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the group, were the Totosh and Cradle-Top Mountains, whose base we had left in the morning, and the rugged peaks of Granite Point and Presque Isle — the latter constituting the geological Hoboken of Lake Superior.* On looking down from the cliffs into the water, we could perceive, through the transparent medium, vast angular masses of rock, rising from the unfathomed depth of the lake. Horrid chasms appear in many places, reaching up to the surface, particularly on the north-east side, which appeared to have sustained the heaviest weight of the lake tempests.
We rambled about all parts of the island, until the perceptible increase of the breeze that carried us over, admonished us to betake ourselves to the boat, and regain the main land, without loss of time. Like the gathering cry of a bird, this sign brought us all together; and while preparing to honor a rustic meal, on the top of the island, each one exhibited the results of his or her discovery, in the natural history of the island, not omitting the children, who came each with an interrogatory and a 'specimen. There are some small veins of the micaceous oxyd, and of the sulphuret of iron, in some parts of the syenite. We found some strawberries still, in shaded recesses, on the 14th of August, and a kind of raspberries, called Osh-keezh-ig-omin, or Eye-berries, by the Indians, together with the pubescent, or wild currant. The Sorbus Americana exists in a luxuriant state. The hawk and gull, by their cries, appeared to look on us as intruders on their ancient dominion, and several of them paid dearly for their turbulence.
Embarking to leeward, we got out into the lake very handsomely, but soon found that the men would have to tug against a head wind, quartering on our larboard bow. The crew worked, however, manfully, and we got in to the west curve of Granite Point, before sunset. Castle-Island bears due north from this Point.
CASTLE-Island formed the turning point of our excursion, and the principal object of adventure, but by no means the most striking object of curiosity. We were much interested in the scenery of the contiguous or south-western shores of the lake, and came leisurely along them, on our return home. They are, from a distance, of primitive construction, and exbibit a succession of mountainous elevations, two of the most prominent of which have been mentioned under their Indian names, the Breast, (Totosh,) and the Cradle-Top. The names are quite appropriate, taking into view both shape and juxtaposition, and the association indicates that these tribes sometimes direct their thoughts to other objects than war. I ascended the Totosh Mountain in 1831, and found the view from its summit one of the most sublime which it has ever fallen to my lot to behold. The lake in all its vast extent, and gorgeous outline, spreads out immediately from its base; and the
eye looks down upon a panorama magnificent beyond description! Directly in front is an Archipelago of islands and peninsulas, beyond which is a liquid plain, of which no ocean can
* It consists of serpentine rock, and the associated minerals.
29 VOL. XVI.
display a broader surface to the eye. Eastward, are seen the distant white cliffs of Grand Island and the Pictured Rocks. Westward, the coast can be discerned as far as the Huron Islands, and even the Mamelles of Kewgwenon, embracing a succession of peninsulas, surmounted with cliffs, each fainter and fainter in their outlines, until they are blended with the sky, at the distance of ninety miles. Southward, the eye falls, as it were, on a sea of granite cones, rising one beyond another, till they fill the entire vista. And during this view, the spectator stands on a pinnacle of but a few rods area. Curious hieroglyphic inscriptions are said to exist, on the face of a rock, in a part of these mountains.
CHOCOLATE River enters the lake in the most southerly part of a bay extending four or five leagues south of this elevation. As this stream forms the utmost boundary of the recent cession of territory by the Indians to the United States, and nothing was known of its character but from the reports of the natives, I had reasons for exploring it. Like most of the lake streams, its mouth is choked up with sand, over which it became necessary for the men to drag the barge. Inside the bar, the water is deep enough for the anchorage of any vessel, and of a clear blue color; and its width and volume were found to be such as to indicate at once the propriety of the Indian name, Gitchy Sebing, or the place of the Great River. Great it is, compared with any other on the lower part of the lake ; and it is probably destined, at a future period, to be occupied as one of the upper lake harbors.
The finest forests of spar pine I have seen in the north, are found upon its banks. It has a lively, strong current, and by the clearness of its waters, denotes its rise in uplands, and not in swamps. It has its main course from the west, penetrating, by its valley, through the granitical region, and will be found, probably, in the line of the most eligible future route for a road, in the direction to Ontonagon. Notwithstanding the rapidity of its current, I found the stream obstructed, at several points, with fallen trees, which required the axe in clearing a passage. Ores of iron occur on its banks, and the Indians report that its mountainous borders are of a highly metalliferous character. Wherever we landed, in the pine woods common to its banks, we found the whortleberry in surprising quantities, and as uniformly observed the pigeon glutting itself upon this fruit. We frequently drove up the saw-bill and the duck and mallard from their hitherto undisturbed nooks in the stream. Although my attention was particularly directed to the subject, no evidences of recent Indian occupancy were observed, nor was a single native encountered on its waters; a fact which is, perhaps, owing to the embarrassments in the navigation, above-mentioned.
The harbor formed by this extensive and rock-bound island, is probably one of the most magnificent in America. Certainly, there is nothing bearing the least approach to it, in the region of the lakes. Vessels may enter it, both from the east and west, and when within
its noble precincts, they are completely land-locked, and secure from any wind; nor is there a dollar's expenditure required to improve that which the hand of Nature has perfected. Whether the future commerce and resources of the country will ever demand its use, seems now questionable, only perhaps from the very imperfect knowledge we have of the country. As yet, it is too remote from the seats of population, to tell what effect its settlement may have upon the development of its resources. When the western states number a population of as many millions as they now do thousands, it is probable the region of Lake Superior will have its towns, its harbors, its mills, founderies, and manufactories, to an extent that at this day passes all sober calculation.
It is impossible to regard the region, created as it is on the grandest physical scale, with its fine bays, rivers, harbors, fisheries, pineries, and mineral opulence, without anticipating for it a valuable future commerce. Already there is a perceptible dawning in its prosperity. Enterprise, no longer confined to the single branch of the fur-trade, has directed attention to its fisheries. Within a few years, several vessels have been constructed at St. Mary's, and are now chiefly employed in this business; and there are indications of a large amount of new capital being directed in the same way. Many thousands of barrels of the finest fish have been sent down annually from this lake, * for the last four or five years, to an eastern market. Scarcely a sandy island or shore has been examined, which does not turn out a fishery. The lumber-trade is a business which will be introduced the moment the resources in pine, of more southerly regions, are exhausted. There is an abundant water-power upon most of its streams, to answer the largest demands of both mills and founderies. The period for opening its mineral wealth may be delayed, by causes operating in all new countries; but these causes will gradually disappear; and it would be questioning the light of experience, to doubt that its mines are destined to give employment to a large capital, and thus to add greatly to its prospective commerce. The lake itself, along with other portions of the great lake chain, must become a nursery for seamen and ship-building, and rise to importance in this department. The period is perhaps approaching, more rapidly than is supposed, when the rich agricultural prairie states of the south will enter into a busy exchange for the articles enumerated, and thus indicate the true value to the Union, of a region that is now so little known and appreciated.
Le Portail. We embraced the calm weather of our return, to review the western part of the coast of the Pictured Rocks, and particularly to explore the recesses of the Grand Cavern. The wide and gaping mouth of the vast orifice in the rock-wall sent back its echoes to the intruding lake, at the time we passed up, with a tone that seemed to issue from the throat of a volcano. We now found it a scene of peace.
The hoarse element had ceased to roll its waves into the open jaws of this infuriated monster. There was scarcely breeze enough to dimple the surface of the lake. And as we draw near the opening, lingering upon our oars, the curiosity to enter it prevailed.
No gateway or human arch was ever constructed with such massive proportions. As the men rowed in, their outstretched oars covered but a small part of the space, which all at once enlarged to an extent which it was impossible to measure by the eye. The excitement of so sudden a passage from the glare of open day-light to the dim and damp recess of cavern-twilight, was partaken by all; and after proceeding a few hundred feet, we sat silently gazing on the high overhanging roof, the grim and massy walls, and the wide area of clear, deep waters, revealed by the stream of light, pouring in through the orifice by which we had just entered. There is a feeling under such circumstances, which no language can reach. Its effect upon all was instantaneous, and for a few moments every eye was fixed, every voice was mute. The area is so much largerthan could be supposed, that wonder is at highest point. The whole may be fancied by supposing a crater laid horizontally, into which, and out of which, the lake flows; and the resemblance is heightened by its dark atmosphere, partially lighted up, by the strong rays of exterior day shooting in. The light is sufficient to reveal the whole outline, which is that of a noble rotunda, whose stone ceiling, sweating large drops of water, hangs in rude magnificence, a hundred feet over head. • Beautiful!' I exclaimed, breaking silence, as I took out my travelling port-folio to make a sketch ; but not without a wish, at the same time, to dissipate fears which were plainly depicted in the female countenances beside me. «Horrid ! retorted my little daughter, in a sprightly tone, casting her eyes to the threatening and massive roof, a single flake of which, falling off, would have crushed the party. Perhaps these unpremeditated exclamations indicate the leading impressions. Between the horrid and the beautiful, the whole is included.
Gigantic as the scene is, it is difficult to establish any just rule for judging of heights and distances. The main entrance is from the north. There are arched ways, or openings, leading from the main cavern through the solid stratification, into the lake, both east and west. I had first thought of making our exit through the latter, but seeing a glare of light striking on a reef of pebbles, at the farther extremity of one of the deepest and darkest passages east, I proceeded to ascertain the cause of this singular illumination ; not deeming it possible, however, for the boat, with its appendages of awning and oar-racks, to pass through. We were not only deceived in deeming the passage so small, but also as to the source of the transmitted light, for the passage led us out into a wide semicircular curve of the shore, whose mural walls had been partially undermined by the water, and tumbled into the lake, giving rise to the reef of pebbles, whose glare, seen from the dark cave, bad been our beacon, in finding out this curious passage. By a little delay and dexterity, we avoided these ruinous masses of fallen rock, and emerged into the open lake, a good distance east of our entry into this extraordinary cavern. Whether the same passage had ever been made by others, there were no means of judging. Indians had probably visited the cavern in their canoes. I had myself before entered the rotunda in this species of conveyance. But it is quite clear, from local tradition, that no American or European had ever before effected the passage described,
Come hither, ye who fear the grave, and call it lone and drear,
Stoop down and pluck the fragrant bud, just opening fresh above
See yonder river sparkling through the foliage of the grove,
Look round this garden of the dead, where creep green myrtle vines,
And now bend upward still your steps, to gain the highest peak,
The city spires, which look to Heaven, in whose high cause they stand,
Descend again, and pause beside this vine-encircled tomb;
do not fair Nature's tones awake the soul to bliss ? And does not thought ascend to heaven from such a spot as this? And e'en the grave, doth not its voice, amid such flowery ground, Say to the weary sons of earth, 'Here sweet repose is found ?'
Mount Hope! thy consecrated walks I never more may tread,