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Catskill Mountain House

Chapter 13

Sketches Continued

From "The Catskill Mountains And The Region Around" (1867) By Rev. Charles Rockwell
Willis Gaylord Clark.-His Sketch of the Mountains, the Road to them and Views from them.-Similar Sketches by Tyrone Power, N. P. Willis, Park Benjamin, Harriet Martineau, Mrs. Ellett, Dr. Murdoch, Bayard Taylor, and Rev. Dr. Cuyler.
 
"IMPRESSIONS OF AMERICA, DURING 1833-35."
BY TYRONE POWER, ESQ.

 

A stage was in waiting at the landing-place, which quickly took us to the town, where we took a carriage directly to the Mountain House, which we had marked from the river as the morning sun lighted it up, looking like a white dove-cot raised against the dark hill-side.

I will say nothing of our winding, rocky road, or of the glimpses we now and then had of the nether world, which "momentarily grew less," as, whilst halting for breath, we curiously peeped through the leafy screen, flying from the faded leaf and drooping flower of scorching summer, and finding ourselves once more surrounded by all the lovely evidences of early spring. I walked more than half way, and never felt less weary than when I rested on the natural platform, which, thrust from the hill-side, forms a stand whence may be worshipped one of the most glorious prospects ever given by the Creator to man's admiration.

In the cool shade we stood here, and from this eyry looked upon the silver line drawn through the vast rich valley far below, doubtful of its being the broad Hudson, upon whose bosom we had so lately floated in a huge vessel crowded with passengers; for this vessel we searched in vain ; but, by the aid of a telescope, made out one of the same kind, which appeared to flit along like some fairy skiff on a pantomimic lake, made all radiant with gold and pearl.

How delightful were the sensations attendant upon a first repose in this chant-led climate, enhanced as these were by the remembrance of the broiling we had so recently endured! I never remember to have risen with feelings more elastic, or in higher spirits, than I did after my first night's rest upon the mountain.

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A ride of some three miles brought us as close as might be to the spot (the Falls), and a walk of as many hundred yards presented to view a scene as well suited for a witch's festival as any spot in the old world.

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With two others, I decided upon walking back, and pleasant it is to walk through these quiet wild-wood paths, where the chirps of the birds and the nestle of the leaves alone break in upon the repose. These mountains are everywhere thickly clothed with wood, save only the platform where the house is built; deer abound on the lower ridges, and the bear yet finds ample cover here. A number of these animals are killed every season by an indefatigable old Nimrod who lives in the valley beneath, and who breeds some very fine dogs to this sport.

I did promise unto myself that during the coming November I would return up here, for the purpose of seeing Bruin baited in his proper lair; but regret to say my plan was frustrated. It must be an exciting chase to rouse the lord of this wild mountain forest on a sunny morning, with the first hoar frost yet crisping the feathery pines; and to hear the deep-mouthed hounds giving tongue where an hundred echoes wait to bay the fierce challenge back, and to hear the sharp crack of the rifle rattle through the thin air.

 

Chapter 13 SKETCHES

Willis Gaylord Clark.-His Sketch of the Mountains, the Road to them and Views from them.-Similar Sketches by Tyrone Power, N. P. Willis, Park Benjamin, Harriet Martineau, Mrs. Ellett, Dr. Murdoch, Bayard Taylor, and Rev. Dr. Cuyler.

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