Ice and snow and rocks and water.
12,000 years ago that was all there was here. 11,000 years ago like the world after the great flood, the land began to appear. The Adirondacks had been pushed down somewhat, and covered a mile deep in ice, but now the sun shone and rivers of water cut through the new appearing land. There were no trees, or bushes, or animals, no grass nor fertile soils, with the ice disappearing, now there was just the ageless rocks, some sand, and the water. Trapped it was here, and more of it all the time. When the water finally found a weak spot in the sand and rock barriers, away it went to the south, tearing the earth apart; it found and widened the Hudson channel, and hundreds of miles off the East coast of present day New York City, it gouged out the Hudson Canyon, only to fall in one of the most stupendous waterfalls in North American history into the deep where the continental shelf now appears. The water left filled the low sports forming the endless lakes and rivers that comprise our home mountains. (For a look at the canyon today, click on the image at right…)
With the ice gone, mosses and grasses soon began to grow, then small shrubs, and small animals came to live here, following the returning herds, as always, came man. It took 7,000 years for the forest to grow here, less than 100 years for us to cut down. First humans to return were the Abenaki, “the Dawn people”. Crossing the Mississippi, they settled in the lowlands and lived a simple, but comfortable life. Next to cross the great river were the Mahigans, “the River people”, they settled along the big Eastern rivers and on the many islands. Following them came those the French would call the Iroquois. The different tribes fought amongst themselves and with their neighbors until Deganawida or Dekanawida and Hiawatha taught them the way of peace. Now confederated they called themselves The Haudenosaunee, “the People of the Longhouse”. They it was that ruled these mountains. Here in today’s Ticonderoga was the Eastern Gate of the great Longhouse, the door to the country. Here the Mohawks, the Kanien’kehá:ka, “People who live where the flint is found”, protected that door, until, in 1609 the French, in the person of Samuel de Champlain battered their way in and took the country for their own.
First came the ice, then the Abenaki, then the Mahigans, then the Mohawks, then the French. The English would follow, and then we, the Americans would wrest the land from them and make it truly our own.
Here, on the banks of Champlain’s lake, the natives found churt, a poor man’s form of flint (really just a fine grained quartz as is flint), and from that made many of their tools and weapons. Stand in front of the Fort View diner and look to the east. Those cliffs on the Mount Independence side provided the various tribes with just what they needed. Behind Mt Defiance, they busily worked the churt, the remains of their activities are there to this day. See here a hide scrapper fashioned to clean the meat off the inside of hides in order to make clothes. They
made their living from the land, as did the Americans. These others enjoyed their days in the sun, and then went quietly or not into that undiscovered country beyond.
These are your days, enjoy them… fvp
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