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the storm. To us the very summit seemed to shake in the tempest, and an involuntary dread touched our hearts, as the noise of the storm increased, and the sudden gusts swept over our heads, dashing down streams of water upon us.
Finding it impossible to keep our fires—the rain continuing to increase—and 'fearing that either the violent winds or the rain might deprive us of our frail shelter,-at half past 4 o'clock, P. M. we left the Camp, and after great exertion, in fording rapid streams, seeking new paths to avoid the deep waters collected in many places before us, and crossing the swollen and roaring branches of the Ammonoosuck—several of which had risen, in four hours, 6 or S feet--we reached Crawford's a little before nine in the evening, in the midst of the most dreadful rain-storm we ever witnessed. The very earth seemed to shake under our feet, as the winds drove down from the mountains through the valley-mingling their roar with that of the river, which now tumbled along in a white foam, like a tremendous cataract.
The storm ceased about midnight. The next morning's sun shone out brightly upon a scene of desolation, such as none of us had ever witnessed. The entire crops of our host, on the low grounds west of his dwelling, were destroyed, the water having completely covered them, and risen even up to the steps of the dwelling-fourteen of his flock of sheep were drowned-a shed 90 feet in length was carried away in the flood, and portions of his most fertile lands were covered deep with sand and gravel, borne down in the torrent from the mountains. The water rose
The water rose 3 or 4 feet higher at this place, than was ever before knownand the whole surface of the earth, over which the floods came, seemed to have undergone a transformation. Thousands of trunks, branches, and roots of trees, passed along the current, cov
ering, in some directions, whole acres; and wherever any thing impeded their progress, forming strong and high dams, until the rapid gathering of the inass behind drove through all obstructions. Deep excavations in the earth, large masses of stones, gravel and sand thrown up-broken trunks ard fragments of trees, &c.-were presented to the eye in every direction, as the waters subsided; and their fall was almost as rapid as the rise.
The effect of the rain upon the mountains was immediately perceived, on casting the eye in their direction. Long slides were noticed, having the appearance of stripes, extending through the dense forest from near the summits to the base of the mountains. One slide had the
One slide had the appearance of passing directly over the spot where we had encamped on the night of the 27th. A young artist, who had been several days among these mountains taking sketches of their scenery, as also Mr. Crawford, assured us, that nearly all these slides took place during the storm that had just passed. Their appearance was striking. Commencing generally near the highest limit of vegetation on the mountains, which on some of them is near the summits, the slides widened and deepened in their course downward, carrying along with them generally all the trees, shrubbery and loose earth from the mountain of granite beneath. From a few yards in width near their commencement, the avalanches extended in some instances to hundreds of rods in width near the foot of the mountains. They exposed in most cases a surface of red or yellow earth, contrasting beautifully with the deep colors of the dense forest through which they swept. No satisfactory estimate could be made of the extent of these slides. Could they have been surveyed, they would probably have been found to extend to thousands of acres.
Defeated in our attempt to ascend the moun
tain, we waited until the bridges near Crawford's were repaired, and then passed over Pondicherry mountain and the Jefferson turnpike, to Lancaster. The beautiful farm of Mr. Woodward, (once the residence of Col. Whipple) in Jefferson, had been flooded by Israel's river, which here was extremely turbid, as was the case with all the streams passing from the mountains. The rains were less violent to the westward, though most of the rivers had been swollen. At this place we learnt that immense quantities of earth, stones and trees had slipped down from the sides of the mountains in Randolph, changing in several places the course of Israel's river, and destroying some fine tracts of interval. Here also, we were informed of the dreadful occurrences at the Notch of the Mountains, and that we ourselves were by no means untortunate in leaving the Camp, which was overwhelmed the very night we abandoned it! Anxious to ascertain more particularly the ravages of that fatal night, we returned to Crawford's on Friday, passed down through the Notch, and having staid at the Notch House during the night, and examined the ruins about that dismal place, found that the utmost stretch of fancy could hardly paint a scene more awful than the reality before us.
The Notch of the White Mountains is a narrow glen, extending two miles in length between two huge cliffs, apparently rent asunder by some vast convulsion-probably that of the deluge. The entrance of the chasm is formed by two rocks standing perpendicular at the distance of 22 feet asunder. The length of this narrow pass may be three or four rods—beyond which, as you pass down, the cliffs seem to have receded, increasing in height, and leaving at their base little tracts of rich meadow land, through which meanders the Saco. About half a mile from the entrance
of the Notch, is seen the beautiful waterfall, called by Dr. Dwight, the Silver Cascade-issuing from the mountain on the left, and passing over a series of rocks almost perpendicularly 800 feet. A short distance below, from the left, falls another clear and beautiful stream, called the Flume; and at the distance of about a mile below this, on a small interval, is situated the comfortable dwelling, lately inhabited by the unfortunate family destroyed.
The road from Crawford's down to the Notch House was a perfect ruin—the bridges being all torn up, deep gulleys and new streams formed along the path, and masses of rocks of great size thrown together, apparently by the waters-which, in some places along the road, must have risen to the height of 20 or 25 feet. On entering the Notch, a scene was presented which it is impossible accurately to describe. Enormous masses of granite, over which the road in the pass was formed, were torn from their foundations, some of which were removed many rods down, and others formed barriers across the path, over which a tremendous cataract seems to have flowed, cutting deep basins out of the substantial flooring beneath, until the raging and confined torrent, bursting its prison, swept every thing before it. From the sides of the Notch, the loose crags had fallen, and many a stately tree, which long waved above the gulf, came down with the soil upon which it grew.
grew. The two beautiful streams, so often noticed by travellers, appear to have been swollen to the size of rivers, and to have poured down the rocky steep with overwhelming power. About 80 rods beyond commenced the terrible slides or avalanches, (as they are termed in Switzerland) which were seen along the whole gulf, as far as the eye could reach, as well as on the sides of the distant mountains.
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. vinch visanulaad the very night
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