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North of the Mohawk, and between lakes Champlain and Ontario, are five or six ranges of mountains, with the direction and elevation of which we are imperfectly acquainted, for which the name of Adirondac or Mohegan Mountains has been proposed. It has been recently ascertained by the geological surveyors, that some of the summits in this group exceed 5,000 feet in height. The chain which traverses' Warren and Essex counties seems to be the most elevated ; Whiteface, in the latter, has been shown to be nearly 5,000 feet above the level of the sea ; and later measurements have given to another summit, which has been called Mount Marcy, an elevation of 5,460 feet. Some of the ridges of this group have received local names, as the Kayaderosseras, on the west of Lake George; the Highlands, of Black River; the Hassencleaver Mountains, of Oneida county ; and the central chain has been called Macomb's Mountains. They received the name of Peruvian Mountains from the early French inhabitants, in
. consequence of a belief then entertained that they possessed great mineral treasures. The more northern portions of these mountains have been little explored.
The eastern face of the Catskill ridge is steep and precipitous, displaying mural precipices of great extent, and often of sufficient width to be distinguished at twenty miles' distance. They appear encircling the mountains like enormous bands, and from their summits the most grand and enchanting prospects of the great valley of the Hudson and the distant mountains of Connecticut and Massachusetts are afforded. Many conical eminences rise above the general range ; of these, the height near Cairo, and the Round Top are the most conspicuous ; the latter is 3,804 feet high. Several prominent spurs run from the eastern ridge of the Catskill, in a northwest direction, for many miles ; these border the elevated ravines and valleys through which the rivers Kauterskill, Scoharie, and Platterkill flow. The cloven passages of the Kauterskill and Platterkill afford the most sublime and picturesque scenery.
The road through the Kauterskill clove, * ascends gradually near the river, where there appears scarcely space for the road and stream; in many places, the traveler looks down from a perpendicular and dizzy height upon foaming waters, that pursue a raging course among the rocks, falling with a deafening noise from precipice to precipice. On the northern side of this river, the mountain is lofty and precipitous, exhibiting, near its base, stupendous perpendicular walls of argillaceous red sandstone and graywacke slate, in strata nearly horizontal ; frequently
but a small section of the horizon can be seen. Mural precipices rise in succession, and tower above the forest ; the mountain top, which seems to overhang the spectator, is crowned by enormous ledges, resembling castles or fortifications in ruins, on which a few scattered pines preserve their bleak station, in defiance of tempests, and wave their dark verdure over the cliffs like nodding plumes. About two miles from the entrance of the clove, the Kauterskill is crossed by a bridge thrown from crag to crag over the
brawling stream, here falling in Kauterskill Falls.
cascades. The mountain seems torn asunder for the passage of the river, bearing high perpendicular walls of rock on its borders ; a short distance above, the stream falls in a circular column nearly 100 feet. In the south, the mountain rises to a great height ; its steep northern side is thickly clothed with trees, and rivulets are seen winding rapidly down the valley or sporting in cataracts.
This mountain region abounds in small streams, which dash down the rocky glens in romantic cascades, sometimes concealed by the forest, and then flashing in the light through the evergreen foliage, leaping from ledge to ledge, till they mingle their waters with the Platterkill. The ascent from the Platterkill to the base of the mountains called Round Top and High Peak, is gradual, through thick groves of maple, beech, cherry, and hemlock. The elevated valleys adjacent to these peaks, are covered with forests of lofty spruce and balsam fir, as straight as the white pine, and of a beautiful and unfading verdure ; the earth is clothed with a carpet of thick and soft velvet moss, of a delicate light green, ornamented with gay flowers and tufts of white coral-like silvery moss, and mountain sorrel.
* From kloof, Dutch, a cleft.
From these summits, the traveler at dawn of day, beholds a scene of unrivaled splendor. The sun rises in dazzling brightness over the distant Tagkannuc mountains, but the immense valley of the Hudson is still clad in the shades of night. As the sun advances, objects in the valley are gradually and dimly disclosed. Here and there appear white fogs, resting on the waters ; soon these are raised and expanded into clouds by the warmth of the sun, and tinged with gold and purple sail away far below, brushing the mountains with their dewy wings. The eye now wanders over a vast expanse, like a world in miniature. The Hudson, many miles distant, appears at the base of the mountain, diminished in appearance to a rivulet. From the
a Highlands to Albany, every town and village on its banks can be discerned ; ships, with all their canvass spread, appear dwindled to boats. The rising sun gleaming over the rivers and on the lakes of mountain and valley, renders them like crimson floods of fire. The mountains of Lake George, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the lofty ranges of Massachusetts and Connecticut are in view, and their blue, cloud-like summits seem mingled with the distant sky. The valley of the Hudson appears an immense plain checkered with groves and corn-fields. Sometimes the valley is filled with clouds, resembling a boundless ocean, while the insulated summits are in the sunshine and clear sky. When put in motion by the wind, the clouds of the valley roll like the waves of a tempestuous sea, and storms are often seen sweeping far below, shrouding a part of the landscape in midnight darkness. You hear the thunder roll, and see the lightning play beneath your feet, while the mountain heights around you are in a calm and cloudless sky. The Pine Orchard is a spot upon these mountains about seven miles from the Hudson,
where a road winds upward to the height of 2,274 feet. At this spot, upon a small plain, scattered over with forest trees, stands a hotel, called the Catskill Mountain House, which is the general resort of visiters in the summer.
The prospect from this place embraces some of the grandest views which the mountains exhibit.
3. Valleys. The long, narrow valley which contains Lake Champlain and the Hudson, is extremely irregular, being in some places 40 miles in breadth, and in others, contracted to the immediate neighborhood of the stream. Along the shores of the river, the land is generally high, with few level tracts. The valley of the Mohawk is seldom more than a mile and a half in breadth, and generally not more than a mile. It is bordered by two long ranges of hills, presenting little variety of aspect. In the first part of its course, it flows through extensive flats.
4. Rivers. The Hudson rises in the mountainous region on the west side of Lake Champlain in several small branches;
and pursues a southerly course in general, Catskill Mountain House.
to the sea at New York. Its whole length
is 324 miles ; from its mouth to Hudson, 130 miles, it is navigable for the largest ships ; and to Troy, 166 miles, for sloops. For 25 miles above New York it is a mile wide. Where it breaks through the highlands, its navigation suffers no impediment except the narrowing of the channel, and here its waters are deeper. The precipitous and broken cliffs which project towards the river render the scenery extremely
grand and romantic. The combined action of the tides, at the mouth of the Hudson, from its two outlets to the sea, carries the swell up the stream, at the rate of 15 or 25 miles an hour. Sturgeon, shad, and herring ascend this river in the spring, and are taken in great abundance. The Mohawk rises near Oneida Lake, and runs southeasterly, 135 miles, and then joins the
Hudson, a few miles above Albany. It is about 60 rods in breadth at Schenectady, gradually lessening to 12 or 16 at Utica. Its waters are clear, and the course of the river is diversified with beautiful islands. The intervals on both banks are rich and hand
This stream is very unequal, and has many falls and rapids; the whole descent from its source to the Hudson, is estimated at 367 feet. A canal, a mile and a half in length, connects the Mohawk with Wood Creek, running into Oneida Lake, and thence communicating with Lake Ontario.
The Genesee rises in Pennsyl
vania, and runs north across the View on the Mohawk Rider.
of New York into Lake
Ontario ; its whole course in this State is about 125 miles. Five miles from its mouth, at Rochester, are falls of 96 and 75 feet in descent; above these the stream is navigable for boats nearly 70 miles, when two other falls occur, of 60 and 90 feet. The harbor on the lake at the mouth of this river is called Port Genesee. Black River receives its name from the color of its waters. It rises in the Highlands north of the Mohawk, and its branches interlock with those of the Hudson; it pursues a northwesterly course of 120 miles, and falls into lake Ontario, near its outlet. It is a deep but sluggish stream, and the navigation is interrupted by falls ; a series of which, called the Long Falls, extend 14 miles. The land upon this stream is generally a rich, dark-colored mould. The St. Lawrence washes a portion of the northern limit of the State. It is wide, and has a swift current, but the navigation is obstructed by rapids. The Oswegatchie consists of two branches, which unite four miles above their entrance into the St. Lawrence. The east branch is about 120 miles long, and the west nearly 100 ; they are very crooked streams. The Oswego issues from Oneida Lake, and runs northwesterly into Lake Ontario ; it is about 40 miles long, and is a rapid stream; its navigation is assisted by locks and canals. The Saranac rises in several large ponds, and flows northeasterly 65 miles into Lake Champlain at Plattsburgh ; it is not navigable, but is a good mill stream. The Susquehanna rises in this State in a great number of branches, that spread from east to west over a tract of 160 miles. These numerous streams are collected by two large branches, the Tioga, and the East Branch, or Susquehanna, which unite shortly after passing out of this State. The east branch has a course of 140 miles in New York, and affords navigation for many rafts of timber. The Alleghany and Delaware also rise in this State.
5. Lakes. Lakes Ontario and Champlain lie on the borders of this State, but a description of these will be found elsewhere. Lake George, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, lies in the eastern part of this State, between Lake Champlain and the Hudson. It is 33 miles long and two broad. Its greatest depth is 60 fathoms. It abounds with fish, such as trout, bass, and perch. The clearness of its waters, and the beautiful scenery around it, have rendered this lake the admiration of every traveler. The following description is from the pen
of Dr. Dwight.
“Lake George is universally considered as being in itself, and in its environs, the most beautiful object of the same nature in the United States. Several European travelers, who have visited it, and who have seen the celebrated waters of Switzerland, have given it the preference The access from the south is eminently noble, being formed by two ranges of moun
tains, which, commencing their career several miles south of Fort George, extend beyond Plattsburgh, and terminate near the north lines of the State, occupying a distance of about 100 miles. Those on the east are high, bold, and, in various places, naked and hoary. Those on the west are somewhat inferior, and generally covered with a thick forest to their summits. The road for the three or four last miles passes through a forest, and conceals the lake from the view of the traveler until he arrives at the eminence upon which Fort George was built. Here is opened at once a prospect, the splendor of which is rarely exceeded.
" The whole scenery of the lake is greatly enhanced in beauty and splendor, by the progressive change which the traveler sailing on its bosom perpetually finds in his position, and by the unceasing variegations of light and shade which attend his progress ; the gradual and the sudden opening of scoops and basins, of islands and points, of promontories and summits; the continual change of their forms, and their equally gradual or sudden disappearance, impart to every object a brilliancy, life, and motion scarcely inferior to that which is seen in the images formed by the camera obscura, and in strength and distinctness greatly superior. Light and shade are here not only far more diversified, but are much more obvious, intense, and glowing, than in smooth, open countries. Every thing, whether on the land or water, is here affected by the changes of the day, and the eye, without forecast, finds itself, however disposed on ordinary occasions to inattention, instinctively engaged and fastened, with emotions approaching to rapture. The shadows of the mountains, particularly on the west, floating slowly over the bosom of the lake, and softly ascending that of the mountains on the east, presented to us in a wide expanse the uncommon and most pleasing image of one vast range of mountains, slowly moving up the ascent of another.
“ The water is probably not surpassed in beauty by any in the world ; pure, sweet, pellucid, of an elegant hue, when immediately under the eye, and at very small, as well as at greater distances, presenting a gay, luminous azure, and appearing as if a soft lustre undulated everywhere on its surface, with a continual and brilliant emanation. This fine object, however, is visible only at certain times and perhaps in particular positions. While employed on its shores, or in sailing upon its bosom, the traveler is insensibly led into one habitual and irresistible consciousness of singular salubrity, sweetness, and elegance. During the mild season, he finds an additional pleasure. The warmth of the water on the surface diffuses a soft and pleasing temperature, cooler in the day, and warmer in the evening, than that of the snore, and securing the traveler alike from inconvenience and disease. The islands are interesting, on account of their number, location, size, and figure ; their number is very great, fancifully computed at 365. Few pieces of water, and none within my knowledge, are so amply furnished. Their location is exquisite ; they are solitary, in pairs, and in groups, containing from three to perhaps 30, arranged with respect to each other, and the neighboring shores, with unceasing variety, and with the happiest conceivable relations.
“ Both the size and the figure of these islands are varied in the same delightful manner. The size ranges from a few feet, to a mile and a half in length ; the figure of most of them is oblong; a small number are round; but the variety of their appearance is peculiarly derived from their surface; a small number of them are naked rocks, and by the power of contrast, are very interesting features in the aspect of the group. Some are partially, and most are completely covered with vegetation ; some are bushy, others are ornamented with a single tree, two, three, or many trees, and those with or without the bushy attendants ; others, forming the greater number, exhibit an entire forest. Some of them of a long and narrow structure, present through various openings in their umbrage, the sky, the mountains, the points, and other distant beautiful objects, clinging to the eve as the traveler approaches and passes them. On some stand coppices impenetrably interwoven ; on a great multitude, the lofty pine with its separate boughs, lifts its head above every other tree, waving majestically in the sky ; on others, the beech, maple, and oak, with their clustering branches and lively verdure, present the strongest example of thrifty vegetation ; at the same time, on a number not small, decayed, bare, and falling trees are finely contrasted with this vivid appearance.
"The shores of the lake exhibit a similar and scarcely less striking aspect. On one part of the lake you are presented with a beach of light-colored sand, forming a long-extended border, and showing the purity of its waters in the strongest light ; on another you see a thick, dark forest, rising immediately from the rocky shore, overhanging and obscuring the water with its gloomy urnbrage; here the shore is scooped by a circular sweep ; the next bend is perhaps elliptical, and the third a mere indent; the points, also, are alternately circular, obtuse, and acute angled ; not a small number of them are long, narrow slips, resembling many of the islands, shooting either horizontally, or with an easy declension far into the lake, and covered, as are all the others, with a fine variety of forest. In many places, a smooth, sloping margin,
a for the distance of one, two, or three miles, presents a cheerful border, as the seat of present or future cultivation ; in many others, mountainous promontories ascend immediately from the
The beauties of the shore and of the islands are at least doubled by being imaged in the fine expanse below, where they are seen in perpetual succession, depicted with additional exquisiteness of form, and firmness of coloring.
“On the evening of Friday, the 1st of October, while we were returning from Ticonderoga, we were presented with a prospect superior to any which I ever beheld. An opening lay before us between the mountains on the west, and those on the east, gilded by the departing sunbeams. The lake alternately glassy and gently rippled, of a light and exquisite sapphire, gay and brilliant with the tremulous lustre already mentioned floating upon its surface, stretched in prospect to a vast distance, through a variety of larger and smaller apertures. In the chasm formed by the mountains, lay a multitude of islands, differing in size, shape, and umbrage, and clothed in deeply-shaded green. Beyond them, and often partly hidden behind the tall and variously-figured trees with which they were tufted, rose in the west and southwest a long range of distant mountains, tinged with a deep, misty azure, and crowned with an immense succession of lofty pines.
“ Above the mountains, and above each other, were extended in numbers, long, streaming clouds of the happiest form, and painted with red and orange light, in all their diversities of tincture ; between them the sky was illumined with a vivid, yellow lustre. The tall trees on the western mountains lifted their heads in the crimson glory, and on this back-ground displayed their diversified forms with a distinctness and beauty never surpassed. On a high and exactly semicircular summit, the trees ascending far without limbs, united their crowns above, and thus formed a majestic and extensive arch in the sky, dark, exactly defined, and exactly corresponding with the arch of the summit below. Between this crown and the mountain, the vivid orange light shining through the grove, formed a third arch equally extended and elegantly striped with black by the stems of the trees. Directly over the gap, through which this combination of beauty was presented to us, the moon far southward in her handsomest crescent, sat on the eastern, and the evening star on the western side of the opening, at exactly equal distances from the bordering mountains, and shining from a sky perfectly pure and serene, finished the prospect. The crimson lustre, however, soon faded ; the mountains lost their gilding; and the clouds, changing their fine glow into a dull, leaden-colored hue, speedily vanished. The lake, though still brilliant, became misty and dim; the splendor of the moon and of Hesper inc ased and trembled on its surface, until they both retired from the western mountains, and, just as we reached the shore, left the world to the darkness of night.”
Lake George was called by the French Lac Sacrement, on account of the purity of its waters. An outlet three miles in length, and of 100 feet descent, connects it with Lake Champlain. Many battles were fought on its borders during the early wars with the French, and in the Revolution. The mountains on the western shore abound in deer. In the spring the hunters set fire to the dry grass upon these mountains, and the tender herbs, which subsequently spring forth, attract droves of these animals ; hundreds of them are killed every year.
A cluster of small lakes lie toward the western part of this State and discharge their waters, by the Oswego River, into Lake Ontario ; the principal of these are, beginning in the east, first, Oneida Lake, 20 miles long from east to west, and about 3} miles wide ; it receives Wood Creek at the east end, by which, and a canal, it communicates with the Mohawk ; this is a very beautiful lake, and is celebrated for the abundance of its fish. Second, Skeneateles Lake, 15 miles long and 1 to 1} miles wide ; this also abounds with fish, and its trout are very large. Third, Owasco Lake, 11 miles long, and 1 to 2 wide. Fourth, Cayuga Lake, 38 miles long from north to south, and 1 to 4 wide ; in some places the shore of this lake is precipitous, but, in general, it is a gentle declivity from the surrounding country to the water. The waters are somewhat shallow, but sufficient for navigation. Several steamboats ply upon them, and are often crowded by water parties, in the fine season. A bridge, of a mile in length, crosses the north end of the lake. Fifth, Seneca Lake, nearly parallel with Cayuga, 35 miles long. and 2 to 4 wide ; at its south end is an extensive marsh. Sixth, Crooked Lake, 18 miles long,
; and from 11 to 1 mile wide ; at the centre this lake is divided into branches; the outlet is a fine mill stream. Seventh, Canandaigua Lake, 14 miles long and 1 wide, a beautiful sheet