At present it is an admirable place to go to. There is fishing and hunting and boating and mountain-climbing within easy reach, and a good roof over your head at night, which is no small matter. One is often disqualified for enjoying the woods after he gets there by the loss of sleep and of proper food taken at seasonable times. This point attended to, one is in the humor for any enterprise.
About half a mile northeast of the village is Lake Henderson, a very irregular and picturesque sheet of water surrounded by dark evergreen forests, and abutted by two or three bold promontories with mottled white and gray rocks. Its greatest extent in any one direction is perhaps less than a mile. Its waters are perfectly clear and abound in lake trout. A considerable stream flows into it, which comes down from Indian Pass.
A mile south of the village is Lake Sandford. This is a more open and exposed sheet of water and much larger. From some parts of it Mount Marcy and the gorge of the Indian Pass are seen to excellent advantage. The Indian Pass shows as a huge cleft in the mountain, the gray walls rising on one side perpendicularly for many hundred feet. This lake abounds in white and yellow perch and in pickerel; of the latter single specimens are often caught which weigh fifteen pounds. There were a few wild ducks on both lakes. A brood of the goosander or red merganser, the young not yet able to fly, were the occasion of some spirited rowing. But with two pairs of oars in a trim light skiff, it was impossible to come up with them. Yet we could not resist the temptation to give them a chase every day when we first came on the lake. It needed a good long pull to sober us down so we could fish.
The land on the east side of the lake had been burnt over, and was now mostly grown up with wild cherry and red raspberry bushes. Ruffed grouse were found here in great numbers. The Canada grouse was also common. I shot eight of the latter in less than an hour on one occasion; the eighth one, which was an old male, was killed with smooth pebble-stones, my shot having run short. The wounded bird ran under a pile of brush, like a frightened hen. Thrusting a forked stick down through the interstices, I soon stopped his breathing. Wild pigeons were quite numerous also. These latter recall a singular freak of the sharp-shinned hawk. A flock of pigeons alighted on top of a dead hemlock standing in the edge of a swamp. I got over the fence and moved toward them across an open space. I had not taken many steps when, on looking up, I saw the whole flock again in motion flying very rapidly about the butt of a hill. Just then this hawk alighted on the same tree. I stepped back into the road and paused a moment, in doubt which course to go. At that instant the little hawk launched into the air and came as straight as an arrow toward me. I looked in amazement, but in less than half a minute, he was within fifty feet of my face, coming full tilt as if he had sighted my nose. Almost in self-defense I let fly one barrel of my gun, and the mangled form of the audacious marauder fell literally between my feet.