Kaatscast: the Catskills Podcast
April 14, 2020

John Burroughs' Heart of the Southern Catskills

John Burroughs' Heart of the Southern Catskills
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Full audio edition of John Burroughs’ classic essay, "The Heart of the Southern Catskills." 

In 1886, Princeton geology professor Arnold Henry Guyot determined by survey that Slide Mountain, far to the southwest of the Hudson-hugging mountaintops, was the highest peak in the region, reaching over 4,000 feet. The opening of resorts like the Catskill Mountain House and the Grand Hotel at Highmount drew tourists upstate, and John Burroughs’ account of his 1885 ascent of Slide Mountain offered vacationers an enticing challenge.

Hiking Slide Mountain became then, as it is now, a key attraction. Enjoy the climb with him.

Original 2-disc set, produced in partnership with the John Burroughs' Woodchuck Lodge, is available at Silver Hollow Audio.

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Welcome to cats cast, a biweekly podcast delivering interviews, arts, culture and history from New York's Catskill Mountains. In this episode, an audio edition of john Burroughs classic essay, the heart of the Southern Catskills, narrated by Roland Smith, and followed by an interview with Bill Burns. This is part two of an audio set we issued in partnership with the john Burroughs with Chuck Lodge. We hope these full length audio additions by the Catskills most famous naturalist, will be a welcomed diversion from our current state of affairs. In 1886, a Princeton geology professor determined by survey that slide mountain far to the southwest of the Hudson hugging mountain tops was the highest peak in the region, reaching over 4000 feet. The opening of resorts like the Catskill Mountain House and the Grand Hotel at high mount drew tourists Upstate and john Burroughs account of his 1885 ascent of slide mountain, offered vacationers and enticing challenge. Hiking sled mountain became then as it is now, a key attraction. Enjoy the climb with him. But first, a word from our sponsor the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway. In this restrictive time, consider supporting your local restaurants and cafes by buying gift cards for future use, either for yourself or as a gift. Many eateries are offering online ordering with pickup at the door. Use the web to visit our hospitality businesses along the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway and discover special deals for future visits make a contribution to your local food pantry to help those volunteers provide food for those in need, or who simply can't get out on their own. Most are delivering food so consider volunteering as a driver. And our wine and spirits shops are open with a very specific order and pick up requirements give them a call. At the moment our theater exhibit spaces and arts centers are taking a backseat and focused on planning for later in the season. make a contribution to be sure that doors open again, with all the cultural programs our communities Enjoy. Thank you. The heart of the Southern Catskills. Looking at the southern and more distant Catskills from the Hudson River on the east, or on looking at them from the west from some point of Vantage in Delaware County. You see amid the group of mountains, one that looks like the back and shoulders of a gigantic horse. The horse has got his head down grazing, the shoulders are high, and the descent from them down his neck very steep. If he were to lift up his head, one sees that it would be carried far above all other peaks, and that the noble beast might gaze straight to his peers and the Adirondacks or the White Mountains. But the lowered head never comes up. Some spell are in Chapman keeps it down there amid the mighty herd and the high round shoulders and the smooth strong back of the steed are alone visible. The peak to which I refer is slide mountain, the highest of the Catskills by some 200 feet, and probably the most inaccessible certainly the hardest to get a view of it is hedged about so completely by other peaks. The greatest mountain of the mall and apparently the least willing to be seen only at a distance of 30 or 40 miles is it seemed to stand up above all other peaks. It takes its name from a landslide, which occurred many years ago down at steep northern side or down the neck of the grazing steed the main of spruce and balsam fir was stripped away for many 100 feet, leaving a long gray streak visible from afar. Slide mountain is the center and the Chief of the Southern Catskills. Streams flow from its base and from the base of its subordinates to all points of the compass, the rondout and the never synced to the south, the beaver killed to the west, the sofas to the north, and several lesser streams to the east. With its summit as the center, a radius of 10 miles would include within the circle described, but very little cultivated land, only a few poor wild farms in some of the numerous valleys. The soil is poor, a mixture of gravel and clay and is subject to slides. It lies in the valleys in ridges. In small helix, as if dumped there from a huge cart. the tops of the Southern Catskills are all kept with a kind of conglomerate, or putting stone or rock of submitted quartz pebbles, which underlies the coal measures. This rock disintegrates under the action of the elements, and the sand and gravel which result are carried into the valleys and make up the most of the soil. From the northern Catskills so far as i know them, this rock has been swept clean, low down in the valleys, the old red sandstone crops out and as you go west into Delaware County, in many places, it alone remains and makes up most of the soil. All the super incumbent rock having been carried away. Slide mountain had been a summons and a challenge to me for many years. I had fished every stream that it nourished and had camped in the wilderness on all sides of it. And whenever I caught a glimpse of it summit, I had promised myself to set foot there before another season should pass, but the seasons came and went and my feed got no nimbler and slide mountain no lower, until finally one July 2 in by an energetic friend. We thought to bring slide to terms by approaching him through the mountains on the east. With a farmer's son for a guide we struck in by way of Weaver hollow, and after a long and desperate climb, contented ourselves with the Wittenberg instead of slide. The view from the Wittenberg is in many respects more striking as you are perched immediately above a broader and more distant sweep of country and are only about 200 feet lower. You're here on the eastern brink of the Southern Catskills and the earth falls away at your feet and curves down through an immense stretch of forest till it joins the plane of shokin and fence sweeps away to the Hudson and beyond. Slide is southwest of you, six or seven miles distant, but is visible only when you climb into a tree top. I climbed and saluted him and promised to call next time we passed the night on the Wittenberg sleeping on the moss between two decayed logs with balsam balls thrust into the ground, and meeting and forming a canopy over us. In coming off the mountain in the morning, we ran upon a huge porcupine, and I learned for the first time that the tale of a porcupine goes with a spring like a trap. It seems to be a set lock. And you know sooner touch with the weight of a hare one of the quills than the tail leaps up in the most surprising manner. And the left is not on your side. The Beast captured along the path in my front, and I threw myself upon him, shielded by my roll of blankets. He submitted quietly to the indignity and leave very still under my blankets with his broad tail press close to the ground. This I proceeded to investigate, but had not fairly made the beginning when it went off like a trap and my hand and wrist were full of coils. This caused me to let up on the creature when it lumbered away till it tumbled down a precipice. The quills were quickly removed from my hand when we gave chase. When we came up to him, he had wedged himself in between the rocks so that he presented only a back bristling with quills, with the tail lying in ambush below. He had chosen his position well, and seem to defy us. After amusing ourselves by repeatedly springing his tail and receiving the quills and a rotten stick. We made a slip news out of a spruce root, and after much maneuvering, got over his head and let him forth in what a peevish injured tone the creature did complain of our unfair tactics. he protested and protested, and when burned and scolded like some infirm old band tormented my boys. His game after we let him fourth was to keep himself as much as possible in the shape of a ball. But with two sticks and the cord, we finally threw him over on his back and exposed his quickness and vulnerable underside, when he fairly surrendered and seemed to say, Now you may do with me as you like, his great chisel like teeth, which are quite as formidable as those of the Woodchuck. He does not appear to us at all in his defense, but relies entirely upon his quills and when those fail him, he has done for, after amusing ourselves with him a while longer, we released him and went on our way. The trail to which we had committed ourselves let us down into woodland Valley or retreat, which so took my eye by its fine trout Brook. It's superb mountain scenery and it's sweet, secluded. But I marked it for my own and promised myself I'll return to it at no distant day. This promise I kept and pitched my tent there twice during that season. both occasions were sort of laying siege to slide, but we only skirmished with him at a distance, the actual assault was not undertaken. But the following year are reinforced by two other brave climbers, we determined upon the assault, and upon making it from this the most difficult side. The regular way is by big engine Valley, where the climb is comparatively easy, and where it is often made by women. But from Woodland Valley, only men may say the ascent. Larkins is the upper inhabitant, and from our camping ground near his clearing, we set out early one June morning. One would think nothing could be easier to find than a big mountain, especially when one is in camped upon a stream which he knows springs out of it's very lines. But for some reason or other, we got the idea that slide mountain was a very slippery customer and must be approached cautiously. We had tried from several points in the valley to get a view of it. But we're not quite sure we had seen it's very head went on the Wittenberg, a neighboring peak the year before, I had caught a brief glimpse of it only by climbing a dead tree and cleaning up for a moment from its top most branch. It would seem as if the mountain had taken every precaution to shut itself off from a near view. He was a shy mountain, then we were about to stock it through six or seven miles of primitive woods. And we seem to have some unreasonable fear that it might elude us. We have been told of parties who had to say the ascent from this side and had returned baffled and bewildered in a tangle of primitive woods. The very bigness of the mountain baffles one. It is all mountain whichever way you turn, and one turn sometimes in such cases before he knows it, the foot finds a steep and rugged ascent. The eye is of little service, one must be sure of his bearings and push boldly on and up. One is not unlike a flea upon a great shaggy beast looking for the animal's head, or even like a much smaller and much less nimble creature, he may waste his time and steps and think he has reached the head when he's only on the rump. Hence, I questioned our host, who had several times made the ascent flawlessly Larkins lead his old felt had upon the table and placing one hand upon one side of it, and the other upon the other said, their slide lies between the two forks of the stream. Just as my hat lies between my two hands. David will go with you to the forks and then you will push right on up. But Larkin's was not right, though he had traversed all those mountains many times over. The peak we were about to set out for did not lie between the forks, but exactly at the head of one of them, the beginnings of the stream or in the very path of the slide, as we afterward found. We broke camp early in the morning and with our blankets strapped on our backs and rations in our pockets for two days, sent out along an ancient and in places and obliterated Mark road that followed and crossed and recrossed the stream. The morning was bright and warm, but the wind was fitful and petulant, and I predicted rain. What a forest solitude are obstructed and dilapidated wood road led us through five miles of primitive Woods before we came to the forks, three miles before we came to the burnt chatti a name merely no shadie there now for 25 years past, the ravages of the bark, peelers were still visible, now in a space thickly strewn with soft and decayed trunks of hemlock trees, and overgrown with wild cherry, than in huge mossy logs scattered through the beach and Maple Woods. Some of these logs were so soft and mossy that one could sit or recline upon them, as upon a sofa. But the prettiest thing was the stream soliloquies zing in such musical tones there amid the moss covered rocks and boulders, how clean it looked, what purity. Civilization corrupts the streams as it corrupts the Indian. Only in such remote woods, can you now see a book in all its original freshness and beauty. Only the sea and the mountain forest book are pure. All between is contaminated more or less by the work of man. And ideal trout Brook was this now hurrying now loitering now deepening around the great boulder now gliding evenly over a pavement of green, gray stone. Then pebbles, no sediment or stain of any kind, but white and sparkling as snow, water, and nearly as cool indeed the water of all this Catskill region is the best in the world. For the first few days, one feels as if he could almost live on the water alone. He cannot drink enough of it. In this particular, it is indeed the good Bible land, a land of rocks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills. Near the forks we caught her thought we caught through an opening or glimpse of slide, was it slide? Was it the head or the rump, or the shoulder of the shaggy monster we were in quest of. At the forks there was a bewildering maze of underbrush and gray trees, and the way did not seem at all certain, nor was David who was then at the end of his reckoning, able to reassure us what in assaulting a mountain as in assaulting a fort boldness is the watchword. We pressed forward following a line of blaze trees for nearly a mile. Then, turning to the left, began the ascent of the mountain. It was steep, hard, claiming, we saw numerous marks of both bears and deer. But no birds, save at long intervals, the winter Rin, flitting here and there and darting under logs and rubbish like a mouse. Occasionally, it's gushing lyrical song would break the silence. After we had climbed an hour or two, the clouds began to gather and presently the rain began to come down. This was discouraging, but we put our backs up against trees and rocks and waited for the shower to pass. They were wet with the showers of the mountain and embrace the rocks for water shelter, as they did in Job's time. But the shower was light and brief, and we were soon underway again. Three hours from the forks brought us out on the broad level back of the mountain upon which slide considered as an isolated pig is reared. After a time we entered the dense growth of spruce, which covered the slight depression in the table of the mountain, the moss was deep, the ground spongy, the light dim, the arrow hushed. The transition from the open leafy woods to this dim, silent, weird Grove was very marked. It was like the passage from the street into the temple. Here we paused a while and ate our lunch, and refreshed ourselves with water gathered from a little will sunk in the moss. The quiet and repose of this spruce Grove proved to be the calm that goes before the storm. As we passed out of it, we came plump upon the almost perpendicular battlements of slide. The mountain rose like a huge rock bound fortress from this plane like expanse. It was ledge upon ledge precipice upon precipice, up which and over which we made our way slowly, and with great labor, now pulling ourselves up by our hands, then cautiously finding knishes for our feet, and zigzagging right and left from shelf to shelf. This northern side of the mountain was thickly covered with moss and lichens, like the north side of a tree. This made it soft to the foot and broke many a slip and fall everywhere a stunted growth of yellow birch, mountain ash and screws and fur, opposed our progress. The Ascent is such an angle with a roll of blankets on your back is not unlike climbing a tree, every limb resists your progress and pushes you back so that when we last reached the summit after 12 or 1500 feet of this sort of work, the fight was about all out of the best of us. It was then nearly two o'clock so that we had been about seven hours in coming seven miles. Here on the top of the mountain we overtook spring, which had been gone from the valley nearly a month. red clover was opening in the valley below, and wild strawberries just ripening. On the summit, the yellow birch was just hanging out it's catechins and the claytonia or spring beauty wasn't bloom. The leaf buds of the trees were just bursting, making a faint mist of green, which is the eyes swept downward gradually deepened until it became a dense massive cloud in the valleys. At the foot of the mountain, the clintonian or northern green Lily, and the low shed bush are showing their berries but long before the top was reached, they were found in bloom. I had never before stood amid blooming plutonium, a flower of April and looked down upon a field that held ripening strawberries. Every 1000 feet elevation seemed to make about 10 days difference in the vegetation so that the season was a month or more later on the top of the mountain. And then added space. A very pretty flower which we began to meet with. Well up on the mountainside was the painted Trillium, the petals white veined with pink. The low stunted growth of spruce and for which close the top of slide has been cut away over a small space on the highest point, laying open the view on nearly all sides. Here we sat down and enjoyed our triumph. We saw the world as the hawk or the balloonist sees it when he is 3000 feet in the air. how soft and flowing all the outlines of the hills and mountains beneath has looked, the forest dropped down and undulated away over them, covering them like a carpet. To the east, we looked over the nearby Wittenberg range to the Hudson and beyond. To the south pika moves with it sharp crest, and Table Mountain with its long level top with the two conspicuous objects. In the West, Mount Graham and double top, about 3800 feet each arrested the eye, violin or front to the north. We looked over the top of Panther mountain to the multitudinous peaks of the Northern Catskills. All was mountain, and forest on every hand, civilization seemed to have done a little more than to have scratched this rough, Shaggy surface of the earth, here and there. In any such view, the wild the Aboriginal the geographical greatly predominate, the works of men dwindle, and the original features of the huge globe come out. Every single object or point is dwarfed, the Valley of the Hudson is only a wrinkle in the Earth's surface, you discover with a feeling of surprise that the great thing is the earth itself, which stretches away on every hand so far beyond your Ken the Arabs believe that mountains steady the earth and hold it together. But they have only to get on the top of a high one to see how insignificant mountains are, and how adequate the earth looks to get along without them. To the imaginative oriental people mountain seem to mean much more than they do to us. They were sacred. They were the abodes of their divinities, they offered their sacrifices upon them. In the Bible, mountains are used as a symbol of that which is great and holy. Jerusalem is spoken of as a holy mountain. The Syrians were beaten by the children of Israel because said they very gods are gods of the hills. Therefore were they stronger than we. It was on Mount horam that God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, and on Sinai that he delivered to him the law. josefus says that the Hebrew shepherds never pasture their flocks on cyanide, believing it to be the abode of Jehovah. the solitude of mountaintops is peculiarly impressive, and it is certainly easier to believe the deity appeared in a burning bush there than in the valley below. When the clouds of heaven to come down and envelop the top of the mountain, how such a circumstance must have impressed the old God fearing Hebrews. Moses knew well how to surround the law with the pomp and circumstance that would inspire the deepest off and reverence. But when the clouds came down and enveloped us on slide mountain, the Granger the salinity were gone in a twinkling. They portentous looking clouds proved to be nothing but base fog that wet us and extinguished the world for us. Our team and rosy and humdrum the scene instantly became, but when the fog lifted, and we looked from under it, as from under a just raised lid, and the eye plunged again like an escaped bird into those vast gulfs of space that opened at our feet. The feeling of Granger and solemnity quickly came back. The first one we filled on top of slide after we'd got some rest was a one and water. Several of us cast about right and left but no sign of water was found, but water must be had. So we all started off deliberately to hunt it up. We had not gone many 100 yards before we chanced upon an ice cave beneath some rocks, vast masses of ice with crystal pools of water near this was good luck indeed, then put a new and brighter face on this situation. Slide mountain enjoys a distinction which no other mountain in the state so far as is known does, it has a thrush peculiar to itself. This thrush was discovered and described by Eugene P. Bucknell of New York in 1880, and has been named Vic Nels thrush, a better name would have been slide mountain thrush. The birds so far has been found only on this mountain. I did not see or hear it upon the wittenburg, which is only a few miles distant, and only 200 feet lower. In its appearance to the eye among the trees, one would not distinguish it from the gray cheeked thrush of Baird, or the all of back thrush, but it's song is totally different. The moment I heard it, I said, there is a new bird a new thrush. For the quality of all thrush songs is the same. A moment war and I knew it was big Mills thrush. The song is in a minor key finer, more attenuated, and more under the breath than that of any other thrush. It seemed as if the bird was blowing in a delicate slender, golden tube, so fine, and yet so flute like, and resonant, the song appeared. At times, it was like a musical whisper of great sweetness and power. The birds were numerous about the summit, but we saw them nowhere else. No other thrush was seen, though a few times during our stay, I caught a mere echo the hermit song far down the mountainside bird I was not prepared to see or hear was the black pole warbler. A bird usually found much farther north. But here it was amid the balsam firs otter ring it's simple lisping song. The rocks on the tops of these mountains are quite sure to attract one's attention. Even if you have no why for such things. They are masses of light reddish conglomerate composed of round wave worn quartz pebbles. Every pebble has been shaped and polished upon some agency COEs, probably the Devonian, the rock disintegrates where it is most exposed to the weather, and forms a loose, Sandy and pebbly soil. These rocks form the floor of the coal formation. But in the Catskill region, only the floor remains the superstructure has never existed, or has been swept away. Hence, one would look for a coal mine here over his head in the air, rather than under his feet. This rock did not have to climb up here as we did, the mountains stooped and took it upon us back in the bottom of the old seas, and then got lifted up again. This happened so long ago that the memory of the oldest inhabitants of these parts yields no clue to the time a pleasant task we had in re flooring and reroofing the log hut with balsam boughs against the night, plenty of small balsams grew all about, and we soon had a huge pile of their branches in the old hot. What a transformation. This fresh green carpet and our fragrant bed, like the deep furred robe of some huge animal right in that dingy interior. Two or three things disturbed our sleep. A couple of strong beef tea taken for supper disturbed mine been the porcupines kept up such a grunting and chattering near our heads, just on the other side of the log, that sleep was difficult. In my wakeful mood. I was a good deal annoyed by a little rabbit that kept whipping in at our dilapidated door and nibbling at our bread and hard tech. he persisted, even after the gray of the morning appeared, then about four o'clock and begin gently to rain. I think I heard the first drop that fell. My companions were all in sound sleep, the rain increased, and gradually the sleepers are woke. It was like the tread of an advancing enemy which every ear had been expecting. The roof over us was of the poorest and we had no confidence in it. It was made of the thin bark of spruce and balsam, and was full of hollows and depressions. Presently these hollows got full of water, when there was a simultaneous downpour of bigger and lesser reels upon the sleepers beneath, said sleepers as one man sprang up, each taking his blanket with him, but by the time some of the party had got themselves stowed away under the adjacent rock, the rain ceased. It was little more than the dissolving of a nightcap of fog, which so often hangs about these heights. With a first appearance of the dawn, I had heard the new thrush in the scattered trees near the hut. A strain is fine as if blown upon a ferry fluid, a suppressed musical whisper from out the tops of the dark spruces. Probably never did there go up from the top of a great mountain, a smaller song to greet the day, albeit it was of the purest harmony. It seemed to have in a more marked degree the quality of interior reverberation than any The first song I ever heard was the altitude, or the situation account for its minor key. loudness, what are they a little in such a place. Sounds are not far heard on a mountaintop, they are lost in the abyss of vacant air. But amid these low, dense, dark spruces, which make us sort of canopied privacy of every square rod of ground, what could be more in keeping than this delicate musical whisper it was what the soft hum of the balsams interpreted and embodied in a birds voice. It was the plan of two of our companions to go from a slide over into the head of the rondout and fence out to the railroad at the little village of shokin. In unknown way to them involving nearly an old day pull the first day through a pathless wilderness, we ascended to the topmost floor of the tower. And from my knowledge of the topography of the country, I pointed out to them their course and where the Valley of the rondout must live. The vast stretch of woods, when it came into view, from under the foot of the slide, seemed from our point of view, very uniform, it swept away to the southeast, rising gently toward the ridge that separates Lone Mountain from Pico Mo's and presented a comparatively easy problem. As a clue to the course. The line where the dark belt or saddlecloth of spruce, which covered the top of the ridge, they were the skirt ended, and the deciduous Woods began. A sharp well defined line was pointed out as the course to be followed. It led straight to the top of the broad level back Ridge which connected to higher peaks, and immediately behind which laid the headwaters of the Rondo. Having studied the map thoroughly, and possessed themselves of the points, they rolled up their blankets about nine o'clock and we're off. My friend and I proposing to spend yet another day and night on slide. As our friends plunged down into that fearful abyss, we shouted to them the old classic caution, be bold, be bold, be not too bold. It required courage to make such a leap into the unknown, as I knew those young men were making and it required prudence, a faint heart or a bewildered head, and serious consequences might have resulted. The theory of a thing is so much easier than the practice. The theory is in the air, the practice is in the woods, the eye, the thought, travel easily, where the fort halts and stumbles. However, our friends made the theory and the fact coincide. They kept the dividing line between the spruce and the birches and passed over the ridge into the valley safely, but they were torn and bruised and wet by the showers and made the last few miles of their journey on will and pluck alone. Their last pound of positive strength having been exhausted and making the descend through the chaos of rocks and logs into the head of the valley. In such emergencies, one overdraws his account, he travels on the credit of the strength he expects to gain when he gets his dinner, and some sleep. Unless one has made such a trip himself and I have several times in my life, he can form but a fate idea what it is like, what a trial it is to the body, and what a trial it is to the mind. You are fighting a battle with an enemy in ambush. All those miles and leagues which your feet must compass lie hidden there in that wilderness, how they seem to multiply themselves, how they are fortified with logs and rocks and fallen trees, how they take refuge in deep gullies and sculpt behind unexpected eminences. Your body not only feels the fatigue of the battle, your mind feels the strain of the undertaking, you may miss your mark. The mountains may outmaneuver you. All that day. Whenever I looked upon that treacherous wilderness, I thought with misgivings of those two friends groping their way there, and would have given much to know how it fared with them. Their concern was probably less than my own, because they were more ignorant of what was before them. Then there was just a slight shadow of a fear in my mind, that I might have been in error about some points of the geography I had pointed out to them. But all was well, and the victory was one according to the campaign, which I had planned. When we saluted our friends upon their own doorstep a week afterward, the wounds were nearly healed, and their rents all mended. When one is on a mountaintop. He spends most of the time and looking at the show he has been at such pains to see. About every hour, we would ascend the rude lookout to take a fresh observation. With a glass I could see my native hills 40 miles away to the northwest. I was now upon the back of the horse. Yay upon the highest point of his shoulders, which had so many times attracted my attention as a boy. We could look along his balsam covered back to his rump, from which the I glanced away down into the forests of the river sink, and on the other hand, plumped down into the Gulf where his head was grazing or drinking. During the day, there was a grand procession of thunderclouds, filing along over the northern Catskills, and letting down veils of rain and enveloping them. From such an elevation one has the same view of the clouds that he does from the ocean. They do not seem to rest across and to be up mourned by the hills. But they emerge out of the dim West thin and vague and grow and stand up as they get nearer and rolled by him on a level but invisible highway. Huge chariots of wind and storm. In the afternoon, a thick cloud threatened us but it proved to be the condensation of vapor that announces a cold wave. There was soon a marked fall in the temperature and his nytro near it became pretty certain that we were going to have a cold time of it. The wind rose, the vapor above us thickened and came nearer until it began to drive across the summit in slender waists, which curled over the brink and shot out the view. We became very diligent in getting in our nightwood and in gathering more balls to caulk up the openings in the hot. The word we scraped together was a story lot roots and stumps and branches of decayed spruce, such as we could collect without an axe, and some rags and tags of birch bark. The fire was built in one corner of the Chevy, the smoke finding Eazy E grass through large openings on the east side, and in the roof over it. We doubled up the bed, making it thicker and more ness like it is darkness set in stone ourselves into it beneath our blankets. The searching when found out every crevice about our heads and shoulders, and it was icy cold. Yes, we fall asleep and had slept about an hour when my companions sprang up in an unwanted state of excitement for so placid a man. His excitement was occasion, by the sudden discovery that what appeared to be a bar of ice was fast taking place of his backbone. His teeth chattered, and he was convinced with a view. I advised him to replenish the fire and to wrap himself in his blanket, and cut the liveliest capers he was capable of in so circumscribed to place. This he promptly did and the thought of his wild and desperate dance there and the dim light is tall form, his blanket flapping his teeth shattering the porcupines outside marking time with their squeals and grunts still provokes a smile, though it was a serious enough matter at the time. After a while the warmth came back to him, but he did not trust himself again to the boughs. He fought the cold all night, as one might fight a besieging fall. by carefully husbanding is fueled. The beleaguered enemy was kept at bay till morning came. But one morning did come even the huge route he had used as a chair was consumed. rolled in my blanket beneath a foot or more of balsam balls. I had got some fairly good sleep, and was most of the time oblivious to the melancholy vigil of my friend, as we had a few morsels of food left, and hadn't been on rather short rations the day before, hunger was added to his other discomforts. At that time a letter was on the way to him from his wife, which contained this prophetic sentence. I hope he is not suffering with cold and hunger on some Lone Mountain Top. Mr. Bignell is thrust struck up again at the first signs of dawn. Notwithstanding the cold, I could hear his penetrating and melodious whisper as I laid buried beneath the balls. Presently I arose and invited my friend to turn in for a brief nap, while I gathered some wood and set the coffee brewing. With a brisk roaring fire on I left for the spring to fetch some water and to make my toilet. The leaves of the mountain golden rod which everywhere covered the ground in the opening, were covered with frozen particles of vapor, and the scene shot in by fog was chill and dreary enough. We were now not long in squaring an account with slide and making ready to leave. Round pellets of snow began to fall. We came off the mountain on the 10th of June in a November storm in temperature. Our purpose was to return by the same Valley we had come, a well defined trail that off the summit to the north. To this we committed ourselves. In a few minutes, we emerged at the head of the slide that had given the mountain its name. This was the path made by visitors to the scene. When it ended, the track of the avalanche began. no bigger than your hand apparently had had been at first, but it rapidly grew until it became several rods in width. It dropped down from our feet straight as an arrow until it was lost in the fog, and looked perilously steep. The dark forms of the screws were clinging to the edge of it, as a way of reaching out to their fellows to save them. We hesitated on the brink, but finally cautiously began the descent. The Rock was quite naked and slippery, and only on the margin of the slide, were there any boulders to stay the foot, or bushy growths to aid the hand. As we paused After some minutes to select our course, one of the finest surprises of the trip awaited us. The fog in our front was swiftly world up by the breeze, like the drop curtain at the theater, only much more rapidly, and in a twinkling the vast Gulf open before us, it was so sudden as to be almost bewildering. The world opened like a book, and there were the pictures. The spaces were without a film. The forest and mountains look surprisingly near in the heart of the Northern Catskills own wild Valley was seen flooded with sunlight. Then the curtain ran down again and nothing was left at the grey strip or rock to which we clung plunging down into the obscurity. down and down we made our way. Then the fog lifted again. It was jackin his beanstalk renewed new wonders new views awaited us every few moments to lead last the whole valley below us stood in the clear sunshine. We passed down a precipice and there was a real of water, the beginning of a creek that wound through the valley below. Farther on in a deep depression lay the remains of an old snowbank winter had made his last stand here, and April flowers were springing up almost amid his very bones. We did not find the palace and the hungry giant and the princess at the end of our Bienstock but we found a humble roof and the hospitable heart of Mrs. Larkins, which answered our purpose better. And we were in the mood to to have undertaken an eating bout with any giant jack ever discovered. Of all the retreats I have found amid the Catskills, there is no other that possesses quite so many charms for me as this valley. We're in Stan's Larkins humble dwelling. It is so wild so quiet, and has such superb mountain views. In coming up the valley, you have apparently reached the head of civilization a mile or more or lower down here, the rude little houses end and you turn to the left into the woods. Presently you emerge into a clearing again, and before you rises, the rugged and indented crest of paths are modern and near at hand, on a low plateau rises the humble roof of Larkins, you get a picture of the Panther and of the homestead at one glance. Above the house hangs a high bald Cliff covered with forest with a broad fringe of blackened and blasted tree trunks, where the cackling of the great piloted woodpecker may be heard. On the left of dense forests sweeps up to the sharp spruce covered cone of the Wittenberg, nearly 4000 feet high. Well let the head of the valley rises slide overall, from a middle just back of Larkins barn of you may be head of all these mountains, while the terrorist side of cross mountain bounds the view immediately to the east. Running from the top of Panther towards slide, one sees a gigantic wall of rock, crowned with a dark line of for the forest abruptly ends, and in its stead rises the face of this colossal rocky escarpment, like some barrier built by the mountain Gods Eagles might nest here, it breaks the monotony of the world of woods very impressively. I delight in sitting on a rock in one of these opera fields and seeing the sun go down behind Panther. The rapid flowing Brook below me feels all the valley with a soft murmur. There is no breeze, but the great atmospheric tide flows slowly in toward the cooling forest. One can see it by the moats in the air illuminated by the setting sun. Presently as the air cools a little, the tide turns and flows slowly out. The long winding Valley up to the foot of slide five miles apart. woods, how wild and cold it looks. It's one voice the murmur of the creek. On the Wittenberg, the sunshine lingers long. Now it stands up like an island in the sea of shadows, then slowly sinks beneath the wave. The evening call of a robin or a very at his Vespers make some marked impression on the silence and the solitude. The following day, my friend and I pitched our tent in the woods beside the stream where I had pitched it twice before and past several delightful days with trout in abundance and wild strawberries at intervals. Mrs. Larkins cream pot, butter jar and breadbox were within easy reach. Near the camp was an unusually large spring of icy coldness which served as a refrigerator. trout or milk immersed in this spring in a tin pail would keep sweet four or five days. One night, some creature probably a link, so a raccoon came and lifted the stone from the pail that held the trout, and took out a fine string of them and ate them on the spot, leaving only the string and one head. In August, bears come down to an ancient and now rashie Mark peeling nearby from blackberries. But the creature that most infest these backwoods is the porcupine. He is as stupid and indifferent as the skunk is broad blunt nose points a witless head. They are great NARS and will know your house down if you do not look out of a summer evening they will walk coolly into your open door if not prevented the most annoying animal to the camper out in this region. And the one he needs to be most on the lookout for is the cow. Backwards cows and young cattle seem always to be famished for salt and they will fairly lick the fishermen's close off his back and his tent and aquaventure out of existence if you give them a chance. On one occasion some would ranging heifers and steers that had been hovering around or camp for some days, made a raid upon it when we were absent. The 10 we shot and everything snugged up but they ran their long tongs under the tent and tasting something savory hooked out john Stuart Mill's essays on religion, which one of us had run along thinking to read in the woods, the mouth the volume around a good deal, but its logic was too tough for them, and they contended themselves with devouring the paper in which it was wrapped. If the cattle had not been surprised at just that point, it is probable that 10 would have gone down before they're eager curiosity and thirst for salt. The Raid which Larkin's dog made upon our camp was amusing rather than annoying. He was a very friendly and intelligent Shepherd Dog, probably a Collie. hardly had we sat down to our first lunch and camp before he called on us. But as he was disposed to be too friendly, and to claim too large a share of the lunch, we rather gave him the cold shoulder. He did not come again but a few evenings afterward, as we sauntered over to the house on some trifling errand. The dog suddenly conceived a bright little project, he seemed to say to himself on seeing us there come both of them now just as I have been hoping they would. Now while they are away, I will run quickly over and know what they have got that a dog can eat. My companion saw the dog get up on our arrival, and go quickly in the direction of our camp, and he said something in the charisma manner suggested to him the object of his hurried departure. He called my attention to the fact and we hasten back on cautiously during camp, the dog was seen amid the pails in the shallow water of the creek, investigating them. He had uncovered the butter and was about to taste it when we shouted, and he made quick steps for home with a very kill sheep look. When we again met him at the house next day, he could not look us in the face, but sneaked off utterly crestfallen. This was a clear case of reasoning on the part of the dog, and afterward, a clear case of a sense of guilt from wrongdoing. The dog will probably be a man before any other animal. This is Roland Smith. If john Burroughs were alive today, he'd be friends with Bill Burns. Bill is a Burroughs expert, as you can tell from the following conversation. What is it about that particular essay that is quintessentially Burroughs? A couple of things, I think make that essay, especially Burroughs Ian is I like to say One is the way the essay brings the reader out into the, into the hike. So that you know burrows is really able to write in a way that that seems present tense you feel like as you're reading the event that you're out there with him I think and and, and the other thing is Burroughs was was not a scientist by any means, but he was he was a keen observer, he observed the nature around him in in the kind of way a scientist would observe it. And he was aware of the, you know, the political and social currents around him and, and at that time, the western Catskills, which was Burroughs home, he grew up in Roxbury, the other side of the high mount divide between the Hudson watershed and the Delaware watershed. And that whole section of the Western Catskills now would be the towns of shandaken and danine and hardenberg in Ulster County in Middletown, and Roxbury and Andes and Delaware County wasn't really considered part of the Catskills. But things that happened at that point, the railroad had come through the railroad built the Grand Hotel, the Grand Hotel was designed to compete with the great Catskill Mountain House and kaaterskill Hotel over on the mountaintop, by Hunter. So all of a sudden these Western Catskills are are accessible to people. Just before the essay a Princeton geologists had come into the western part of the mountains, which weren't considered part of the Catskills. At that time, the Catskills was considered that which pretty much you could see from knots and that the kind of Catskills we see coming up the thruway today. And this the surveyor, the geologist to determine that slide mountain was the highest mountain in the mountain region, not hunter mountain, not the Catskill high peak over on the in the east. So Burroughs was sort of bringing together these currents of not that he mentioned them in the in the essay, but I think he understood the timing of the essay was such that by bringing attention to the Western Catskills he's contributing to, you know, recognizing these mountains as part of the mountains. How long do you think it took john Burroughs to find his literary voice? I think it took a long time. JOHN Burroughs was a kid growing up on the farm who didn't particularly like going to the barn. He had like eight or nine brothers and sisters. They were farm kids, very religious family, old school Baptists, reading books, education, these were frowned upon in his family. And yet he was the daydreamer, and the kid who liked to go out and write poems and look at the woods and maybe draw, who knows. But he was that kind of a kid and he wanted an education. So when he started writing, his writing was very derivative. He wanted to be a poet that a writer in those days was a poet and an essayist. In the end, the big Maha the guy that he had been introduced to by his his teacher in the one room schoolhouse in Roxbury. Mr. James Oliver, was Ralph Waldo Emerson. And Emerson's essays. were the kinds of essays that Burroughs wanted to write. So he did write essays like that. He had them published locally in the bloomingville. Press, for example, in Delaware County, little local newspapers. But when he sent one of those essays to a national publication, the Atlantic Monthly, the editor had to contact Emerson and say, did you send me an essay, because it burrows was sounded exactly like the guy, somebody else? Interestingly enough, it was Walt Whitman, who became Burroughs friend in 1862 1863 1864. In Washington, DC, it was Walt Whitman, who told john Burroughs published your personality, and I guess made him realize he had been publishing ever since personality, he began to think about his own personality began to think about fishing and birds and the outdoors and the way he grew up and what mattered to him. And he began to write his first essays about birds. And they really caught on, because he was doing something that nobody else was doing at that point. That's when he found his his true voice. I think, when he found that voice, though, to be part of his his DNA, his nature himself was the nature that he observed. I mean, he loved the outdoors. Yes. And this was his lab. His science. Yes. What's really cool. And again, Burroughs was not a scientist, but today, the foremost authority in the Catskill Mountains, forests, Dr. Michael Kuta. She was a professor, retired now from Paul Smith's college up in the Adirondacks. He lives in the Catskills now, and when he wants to study scientifically, the 19th century forest The only written descriptions The only accurate records, historically, are the essays of Burroughs. So today, we have a scientist who is using john Burroughs. In his actual scientific work, so his love of nature was combined with this, this keen observer, an AI that didn't distort nature. And I think that's one of the things that made him such a great nature writer. There are two parts of the essay that I think are very descriptive of, of his ability of observation. One is when he's on top of slide mountain, and the other one when he's talking about woodland Valley. burrows is a naturalist who finds nature on the fringe of the wilderness. Now when he went to the top of slide mountain, obviously, he's now in the wilderness, except let's remember that it's a wilderness that had just been surveyed four years earlier. But when he's in Woodland Valley, he's still in nature. But it's it's that nature of the at the back porch, that nature at the edge. And one of the things I heard of Douglas Brinkley is a terrific, one of our great American historians right now. And he's done a lot of work on burrows as he's worked on his six volume history of American environmental movement. And the first thing he said about Burroughs was burrows has a good heart. He loved people, as well as nature. So the fact that he's in the woodland Valley, and the fact that the woodland Valley is populated, doesn't detract from the fact that, you know, he's dealing with a natural setting similar to the other essay. I like the parts in the essay of the pakhtun, where he's taking this float trip down the river, and he stops and goes to the farmhouses to get milk. Yeah. And that interaction with the farm wives is is a part of what what he's getting us to experience that people are part of that natural landscape as well. Well, in that essay he talks about after he comes back down off of slide After several days up there, camping near the Larkins abode. Yeah, a little cabin, I guess, way up, woodland Valley. And going over and availing himself of milk, yes, from Mrs. Larkins. And that that sense of community I am, I knew a man Gilbert PAL and Dr. Gilbert paling was a wonderful physician up in Margaretville for many, many years. And he grew up on the hill where john Burroughs would Chuck Lodge is, and he remembered as a 10 year old boy, he was born in 1911. He remembers a nine or 10 year old boy running into his grandmother's house, and his grandmother's saying should be quiet. Boom, john is sleeping in the den. And john Burrows, who lived in the house, just maybe a mile up the road, had been walking up the road, got tired, he was an older man at that point. And as he was wanting to do, he knocked on the door, when in the house, lay down, take a nap, he had that kind of connection with his neighbors and community members. I find that wonderful. That sense that burrows was this great writer who wrote every day and who was a sophisticated man friends with some of the great leaders of America. But yet he was also very much a local. He was like buddies with Harvey Firestone, and Tom Edison, and Teddy Roosevelt. And so many others, they came to him, it was almost like he was a guru. And they call them the, the sage of slap sides. And, you know, sage is a big word at that time. And I think even today, what people find so compelling about Burroughs, what I think of those great industrialists and President Roosevelt found so compelling about Burroughs is that he was not just the apostle of nature at the back door, but also the apostle of simple living. And if we look at his homes with Chuck Lodge, for example, which is up in Roxbury, architecturally it's an expression of his ideas about life, just as his essays are because of the handmade furniture the connection between the indoors and the outdoors the Burro slept on the porch every every night in good weather during the summer the sense of the simplicity in the house that led to a kind of simplicity of living that I think people are finding very attractive today. I think this is a wonderful time for burrows well there's some wonderful pictures particularly from the slab sides where he and his guests are doing the dishes when they finish yes so obviously dinner and the cooked over the fireplace. Yes that slab sides and I imagined with chalk lodge was the same with chalk lodge more or less was his summer resin. Exactly. JOHN Burroughs in 1910 decided that he wanted to spend his summers at least back home and home for john Burroughs. Although he lived in the Hudson Valley at his, his farm river B which is still in his family, and still, that's where slab sides is. He wanted to come back home and so he leased a house from his nephew who is running the family farm and he a put a very rustic porch on it handmade with his with his nephew stick construction, put a wood stove in it, and did put in plumbing but no electricity. And there he spent the warmer months for the last 10 years of his life. Part of it was he was so popular at that point that even slab sides the retreat a mile and a half away from his home on nonsan was just constantly being mobbed with visitors. So burrows the naturalist is the way we remember him today. But I think he thought of himself as Burroughs, the writer. And you know, he was writing every day and writers need to have some kind of solitude to think yeah, here was a man of nature, who had great powers of observation. But yet his one of his Jobs was as a Federal Bank examiner. Yes. How did that ever happen? Well, when Burroughs when the Civil War broke out, john Burroughs like every man, young man, at that time had an important decision to make, he had just gotten married. He wasn't really the the the fighting type. And enlisting just didn't strike him as the way to go. But he did, I think, feel the need to offer some kind of service. And the government was expanding at that point in order to operate the army and to win the Civil War. So they were looking for people who had good reading and writing skills to work in the federal government. So he was able to go to Washington, and get a job as a clerk in the Treasury Department. Remember, in those days, everything was handwritten. So all the paperwork, they'd have to be people doing that as opposed to machines. And his job at the Treasury Department was to sit in front of the vault where they kept the money. And that shows us something about the the trust that his employers placed in it, but it also gave me the opportunity to write so his first essays influenced by that Whitman as an urge to publish your own personality. Those first essays that appeared in his first book wake Robin, his first nature book, he wrote those sitting in front of the vault where the United States Treasury was called the gold. Yeah, in 1873. Burroughs decided it was time to go home back to upstate New York. And he applied for a transfer from being the guy that sits in front of the vault, to a job in New York and the available job was bank examiner. He took it. So he added several sources of income, his bank examiner, which many took apart, he had a public salary, he was doing fairly well, very well actually selling his essays to publications. And when he moved back to upstate New York, he grew fruit and he became a fairly big player in the table grape market. In New York. Also, we had a magnificent celery patch added at slab sides. Glad you mentioned that. Yes. In fact, slab sides was actually started as a salary swap, he picked that place in order to grow salary, and salary. I never knew this was kind of the arugula of the 1890s. You know, it was, it was the new hot vegetable that everybody wanted on their table. So Burroughs, he's like in his 50s. And he still has this agricultural, entrepreneurial sort of attitude. I'm going to grow me some celery, he decides for the market. And he did. And that's what well, it was easy to transport it down to New York City where that I'm sure they were all sold. I mean, exactly. I doubt very much they write it on, on a barge somewhere. Right and you had the river transportation, you had the railroad transportation. So he was perfectly situated on the west side of the Hudson River at river B to grow crops, fruit crops and vegetable crops and and get them to market. Do you think studying burrows for today's youth would be a good idea and very much so I was school teacher and I always made an effort to include boroughs in in the curriculum. I think this is boroughs time right now. I think we're in a very similar time, to the time when Burroughs had his greatest celebrity at the end of the 19th century in the beginning of the 20th century. If you think about that time, the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. Urbanization was coming on fast. The old America that was an agricultural America and and a outdoors America seemed to be fading. And so people turn to Burroughs and to his descriptions of his experiences outdoors, as kind of a, an antidote to that. And I think we see the same thing today in the technological revolution that we've been living through the last 30 or 40 years, each of us have the ability to do exactly the same thing he did, which is to observe, to react, and to record you know, to jot down to kind of keep the memory of these experiences we can have outdoors particularly here in our beautiful Catskills. I think he offers that to us today. Yeah, he does. I think the one of the great pieces of the essay that I'm reading is his teasing of a porcupine, and his understanding of the tail with a porcupine. I never realized that I've seen porcupines all over the place as my walks through the woods, etc. But I've never understood how that tail unlatched Yes. And I think there's almost a sense of Burroughs treating the animal as a as an other. Burroughs was a hunter, you wanted foxes he he did not like woodchucks, and he shot a lot of them. So what his attitude towards nature was still one in which man was the was the dominant creature, but yet he felt this connection to the other creatures out there, particularly the birds, I think that I think many people feel today. At the time that burrows was alive, john Mueller was active as well. They did meet each other, they did know each other. The two of them were not so much rivals themselves, but sometimes seen as sort of East Coast West Coast, kind of Biggie and Tupac. But john Burroughs became john a birds. And john Muir became jhana trees, because each of them was seen to have that thing is their major interest or a mirror with the redwoods. And you know, nobody described the birds in language as well as burrows. Audubon certainly did it. In paint. If you've been to the top of slide mountain, I have did you think about burrows when you got there? I did, and and particularly the stones, but he does a good job of kind of describing those rounded stones that are at the top of slide mountain, which of course, are evidence of see that was once there. So yeah, and that view that looks over I took a hike with friends doing the whole Burroughs trail, slide and then Cornell and Wittenberg, liberal range of arrows range. And on top of slide, of course, is burrows wedge, yes, I think when you get on the top of slide mountain, and you've got those stones underneath and that view of looking forward, you as you pointed out, feel Burrows, and then when you come back down, he sort of stays with you. And I think the spirit of burrows is the spirit that kind of resides over all of the Catskills. He is the guy who's whose voice is kind of reminding us that this very special places, has been here for a very long time and been experienced by a lot of people. But yet we can experience it a new what an extraordinary gift he gave to the future. He did give a terrific gift to the future. And the future is now you know, I mean, that's the beautiful thing. Burroughs offers us today, I think exactly what we need today, which is a prescription for living simply a prescription for living in harmony with nature. I just read a piece online from some publication that said he made the observation that to live life today in the modern city is to live in architecture. And I think about 70% of the American population lives an interesting way. And it's kind of an interesting thought that live in the modern American city is to live in architecture. If you think about walking down the street in New York or Philadelphia, Chicago. That's what surrounds us and burrows reminds us that we can live in architecture when our needs are to be in the city, but we also have the opportunity to live in nature. Because around Woodchuck lodge in in, in the places that a landslide mountain and canoeing down the or paddling down the Bacton one is not living in architecture, one's living in nature's texture. That I can see why he was enamored by Emerson or tried to emulate him anyway early on was there was interesting too, that he he did not necessarily like Thoreau. I don't think he liked throw much at all. Tell you the truth. I don't think they ever met. I don't think your throat died, of course when Burroughs was a teenager. But no, I know he was constantly compared to Pharaoh. And he didn't like that comparison. He didn't feel he was doing the same thing as the row. You'll hear me say and other Burroughs, Ian apostles say the john Burroughs invented the nature essay. And I believe he did invent the nature essay, because he was the first one who created an essay that put people into the experience of being outdoors. I don't think Thoreau did that in the same kind of way. And I think throat to Burroughs, I think or maybe it's to me throw is writing more about throw. I agree. I mean, I've been to a Walden Pond, and to the spot where the cabin set and what people think is that Thoreau is out there in the wilderness somewhere, you know, contemplating and meditating and writing down these wonderful things that he came up with. But really, if you walk down the railroad, which he did, a mile or a mile and a half was his parents house. Exactly. He'd get down there for dinner. Yeah, I would if I were him. Exactly. Yeah. Interesting. You know, joke about Emerson. He did have a lifelong devotion to Emerson. He was introduced to Emerson by James Oliver, who was a school teacher came down to Roxbury in about 1850 to teach in a one room schoolhouse there, maybe 1848. He was a graduate of the normal school in Albany, now the University of Albany. In his class, he had two very bright little boys in the seventh and eighth grade. One was john Burroughs and the other was Jay Gould. And Jay Gould, who went on to own the Erie railroad and tried to corner the gold market in 1869 and became one of the richest men in America, Jay Gould stayed in touch with Mr. Oliver, and credited Mr. Oliver for his success. And john Burroughs stayed in touch with Mr. Oliver, and credited with Mr. Oliver for his success. And here these two guys go on these completely divergent paths, one towards great material and financial success, the other towards great simplicity and sort of the rejection of those values. And they both credited the same school teacher shows you the power of the school teacher. His greatest influence occurred in his 70s 60s 70s and 80s. He was a friend of Theodore Roosevelt. Earlier he met Roosevelt in the 1880s when they were both in the prime of life both in their 30s and 40s. So he was friends with him before he became president. But the other fellas the Edison's and the Fords and the fire stones, and the the the great celebration of Burroughs as the sage of slab sides came when he was in what we would call today is senior citizen stage. Henry Ford gave Burroughs the first of the automobile that came to the Catskills. Why gave Burroughs certainly one of the early ones, there were people who went on to argue right whether it was the first but it was close to first I think it was 1914. And Mr. Ford gave Burroughs this car, which is son Julian was supposed to was trained by the Ford mechanics as to how to operate it. But john thought, well, maybe he could do some of these things, too. So I managed to put the car through the back of the bar and where they were parking it, you know, drove it and wasn't able to stop it. Right through the back of the barn hanging off the floor of the thing. I think Mr. Ford gave him a second car. But burrows could be seen motoring around the mountains between as you point out 1914 and, and 1920 years old. Yeah, well, pretty amazing. Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. These were not just wealthy men and great business leaders. And Edison was a man of tremendous scientific and technological knowledge and you know, an intellectual leader and Ford saw himself as Edison's protege so these guys there was an intellectual connection to all these people. But they they turned to Burroughs when Burroughs was this much older guy, the vagabonds are another fascinating part of Burroughs life, is that they did these motorized camping trips, they took the ladies along, but they had their servants to set up the tent and did the cooking and, you know, so I'm sure for burrows that wasn't quite what he thought about are quite what he liked about camping. Yes, exactly what this was not like the trip upside mountain on the text here. This was pretty elaborate camping and it was a great marketing ploy for Henry Ford because all these vehicles were Ford's, they would show the films of the vagabonds trips as shorts before the movies. And people say I'd like to do that. I'd like to buy myself one of those Ford cars 1919, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone thought that john Burroughs was too old for them to ask him to make the trip again. So they came to Roxbury and they right up there in the in the field that now is a word john Burroughs is buried. It's now a State Historic Site next to Woodchuck Lodge, they set up their tents up there, and all these famous Americans, were at john Burroughs little cabin in Roxbury, New York. I probably leave it at the point that he's buried next to a rock that he used to play on as a boy. And isn't that a great way to kind of make the circular story of his life which began at that rock and ended up that rock and that I think he lived his life, simply in in nature. Throughout the entire course of it, he never stopped and that was pretty neat. Thank you very much. Thank you around. The heart of the Southern Catskills by john Burroughs was read by Roland Smith, including an interview with Bill Burns. packed in a summer voyage by john Burroughs was read by Brett Barry, including an interview with Diane Galicia. The big nails thrush was recorded by William L. Hershberger and used by permission of the McCauley library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This has been a production of silver hollow audio and john burrows with Chuck Lodge. Find us on the web at silver hollow audio.com. And with Chuck lodge.org additional support from the O'Connor Foundation, production Copyright 2015 by silver hollow audio. We hope you've enjoyed listening. Thank you 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai