy to believe that the cherubs of Raphael and Rubens can make the journey from high heaven to earth on their chubby wings as that these short-winged, slow-fluttering birds can have come from the marshes below the Amazon on theirs, but so they have done, finding their music on the way. They went south in early September, brown, inconspicuous seed-eaters with never a note save a metallic "chink." Somewhere in the far south they found new plumage of black with plumes of white and old gold. Somewhere in the sapphire heights of air above the Caribbean Sea they caught the tinkling music of the spheres and dropped upon Florida with it in the very last days of April, bringing it thence again in joyous flight that drops them among the mountain meadows in mid May.

Now June is making the grass long about the little brown nests where the brown mother-bird - 19 - sits so close, but the meadows are full of tinkling echoes of celestial music still. All the mountain world is rapturous with this same joy of something more than life which the bobolinks brought from on high in their songs, dancing and singing with it and tossing something of beauty skyward day and night. Round the margins of the bobolink meadows the apple trees have completed their adoration of bloom, the strewing of incense and purity of white petals down the wind, and now yearn skyward with tenderness of young leaves. The meadow violets smile bravely blue from shy nooks, and the snow that lingered so long on the slopes is born again in the gentler white of houstonias which frost the short grasses with star-dust bloom. All the heat of the dandelion suns that blaze in fiery constellations round the margins cannot melt away this lace-work of the houstonias, and it is not till the buttercups come, too, and focus the sun rays from their glazed petals of gold that the last frost of the season, that of the houstonia blooms, is melted away. Dearly as the bobolink loves his brown mate in the nest, the - 20 - moist maze beneath the grass culms where he dines, and his swaying perch on the ferns that feather the meadow's edge, he, too, feels this upward impulse within him too strong to resist and continually flutters skyward, quivering with the joy of June and setting the air from hill to hill a-bubble with his song.

The bobolink meadows begin on the grassy levels between the Ellis and Wildcat rivers, the bottom land which forms the foothold of Jackson town, and they climb the mountains in all directions as do the summer visitors, scattering laughter and beauty as they go, till you hear the tinkle of the bobolink's song and find the beauty of meadow blooms in tiny nooks well up toward the very summits. Up here the shyest meadow birds and sweetest meadow flowers seem to love the rough rocks well and climb them by the route that the brooks take as they prattle down from the high springs. Up the very rivers they troop, and though they turn aside eagerly to the safer haven of the brook sides, they climb as well by way of the boulders that breast the roar of the bigger streams. The Wildcat River plunges right down into Jackson village by way of Jackson Falls, a thousand-foot slope over granite ledges worn smooth with flood, and mighty boulders scattered in bewildering confusion. In time of freshet this long incline is a welter of uproarious foam. This year a long spring drought has bared the rocks in many places, and one may climb the length of the falls as the stream comes down, from ledge to ledge and from boulder to boulder.

The Glen Ellis River at Jackson, New Hampshire, Thorn Mountain in the distance

- 21 -

The rush of the water drowns the warbling of the water-thrushes in the alders and viburnums on the banks, it drowns the cool melodies that the wood thrushes sing from the deep shade of the wooded slopes along the stream, but nothing has drowned the wild flowers that climb the falls by way of the ledges and boulders as the adventurous fisherman does. Why the whelming rush of freshets has not wiped them out of existence it is hard to say. There must be times each year when they are buried deep beneath the boiling foam, but there they cling this June and smile up in the sun and take the fresh scent of the churning waters as a strong basis for - 22 - their perfumes. They knew the tricks of the perfumer's trade long before there were perfumers, and the moisture of the flood itself is their ambergris. Here the cranberry tree leans over the water and drops the white petals of the neutral blooms from its broad, flat cymes to go over one fall after another on their way to Ellis River and, later, the Saco. The gentle meadow-sweet dares far more than this. It grows from slender cracks in the face of perpendicular granite, and with but rocks and water for its roots thrives and bathes its serrate leaves in the spray. The mountain blueberries have set their feet in similar places and hang fascicles of white bells over the water for the more daring of the bumblebees that have their nests in the moss of the river banks.

Showiest and boldest of all is the rhodora which has taken possession of a rock island in midstream well up the falls. Here in a tangle of rock points and driftwood it grows in clumps and puts out its umbel clusters of richest rose, a mist of petals that seems to have caught and held one of the rainbow tints from the spray - 23 - that dashes by the blooms on either side. Nor is even this, with its showy beauty that Emerson loved, the loveliest thing to be found growing out of granite in the very tumult of the waters. The blue violet is there, unseen from the bank but smiling shyly up to him who will clamber out to midstream, finding coigns of vantage down where even at low water the splash of spray sprinkles its pointed leaves and violet-blue flowers. Viola cucullata is common to all moist meadows and stream margins from Canada to the South, but nowhere does it bloom more cheerily and confidingly than in the midst of the rush and roar of Jackson Falls in these danger spots among the rocks. One clump I found in a square well of granite in the very wildest uproar, holding its sprays of bloom bravely up in a spot that at every freshet must be fairly whelmed with volumes of whirling icy water. How it holds this place at such times only the clinging, fibrous roots and the gray granite that they embrace can tell, but there it is, blooming as sweetly and contentedly as in any sheltered, grassy meadow in all the land.

- 24 -

Up from the bridge above Jackson Falls the road climbs by one bobolink meadow after another along the slope of Tin Mountain till it stops at the wide clearing on the higher shoulder of Thorn, which was once the Gerrish farm. Farm it is no longer, for the farmers are long gone. The jaw-post of the old well-sweep leans decrepitly over the well, which is choked with rubbish. The weight of winter snow and the rush of summer rain have long since broken through the roof of the old house and are steadily carrying it down into the earth from which it sprang. The chimney swifts have deserted the crumbled chimney, and the barn swallows no longer nest in the barn, last signs of the passing of a homestead, and even the phœbes have gone to newer habitations, but the broad acres are still strong in fertility and the grass grows lush and green on the gentle slopes. Down from Thorn summit and over from Tin the forest advances, but hesitatingly. It is as if it still had memory of the strokes of the pioneer's axe and did not yet dare an invasion of the land he marked off. It sends out skirmishers, plumed young knights of spruce and fir, scouts of white birch and yellow, of maple and beech, to spy out the land, and where these have found no enemy it is advancing, meaning to take peaceful possession, no doubt, for the wild cherries and berry bushes mingle with the old apple trees, and both hold out white blossom flags of truce.

Down the Wildcat River, over the brink of Jackson Falls, Moat Mountain in the distance

- 25 -

One wonders if the pioneer did not have an eye for mountain scenery as well as for strong, rich land, for from the very doorstone of the old house the glance sweeps a quarter of the horizon, scores of miles from one blue peak to another. At one's feet lies Jackson as if in a well among the hills, Eagle Mountain and Spruce and the ridges beyond dividing the valley of the Wildcat from the glen of Ellis River, yet not rising high enough to hide the peak of Wildcat Mountain, up between Carter and Pinkham notches. Iron Mountain rises on the left of Jackson, and beyond it the unnamed peaks of Rocky Branch Ridge lead the eye on to the snow still white in the ravines of the Presidential Range and Mount Washington looming in - 26 - serene dignity to the northwest. One may climb thus far on Thorn Mountain by carriage if he will, or by motor car indeed, provided he has a good hill climber. The ascent is often made thus. But to get to the very summit, the point of the thorn, a footpath way leads up through the bars into the pioneer's pasture, onward and upward through the forest.

The pasture ferns climb too, and the pasture birds love the wooded summit as well as they do the slopes far below the pioneer's farm. The June delight which echoes in the bobolink music in the meadows so far below sweeps up the mountain-side in scent and song and color till it blossoms from the Puritan spruces on the very top of Thorn. There one glimpses the rare outpouring of joy that comes from reticent natures. They are in love, these prim black spruces, and they cannot wholly hide it however hard they try. Instead they tremble into bloom at the twig tips, and what were brown and sombre buds become nodding blossoms of gold that thrill to the fondling of wind and sun and scatter incense of yellow pollen all down the mountain-side. - 27 - In the distance they are prim and black-robed still, but to go among them is to see that they wear this yellow pollen robe in honor of June, a shimmering transparent silk of palest cloth of gold. More than that, their highest plumes blush into pink shells of acceptance of joy, pistillate blooms of translucent rose as dear and wondrous in their colors of dawn as any shells born of crystalline tides, in tropic seas, blossoms whose fulfilment shall be prim brown cones, but each of which is now a fairy Venus, born of the golden foam of June joy which mantles the slender trees. Only with the coming of June to the mountains can one believe this of the spruces, because seeing it he knows it true.

The little god of love has shot his arrow to the hearts of the trembling spruces, and he sings among their branches in many forms. The blackburnian warbler lisps his high-pitched "zwee-zwee-zwee-se-ee-ee" all up the slope of Thorn to the summit and shows his orange throat and breast in vivid color among the dark leaves. - 28 - The black-throated green, moving nervously about with a black stock over his white waistcoat, sings his six little notes, and the magnolia warbles hurriedly and excitedly his short, rapidly uttered song. The mourning warbler imitates the water-thrush of the misty banks of Jackson Falls, and the Connecticut warbler echoes in some measure the "witchery, witchery" of the Maryland yellow-throats, both birds that have elected to stay behind with the bobolinks.

Thus carolled through cool shadows where the striped moosewood hangs its slender racemes of green blossoms, you come rather suddenly out on the bare ledges which face northerly from the summit. Truly to see the mountains best one should look at the big ones from the little ones. Here is the same view that Gerrish had from his farm, only that you have a wider sweep of horizon. Over the Rocky Branch Ridge to the westward rises the Montalban Range, with the sun swinging low toward Parker and Resolution and getting ready to climb down the Giant's Stairs and vanish behind Jackson and Webster. Everywhere peak answers to - 29 - peak, and you look over low banks of mist that float upward from unknown glens, forming level clouds on which the summits seem to sit enthroned like deities of a pagan world. There is little of the bleak débris of battle with wind and cold on the summit of Thorn. It is but 2265 feet above sea level, lower than most of the mountains about it, and the trees that climb to its top and shut off the view to the east and south are in no wise dwarfed by the struggle to maintain themselves there. But from it one gets a far better outlook on mountain grandeur than from many a greater height. Washington holds the centre of the stage which one here views from a balcony seat, seeming to rise in splendid dignity from the glen down which the Ellis River flows, and it is no wonder that there is a well-worn path from the Gerrish farm to the point of the Thorn.

It may be that the pioneer who first hewed the mountain farm from the forest also first trod this path to the very summit of the little mountain. It may be that he got a wide enough - 30 - sweep of the great hills on the horizon to the north and west from his own doorstone. But I like to think that once in a while, of a Sunday afternoon perhaps, he went to the peak and dreamed dreams of greater empire and higher aspirations even than his mountain farm held for him. There is a tonic in the air and an inspiration in the outlook from these summits that should make great and good men of us all. These linger long in the memory after the climb. But longer perhaps even than the hopes the summit gives will linger in the memory of him who climbs Thorn Mountain in early June the recollection of two things, one at least not of the summit. The first is the joy of June in the bobolink meadows far down toward Jackson Falls, the celestial melodies that the bobolinks echo as they flutter upward in the vivid sunshine and sing again to mingle their white and gold with that of the flowers that bloom the meadow through. The other is the bewildering beauty of the once black and sombre spruces in their sudden draperies of golden staminate bloom, looped and crowned with the pistillate - 31 - shells which so soon will be prim brown cones. The bobolinks will sing in the meadows for many weeks. The mountains will blossom with one color after another till late September brings the miracle of autumn leaves to set vast ranges aflame from glen to summit, but only for a little time are the spruces so filled with the full tide of happiness that they put on their veils of diaphanous gold and their rosy ornaments of new-born cones. It is worth a trip into the hills and a long climb to see these at their best, which is when the bobolinks have eggs in the brown nests in the meadow grass and the blue violets are smiling up from the rock crevices in the midst of the tumult of Jackson Falls.

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Some Joys of an Easy Ascent Near Jackson

The dawn lingers long in the depths of the deciduous woods that line the eastern slope of Iron Mountain. You may hear the thrushes singing matins in the green gloom after the sun has peered over Thorn and lighted the grassy levels in the hollow where Jackson wakes to the carols of field-loving birds. The veery is the bellman to this choir, ringing and singing at the same time, unseen in the shadows, the notes of bell and song mingling in his music till the two are one, the very tocsin of a spirit in the high arches of the dim woodland temple, calling all to prayer. The wood thrushes respond, serene in the knowledge of all good, voices of pure and holy calm, rapturous indeed, but only with the pure joy of worship and thoughts of things most high. So it is with the hermit thrushes - 33 - that sing with them, nor shall you know the voice of the hermit from that of the wood thrush by greater purity of tone or exaltation of spirit, though perhaps it falls to the hermits to voice the more varied passages of the music. Of all bird songs that of these thrushes seems to be most worshipful and to touch the purest responsive chords in the human heart. As they lead the wayfarer's spirit upward, so they seem to lead his feet toward the mountain top, the cool forest shades where they sing alternating with sunny glades as he scales the heights with the mountain road, which climbs prodigiously.

Way up the mountain the sunny glades widen in places to mountain farms, their pastures set on perilous slants, so that one wonders if the cattle do not sometimes roll down till checked by the woodland growth below, but their cultivated fields more nearly level, spots seemingly crushed out of the slopes by the weight of giant footsteps, descending. The wooded growth and ledges of the summit leap upward from the southern and western edges of these clearings, but to the north and east the glance passes into - 34 - crystal mountain air and penetrates it mile on mile to the blue summits that cut the horizon in these directions. Far below lie the valleys, with the smaller hills that seem so high from the grassy plains about Jackson village smudged and flattened from crested land waves to ripples. Highest of all mountain cots is the Hayes farm-house, its well drawing ice water from frozen caverns deep in the heart of the height and its northern outlook such as should breed heroes and poets through living cheek by jowl with sublimity. Here the mighty swell of the mountain sea has sunk the rippling hills below, but the sweep of crested land waves leaps on, high above them. Looking eastward, one seems to be watching from the lift and roll of an ocean liner's prow as the great ship runs down a gale. Out from far beneath you and beyond roar toppling blue crests, ridge piling over ridge. Thorn Mountain, Tin and Eagle are the nearer waves, their outline rising and falling and showing beyond them Black Mountain and the two summits of Doublehead, and beyond them Shaw and Gemini and Sloop, great billows rising and - 35 - rolling on. Down upon the forest foam left behind in the hollows of these rides the Carter Moriah Range, a jagged, onrushing ridge, driven by the same gale. The day may be calm to all senses but the eye, yet there is the sea beneath you and beyond, tossed mountain high by the tempest.

To turn from the tumult to things near by is to find the forests of the mountain coming down through the pastures to look in friendly fashion over the walls at the clean mowing fields. On these they do not encroach, and though they continually press in upon the pastures and narrow their boundaries they do it gently and with such patient urbanity that the open spaces hardly know when they cease to be and the woodland occupies them. The flowers of the pasture sunshine grow thus for years in the forest shadows before they realize that they are out of place and hasten back to seek the full sunshine, and the trillium and clintonia and a host of other shade-loving things move out into the open and mingle with the buttercups and blue violets, sure - 36 - that the trees will follow them. Thus gently does nature repair the ravages that have been wrought by the hand of man. Yet all through the mountain region she moves on, and fewer farms nestle in the giants' footfall on the high ridges than were there fifty or a hundred years ago. In many cases the summer hotel or the summer residence has taken the place of the one-time farm-house, but the dwellers in these encourage the wood rather than hold it at bay. The lumbermen make sad havoc among the big trees, but the forest acreage is greater in the mountains now than it was a century ago, more than making up in breadth what it loses in height.

In this low growth of the pastures about the farms high on Iron Mountain the June sunshine seems to pass into living forms of plant and animal life. Not only do the dandelions and buttercups blossom with their gold in all the moist, rich soil, but out of the green of forest leaves and the deep shadows of the wood it flutters upon quivering wings. The yellow warblers that flit and sing vigorously among the - 37 - young birches are touched with the olive of the gentler shadows, but as they sing their vigorous "Wee-chee, chee, chee, cher-wee" their plumage is as full of the sunshine gold as are the dandelion blooms. The myrtle warblers of the spiring spruces, the magnolias, Blackburnians, mourning, Canadian and Wilson's, are flecked with it, and the forest shadows that touch them too only seem to bring it out the more clearly. But these are birds of the wood or its edges. In the trees that stand clear of the forest the goldfinches sing as if they were canaries, caged within the limits of the farm, their gold the brightest of all that which the birds show, the black of their wings densest, the color of night in the bottom of the glen, under evergreens. The thrushes that sing in the deep woods far down the mountain chant prayers, even until noon, the warblers in a thousand trees twitter simple ditties that are the mother-goose melodies of the forest world, cosy, fireside refrains hummed over and over again, but the goldfinches are the choristers of the summer sunshine when it floods the open spaces. They - 38 - seem to be the familiar bird spirits of summer on the little mountain farms.

As the sunshine blossoms from the mountain meadows, as it flits and sings in the forest margins and in the goldfinch-haunted trees of the open farm, so it is born even from the twigs in the deeper wood, far up above the highest farm on the way to the summit of Iron Mountain. Great yellow butterflies, tiger swallowtails, flutter in the dapple of light and shadow, their gold the sunlight that flows across them as they sail by. A few days ago not one of these soaring beauties was in all the woodland; then, of a day, the place was alive with them. Born of chrysalids that have wintered under dry bark and in the shelter of rocks and fallen leaves, passing unharmed through gales and cold that registered forty below and six feet of hardened snow? Nonsense! Watch the play of sunlight on young leaves of transparent green. See it flame with shining gold, stripe them with rippling shadows of twigs, and then see the whole quiver into free life and flutter away, a - 39 - tiger-swallowtail butterfly, and believe these spirits of the woodland shadows are born in any other way, if you can. Papilio turnus may come out as chrysalids in scientists' insectaries, but these woodland sprites are born of the love of sunshine for young leaves and quiver into June to be the first messengers of the full tide of summer, which neither comes up to the mountains from the south nor falls to them from the sky, but is a miracle of the same desire.

It is for such miracles that the young shoots of the forest undergrowth ask as they come forth each year with their tender leaves clasped like hands in prayer. Through May you shall see this attitude of supplication in the young growth all along the mountain-sides where the shade of the woods is deep, and it lingers with the later-growing shrubs and herbs even until this season. Most devout of these seems the ginseng, its trinity of arms coming from the mould in this prayerful attitude, and now that these have spread wide to receive the good and perfect gifts that they know are coming the trinity of leaflets at their tips are still clasped most humbly. So - 40 - it is with the bellwort and the Solomon's seal and many another gentle herb of the shadows. Their leaf hands are clasped in prayer as they come forth, and their heads are bowed in humble adoration all summer long. The joy of warmth and the sweetness of summer rain are theirs already, and one might think it was for these creature comforts that the prayer had been. But it was not. It was, and is, for grace of bloom and the dear delight of ripening fruit, the one deep wish of all the world.

The very summit of Iron Mountain, 2725 feet above the sea level, is a plateau of broken rock, scattered over solid ledges which protrude through the débris. Trees and shrubs of the slopes and the lowland have climbed to this plateau, poplar and birch, bird cherry, sumac, dwarf blueberries and alder, that find a footing here and there among the crevices. Spruces, somewhat dwarfed and scattered but spiring primly, are there, too, and the whole concourse makes the bleak rock glade-like and friendly, yet do not altogether obstruct the outlook. The breath of summer has pinked the young cones - 41 - on the spruce tops and robed them in the gold of pollen-bearing catkins. It has set silver reflections shimmering from the young leaves of poplar and birch, and the dwarf blueberries are pearled with white bloom. Other spirits of summer are among these; alert, frantically hasty skipper butterflies dash about among them, and a big, lank mountain variety of bumblebee drones from clump to clump, showing a broad band of deep orange across the gold and black of his back. He is a big and husky mountaineer of a bee, but buzzing with him comes a clearwing moth, the spring form of the snowberry clearwing. Hæmorrhagia diffinis, if I am not mistaken, though I hardly expected to find this little day-flying moth at so great an elevation so far north. The very spirit of summer, the tiger-swallowtail butterfly, was there, too, hovering confidingly at the tip of my pencil as I wrote about him, and with him the black, gold-banded Eastern swallowtail, Papilio asterias, these two the largest butterflies of the summit. Of all the insect life, large or small, that revelled in the vivid sunlight of the thin air of the little - 42 - plateau the most numerous were the little bluebottle flies that hummed there in swarms, very busy about their business, whatever it was, filling the air with glints of the deepest, most scintillant azure.

But he who climbs Iron Mountain will not linger too long with the summer denizens of its little rocky plateau. From the cairn which mountaineers have built of its loose rocks the eye has a wide sweep of the mountain world in every direction. To the south the land fades into shadowy mountains far down the Ossipee Valley, mountains that seem to float there in a soft, violet haze as if they were but massed bloom of the Gulf Stream that flows and gives off its wondrous colors half a thousand miles farther on. East the tossing sea is dappled with green and blue as the cloud shadows follow one another over the forest growth. West the peaks against the sun loom blue-black and stern as they climb northward into the Presidential Range, lifting their summits over the rough ridge of the Montalban Range till one wonders - 43 - what wildernesses lie in the shadowy ravines between the two. But whether to the east or the west the gaze still falls upon a surging sea of forest-clad granite, the very picture of tumultuous motion, till the cairn beneath the gazer takes on the semblance of a mainmast-head on which he stands, and from which the plunge of the ship may at any moment send him whirling into space.

To look northward from this main-truck is to get a further insight into the mystery of the motion. Here, as the clouds blow away from the upper slopes of the highest peak, the semblance of a tossing sea vanishes, and one seems to understand what happened here in an age long gone. Once upon a time this mountain earth must have been fluid, one thinks, and the wind have blown an antediluvian gale from the northwest. It sent great waves of earth tossing and rolling and riding southeast before it, with clouds for crests and the blue haze of distance for the scurrying spindrift. Then uprose from the depths of this awful sea Mount Washington, enthroned on the Presidential Range, - 44 - "clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful," and commanded the tumult to cease. There it stands.

It stands, not only in the rock but in the imagination of the onlooker, once he has found the dignity and grandeur of the highest summit, for authority. Dignity and grandeur are the impressions which come to one from the north through the crystal clear, thin air out of the cool, snow-samite which still stands in the deep ravines even on the southerly slope of the master mountain, just as illusion and romance dwell in the violet haze which veils all the south in pleasing mystery. Here on Iron Mountain one is lifted high in air between the two and able with a turn of the head to see either, and again it should be said that to know the mountains well it is best to see them from the lesser summits of their ranges. From every one of these they stand before the onlooker in new aspects, so different each from each that they seem new peaks whose acquaintance he has not hitherto made. Only thus is their many-sided completeness revealed and their full personality brought out. Nor need the visitor be among them long before he realizes that they have personality and grow to be individual friends, as well loved and as ardently longed for when absent as any human neighbor or associate. Within them dwell a deep kindliness and a strength which goes out to those who love them, unfailing and unvarying through the years. It is no wonder that prophets seek them, and that within the sheltering arms of their ridges are cosy nooks where hermits build their hermitages and find a deep peace which the cities of the world deny them.

"From nowhere does one get a better view of Kearsarge than from this little cairn on the plateau which is the summit of Iron Mountain"

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From nowhere does one get a better view of Kearsarge than from this little cairn on the plateau which is the summit of Iron Mountain. The long ridge which rises from the east branch of the Saco to Bartlett Mountain and goes on and up to make the summit of Kearsarge stands with its edge toward him and vanishes against the mountain itself, leaving its outline that of a narrow cone, rising abruptly from a plain below. There is something spectacular in its dizzy, abrupt loom into the sky, quivering in - 46 - gray haze against the violet depths beyond, making of it a magic peak such as the early voyagers of legendary times saw and viewed with fear and wonder. Such a mountain as this seems was the lodestone which drew the ship of Sinbad from the sea to be wrecked on its base, and over it at any time might come flying a roc with the palace of a prince of India in its talons.

The sun that sinks to his setting behind the great ridges that wall in Crawford Notch sets their peaks in eruption, black smoke of clouds rising from them and glowing with the reflection of lakes of lava below and the flicker of long flames. The Presidential Range looms and withdraws in mighty solemnity and dignity, lost in the turbid glow of this semblance of what may have happened in æons gone, but the reflection of these fires only deepens the amethystine gray of Kearsarge and the purple gloom beyond it, while it touches the very summit with a soft rose, a flower of mystery as sweet as any that ever bloomed in legendary lore. When the watcher on the peak sees these signs, it is time to begin the descent to the deepening shadows far down the mountain, where the thrushes are singing vespers in tuneful adoration, prayerfully thankful for a holy day well spent.

Sunset over Iron Mountain and Jackson, seen from Thorn Mountain

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Butterflies and Flowers on a Summit of Splendid Isolation

The familiar spirits of Kearsarge Mountain this June seemed to me to be the white admiral butterflies. Clad in royal purple are these with buttons of red and azure and broad white epaulettes which cross both wings. These greeted me in the highway at Lower Bartlett and there was almost always one in sight up Bartlett Mountain, over the ledges and to the very top of Kearsarge itself. One of them politely showed me the wrong wood road as a start for the trail up Bartlett which leaves the highway just a little south of the east branch of the Saco. Then when the road ended in a vast tangle of slash and new growth he showed me what was to him a perfectly good trail still, up in the air and over the tops of the trees and ledges in easy flight, and I dare say he thought me very dull that I did not follow as easily as he led. It is the season for white admirals and you may meet them in favored places all over the mountains from now on, but nowhere have I seen them so plentiful as they are this June along the slopes of Bartlett and Kearsarge. A South American navy could not have more admirals.

Kearsarge and Bartlett, seen from Middle Mountain, near Jackson

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With the white admirals I find, flying lower and keeping well in shadowy nooks, a thumbnail butterfly which might well be a midshipman, he is so much a copy on a small scale of the admiral, very dark in ground color and having white epaulettes across both wings also. This butterfly is new to me, nor do I find him figured in such works on lepidoptera as I have been able to consult since I have seen him. I had to get lost on the way up Bartlett to find him most plentiful, but his fellows are common throughout the shady woodlands of the upper branches of the Saco from Pinkham Notch to the borders of the Conway meadows. In fact I fancy the whole White Mountain region is a school for these understudies of the white admirals, - 50 - and they certainly could have no more noble exemplar.

No doubt my volunteer white admiral guide had a great contempt for any would-be sailor that could not climb as he did when he went straight toward the main truck of Kearsarge by way of the bobstay, but he left me where the lumber road did, in a wild tangle of slash, to get up the mountain the way the bear does, on all fours. There is a path up Bartlett, a proper one that enters from the highway as the A. M. C. guide says it does and sticks to its job after the first third of the ascent is accomplished, but the way it flirts with the wood roads between these two points is bewildering to the sober-minded stranger who attempts to follow it. However, missing this slender trifler had its compensations. I am convinced that I reached portions of the slope of Bartlett that are rarely visited. I was long getting out of the awful mess which lumbermen leave behind them at the upper ends of their roads. The inextricable confusion of tangled spruce tops and the sudden riot of new deciduous growth, wild with delight over the flood of sunshine it gets, held me as if in a net. And all the time I wrestled with it an indigo bunting sat on the top of a rock maple and sang his surprise at seeing such a thing in such a place. "Dear, dear!" he gurgled, "who is it? who is it? dear, dear, dear!" and once in a while he added a little tittering "tee, hee, hee." It was all very well for him. He could follow the white admiral if he were bound for the main truck of Kearsarge by way of the Bartlett bobstay, and he looked very handsome and capable as he glistened, iridescent blue-black up there against the sun. How poor a creature a man is, after all! A box turtle could have gone up through that slash better than I did.

From Eagle Mountain one may see Kearsarge, blue and symmetrical in the distance, peering over the shoulder of Thorn

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However, man wins because he keeps everlastingly at it, and I reasoned that if I kept climbing I would come out on top of something or other, and I did. On top of a pretty little hill, which is an outlying, northwesterly spur of Bartlett, a spot which gave me a glimpse of the dark, spruce-covered summit far above and a deep ravine between down into which I must - 52 - go and begin my scramble all over again. A no-trail trip gives one an idea of what a mountain really is, showing him, for one thing, how rapidly it moves down into the valley beneath it. Here on steep slopes were loose masses of angled fragments of granite, weighing from a few pounds to a few tons each, broken from the precipices above by the frost and ready, some of them at least, to be toppled at a touch and start an avalanche. It needs but the footfall of a climbing deer, a bear, or a stray man to start one rock, or two, and it is easy to see that a down-rush of spring rain takes always a part of the mountain with it. To go up one of the precipitous ledges, "tooth and nail" as one must who misses the path, is to find how easily these broken chunks, separated by the frost from the parent rock, fall out and join the masses below.

Yet such a climb has its joys, which the path does not always give. Here the deer have browsed and left prints of slender hoofs in the black earth beneath the trees, there the white hare had his lair all winter, a jutting rock - 53 - sheltering him and the sun from the southwest warming him as he crouched. Here are holes where the porcupines have scratched their bristly way, or a cave where perhaps a bear had his den. This the wandering stranger views with suspicion and approaches with many delightful thrills strangely compounded of hope and fear. Probably there are no bears on Bartlett, but what if there were one, and nothing for defence but the majesty of the human eye! A man is apt to get his own measure in places like these. Of course the bear, if there be one, will run—but which way? In the wildest glen, filled with rough dens and suspicions of bears of the largest size, I found grateful traces of at least the former presence of men, men in bulk, so to speak. Here, in the forest tangle, wreathed with mountain moosewood blooms, was a good-sized cook-stove. There was no suspicion of a road, and I could only guess that it had wandered from a lumber camp and lost the trail, as I had. It reminded me that Bartlett summit was still distant, more distant perhaps than the noon hour which this - 54 - mountain range also suggested, and it set me to the ascent with renewed vigor.

All the way up in woodsy nooks where are little levels of rich black soil the moccasin flowers climb till the very top of Bartlett is reached. Their rose-purple foot coverings with the greenish-purple pointed thongs for tying seem scattered as if pukwudgies had lost them, fleeing in terror from the bears which I could only suspect, the mountain top their refuge, where I found them, grouped rather close together in mossy nooks among the ledges. The dwarf cornels climb with them, finding footing in much the same places and stare unblinkingly up with round and chubby foolish faces. The cypripediums are sensitive and emotional; these that climb with them are strangely stolid and shallow by comparison, yet they add beauty of their own sort to the wide, moss-carpeted stretches beneath the trees. On the very ledges themselves neither of these advance, yet wherever the frosts of winter have split the rock the slender lints of strange lettering are green with - 55 - mountain cranberry vines, and the creeping snowberry has followed and holds rose-white blooms up to lure the mountain bees. The lichens have painted these ledges, of which the upper part of Bartlett Mountain is built, with wonderful soft colors of mingled grays and greens, and the spruces spire, black and beautiful, all over the summit, making one hunt for open spaces from which to view the world stretched out beneath. I found the path again on the ledges well up toward the summit, a slender, coquettish thing still, hard to follow, but enticing with its waywardness, its most bewildering vagaries marked by former lovers, men of the A. M. C. without doubt, little piles of stone which lead him who trusts them to the very summit.

Here, as on that lower spur of Bartlett which I had struggled to attain, one looks upon a greater height, with a ravine between, Kearsarge looming grandly up into the sky to eastward. The white admiral butterfly danced along here, too—or was it another?—seemingly impatient at my long delay in following, and the - 56 - path coquettes in vain, down ledges and up ledges, always to be found by patient study of those little piles of marking stone, till, breasting the steep slope of Kearsarge itself, one enters the comparatively broad highway which leads up from Kearsarge village. After that the ascent to Olympus is easy.

On few mountains does one get the sense of exaltation and ecstatic uplift that comes to him when he stands on the high summit of Kearsarge. The mountain is splendidly isolated, only Bartlett rising high near it, and the summit of that even being so far below as to be readily overlooked. Northwestward looms Mount Washington, higher, no doubt, but so buttressed by the great ranges on which it sits serene as to lose the effect of upleap that Kearsarge has. Under you is spread all eastern Maine, like a map, and you look northeastward across silver levels of lakes and mottled green of dwarfed hills till, shadowy on the far horizon, looms the peak of Katahdin, a blue land-cloud on the rim of the silver-flecked green sea. The two peaks of Doublehead are curious twin green - 57 - knolls below to the north, and only in the far-distant north and west are summits of height that equal or exceed your own. Far away in these directions they begin and pinnacle and retreat, range beyond range, till they fade into the dim blue haze of the farthest horizon. Southeast lie one silver lake after another, till the eye finds Sebago, and beyond that the thin rim of the world which is Casco Bay and the sea.

Much cool water must well up from the heart of Kearsarge to its summit, for grass grows long there in the hollows of the granite, and many alders, hung with powdery curls of staminate bloom and green with many leaves in mid-June. The moccasin flowers failed in their climb from Bartlett summit to reach the top of Kearsarge, but the rhodora has come up and set rose purple blooms in the same season, the leaves here pushing out with the flowers instead of waiting, as they do in lower latitudes, at lesser heights. Under their caresses the mountain has smiled and given forth butterflies. Here are the white admirals, conscious with epaulettes as if they - 58 - had just stepped ashore from the white cloud fleets that swing with cumulus sails piled high just off shore. Here is the painted lady, hovering admiringly by, seemingly unnoticed by the admirals. Here are tiger swallowtails, their gold black-barred with rippling shadows, and little skippers, swift and busy when the admirals heave in sight. Most of all I note mourning cloaks, and one in particular is in deep mourning, the usual pale rim of his wings replaced by a brown that is so deep it is black and hides all azure spots that should be there. It may be that all these butterflies sailed up into the island port of a mountain top that swims so high in the vivid sunshine of the June afternoon that the air about it seems to me, watching them, to be a veritable transparent blue sea of great depth, yet it is just as likely that many were born on or near the summit, of generations of mountain dwelling lepidoptera. Of these must have been my black-bordered mourning cloak, the winter's cold having dulled his color within the chrysalis and giving an added depth to his mourning. He was as sombre as the dusky-wings - 59 - which dashed about with the skippers, like black slaves come to help in the lading of their vessels.

Into this island port in the high air came, about four in the afternoon, a wind from the sea, cooling the intense heat and spreading a smoke-blue haze all along the southeastern horizon. It wiped out the coast-line of Casco Bay and moved the sea in with it, swallowing Sebago and pushing on till Lovell's Pond and the lesser ones within the New Hampshire line became estuaries at which one looked long, expecting to see slanting sails and smell the cool fragrance of tide-washed flats. Into this haze loomed one after another the distant Maine mountains and vanished as if slipping their cables and sailing away over the rim of the world, bound for foreign ports. A new romance of mystery had come to the outlook from the mountain top. Far up its side, borne on this cool air, came the song of thrushes, a jubilation of satisfied longing. The breath of the sea had come with cool reassurance to soothe and hearten all things.

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On beyond Kearsarge, toward Crawford Notch and the Presidential Range swept this cool reviving air, carrying its blue haze with it. The low sun sent broad bands of palest blue down through this vapor and with it, northwestward, the mountains seemed to withdraw; details that had been so clear vanished, and instead of dapple of purple-green forest and rose-gray cliff were long cloud-ridges of wonderful deep blue riding one beyond another like waves on a painted sea, the darkest nearest, the farther paling into the farthest and that vanishing into the blue of the sky itself. Out of Crawford Notch rolled the Saco, flecking the valley below with patches of gleaming silver. The cumulus cloud fleets that had swung over the mountains all day long, bluing the green of the hills with the shadows of their canvas, swept northwestward with this wind, a great convoy for the sun on into the ports of the radiant west. Now one of them hid him from sight, its edges all gold with the joy of it. Again the rays flashed clear and the shadow of Kearsarge moved its point of blue a little farther out on the green of the - 61 - forest to eastward. Down the mountain path a Bicknell's thrush sang, the veery's song, less round and loud and full, but with much of the spiral, bell-tone quality in it. It reminded me that the visitor to the summit who is to go home by way of the broad path to Kearsarge village may well wait till this pointed shadow of the summit climbs Pleasant Mountain in Maine and looms upward into the purple shadows beyond. I was to go back by that coquette of a trail down Bartlett, and the thought of what tricks it would play on me by moonlight made me hasten.

The cool of evening was descending like a benediction on the level, elm-fringed meadows of Intervale, and the little village of North Conway gleamed white in the low sun and pointed the broad way down the Saco Valley to a hundred lakes as I climbed over the brow of Bartlett and clinked my heels on the ledges of its western face. The mocassin flowers nodded good night and the golden green, spiked blooms of the mountain moosewood waved me on down the path that seemed as true as slender - 62 - as it wound on down the hill. Surely, I thought, holding is having, and I shall keep this little path close till the end of the way. And then it slipped from under my arm and snickered as it made off in the bushes, goodness knows where, leaving me two-thirds the way down Bartlett with the dusk and the tangle of forest all before me. However, "down hill goes merrily," and so did I, and by and by I came to a tiny mountain brook, and we two jogged on together in the deepening gloom, prattling of what we had seen.

At least, mountain brooks do not run away from you as mountain paths do, but it is as well not to trust them too much, after dark. This one led me demurely to the brink of the little precipice of "No-go" Falls and chuckled as it took the thirty-foot leap, a slim thread of silver in the moonlight. I dare say it was thinking what a fine splash I would make in the shallow pool below. Instead I clambered carefully around and made the foot of the little cliff without a thud, there to find that the laugh is really on the brook, for its leap takes it into a big iron - 63 - funnel whence it is personally conducted down a mile more of mountain into the little reservoir of the North Conway water supply. I followed the pipe, too, but outside, and the brook did not gurgle once about it all the way down.

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The Gods, Half-Gods and Pixies to be Seen as the Storm Passes

There are other beauties in the high mountains than those of fair days which show blue peaks pointing skyward in the infinite distance. Now and then a northeaster comes sweeping grandly down from Labrador, swathing the peaks in mist wraiths torn from the weltering waves of Baffin's Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Then he who knows the storm only from the sea level finds in it a new mystery and delight. On the heights you stand shoulder to shoulder with the clouds themselves, seeing the gray genie stalk from summit to summit or anon swoop down and bear a mountain away to cloud castles that build themselves in a moment and vanish again in a breath. At the sea level the storm rumbles on high above your head, tossing down upon you what it will; here you are among the mysteries of its motion, sometimes almost above their level, and through rifts in the clouds you may get glimpses of their sun-gilded upper portions and see the storm as the sky does for a moment from above. Again the clouds coast to the valleys and wrap even them in the matrix of mist out of which rain is made.

Sunset light on the Southern Peaks, seen from the summit of Mount Washington

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Most beautiful is such a storm in the hours of its passing, when the main cohorts have swept by, when the rear guard and camp follower clouds pass at wider and wider intervals and more and more sun comes to paint their folds with rose and flash the meadows and dripping woods with scattered gems set in most vivid green. Far off the high hills loom mightier and more mysterious than ever, for their shoulders still pass into the storm and the imagination gives them unrevealed majesties of height, built upon the blue-black cloud plateaus that hide them. No wonder the great gods dwelt on Mount Olympus. So they do on cloud-capped Mount Washington, on Carrigain, Lafayette and Carter Dome.

In time of storm lesser divinities may well - 66 - come down to the valleys, and when the passing clouds are mingled with the coming sunshine is the time to look for trolls in the woodland paths, pixies by the stream, and to find, in the very blossoming shrubs and graceful trees of the level river meadows a personality that is as nearly human as that which the Greeks gave their gods. Who can know the elms of the Conway and Intervale meadows without loving them for their femininity? Each one "walks a goddess and she looks a queen." Yet each one flutters feminine fripperies with a dainty grace such as never yet stepped from motor car at the most fashionable hostelry between Bretton Woods and Poland Spring. The summer visitors who wear hobble skirts on the piazzas and along the lawns of the most luxurious mountain hotels need not think they are the first to flaunt this curious inflorescence of fashion before the stony stare of the peaks. The river-bottom elms have worn their peek-a-boo garments of green that way ever since they began to grow up in the meadows. Nor can the newcomers vie in grace, however clever their artifice, with these - 67 - slim mountain maids, than whom no dryads of any grove have ever combined caprice and dignity into more bewitching beauty. The meadow elms are the queens of all summer exhibitions of the perfect art of wearing clothes.

The elms of the deep wood are far more simply dressed, losing not one whit of dignity by it, as he who intrudes upon them in their cool, shadowy bowers may know. But these elms of the sandy intervales where the sun would otherwise touch them with the full warmth of his admiration are dressed for the world, all in fluffy ruffles of green that flow yet sheathe, that clothe in all dignity yet are of such exquisite cut and proper fashion that the highest art of Fifth Avenue has nothing to match them. To look beyond these to the hillsides is to see the firs and spruces as prim Puritans of an elder day wearing the high, pointed caps of witch-women and conical skirts that follow the flaring lines of a time long gone; and the maples and beeches are roundly, frankly, bourgeois, grafting the balloon sleeves of a quarter of a century ago - 68 - upon the bulge of hoop-skirts such as some of our great-grandmothers wore in conscious pride. But the meadow elms! Sylph-like and teasingly sweet, fluffy, fashionable and fascinating, yet robed throughout in a gentle dignity such as might well be the aura of purity and nobility, no tree in all the mountain world can quite match them.

In these valleys among the high hills the man from the lowland regions is apt to miss and long for the sheen of placid waters. All descents are so abrupt that streams rush impetuously always downward toward the sea, carrying with them whatever may obstruct, whether flotsam of blown leaves or the very granite ledges themselves if they impede the advance too long. They burst ledges, smash boulders to pebbles and grind pebbles to sand and then to silt and spread it over the meadows where the elms grow or hurry it on to make deltas and vex ships on the very sea itself. If they may not smash the ledges or the boulders they slowly dissolve them or more rapidly wear them away by constant scouring with the passing sand of their freshets, - 69 - and always in the ravines they have dug sounds the uproar of their perpetual attrition and unrest. Far away this comes intermittently in a soothing sibilation which seems to be saying to itself "Hush, hush." It is as if one heard the voices of little mother levels of still pools trying to quiet the fretful child-foam of the cascades.

But sitting on the rock itself by the stream as it dashes down one gets, through this, a deep vibration which has almost too few beats to the second to be a tone, that is as much a jar as a sound, the deep diapason of the quivering granite itself. A beaten ledge responds like a mighty gong with a humming roar that is strangely disproportionate to the means employed to produce the sound. Sometimes to stamp with the foot over a rounded surface of earth-covered granite is to produce an answering, drumlike boom that makes one suspect that he stands on a thin film of rock over a cavern. The music of a fall has many parts. One of these is the sand-dance sibilation of the shuffling waters, another this boom of the rock drum - 70 - on which the green flood beats with padded blows.

As the heart of the listener is tuned so it answers to the mingled voices of the waters. One may hear in them the well-harmonized parts of a runic lullaby and be soothed to peace and belief in all things good by the music. To many another their perpetual turmoil and unrest find too loud an echo from the depths within him, and he longs for still lakes that look friendlily up to him with the blue of the sky in their clear eyes, fringed with the dark-pencilled lashes of firs beneath the brow of the hill. The valleys of the high white hills have so few of these that one may count them on the fingers of a hand. "Echo Lake" or "Mirror Lake" we find them named, and all summer long they have their throng of admirers, who in the lowland regions would pass such tiny tarns with little thought of their beauty. They may be so set that they mirror no mountain peak. Their echo may be no more silvery in tone or more frequently repeated than one would get if he blew a - 71 - bugle in some dusty, forgotten city square where red brick blocks would toss the call from one to another, yet the little lakes have a charm of placid personality that the cataracts cannot give.

Some day, without doubt, man will fill the blind ravines of the upper mountain region with a thousand eyes of these, binding the waters for use and thereby adding to their beauty. Every narrow ravine has its stream, dashing uproariously downward. It needs but a barrier of boulders set in cement to make at once a little lake and a cascade. The water, set for a moment to turn a turbine, will again dash on with its full gift of flashing foam and musical uproar for all who watch and listen, but its momentary restraint will have helped the men of the mountains with power and have helped the hills themselves to greater permanency and added beauty. Man must do this if he would keep the beauty of the hills whence cometh his strength, or indeed if he would keep the hills themselves. The black spruce growth that once clothed them from base to summit, holding the winter's snow and ice beneath their sheltering boughs to melt - 72 - slowly almost all summer long, making deep, cool shadows for the growth of water-holding, spongy mosses, he has ruthlessly cut away. For many years, winter after winter, out of the Glen Ellis River Valley, right up under the slope of the Presidential Range, went half a hundred million feet of this growth, and in all the other valleys where spruce remained it was the same. The sudden freshets are more sudden, the disintegrating droughts more severe now because of this, and by these the very mountains themselves are torn down.

Such a little lake, built not to turn a wheel but to please the eye of the lovers of mountain beauty, has lately been made just north of Jackson. There it sits in a little bowl of a hollow among spruce-clad hills and its waters purl gently over a cement dam, to splash for the square-tailed trout under the shadows farther down the ravine. Creatures that already knew the little stream and the marshy hollow where the lake had welled have taken kindly to its presence, but the wider ranging woodland folk are still surprised at finding it there and shy - 73 - about trusting themselves on it or its borders. It is too young to be adopted by the water birds that have known the region long. The sand-pipers that move leisurely north up Ellis River, feeding and teetering as they go, do not light in on the borders of the new-born lake, and though the loons have no doubt seen it as they fly over, they, too, go by. I have never yet seen a loon plunge over the ridge to ripple its waters with his splash or set the goblin echoes of the forest laughing with his eerie cry. A mountain lake without one loon is lonely. In the tiny "mirror lake," which is a mountain tarn that has been an eye to the woodland for countless centuries over beyond the southeast slope of Kearsarge, a loon family dwells, and I watch them from the summit, diving, feeding and making great sport in their world. Over on Chocorua there are two such, and I fancy they are equally numerous on all still waters of the high mountain world, but they have not yet trusted this new-born mountain lake, nor have the spotted sand-pipers come to nest among the ferns on its margin.

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But the little lake mirrors many a bird wing nevertheless, mainly those of the eave swallows that nest in a long row under the eaves of a Jackson barn. These know that man loves them, and the things that he has made, whether barn roofs or little lakes, are to be adopted and used without fear. So they swoop over the fir tops and skim the surface of the unruffled waters, dipping to touch their own reflections and twittering mightily about it as they sweep the dust of tiny insects out of the shimmering air. Nor does the lake mirror lack for the reflection of many even more beautiful wings. When the sun breaks through the passing storm a thousand gauzy, white-bodied dragon-flies magically appear. They cluster on sunny margins and dash into the air and clash wings in infinitesimal rustlings. Their fellows of a score of varieties of coloration and shape are here too, spirits of the air but children of its love for the waters and born of the lake itself. While the storm passes I watch their miracles of recreation. When the sun lights up the shallow margins they come swimming beneath the surface, - 75 - strange little slender submarines with filmy propellers behind and round conning towers in front. They come to a projecting twig and climb up on this with hitherto unsuspected legs till they are many inches above the surface, where the sun and wind will dry them.

How do they know the appointed time? Whence comes this impulse to leave the water which has been their home since the first faint beginnings of individuality were theirs? There is no answer to these questions in any depth to which scientific investigation has yet probed. Yet the impulse is there and they do know the appointed time. Moreover they know if they have obeyed the promptings of the impulse too soon. Now and then one climbs out and rests for a moment, then in a sudden panic lets go his hold on the twig and drops into the water again, scuttling back to the depths in haste. For him the hour has not yet struck. But most of them come out to stay. They cling motionless with the sun drying their backs and filling them with such new life and vigor that they burst. The submarine is itself a shell, and as - 76 - it bursts out of it comes the life that animated it, in a new form, to dry and stretch its wings and presently dart into the air on them, henceforth a creature of the sun. Behind each remains its water-world husk, still clinging to the twig to which it crawled. Sometimes I put a finger into the water in front of the swimming insect, and it as readily crawls out on that as on a twig, but neither of us has yet had patience to wait thus till the transformation is complete.

The larger dragon-flies, with their clashing wings and darting flight, which is so swift sometimes that the eye fails to record it clearly, seeing the insect at the beginning and again at the end but unable to receive an impression of the passage, seem well named. Here are small creatures, indeed, but veritable dragons nevertheless that may well carry apprehension to the human watcher as well as to the tiny midges, which they capture in this darting flight and summarily devour. It may be that they will not sew up the mouth of the boy that swears in their presence, but no boy is to be blamed if he believes that they can. Their gorgon-like build - 77 - and their uncanny swiftness of motion might well prompt the superstitious to believe that they could be a terror to evil-doers. But no one could think the gentle demoiselles capable of wrong, though they are dragon-flies too and are born of the same waters and eat tiny insects in the same way. Appearances count for much with all of us, and the demoiselles flit so softly and fold their wings on alighting in such prayerful demureness of attitude that they seem instead the good folk of the fairy world that margins the little lake, created to bring rewards to the good rather than to punish evil.

Thus by the man-made mountain tarn one may find the dragons and the pixies that man has made too, out of the débris of dreams that the race has accumulated since it too grew up out of placid waters which in ages past seem to have sheltered all elementary forms of life as it shelters the dragon-fly nymphs before they have grown up to use their wings. While the storm wraps the world in the illusions of romance the half-gods of Greek myth stalk the mist-entangled meadows and shout in the winding valleys, across - 78 - the mountain streams. As the storm breaks, the clouds pass, and the sun floods the thin air with his gold, these mayhap, like the pixie dreams, will vanish. The half-gods go, but the gods arrive. The eye lifts with the clouds to wider and wider spaces and greater and greater heights, up stepping-stones of glistening cliffs, along rugged ranges to where the peaks sit enthroned in splendor, the great gods themselves. Vulcan looms vaguely by his black anvil, the distant storm swathing him in the smoke of his forge fire. The chariot of Apollo rides beyond, his arrows flashing far and fast. Cytherea passes with the clouds and flames them with her opalescent presence, and high over all, mighty and storm-compelling, sits Zeus himself, enthroned in white majesty on the carved nimbus of the passing rain.

Clouds on Mount Washington, from the Glen Road, Jackson

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Its Mingling of Smiling Beauty and Weird Desolation

Sometimes, even in midsummer, there comes a day when winter swoops down from boreal space and puts his crown of snow-threatening clouds on Mount Washington. They bind his summit in sullen gray wreaths, and though the weather may be that of July in the valleys to the south, one forgets the strong heat of the sun in looking upward to the sullen chill of this murky threat out of the frozen northern sky. Thus for a day or two, it may be, the summit is withdrawn into cloudy silence, which may lift for a moment and let a smile of sunlight glorify the gray crags, and flash swiftly beneath the portent, then it shuts down in grim obsession once more.

At other times winds come, born of the brooding mass of mists, and sweep its chill down to - 80 - the very grasses of the valley far below, but this shows the end of the portent to be near. The morning of the next day breaks with a bright sun, and you go out into a crisp air that sends renewed vitality flashing with tingling delight through every vein down to the very toe tips. The clouds that blotted out the summits with their threat of winter are gone, and the mountains leap at you, as you look at them, out of a clarity of atmosphere that one learns to expect where the hills rise from the verge of the far Western plains but which is rare in New England.

Carter Notch seen over Doublehead from Kearsarge summit

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The mystical haze that has for weeks softened all outlines and magnified all distances till objects within them took on a vague unreality, is gone, and we see all things enlarged and clarified as if we looked at them from the heart of a crystal. And as with outlines, so with colors. No newly converted impressionist, however enthusiastic in his conversion, could paint the grass quite such a green as it shows to the eye, or get the gold in its myriad buttercup blooms so flashing a yellow as it now has. All through the soft days these have been a woven cloth of gold. Now the cloth is unmeshed, the very warp has parted, the woof separated and the particles stand revealed, a thousand million scattered nuggets instead, each individual and glowing, a sun of gold set in the green heaven of the meadow. The wild strawberries that nestled by thousands in the grasses so shielded that one must hunt carefully to see them, seeming but blurred shadows complementing the green, now flash their red to the eye of the searcher rods away. Here for a day is the atmosphere of Arizona, which there reveals deserts, drifting in from the north over the lush growth and multiple rich colors of a New England hillside country.

It is a scintillant country on such a day. The twinkling leaves of birch and poplar flash like the mica in the rocks far up the hillsides, the surface of each dancing river vies with these, and through the crystal waters you look down upon the bottom where silvery scales of mica catch the light and send it back to the eye. It is no wonder the early explorers from Massachusetts - 82 - Bay colonies came back from the white hills with stories of untold wealth of diamonds and carbuncles to be found here. You may find these jewels on such a day at every turn, though they are fairy gems only and must not be covetously snatched, lest they turn to dross in the hand.

The meadows above Jackson Falls flash with this beauty from one hillside across to another, and through them winds the Wildcat River, luring the casual passer to wade knee deep in the grass and clover from curve to curve, always fascinating with new enticement till it is not possible to turn back. Nor are the fairy gems which the long, winding valley has to show confined to the sands of the river bottom or the boulders scattered along its way. At times the air over the clover blooms is full of them, quivering in the sun, borne on the under wings of the spangled fritillary butterflies that swarm here in early July. Above, the fritillaries have the orange tint of burnt gold, plentifully sprinkled with dots of black tourmaline, but beneath they have caught the silver scintillation of the mica-flecked - 83 - rocks and sands on which they love to light when sated with the clover honey. These too are gems of the mountain world which, if not found elsewhere, one might well come many miles to seek. It is easy to believe, too, that the spangled fritillaries know the source of the silver beauty of their under wings and cunningly seek further nourishment for it. You find them hovering in golden cloud-swarms over bare spots of scintillant sand along the reaches of the river or in the paths of the roadside which rambles down from the hills with it, anon lighting upon this bare and shining earth to probe with long probosces and draw from the mica-flecked sand perhaps the very essence of its silvery glitter, for the renewing of their wing spots. The white admirals are with them, not in such swarms to be sure, but in considerable numbers, eager also for the same unknown booty. It may be that they too thus renew the silver of their white epaulets.

I found all these and a thousand other beauties on my trip up the Wildcat to its source in Carter Notch, through this region of mica-made fairy - 84 - gems. They lured me from curve to curve and from one rapid to the next beyond, always climbing by easy gradients toward the great V in the Carter-Moriah range, whose mysteries, to me unknown, were after all the chief lure. The crystal-clear air out of the north, which had swept the gloom from the high brow of Mount Washington, made the mountains seem very near and sent prickles of desire for them through all the blood. On such a day it is a boon to be allowed to climb, nor can one satiate his desire for the achievement of heights except by seeking them from dawn till dusk. Little adventures met me momentarily on the way. Here in a mountain farmer's field was a great mass of ruddy gold, showing its orange crimson for rods around a little knoll. Yet this was but fairy gold as the gems of the Wildcat meadows are fairy gems, a colony of composite weeds which no doubt the farmer hates, but which produce more wealth for him than he could win from all the rest of his farm for a decade—if he could but gather it. The fritillary butterflies know its value and flock to it, losing their own burnished coloration in it, and the wild bees are drawn far from the woodland to it by its soft perfume. To come suddenly on this was as good as discovering a new peak.

"Always climbing by easy gradients toward the great V in the Carter-Moriah Range"

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To hear a tiny shriek in the wayside bushes and on search to rescue a half-grown field sparrow from the very jaws of a garter snake, sending the snake to gehenna with a stamp of a big foot and seeing the fledgling snuggle down again into the nest with the others, was as pleasant as finding the way to a new cascade. But after all, the great lure of such a crystalline day is toward the high peaks. The Wildcat River has its very beginning in the height of Carter Notch, and its prattle over every shallow teased me to follow its trail back to this high source and see what the spot might be. To do this step by step with the falling water would be a herculean task, for the gorges down which it runs are choked with boulders and forest débris and tangled with thickets as close-set and difficult of passage as any tropical jungle. But there is no need to seek its source by that route. You may go within four miles of it by motor, if you will, - 86 - up the good road from Jackson that finally dwindles and vanishes on the slope up toward Wildcat Mountain, but not before it has taken you through a gate and showed you the entrance to the A. M. C. trail to the top of the Notch.

All the way up to this point the outlook to the south has been growing more extensive and more beautiful. Black Mountain still lifts its broad ridge from pinnacle to pinnacle on the east side of the Wildcat, but Eagle Mountain, Thorn, Tin, and the little height between these last two have been dropping down the sky line till Kearsarge, Bartlett, Moat, and even the distant Sandwich and Ossipee ranges far to the south, loom blue and beautiful above them, while the valley of the Wildcat unrolls its slopes, checkered with farm and woodland, to where the river vanishes from sight around the turn at Jackson Falls. Fifty miles of sylvan beauty lie before you as you look down the narrow valley, over the green heights that rim it to the blue ones far beyond, and up again to the amethystine sky.

It is a wide world of sun and it is good to - 87 - look at it now, for the path before you plunges to shade immediately and is to give you little more than a dapple of sunlight for five miles. Yet it is a wide and easy way for most of the distance, for which the chance traveller may thank the lumbermen, whose road it follows, and the Appalachian Mountain Club. The lumbermen opened it. The Appalachians have kept it up since the tote road was abandoned. They even have mowed its grassy stretches each spring, lest some fair Appalachian pilgrim set her foot upon a garter snake, inadvertently and without malice, and henceforward abjure mountaineering. A half-dozen brooks splash down the mountain-side and cross this trail, all for the slaking of your thirst, and if you do not find the garter snake to step on you may have a porcupine. Indeed, to judge from my own experience, the porcupine is the more likely footstool. Just before you round the low shoulder of Wildcat Mountain to enter the Notch is a burnt region full of gaunt dead trees, and this neighborhood grows porcupines in quantity, also in bulk. One of them looms as big as a bear - 88 - at the first glimpse of him in the trail ahead, and if he happens to start from almost beneath your foot as you step over a rock, giving that queer little half squeal, half grunt of his, you are momentarily sure that you have kicked up Ursus Major himself.

But though the porcupine may squeal and move for a few shambling steps with some degree of quickness, he is by no means afraid of you. He just moves off a few feet, turns his back, shakes out his quills till they all point true, then waits for you to rush at him and bite him from behind—waits with a wicked grin in his little eye as he leers over his shoulder at you. Then if nothing happens he shambles awkwardly away into the shadows of the forest. If something does happen it is the aggressor that shambles away with a mouthful of barbed, needle-pointed quills. But then, why should anyone bite a porcupine? They do not even look edible, and judging by the numbers of them that strayed casually out of the path round the shoulder of Wildcat that day nothing has eaten any of them for a long time, else there had not - 89 - been so many. In this burnt district you get a glimpse of Carter Mountain on the other side of the notch you are about to enter and then you plunge again into deeper woods on the west side, under the cliffs of Wildcat, whose very frown is hidden from you by the high trees.

The cool, shadowy depths here will always be marked in my mind as the place of great gray toads. I saw several of these right by the path, six-inch long chaps, looking very wise and old and having more markings of white than I ever before saw on a toad, besides a white streak all the way down the backbone. The place is as beautiful as these bright-eyed, curious creatures, and as uncanny. Mossy boles of great trees rise through its gloom and through the perfumed air comes the cool drip of waters. Moss is deep, and over it and the rough, lichen-clad rocks grows the Linnæa, holding up its pink blooms, fairy pipes for the pukwudgies to smoke. Here out of high cliffs have fallen great rocks which lie about the patch in mighty confusion. Here are caves, little and big, that might shelter all the hedgehogs roaming the fire-swept mountain-side - 90 - below, and as many bears. Yet neither porcupines nor bears appeared, or any other living things except the great white-mottled toads, that would not hop aside for my foot, but sat and gazed at me with the calm patience of woodland deities.

Then the path swung sharp down the hill through lesser trees that gave a glimpse of the high frown of Carter cliffs, swimming in the sky above, and then—I wonder if every pilgrim does not at this point laugh with pure joy and caper a bit on road-weary legs, for here in the gruesome depths of the great Notch, at the climax point of its wildness, is a little clear mountain lake where surely no lake could be, set in thousand-ton fragments of mighty broken ledges. To look north is to see a little barrier of wooded ridge stretching across from side to side of the place, and between the eye and this a low barrier of wood growth among great rocks, behind which is the air of empty space. I pushed through this, expecting a crater, and behold! Here is another little round lake with lily pads floating on its surface, and beyond this an open space in the woods and the A. M. C. camp.

The Appalachian Mountain Club camp in Carter Notch

- 91 -

The time was early afternoon of one of the longest days of the year, and the sun sent a cloudburst of gold a thousand feet down the perpendicular cliffs of Wildcat Mountain and flooded the highest source of Wildcat River with it. The north wind poured its wine over the ridge and set the surface of the little lake to dancing with silver lights such as had greeted me in the river far below, in the boulders along the way, and in the spangles of the thousands of fritillary wings that had fluttered and folded as I passed. Here is the crucible for the making of these fairy gems, and I dare say the wise old toads from the shadows on the side of Wildcat just above are the sorcerers whence the tinkering trolls learned the trick of their manufacture.

I had to wait but a little while, however, to know the difference. Stretched on the slope on the farther shore of the flashing lake, I watched the sun swing in behind the high pinnacle of a wildcat cliff that leaps from the water's edge almost a thousand feet in air, its sheer sides - 92 - embroidered by the green of young birch leaves. I had left the full tide of early summer in the Jackson meadows. Here it was early spring. There the strawberries were over ripe, here the blossoms were but opening their white petals, and the mountain moosewood and mountain ash, there long gone to seed, were here just in the height of bloom. By the lake side the Labrador tea offers its felt-slipper leaves for the refreshment of weary travellers who may thus drink from fairy shoon; nor need one go to the trouble of steeping, for the round heads of delicate white bloom send forth a styptic, aromatic fragrance that is as tonic as the air on which it floats. A drone of wild bees was in this air, and looking up the cliff toward the sun a million wings of tiny, fluttering insects made a glittering mist.

But even then the shadow of the pinnacle of the great cliff fell on the western margin of the pool and, as I lay and watched it, moved majestically out across the waters. It wiped the golden glow and the fluttering sheen of insects from the air, the glitter from the surface of the lake, and spread a cool mystery of twilight over - 93 - all things which it touched. A chill walked the waters from the base of the cliff, whose rough rock brows frowned where the birches but an hour before had smiled, and all the hobgoblins of the wild Notch showed themselves in the advancing shadows. Rock sphinxes and dead-tree dragons suddenly appeared, and as the afternoon advanced so did the shadows of Wildcat Mountain, sweeping across the narrow defile and bringing forth all its weird and sinister aspects.

The way to the light of day lies down the stream southerly. But there is no stream. The waters of the upper lake flow to the other one beneath a great jumble of broken ledges, and then go on to form the stream farther down under a titanic rock barrier of shattered cliff and interspersed caverns. Gnarled and dwarfed spruces climb all over this great barrier, and so may a man if he have patience and will step carefully on the arctic moss which clothes the rocks and gives roothold to the spruces, watchful lest it slip from under him and drop him into the caverns of unknown depth below. It is a region of wild beauty of desolation even - 94 - with the sun on it, and after the shadow of Wildcat has climbed it, its rough loneliness has something almost sinister about it. Only when its topmost rock is surmounted and the valley below shows down the Notch, still bathed in sunshine and peaceful in its green beauty and its rim of blue mountains far beyond, may one forget the weird spell which the shadows have cast on him in the very heart of the chasm. Here is the scintillant world of the Wildcat River valley once more, still bathed in sunshine, though the shadows of the range to westward creep rapidly toward its centre. I had seen the heart of its beginnings at the moment when the toiling trolls were at their work. I had seen the weirder spirits cast their mantle over the place, and far down the Notch I could hear the little river calling me to come down to it again as I scrambled off this giant's causeway to the friendly leading of the path and went on down through the region of great gray toads to the slope of a thousand porcupines, and on to where the footpath way enters the road. The smile of sunshine had gone from the face of the valley - 95 - and the night shadows of Wildcat and its spurs were drawn across it, but only for a little was it sombre. With the darkness came a million scintillations of firefly lights in all its grasses, and out of the clear blue of the sky above twinkled back the answering stars.

- 96 -


Day and Night Along the Short Trail to Mount Washington Summit

The snow arch at the head of Tuckerman's Ravine holds winter in its heart all summer long. In the sweltering heat of the early July weather it is an unborn glacier, a solid mass of compacted snow and ice, two hundred feet in vertical diameter and spreading fan-fashion across the whole head of the ravine. Out from under it rumbles a stream of ice water, and it still makes danger for the mountain climber on the upper part of the path which climbs the head wall of the ravine and goes on, up to the summit of Mount Washington. All winter long the north wind sweeps the snow over the round ridge between the summit cone and Boott's Spur and drifts it down the perpendicular face of rock which stands above the beginning of the ravine. There are summers when the heat of the sun, beating directly upon this glacial mass, melts it away. There are others when it lingers till the snows of autumn come to build upon it again.

"The snow arch at the head of Tuckerman's Ravine holds winter in its heart all summer long"

- 97 -

He who would do much mountain climbing in a comparatively short distance will do well to go up Mount Washington by the Tuckerman Ravine. A good motor road leads from Jackson to Gorham, and on, and the trail leaves this nine miles above Jackson. A. M. C. signs and the feet of thousands of mountain lovers have made the path's progress plain, but for a further sign the wilderness sends the swish of Cutler River, flashing over its boulders, to the ear all the way up to the snow arch, and it serves free ice water for the refreshment of travellers. Only in rare spots does this tiny torrent find time to make placid pools. All the rest of the way it leaps boulders, shelters trout in clear, bubbling depths, and makes its longest, maddest plunges at the cliffs down which foam the Crystal Cascades. Here, at the end of your first half-mile of ascent, you may lie in the shadow of maple - 98 - and white birch on the brink of a narrow gulf, see the white joy of the river as it makes its swiftest plunge toward the sea, and listen to the myriad voices in which it tells the lore of the lonely ravine which the waters have traversed from the very summit of the head wall. No water comes down the Crystal Cascade that is not beaten into a foam as white as the quartz vein in which it has its very beginnings, high up the cone of the summit. It is as if this quartz were here turned to liquid life which spurts in a million joyous arches from the black rock which it touches and leaves more nimbly than the feet of fleeing mountain sheep. There are wonderfully beautiful pink flushes in this white quartz and you may see them as you go up the path to the summit above the alpine gardens of the plateau. But you do not have to climb that far to see them. The same colors of dawn are in the cascade when the sun filters through the leaves and touches those curves of beauty in which the river laughs down to its wedding with the Ellis in the heart of the Pinkham Notch.

- 99 -

In the heart of the snow arch is winter. On its steadily receding southern margin all through July is a continual dawn of spring. As the snow recedes the alders emerge bare and leafless. A rod down stream they are tinged green with the beginnings of crinkly leaves and have hung out their long staminate tassels of bloom. Another rod and they are in full leafage and the staminate tassels have given place to the brown seed cones. These mountain alders have a singularly crimped rich green leaf, and they so love the snow water torrents of Tuckerman's Ravine that they stand in them where they plunge in steepest gullies down the cliffs, bearing their tremendous buffeting with steadfast forgiveness. Sometimes the freshets skin them alive and leave them rooted with their white bones yearning down stream as if to follow the water that killed them. The torrents hurl rocks down and crush them, and always the downpour of water and mountain-side has bent them till in the steepest places they grow downward, their tips only struggling to bend toward the sky. Yet still in July they put out their bright green, corrugated - 100 - leaves, array themselves in the beauty of golden tassels flecked with dark brown, and scatter pollen gold on the waters that now prattle so lovingly by.

In places the river-side banks are white with stars of Houstonia and the lilac alpine violets nod from slender stems nearby. Down the high cliffs the mountain avens climbs and sets its golden blooms in the most inaccessible places, flowers from the low valleys and the alpine heights thus mingling and making the deep ravine sweet with fragrance and wild beauty. The rough cliffs loom upward to frowning heights on three sides, but on their dizziest gray pinnacles the fearless wild flowers root and garland their crags, clinging in crevices from summit to base. With equal courage the alders have climbed them till they can peer at the very summit of the high mountain across the wind-swept alpine garden.

"Then the shadows are deep under the black growth that spires up all about the little placid sheet of water, though it still reflects the sapphire blue of the clear sky above"

- 101 -

By the middle of the afternoon the shadows of the heights begin to wipe the sunshine from the upper end of the ravine and the shade of the head wall marches grandly out, over the snow arch and on, down stream. The long twilight begins then and moves out to Hermit Lake by six. Then the shadows are deep under the black growth that spires up all about the little placid sheet of water, though it still reflects the sapphire blue of the clear sky above. The lake is, indeed, a hermit, dwelling always apart in its hollow among the spiring spruces, a tiny level of water, strangely beautiful for its placidity amid all the turmoil and grandeur about it. From its boggy margin the morning of the day that I reached it a big buck had drank and left his hoof prints plain in the mud among the short grasses. I waited long at evening for him to come back, but the only signs of life about the margins were the voices of three green frogs that cried "t-u-g-g-g" to one another by turns. One living long here might well measure the flight of time on a clear afternoon and evening by the changes of color in the lake. It is but a shallow pool, but you look through the mud of its bottom and see far below, by the inverted spires of the marginal trees, into infinite depths of a blue that is that of the sky but clarified and - 102 - intensified by the clear waters from which it shines till it is to the eye as perfect and inspiring as a clear musical note that leaps out of silence to the longing ear.

As the day passes this color in the lake deepens and changes in rhythmical cadences till twilight brings a deep green, through which you see the inverted ravine below you more clearly than above. The one clear note has swelled into a symphony of color through which floats one entrancing tone, as sometimes lifts a clear soprano voice out of the fine harmony of the chorus, the pink of sunset fleece of clouds a mile above the head wall of the ravine. As the day fades, so does this high, clear tone, and the advancing night deepens the green to a black that is silence,—a silence that is velvety in body but scintillant with the glint of stars.

Through all this symphony of changing color a single hermit sang till the blackness of night welled up to the spruce top in which he sat, and as if to keep him company one or two wood warblers piped from the very darkness beneath - 103 - where it seemed too dark for full songs, and they sang fragments only, too brief for me to identify the singers. From the lake itself came the voices of the three green frogs, speaking prophetically through the night with the single, authoritative words of true prophets. Just for a moment at dusk, from the icy waters of the stream above the lake, came a guttural chorus which I took to be that of tree frogs, which croak in the woodland pools of Massachusetts in March.

In the clear waters that run from the perpetual winter of the snow arch I had seen two of these frogs, of the regulation wood frog size and shape but wonderfully changed in color. Instead of the usual brown, here were frogs that were cream white throughout save for a black patch from the muzzle across either eye extending in a faint line down the side nearly to the hind leg. They seemed like spirit frogs with all the dross in their epidermis washed out by the solvent purity of that icy snow water in which they constantly dwell. In these same pools of the icy stream were caddice-fly larvæ which had woven - 104 - armor for themselves with a warp of the usual spider-web threads and a filling of tiny stones. But their stones were the scales of mica with which the bottoms of the pools are paved, and as they slowly moved about they were sheathed in rainbows of sky reflections in these tiny surfaces. Such wonders of beauty has the heart of the high mountain for all that dwell in the depths of its ravines.

In the blackness of full night the song of the falling waters is the only sound that one hears in the ravine. This is an ever-varying multitone into which he who listens may read all the day sounds he has ever heard. The still air takes up the mingled voices of tiny cataracts and tosses them from one wall to another, and there are places along the path where this sound is that of a big locomotive engine with steam up, stopping at a station, the chu-chu of the air brakes coming to the ear with a definiteness that is startling. In other spots the echo of trampers' voices sound till one is sure that a belated party is on the trail and will arrive later to share the hospitality of the camp.

The Appalachian Mountain Club camp in Tuckerman's Ravine

- 105 -

Through it all rings the gentle lullaby of the wilderness, the drone of all the winds of a thousand years in the spruce tops and the crisp tinkle of clashing crystals when an ice storm has bowed the white birches till their limbs clash together in the xylophonic music of winter. All these and more are in the song which lulled me to slumber on the borders of Hermit Lake,—a slumber so deep and restful that I did not know when the porcupines came and ate thirteen holes in the rubber blanket in which I was wrapped to keep out the cold of the snow arch which creeps down the ravine behind the shadow of the head wall. Thirteen is an unlucky number when it represents holes in one's blanket, and the chill of interstellar space wells deep in Tuckerman's Ravine toward morning of a night in early July.

Twilight begins again by three o'clock. One may well wonder what time the hermit thrush has to sleep, he sings so long into the night and begins again before the dawn is much more than a dream of good to come. As the light grows the castellated ridge of Boott's Spur shows - 106 - fantastic shapes against the sky, and the pinnacle of the Lion's Head which looms so high above Hermit Lake glooms sternly with grotesque rock faces which are carved like gargoyles along its ravineward margin. Beauty wreathes the cliffs in this wildest of spots, but goblins grow in the rock itself and peer from the wreaths to make their friendliness more complete by gruesome contrast. One wakes shivering and longs for the sun of midsummer to come out of the northeast over the slope of Mount Moriah and warm him. Far below in Pinkham Notch the night mists have collected in a white lake that heaves as if beneath its blanket slept the giant who carved the stairs over beyond Montalban Ridge. But the giant too is waiting for the sun, and though he stirs uneasily in his waking he does not toss off the blanket till it shines well over Carter Range and the day has fairly begun. The ravine gets the morning early at Hermit Lake. The widening slopes lie open to the light, but the Lion's Head jealously guards the snow arch and seems to withdraw its long shadow with reluctance. By and by the sun shines full - 107 - upon the great white bank, and as at the pyramid of Memnon strikes music from it with the increasing tinkle of falling water.

By this time the stirring of the giant's blanket has tossed off woolly fleeces from its upper side, and these climb toward the ravine in wraiths of diaphanous mist that now dance rapidly along the tree tops, now linger and shiver together as if fearful of the heights which they essay. These follow me as I toil laboriously up the almost perpendicular slope along the snow margin toward the head wall, and by the time I have worked around the dangerous glacial mass and surmounted the cliffs they are massed along the cold slope and seem to mingle with the snow into an opaque, nebulous mystery.

For a long time these do not get beyond the brow of the cliff. Now they bed down together, as dense and as full of rainbow colors under the sun as is mother-of-pearl, again little fluffs dare the climb toward the summit, fluttering with fear as they proceed and fainting into invisibility in the thin air that flows across the alpine garden. Tiny streams from the base of the high - 108 - cone slip down the rocks to them and whisper in soft voices that they need have no fear, but whether it is fright or the compelling power of the sun that now shouts mid morning warmth over Carter Notch, these thin pioneers hesitate and vanish as the main body sweeps up from the Crystal Cascade and Glen Ellis Falls and fills all the lower ravines with that white blanket that began to stir at daybreak so far below. The giant is awake, has tossed his bed-clothes high in air, and is striding away along the Notch behind their shielding fluff.

I fancy him clumping up the Gulf of Slides and over to the ravines of Rocky Branch on his way to see if those stairs he built are still in order in spite of the disintegrating forces so steadily at work pulling the mountains down. Listening on the top wall of Tuckerman's I can hear these forces at work and do not wonder that he is uneasy. The steady flow of white water in a million tiny cascades is filing the rocks away all day long. But the water does far more than this. It seeps down into the cracks in the great cliffs, swells there with the winter freezing, and presses the walls apart.

"The giant is awake, has tossed his bed-clothes high in air, and is striding away along the notch behind their shielding fluff"

- 109 -

It dissolves and excavates beneath hanging rocks and cunningly undermines them till gravity pulls them from their perch and sends them down to swell the great masses of débris all along the bottoms of the ravine sides. Sitting on the head wall I hear one of them go every few minutes. Often it is only the click and patter of a pebble obeying that ever present force as it bounds from ledge to ledge down the wall. But sometimes a larger fragment leaps out at the mysterious command and crashes down, splintering itself or what it strikes on the way to the bottom. My own climbing feet dislodged many that have caught on other fragments, and in the steeper, more crumbled portions of the path each climber does his share in producing miniature slides. Except on rare occasions the fall of the mountains is slight, but it is continually going on wherever peaks rise and cliffs overhang.

Not till the mists out of the Great Gulf over on the other side of the mountain had swept around the base of the summit cone and hung trailing streamers down into Tuckerman's - 110 - Ravine did the masses that filled it with white opacity to the top of the snow arch scale the head wall. Then they came grandly on and met and mingled with their kind till Boott's Spur disappeared and all the long ranges of mountains to southward were wiped out by an atmosphere that, with the sun lighting it, was like the nebulous luminosity out of which the world was originally made. Behind me they climbed the central cone, but slowly, almost, as I did. My trouble was the Jacob's ladder of astoundingly piled rocks of which the way is made. Theirs was a little cool wind that came down from the very summit and which steadily checked them, though they boiled and danced with bewildering turbulence against it. They wiped out the solid mountain behind me as I went till the cone and I seemed to be floating on a quivering cloud through the extreme limits of space.

Climbing this Tuckerman's Ravine path one gets no hint of the buildings on the summit. With the clouds below me and the rocks above I was isolated in space on a cone of jagged rock whose base was continually removed from - 111 - beneath me as I climbed. It seemed as if, when I did reach that high pinnacle, the last rock might fade from beneath my feet and leave me floating in the white void that came so majestically on behind me. We reached the top together, but the crisis was not so lonely as I had imagined. Instead, I found myself walled in by opaque mists indeed, but still with much solid rock beneath my feet and a friendly little village, a railroad track and station, a stage office and stables, and an inn at hand, all with familiar human greetings for the weary traveller. You may come to the summit by many paths, by train, carriage or motor, but no trail has more of beauty, or indeed more of weirdness if the fluff of the giant's blanket follows you to the summit, than the three miles and a half of steady climbing by way of Tuckerman's Ravine.

- 112 -


Sunny Days and Clear Nights on the Highest Summit

The dweller on the top of Mount Washington may have all kinds of weather in the twenty-four hours of a July day, or he may have a tremendous amount, all of one kind, extending through many days. It all depends on what winds Father Æolus keeps chained, perhaps in the deep caverns of the Great Gulf, or which ones he lets loose to rattle the chains of the Tip Top House. My four days there were such as the fates in kindly mood sometimes deal out to fortunate mortals. The land below was in a swoon of awful heat. People died like flies in cities not far to the southward. The summit had a temperature of June, and the wind that drifted in from Canada made the nights cool enough for blankets; all but one. The night before the Fourth we perspired, even in this wind of Hudson Bay, and the habitués of the hilltop were properly indignant. They had snowballed there for a brief hour on the July Fourth of the year before and these sudden changes were disquieting.

"It all depends on what winds Father Æolus keeps chained, perhaps in the deep caverns of the Great Gulf, or which ones he lets loose to rattle the chains of the Tip Top House"

- 113 -

Of these four gems of days the first was a pearl, two were amethystine, and the last was of lapis lazuli. The morning of the pearl broke after light rains in the valley below, the air so clear that the city of Portland lifted its spires on the eastern horizon just before sunrise and the blue water of Casco Bay flashed beyond it. Yet the nearer valleys were shrouded in the white mists that were mother-of-pearl, a matrix that gradually rose and blotted out the green and gray of granite hilltops below till the summit was a great ship, rock-laden, ploughing through a white tumultuous sea whose billows were fluffy clouds like those on which Jupiter of old sat and dispensed judgment on mankind. I know of nothing so much like this sea of white cloud surface seen from above as is the sea of Arctic ice under a summer sun, its white, sun-softened expanse crushed into flocculent pressure - 114 - ridges of frozen tumult stretching as far as the eye can reach. Yet this is different in its strange beauty, for the Arctic ice changes its form only slowly, while this fleecy sea, seemingly so stable to the fleeting glance, changes shape before the next look can be given. No breath of wind may fan your brow on the summit, but the clouds below you tread a stately minuet, advancing, retreating, meeting and dividing, now a white Arctic sea, again a swiftly dignified dance by ghostly castles in Spain.

Often the near mists close in upon the summit and make all opaque, and the gray, shadowy hand of the cloud lies against your cheek and leaves a smear of cool moisture when it is withdrawn. On that morning when the summit and the day were bosomed together in a white pearl I saw the wayward moods of an imperceptible wind ordering this dance of the clouds. It passed down from the peak by the path that leads over the range to Crawford Notch, waving one line of mists eastward from the ridge until Boott's Spur and Tuckerman's Ravine stood clearly revealed, while on the west an - 115 - obedient white wall stood, wavering indeed, but holding its ground from the margin of the path high into the sky toward the zenith. For nearly half an hour any alpinist climbing over the head wall of Tuckerman's in sunshine would have seen his way clearly to this Crawford path, and, going westward, have stepped into the white mystery of the mists on the farther verge.

Again the imperceptible winds beckoned and the clouds whirled up from Pinkham Notch and blotted out the spur and the ravine, pirouetting up to meet their partners while the latter retreated, fluttering lace skirts behind, the high-walled chasm of clear space between them passing over the ridge and swinging north until met by an eruption of white dancers out of the Great Gulf and across the railroad track. Then all whirled together up the rough rock tangle of the central cone and blotted out the world in a pearly opacity.

The clouds that morning were born in the lowlands and ascended to the summit from all sides, out of Huntington and Tuckerman - 116 - Ravines, out of Oakes Gulf and Great Gulf and up from Fabyan's by way of the Base Station and the Mount Washington Railroad, enfolding the summit only after they had shown the marvels of their upper levels all about the foundations of the central cone. Then, after the white opalescence of the conquest of the peak the whirling dervishes above, for an hour or two, now occluded, again revealed, what was below. For half an hour they danced along the northern peaks, now hiding, now disclosing portions of them, but always during that time showing the peak of Adams, a clearly defined purple-black pyramid, framed in their fleece. After that for a long time they lifted bodily for ten-minute spaces, revealing another body of mists below, their upper surface far enough down so that the castellated ridge of Boott's Spur, Mount Monroe, Mount Clay and Nelson Crag stood out above them.

Here were clouds above clouds, the upper levels whirling in wild dances, fluttering together and again parting to let the sun in on the summit and on the levels below whence rose fleecy - 117 - cloud rocks of white, tinged often with the rose of sunlight, mountain ranges of semi-opaque mists that changed without seeming to move and showed oftentimes a curious semblance in white vapor to the land formation as it is revealed below on a clear day. Out of these lower clouds came sometimes sudden jets of vapor, as if the winds below found fumaroles whence they sent quick geysers of mists, vanishing fountains of a magic garden of the gods. Old Merlin, long banished from Arthur's Court in the high Welsh hills, may well have found a retreat in this new world Cærleon, nor did ever knight of the Round Table see more potent display of his powers of illusion and evasion than were here shown for any man who had climbed the high peak on that day of pearl cloud magic.

Afterward came two days of fervent sun on clear peaks that stand all about the horizon from Washington summit, half islanded in an amethystine heat haze, as beautiful, seen from the wind-swept pinnacle, as if old Merlin after a - 118 - day of tricks with pearls had ground all the gems of his magic storehouse to blue dust that filled the valleys of all the mountain world. On those days few men climbed the peak, but all the butterflies of the meadows and valleys far below danced up and held revels in the scent of the alpine plants, then in the full joy of their July blooming. The more distant valleys were deeply hazed in this amethystine blue, but the nearer peaks and plateaus stood so clear above them that it seemed as if one might leap to the lakes of the clouds or step across the great gulf to Jefferson in one giant's stride. I have heard a man on the rim of the Grand Cañon in Arizona declaring that he could throw a stone across its thirteen miles. So on those days in the high air miles seemed but yards, and only in the actual test of travel did one realize how far the feet fall behind the eye in the passage of distances.

"The more distant valleys were deeply hazed in this amethystine blue, but the nearer peaks and plateaus stood so clear above them that it seemed as if one might leap to the Lakes of the Clouds or step across the Great Gulf to Jefferson in one Giant's stride."

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At nightfall one realized how that heat haze not only possessed the valleys but the air high above them, for the sun, descending, grew red and dim and finally was swallowed up in the mists of his own creating long before he had reached the actual horizon's rim. Under his passing one lake after another to westward flashed his mirrored light back in a dazzling gleam of silver, then faded again to become a part of the blue dust of the distance. By their flashes they could be counted, and it was as if each signalled good night to the summit as the day went on. Eastward the purple shadow of the apex moved out across the Alpine garden, joined that of the head wall of Huntington Ravine, and, flanked by those of the Lion's Head and Nelson Crag, went on toward the horizon. Clearly defined on the light-blue haze where the sun's rays still touched, this deep pyramid of color moved majestically out of the Notch and up the slope of Wildcat Mountain, leapt Carter Notch and from the high dome of the farther summit put the Wild River valley in shadow as it went on, up Baldface and on again across the nearer Maine ranges, till it set its blunt point on the heat-haze clouds along the far eastern horizon. Nothing could be more expressive of the majesty of the mountain than to thus see - 120 - its great shadow move over scores of miles of earth and on and up into the very heavens.

It was as if God withdrew the mountain for the night into the sky, leaving the watcher on that great ledge-laden ship which is the very summit, plunging on over dark billows with the winds of space singing wild songs in the rigging. Beneath is the blue-black sea of tumultuous mountain waves that ride out from beneath the prow and on into the weltering spindrift haze of distance where sea and sky are one. In the full night the winds increase and find a harp-string or a throat in every projection of the pinnacle ledges whence to voice their lone chanteys of illimitable space. It is the same world-old song that finds responsive echoes in man's very being but for which he can never find words, the chantey of the night winds that every sailor has heard from the fore-top as the ship plunges on in the darkness when only the dim stars mark the compass points and the very ship itself is merged far below in the murk of chaos returned. What the night may be during a storm on this main-top of the great mountain ship only those who have there endured it may tell; my nights there were like the days, fairy gifts out of a Pandora's box that often holds far other things beneath its lid.

"Dawn on the mornings of those days was born out of the sky above the summit, as if the fading stars left some of their shine behind them"

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Dawn on the mornings of those days was born out of the sky about the summit as if the fading stars left some of their shine behind them, a soft, unworldly light that touched the pinnacles first and anon lighted the mountain waves that slid out from under the prow of the ship and rode on into the flushing east. As the heat haze at night had absorbed the red sun in the west, so now it let it gently grow into being again from the east. In its crescent light he who watched to westward could see the mountain come down again out of the sky into which it had been withdrawn. Out of a broad, indistinct shadow that overlaid the world it grew an outline that descended and increased in definiteness till the apex was in a moment plainly marked on the massed vapors that obscured the horizon line. Down these it marched grandly, touching indistinct ranges far to westward, more - 122 - clearly defined on the Cherry Mountains and the southerly ridges of the Dartmouth range, and becoming the very mountain itself as its point touched the valley whence flows Jefferson Brook and the slender thread of the railway climbs daringly toward the summit.

Below in a thousand sheltered valleys the hermit thrushes sang greetings to the day. Far up a thousand slopes the white-throated sparrows joined with their thin, sweet whistle, and higher yet the juncos warbled cheerily, but no voice of bird reaches the high summit. The only song there is that of the wind chanting still the thrumming runes of ancient times, sung first when rocks emerged out of chaos and touched with rough fingers the harp strings of the air. To such music the light of day descends from above, and the shadows of night withdraw and hide in the caves and under the black growth in the bottoms of ravines and gulfs. Rarely does one notice this music in the full day. Then the rough cone even is a part of man's world, built on a sure foundation of the familiar, friendly earth. It is only the darkness - 123 - of night that whirls it off into the void of space and sets the eerie runes in vibration. Few nights of the year are so calm there that you do not hear them, and even in their gentlest moods they come from the voices of winds lost in the void, little winds, perhaps, rushing shiveringly along to find their way home and whistling sorrowfully to themselves to keep their courage up.

Man comes to the summit at all hours and by many paths. Often in that darkest time which precedes the dawn one may see firefly lights approaching from the northeast, bobbing along in curious zigzags. These will-o'-the-wisps are pedestrians, climbing by the carriage road to greet the first dawn on the summit and watch the sun rise, carrying lanterns meanwhile lest they lose the broad, well-kept road and fall from the Cape Horn bend into the solemn black silence of the Great Gulf. The voices of these are an alarm clock to such as sleep on the summit, calling them out betimes to view the wonders they seek. By day men and women appear on foot from - 124 - the most unexpected places. The Crawford and Gulf Side trails, Tuckerman's and the carriage road bring them up by accepted paths, but you may see them also clambering over the head wall of Huntington's or the Gulf, precipitous spots that the novice would think unsurmountable.

These are the "trampers," as the habitués of the mountain summit call them. But the carriage road brings many who ride luxuriously up for four hours behind two, four or six horses, or flash up in less than an hour to the honk of automobile horns and the steady chug of gasolene engines. The old-time picturesque burros that patiently bore their riders up the nine miles of the Crawford trail have gone, probably never to return, and the horseback parties once so common are now rare. But by far the greater numbers climb the mountain by steam. From the northerly slope of Monroe, over beyond the Lakes of the Clouds, I watched the trains come, clanking caterpillars that inch-worm along the trestles of the cogged railroad, clinking like beetles and sputtering smoke and steam as only goblin caterpillars might, finally becoming - 125 - motionless chrysalids on the very summit. From these burst forth butterfly crowds that put to shame with their raiment the gauzy-winged beauties that flutter up the ravines to enjoy the sweets of the Alpine Garden. Then for a brief two hours on any bright day the bleak summit becomes a picnic ground, bright with gay crowds that flutter from one rock pinnacle to another and swirl into the ancient Tip Top house to buy souvenirs and dinner, restless as are any lepidoptera and as little mindful of the sanctity of this highest altar of the Appalachian gods. Soon these have reassembled once more in their chrysalids that presently retrovert to the caterpillar stage and crawl clanking and hissing down the mountain, inching along the trestles and vanishing anon into the very granite whence you hear them clanking and sputtering on. Amid all the weird play of nature in lonely places the summit has no stranger spectacle than this.

The day of lapis lazuli began with a break in the intense heat, a day on which cumulus clouds rolled up thousands of feet above the summit in the thin air and cast their shadows - 126 - before them, to race across the soft amethyst of the miles below and deepen it with their rich blue out of which golden sun-glints flashed still, racing shifting breaks in the cloud masses above. The wind increased in velocity toward mid-afternoon and cumulus massed in nimbus on the far horizon to the northwest out of which the flick of red swords of lightning and the battle roar of thunder sounded nearer and nearer. Mightily the black majesty of the storm moved up to us, wiping out earth and sky in its progress, the rolling edges of its topmost clouds still golden with the color of the sun that sank behind them. Here was a glory such as day nor night, sunrise nor sunset, had been able to show me.

The pagan gods of the days long gone seemed to come forth out of the summits far to the northwest and do battle, but half-concealed by their clouds. Swords flashed high and javelins flew and the clash of shields and the rumble of chariot wheels came to the ear in ever increasing volume as the tide of battle swept on and over the summit. A moment and we should - 127 - see the very cohorts of Mars himself in all their shining fury, but father Æolus let loose all the winds at once from his caverns, Jupiter Pluvius opened wide the conduits of the clouds and the world, even the very summit thereof, was drowned in the gray tumult of the rain.

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Filmy Beauties to be Found in Fair Weather on the Very Summit

The height of the butterfly season comes to the rich meadows about the base of Mount Washington in mid-July. The white clover sends its fragrance from the roadside and the red clover from the deep grass for them, and all the meadow and woodland flowers of midsummer rush into bloom for their enjoyment, while those of an earlier season seem to linger and strive not to be outdone. The cool winds from the high summits of the Presidential Range help them in this, and even in the summer drought the snow-water from the cliffs and the night fogs of the ravines keep them moist and fresh. No wonder that butterflies swarm in these meadows and even climb toward the summits along the flowery paths laid out for them up the beds of dwindling mountain torrents and under the cool shadows of forests impenetrable to the sun. Butterflies come to know woodland paths as well as man does and delight to follow them.

Butterfly-time on Mount Washington, the summit seen over the larger of the Lakes of the Clouds

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Of a July day the butterflies and I journeyed together up the flower-margined carriage road that leads to the summit of Mount Washington. They may have been surprised at the pervasiveness of my presence. I am sure I was at theirs, which lasted as long as the marginal beds of wild flowers did.

To climb this smooth road leisurely, on foot, is always to marvel at the engineering skill which found so steadily easy a grade up such an acclivity and so cunningly constructed it that it has been possible to keep it in good condition all these years—it was finished in 1869—in spite of summer cloudbursts and the gruelling torrents of melting snow in early spring. One is well past the first mile post before he realizes that he is going up much of a hill. The rise is that of an easy country road and might be anywhere in the northern half of New England from all outside appearances.

The striped moosewood and the mountain - 130 - moosewood growing by the roadside under white and yellow birch and rock maple suggest the latitude. The white admiral butterflies emphasize the suggestion. Rarely have I found these plants or this insect south of the northern boundary of Massachusetts. The white admirals flip their blue-black wings with the broad white epaulettes up and down the road in numbers. Butterflies of the shady spots, they find this highway where the trees arch in and often meet above peculiarly to their taste. Yet the meadow-loving fritillaries outnumber the admirals ten to one. Not even among the richly scented clover of the flats below, not even in the full roadside sun on the milkweed blooms which all butterflies so love, are they so plentiful. I suspect them of having a strain of adventurous blood in their veins, such as gets into us all when among the mountains and sets us to climbing them, and later observations bear out the suspicion. It was a day to lure butterflies to climb heights, still, steeped in fervid sun heat, and redolent of the perfect bloom of a hundred varieties of flowering plants.

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At first I thought these all specimens of the great spangled fritillary, Argynnis cybele, but they gave me such friendly opportunities for close examination that I soon knew better. The greater number of these mountain climbing butterflies were a rather smaller variety with a distinct black border along the wings, Argynnis atlantis, the mountain fritillary. They swarmed along the narrow shady road as plentiful as the blossoms of field daisies and blue brunella. With playful necromancy they made the daisies change kaleidoscopically from gold and white to gold and black, or they folded their wings and set the flower stalks scintillant with silver moon spangles. So with the blue brunella blooms. They flashed from close spikes of modest blue flecks to great four-petalled flowers of gold and silver and black, a blossom that would make the fortune of any gardener that could grow it, and presto! the miracle of bloom rose lightly into the air on fluttering wings and the stalk held only the shy blue of the brunella after all. Such is the magic of the first mile of the ascent, which might be any easy rise under the deciduous shade - 132 - of most any little New Hampshire hill, so far as appearances go.

During the second mile spruces slip casually into the roadside. They do it so unassumingly that you hardly know when, they and the firs. But the swarms of butterflies go on up the grade and through the dense foliage you still glimpse no mountain tops. With them shines occasionally the pale yellow of Colias philodice, and little orange skippers skip madly from bloom to bloom of the wayside flowers that still fill the margins from woods to wheel tracks. Clearwing moths buzz and poise like miniature humming birds, and with them in the deeper shadow flits a small white moth so delicately transparent and so ethereally pure in color that when he lights on a leaf the green of it shines through his wings.

These first two miles of the carriage road are amid scenes of such sylvan innocence that a partridge with her half-grown brood hardly feared me as their path crossed mine, and they flew only when I approached very near them. Cotton-tailed rabbits hopped leisurely across in front of me, in no wise excited by my approach, - 133 - and though the chipmunks whistled shrilly and dived into their holes before I touched them, they waited almost long enough for me to do it. The roadside flowers climbed bravely up the second mile among the wayside grasses, white clover, blue-eyed grass and golden ragwort, with the daisies, these not so plentiful as below, and the gentle brunella, and out of the woods came as if to meet and fraternize with them the rose-veined wood sorrel, its pure white petals seeming even more diaphanous because of the rose-veining. The heart-shaped, trifoliate leaves of this lovely little plant which climbs the great mountain on all sides are not those of the veritable shamrock, perhaps, but they are enough like them to prove to a willing mind that St. Patrick must surely have climbed Mount Washington in his day, and that this gentle insignia of his clan remained behind to prove it. It is a flower of shaded mossy banks in deep evergreen woods, where its tender white flowers, with their beautifully rose-shaded, translucent petals, delight the eye along the lower and middle reaches of all paths that lead to the summit.

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Toward the end of the second mile one realizes that he is climbing high. Through the trees to westward flit glimpses of the deep valley of the Peabody River, when he has risen, and beyond it the misty blue wall of the Carter Range, rising ever higher behind him as he goes up. The fritillaries come on, but the admirals drop behind to be seen no more, their places taken by an occasional angle-wing, Grapta interrogationis or Grapta comma. As the road rises the wayside flowers too fall behind, leaving lonely places, though well up to the Halfway House, nearly four miles up, white and pink yarrow is to be found, flanked by bunchberry blooms and the lovely greenish yellow of the Clintonia. This has half-ripened berries in the lowlands at the base, but toward the summit of the mountain it blooms till well into the middle of July, perhaps later. The butterflies fall behind as the roadside flowers do, yet now and then a mountain fritillary goes by and almost at the Halfway House I saw the most superb Compton tortoise, Vanessa j-album, that I have met anywhere. Below the Halfway House young spruces have crowded into the roadside - 135 - to the very wheel tracks, and the last of the lowland blooms has vanished. On the day that I came looking for them the lowland butterflies had vanished too, and the road seemed bare and desolate for two or three miles, indeed until the alpine plants of the high plateau began to appear, and with them the Arctic butterfly that makes this summit home, the curious little Oeneis semidea.

I had thought to find this, "the White Mountain butterfly," the only variety of the plateau and the summit cone, but in this the day and the place had more than one surprise in store for me. There are many days in summer when even the hardiest, strongest-flying lowland butterfly would not be able to scale the summit because of wind and cold, but this day had only a gentle air drifting in from the north, and the heat, which was a killing one below, was there tempered to that of a fine June day. The sudden bloom of the alpine plants had passed its meridian, but many were still in good flower. All along on the head wall of the Tuckerman Ravine and out upon the Alpine Garden were the pink, laurel-like cups of the Lapland azalea. - 136 - There was the Phyllodoce cærulea with its urn-shaped corolla turning blue as it withers, the three-toothed cinquefoil, Potentilla tridentata which looks to the careless glance like a little running blackberry vine with its star of white bloom, and everywhere low clumps of the lovely little mountain sandwort, Arenaria grœnlandica, the only petal-bearing plant that dares the very summit, where its white, cup-shaped blooms make the bleak rocks glad.

On the Alpine Garden and at the ravine heads are lower level flowers which come up and mingle with these. The buttercup-like blossoms of the mountain avens flash their rich yellow. The Labrador tea puts out its white umbels and sends spicy fragrance down the wind. The houstonia grows bravely its little white, four-pointed stars with their yellowish centre, and cornel and even Trientalis, the American star-flower, grow from the tundra moss and make a brave show in that bleak spot. Boldest of all is the great, rank-growing Indian poke, with its erect stem of big green leaves and its topping spike of greenish bloom. High up to the angles of the rock jumble of the cone, wherever the water comes down into the Alpine Garden, this climbs with a bold assurance that no other lowland plant equals. It is plentiful in the neighborhood of the Lakes of the Clouds and high on the head wall of the Tuckerman Ravine it sprouts under the receding snow, blanched like celery.

The fantastic lion's head which, carved in stone, guards the trail along Boott's Spur toward the summit cone of Washington

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All these and more were in bloom on the plateau that supports the high cone of Washington summit on that day, and up to them had come the lowland butterflies. Most plentiful were the mountain fritillaries, but often a great spangled fritillary spread his wider wing above the head wall of Huntington or Tuckerman and soared along the levels. With these was an occasional angle-wing, Grapta interrogationis and Grapta progne, feeding in the larval stage on the leaves of the prickly wild gooseberry which is common well up to the base of the summit cone. Strange to relate, the beautiful, hardy, and common mourning cloak was not to be seen on the days in which I hunted butterflies about the summit, - 138 - but his near relative, the Compton tortoise, Vanessa j-album, was there, and the smaller but lovely little Vanessa milberti, with his wings so beautifully gold-banded, I saw frequently. Milbertis flew up out of the Great Gulf toward the summit, and one afternoon I found one of them carefully following the Crawford trail down, winding its every turn a foot above the surface as if he knew that it was made to show the way. To the very summit, circling the Tip Top House, came big, red-winged, black-veined monarchs, and all the varieties I had seen in the Alpine Garden came up there too, most numerous of all being the mountain fritillaries. I take it that no one of these lowland butterflies is bred at these high levels, but that all wander up when the sun is bright and the wind still enough to permit the excursion.

"Semidea persistently haunts the great gray rock-pile which is the summit cone"

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Most interesting of all to the lepidopterist is the one Arctic butterfly of our New England fauna, Oeneis semidea, "The White Mountain Butterfly," which might be perhaps better called in common parlance "The Mount Washington Butterfly," as it is commonly believed to be restricted in its habitat, so far as New England is concerned, to the high summit cone of Mount Washington. Holland so states in his excellent butterfly book. As a matter of fact the insect is plentiful over a rather wider range. I found it along the Crawford trail out to the Lakes of the Clouds and Mount Monroe, as well as along the lawns and Alpine Garden and down the carriage road far below the summit cone. It is also found at similar altitudes on Jefferson, Adams and Madison, its habitat being rather the high peaks of the Presidential Range than Mount Washington alone.

But semidea persistently haunts the great gray rock pile which is the summit cone. Wherever you climb, there it flutters from underfoot like a two-inch fleck of gray-brown lichen that has suddenly become a spirit. Alighting, it turns into the lichen again. In rough weather the other butterflies go down hill into the shelter of the ravines, but this one has learned to fight gales and midsummer snow storms and hold patriotically to its native country. Even in still weather when disturbed it skims the surface of - 140 - the rock in flight, seeming to half crawl, half fly, lest a gale catch it and whirl it beyond its beloved peak. Its refuge is the little caverns among and beneath the angled boulders, and when close pressed by a would-be captor it flies or climbs down into these as a chipmunk would, and remains there till the danger has passed. It seems to be born of the rocks and to flee to its mother as children do when afraid of anything. It is our hardiest mountaineer. Neither beast nor bird dares the winter on this high summit. Yet here, winter and summer, is the home of this boreal insect which in the egg or the chrysalid withstands cold that often goes to fifty below Fahrenheit, and is backed by gales that blow a hundred miles an hour. No wonder this little but mighty butterfly takes the colors of the rocks that are its refuge.

It is the only easily noticed form of animated wild life that one is sure to find on the very summit, even in summer. Hedgehogs sometimes come to the door of the Tip Top House in summer weather and have to be shooed away, and gray squirrels have been seen there; but these, - 141 - like the tourists, are casual wanderers from the warmer regions below. I believe the only bird that makes its summer home on the cone is the junco, though I heard song-sparrows and white-throats sing down on the levels of the plateau, at the Alpine Garden and about the Lakes of the Clouds. The juncos breed about these next highest levels in considerable numbers, and one pair at least bred this summer high up on the summit cone, about a third of the way down from the top toward the Alpine Garden. Like the Arctic butterflies, the refuge of this pair was the interstices of the rocks themselves, the nest being actually a hole in the ground, beneath an overhanging jut of ledge where the moss from below crept perpendicularly up to it, but left a gap two inches wide into which the mother bird could squeeze. It was almost as much of a hole in the ground as that in which a bank swallow nests, absolutely concealed, and protected from wind or down-rush of torrential rain.

Rare butterflies are not the only insects which tempt the entomologist to the very summit of - 142 - Mount Washington. On my butterfly day there I found two members of the Cambridge Entomological Society dancing eagerly about the trestle at the terminus of the Mount Washington Railway, collecting beetles, of which they had hundreds stowed away in their cyanide jars. I'll confess that all beetles look alike to me, but these grave and learned gentlemen were ready to dance with joy at their success of the afternoon before at the Lakes of the Clouds, where each had captured one Elaphrus olivaceus. The name sounds like something gigantic; as a matter of fact, olivaceus is a tiny, dark, oval-shaped beetle, on which these enthusiasts saw beautiful striæ and olive-yellow stripes. Having the eye of faith I saw them too, but only with that eye. Together we went hunting the Alpine Garden for Elaphrus lævigatus, another infinitesimal prodigy of great rarity and scientific interest, but the omens were bad and lævigatus escaped. Such are some of the magnets with which this mighty mountain top draws men and women from all over the world, to spend perhaps a day, perhaps a summer, among its clouds, - 143 - its scintillant sunshine and its ozone-bearing breezes.

Storm winds drive most of us below. When they blow, all the beautiful lowland butterflies set their wings and volplane down to the shelter of the valleys behind the jutting crags and the head walls. The chill of descending night as well drives these light-winged creatures off the hurricane deck of this great rock ship of the high clouds. But the thousands of hardy Oeneis semidea simply fold their lichen gray wings and creep into miniature caverns of the jumbled granite, waiting, warm and secure, for the light of the next sunny day.

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Their Changing Beauty from Low Slopes to Presidential Plateaus

On the mountain farms the cultivated fields hold such levels as the farmer is able to find. Often on the roughest mountain side he has found them, treads on the stairways of the hills whose risers may be perpendicular cliffs or slide-threatening declivities. These last are for woodland in the farm scheme, if tremendously rough, or if they have roothold for grass and foothold for cattle they are pastures. Thus it is the pastures rather than the cultivated lands that aspire, and from their heights one looks down upon the farm-house and the farmer and his men at work in the hay fields. The stocky, square-headed, white-faced cattle may well feel themselves superior to these beings far below who groom and feed them, and from their wind-swept ridges I dare say they have the Emersonian thought, even if they have never learned the couplet:

"Little recks yon lowland clown
Of me on the hilltop looking down."
"The stocky, square-headed, white-faced cattle may well feel themselves superior to these beings far below who groom and feed them"

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These mountain cattle are of many breeds, according to the fancy or the fortune of their owner. Probably many of them are mongrels whose ancestors it would be hard to determine, yet there seems to be a strong resemblance in some to those cattle one sees on Scottish hills and in the highlands of the English border, and one wonders if here are not lineal descendants of the stock which came in with the early English settlers. At least the white-faced ones have been settled on the mountain pastures long enough to become part and parcel of them. Except when in motion they so fit their rocky surroundings as to be with difficulty picked out from them by the eye. One might say the pasture holds so many hundred rocks and cattle, but which is which it takes a nice discernment to decide. Especially is this true when the herd stands motionless and regards the wandering stranger. Then the red bodies are the very color - 146 - shadows of the green pasture shrubs and the white faces patches of weather-worn granite. Sometimes it is disconcerting to tramp up to such a rock in such a shadow and have it suddenly spring to its feet with an indignant "ba-a" and flee to the forest with much clangor of a musical bell.

Most of the mountain cattle wear this bell, which is but a hollow, truncated, four-sided pyramid with a clapper hung within. It does not tintinnabulate, but "tonks" with a tone that is low, but carries far and seems always a part of the woodland whence it so often sounds,—woodland in which pasture and cattle so continually merge. In its mellow tones the clock of the pasture strikes, marking the lazy hours for the loving listener. In the time when the slender thread of the old moon disputes with the new dawn the honor of lighting the high eastern ridges, I hear it chorusing in mellow merriment as the herd winds up the lane from the big old barn. It briskly rings the changes of the forenoon as the herd crops eagerly among the rocks, the slowing of its tempo marking the appeasing - 147 - of hunger. Through the long, torrid hours of mid-day it sleeps in the deep shadow of the wood, toning only occasionally as the drowsy bearer moves. Then with the coming of the afternoon hunger I hear it again, moving down the mountain with the day, to meet the twilight and the farmer at the pasture bars.

As these mountain cattle are curiously different in aspect and carriage from those of our lowland pastures in eastern Massachusetts, so the pastures themselves differ widely in more than location and level. Here in part is the old world of bird and beast, herb, shrub and tree, yet many an old friend is missing and many a new one is to be made. It is difficult to believe that a pasture can be fascinating and lovable without either red cedars or barberry bushes, yet here are neither, and though the slim young spruces stand as prim and erect as the red cedars of a hundred and fifty miles farther south, they do not quite take their places, nor do they have the vivid personality of those trees. It is the same with the barberry. There is an individuality, - 148 - an aura of personality about the shrub that forbids any other to take its place or indeed to in any way resemble it. The mountain pastures are the worse for that.

For my part I miss the clethra more even than these. July is the time for those misty white racemes to be coming into bloom and sending down the wind that spicy, delectable fragrance that seems to tempt him who breathes it to adventure forth in search of all woodland romance. But the clethra is a lover of the sea rather than the mountains and it has never voyaged far up stream. The waters of the mountain brooks have lost their clearness long before they greet the clethra on their banks. The striped moosewood and the mountain moosewood, both pasture-bordering shrubs of the high pastures, are beautiful in their way, but they cannot make up for this sweet-scented, brook-loving beauty of the lowlands.

There are two pasture people, however, who love the high slopes of the White Mountain pastures as well as they do the sandy borders of the Massachusetts salt marshes. These are - 149 - the spiræas, latifolia and tomentosa. The latter, the good old steeple bush or hardhack, moves into some rocky, open slopes till it seems as if there was hardly room for any other shrub or scarcely for grass to grow, and makes the whole hillside rosy with its pink spires. It always seems to me as if the hardhack should be hardier than its less sturdy-looking, more dainty sister, the Spiræa latifolia or meadow-sweet. In most pastures of the foothills, so to speak, I find them together, but as one goes on up the slopes of the high ranges the hardhack vanishes from the wayside leaving the meadow-sweet to climb Mount Washington itself and show the delicate pink of its bloom over the head wall of the Tuckerman Ravine and about the Lakes of the Clouds. Nor has it altogether escaped the pasture there. The white-faced cattle remain behind with the hardhack, but the deer come over the col from Oakes Gulf and browse on its leaves and those of the Labrador tea and drink from the clear waters of the high lakes. These herds of the highest pastures bear no bell and fit into the color scheme of the landscape better even - 150 - than the white-faced cattle, and it is no wonder that they escape observation. Yet I find their hoof marks at almost every drinking place of these highest mountain moors.

In these last days of July the most conspicuous bird of the pastures is the indigo bunting. I say this advisedly and in the presence of goldfinches, myrtle and magnolia warblers, purple finches and various sparrows, including the white-throat, also some other birds who breed and sing there. Yet of all these the indigo bunting seems by numbers and pervasiveness to be most in the public eye; I being the public. Early in the morning he sings. In the full warmth of noontide he sings, and I hear him when the sun is low behind the Presidential Range and the clouds are putting their gray nightcap on the summit of Washington. Always it is the same song, which slight variations only tend to emphasize without obscuring. "Dear, dear," he says, "Who-is-it, who-is-it, who-is-it? dear, dear, dear." And sometimes he adds a little whimsical, stuttering, "What-do-you-know-about-that?" He sits as he sings on the penultimate - 151 - twig of some pasture shrub or tree, and as the sun shines on his indigo blue suit it flashes little coppery reflections from it that might well make one think him the product of some skilled jeweller's art rather than born of an egg in the bushes.

With the self-consciousness of the average summer visitor, I at first thought that this song of his referred to me. I fancied that he was calling to his little brown wife at the nest in the nearby bushes, exclaiming about this stranger who was tramping the pastures and asking her about him. If you wish to know about new people in town ask your wife. Any happily married indigo bunting will give you that advice. But I know his theme better now. I have seen the wife slip slyly out of the dense green of the thicket, and have most impolitely invaded it, there to find the compact grass nest full of a new-born bunting family. I know now that the father bunting sits in the tree tip and exclaims all day long over the arrival of these. Seeing their huddled, naked forms, their astounding mouths and unopened eyes, I do not - 152 - wonder that he exclaims in perplexity and indeed some dismay over the new arrivals. "Dear, dear," he says, "Who-is-it, who-is-it? What-do-you-know-about-that?" He will never get over his astonishment at such tiny gorgons coming from those pale, pretty eggs that were there but a few days ago. Nor do I blame him one bit. It does not seem possible that these miracles of ugliness can ever grow up to be such sleek, beautiful birds as this father of theirs that sits on the treetop and all day long fills the pasture with echoes of his song of wonder over them. No. His song had no reference to me, but was strictly concerned with his own affairs. Like the other native-born mountaineers, he does not take the summer visitors any too seriously. It is interesting to go up the mountains from one pasture, scramble to another and see what lowland folk fall behind and how the habits of those that keep up the climb change as they progress into the higher altitudes. The woodchuck is not missing here, but he is not the same. He is the northern woodchuck, very like his Massachusetts cousin in habits but grayer, leaner and - 153 - rangier. At this time of year a Massachusetts woodchuck is so fat that if you meet him he fairly rolls to his hole. The northern woodchuck gets into his with a scrambling bound that shows much less accumulation of adipose tissue. I fancy this leanness and greater alertness is due to the greater numbers and greater alertness of his woodland enemies. The pastures are full of foxes, and when they get hungry they go down and dig out a woodchuck for dinner. But even the northern woodchuck fails the pastures in their higher portions.

One by one the lowland flowers fall back and the lowland trees and shrubs, also, until high on the Presidential Range the pastures themselves, in the common use of the word, have failed as well. Yet I like to think the true use of the word includes that debateable land at the tree limit as pasture land. In the economy of a farm it would surely be of use for nothing else, and it would make excellent pasturage in summer, were there farms near enough to use it. It always seems homelike, this region of grass - 154 - and browse, coming to it as one does from the dark depths of fir woods and dwarfed deciduous trees. The hemlocks, beeches, yellow birches and maples have stayed behind in the region of cow pastures. Here where sometimes the deer come and where mountain sheep ought to find pasturage, only the hardiest of pasture people have dared to take their stand. The firs and spruces have come up, growing stockier and more gnome-like at every hundred-foot rise, until above the head walls of the ravines they shrink to low-growing shrubs not knee high, except where they have cunningly taken advantage of some hollow. Even there they rise no higher than the shelter that fends them from the north wind. Above that they are trimmed down, often into grotesque shapes like those that old-time gardeners affected, shearing evergreens into strange caricatures of beasts or men. Often on these Alpine pastures you find a boulder behind which on the south a fir has taken refuge. Close up to the rock it mats, drifting away from it, southerly, in much the same lines that a snowdrift would assume in the same position. There is in this nothing of the spiring shape of the same variety of spruce or fir in the valley pastures far below. Yet the botanists accept this as an individual distortion due to environment and do not class these firs or spruces of the mountain pastures as a variety different from those that grow below.

Mountain Sandwort in bloom on a little lawn near Mount Pleasant on the last day in July

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They think otherwise of other trees.

The white birches come up in location and come down in size on these mountain pastures very much as do the spruces and firs. We have the big canoe birch of the lower slopes, often a splendid tree that matches any in the forest in height. On higher ranges it shrinks and even undergoes certain structural changes that have given excuse for the naming of new varieties. Hence, beginning with Betula papyrifera in the valleys we have a shrinkage to cordifolia, minor, and glandulosa with its sub-variety rotundifolia, this last a veritable creeping birch which sticks its branches but a little above the tundra moss in places where the spruce and fir trees are not much different in character and the willow becomes most truly an underground shrub with no - 156 - bit of twig showing above the surface and only the little round leaves cropping out, making a growth that is more like that of a moss than that of a tree. To such straits do wind and cold reduce the trees that defy them.

Yet in spite of the botanical classification which sets up these dwarfed trees as different varieties from those of the lower slopes, one cannot help wondering if the differentiation is justified. Suppose the seeds of a big paper birch from the lower valley were planted among the creeping willows of the Alpine Garden on Mount Washington. Would they not grow a dwarfed and semi-creeping Betula glandulosa or rotundifolia? Would not the seeds of glandulosa, if blown down into the lower valley and growing in the soil among the paper birches produce Betula papyrifera? It always seems to me that there is less difference between the creeping birches of the high plateaus of the Presidential Range and the paper birches of the lower slopes than there is between the grotesquely dwarfed firs and spruces of the Alpine Garden, - 157 - and the big ones that grow in Pinkham Notch and in the rich bottom lands of the lower part of the Great Gulf.

The alders of these highest pastures are very dwarf, and because of the puckered leaf margins have received the specific name of crispa, being familiarly known as the mountain alder or green alder. Yet we have in lower pastures the downy green alder, Alnus mollis, so much like its higher-growing relative that even the authorities say it may be but a variation. Here again one wonders if the difference is not that of climate on the individual rather than one of species, and if the seeds of Alnus mollis from the banks of the Ellis River if planted along the head wall of the Tuckerman Ravine would not grow up to be Alnus crispa. It seems as if there was a very good opportunity for experimentation along some line between the Silver Cascades and the rough rocks at the base of the summit cone of Washington. Down in the valleys the juncos build their nests in low shrubbery or at least on the top of the ground. Up on the side of the summit juncos build actually in holes in - 158 - the ground, and lay their eggs almost a month later than those below. Here is a variation in habit, yet in each case the bird is Junco hiemalis; perhaps when the scientists really get around to it we shall have the cone builders classed as variety hole-iferus.

But however we may differ as to the naming of the plants and birds that frequent them, all who have climbed that far confess to the beauty of these highest pastures of the New England world. To wander in them of a sunny summer day for even a short time is to begin to be fond of them, an affection which increases with each subsequent visit. There soon gets to be a homey feeling about them that lasts at least while the sunshine endures. With the passing of the sun comes a difference. The chill of the high spaces of the air comes down then and the winds complain about the cliffs below and above and prophecy disaster to him who remains too long. It is well then to scramble downward and leave the highest pasture lands to the deer, if they choose to climb out of the sheltering black growth below, or to such spirits of lonely space - 159 - as may come at nightfall. Far below are the man-made pastures that are friendly even at nightfall, and it is good to seek these. The tonk of the cow-bells will lead you in lengthening shadows out of the afterglow on the heights down into the trodden paths and beyond to the pasture bars.

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Some Fascinations of the Gulfside Trail in Stormy Weather

The summit of Mount Washington sits on so high buttresses of the lesser spurs and cols of the Presidential Range that it is not always easy to recognize its true height. From the south, east and west it is a mountain sitting upon mountains, gaining in grandeur indeed thereby but losing in individuality. To realize the mountain itself I like to look at it from the summit of Madison, the northernmost of the northern peaks. There you see the long, majestic upward sweep of the Chandler Ridge, swelling to the rock-burst of the Nelson Crag, and beyond that, higher yet and farther withdrawn, the very summit, immeasurably distant and lofty, across the mighty depths of the Great Gulf.

Clouds on the Northern Peaks, Mount Adams seen from Mount Washington summit

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Here is the real mountain and the whole of it laid out for the eye from the beginnings in the low valley of the Peabody River to the corrugated pinnacle which is the crest. It takes the gulf to make us realize the mountain, and great as the gulf is it is forgotten in the mighty creature that rears its head into the clouds beyond it. From Madison the mountain has more than individuality. It has personality. It is as if some great god of Chaos had crushed an image of immensity out of new-formed stone. To look long at this from the northernmost peak is to realize its personality more and more. If some day, sitting on the pinnacled jumble of broken rock which is Madison summit, I see the mighty one shiver and wake and hear him speak, I shall be terrified, without doubt, but not surprised.

When August comes to the Northern Peaks I like to come too, by way of the Gulfside Trail which leaves the carriage road a little below the summit of Washington and skirts the head wall of the Great Gulf. Here in early August, just off the carriage road, I am sure to find the mountain harebells nodding friendly to me in the breeze, their wonderful violet-blue corollas flecking the bare slopes with a beauty that is as dear - 162 - as it is unassuming. It is easy to stride by these and not see them, so much they seem but shadow flecks of the sky above, yet once seen no one can go by without stopping for at least a time to worship their brave loveliness. Flowers of intense individuality are the harebells, with each group having, oftentimes, characteristics peculiarly its own. It seems always to me that these of the high summits of the Presidential Range are of a deeper, richer blue than any others. This may be because of the atmosphere in which I see them. They and the mountain goldenrod, the Spiræa latifolia and the little dwarf rattlesnake-root with its nodding, yellowish, composite flowers, have come in to take the places of the spring blooms that opened in these high gardens with July. Down at the sea level the seasons have three months each. Up here July is spring, August is summer, and the autumn has flown from the hilltops before the last days of September have passed.

Of the spring flowers that have lingered beyond the limits of their season are the beautiful - 163 - little mountain sandwort, whose clumps still bloom white in favored spots, though most of the others hold seed pods only, and the three-toothed cinquefoil with its blossoms so like those of a small running blackberry that it is easy to mistake it for a stray from the pastures far below. The mountain avens, too, has what seems a belated crop of its yellow, buttercup-like blooms in a few places, though over the most of its area brown seed heads only nod on the tall blossom stalks. Such are the flowers of the Presidential Range high plateaus in earliest August, and though the harebells are to me the most beautiful and most striking, individually, the mountain goldenrod outdoes all others in profusion of color, its golden sprays swarming up from the Great Gulf to the trail about its head and garlanding the rocks toward the summit with feathery bloom that lures the lowland butterflies to climb trails of their own as far as it goes and to soar over the very summit in search of more of it. As a background for these flowers grows the mountain spear-grass, which is so much like the June grass of our lowland fields, - 164 - its feathery blooms making a soft purple mist in many places. On the very summit of Washington this is abundant, disputing the scant soil with the sandwort, the two the most Alpine of all New England plants. Rapidly indeed do all these plant dwellers in Alpine heights hasten through their love and labor of the summer season, for with October comes the winter which will put them all to sleep until the end of the following June.

The human sojourner in this region needs as well to hasten wisely with an eye on the weather. My early August trip began at the Halfway House and strolled on up the mountain in very pleasant morning sunshine. On the col between Washington and Clay the sun had hazed and the cool sea odor of the southeast wind bade me cut short my worship of harebells and mountain goldenrod. Yet so clear was the air that every detail of the bottom of the Gulf stood out to the eye, and Spaulding Lake, a quarter mile below me and a mile distant, looked so near that it seemed as if with a jump and perhaps two flops of even clumsy wings I might light in it.

"Where the path swings round the east side of Jefferson"

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Where the path swings round the east side of Jefferson I began to get glimpses of the mountains far to southeastward, and as I stood above Dingmaul Rock and looked straight down Jefferson Ravine I could see the haze behind the southeast wind shutting off these as well as the sun. The great hills no longer sat solidly on the earth beneath. Instead a soft blue dust of turquoise gems flowed up from the valleys and lifted them from their foundations till they floated gently zenithward through an increasing sea of this same semi-opaque blue. Always the distant mountains are ethereal. Tramp them as much as you may, get the scars of their granite ledges on yourself, as you surely will if you climb them, get to know their every crag and ravine if you can; and when it is all done and you look at the mountain only a few miles away, it takes itself gently from the realm of facts and becomes to your eye but the filmy substance of a dream, a picture painted on the sky and thence hung on the walls of memory forever. So these mountains to the southeast of Jefferson—Meader, Baldface and Eastman first, Imp and Moriah, - 166 - the Carters and even Wildcat—lifted and swam in this blue sea of dreams that the southeast wind brought up with it, quivered and vanished into forgetfulness, and beyond where their summits had disappeared I saw the long blue-gray levels of stratus clouds standing out against the lesser gray of the storm bank and rising slowly and evenly toward the zenith.

Slowly, with majestic sureness a storm was marching up from the south. No unconsidered assault of the heights was this, no raid by the white cavalry of thunderstorm, but a forward march of a great army of investment, bent on complete conquest of the range. So slow was its coming and so sure its promise that no mountain climber need rush to safety. Each could proceed with the same dignity as the storm, having ample time to beat a safe retreat. By noon no animal life was visible on the high levels. The juncos have nests innumerable in tiny, sheltered caverns under overhanging rocks. The mother birds were snuggled deep in these on the brown-spotted eggs. Butterflies and - 167 - bumblebees had been busy all the morning in the goldenrod, and a host of other insects, coleoptera, diptera, hymenoptera, honey seekers and pollen eaters. Now all had vanished save here and there a bumblebee that still clung, drunk with nectar, in the yellow tangle of bloom. The wind that had been so gentle blew cold on these and swished eerily through the sedges on the borders of the little pool over on the side of Sam Adams, known as Storm Lake. Very different was this swish of the wind in the sedges from its soft song in the mists of the mountain spear-grass. Very different was the feel of it as it blew out of the smooth gray arch of sky where had been those level lines of stratus clouds. It had blown these to the zenith and over, and the following mists had shut off the Carter Range entirely, and even as I watched from the Peabody spring on the southwest slope of Sam Adams they shut off the farther ridge of the Great Gulf and came over the close tangled tops of the dwarf spruces with the swish of rain. Even then as I tramped along the northerly slopes of Adams and John Quincy Adams I - 168 - could see the fields of Randolph laid out in checker-board pattern and the lower slopes of the Crescent Range farther to the north, but as I came down the final pitch to the stone hut on Madison a gust growled ominously over the Parapet and a rush of rain shut the visible world within a narrow circle of which I was glad to make the cosy shelter of the hut the centre.

The Madison hut is built of stone, cemented together, and is tucked so well into the hillside that one may step from the rocks in the rear to the roof. Certainly its walls are storm proof, but for thirty hours the wind did its best to tear the roof off it while the rain filled every gully with a rushing torrent, and the caretaker and I did our best to make merry within the safe shelter of the walls. The clouds that had been so high came down with the rain and made the world an opaque mass of solid white. It was not so much like a mist as like a cheese through which the wind in some miraculous fashion blew at a tremendous rate.

Cataract of clouds pouring over the Northern Peaks into the Great Gulf, seen from the summit of Mount Washington

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From mid-afternoon of one day until mid-forenoon of the next there was no change in this white opacity which blocked the very door and hid objects completely though only a few feet away, and through it the wind roared in varying cadences and the drumming rain fell steadily. Then came occasional tiny rifts in this white cheese in which the world was smothered. It lifted a little from the mountain side beneath and left fluffy streamers of mist trailing down. By noon it had shown the summit of John Quincy once, then shut down as if it were a lid operated by a stiff spring. Late in the afternoon, thirty hours after the murk had immured us in the hut, the wind had lulled, swung to the west, and was shredding the clouds to tatters, through which I climbed to the peak of Madison.

Again the great gods of chaos were crushing an image of immensity out of new formed stone. Out of the void of cloud I saw it come, piece by piece, the artificers adding to and withdrawing from their structure as the result pleased or displeased them. Once they swept the mountain away entirely leaving only the formless gray of chaos, then as if with a sudden access - 170 - of skill and inspiration swept the whole grandly into being, and the low sun shot his rays through the débris of their previous failures and gilded the final structure. Through the long miles below me came the voice of the Great Gulf. Down its sheer declivities ten thousand streams were splashing to reach the swollen flood in the channels of the west branch of the Peabody. Each lisped its consonant or its vowel, and as they met and mingled in syllables and sped on the river took them and built them into words and phrases, an oration whose sonorous uproar came from the deep diaphragm of the mighty space out of which, for all I know, the mountains themselves were born. Down its distant, narrow ravine I could see the Chandler River leap from its source high on the Nelson Crag, to its junction with the west branch, a continuous line of white cataract, roaring full from brink to brink. Few little rivers of any mountains fall so swiftly through so deep and straight a ravine and few indeed have a mountain top three miles away that gives an unobstructed view of their flood fury from source to mouth.

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A little aftermath of the storm, blown back on the ever freshening north wind, sent me down the cone again to further refuge in the hut, and it was not until the next morning that I could retrace my steps over the gulfside trail to Washington. Again I started with a clear sky, but by the time I had made the miles to the east side of Jefferson the high summits were altars whereon the little gods of storms were at work. They caught the saturated air that rose from all ravines, laid it across the upper slopes and, hammering it with the brisk north wind, beat white puffs of mist out of it with every stroke. These streamed from the peaks and were caught and tangled on them and in one another till all distances vanished and I walked in a narrowing world where mist creatures played and danced lightly to the tinkle of water that still fell from all heights. More and more little clouds the little gods hammered out on the slopes and ever fresher blew the north wind that swirled them together after it had beaten them out. The vanishing distance took with it the peaks above and the Gulf below, and the world that had been so - 172 - great became very small indeed, a half circle of rocks but a few rods in circumference bisected by a trail and the whole packed in cotton wool.

In the lower parts of the trail between Jefferson and Clay this packing was thinnest. Probably at yet lower levels it was clear and these were clouds that floated above. But this thinness was not sufficient to give the traveller any landmark. His only hold on the earth was that tiny circle of rock that ever changed yet was ever the same as he went on, and the trail itself. As this rose along the west slope of Clay and swung along the levels toward the head wall of the Gulf the packing became more dense, and I walked in Chaos itself, thankful that the trail is here so well marked that one does not need to see from monument to monument, but may follow the way foot by foot without fear of wandering. A little lift came in this density just at the head wall of the Gulf. To the south just for a moment loomed ghostly blobs of deeper gray that I knew were the water tanks of the railroad, not a stone's toss away. To the north was the ravine. On this spot I had stood two - 173 - mornings before and marvelled at the seeming nearness of the little lake a mile away. The rim of the head wall showed ghostly gray, but there was no Gulf. All the world, above, below and beyond, was but a mass of cotton wool so solidly packed that it seemed as if I might walk out onto that space where the Gulf should be and not fall through it.

Further on the trail was harder to find and the little diminution in the density ceased. The little gods of storms were doing well at their practice. No drop of rain fell, but where the north wind blew this white mass of mist against me it condensed within the pores of all garments and filled them with moisture. The last landmarks of the trail vanished and the white clouds blew in and tangled my feet like a flapping garment as I stepped upon the carriage road and turned mechanically to the right, hardly able to distinguish by sight the roadside from the rocks that wall it in. Even the great barns where they stable the stage horses were invisible as I walked between them, but I found the plank - 174 - staircase which leads up to the stage office and found that and a good fire and a jolly crowd inside. My trip over the northern peaks had been one of such varied adventure that it was to be preferred to one made under fair skies and on a windless day. Yet this tramp in the clouds was to be had that day on the high summits alone. At the base of these and even up to the head walls of the ravines during a good part of the time the air had been clear. It was just the little weather gods making medicine with the saturated air from the ravines and the cold steel hammer of the north wind.

- 175 -


The Alpine Beauty of These Highest New England Lakes

At nightfall from the summit of Mount Washington the Lakes of the Clouds look like two close-set, glassy eyes in the face of a giant, a face that stares up at the sky far below and whose hooked nose is the summit of Mount Monroe. As the light passes, the glassy stare fades from these and they lie fathomless black orbs that gaze skyward a little while, then close, and the giant, whose outstretched body is the southern half of the Presidential Range, sleeps. In the full sunshine of a pleasant forenoon one knows them for tiny, shallow lakes, and so near do they look that it seems almost as if a good ball player might cast a stone into them from the rim of the summit just behind the Tip Top House. As a matter of fact, they are a little over two miles away over declivities and ridges that lie above the tree - 176 - line. For the most part the trail to these lakes, whether one comes from Mount Washington or along the Crawford bridle path, seems bare and desolate to the overlooking glance. But when one gets down to it he finds it full of beauty and interest. The southern part of the Presidential Range, between Mount Washington and Mount Clinton, is a mighty ridge, out of which topple the crests of Monroe, Franklin and Pleasant, a giant still by day, but now a giant wave petrified.

Coming up the land from the south I had thought that the lifting of Mount Washington through the plastic earth had caused the waves of land to radiate from it in all directions, but to stand on the highest summit is to see that this is not so. The force that made the mountains to the south and the mountains to the north is the same, and the Presidential Range is a result, also, and not a cause. It is but the seventh wave of those which ride in from the northwest, and the force which made them all came over the land from countless leagues beyond. The Presidential Range lifts out of the - 177 - hollow of the wave, which is the Ammonoosuc Valley, in a long clean sweep southeastward, exactly as a mighty wave does at sea. It pinnacles into the various peaks and it drops suddenly, almost sheer in places, into the next hollow beyond. This hollow beyond the northern peaks is the Great Gulf, beyond the southern peaks is Oakes Gulf, and beyond Mount Washington itself begins with Huntington and Tuckerman ravines. Something drove mighty waves through the land from the west, sent them pinnacling five and six thousand feet above the sea level, and froze them there. The main wave is the solid rock mass thirteen miles long and in the neighborhood of five thousand feet in height above the sea level. The crests are the summit cones, jumbled piles of great mica-schist rocks, varying in size from a cook-stove to a city block, all seeming to have been tossed together in a disorderly heap and to have settled down into such regularity as gravity at the moment allowed. The central cores of these may be solid. Certainly the outer part is but a jumble of loose rocks that sometimes topple and grind down over - 178 - one another at a touch and that give air and water access to unknown depths.

Hence on the peak of Washington, for instance, or Adams, or Jefferson, one may see the somewhat astonishing spectacle during a heavy downpour of rain of a great rock pinnacle absorbing the water as fast as it falls. One would expect miniature cataracts and a rush of a thousand streams down such a summit at such a time. Yet the downpour gets hardly beyond the spatter of the drops. The loose rocks absorb and hide it. Hence after every rainfall welling springs on the summits, and farther down the gurgle of waters running in unseen crevices one never knows how far below the surface. Hence, also, lakes of the clouds. After every rain there are well-filled springs on the very top of Washington, and it is only after many days of dry weather that these begin to dwindle. There are chunks of ledge up there so hollowed out toward the sky that they hold the rain by the first intention, so to speak, and every cloud that touches them oozes from its fold more water for their sustenance. - 179 - Often for weeks these pools reflect the stars by night and evaporate under the shine of the sun by day. In one of them in late June of this year I found a pair of water striders skipping merrily about on the calm surface. Two weeks of drought dried the pool up completely, and I thought these daring adventurers on the ultimate heights dead, and indeed wondered much how they came there at all. But later a good rain filled the pool again and my two water striders appeared on its surface once more, merry as grigs. I am divided in my mind as to what they did meanwhile. Perhaps they simply survived the drought by main strength; perhaps they followed the dew down into cracks between the rocks and there abided in at least some moisture till the rain came. But I am more of the opinion that they simply skipped down the caverns toward the interior and there found an underground pool for a refuge until they could return to the sunlight. I can think of no other excuse for water striders on the summit of Mount Washington.

This pool, of course, like a half score others - 180 - that one can find on the very top of the summit cone after rain, was a mere puddle. But the Lakes of the Clouds are substantial bodies of water the summer through, and in the winter substantial bodies of ice, for they freeze to the bottom as soon as winter sets in. Water striders they have and larvæ of caddis flies and water beetles of many varieties, but never a fish swims in them, and I doubt if any other form of aquatic animal life ever wanders to their shores. Clear as crystal, shallow, ever renewed, they are but mirrors in which by day the peaks can see if their clouds are on straight and through which by night fond stars may look into the eyes of other stars near by without being noticed by envious third parties. Their source is the clouds, yet their waters are if possible clearer and even more sparkling than new fallen rain. Even the air above the highest peaks has its dust and soot which the rain washes out of it as it comes down. In the spring the snow at the head of the Tuckerman Ravine was dazzling in its pure whiteness. Now the dwindling arch is flecked with black; dust blown from the peaks above, soot - 181 - washed to its surface from the sky by the rain, and without doubt also the cinders of burned-out stars that perpetually sift down to earth out of the void of space.

All this the rain brings out of the sky when it comes in deluge from the clouds to the peaks, but nothing of it does it take into the Lakes of the Clouds. The crushed rock through which it must filter on its way down the ledges takes out all impurities, and the mosses of the lower slopes aid the process. But they do more than that. By mysterious methods of their own the mountains aerate this rain water in its passage till it finally reaches the lakes, as it reaches all mountain springs, filled with a prismatic brilliancy that is all its own. Whether we assume these lakes to be eyeglasses of the slumbering giant which is the Range, or mirrors for the peaks and the stars, they are crystalline lenses of no ordinary brilliancy and power of refraction.

High as these tiny mirrors of the sky are, by actual measurement 5053 feet above the sea level, the highest lakes east of the Rocky Mountains, - 182 - the tree line creeps up to them, and firs, dwarfed but beautiful in their courage, set spires along portions of their borders, dark, straight lashes for clear blue eyes. In other spots along their margin the ground is bluish early in the season with the leaves of the dwarf bilberry, pink-sprayed with their tiny, cylindrical petals of deciduous bloom, and, now that August is here, blue in very truth with the berries themselves. These are not large, but they are firm-fleshed and sweet as any lowland blueberry, and whether the flavor they have is inherent in themselves or draws its subtlety from the surroundings I am never sure, but as I sit among them and eat I know that it is worth the climb to their Alpine altitudes.

"Dwarfed firs, beautiful in their courage, set spires along portions of their borders, dark, straight lashes for clear blue eyes"

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In the first part of the Alpine springtime, which comes to the Lakes of the Clouds with the early days of July, the country round about them was a veritable flower garden. The water in the lakes was ice water then, though the ice had disappeared from their surfaces and lingered only in the shadow of the low cliff which forms the southern boundary of one. Often the nights brought frost, and sometimes with the rain sleet sifted down as well. But little the dwellers in these Alpine heights care for these things. If the sun but shines it warms the tundra to their root tips and they push their blossoms forth to meet it with all speed. The geum flecked everything with yellow gold. In the crevices of the cliffs it clung where there was little but coarse gravel for its roots, and its radiate-veined, kidney-shaped root leaves flapped in the gales and were tattered in spite of their toughness. In such soil as the rocks gave the sandwort put forth tiny innumerable cups of white. Down in the tundra-clad slopes the geum throve as well, but there the white of the sandwort was replaced by that of countless stars of Houstonia. White and gold was everywhere in this flower-garden of the clouds, subtended here and there by the lavender delicacy of the Alpine violet, Viola palustris. Everywhere, too, was the honest, plebeian white and green of the dwarf cornel, and the æsthetic, green-yellow blooms of the Clintonia. It is strange that of two flowers that touch leaf elbows all through the woods of this - 184 - northern country, high and low, one should be so hopelessly bourgeois as the Cornus canadensis and the other so undeniably aristocratic from root to anther as Clintonia borealis.

To tramp the slopes and hollows of this garden about the two lovely lakes is to alternate the rasping surface of pitted and weather-worn cliffs and scattered boulders of mica-schist with plunges half-knee deep in a soft and close-knit tundra moss. Here are mosses and lichens in close communion that ordinarily grow far apart. The sphagnums are to be expected, and they are plentiful, but with them grows the hairy-cap moss, sturdier and with larger caps than I often find it elsewhere. With these also grows the gray-green cladonia, the reindeer lichen, all massed in together in a springy sponge that holds water and plant roots and continually builds peaty earth. Because of this building of earth by the tundra mosses there are fewer Lakes of the Clouds than there were once. In half a dozen levels above and below the present lakes this constructive vegetation has built up a bog where - 185 - once was open water, and makes tiny meadows for the quick-blooming plants of the mountain season.

Meadows of this sort climb from the Lakes of the Clouds up the ridge toward Boott's Spur, connected by underground rills and having little springs scattered through them where even in dry weather the thirsty may find good water. Up the side of the peak of Monroe they go as well, and it is not difficult to trace the moisture they hold by a glance from a distance, so green and pleasant does it make their flower-spangled surfaces. In the lowlands meadows are level or they are not meadows. On the mountains they sometimes run up at a pretty sharp angle and are meadows still.

In August the spring color scheme of white and gold stippled on the tundra moss by the geums, the sandwort and the Houstonia becomes blue and gold, built out of harebell blooms and those of the dwarf Alpine goldenrod, Solidago cutleri. There is much more of the gold than in the springtime and the blue of the harebells by no means is so prevalent as the white of - 186 - Houstonia and of Arenaria. But clumps of Spirea latifolia put out their pale pink flowers in many nooks among the rocks and even insert patches of color among the dark firs that under the high banks of the lakes dare stand erect, though they are at the top of the tree line.

Most picturesque of all plants about the Lakes of the Clouds, in midsummer as in early spring, is the Indian poke, Veratrum viride. Next to the firs and spruces it spires highest, but unlike them it is of no obviously tough and hardy fibre. On the contrary, here is an endogenous plant, one of the lily family, that ought from its appearance to grow in a Florida swamp rather than on the great ridges of the Presidential Range, five thousand feet and more above sea level. Here is a place for low-growing Alpine plants like the sandwort, the Alpine azalea, the Lapland rose-bay, and the little moss-like Diapensis lapponica; and they grow here. But in the boggiest part of the tundra grows also this rank succulent herb, the Indian poke, spiring boldly with its light green stem, bearing three feet in air its big pyramidal panicle of yellowish green blossoms in early - 187 - July, seed pods in middle August, but yellowish green and pyramidal still. Beneath the pyramid on the single stem stand the close-set, broadly oval, plaited and strongly veined leaves, and there the whole will stand till the freezing cold of October cuts down its succulent strength. The more I see of the Indian poke on Alpine heights the more I admire it. It does not quite reach the tip of the summit cone of Washington, but it climbs as near it as many a seemingly tougher fibred plant and would, I believe, reach as high as the sandwort could it have roothold in the necessary moisture.

Much has been written about the beauty of the Alpine Garden between the base of the summit cone of Washington and the head wall of Huntington Ravine. All that has been said of this and more is true of the rough rocks, the slopes, and the meadows about the two little Lakes of the Clouds. Traces of animal life indeed are rare on their borders. The most that I have seen was a deer that came at dawn over the ridge from Oakes Gulf, nibbled grass and moss in the - 188 - meadows, drank from the larger lake, and bounded off again, leaving the tundra moss punctured by slender hoof marks. Birds are as numerous here as about those other wooded lakes of the clouds that lie below in the ravines, Hermit Lake in Tuckerman's and Spaulding at the head of the Great Gulf. I suspect the Myrtle and Magnolia warblers of building their nests in the dwarf firs not far from the shores, though I am unable to prove it. White-throated sparrows sing among the evergreens, though in August, in these altitudes, the white throats rarely give their full song. Often it is but a note or two and pauses there as if the bird were in doubt about the propriety of singing at this season. But the birds of the place beyond all others are the juncos. They sit on the bare ledges and sing, morning, noon and night, their gentle, melodious trill. It makes the place home to the listener at once as it is to the singers whose nests are tucked away in holes under many an overhanging stone along the ledges.

Spaulding Lake at the head of the Great Gulf, Mounts Adams and Madison in the distance

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"The wind that beats the mountain blows more gently round the open wold" in which lie the two little Lakes of the Clouds. Into their tiny hollows the August sunshine wells and seems to tip with gold the plumes of the spinulose wood ferns which grow in the tundra moss and snuggle up against the mica-schist ledges that make miniature cliffs along the shores. Around the base of the mountain these ferns are everywhere, taking the place in higher altitudes of the Osmunda claytonia, which is the prevalent variety of lower lands. The progress of claytonia is interrupted not far from the entrances to the Gulf and to Tuckerman Ravine. Thence the Aspidium spinulosum goes on and is plentiful in many places up to and on the Alpine Garden. It makes the neighborhood of the Lakes of the Clouds beautiful with its feathery fronds and sends out to the lingerer in this beauty spot its ancient woodsy fragrance of the world before the coal age. Among all the beauties of the place it is hard to tell what is dearest, but I think, after all, the decision should be with the feathery, fragrant Aspidium spinulosum, the spinulose wood fern.

But for all their beauty by day and their cosy friendliness, the Lakes of the Clouds are at their - 190 - best after nightfall. As the sunshine welled in them, so at dusk the purple shadows grow dense there and the shallows disappear. A boy can throw a stone across these lakes. He can wade them, but as the darkness falls upon them and the juncos pipe the last notes of their evensongs the little lakes widen and grow vastly deep. The farther shores slip away and become ports of dreams, and he who stands on the margin looks down no longer at bare rocks through transparent shallows, but into a universe of fathomless depth where star smiles back at star through infinite distances of blue. Who shall say it is not for this that the little lakes lie through the brief summer, clear mirrors under the shadow of the peak of Monroe?

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The Mighty Chasm in the Mountains and Its Perennial Charms

In the nick of the Notch—Crawford Notch—the narrow highway so crowds the Saco River that, tiny as it is, it has to burrow to get through, thereby meeting many adventures in a half mile. If Mount Willard had flowed over to the north just a few rods farther, when it was fluid, there would have been no Notch, but only a gulf like that between Washington and the northern peaks, or like Oakes Gulf, barred completely by the vast head wall of metamorphic rock. It came so near that originally there was room only for the Saco to pass down, a slender stream, new-born at the shallow lake on the plain just above. Then the famous old "Tenth Turnpike" of New Hampshire came along and by smashing away the rock and crowding the Saco men made a way through for it. As for the railroad, its case was hopeless. - 192 - It had to burrow a nick of its own through the base of Mount Willard, and out of the débris of this blasting the road makers built a series of fantastic rock piles, monuments to the heathen deities of Helter-Skelter, which serve to make the gateway in which these three jostle one another, road, railroad and river, more weird even than it was before.

But the gateway is as beautiful as it is fantastic. The road south to it comes along a smiling plain and the mountains draw in to meet it, indeed as if to bar it. On the left Mount Clinton sends down two long ridges between which flows Gibb's Brook. On the right Mount Willard shoulders its rough rock bulk boldly into the way, and down these the spruces stride like tall plumed Indians come to bar the passage of the white man. But the road winds on and just as it seems as if it must stop it finds a way and, fairly burrowing as does the river, flows down the Notch. With the rocks alone the gateway would be a forbidding tangle of débris. Clothed in the hardwood growth, it would be but a greenwood gap. But these pointed spruces and the firs that mingle with them bring to it an architectural dignity of pillars and spires, a jutting of Gothic pinnacles, a suggestion of Ionic columns, that makes it the gateway of a vast woodland cathedral, a place through which one passes to worship and be filled with awe and veneration of the mighty forces that shaped it.

"Profile of Webster," looking toward Crawford Notch from the old Crawford farm-house site

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It is a cathedral that has its gargoyles, too; everywhere through the spiring spruces and the softening outlines of deciduous trees protrude the rocks in fantastic shapes that show strange creatures to the imaginative onlooker. Just at the gateway, lumbering out from the mountain, comes an elephant, head and trunk, little eye and flapping ears plainly visible, poised in granite, but ready at any moment to take the one step onward that will reveal the whole gigantic animal standing in the roadway. Beyond, the whole left side of the Notch shows a gigantic face, the mountain's brow itself a noble dome of thought, the nose huge and Roman, and the whole weird and misshapen, but not without a strange dignity of its own. And so it is with the whole formation - 194 - of the Notch. Its once molten rocks cooled or have been water-worn into strange forms that greet the eye of the imagination at every turn. It is well that the narrow turnpike flows so swiftly down into the depths of the wood and hides the traveller from the sight of too many portents. To get down the nick of the Notch just a little way by road is to be shaded by the overhanging deciduous growth and to be able to forget, as does the Saco, the crowding together of those weird forms carved by the ages from enduring granite.

The railroad hangs to its grade on the mountain side, but the road descends rapidly, though not so rapidly as the river that, here a little released from its pressure between the two, comes to sight again and slips in purling shallows or babbles down miniature cascades, the thinnest of slender streams, to the depths of a shaded cleft in the cliffs known as "The Dismal Pool." Dismal this may be to look at from the height of the train as it winds along the steep face of the Mount Willard cliff. But it is not dismal when one gets down to it, in the very bottom of the nick of the Notch. In places rough gray - 195 - cliffs, in others black spruces, climb one another's shoulders from this little level of grass and placid water where flows the Saco. A pair of spotted sand-pipers make this their home and they did not resent my coming to join them. Instead they bobbed a greeting and then went on industriously picking up dinner, wading leg deep in the shallows and often putting their heads as well as their long bills under water in search of food. Spotted sand-pipers nest in the summer from Florida to Labrador, but I fancy no pair has a finer home than this little pool in the very bottom of the vast cleft in the mountains which is Crawford Notch. Its shores were netted with the tracks of their nimble feet.

No other bird track was there, but the sand-pipers by no means monopolize the borders of this shallow water. Here were the marks of hedgehog claws, and there was a track which led me to pause in astonishment. What plantigrade had set foot of such size on the soft sand of the shore? I looked over my shoulder after the first glimpse, half expecting to see an old bear, for here was what looked very like the - 196 - track of a young one. A second look told me better. This footmark, not unlike that of a human baby, save for the claws, was no doubt that of a raccoon, but certainly the biggest raccoon track I have seen yet. It was perfectly fresh, and I dare say the owner, interrupted in his frog hunt by the sound of my scrambling approach beneath the black growth, had but then shambled to some den in the nearby cliffs and was impatiently awaiting my departure.

The flower of the place was the little, herbaceous St.-John's-wort, Hypericum ellipticum, in whose linear petals such sunlight as reached the bottom of the cleft seemed tangled. It grew everywhere on the narrow margin between the black shade of the spruces and the clear, shallow water, and its petals shone out of a soft mist of tiny white aster blooms in many places. Farther up stream, and indeed in most woodland shadow throughout the Notch, grows the Eupatorium urticæfolium, which, though its common name is "white snake root," is nevertheless the daintiest of the thoroughworts. Its flowers are a finer, whiter fluff of mist than are those of - 197 - the aster, so plentiful on the shore of the not dismal pool and which I take to be aster ericoides. In late August they seem to me quite the most beautiful flowers of the Notch woodlands. In this I do not except the blue harebells which grow so plentifully on the sandy flats down by the Willey House site. Above the tree line the harebells are beautiful. Here they are straggling and pale and are not to be compared with their hardier, sturdier sisters.

As railroad, highway and river draw together and touch elbows in passing through the gateway of the Notch, so do all other tides of travel. Here in spring should be the finest place in the world to see all migrant birds on their way farther north. The valley of the Saco catches them as in the flare of a wide tunnel and gradually draws them together here. At certain corners in London all the world is said, sooner or later, to pass. So at the gateway of the Notch one should see in May and June all north-bound varieties of birds. Even at this time of year the wandering tribes concentrate at this spot and - 198 - bird life seems far more plentiful than at any other equal area in the mountains. On the bare heights of the Presidential Range, which I had been travelling for long, the juncos are one's only bird companions. Here in deep forest glades variety after variety passed singing or twittering by. Here were robins, song sparrows, chipping sparrows, white-throated sparrows, chickadees in flocks. Red-eyed vireos preached in the tops of yellow birches. A yellow-throated vireo twined and peered among the twigs, gathering aphids. Here were myrtle and magnolia warblers and a blackpoll, all residents in the neighborhood without doubt, but all on their way, and seen in a brief time.

"Where railroad, highway, and river draw together and touch elbows in passing through the gateway of the Notch"

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Most pleasing of all to me was a strange new chickadee voice which sang something very like the ordinary black-capped chickadee song, but with a slower and far different intonation. I followed the maker of this old song with new words over some very rough country, from one side of the Notch just below the nick to the other, for I was very eager to see him. By and by I found him with others of his kind swinging head down from twigs, climbing and flitting in a fashion that is that of all chickadees, but had a quality of its own, nevertheless. Here was a flock of chickadees, with less of nervousness in their manner and a little more poise, if I may put it that way, than the blackcaps have, chickadees with brown crowns instead of black, and, I thought, a little more of buff in their under parts. All summer I had looked for the Hudsonian chickadee on one mountain slope after another, and I had not found him. But here in the nick of the Notch a flock had come to me and I did my best to see and hear as much as possible of them. They, too, were on their way, but were probably residents of the neighborhood, for I took them to be one family, father, mother and five youngsters, just learning to forage for themselves. This they did in true chickadee fashion, swinging and singing, flitting and sitting, and always following and swallowing food, to me invisible, with great gusto.

The song was what pleased me most. One authority on birds has written it down in a book that the song of the Hudsonian chickadee is not - 200 - distinguishable from that of the blackcap, though uttered more incessantly. Another, equally reliable, says the notes are quite unlike those of the blackcap. My Hudsonian chickadees sang the blackcap's song, but they sang it a trifle more leisurely and with a bit of a lisp. But that is not all. There is something in the quality of the tone that reminded me at once of a comb concert. It was as if these roguish youngsters had put paper about a comb and were lustily singing the prescribed song through this buzzing medium. It may be that other Hudsonian chickadees sing differently. Birds are intensely individualistic, and it is hardly safe to generalize from one flock. This may have been a troupe doing the mountain resorts with a comb concert specialty and tuning up as they travelled, as many minstrels do, but the results were certainly as I have described them. I am curious to see more birds of this feather and see if they, too, conform, but I fancy Crawford Notch is about the southern limit of the variety in summer, and I may not hear another serenade in passing. These certainly found me as interesting as I did them. They fearlessly - 201 - flew down on twigs very near me and looked me over with bright eyes, the while talking through their combs about my characteristics and how I differed from the Hudsonian variety of man. It was a genuine case of mutual nature study.

Very cosy all these things made the nick of the Notch, but now and then as I scrambled through its rough forest aisles the mountains looked down on me through a gap in the trees, frowning so portentously from such overhanging heights that I was minded to jump and flee from the imminent annihilation. For, after all, the beauty of flowers and the friendliness of birds, the architectural decorations of the firs and spruces, even the monster semblances of the rock carvings that overhang, are but the embroidery on the real impression of the Crawford Notch. To get this it is well to go down the long slope of the highway, ten miles and more, till you emerge below Sawyer's River where Hart's Ledge frowns high above Cobb's Ferry. Thus you shall know something of the length of this tremendous fold in the rock ribs of the earth. Here is no work - 202 - of erosion alone. The Notch was made primarily by the bending of the granite of the mountains that rise in such tremendous sweeps on either side to heights of thousands of feet. On most of their swift-slanting sides some dirt and débris of rock has accumulated and the forest has clothed them, but this clothing is thin and in many places the slant is so swift and the surface so smooth that the rock lies bare to the sun, and all streams have swept it clean. In August little water comes down these, but there is the bare channel of brown rock up which one may look from the highway, taking in the whole sweep of a stream at a glance. At the bottom of these swift glissades the tangled piles of smashed rocks show with what force the waters come down when floods push them.

"Just below the nick of the Notch you may see where the Silver Cascade and the Flume Cascade hurry down from their birth on Mount Jackson, and farther down the vast slope of Webster"

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Thus just below the nick of the Notch you may see where the Silver Cascade and the Flume Cascade hurry down from their birth on Mount Jackson, and farther down the vast slope of Webster is swept clear in great spaces where now only a little water comes moistening the upper rim of rocks, spreads, and evaporates before it has passed over the slanting, sun-heated surface. All the way down the glen, to the Willey House, to Bemis, and on to Sawyer's River, one looks to the right and left up to rock heights swimming more than a thousand feet in air, bare, immanent, cleft and caverned, and often carved to strange semblances of man or beast. Crawford Notch is a veritable museum of gigantic fantasies.

Most impressive of all it is to pause at the site of the Willey House and look back toward the gateway of the Notch, through which you have come. Here the mighty bulk of Mount Willard lifts sheer from the tree-carpeted floor, six hundred and seventy feet in air, a mountain that once in semi-molten form flowed into place across the wide valley and blocked it with a solid rock, overhanging, seamed and wrinkled, showing projecting buttresses and withdrawing caverns, a rock so solidly knit and compact that the wear of the ages on it has been infinitesimal. On the summit of this cliff are the hammer marks of frost. These blows and the solvent seep of rain may take from the mountain a - 204 - sixteenth of an inch in a hundred years, but the disintegrating power that splits ledges and hurls hundred-ton rock from precipices seems never to have worked on this cliff, so perpendicularly high and mighty does it stand.

First or last the visitor to the Notch will do well to climb Willard and see it as a whole. An easy carriage road makes the ascent, stopping well back from the brow of this tremendous cliff. Willard is hardly a mountain. It is rather a spur, a projecting ledge of the Rosebrook Range, whose peaks, Tom, Avalon and Field, tower far above it. But on this great ledge of Willard one is swung high in air in the very middle of the upper entrance to the Notch. Hundreds of feet of it are above him still, but thousands are below, and he looks down the tremendous valley as the soaring eagle might. Soothed by distance the rough valley bottom seems as level as a floor, its forest growth but a green carpet on which certain patterns stand out distinctly, the warp of green deciduous growth being filled with a dainty woof of fir, spruce and pine. To the left the bulk of Webster blocks the horizon.

In the heart of Crawford Notch, the summit of Jackson on the distant horizon

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To the right the glance goes by Willey and on down to Bemis and Nancy, and the blue peaks of other more distant mountains that peer over them. From the head wall of the Great Gulf, looking down between Chandler Ridge and the Northern Peaks of the Presidential Range, one gets a view of a wonderful mountain gorge. The outlook from Mount Franklin, down the mighty expanse of Oakes Gulf to its opening into the Crawford glen below Frankenstein Cliff is, to me, more impressive still. But greatest of all in its beauty of detail and its simplicity of might and grandeur is this ever-narrowing, ten-mile chasm, this mighty, deep fold of rock strata that begins below Sawyer's River and ends where the enormous rock which is Mount Willard so pinches the gateway to the Notch that the railroad burrows, the highway excavates and the tiny brook which is the beginning of the Saco River dives out of sight between the two, to reappear in that "dismal pool" which lies at the very bottom of the nick of the Notch.

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The Climb from Crawford's Through an Enchanting Forest

Off Mount Jackson runs a tiny brook. I do not know its name, but because it is the very beginning of the Saco River and because it empties into Saco Lake, I fancy it is Saco Brook. Whatever its name it is fortunate above most White Mountain brooks in that the lumbermen have kept away from it for half a century or so and the great growth of an ancient forest shadows it. At the bottom of this it dances down ledges and under prostrate trunks of trees that have stood their time and been pushed over by the wind, and as it goes it splashes joyously to itself in a liquid flow of language that has as many variations of syllables and intonations as has human speech. On either side its winding staircase in the forest old, old hemlocks rise in columnar dignity and great yellow birches - 207 - spread the climbing walls of its passageway with a leafy tapestry of gold and green, their once crisp, sun-imprisoning curls of yellow bark all gray with age and as shaggy as those on a centenarian's head. Through such shady glens of cool delight the little brook calls the path up Jackson from its beginnings at the cellar-hole of the old Crawford homestead and the path responds gladly, climbing within sound of this melodious monologue a pleasant part of the way.

Even after it turns, reluctantly one thinks, to breast the slope southward and leave the friendly brook behind, the way leads still through this fine old forest whose moist gloaming fosters the growth of all mosses and through them in turn makes the forest tenure secure. Nor does it pass into the full sun until its two and three-quarters miles to the summit of Jackson are all but completed and it climbs steeply out of dwarf firs and spruces to surmount the bare dome. How excellent the moist moss which deeply clothes stumps, stones and all things else, is for the growing of firs and hemlocks may be easily seen. Here no seedling need fail to grow for lack of - 208 - moisture, even if it fall on the very top of a high rock. Here is a fir, for instance, beside the path up by Bugle Cliff. Its first rootlets ran from the very top of a boulder down each side of it through this soft, moist covering of moss till they reached the ground beneath. There as the years have passed they sunk deep and the fir has become a fine tree, though the base of its trunk is five feet from the ground and its two big roots straddle the rock on which they first found frail tenure in the thin covering of moss. Once let the sun in on this to dry out the moisture and the seedling would have evaporated with it. Thus the trees protect the moss and the moss protects the trees. Remove either one and the other must go.

This golden gloom and persistent moisture fosters other evergreen growth than firs and mosses. Here thrives and grows beautiful the spinulose wood fern, which seems peculiarly the fern of the high mountain slopes. But more conspicuous along this path to the summit of Jackson are the polypodys. The polypody stands - 209 - drought or cold equally well. In either it shrivels and seems to wither, but let the warmth or moisture needed come back and the seemingly blighted fronds fill out and are vigorously alive once more. I often find polypodys in summer on exposed rocks seemingly crisp and dead with the drought. But when the September rains have soaked them I come by again and find them growing as huskily as before. Yet for all their persistence throughout weather torment these ferns are most beautiful and luxuriant in spots where moisture persists, and they have uninterrupted growth throughout their summer season. Such a spot is the deep wood along this trail, and there, on such rocks as they favor, the polypodys set close fronds of a green that seems singularly bright and rich in shade. It may be that the diffused gold of the sunlight in such places brings out greens at their best, but surely nowhere else have I found these little ferns at once so luxuriant in growth and so beautiful in color.

For all that, not all rocks in this delectable woodland bear the picturesque decoration of the - 210 - polypody fronds. Up by Bugle Cliff are two great cubical boulders. On the level top of one of these is a splendid garden of the little ferns. They cover it with an even matted growth that looks like a marvellously woven and decorated mat covering a mighty footstool that might have been left behind by some recently departing race of giants. Yet within a stone's throw of it is another rock, quite like it in size and shape, on which one or two straggling ferns are trying to get a foothold, but with very indifferent success. So through this as other woodlands it seems to be with the polypody, which is without doubt a fern of feminine nature in spite of its sturdiness. With one rock Miss Polypody will dwell in woodland seclusion most happily all her days; with another of similar shape and size she will have no dallying. The cause is no doubt to be sought in the character of the rock rather than in its figure or consistency. The polypody has a predilection for lime, and it is probable that the rocks which they decorate so faithfully have their characters sweetened by this ingredient.

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But in these forest shades if every stone may not bear wilful Miss Polypody upon its breast none goes without decoration of beauty. Without the mosses and lichens the ferns would find little chance for life in any forest, and here they cover all things with a beauty that is as profuse as it is delicate. No rock nor stump nor growing trunk of forest tree but has these, so wonderfully blended in their grays and greens, their olives and browns, that the eye accepts them as a whole and, in such perfect harmony is their adornment, half the time fails to note that they are there at all. Yet one has but to pick out a definite spot and examine it for a moment to be impressed with the prodigality of beauty of the whole. Here, for instance, not far from the point where the trail up Mount Webster diverges from that up Jackson, is a pathside rock of rough, micaceous granite such as mosses love. Its surface slopes like a lean-to roof toward the north and is but a foot or two square. It is no more beautifully, no more diversely decorated than ten thousand other rocks which one may see along the trail. Yet here is a harmony of - 212 - blending and contrasting colors and forms such as the cleverest human artist with all the fabrics and all the dyes of Christendom might labor in vain to produce.

Tiny fern-like fronds of the dainty cedar moss weave across it a tapestry of golden green, a feathery fabric such as only fairy workmen, laboring patiently for long years, can produce. Yet it is a fabric common to the whole wood, carpeting and upholstering its inequalities for miles. Into this is sparingly wrought an over-pattern of deeper green tufts of the hairy-cap moss, sending up slender stems headed with fruitage and holding the pointed caps which are the fairy headgear. To note these is to realize suddenly that the fairies are still at work under the shadow of the warp and woof of the fabric, though they are too nimble to be seen, however suddenly one may lift it. It is easy to lift the hairy caps, but I refrain. To take even one away is to spoil the perfect symmetry of this pattern which is so complete that every detail, even the most minute, is needed for the harmony of the whole. On one side an hepatic lichen - 213 - spreads a rosette-like decoration of purple-brown edged with silvery gray, a color that has its answering glints all through the structure of the cedar moss and which joins the brown hepatic in all its roughness to this dainty background.

In another spot is the gray mist of a clump of reindeer lichen, a fine, soft, green-gray mist, blowing across from the other lichen's edge and clouding with its filmy fluff a tiny portion of the picture. It is thus that summer clouds float over the green tops of the forest trees on some days and shadow them with a gray mist for a moment. The reindeer lichen is growing on the stone, but it has all the effect of being blown across it, and I know well that if I look away for a moment it will be gone when I look back. Diagonally across the rock runs a bar dextra of Clintonia leaves, loosely laid in shining green, and in certain groups are the trifoliate scallops of the wood-sorrel. The whole is like a shield of one of the great knights of Arthur's court, heraldic emblazonry thick upon it, hung here in the greenwood while its bearer rests upon his arms or drinks perhaps from the waters of the - 214 - Silver Cascade brook which I hear swishing coolly down the glen not far away.

But all this decoration, so wonderfully harmonious, so minutely complete in itself, is, on this particular rock, but a background for a clump of pure white Indian pipe blooms, growing in its centre. Ghostlily beautiful, their white glowing by contrast in the green gloom of the place, these blossoms seem the plant embodiment of the cool echo of falling waters that slips along the aisles of flickering, golden light between the brown, straight columns of the firs and hemlocks. The nodding, pallid flowers are as soothing to the sight as is this soft whisper of descending streams to the ear. The forest writes the word "hush" in letters of the Indian pipe blooms.

With eye and ear as well as muscles rested, I go on to the steeper ascent which the path makes through a tangle of firs that diminish in size but increase in numbers as the elevation increases. For long it climbs within sound of Silver Cascade brook, but finally gets too high for it and passes into a little section of silver - 215 - forest, where for a space all the firs are dead. Most of them still stand erect, the green all gone out of them. Ghosts of the trees they once were, they stand silvery gray in the midst of the green wood, as if a patch of moonlight had forgotten to go when the day came. Into this sunlit place in the surrounding shade of the forest the mountain goldenrod has come till its flowers make all the space beneath the dead trees yellow, a very lake of sunlight. Silver and gold the rocks of the White Mountains may or may not have in their veins, but the White Mountain forests hold the two precious metals in nuggets and pockets and veritable placers for all who will seek.

Not far from this silver forest the path crowds through a dense tangle of dwarf firs and climbs out upon the rough rock dome of Mount Jackson, 4112 feet above the sea level, just rising above the tree line. Here, to be sure, are a few dwarf firs, not knee high, and here climbs plentifully the resinous perfume of their taller brothers just below, but the eye has an uninterrupted sweep of the horizon where few ranges obstruct. Northward, fifteen miles or so across - 216 - Oakes Gulf, looms Mount Washington, 2181 feet higher still, and the long ridge of the southern peaks descends from this to Clinton, a mighty wall of perpendicular rock set against the sky. The vast basin of the gulf is always a marvel, with its precipitous walls and its expanse of forested floor, the forest so distant and so close set that it looks like the cedar-moss tapestry on the way up; but nowhere is it more impressive than from the summit of Jackson, with its mighty wall of the Presidential Range for a background. Southeast Kearsarge lifts its clean cone over the jumble of mountains that make the northward walls of the Crawford Notch; southwesterly stands Carrigain, with the pinnacles of the Sandwich Range far beyond; while westerly Lafayette rises above Guyot and the Twins, far over Zealand Notch. Under one's feet, almost, lies the green level of the Fabyan plateau with its huge hotels giving almost the only human touch to the view. Out of this depth of distance swings a flock of eaves-swallows, already, like the occupants of the hotels very likely, planning their southern trip - 217 - and discussing accommodations and gastronomic possibilities. In the upper woods of the trail I had passed through a considerable flock of Hudsonian chickadees, but these had fallen behind and the only birds of the summit were the swift passing swallows. Here again were the summit herbs of the higher hills, the mountain sandwort, mountain cranberry, creeping snowberry, Labrador tea, all springing from mosses in scant soil which obtains in the almost level acre of rock which is the top of the mountain.

It is a place on which to make rendezvous with the winds of the world and be sure they will meet you there, yet, strange to relate, on my day on the summit for a long time no winds blew and gauzy-winged insects from the regions below fluttered lazily over the great rock dome. Here were colias, hunter's, mourning cloak and mountain fritillary butterflies, making the place gay with their bright colors. Here were a score of varieties of diptera and hymenoptera, some of astonishing size and peculiarities of wing and leg, some of amazing brilliancy of color, till I - 218 - wished for a convocation of the Cambridge Entomological Society to name and describe them for me. None of these unexpected mountain flyers was difficult to capture. Neither was I, and I was glad when a sudden breeze from the west sent them all careering down into the Oakes Gulf whence I dare say they came.

Passing the silver forest on my way down I found my Hudsonian chickadee friend in numbers in the firs once more. Much as I have been in the woods about the Presidential Range it is only lately that I have met these interesting birds, and now I seem to find them in increasing numbers, at the head of the Notch, on the northerly slope of Mount Pleasant, and here. I have sought them for long, and at last, as Thoreau said of the wild geese, they fly over my meridian and I am able to bag them by shooting up chimney. Perhaps a more reasonable interpretation would be that now the nestlings are full fledged and the increased flocks beginning to range far in search of food. August passes and the wind out of the north has sometimes in it a zest that collects flocks and sets the - 219 - migratory instinct to throbbing in many a bird's breast.

No tang of the north wind could touch the heart of the deep woods down the trail, but there, too, as I descended I found the promise of autumn written in many colored characters in the enchanting gloom. The Clintonias spelled it in the Prussian blue ink of their ripe berries. The creeping snowberry had done it in white and the Mitchella, Gaultheria, and Trillium in varying shades of red. Even the Indian pipe which writes "hush" and "peace" all along the forest floor in late summer seems in this way to tell of the season of rough winds, migrating birds and falling scarlet leaves that is just ahead of us. Its pallid attempt to hold the full glory of the ripened summer where it is cannot succeed here on the high northern hills where the summer is at best but a brief sojourner. Rather, for all its desires, it seems but a pale flower of sleep, presaging that white forgetfulness of snow that will presently descend through the whispering hemlock leaves and blot out all this writing on the forest floor.

- 220 -

Ah, these wise old hemlocks of the deep trails of the Northern woods! These indeed of the forest primeval,

"Bearded with moss, in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar with beards that rest on their bosoms."

These are the wise old men of the woods. Erect and tall, of mighty compactness of muscles and shaggy headed with deep green, conical capes shielding crown and shoulders, they seem less trees than woodland deities, and to stand among them is to be present at an assembly of demigods of the forest. The wisdom of centuries, blown about the world by the west winds, finds voice in their whispering leaves, and I, listening in the cool twilight below, hear it told in forest runes. Some day someone who loves the woods enough shall learn to translate this runic rhyme of the harper hemlocks as their tops chant to the west wind and send the music down the listening forest aisles where the Indian pipes whitely whisper "hush" and "peace"—and the translator will be very wise thereby.

- 221 -

He who climbs Jackson shall see much beauty of wild gulfs and rugged peaks, and this I saw. But more vividly in my memory of the trip linger the sunny glade under the silver firs all yellow with its flood of goldenrod, and the moss-clad rocks with their messages written in white Indian pipe blooms. Most vivid of all is the personality of those stately old-man hemlocks that stand with such dignity, making the deep woods along the trail.

- 222 -


The Mountain and Its Overlook from the Very Heart of the Hills

On no peak of the White Mountains does one have so supreme a sense of uplift as on Carrigain. Here is a mountain for you! No nubble on top of a huge table-land is Carrigain but a peak that springs lightly into the unfathomable blue from deep valleys of black forest. So high is this summit that from it you look through the quivering miles of blue air right down upon the mountains in the heart of whose ranges it stands and see them reproduced in faithful miniature below, a relief map on the scale of an inch to the mile. In the very middle of the mountain world you see the mountains as the eagle sees them, and so isolated is the peak that like the eagle you seem to swim in air as you watch.

The black growth of spruce and fir climbs Carrigain from all directions. Over from - 223 - Hancock it swarms along the ridge from the westward. From the Pemigewasset it sweeps upward, and from Carrigain Notch it leaps twice, once to the round summit of Vose Spur, a clean bound of almost two thousand feet, then on to another higher point, and again to the mountain top. Up Signal Ridge from the east and south it scales almost perpendicular heights for a mile, leaving only the thin, dizzy edge of this spur bare and going on by the sides to the top of the main mountain. The path to the summit makes its final assault through this black growth to the knife edge of Signal Ridge by one of the most desperately perpendicular climbs in the whole region. One or two trails are steeper, a little, notably part of that from Crawford Notch up Mount Willey, but none holds so grimly to its purpose of uplifting the climber for so great a distance as does this. Four and a half miles of pleasant journey in from the railroad station at Sawyer's River, this mighty ascent begins a strong upward movement at the old lumber camp known as "Camp 5." Thence for about two miles it goes up in the air at a most - 224 - prodigious angle, with no suggestion of let up till the dismayed and gasping climber finally emerges on the knife edge of the ridge summit and willingly forgives the mountain for all it has done to him. If the climb had no more to give than just this outlook from Signal Ridge it were worth all the heart failure and locomotor ataxia it may have caused.

Right under the onlooker's feet the north side of the ridge drops away almost sheer to the deep gash in the mountain, which is Carrigain Notch. Across the valley rises the sheer wall of Mount Lowell, with a great, beetling cliff of red rock half way up intersected by a slide, the whole looking as if giants had carved a huge, preposterous figure of a flying bird there for a sign to all who pass. The summit of Lowell is far below the observer's feet, and the whole mass is so small a thing in the mighty outlook before him that it seems ridiculous to call it a mountain. It is but an insignificant knob on the universe in sight.

"As if giants had carved a huge, preposterous figure of a flying bird there for a sign to all who pass"

- 225 -

Over beyond its rounded summit rise others, little larger or more significant, though each really a mountain of considerable size, each part of the western wall of Crawford Notch, Anderson, Bemis and Nancy, and beyond again the sight passes between Webster and Crawford, on and up the broad expanse of Oakes Gulf to Washington itself. Here always is bulk, magnificence and dignity, and between it and the nubbles which mark the line of the southern peaks rises a glimpse of the northern, Jefferson peering over Clay, but Adams and Madison withdrawn behind the looming bulk of the summit cone of Washington. Between Washington and Crawford runs the long Montalban Ridge with the Giant Stairs conspicuous as always, but dwarfed to pigmy size in the great sweep of the whole outlook.

Easterly is a great jumble of the mountains south of Bartlett, Tremont in the foreground and over that Bartlett-Haystack, Table with its flat top, the peaked ridges of the Moats, and beyond them all the perfect cone of Kearsarge on the eastern horizon. There is something of the same feeling of supreme uplift to be felt on the summit of Kearsarge as one gets on Carrigain, though in lesser degree. Kearsarge, too, - 226 - is a mountain that dwells somewhat apart from other mountains and gives the climber the full benefit of this height and withdrawal. As the glance swings to the southward again it stops in admiration on the blue wall of the Sandwich Mountains, the great horn of Chocorua first arresting the gaze. Here is a splendid outlook upon the full sweep of this great, jagged range, Paugus, Passaconaway, Whiteface, Tripyramid and Sandwich Dome, each rugged peak rising out of the blue mass of the whole, with the green Albany intervales along the Swift River showing below their foothills, and over it all, far to the south again, the low line which is the smoke haze of cities, a brown brume behind the exquisite soft blue of the uncorrupted mountain miles of air.

At the bottom of a scintillant blue transparency of this air lies the high valley between Signal Ridge and the Sandwich Range, a mountain valley with no hint of green fields or farm steadings in it. Its green is that of the rich full growth of leaves in deciduous treetops, shadowed here and there by the point of a fir - 227 - or a spruce, still strangely standing, though the lumbermen have long since swept the valley far and wide. Almost one may determine the exact height of spur cliffs above the valley bottom by the line of black growth where it has escaped the axe, not because axemen could not reach it, but because horses could not be found to drag it to the valley after being cut. The lumbermen put their horses in upon acclivities now that were thought to be forever inaccessible twenty years ago, but there are still heights they do not dare, and the lines beyond which they fail are marked along all steep slopes by that dividing line between the green of deciduous trees and the black of spruce. Seen from the great height of this knife-edge ridge the valley is grotesque with its lifting crags of rough cliff, so solidly built of rock that no green thing finds a crevice in which to grow, or so steep as to defy any wind-borne seed to find a lodging there. These rough rock cliffs have grotesque resemblance to the shaggy heads of prehistoric animals of more than gigantic size that seem to have been turned into stone where they lie, their bodies half buried and - 228 - concealed by the luxuriant growth of forest that still surges round them. A lumber company is known by its cut. The work done here seems to have been done with a certain feeling of fair play to the forest, a desire to give it a chance to ultimately recover. Westward, deeper into the heart of the wilderness, one sees another record.

To see the west one must climb beyond Signal Ridge. High as it is it is but a spur of the main mountain that looms, spruce-clad, all along the western sky, and the path rises steeply again through this spruce, but not so steeply as it climbed the ridge. Midway of the half-mile one finds the tiny log cabin of the fire warden of the mountain, snuggled beneath the spruce behind the shoulder of the ultimate height. Whatever this lone watcher on the mountain top is paid he earns, for all furnishings for his tiny cabin, all supplies, even water, must be packed on his back up the two miles of dizzy trail.

On Carrigain's very top is a little bare spot surrounded by dwarf spruce and fir over whose tops you may look upon the world around. The - 229 - dark tree walls of this roofless refuge ward off all winds, and the full sunshine fills it to the top and seems to ooze thence through the black growth and flow on down the mountain sides, which are so near that a few steps in any direction takes you to a spruce-clad precipice. Some mountain tops are broad and flat enough to form the foundation for a farm, but not this one. It is a veritable peak. Signal Ridge is a good deal of a knife edge. Here you have the edge prolonged into a point.

A step or two west out of this sun-filled spruce well of refuge on the summit takes one to the finest view of all from this swimming mountain top. Underfoot lies the broad wilderness valley of the Pemigewasset, filled with what, from this point of view, are minor nubbles, but which really are lesser mountains. Just to the right, far below, is a whole string of three thousand-foot eminences, yet the sight passes over them, almost without notice, to the magnificent gap in rock walls, which is Zealand Notch. Almost due west is Owl's Head and half-a-dozen lesser heights, but all these sink unnoticed below the - 230 - blue wall of solid mountain range which blocks the horizon above them, the tremendous uplifted bulk of the Franconia Mountains. Not the grandeur and dignity of Washington, lifting the sphinx's head from the Presidential Range, not the jagged line of the Sandwich peaks cutting with points of distance-blued steel the smoke opalescence of the far southern sky, not the emerald marvels of all the low-lying ranges all about, can compare in beauty or impressiveness with that mountain mass of solid blue that walls the west across the rugged miles of the Pemigewasset Valley. Its great mass of unblurred, undivided color holds the eye for long and gives it rest again and again after wandering over the thousand varied beauties of the surrounding landscape. Lafayette, Lincoln, Haystack, Liberty are its famous peaks, which, however they may seem upon nearer view, from the dizzy pinnacle of Carrigain, across the broad wilderness of the Pemigewasset Valley, hardly notch the sky that pales above that mighty wall of deep blue, that restful mass of immensity, that unfathomable well of richest color that once looked - 231 - into holds the eye within its shadowy coolness for long and stays forever in the memory.

What a world of black-growth wilderness this vast Pemigewasset Valley must once have been it is easy to see. What it will become in just a few years more, alas! is too easy to be inferred. The modern lumberman comes to his work equipped with all the vast resources of capital and scientific machinery. In this region west of Carrigain, which still holds a remnant of virgin growth of pine and spruce, where still stand trees four or five feet in diameter at the butt, his logging trains rumble down his railroad through the deep woods, summer as well as winter. The sound of dynamite explosions scares bear and deer as his road builders grade and level the roads down which his armies of men and horses will haul the splendid timber as soon as the snow flies. From Carrigain summit I see the long winding line of his railroad, clear up to the western slopes of the mountains that wall in Crawford's Notch. From the railroad to the right and the left run the carefully graded logging roads, high up on the sides of - 232 - the surrounding mountains, branching, paralleling and giving the teams every opportunity for careful, methodical work.

Already over square miles of mountain sides you see the brown windrows of slash left in the wake of his choppers, who have left literally not one green thing. The black growth cut for the lumber and pulp mills, the clothes-pin men and the makers of ribbon shoe pegs have been in and taken the last standing scrub of hard wood. Mountain side after mountain side in this region looks like a hayfield, the brown stubble marked with those long, wavering windrows of slash. These are the newly cut spaces. One winter's work took out of this region over thirty million feet of pine and spruce alone. There is written on the open book of the forest below Carrigain the story of the most ruthless, clean-sweep lumbering that I have ever seen in any wood. You may go down the Pemigewasset and see the slopes that have been cleaned out thus over square mile after square mile of mountain side, four, eight, twelve years ago, and, save for blueberries, blackberries and wild cherry trees, they are as bare and desolate to-day as when first logged.

"Nor is this to be said in any scorn of the lumberman. He bought the woods and is using them now for the purpose for which he spent his money"

- 233 -

In a hundred years those slopes will not again bear forests; indeed, I doubt if they ever will. Nor is this to be said in any scorn of the lumberman. Pulp and lumber we must have. He bought the woods and is using them now for the purpose for which he spent his money. The scorn should rather be for a people who once knew no better and who, now that their eyes are opened, still allow this priceless heritage of ancient forest to be swept away forever.

It is good to shift the eye and the thought from these bare patches to the still remaining black growth. Fortunately some steeps still defy the keenest logging-gang and some spruce will remain on these after another ten years has swept the valley clean. On the high northern slopes, well up toward the peaks, where the deer yard in winter, the trees are too dwarf to tempt even the pulp men, who take timber that is scorned by the sawmill folk. On the summit of Carrigain trees a hundred years old and rapidly passing to death through the senile - 234 - decay of usnea moss and gray-green lichens are scarcely a dozen feet tall. Yet as these pass the youngsters crowd thickly in to take their places and grow cones and scatter seed, often when only a few feet high. In these one sees a faint hope for the reforestation of the valley in the distant future. There, after the clean sweep, we may allow fifty years for blueberries and bird-cherries, a hundred more for beech, birch and maple to grow and supply mould of the proper consistency from their falling leaves in which spruce and fir seedlings will take root. After that, if all works well, another hundred will see such a forest of black growth as is going down the Pemigewasset daily now on the flat cars of the logging railroad.

Carrigain's peculiar birds seem to be the yellow-rumped warblers, at least at this season of the year. They flitted continually through and above the dwarf trees of the summits. There they had nested and brought up their young, and now the whole families were coming together in flocks and beginning to move about uneasily as the migration impulse grows - 235 - in them. All along the trail up Carrigain and back I found this same spirit of movement in the birds. Two weeks ago they were moulting and silent. Hardly a wing would be seen or a chirp heard in the lonesome woods. Now all is motion in the bird world once more and flashes of warbler colors light up the dark places with living light. Among these black spruces the redstart seems to me loveliest of all. No wonder the Cubans call him "candelita" when he comes to flit the winter away beneath their palm trees. His black is so vivid that it stands clearly defined in the deepest shadows and foiled upon it his rich salmon-red flames like a wind-blown torch as he slips rapidly from limb to limb, flaring his way through the densest and deepest wood. The myrtle warblers were the birds of the summit, but the redstarts gave sudden beauty to the slopes all along the lower portions of the trail.

The sun was setting the deep turquoise blue of the Franconia Range in flaming gold bands as I left the mountain top. The peak of Lafayette was a point of fire. Garfield, just over the - 236 - shoulder of Bond, was another, and it seemed as if the two were heliographing one to another from golden mirrors. But along the knife edge of Signal Ridge lay the shadow of Carrigain summit and the dwarfed growth down the two miles of steep descent was black indeed. Hardly could the sunlight touch me again, for the trail lies in the eastward-cast shadow of Carrigain all the way to Sawyer's River. The evening coolness brought out all the rich scents of the forest, for here to the east of Carrigain the deciduous growth makes forest still. From the heights the rich aroma of the firs descended with me, picking up more subtle scents on the way. Not far below the crest of Signal Ridge the mountain goldenrod begins to glow beside the trail. Scattered with it is the lanceolate-leaved, flutter-petalled Aster radula. These two lent to the aromatic air the subtle, delicate pungency of the compositæ, and far below, in the swampy spots at the foot of the declivity, the lovely, violet-purple Aster novæ-angliæ added to it. Here in open spots beside the trail this beautiful aster starred the gloom for rods, but yet it - 237 - was not more numerous than the rosy-tipped, white, podlike blooms of the turtle-head that in the rich dusk glowed nebulously among them. Nowhere in the world do I remember having seen so many turtle-head blooms at one time as in the marshy spots along the trail leading toward Livermore and Sawyer's River from the base of Signal Ridge. Their soft, delicate perfume began to ride the fir aroma there, mingling curiously with the scent of asters and goldenrod. Often I looked back for a glimpse of the lofty peak I had left, but Carrigain is indeed a hermit mountain. It had withdrawn into the heart of the hills which are its home, and nothing westward showed save the rose-gold of the sunset sky which hung from the zenith down into the gloom of the woods, a marvellous background for the tracery of its topmost leaves.

- 238 -


The Back Stairs Route up this Curious Mountain

My way to the Giant's Stairs lay over the high shoulder of Iron Mountain, where the road shows you all the kingdoms of the mountain world spread out below, bids you take them and worship it, which perforce you do. Then it swings you down by a long drop curve into a veritable forest of Arden, through which you tramp between great boles of birch and beech for miles. Here long ago Orlando carved his initials with those of Rosalind on the smooth bark of great beech trees and, I doubt not, hung beside them love verses which made those pointed buds open in spring before their time. Here came Rosalind to find and read them, and carry them off treasured in her bodice, wherefore one finds no traces of them at the present day.

"My way to the Giant's Stairs lay over the high shoulder of Iron Mountain, where the road shows you all the kingdoms of the mountain world spread out below"

- 239 -

Yet the carven initials remain, as anyone who treads the road beneath these ancient greenwood trees may see. Little underbrush is here and no growth of spruce or fir, and one may look far down arcades of green gloom where the flicker of sunlight through leaves may make him think he sees glints of Rosalind's hair as she dances through the wood in search of more poems. The long forest aisles bring snatches of joyous song to the ear, nor may the listener say surely that this is Rosalind and that a wood warbler, for both are in the forest, one as visible as the other. The whole place glows with the golden glamour of romance, and he who passes through it, bound for the Giant's Stairs, thrills with the glow and knows that his path leads to a land of enchantments.

By and by the trail drops me down a sharp descent, and at the bottom I find, close set with alders, a tiny clear stream which soon babbles out from beneath the bushes into another of those forest aisles; and there is a little house in the wood, so tiny and so picturesquely a part of its surroundings that, though it purports to - 240 - be a hunter's camp, I know it at once for that little house which Peter Pan and the thrushes built for Wendy. But the song of the brook, this Serpentine of the deep woods, is a lonesome one, for the door of the little house is locked and the shutters are up. If I remember rightly Wendy went away and never came back, and Peter Pan is so rarely seen, now-a-days, that few people really believe he is to be found at all. But at least here is his house, on a tributary to Rocky Branch Creek, over northwest of Iron Mountain.

Out of the illusory gloom of the brook the path leaps with joy to the clear sunlight of open fields and seems to stop at an old doorstone behind which the ruins of a house still strive to shelter the cellar over which they were built. Floors and sills are gone, boarding and shingles and upright timbers have fallen, but still the oak pins hold plates and rafters together, and the bare bones of a roof crouch above the spot, so sturdy was the work of the pioneers that here hewed a home out of the heart of a forest. Between this spot and civilization is now only - 241 - a logging road for miles, and the presence of these open, sunny fields in the deep forest, and among rough hills, seems almost as much an illusion as the echoes of the voice of Rosalind in the deep woodland glades and the thrush-built house of Peter Pan by the brookside. But here they stand in this cove of the mountains, field after field, still holding out against the sweep of the forest that for half a century has done its best to ride over them, still loyal to the dreams of whose fabric they were once the very warp. The old highway, too, still loiters from farm to farm, though the wood shades it and in places even sends scouting parties of young trees out across it. The growing maples push the top stones from the old stone walls, brambles hide the stone heaps and fill cellar holes with living green. Yet still the apple trees hold red-cheeked fruit to the sun from their thickets of unpruned growth and scatter it in mellow circles on the ground for the deer and the porcupine. The forest will in time make them its own. It will shade out the European grasses that still grow knee deep and fill their places with dainty cedar - 242 - moss and the shy wild flowers of the deep wood. Yet for all that the trail of the pioneers, the boundaries that they set and the work of their hands will never be quite disestablished on the spot. It will remain for long years to come a sunny footprint of civilization, dented deep in the surrounding green of the wilderness.

Down one gladed terrace after another, from one farm to the next, the old road goes, and the path, which seems to linger at the first doorstone, slips finally away and follows between the ancient ruts. Through gaps in the investing forest I look far down the Rocky Branch Valley to the blue of Moat Mountain, a color so soft that it makes the great mass but a haze of unreality to the perceiving senses. If a wind from the west should come up and blow it away, or if some scene shifter of the day should wind it up into the sky above, just a part of a beautiful drop curtain, I should hardly be surprised. I do not care to climb Moat, if indeed there be really such a mountain. All summer it has hung thus, a soft haze of half reality, a mountain - 243 - painted on some portion of the view from whatever hill I climb, its contour changing so little from whatever direction I view it that it seems what I prefer always to keep it, the blue fabric of a half-wistful dream. So shall it be more permanent and in time more real than many a higher summit, the grind of whose granite has left its mark upon me. It is the unclimbed peaks which are eternal.

From the last terrace of the lowest farm the trail drops suddenly to Rocky Branch, a tributary of the Saco which has its rise in a deep angled ravine far up on the southerly slope of Mount Washington. Here is a choice of ways, a good tote road, a logging railroad, and a broad, graded logging road which the lumbermen are dynamiting through to the last spruce of the valley, up at the headwaters of the branch. From these highways broad logging roads give me a plain trail up the steep Stairs Brook Valley to the bottom step in those mighty stairs. He who would know what lumbermen can do in logging precipitous spots may well look about him here. The ground rises at tremendous - 244 - angles from the ravine bottom to the foot of Stairs Mountain, and on, yet down these precipices the woodsmen have brought their log-laden teams safely, the sleds chained and the whole load lowered inch by inch by snubbing lines. To note the spots into which men have worked is to have a vivid impression of the value of spruce and the desperate lengths to which men will go to get it now-a-days.

The Giant's Stairs are more in number than the two great ones that appear to the eye from a long distance, either east or west. Northeast of these a half mile or less is a side stair, as big and as steep as the ones most commonly seen, and farther on around the mountain toward the north are others. It was these back stairs that I climbed, all because of a yellow-headed woodpecker that flew by the ruins of the logging camp which are not far from the base of the side stair. I got a glimpse of the yellow crown patch and of some white on the back or wing bars, but whether it was the Arctic three-toed woodpecker or the American I could not make - 245 - out, and I followed his sharp cries and jerky flight up the steep slope to the right of the side stairs. Here was an astounding tangle of windrowed slash with many trees still standing in it, and here for a long time I got near enough to my bird to almost make sure which variety he was, but not quite. It is hard to distinguish markings, even black and white, when a bird is high on a limb against the vivid light of a mountain sky. It is easy to follow along the parallel roads through which the logs have come down out of the slash, but it is another matter to struggle from one road to another across those mighty tangles, and thus my woodpecker led me. Finally at the very top of the col between Stairs Mountain and its outlying northeasterly spur he shrieked, quite like a soul in torment, and flew away high over my head, straight toward the summit of Mount Resolution, leaving me somewhat in doubt as to whether he was Picoides Arcticus or Picoides Americanus, or a goblin scout sent out by the giants to toll strangers away from the easier path up their mountain and lose them in the wilderness tangle all about - 246 - it. Whatever he was he had led me some miles round the mountain to a point exactly opposite to the good path up.

The back stairs are formidable enough to dismay anyone with mere human legs, and for some time I wandered in what the lumbermen have left of a hackmatack swamp at their foot, looking for a way about the bottom stair, for only Baron Munchausen's courier—he of the seven-league boots—could have gone directly up it. It felt like being a mouse in a mansion, and by and by I found a very mouse-like route up detached boulders loosely held in place by spruce roots, scrambling up trunks and clawing on with fingers and toes, in momentary fear of starting an avalanche and becoming but a very small integral portion of it, and I finally reached the top of the bottom back stair, which is by all odds the highest, and sat down to get breath. At one scramble I had left behind the woful tangle of slash and come into a country of enchantment. Here a bear had passed the day before, leaving undeniable signs. There was a deer path through the dense spruce showing - 247 - recent dents of their sharp, cloven hoofs, and all about and above was a forest of black growth, in which it was easy to fancy no human foot had ever trod, before I all-foured up into it, mouse fashion. Here were trees not large enough to tempt the lumbermen, but old with moss and gray-green lichens, casting so dense a shade that only mosses and lichens could flourish beneath them.

Here was a soft carpet of dainty cedar moss, wonderfully fronded and luxuriant, covering everything,—rocks, roots and the trunks of ancient trees that had fallen one across another for unnumbered centuries. It was like a miniature of the close-set tangle of downwood and growing timber that one sees in the Puget Sound country. There for miles one may make progress through the wood only by clambering along one fallen trunk to the next, perhaps twenty feet in air. Here the fallen trunks and growing trees were not one-tenth the size of the Pacific coast giants, but the proportion and condition was the same. And so up through this - 248 - fairyland I scrambled and plunged, following a deer path as best I might and longing for their sure-footed ability to leap lightly over obstacles. I daresay my clattering plunges drove all the deer off the mountain. At least I saw none, though their paths intersected and their hoof-marks had dented them all recently. Stairs Mountain is certainly the house of a thousand staircases. All through my climb I found detached stairs scattered about, and the mountain seems to be largely built of them, from a few feet to a few hundred feet in height.

And after all I came out, not at the top of the highest front stair, but at the top of that side stair that looks directly down on the old lumber camp. A half mile or less southeast of me were the front stairs, and I had to go down an internal flight and climb again before reaching their top, passing again through forest primeval criss-crossed by deer paths. The yellow-headed woodpecker had given me a pretty scramble, but I think it was worth it.

"From the top tread of the Giant's Stairs one sees half of the mountain world, the half to southward"

- 249 -

From a distance I had thought Stairs Mountain to be fractured slate. Instead it is moulded granite. The edge of the tread on the topmost stair is of a stone that seems as hard and dense as any that comes out of the Quincy quarries. Yet still clinging to it in places are remnants of a crumbly granite that seems once to have been poured over it and cooled there in a friable mass. You may kick this overlying granite to pieces with your hob-nailed mountain shoe, and I fancy once it filled the gap between the topmost tread and the summit of Mount Resolution, just to the south, and has been frost riddled and water worn away leaving the solid granite of the stairs behind.

From the topmost of the Giant's Stairs one sees but half the mountain world,—the half to southward. All the north is cut off by the spruce-covered round of the summit behind him. Eastward was the great bulk of Iron Mountain, over which I had come, its round top so far below me that I could see the whole of the perfect cone of Kearsarge over it. Directly south was the half bald dome of Resolution, and just over it the equilateral pyramid of Chocorua - 250 - dented the sky. Wonderfully blue and far away it looked, and to its right was stretched the varied sky-line of the whole Sandwich Range. To the right again was a mighty wilderness of mountains, cones and billows and ranges massed in together in almost inextricable confusion, though out of this rose certain peaks one could not fail to recognize,—Carrigain, stately and a bit apart in dignified reserve, and the great blue wall of the Franconia Range, diminished by distance but beautiful and impressive still. Almost at my feet, down the Crawford Notch, crept a train along the thin, straight line of the railroad. A puff of white steam shot upward from the engine whistling for the Frankenstein trestle, but it was long before the shrill sound rose to my ears. Nothing could so well emphasize the immensity of the prospect before me. I realized that the brakeman was walking through the observation car shouting, "Giant's Stairs! Giant's Stairs now on your left!" and that the mighty cliff on whose verge I was perched seemed no more than a letter on the printed page to the onlooking crowd.

- 251 -

The way home lies down the west side of the mountain, the steep but good Davis trail to and along the bottom of the lower stair, thence to the west side of the ridge between Stairs Mountain and Mount Resolution. Then a trail east, very slender but distinguishable, goes to the broad highway of a logging road, and thence the descent, though precipitous, is easy. The Stairs Mountain is so different from anything else that one can find in this region that it has an eerie individuality all its own. To look back as I went on down the logging road was to see the stairs standing out against the glow of the lowering sun, less like steps than gigantic rock faces. The lower one particularly looked as if a giant himself, wild-eyed and bristly haired, was lying behind the forest with his great head leaned against the mighty granite cliff that towered above. And so I left him, waiting doubtless to devour the next lone climber who, if he goes up the front stairs, must pass directly in front of his jaws. For all that I hesitate to advise the back stairs route to which the yellow-headed woodpecker led me. It is rough—and chancey.

- 252 -


Glimpses of Coming Autumn from Franconia's Highest Peak

Upon the highest mountain tops the winds of winter make their first assaults upon the summer, driving it southward, peak by peak. In September the skirmishes begin, and by the end of October the conquest of the high peaks is complete, but meanwhile the outcome of the contest is by no means sure, and day by day, sometimes hour by hour, the redoubts are won and lost again. Mid-September sees the approaches to the peaks fluttering gayly the banners of both chieftains, summer's blue and gold in the asters and goldenrod, winter's crimson and gold in the flare of maple and the glow of yellow birch. Thus I saw them from the summit of Lafayette on a day when the forces of the north met those of the south there and the long ridge was now in the hands of one army, - 253 - now of the other. Nor was it difficult to prophesy what would be the outcome of the conflict. It seemed as if moment by moment the yellow banners of winter, planted almost on the very summit in the leaves of the dwarf birches, increased in number and crowded farther down the slope and into the forests of the outlying spurs. Now and then, too, the eye noted where a shell had exploded in a goldenrod bloom, or so it seemed, and blown its summer banner out of existence in a white puff of pappus smoke. So the wind out of the north drives the summer away, though it rallies again and again and comes stealing up the southerly valleys and along the sunny slopes to the very summits.

Near the high summits the birches show autumn tints first. These are of the round-leafed variety of Betula glandulosa, which is peculiar to the high peaks of the White Mountains. Very dwarf at best, on the highest peaks they win as near the top as do the dwarf firs, yet at humiliating expense of stature, becoming scarcely more than creeping vines at the greatest - 254 - heights, sending up doubtful branches out of the protection of soft tundra moss. Up the higher slopes of Lafayette they thus grow, crowding together in dense masses that now spread a velvety golden carpet to the eye that looks upon them from the summit. Amidst the gray and brown of ledges and the green of spruce and fir, which is so deep that it is black, they glow by contrast and put the goldenrod of the lower glades to shame with their color. No other deciduous trees reach this height, and in looking at them in the early weeks in September it is easy to believe that autumn comes down from the sky and first, like jocund day, stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops. On Lafayette the color was richest near the top and paled into green as the glance slipped farther and farther down toward the Pemigewasset Valley.

Even by the middle of September the birches of the valleys show little of the marvellous yellow that seems suddenly to come upon them a little later. From the mountain-top they still hold the full green of summer to the first glance, and only by looking again and more carefully - 255 - can one see that they have changed. Then, indeed, little cirrus clouds of yellow mist them in places, rounding the low hilltops a little more definitely against the more distant wood. To look again is to see here and there the undeniable flaunt of a yellow banner, but from the hilltops, that is all. To tramp the levels along the water-courses or climb the lower slopes beneath deciduous trees is to see more, and to learn that the autumn tints come by other routes than a descent upon the summits. For weeks in the cool seclusion of the forest aisles the ways have been lighted by yellow flares of birch or elm leaves and red flashes of the swamp maple. Day by day now these increase in number, and once in a mile the whole tree seems to have caught all the sunshine of the summer in itself and to begin to let it glow forth in the half-dusk of the woodland shadows.

In places it is as if autumn had set candles along these dusky cloisters to light pilgrims to some shrine, and in many a hollow glade one may think he has found the shrine itself,—an altar - 256 - perhaps of gray rock covered with a wonderful altar cloth of dainty cedar moss all patterned with polypody ferns, and with a great birch candelabra stretching protecting arms above it, all alight with a thousand candles of yellow leaves. The heat of the September sun above, ray-filtered by the feathery firs, is caught in these yellow leaves that hold back the last of its fire and set the place about with a cool, holy glow, an illumination that is like a presence before which one must bow down in reverent adoration. After all it is not a defeat that has come to the fiery forces of summer that have so well held the hills; it is a conversion.

"On the way the gray brow of Mount Cannon looks in through the gaps in the foliage"

- 257 -

In the cloistered seclusion of the woods one knows this, and that seclusion obtains for much of the four-mile climb to the summit of Lafayette. Once or twice on the way the gray brow of Mount Cannon looks in through gaps in the foliage, from its great height, seeming to lean across the Notch and peer solemnly down from directly over head, so narrow is this deep defile between two mighty mountains. A mile up and the trail leans to a brief level, where it bridges the chasm between the spur of the mountain which is Eagle Cliff and the main mass. Here at a glimpse comes an idea of what happened when the mountains were made. The whole Franconia Range, one thinks, must have come up out of the hard-pressed levels of the earth in one great rock mass, from which the foundations settled and let portions lean away and split off. Here in the Eagle Cliff Notch is a great gap of the splitting, now more than half filled with fragments of the rock which fell away in enormous chunks when the action took place. Rocks the size of a city block lie here roughly placed one upon another with caverns of unknown depth made by the openings between them. Out of these caverns wells up on the hottest days a cold that undoubtedly comes from ice that forms in depths to which no man's eye has penetrated, and that remains the year through. The clinging of gray lichens upon these rocks has made roothold for the dainty cedar moss which makes them green and holds moisture in turn for the roots of firs that grow from the very rocks and fill their gaps with - 258 - forest. Here where once was titanic motion is now titanic rest, and out of summer sun from above and winter coolness from below wild flowers build tender petals and distil perfumes the brief season through, asters and goldenrod lingering still in the crannied wall, the cool airs that made them late in blooming equally delaying their passing. In this green gap in the gray granite summer's conversion is long delayed, though winter waits just below her flowers the whole season through.

More than a mile the path again climbs steeply through closely set evergreens, in whose perpetual shade the moist mosses are knee deep above all rocks and fallen timber. Nowhere can one see better the value of spruce and fir growth on mountain sides in the preservation of the mountains themselves. Beneath this everlasting cushion of wet moss, re-enforced by roots, each rock lies in place and nothing short of an avalanche can stir it. Where the path has let in the sunlight on the moss the torrents have stripped it clean from the surface and frost and - 259 - storm year by year gully the opening deeper. It is astounding, this sponge of moss that climbs to the top with the path, sphagnums and dainty cedar moss predominating, but seemingly all other varieties intermingled as well.

And at the top one finds how persistent in its withdrawal the summit of a great mountain like Lafayette can be. This is only the top of a westerly spur, a far greater chunk than Eagle Cliff, but only a chunk of the main mountain, that also broke off when the foundations of the range settled. Strange to relate, the ravine that lies between is choked, not with mighty rocks, but with a level that has for a surface at least a boggy space in which lie two sheets of water,—the Eagle Lakes, 4146 feet in elevation. This is no summit; rather it is another notch, and the peak of Lafayette lies more than a thousand feet farther on into the blue.

A little above this point the firs cease and the moss with them. The rest of the way lies over broken stone that has crumbled from rough ledges unrestricted by any mossy protection. In the gravel ground from it grow some stunted - 260 - firs, some very dwarf birches and scattered wild flowers, but the way to the summit lies for all that through a desert. From its jagged agglomeration of rocks, scattered on ledges that still hold to the main mass of rock which is the mountain, one looks north or south along a great rocky ridge which is the crest of the Franconia Range. North lie the great outlying spurs and buttresses of Lafayette, leading across a high col to Garfield, which sticks a bare rock pinnacle skyward. Southward a well-worn path lies along the ridge to Lincoln, Haystack, Liberty and Flume, each just a rise in the crest which lies along the ponderous bulk of really one mountain. Garfield is in a certain measure off by itself, but these others are all merely pinnacles of one great structure, Lafayette being the highest. Here as on the Presidential Range one finds Alpine plants, conspicuously the tiny mountain sandwort, so constant a bloomer as to show its white flowers still in mid-September. With this, but no others in bloom, were the three-toothed cinquefoil, the mountain avens, mountain cranberry, mountain goldenrod, - 261 - bilberry and Labrador tea, all to be seen on the final crest which is Lafayette's summit.

A north wind out of a clear sky had blown at the start of my trip, but as if to prove that its day was not yet over, the wind out of the south came over the long barren ridge, bringing butterflies in its train. For a time the two winds seemed to meet at the very mountain top, and a yellow Colias, that was the first to come, caught between the two, coasted upward and disappeared toward the zenith as if even the summit of Lafayette were not high enough for him. Later, when the south wind had fairly driven that from the north back toward the Canadian boundary, I saw several of these, which I took to be Colias philodice, the common sulphur, flitting about the summit, their yellow pale and clear compared with that of the autumn-tinted birches just down the slope. Two mourning cloaks, a Compton tortoise and a Grapta progne, made up the list of other butterflies seen. Summer was doing well to be able to show even these so late in September on so high a summit as Lafayette. I looked curiously - 262 - for the little gray Oeneis semidea, the White Mountain butterfly which is so common in earlier summer on the Presidential Range and said to be confined to it, but I did not see it. Perhaps this variety is not to be found on Lafayette, though the altitude is sufficient, the food plants are there, and the same geological conditions which left this variety "islanded" on Washington no doubt apply.

The south wind which brought up the butterflies and which pushed the north wind back brought up also a gray haze which swept in like a sea turn. It blotted out the Ossipee Mountains and the little Squam Range. For a time the Sandwich peaks stood out, deep blue against its pale blue blur, then they melted into it and were gone. It came on and took Tecumseh, Osceola and Kancamagus. Kineo, Cushman and Moosilauke were drowned in it one after another, but still to the eastward Carrigain and Hancock showed, and below them the broad Pemigewasset Valley was spread out like a map. Almost at my feet was the broad swath of ruin - 263 - which past years of lumbering have cut in this once beautiful valley of primeval forest. For miles down the western slope of the Franconia Range and beyond all valleys are bare and all slopes that the utmost daring can climb are denuded. On mile after mile, save for, in spots, a pale undergrowth of blueberry and wild cherry, only dead birches stand, stretching bare white bones to the sky in ghostly appeal. Islanded in it here and there are peaks and ridges still beautiful in deep-green evergreens, with just a misty touch of the tender yellow of autumn-tinted birches, wood too small or too dangerously set to tempt the axe. The rest is desert; dignified, haughty even in the mighty uplift of its long slopes and bare gray crags, but desert for all that.

It is a relief to turn the eye from this to the rich green of the unscathed slopes of the Notch itself. A thin blue line of air between Eagle Cliff and Mount Cannon shows the narrow passage where the mountains split apart, perhaps to let man and the streams go through. Over the way lies Moran Lake, a blue gem among - 264 - the green ridges of Cannon. At my feet, so near it seems, is the round eye of Echo Lake, which is at the bottom of the Notch, but seems almost as near as the larger Eagle Lake, which is but a thousand feet below, far up on the side of the mountain. All about are bold, bare cliffs showing through the green, but their bareness is that of nature, and the deep green around them grows, forgetful of the axe, which for many long years has not been laid at their roots, perhaps never will be again. Southerly the Pemigewasset Valley opened far to the villages of Woodstock and on to Plymouth, but even as I looked the pale blue haze blotted them out and swept on up the valley. The south wind was getting into a passion, bringing clouds behind and above the haze, putting out the sun and growling in gray gusts about the summit. It shouted threats in my ears and shook me as I went down the zig-zag trail to the shelter of the firs about the nearer Eagle Lake. Then it lulled and dropped a tear or two of warm rain as if ashamed of itself.

Profile Lake, Franconia Notch, and Mount Lafayette from Bald Mountain

- 265 -

Star Lake, on Mount Madison, is but a puddle among the bare, slatey-coherent rocks of the Northern Peaks. The Lakes of the Clouds are real lakes, beautifully set, but barren in themselves, their shallow rocky bottoms allowing no growth of water-plants. Spaulding Lake at the head of the Great Gulf on Washington and Hermit Lake at the bottom of the Tuckerman Ravine are singularly alike, shallow, transparent, barren and beautifully set among spiring firs and spruces, each in the heart of a mighty gorge. But here, way up on the high shoulder of Lafayette, where one would think no lake could possibly be, is a little one in a brown bog,—a bog in which the mountain cranberry sets its deep red fruit to the sun and the snowberry scatters its pearls all over the maroon carpet of the sphagnum. Curiously beautiful fruit, that of the creeping snowberry. Here is a cranberry vine grown slender and with tiny leaves fringing it most delicately. Here at its tip is an elongated checkerberry, waxy, almost transparent white, with an odor of checkerberry, a pleasantly acid pulp that reminds one of cranberry and an after-flavor of - 266 - checkerberry also. If there were prehistoric wizards in plant-breeding in these mountains, surely one must have cross-fertilized the cranberry with the pollen of the checkerberry to the producing of this shy, delicate, hardy and altogether lovely fruit. To this antediluvian Burbank it may be that the Old Man of the Mountain is a statue, erected by a grateful posterity in the Notch below.

In the lake itself grows the tape grass, stretching its straw-yellow ribbons along the surface and curiously ripening its knobby fruit under water. With it in scattered groups was the yellow pond-lily, its broad, ovate leaves floating and turning up their edges to the gusts of the south wind that swung in over the corner of the mountain. Strange indeed these familiar water plants looked in this little tarn swung more than four thousand feet in air on the shoulder of so mighty a mountain. All other mountain lakes at such heights had seemed weird to me in the crystalline barrenness of their purity. This one with its boggy shore, its mud and its - 267 - homely water weeds was so friendlily familiar that I lingered long on its banks. The southerly wind had massed its clouds high above the Notch, and in their shadow the dusk of early nightfall was on the path and deep in the woods on my way down. Yet in the bottom of the deep defile between Lafayette and Cannon I saw the north wind again pressing on to victory, scattering the clouds above Mount Cannon and letting the sunset light through far over its northerly slopes. The nimbus broke into cumulus clouds, and these to fluffs of cirrus that showed at first an angry red. Then this softened to pink and finally dimpled into miles of gold between which the depths of the sky showed a pure blue of forgiveness such as can be found in heaven only when one looks up into it from the bottom of a deep like that of Profile Notch. Not in flowers or gems or in the pure eyes of children can be found such a blue as the Franconia sky showed, out of which night and deep peace settled like a benediction on the mountains.

- 268 -


One on Wildcat Mountain the Highest Ever Cleared in New England

Last night the north wind died of its own cold among the high peaks and black frost bit deep down in the valley meadows, killing all tender herbage. Then morning broke in a sky of crystal clarity, of a blue as pure and cool as the hope of Heaven in the heart of a Puritan, through miles of which all objects showed as if through a lens. From the ledges of Wildcat Mountain I looked over to the summit of Mount Washington, whose details were so plain that the five trains that came up were visible to the naked eye, and with glass I could see the people flow from them in a slow black stream, its tide flecked with the flotsam of fall millinery. So still was the air upon the summit that from each engine as it came in sight over the ridge stood high and straight a cloudy pillar of mingled smoke and - 269 - steam. The Israelites who of old were thus led through the wilderness to the promised land could have had no more visible guide. Slowly to the mountain rim sank the frosted fragment of the once round and yellow moon, a wan, gray ghost seeking obliteration in the grayer ledges of the summit cone.

On these gray ledges of the cone the scant herbage of the summer clung in flowing, warm, tan-brown streaks drifting down as snow does from the summit, but coloring only perhaps a twentieth part of the surface. All else was the gray of the rock, softened by distance into a cool delight to the eye. Lower the Alpine Garden slants toward the ravines, black in patches with dwarf firs, soft green in others where in moist hollows the grasses and moss still grow, but for the most part showing the olive yellow of autumn-tinted tundra. Only below this, where the garden drops off steeply to the slope between Tuckerman and Huntington ravines, was the rich yellow of the dwarf birches to be seen, here a clear sweep of color, lower still mottled with the black growth of spruce and fir.

- 270 -

There was never a flame of rock maple in sight on all the visible slope of the big mountain, but below, in the middle distance of a slope up to Slide Peak, below the boulder and from there down into Pinkham Notch, they flared, one after another, ending in a blazing group whose conflagration was stabbed by the points of the firs on the near slope of Wildcat.

Such beauties as these the mountains set daily before the eyes of the man who hewed out the highest farm in New England, a century or less ago, on the high shoulder of a westerly spur of Wildcat Mountain. Few New Englanders are farmers now. In the eighteenth century most of them were, and the tide of young men who had the courage and the brawn to build farms in the wilderness rose high in the New Hampshire hills. The river-bottom lands were taken up, then the lower valleys, then the higher slopes, and finally, as the nineteenth century grew, the ultimate pioneers landed on the very shoulders of the White Mountains. Up the valley of the Wildcat River climbed the Fernalds, the Hayeses, the Wilsons, the Meserves, Wentworths, Johnsons and half a dozen other pioneer families, each hewing out of the terrific timber and grubbing out of the grim rocks with infinite labor the fields that to this day smile up to the sun.

"Such beauties as these the mountains set daily before the eyes of the man who hewed out the highest farm in New England on the high shoulder of a westerly spur of Wildcat Mountain"

- 271 -

Hall, the traditions have it, was the name of the highest-minded pioneer, who set his farm on a spur of Wildcat, 2500 feet above the sea level. He is said to have been an educated man, born far down the State and educated in college. Tradition has it, too, that he was a poor farmer, which is what tradition always says of college men who farm. However that may be, he certainly was a worker. On his farm acre after acre of mighty trees crashed to the ground in the wine-sweet mountain air and went up again in the pungent smoke of the "burns," whereby the first settlers cleared their ground and made ready for their primitive first plantings. Gray ledges and black soil inextricably intermingled drop down his farm from terrace to terrace toward the Wildcat River, and on the highest of these stood his house. Its foundations only remain to-day, showing the vast square occupied by the - 272 - central chimney. Around the foundations of this the cellar lingers, narrow and apologetic. The rooms above even must have been rather crowded by this leviathan chimney, four-squared to the world and with a big fireplace on each side. We are apt to think of the houses of the early mountaineers as being cold in winter, but this one need never have been. That great bulk of enclosed chimney once warmed through would hold the heat in its stone heart for hours, and the wood for its reheating was so plentiful as to be in the way.

From his door sill to the south the pioneer's family looked forth upon the sweet curves of the Wildcat River valley at their very feet. From the shoaling green of the sea of air beneath them it deepens into a richer and softer blue as mile runs beyond mile to the spot where Thorn and Iron mountains slope toward one another to a broad notch through which the glance runs on down the Saco to the horizon line where the Ossipee Mountains melt and mingle with the blue of the sky. Thorn Mountain blocks the lower end of the Wildcat Valley, in which the pioneer - 273 - saw from his doorstone more farms than I see to-day. Down the slope of Wildcat beneath him a half-dozen since his time have passed to the slumber of pasture or on to the complete oblivion of returning forest. Over on Black Mountain now unoccupied were as many more. But the view in the main is the same as he saw on clear September days, nor need one think he or any other mountain farmer was or is insensible to the beauty of it. You rarely get one to talk much about it—they all know how poor things words are—but they feel the joy of it for all that.

From the northern edge of Hall's topmost terrace I look forth across a wide gulf of crystalline air to the rough slopes and ridges of Wildcat and Carter mountains. The middle of September is past and autumn is setting the seal of her colors deeper and deeper on the high hills. Both mountains have a saddle blanket, so to speak, of green-black dwarf firs, but each of these is decorated with a misty featherstitching of yellow birch leaves. Below each blanket is a ridge up and down which fire swept some years ago. On these - 274 - ridges great birches, all dead, stand so close together that their trunks line it with perpendicular, parallel scratches of gray, all cross-hatched with a netting of limbs that soften the whole into a wonderful warm tone. In the greatest distance these scratches blend into a fur that is softer and more beautiful than any ever brought into the markets of civilization by the Hudson Bay Company. Other winter pelts that the mountains wear may be warmer, but none can vie with this in the delight of its coloration.

Down the ridge again the birches thin out and, all among them and below, the bird cherry trees paint the slope a soft cerise, a color that in the distance is but a neutral one, a background for the rich hues of the rock maples that climb into it from the ravines. Not all these have felt the flare of autumn in their blood. Many seem to ride toward the summit in Lincoln green. The outcry of beagles should be just ahead of them. But more have added a scarlet facing to their hunting coats, and some others are fairly aflame with the richest tint that any autumn leaf can get, the flaming crimson of the rock-maple foliage - 275 - ripened under a full sun where mountain brooks soak a primal vigor from the granite and send it upward into white cambium layers all summer long. The twenty-fifth of September finds the hillsides displaying the autumn hunting colors for all who follow the hounds. The very sight of them sets the blood a-gallop and brings the view-halloo to the lips of the most sedate.

All along the horizon to the east of this highest farm stretches the green wall of Black Mountain. In the pioneer's day no doubt it deserved its descriptive title for the spruce growth which clothed it, but on the easy slopes this did not last so long as the pioneer, and the green of deciduous trees which has replaced it belies the mountain's name. So high is this wall of green hill that only Doublehead peers over it, and that by way of a gap in the ridge, a little of the purple haze of distance setting it apart lest one take it for a part of the same mountain. But I fancy the gaze of the pioneer passing oftenest a little to the west of south, passing the smiling beauty of the valley and the stately cone of Kearsarge, to the summit of Iron Mountain, where to this day one may see - 276 - the broad cultivated fields of what I believe to be the next highest farm in New England, and one still occupied by descendants of the pioneers that hewed it out on a broad terrace not far below the summit. This is the Hayes farm, and it is a singular fact that while, according to the surveys, the Hayes farm is many hundred feet below this site of the ancient Hall homestead, and looks it, on the contrary one looking across from the Hayes farm thinks himself several hundred feet above it. In the same way Hall could look across to the Gerrish farm on Thorn Mountain and would surely know that it was far below him. Yet on the Gerrish place, looking across to Hall's fields, I always feel sure that the Gerrish place is much the higher. As a matter of fact, a contour map places Hall's house six hundred feet higher in the air than that of Hayes and eight hundred higher than Gerrish. In so much at least was the college-bred farmer superior to his good neighbors of other mountain tops.

Farther westward the highest farmer looked in his day as one does now upon an unbroken - 277 - wilderness where the Giant Stairs break the long levels of the Montalban Range and stand blue-black against the gold of the sunset. Only on the north and northwest was his view broken by the highest points of Wildcat Mountain, which sheltered him completely from the sweep of the winter winds. It is now, as it was then, a wood-lot, and from it the forest steadily moves down into the open spaces of this highest New England farm. The firs and spruces sit about in it now in groups, reminding one of dark-plumed aborigines that seem to have come back and to be holding councils once more in this clearing of the pale-face. The unmown grass stands deep all about these encroaching forest trees and, lacking the care of the farmer, has cured itself and waits in vain to be harvested, while all through it the sunlight silvers the dry white panicles of the everlasting, the only flower of the season on these terraced fields which so steadily and surely drift back to be again the forest from which the college-bred pioneer with such labor reclaimed them. There is a pungent aroma of old herb gardens about this silvery everlasting, though it - 278 - is essentially a wild flower, that seems to bear dreams of the pioneer grandmothers of the lovely Wildcat Valley. It is as if in the bright September sun they came back with silvery hair and white kerchiefs and caps, for one more stroll in the pleasant fields and one more look at the beautiful valley below, a landscape than which none in New England is more beautiful.

The nasal twittering of red-breasted nuthatches led me up the hill above the highest cleared terrace into the forest that from its multiplicity of fascinating wood roads gives evidence of having always been the farm wood-lot. The pioneer should certainly have loved this hill. It sheltered him on all parts of his farm from the bite of winter winds out of the northwest. Out of its deep heart it gave him water that he had but to allow to run to his buildings, and from its top the wood which he cut would coast down grade to his fireplace. An hour before it had been a silent forest filled with a yellow underglow of sunlight, doubly distilled from the ripening leaves of white and yellow birch. Now, in a moment it was filled with quaint twittering and - 279 - snatches of eerie song. With the nuthatches came chickadees, and the red-breasted ones sang in part their song, at least an eerie imitation of it such as only nuthatches could make. The nuthatches are the goblin acrobats of the deep wood. Gravity may exist where they perform, but it does not trouble them. They walk with utter disregard to it, and in their evolutions I expect any day to see one fly upside down, and, if I were mean enough to shoot one, I would as soon expect him to fall up into the sky as to fall down to the ground. Nor would I be much surprised if he hung like Mahomet's coffin, suspended between heaven and earth. If brownies ever try to blow the notes of the chickadee's song on tiny tin trumpets, ranged in Palmer Cox rows on mossy tree trunks, they no doubt get the same result that the red-breasted nuthatches did that day in the wood-lot of the highest farm in New England.

Beside this they sang little twittering ditties that were quite musical and altogether uncanny as well, and seemed to fill the golden woodland aisles with all sorts of suggestions of goblin - 280 - adventures to be found there. Between me and the deep heart of the Carter-Moriah range was unbroken wilderness out of which might well come any of the phantoms the Pequawkets were wont to declare they saw there. Climbing steadily toward the top of the long ridge which swings round from the old farm to the summit of Wildcat I thought I heard the footsteps of that great white moose that breathed fire from his nostrils and turned back all arrows before they reached him. Nearing the top I knew I heard him—or something just as good—an irregular stamping which I stealthily approached from behind the screen of gray tree trunks and golden forest leaves.

Almost at the top I could see the shaking of boughs from which the creature was browsing, and to me, approaching from below and with the elfin incantations of the nuthatches still in my ears, these seemed very high in air. Some creature of prodigious size was just beyond and in a moment more a turn of a rock corner revealed part of him. A long, lean, white neck I saw, and a head stretching high up to a maple limb whence - 281 - prehensile lips plucked pink-cheeked leaves. Its mouth full the creature turned a long face toward me and neighed, and the forest aisles echoed the spluttering whinny in tones full as uncanny in their laughter as had been those of the nuthatches; also vastly louder. Somebody's old white horse looked at me with a mild curiosity as I tramped up to him on this ridge of the Wildcat wilderness, and at sight of him the spectral moose vanished into the past century, there to remain with the Indians who claimed to have seen him.

Spectral enough the old horse looked here in the deep shadows of the wood. He had "yarded" on the hilltop much as deer do in winter. I found well-worn trails of his, leading hither and thither on the ridge, but none going away from it, and, under the shade of a beech, in what had tried to be a thick bed of spinulose wood ferns, was evidently his nightly bed. He had worn the earth bare in his clumsy getting up and lying down. Far down the terraces of the old farm in sunny glades were pastured other horses and cattle. There they stayed, for the feed was good - 282 - and water near, and they loved the sight of the lower pasture bars that will later let them out to the road to stalls of which they dream. But here was a finer soul than these, a hermit that preferred the cool fragrance of wood fern and the unmolested quiet of his wooded hilltop, from the loopholes of whose retreat he might look upon the world. I fancy him the best horse of the herd.

Now and then you find a man like that, and I dare say such an one was the maker of the old farm. As I came down again into his highest field the sun was sinking behind Boott's Spur and cool blue shadows stretched out across the low, sweet curves of the Wildcat River valley. Against them the pale smoke of supper fires rose lazily and far over from the gorge below Carter Notch floated the hush of falling waters. The blue of the mountains to southward deepened and only on their summits sat the rose of sunset fire. Behind me in the wood was now no sound of nuthatches, but a single robin sat in a treetop and sang softly, as if to himself. On such - 283 - a scene of peace and unsurpassed beauty it is easy to fancy the college-bred pioneer looking at nightfall and finding it good. If his descendants descended through the pasture bars to be stall-fed in cities, so much the worse for them.

- 284 -


The Blaze of Its Adieu to Mount Washington

Summer lingers yet just south of Mount Washington and, though often frowned away, as often returns to say good-bye, "parting is such sweet sorrow." Already there have been days when the frown was deep, when the hoar frost on the summit clung as white as snow in the sun and refused to melt even on the southerly slopes, when at night the cold of winter bit deep and the Lakes of the Clouds shone wan in the morning light under a coating of new, black ice. Then summer has come back, dissolving the repentant frost into tears at a touch of warm lips, bending and quivering over the great gray dome of the summit until, approaching from peaks to the southward, I have seen her presence surround all in a shimmering enfolding of loving radiance.

From the high ridge of Boott's Spur I saw - 285 - it thus, slipping back myself to say good-bye, of a day in late September. From no point in the mountains does one get a finer impression of the massive dignity of Washington summit than from this. The Spur is itself no mean mountain, rising with precipitous abruptness from between Tuckerman Ravine and the Gulf of Slides, bounding in rounding, thousand-foot ledges from Pinkham Notch to a height of more than 5500 feet; it lifts the persistent climber to a veritable mizzen-top whence he looks still upward to the main truck of the summit, with the wonderful rock rift of Tuckerman Ravine between, dropping out of sight behind sheer cliffs at his feet. On such an autumn day there is a mighty exhilaration in thus floating in blue sky on such a pinnacle. The body is conscious that the spirit within it steps forth from peak to peak into limitless space and is ready to shout with the joy of it. Indian summer, which does not come down to the sea-coast levels for another month, touches the high ranges now, and under its magic they remember spring. It paints the brown grasses, the sedges and the leaves of the three-toothed cinquefoil which - 286 - scantily streak the cone of Washington, with a purple tint, and the gray rocks themselves ripen like grapes with a soft blue bloom in all shadows.

To me the finest of the four trails which lead to the summit of Boott's Spur is that which comes up from Pinkham Notch by way of the Glen boulder. Its start is through a forest primeval. The lumbermen have taken the spruce, to be sure, but here are birches along the footpath that may have been growing when Darby Field first came this way to the summit of Washington with his two Indians. It may be not. Birches are quick-growing trees, yet here are some that are almost three feet in diameter, having the great solid trunks and shaggy, scant heads of foliage which are characteristic of trees that reach maturity in a forest before it knows the axe. Whatever the trials of the trail it is worth while to climb among such trees as these. It is a steep trail, in ledgy spots, and it soon leads to slopes where the axe has not followed the spruce, on to a growth which the axe scorns, and on again to a dwarf tangle of firs that are hardly to be passed without the cutting of a - 287 - canyon. Not in the mangroves of Gulf swamps nor in the rhododendron "slicks" of the southern Appalachians can a traveller find a more determinedly dense impediment to his passage than in these mountain firs where they dwindle to chin height and interlace their century-old stubs of branches. Farther up they shorten into a knee-deep carpet which hardly delays the passage, and from these emerges the great cliff on whose verge hangs "the boulder."

He who does not believe that "there were giants in those days," that they fought on the Presidential Range, and that the head of one, cut off and petrified with fear, rolled down to this spot where it quite miraculously stopped, has probably never seen the boulder from the ledge about north of its point of poise. There it looks all these things. It has a George Washington nose, a Booker Washington chin, and the low forehead of the cave man. It has even an ear, plugged with a bluish, slaty rock quite different from the brown sandstone of which the whole is composed, as this is quite different from the - 288 - various rocks of the ledges round about. Motorists driving up the Glen road can see the boulder ahead of them outlined against the sky. It looks from that point as if it might roll down and stop the car at any time. But if it looks insecure in its position to motorists in the highway, to the Alpinist who stands beside it this appearance of instability is startling. Jocund day never poised more on tiptoe on the misty mountain top than does this big rock head on the verge of the cliff. I, for one, dislike to go directly below it. Some day it is going to roll on down the mountain and that might be the day.

In the clearness of the autumn air all the forest of Pinkham Notch and its approaches lay far below my feet. The world below was a Scotch plaid of equally proportioned crimson and green with a finer stripe of rich yellow. Every maple is at the height of its flame, but the birches of the valley still hold much of their green, at least from above. Below them in the forest one walks as if at the bottom of a sea of golden light in which flecks of other color fall or spring into view at each new turn of the path. The hay-scented ferns are almost as white as the bark of the canoe birches. The brakes are a golden brown, and all the under-forest world is yellow with the leaves of all varieties of birch. Only the withe-rod sets splotches of maroon in its great oval leaves, and shows among them its deep blue of clustered berries. But none of this reaches my eye as I sit high in air above it. Thence the world below is a Scotch plaid, out of which the roar of Glen Ellis Falls rises, the falls themselves completely hidden within the plaid.

"The Glen Boulder has a George Washington nose, a Booker Washington chin, and the low forehead of the cave man"

- 289 -

More and more of the under-world of birch yellow comes to the surface as the trees climb the hill till at the last they spread a golden mist of color wonderful to behold. At certain portions of the slope the firs begin again and go on up the hill with the birches, slender and beautiful, aspiring and inspiring, and even along among the bleak rocks they creep, soft green mats of spreading limbs, flecked here and there with the yellow of creeping birches and the maroon of low blueberries, all this patterned among the exquisite lichen-grays of the rocks. All the southerly ridge - 290 - beyond the boulder is a rolling smoke of these golden birch tops pricked through with the green-black spires of spruce and fir, nor has any slope on any mountain more beauty to offer to the eye on this day in late September when the air is like a crystal lens through which one looks into unmeasured distances and sees clearly.

Behind the boulder, terrace by terrace, the mountain rises to the top of Slide Peak, whence one may see the magic of the air lenses change this mingling of vivid colors to a blend which is a rich violet and loses its red as the distance grows greater till it ends on the far horizon in a pure blue that seems born of the very sky itself, and to sleep in its arms. With it the eye floats over the ranges that rim the horizon half around, touching and soaring from Wildcat and Black on to Baldface and on again to be lost in the maze of hills that ride eastward into the dim distance of the State of Maine. More to the southward Doublehead lifts his twin peaks in massive dignity and over Thorn is Kearsarge, almost airy in the contrast of its perfect cone. On again southeast and south flash lakes, Silver and - 291 - Conway and Ossipee, Lovell's Pond and in the far distance Sebago, lighting the softest blue toward a haze that one suspects is the sea. Due south between peak after peak, between Paugus and Chocorua and through a gap in the Ossipee Range lie the waters of Winnipesaukee, shining beneath the noonday sun.

The Gulf of Slides beneath my feet was a vast bowl of russet gold decorated with Chinese patterns of deep green. In its very bottom I saw a black stream rounding the edge of a level open meadow where the deep grass had been trodden into paths by the passing deer. All round about it the spruce and firs set a bristling wall of pointed tops, and the quivering air that filled the bowl to the brim was obviously a liquid. I could see it flow up and over the ridge toward the summit of Boott's Spur, and as if to prove that it did so a red-tailed hawk flapped up from the firs that surround the little meadow, caught the updrift of this southerly breeze and soared on it in easy spirals to a point just above the ridge. Here he caught another current that came up the Rocky - 292 - Branch Valley, a breeze resinous with the last big area of spruce in sight from the summits near Mount Washington, pungent with the smoke of the great woodcutter camps in its midst, and soared on up Boott's Spur. And as he did so the sun flashed back in white fire from a point in a ledge of the Spur overhanging the Gulf of Slides.

Somewhere in the highest hills hung once the great carbuncle whose fame led many early settlers to dare disaster in mountain searches for precious gems. Tradition has it that the great gem vanished from its matrix long ago. Perhaps it did. But something flashes white fire from a high cliff on the Spur to the eye of him who gets the sun at just the right angle from Slide Peak. The carbuncle may be there yet. Certainly the ridge that leads up from the boulder is rich in matrices for gems. Out through its granite burst veins of sparkling quartz, dazzling white, pink and green. Imbedded in this quartz are great crystals of silvery mica and smaller ones of black tourmaline. There are spots along the trail that glitter like a Bowery jeweller's window. This - 293 - profusion of gemlike stones is to be found all along the way to the high ridge of Boott's Spur and make it doubly fascinating. If the great carbuncle ever really hung high in the mountains I fancy it is still not far from this neighborhood. Very likely it broke from its cliff and lies now buried in the débris of slides at the bottom of the great precipice which springs from the Gulf up to the top of the Spur, leaving only a fragment to dazzle my eyes from the top of Slide Peak. Perhaps the real thing is there yet, and I recommend the Glen Boulder trail to present-day gem hunters.

But from the mountain tops on the last days of September all the world is one of gems. From Washington the range and the Southern peaks which rise from it showed ruby fires of sunlight transmitted by the colored leaves of creeping blueberries and the three-toothed cinquefoil. Lower, emerald and bloodstone glinted among the dwarf firs, and lower yet were zones of gold for the setting of as many gems as the forest could furnish. All the blue stones of the lapidary - 294 - showed their colors in the distance while the woods of the lower slopes were chrysoprase, garnets, topaz and all other stones which hold red, yellow or green glints in their hearts. Looking westward only the centre of the Fabyan plateau lacked this plaiding of interwoven gem colors. Instead it was a level oasis of tender green around which sat the great hotels in solemn sanctity.

The perfect clearness of this still mountain air was not only for the sight but for the hearing. One's ear seemed to become a wireless telephone receiver and sounds from great distances were plainly audible. Voices of other climbers, I do not know how far away, seemed to come out of the ledges of the high ridge of Boott's Spur as I sat among them and looked toward the great gray summit of Washington. Among the Derryveagh Mountains in the northwest of Ireland I have heard voices of children at play a mile away come out of a fairy rath, or seem to come out of it, and here at far higher levels was a similar spell at work. Finally I located other voices, seeing people on the summit of Monroe and others down at the refuge hut near the Lake of the Clouds, talking to one another. That one party could hear the other at that distance was strange enough, but that I, a mile farther away than the people at the hut, could hear those on top of Monroe was a still greater proof of the wonderful clearness of the air at that time.

The Crawford trail along Franklin, Mount Pleasant in the distance

- 295 -

Such a condition presages storm, and before night, from the summit of Washington, I watched it materialize from thin air. In the sunlit stillness a thin, long line of cumulo-stratus clouds appeared circling the southern horizon from west to east. The line was broken in many places and it was lower than the summit, for I could see clear sky and land through the breaks. It did not seem possible that such a line of disconnected clouds could bring storm. But they joined and thickened while I watched, and by and by, as if at a word of command, far to the south light scuds were detached from them and came scurrying in from beyond Chocorua, blotting out Tremont and Haystack, Bear and Moat, swallowing the Montalban Range and Rocky Branch ridge in their floating fluff, coasting up and over - 296 - Boott's Spur and blotting out Tuckerman's Ravine. They whirled in upon us, palpable, cotton-batting clouds with a chill in their touch, and wrapped all the summit in gray obscurity.

Again and again they broke and let me see all about, and each time I saw that the ring of cumulo-stratus clouds was denser at the bottom, and had moved in towards us from all the southern half of the horizon. The sun set, but we did not see it. The world was blotted out in a gray mass of scudding vapor that gradually became black night, out of which by and by rain came hissing on a wind that shook the buildings of the tiny summit village beneath their clanking chains. Morning came, and noon of the next day. The wind had changed from south to northwest, the sky in all valleys was clear, but still the dense clouds swirled about the cone of Washington and swathed the high ridge of the whole Presidential Range in masses of fleeting mist. No rain fell from this, but to stand in it was to gather and condense it in the pores of one's garments and become wringing wet.

"The world was blotted out in a gray mass of scudding vapor that gradually became black night out of which by and by rain came hissing"

- 297 -

Feeling my way through this opaque blindness down the painted trail to Tuckerman Ravine, I was well down to the verge of the head wall before I could see below it. There the wind seems to make a funnel between the Lion's Head and Boott's Spur and draw the clouds through it so rapidly as to thin them. With the Fall of a Thousand Streams splashing all about me, I saw the gray masses lift and through them the sun pouring its autumn gold upon the plaid of Pinkham Notch. The ravine below me was in shadow, but the fairy gold of that light seemed to flood back into it and infuse all its dripping firs and wet rocks with rainbow colors. It decked this mighty chasm in the mightiest mountain as if for a bridal, and all along the downward trail by the rushing Cutler River the firs shed diamonds and rubies with each touch of the wind, and the birches, yellow and black and white, held their autumn gold encrusted with precious stones.

In such guise was the mountain decked for my farewell to it, and though the slanting sun shone warm on the Glen road when I reached it I was wet with the parting tears into which all this - 298 - finery dissolved as I passed. The summit is lone now. The last train has taken the villagers to the base and the village is boarded up. The hoar frost whitens it as I write and the film of ice dulls the clear eyes of the Lakes of the Clouds. Soon the snow will begin again to blow over the head wall into Tuckerman Ravine and mass at the bottom into the glacier which will once more stretch broad across the ravine next spring. Already the crimson of the rock maples which flames the woodland begins to sift down and leave the topmost twigs bare. Summer has said good-bye to the summit, and though she looks often fondly back she is well on her way south through the valleys.


Links to First Letter
[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K]
[L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T]
[U] [V] [W] [Y] [Z]


Aaron's rod, 7
Adams, 116, 139, 167, 168, 178, 225
—— John Quincy, 167, 169
—— Sam, 167
Admirals, white, 42, 49, 50, 51, 55, 57, 58, 130, 134
Æolus, Father, 112, 127
Albany intervales, 226
Alder, 21, 40, 57, 99, 100, 157
—— downy green, 157
—— green, 157
—— mountain, 157
Alnus crispa, 157
—— mollis, 157
Alpine gardens, 98, 100, 119, 125, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 141, 158,
      187, 189, 269
—— pastures, 154
Amazon, 18
Ambergris, 22
A. M. C. camp, 91
—— guide, 50
—— signs, 97
—— trail, 86
Ammonoosuc Valley, 177
Anderson, 225
Anglewing, 134, 137
Aphids, 198
Apollo, 78
Appalachian Mts., 14
—— Club, 87
—— gods, 125
Apple trees, 19, 25
Arctic butterfly, 135, 141
- 299 -—— ice, 114
Arctic sea, 114
Arden, Forest of, 238
Arenaria grœnlandica, 136, 186
Argynnis atlantis, 131
—— cybele, 131
Arizona, 81, 118
Arthur's Court, 117, 213
Ash, mountain, 92
Aspidium spinulosum, 189
Aster, 197, 237, 252
—— ericoides, 197
—— novæ angliæ, 236
—— radula, 236
—— white, 196, 237, 252
Avalon, 204
Avens, mountain, 100, 136, 163, 260
Azalea, Alpine, 186
—— Lapland, 135


Baldface, 119, 165, 290
Barberry, 147
Baron Munchausen's courier, 246
Bartlett, Mt., 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 61, 86, 225
—— Lower, 48
Base station, 116
Bay, Casco, 57, 59, 113
Bear, 52, 53, 54, 90, 246
Bear Camp, 6
Bear Mountain, 295
Bee, bumble, 22, 41, 167
—— wild, 85, 92
Beech, 4, 5, 25, 67, 154, 234, 238, 281
Beetles, 142
Bellwort, 4, 40
Bemis, 203, 204, 205, 225
Berry bushes, 25
Betula cordifolia, 155
—— glandulosa, 155, 156, 253
—— minor, 155
—— papyrifera, 155, 156
—— rotundifolia, 155, 156
Bilberry, 182, 261
Birch, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 37, 40, 41, 80, 92, 93, 234, 238, 255, 256, 261,
    263, 273, 286, 289
—— black, 297
—— canoe, 289
—— creeping, 155
—— dwarf, 253, 260, 269
—— paper, 156
—— white, 25, 98, 105, 130, 155, 274, 288, 297
—— yellow, 25, 130, 154, 198, 206, 252, 273, 278, 297
    Blackpoll, 198
    Bobolinks, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 30, 31
    Bunting, indigo, 51, 150, 151
    Canary, 37
    "Candelita," 235
    Chickadees, 198, 199, 279
      —— black-capped, 198, 199, 200
      —— Hudsonian, 199, 200, 217, 218
    Finch, gold, 37, 150
      —— purple, 150
    Hawk, broad-winged, 10
      —— pigeon, 15
      —— red-tailed, 291
    Junco, 6, 15, 28, 37, 122, 141, 157, 166, 190, 198
      —— hiemalis, 158
    Loon, 73
    Maryland yellow-throats, 28
    Nuthatch, red-breasted, 278, 279
- 300 -    Phœbe, 24
    Picoides arcticus, 245
      —— Americanus, 245
    Redstart, 235
    Robin, 198, 282
    Sand-pipers, 73
      —— spotted, 73
    Sap-suckers, yellow-bellied, 5
    Sparrow, 150
      —— chipping, 198
      —— field, 85
      —— song, 141, 198
      —— white-throated, 3, 122, 141, 150, 198
    Swallow, 217
      —— bank, 141
      —— barn, 24
      —— eave, 74
    Swift, chimney, 24
    Thrush, 32, 37, 59, 240
      —— Bicknell's, 61
      —— hermit, 32, 33, 102, 105, 122
      —— water, 21, 28
      —— wood, 16, 21, 32, 33
    Veery, 32, 61
    Vireo, red-eyed, 198
      —— yellow-throated, 198
    Warblers, 37
      —— Blackburnian, 27, 37
      —— black-throated green, 28
      —— Canadian, 37
      —— Connecticut, 28
      —— Magnolia, 28, 37, 150, 188, 198
      —— mourning, 28, 37
      —— myrtle, 6, 15, 37, 150, 188, 198, 235
      —— Wilson's, 37
      —— wood, 102, 239
      —— yellow, 36
      —— yellow-rumped, 234
    Woodpecker, American three-toed, 244
      —— Arctic three-toed, 244
      —— yellow-headed, 244, 248, 251
Blackberry, 136, 163, 232
Black Mountain, 34, 86, 272, 273, 290
Blackpoll, 198
Bloodstone, 293
Blueberries, 232, 234, 263
—— creeping, 293
—— dwarf, 40, 41
—— low, 289
—— lowland, 182
—— mountain, 7, 22
Bobolinks, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 30, 31
—— meadows, 20
Boott's Spur, 97, 105, 110, 114, 116, 185, 282, 284, 286, 291, 292,
      293, 294, 296, 297
Boulder, Glen, 286
"Boulder, The," 287, 288
Brakes, 289
Bretton Woods, 66
Brook, Saco, 206
—— Gibbs', 192
Brunella, 31, 133
Buck, 101
Bugle Cliff, 208, 210
Bunchberry, 134
Bunting, indigo, 51, 151
Burbank, antediluvian, 266
Buttercups, 19, 35, 36, 80
    Admiral, white, 42, 49, 50, 51, 55, 57, 58, 130, 134
    Anglewing, 134
    Arctic, 135, 141
    Argynnis, atlantis, 131
      —— cybele, 131
      —— yellow, 261
    Blue, little spring, 9
    Colias, philodice, 132, 261
    Compton, tortoise, 9, 134, 138, 261
- 301 -    Dusky-wings, 59
    Fritillary, great spangled, 131, 137
      —— mountain, 131, 134, 137, 138, 217
      ——, spangled, 82, 83, 84, 130, 134
    Grapta comma, 134
      —— interrogationis, 134, 137
      —— progne, 137, 261
    Hunters', 217
    Monarch, 138
    Mourning cloak, 9, 10, 58, 137, 217, 261
    "Mt. Washington," 138
    Oeneis semidea, 135, 138, 139, 143, 262
    Painted Lady, 58
    Papilio asterias, 41
      —— turnus, 39
    Skipper, 41, 58, 59
      —— orange, 132
    Sulphur, common, 261
    Swallowtail, eastern, 41
      —— tiger, 38, 41, 58
    Vanessa j-album, 134, 138
      —— milberti, 138
    "White Mt.," 135, 138, 262


Caddice-fly larvæ, 103, 180
Cæerleon, 117
"Camp 5," 223
Canada, 23, 112
Canary, 37
"Candelita," 235
Cannon, 256, 263, 264, 267
Cape Horn Bend, 123
Carbuncle, 82, 292
Carrigain, Mt., 12, 65, 216, 222, 225, 228, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234,
      235, 236, 237, 250, 292, 293, 294, 295, 296
—— Notch, 223, 224
—— Cliffs, 90
Carter, Dome, 65
Carter-Moriah Range, 25, 280
—— Mt., 89, 156, 273
Carter, Notch, 25, 83, 85, 87, 108, 119, 282
Cascade, crystal, 97, 98, 108
—— Flume, 202
—— Silver, 157, 202, 214
—— —— Brook, 214
Cattle, "white-faced," square-headed, 144, 150
—— mountain, 145, 147
Cedar, red, 147
Celery, 137
Chandler River, 170
—— Ridge, 160, 205
Checkerberry, 4, 265, 266
Cherry bird, 9, 40, 234, 274
—— Mts., 122
—— wild, 25, 232, 263
Chickadee, 198, 279
—— black-capped, 198, 199, 200
—— Hudsonian, 199, 200, 217, 218
Chipmunk, 133, 140
Chocorua Brook, 3
—— Lake, 1, 3, 5, 11, 16
—— Mountain, 1, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 226, 249, 291
—— Summit, 11, 13, 14, 15
—— town, 16
Chrysoprase, 294
Cinquefoil, three-toothed, 136, 163, 260, 285, 293
Clay, 116, 164, 172, 225
Clethra, 148
Cliff Eagle, 257, 259, 263
Clinton, 176, 192, 216
Clintonia, 35, 134, 183, 213, 219
—— borealis, 184
Clover, 82
—— red, 128
—— white, 128, 133
Colias, 217, 261
—— philodice, 132, 261
Colonies, Massachusetts Bay, 82
Company, Hudson Bay, 274
Compton tortoise, 9, 134, 138, 261
- 302 -Conway Meadows, 49, 66
Conway, North, 61, 63
Cornel, 136
—— dwarf, 54, 183
Cornus canadensis, 184
Corot, 5
Cox, Palmer, 279
Cranberry Mountain, 55, 217, 260, 265
—— tree, 22
Crawford Glen, 205
—— homestead, 207
—— Mountain, 225
—— Notch, 3, 46, 60, 114, 115, 191, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200,
      201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 216, 218, 223, 225, 231, 250, 256, 264, 266
Crescent Range, 168
Crispa, 157
Cushman, 262
Cutler River, 97, 297


Daisy field, 132
Dandelions, 19, 36, 37
Dartmouth Range, 122
Deer, 52, 158, 187, 241, 246, 248, 281, 291
Demoiselles, 73
Derryveagh, 294
Diamonds, 82, 297
Diapensis lapponica, 186
Dingmaul Rock, 165
Doublehead, 34, 56, 275, 290
Dryads, 67
Dusky-wings, 59


Eagle, 204
—— Cliff Notch, 257
—— Mountain, 25, 34, 86
Eastman, 165
Elaphrus olivaceus, 142
—— lævigatus, 142
Ellis River, 20, 22, 25, 29, 45, 48, 49, 60, 73, 98, 157
Elm, 66, 67, 68, 225
—— meadow, 67, 68
Emerald, 293
Emerson, 23
English borders, 145
Eupatorium urticæfolium, 196
Everlasting, 277


Fabyan's, 116
—— Plateau, 216, 294
Falls, Glen Ellis, 108, 209
—— Jackson, 21, 23, 24, 28, 30, 31, 82
—— "No-go," 62
—— of a Thousand Streams, 297
    Aspidium spinulosum, 189
    Brake, 289
    Hay-scented, 289
    Osmunda claytonia, 189
    Polypody, 208, 209, 210, 211, 256
    Spinulose wood, 189, 208, 281
    Wood, 282
Fernalds, 270
Ferry, Cobb's, 200
Field, 204
—— Darby, 286
Finch, gold, 37, 150
—— purple, 150
Fir, 4, 6, 25, 67, 70, 74, 132, 154, 155, 186, 193, 200, 204, 208,
      214, 215, 218, 220, 222, 226, 228, 234, 236, 237, 239, 254, 256,
      257, 258, 265, 277, 286, 290, 291, 297
- 303 -—— dwarfed, 156, 182, 188, 207, 253, 269
Firefly, 95, 123
Florida, 18, 195
—— swamp, 186
Flume, 260
Fly, blue bottle, 42
—— dragon, 75
—— white-bodied, 74
Franconia, 267
—— Mountain, 230
—— Range, 235, 250, 257, 260, 263
Frankenstein Cliff, 205
—— Trestle, 250
Franklin, 176
Fritillaries, mountain, 131, 134, 137, 138, 217
—— great spangled, 131, 137
—— spangled, 82, 83, 84, 130
Frog, green, 101, 103
—— tree, 103
—— wood, 103


Garfield, 235, 260
Garnet, 294
Gaultheria, 219
Gemini, 34
Gerrish, 28
—— farm, 24, 28, 29, 276
Geum, 185, 193
Giant Stairs, 28, 225, 238, 239, 244, 249, 250, 277
Gibbs' Brook, 192
Ginseng, 39
Glen Ellis Valley, 72
Glen Road, 28, 297
Goldenrod, 252, 254
—— Alpine, 185
—— mountain, 162, 164, 167, 215, 220, 236, 260
Gooseberry, wild, 137
Gorham, 97
Grand Cañon, 118
Granite, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23, 43, 52, 57, 69, 146, 249, 292
—— ledges, 21, 68
Grapta comma, 134
—— interrogationis, 134, 137
—— progne, 137, 261
Grass, blue-eyed, 133
—— June, 163
—— spear, 163, 167
—— tape, 266
Gulf, Great, 109, 112, 115, 116, 123, 124, 138, 157, 160, 161, 163,
      167, 170, 172, 173, 177, 188, 205, 265
—— Oakes, 116, 149, 177, 187, 191, 205, 216, 218, 225
—— of slides, 108, 285, 291, 292
Gulf Stream, 42
Guyot, 216


Hackmatack Swamp, 246
Hæmorrhagia diffinis, 41
Halfway House, 134, 164
Hall, 271, 273
—— farm, 276
Hancock, 223, 262
Hardhack, 149
Harebell, blue, 197
—— mountain, 161, 162, 163, 164, 185
Hawk, broad-winged, 10
—— pigeon, 15
—— red-tailed, 291
Hayeses, 270
—— farm, 276
—— farm-house, 34
Haystack, 225, 230, 260, 295
Hedgehog, 140, 195
Hemlock, 4, 154, 206, 207, 214, 220, 221
Hills, New Hampshire, 17, 270
—— Scottish, 145
- 304 -—— Welsh, 117
Holland, 139
Horse, 281
Houstonia, 19, 100, 136, 182, 185, 186
Humming bird, 132
Hunters' butterfly, 217
Hypericum Ellipticum, 196


Imp, 165
India, 46
Indian, 281, 286
—— pipe, 214, 219
—— poke, 136, 186, 187, 220, 221
—— summer, 285
Intervale, 61, 66
Iron Mountain, 25, 32, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 45, 238, 240, 249, 272, 275
Israelites, 269


Jackson, 18, 20, 21, 25, 34, 74, 86, 97, 202, 206, 208, 215
—— Meadows, 92
—— Mountain, 28, 32, 202, 206, 207, 208, 211, 215, 221
Jacob's Ladder, 110
Jefferson, 118, 139, 165, 171, 172, 178
—— Brook, 122
Johnsons, 271
Juncos, 6, 15, 37, 122, 141, 157, 166, 188, 198
—— hiemalis, 158
Jupiter, 113
—— Pluvius, 127


Kancamagus, 262
Katahdin, 56
Kearsarge, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 55, 56, 57, 60, 86, 225, 249, 275, 290
—— S. E., 216
—— Village, 61
Kineo, 262


Labrador tea, 92, 136, 149, 195, 217, 261
Lafayette, 65, 216, 230, 235, 252, 254, 256, 259, 260, 261, 262, 265,
      266, 267
    Chocorua, 1, 3, 5, 11, 16
    Conway, 291
    Eagle, 259, 264
    "Echo," 70
    Echo, 264
    Hermit, 101, 105, 106, 188, 265
    Lonely, 11
    Mirror, 70, 73
    Moran, 263
    Of Clouds, 124, 137, 139, 141, 142, 149, 175, 180, 181, 182, 184, 185,
        186, 187, 189, 265, 284, 295, 298
    Ossipee, 11, 291
    Saco, 206
    Sebago, 57, 59
    Silver, 291
    Spaulding, 164, 188, 265
    Star, 264
    Storm, 167
Laurel, sheep, 7
Ledge, Hartt's, 200
Liberty, 230, 260
Lichen, gray, 257
—— gray-green, 234, 247
—— hepatic, 212, 213
—— reindeer, 184, 213
Lily, yellow pond, 266
- 305 -Lincoln, 230, 260
Linnæa, 89
Lion's Head, 106
Livermore, 237
London, 197
Loon, 73
Lowell Mountain, 224


Madison, 139, 160, 161, 168, 225, 264
—— hut, 168
Mahomet's coffin, 279
Mangroves, 287
Maples, 4, 25, 67, 98, 154, 234, 241, 252, 280, 288
—— fruit, 5
—— rock, 51, 130, 270, 274, 298
—— swamp, 255
Mars, 127
Maryland yellow-throats, 28
Meader, 165
Meadow-sweet, 22, 149
Memnon, pyramid of, 107
Merlin, Old, 117
Meserves, 271
Mica, 81, 104, 292
—— schist, 177, 184, 189
Milkweed, 130
Mitchella, 219
Moat, 86, 242, 295
Moats, The, 225
Moccasin flowers, 54, 57, 61
Monarch butterfly, 138
Monroe, 116, 124, 139, 175, 176, 185, 190, 294, 295
Montalban Range, 28, 42, 106, 225, 277, 295
—— Ridge, 225
Moose, 280
Moosewood, mountain, 53, 61, 92, 129, 148
—— striped, 28, 129, 148
Moosilauke, 262
Moriah, 106, 165
Moss, cladonia, gray-green, 184
—— dainty cedar, 212, 216, 241, 247, 256, 257, 259
—— hairy cap, 184, 212
Moth, clear wing, 41, 132
—— Hæmorrhagia diffinis, 41
—— small white, 132
—— snowberry, 41
    Adams, 116, 139, 167, 168, 178, 225
    —— John Quincy, 167, 169
    —— Sam, 167
    Anderson, 225
    Avalon, 204
    Baldface, 119, 165, 290
    Bartlett, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 61, 86, 225
    —— Lower, 48
    Bear, 295
    —— Camp, 6
    Bemis, 203, 204, 205, 225
    Black, 34, 86, 272, 273, 290
    Boott's Spur, 97, 105, 110, 114, 116, 185, 282, 284, 286, 291, 292,
        293, 294, 296, 297
    Cannon, 256, 263, 264, 267
    Carrigain, 12, 65, 216, 222, 225, 228, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235,
        236, 237, 250, 292, 293, 294, 295, 296
    Carter, 89, 165, 273
    —— Cliffs, 90
    —— Dome, 65
    Cherry, 122
    Chocorua, 1, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 226, 249, 291
    Clay, 116, 164, 172, 225
    Clinton, 176, 192, 216
    Crawford, 225
    Cushman, 262
    Derryveagh, 294
    Doublehead, 34, 56, 275, 290
- 306 -    Eagle, 25, 34, 86
    Eastman, 165
    Field, 204
    Flume, 260
    Franconia, 230
    Frankenstein Cliff, 205
    Franklin, 176
    Garfield, 235, 260
    Gemini, 34
    Giant Stairs, 28, 225, 238, 239, 244, 249, 250, 277
    Guyot, 216
    Hancock, 223, 262
    Haystack, 225, 230, 260, 295
    Iron, 25, 32, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 45, 238, 240, 249, 272, 275
    Jackson, 28, 32, 202, 206, 207, 208, 211, 215, 221
    Jefferson, 118, 139, 165, 171, 172, 178
    Kancamagus, 262
    Katahdin, 56
    Kearsarge, 45, 46, 48, 50, 51, 55, 56, 57, 60, 86, 225, 249, 275, 290
    —— S. E., 216
    Kineo, 262
    Lafayette, 65, 216, 230, 235, 252, 254, 256, 259, 260, 261, 262, 265,
        266, 267
    Liberty, 230, 260
    Lincoln, 230, 260
    Lion's Head, 106, 119, 297
    Lowell, 224
    Madison, 139, 160, 161, 168, 225, 264
    Meader, 165
    Moat, 86, 242, 295
    Moats, The, 225
    Monroe, 116, 124, 139, 175, 176, 185, 190, 294, 295
    Moosilauke, 262
    Moriah, 106, 165
    Nancy, 205, 225
    Nelson Crag, 116, 119, 160, 170
    Northern Peaks, 161, 174, 191, 205, 265
    Olympus, 56, 65
    Osceola, 262
    Ossipees, 1, 6, 86, 262, 272, 291
    Owl's Head, 229
    Parker, 28
    Passaconaway, 11, 226
    Paugus, 11, 15, 226, 291
    Pleasant, 61, 176, 218
    —— Carter-Moriah, 35, 280
    —— Crescent, 168
    —— Dartmouth, 122
    —— Franconia, 235, 250, 257, 260, 263
    —— Montalban, 28, 42, 106, 225, 277, 295
    —— Ossipee, 86
    —— Presidential, 12, 25, 42, 43, 46, 60, 72, 128, 139, 153, 156,
        160, 162, 163, 173, 176, 186, 198, 205, 216, 218, 230, 260, 262,
        284, 286, 287
    —— Rosebrook, 204
    —— Sandwich, 6, 86, 216, 226, 250
    —— Squam, 262
    Resolution, 28, 249, 251
    Ridge, Chandler, 160, 205
    —— Montalban, 225
    —— Rocky Branch, 25, 28, 108, 295
    —— Signal, 223, 224, 226, 228, 229, 236, 237
    Rocky, 181
    Sandwich Dome, 226
    —— Peaks, 230
    Shaw, 34
    Sloop, 34
    Spruce, 25
    Stairs, 244, 245, 251
    Table, 225
    Tecumseh, 262
    Thorn, 17, 24, 26, 27, 29, 30, 32, 34, 86, 272, 290
    Tin, 24, 34, 86
- 307 -    Tom, 204
    Tremont, 225, 295
    Tripyramid, 12
    Twins, The, 216
    Vose Spur, 223
    Washington, 12, 25, 29, 43, 56, 65, 79, 84, 97, 98, 112, 117, 128,
        129, 133, 137, 139, 142, 149, 150, 156, 157, 160, 161, 164, 171,
        175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 191, 216, 225, 230, 243, 265, 268, 292,
        293, 294, 295, 296
    Webster, 11, 28, 202, 205, 211, 225
    White, 253, 270
    White Face, 12, 226
    Whittier, 6
    Wildcat, 25, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 93, 94, 95, 119, 165, 268, 270, 271,
        272, 273, 277, 280, 290
    Willard, 191, 192, 194, 203, 204, 205
    Willey, 205, 223
Mourning-cloak, 9, 10, 58, 137, 217, 261
Mouse, 246


Nancy, 205, 225
Nelson Crag, 116, 119, 160, 170
Northern Peaks, 161, 174, 191, 205, 206
Notch, Carrigain, 223, 224
—— Carter, 25, 83, 85, 87, 108, 119, 282
—— Crawford, 3, 46, 60, 114, 115, 191, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200,
      201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 216, 218, 223, 225, 231, 250, 256, 264, 266
—— Eagle Cliff, 257
—— Pinkham, 25, 49, 98, 106, 115, 157, 270, 285, 286, 288
—— Profile, 267
—— Zealand, 216, 229
Nuthatch, 280, 281
—— red-breasted, 278, 279


Oeneis semidea, 135, 138, 143, 262
Old Man of the Mountain, 266
Olympus, 56, 65
Orlando, 238
Osceola, 262
Osmunda claytonia, 189
Ossipee, Lake, 11, 291
—— Mountains, 1, 6, 86, 262, 272, 291
—— Range, 86
—— Valley, 42
Owl's Head, 229


Pandora's Box, 121
Papilio asterias, 41
—— turnus, 39
Parker Mountain, 28
Partridge, 132
—— berry, 4
Passaconaway, 11, 226
Paugus, 11, 15, 226
Peabody River, 134, 161, 170
Peak, Northern, 161, 174, 191, 205, 265
—— Slide, 270, 290, 293
—— Southern, 293
Pemigewasset River, 223
—— Valley, 229, 230, 231, 232, 254, 262, 264
Pequawkets, 280
Peter Pan, 240, 241
Phœbe, 24
Phyllodoce cærulea, 136
Picoides Americanus, 245
—— Arcticus, 245
- 308 -Pine, 4, 205, 231, 232
Pinkham Notch, 25, 49, 98, 106, 115, 157, 270, 285, 286, 288
Pipsissewa, 4
Pleasant Mountain, 61, 176, 218
Plymouth, 264
Polypody, 208, 209, 210, 211, 256
Pond, Lovell's, 59
"Pool, The Dismal," 194
Poplar, 7, 40, 41, 81
Porcupine, 53, 87, 88, 90, 94, 105, 241
Portland, 113
Potentilla tridentata, 136
Presidential Range, 12, 25, 42, 43, 46, 60, 72, 128, 139, 153, 156,
      160, 162, 163, 173, 176, 186, 198, 205, 216, 218, 230, 260, 262,
      284, 286, 287
Profile Notch, 267
Puget Sound, 77


Quartz, 292
—— quarries, 249
—— vein, 98


Rabbit, cotton-tail, 132
Raccoon, 196
Ragwort, golden, 132
Randolph, 168
Raphael, 18
Rattlesnake root, 162
    Huntington, 115, 119, 124, 137, 177, 187, 269
    Jefferson, 165
    Tuckerman's, 96, 97, 99, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 114, 115, 135, 137,
        149, 157, 177, 180, 188, 189, 265, 269, 285, 296, 297, 298
Redstart, 235
Resolution Mountain, 28, 249, 251
Rhododendron "slicks," 287
Rhodora, 22, 57
River, Chandler, 170
—— Cutler, 97, 297
—— Ellis, 20, 22, 25, 29, 45, 48, 49, 60, 73, 98, 157
—— Peabody, 134, 161, 170
—— Pemigewasset, 223
—— Saco, 22, 45, 48, 49, 60, 191, 194, 195, 197, 205, 206, 243, 272
—— Sawyer's, 200, 203, 205, 223, 236, 237
—— Swift, 226
—— Wild, 119
—— Wildcat, 20, 82, 83, 85, 86, 91, 94, 270, 271
Robertson's, Mark, rustic bridge, 2
Robin, 198
Roc, 46
Rocky Branch Valley, 240, 242, 243, 292
—— Mountains, 181
—— Ridge, 25, 28, 108, 295
Rosalind, 238, 239, 241
Rose-bay, Lapland, 186
Rosebrook Range, 204
Round Table, 117
Rubens, 18
Ruby, 297


Saco River, 22, 45, 48, 49, 60, 191, 194, 195, 197, 205, 206, 243, 272
—— Valley, 61
Samite, 44
Sand-pipers, 73
—— spotted, 73, 195
Sandstone, brown, 287
Sandwich Dome, 226
—— Peaks, 230
- 309 -—— Range, 6, 86, 216, 226, 250
Sandwort, mountain, 136, 163, 164, 183, 185, 187, 217, 260
Sap-suckers, yellow-bellied, 5
Sawyer's River, 200, 203, 205, 223, 236, 237
Scudder farm-house, 2
Sea, Caribbean, 18
Semidea, 139
Shamrock, 133
Shaw, 34
Signal Ridge, 223, 224, 226, 228, 229, 236, 237
Sinbad, 46
Skipper butterfly, 58
—— orange, 132
Sloop, 34
Smilacina, 4
Snake, garter, 85, 87
"Snake-root, white," 196
Snow arch, 96, 97, 99, 101, 103, 106, 109
Snowberry, creeping, 217, 265, 266
Society, Cambridge Entomological, 142, 218
Solidago cutleri, 185
Solomon's seal, 4, 40
Sorrel, wood, 133, 213
Sparrow, chipping, 198
—— field, 85
—— song, 141, 198
—— white-throated, 3, 122, 150
Spiræa latifolia, 149, 162
—— tomentosa, 149
Spring, Peabody, 167
—— Poland, 66
Spruce, 4, 6, 7, 15, 25, 26, 30, 31, 37, 40, 41, 67, 72, 105, 132, 134,
      141, 147, 154, 155, 186, 188, 192, 193, 196, 198, 200, 205, 222,
      226, 228, 229, 231, 232, 234, 235, 239, 243, 246, 254, 258, 265, 269,
      277, 290, 291, 292
—— black, 26, 71, 195, 235
—— dwarf, 8, 9, 93, 156, 167, 207
——, mountain, 25
—— tops, 50
Squam Range, 262
Squirrel, gray, 140
Stairs, Brook Valley, 243
Stairs, Mountain, 244, 245, 251
Star-flower, American, 136
Steeple bush, 149
St.-John's-wort, 196
St. Patrick, 133
Strawberries, wild, 81, 92
Striders, water, 179, 180
Sumac, 40
Swallow, 217
—— bank, 141
—— barn, 24
—— eave, 74
Swallowtails, eastern, 41
—— tiger, 38, 41, 58
Swift, 226


Table Mountain, 225
Tecumseh, 262
"Tenth Turnpike," 191
Thor, 13
Thoreau, 218
Thorn Mountain, 17, 24, 26, 27, 29, 30, 32, 34, 86, 272, 290
Thoroughworts, 196
Thrush, 32, 37, 59, 240
—— Bicknell's, 61
—— hermit, 32, 33, 102, 105, 122
—— water, 21, 28
—— wood, 16, 21, 32, 33
Tin Mountain, 24, 34, 86
Toad, great gray, 89, 91, 94
Tom, 204
Topaz, 294
Tourmaline, black, 292
    A. M. C. to Carter Notch, 86
- 310 -    Carriage road, 124, 129, 161
    Crawford, 124, 138, 139
    —— bridle path, 176
    Davis, 251
    Glen Boulder, 293
    Gulf Side, 124, 169, 171
    Hammond, 3, 16
    Tuckerman's, 124
Tremont Mountain, 225, 295
Trientalis, 136
Trillium, 219
—— painted, 4
—— purple, 4
Tripyramid, 12
Turtle, box, 57
Turtle-head, 237
Twins, The, 216


Ursus Major, 88


Valley, Ammonoosuc, 177
—— Glen Ellis, 72
—— Ossipee, 42
—— Pemigewasset, 229, 230, 231, 232, 254, 262, 264
—— Rocky Branch, 240, 242, 243, 292
—— Saco, 61
—— Stairs' Brook, 293
—— Wildcat, 25, 272, 278, 282
Vanessa j-album, 134, 138
—— milberti, 138
Veery, 32, 61
Venus, 27
Veratrum viride, 186
Viburnums, 21
Viola cucullata, 23
—— palustris, 183
Violets, blue, 23, 31, 35
Violets, lilac alpine, 100, 183
—— meadow, 19
Vireo, 198
—— red-eyed, 198
—— yellow-throated, 198
Vose Spur, 223
Vulcan, 78


Warbler, 37
—— Blackburnian, 27, 37
—— black-throated, green, 28
—— Canadian, 37
—— Connecticut, 28
—— Magnolia, 28, 37, 150, 188, 198
—— mourning, 28, 37
—— myrtle, 6, 15, 37, 150, 188, 198, 235
—— Wilson's, 37
—— wood, 102, 239
—— yellow, 36
—— yellow-rumped, 234
Washington, Booker, 287
—— carriage road, 124, 129, 161
—— George, 287
—— Mount, 12, 25, 29, 43, 56, 65, 79, 84, 97, 98, 112, 117, 128, 129,
      133, 137, 139, 142, 149, 150, 156, 157, 160, 161, 164, 171, 175,
      176, 177, 178, 179, 191, 216, 225, 230, 243, 265, 268, 292, 293,
      294, 295, 296
—— railroad, 116, 142
Webster, Mt., 11, 28, 202, 205, 211, 225
Wendy, 240
- 311 -Wentworths, 271
White Face, 12, 226
White Mountain butterfly, 138, 261
White Mountains, 253, 270
Whittier, Mt., 6
Wild River, 119
Wildcat Mountain, 25, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 93, 94, 95, 119, 165, 268,
      270, 271, 272, 273, 277, 280, 290
—— meadows, 84
—— River, 20, 82, 83, 85, 86, 91, 94, 270, 271
—— Valley, 25, 272, 278, 282
Willard, 191, 192, 194, 203, 204, 205
Willey House, 197, 203
Willey Mountain, 205, 223
Willow, 7, 155
—— creeping, 156
Wilsons, 271
Withe-rod, 289
Woodchuck, 153
Woodpecker, American three-toed, 244
—— Arctic three-toed, 244
—— yellow-headed, 244, 248, 251
Woodstock, 264


Yarrow, pink, 134
—— white, 134


Zealand Notch, 216, 229
Zeus, 78

Transcriber Note

On pages 136 and 307, Phyllodoce cærulea was corrected. Other minor typos may have been corrected. Where illustrations split paragraphs, either text was moved above or below the image to rejoin the paragraphs. Where paragraphs were very long, they were split to accommodate the placement of the illustration.