August 26, 1832
26 August: We dispersed early in the woods. Dr. Saynisch stuffed our birds. Mr. Wöhler and a good hunter from the neighborhood, whom we had fetched from 4 miles away just last evening, hunted deer and heath hens (Buschhinkel). Mr. Moser and I undertook a walk toward a nearby lake on the Poconos.M25Long Pond. [Ed.: In Tunkhannock Township, Monroe County, just east of Pocono International Raceway.] For a half hour we followed the highway (turnpike road) upward and then turned off to the right near an old dilapidated hut where cattle grazed in the dense thickets. There we followed an old overgrown path. We went through a wild, gently sloping valley with charred pines rising out of low thickets. Three species of blueberries (Vaccinium), Oxicoccus, Andromeda.M26Aronia melanocarpa, Prinos laevigata, Gaultheria procumbens, Rhodora canadensis, Comptonia asplenifolia (the latter are very common), etc. [Ed.: Aronia melanocarpa is black chokecherry. Prinos laevigata, smooth winterberry. Rhodora cnadensis is Rhododendron canadense rhodora.] We collected herbaceous Cornus with pretty red berries and other interesting plants.
We followed an old path over a hill for a half hour. Then we found a gently sloping valley where the lake, overgrown with short swamp and reed grass, is situated among pine forest and several kinds of beautiful plants. Andromeda, Gaultheria procumbens, Kalmia latifolia, several species of Spiraea, particularly salicifolia, and, between them, a [species of] lovely blue Gentiana very similar to pneumonanthe, an Epilobium (apparently angustifolium), Cornus, Rhamnus, and other shrubs grow along its bank. On the lake there is a small boat, in which Mr. Moser pushed himself about to collect the pretty Pontederia lanceolata with its blue blossoms, anUtricularia with red blossoms, Nymphea, and other interesting plants. Here we found no waterfowl at all, even though the wilderness is [Page 1:73] completely isolated. The lake is about a mile long and does not have much open, clear water; the Tunkhannock Creek feeds it. In its vicinity there were only small birds, a sparrow hawk, several swallows, and (especially often) Fringilla erythrophthalma, which frequent the low shrubs.
When Mr. Moser was again back on shore, he suddenly called to me; he was close to a rattlesnake. I quickly went over, and he asserted that he had heard the buzzing sound of rattling. All our searching in the dense shrubs, which covered the ground like felt, was futile. Because of dangerous snakes, one must walk with some caution in this thick vegetation, and sturdy boots are very necessary, because snakes cannot strike through them. One of our landlord’s sons had recently been bitten in the heel while fishing. It was asserted that he was quickly restored to health with a tea made from the bark of white ash, which is said to be an excellent remedy for snake venom. In order to search for rattlesnakes, I crept through all the bushes. I had armed myself with a thick, long stick with which to part and scrutinize the bushes. It was hot today, and the weather was nicer than yesterday, but we still did not find any snakes.
Upon returning with a large vasculum full of plants, we learned that a black bear (Ursus americanus) had been caught in a trap today 6 miles farther up in the Poconos and killed with two shots through the head. We deeply regretted not having traveled 6 miles farther yesterday, since many more deer and bear are said to be there. Now this had to be postponed until tomorrow morning. Our hunters had not been lucky. They had found a deer and many heath hens. After lunch they again went off, and in the meantime a mink (Mustela lutreola) came close to our house and attacked the chickens. We reached for our guns, and Mr. Wöhler bagged it. This small, greedy predatory animal seems to be completely identical with the European swamp otter (mink).
Mr. Wöhler again went hunting with Moser, our hired hunter, and returned with a young pheasant.
At three or three thirty Mr. Bodmer, who had been sketching in the Delaware Gap, arrived. In the afternoon we searched near our house for the so-called sandsprings, strong, beautiful springs issuing from the white sand, which are found in the dense, low forest. Near these springs a metal trap, which was well covered and fastened with a strong chain, was set for bear. However, Mr. Moser led us in the wrong direction, and we did not find the right place.
Interesting plants kept us occupied, including the pretty Gaultheria procumbens, some stalks of which still had white flowers, although most bore their big, fully ripe scarlet berries on plants scarcely 3 inches tall hidden among the Vaccinium; [the latter] often were 3 feet tall with thick clusters of bluish black berries. The fragrant shrub with narrow, notched leaves with roundish lobes, Comptonia asplenifolia, is very common in all these forests in the Poconos as well as in the woods around Bethlehem and, together with Vaccinium, forms a dense cover here beneath the low oaks (Quercus banisteri).
On the way back we saw on a pine of medium height a large white object, which we took for a white falcon. Mr. Bodmer crept up very carefully and fired and, behold, the bird remained sitting, for it was an old, bleached-out horse’s skull. Mr. Bodmer also found the remains of an Emys testacea (or in the system: Emys [——]), as well as a young mouse with a very thick head. Mr. Wöhler had gone out again with the hired hunter and did not return until eight o’clock. They had bagged two nighthawks (Caprimulgus americanus). We decided to leave here early in the morning and to drive to the inn where the bear had been caught; it is located 7[Page 1:74] miles from here in the Poconos.