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Indian Pass

Adirondack Pass was its name when I was a young boy. Some call it Indian Pass now. I suppose that they are right in calling it that. It was an Indian pass long ago.

It was an easier way to broach the area of the high mountains. I must quickly say that it was not “easy”, but “easier” than other paths.

There were many other paths. They went each which way through our mountains. I say “our” because they were my ancestors mountains. My mother was Indian and from this area that I speak of; the area of the Tahawas, or Tahawus, or Tahauwas which is the name I took.

These paths, when I was young, were barely noticeable. Only a faint trace could be seen. These paths were used by my ancestors only for necessary movement. Later, one of my fellow natives showed men, from the valley of the Hudson, where the iron laid on top of the ground. That was the beginning of the end of my mother’s Adirondacks.

Men came and dug in the earth for iron. They built big furnaces and iron lungs to power them. They put dams on the streams to feed the lungs. They tore down the trees for charcoal. Then they started wandering on our paths.

Now the paths are worn. They are open to the heavy rains. The grasses and flowers were washed away. Only stones and mud remained. The visitors walked the edges to avoid the stones and mud. The paths became wider. The rain water now had a bigger ditch to play in. The paths became even wider. Then the visitors took to the hillsides. They made new paths.

The hillside paths became worn. The rain had an easier time on the steep hillsides. The grass and flowers once more were washed away. The visitors avoided these new slippery steep paths that were now only bare rock. The paths became wider. The rain and wind tore at the new paths. The hillside earth slipped away into the abyss below.

The Indian paths are now mud-holes. The hillsides are now barren rock.

The Tahawus, like I, disappeared like the grasses and flowers. Our ways have become eroded like the pathways of the high mountains.

We saw the sign of new flowers and grasses from time to time in those mountains. We hoped they would find good earth to grow in. It gave us hope that our way would grow again.

It did not. More visitors came. Railroads were built. Cabins and lodges were built. The wild flowers and grasses were replaced by square plots of mud. The mosses disappeared. The moose disappeared. The wolf disappeared. Finally the Indian disappeared.

The men from the valley of the Hudson now have these mountains for their own use.

These mountains remain tall, but no longer proud.

Tahawas and Tomosky c