September 24, 1832
On 24 September, however, we went hunting. In a northerly direction, we entered the forest, which is almost inaccessible up here along the fields of the town because of the large amount of fallen timber. Immediately thereafter a true primeval forest begins. Trees packed closely together where enormous hemlocks, beeches, chestnut trees, birches, and tall maples form a dark wilderness that is so full of piles of fallen, rotting, ancient tree trunks that one must often make wide detours and great leaps everywhere in order to make any progress. Cool little forest brooks murmur in all the ravines, which, for the most part, can be crossed on hemlocks, beeches, or maples that have fallen across them. On old rotting trunks like these, there was a world of mosses, fungi, Oxalis, and ferns; even young trees such as beeches, maples, tulip trees, and others had sprouted on top of them.
Beneath the tall trunks, we found traces of fruits, particularly chestnuts, gnawed by squirrels and soon saw several of these animals as well. Some of them were gray (these we had already), but we also saw several coal-black onesM6This black squirrel does not seem to be any separate species but rather [is] just a variety of Sciurus cinereus Linn. and hunted them.[Page 1:102] For the most part they stayed near clearings, where there were so many felled trees and branches that one could not penetrate the [deadwood]. Here we heard their sound, which is almost like clicking and resembles that of our European squirrel. Dreidoppel crept up and killed the first of these animals, which was big and very beautiful. The hunt that forenoon did not yield any other booty, because we did not want to shoot small birds.
In the afternoon I entered the forests on another side toward the south where there are said to be many pheasants. I found only woodpeckers and small birds, however. At the edge of the woods, men were occupied cutting down and burning part of the forest, a gigantic task, somewhat as in Brazil, yet much easier than there. From here a dark little path led off to the left through the tall hemlock forest where a small red berry (Mitchella repens N.) grew in the moss on the ground. Here it is called ground berry. The plant creeps over the ground and has small, round, heart-shaped leaves that face each other. Several swampy ditches and small streams (runs) traverse the primeval forest. I had to clamber or scramble over these on fallen trunks, sometimes with great exertion, in the course of which, articles of clothing did not remain in the best condition. Everywhere woodpeckers were pecking: Picus
lineatus pileatus, villosus, and pubescens. I wanted to obtain the pileated woodpecker, and I succeeded, too, even though such a pair living here was very shy. They knocked and banged almost entirely on dead hemlocks, which stand like withered pillars and which they had pecked full of holes. Their cooing call was audible at a great distance and echoed far and wide in the lonely wilderness. Here this big beautiful woodpecker is called woodcock, a name that otherwise designates the Scolopax rusticola.
A young man who lives in the forest several miles from here told me that there were many bear, deer, and lynx (wildcat), too, as well as pheasants (Tetrao umbellatus), or ruffed grouse. In this tall hemlock forest, a lone mill was located on an arm of Conemaugh Creek. Here the forest had been thinned somewhat but still formed a picturesquely wild region. The miller met me; my double-barreled shotgun, which was constructed in European fashion and furnished with safety catches, greatly impressed him. I spent the evening, [as] always, writing by candlelight.