Impressions of the Porcupine Mountains, 1846

Porcupine Mountains in 1846: from Porcupine Mountains Incidents December 30, 2017 by Amorin Mello

The following is our transcription of Andrew Rundel’s original handwritten manuscript describing his time spent exploring for copper along the south shore of Lake Superior during the summer of 1846, particularly in the Porcupine Mountains.  Andrew Rundel’s original handwritten manuscript is available online through the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Turning Points series.

The Porcupine Mountains ar ranges of mountains or hills runn paralell to the lake or nearly so at this place they approach verry near the lake.  And are several ridges laying paralell to each other.

The first ridg is Conglomerate, the second is Trap and also the third.  They rais by steps the first not being so high as the next and the third being higher still so that a person on the top of the third range can overlook the others and see the lake.  These hills or mountains have a gradual incline to the north and are not very steep, but their south side is verry abrupt and form perpendicular walls of rock from one to three hundred feet high.  In the vally between the second and third range Carp River winds its way to the lake running parallel to it for many miles.  This river is a small stream of pure water of sufficient size for mill purposes.  It abounds with Trout in great abundance.  Here is also plenty of Beaver on it.  The scenery is bold and grand for him who can enjoy mountain scenery.

The view from some of the higher points of the mountains where Lake Superior is spread out before you on one side and the mountains with their eternal rocks and deep vallies with their small rivers and mountain lakes, on the other presents certainly one of the most grand, and sublime pictures I ever witness’d.  I have recently visited the Bellmont mine about five miles from the Lone Rock mine.  Here I find the upheave to be greater than I have seen at any other part of the range being as near as I can judg seven or eight hundred feet nearly perpendicular.  It is also the highest point of the second range of mountains or second ridg from the lake. Being 1000 feet above Lake Superior. Myself in company with Geo Rice in the evening assended the highest point where we had a beautifull view of the surrounding country and of Lake Superior which was now calm and smooth as a mirror. How shall I paint that sunset scene on Lake Superior as view’d from the top of the Porcupine Mountains.  I have been toss’d on Enis billows, I have heard the thunder of Lake Michigan as she in her magesty lash’d her impenetrable barier but never have I seen nature in all her georgeous beauty until I viewed her at evening from these mountains.  As the sun approach’d the christal floor of Lake Superior the blue waters were painted and ting’d with every possible hue and sparkled like diamonds shortly the brilliants appeared to concentrate until there was but one bright path from us to the sun and formed a beautiful bridg from earth to heaven.  I had always been accustomed to seeing the sun abov me but now it was below near the water, on the water, and under the water, and now the sun sleeps in Lake Superior.  The whole western skies are painted with rose and yellow and green and reflected back on the blue waters of the lake as though nature was determin’d to try her hand at fancy work once more before returning to rest.

We lingered here until one star made its appearance soon follow’d by all the bright lights of Heaven (if I may be allowed to quote from Scripture) until the whole deep blue was set with Jewells.

This reminds me of that pretty vers my litl girls us’d to repeat

Twinkle twinkle pretty star
Cant you tell us where you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the skie

We lingered here until the hour reminded us we must try to find our way down to the cabbin.

This was the last time I expect to visit this part of the mountains I therefor determin’d to assend thos lofty cliffs and have a morning view. Soon a darling radiance sot up from behind the mountains and the King of day made his appearance as if to greet his favorurite lake.

 

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