At the North of Bearcamp Water

Cover of book At the North of Bearcamp Water
Categories: Fiction » Classic

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TEAIL. Of the many roads which start northward from Bearcamp Water, every one is either warded off by the Sandwich range into the Saco or into the Pemigewasset valley, or else smothered in the dark forest-clad ravines between the mountain ridges. From Con way on the east to Campion and Thornton on the west, there is no rift in the mountain wall through which travel flows. There was a time, however, before the Civil War, when near the middle of the great barrier the human current found an outlet southward from the upper end of Swift River intervale to the Bearcamp Valley. Sitting by the fireside of a sturdy Albany farmer as the December moonlight gleamed upon the level snows of the intervale, I heard stories of the lumbermen's journeys through those dark and narrow passes. Great spars and masts, the farmer said, had been hauled out of the valley under the frowning cliffs of Paugus, and carried safely to the level fields of Sandwich. Then there arose a storm such as old men know but once in a lifetime, and the passes were filledwith tangled masses of wrecked forest. All the axes in Albany and Tamworth could not have cut a way through the snarl without many weeks of exhausting labor. So at least thought the lumbermen who attempted to pass the abattis raised by the storm. Years elapsed and the road became only a matter of vague tradition. Those who climbed the peak of Passaconaway or the lofty ledges of Paugus saw below them a panorama of ruin. Bleached bones of the great spruce forest lay there piled in magnificent confusion. Over the debris, springing from its midst, a dense growth of mountain ash, wild cherry, and hobble-bush made the chaos more chaotic. No trace of the lost trail was visible even to the most fanciful eye. Between Paugus and Chocorua the hurr...

At the North of Bearcamp Water
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