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Unconventional Training Club

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Samuel Thomas
Samuel Thomas

East West Quantum Leap Choir Torrent

Here it was that I first saw an extensive encampment of Sioux or Dacotah Indians, who had, within Fort, no less than three large villages. This, as is well known, is one of the most peculiar and savage tribes of the northwest, and as I happen to be here daring their gala season, I have had an opportunity of being present at some of their feasts and games.

East West Quantum Leap Choir Torrent

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The Lakes in the neighborhood of St. Peter's, on the bosom of the prairie, number some four or five, the most conspicuous of which are Harriet and Calhoun. They are not deep, but perfectly clear, abound in fish, and encircled with sand. The Pilot's Nob is a grass-covered peak, commanding a most magnificent series of views. To the west lies a boundless prairie; to the north and south the fantastic valley of the Mississippi; and to the east a wilderness of forests and prairie, apparently reaching to the shores of Michigan. But let us to the Falls of St. Anthony, which are a few miles above St. Peter's.

The spot thus designated is beautifully situated on the east side of the Mississippi, directly at the mouth of the river known by that name. It is here that the trader Morrison resides, whose reputation as an upright, intelligent, and noble-hearted man, is coextensive with the entire wilderness of the northwest. He is a Scotchman by birth, somewhat advanced in life, and has resided in the Indian country for thirty-five years. He possesses all the virtues of the trader and none of his vices. He is the worthy husband of a worthy Indian woman, the affectionate father of a number of bright children, and the patriarch of all the Chippeway Indians, who reside on the Mississippi. Around his cabin and two rude store-houses, at the present time are encamped about three hundred Indians, who are visiting him, and I am informed that his guests, during the summer, seldom amounted to less than one hundred. And this is the place where I have passed ten of the most truly delightful days that I ever experienced. It is at this point that I am to embark in a canoe, during my summer tour with Morrison, (accompanied by his unique suite,) who is to be my guide, counsellor and friend, while I wander, according to my own free will, over the lake region of the extreme Upper Mississippi.

I now write you from the margin of a stream which empties into Lake Superior, towards which I am impatiently pursuing my way. Sandy Lake, where ended my voyaging on the Mississippi, is one of the most famous lakes of the northwest. It lies only about three miles east of the great river, and almost directly west from Lake Superior. Over the intervening route which connects the two water wonders of our country, more furs and Indian goods have been transported, than over any other trail in the wilderness. The lake received its name from the French, on account of its sandy shores, which are remarkably beautiful, abounding in agates and cornelians. There is a trading post here, which is said to have been established ninety years ago; and in a certain log cabin which was pointed out to me, I was told furs had been stored, to the value of fifty millions of dollars.

I HAVE finished my pilgrimage around the shores of Lake Superior, given away my birchen canoe, and parted with my Indian guides and fellow-voyagers. It now remains for me to mould into an intelligible form the notes which I have recorded from time to time, while seated in my canoe or lounging beside the watch-fires of my barbarous companions. Lake Superior, known to be the largest body of fresh water on the globe, is not far from four hundred miles long from east to west, and one hundred and thirty wide. It is the grand reservoir whence proceed the waters of Michigan, Huron, and Erie; it gives birth to Niagara, the wonder of the world, fills the basin of Ontario, and rolls a mighty flood down the valley of the Saint Lawrence to the Atlantic. It lies in the bosom of a mountainous land, where the red man yet reigns in his native freedom. Excepting an occasional picketed fort or trading house, it is yet a perfect wilderness. The entire country is rocky and covered with a stunted growth of vegetation, where the silver fur, the pine, hemlock, the cedar and the birch are most abundant. The soil is principally composed of a reddish clay, which becomes almost as hard as brick on being exposed to the action of the air and sun. In some of the valleys, however, the soil is rich and suitable for purposes of agriculture.

The surface of the western half is destitute of rocks, and undulating; and it is here that the loveliest of lakes and streams and prairies are to be found. Lake Michigan, the second in the world, is its western boundary. The eastern portion is entirely original in its appearance, possessing many beauties peculiarly its own. It is so level and low that a stranger approaching it from Lake Erie is often surprised to find himself in port, while in the act of looking out for land. This shore is watered by the Huron, St. Clair, and Erie.


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