There is a well-known story included in the wonderful Adirondack Reader (a collection everyone on the planet should own, in my humble opinion), which happens to be one of my favorite Adirondack tales. It is a narrative account of the journey of a young teacher and his student on the Raquette River in 1843 when its course was still largely unknown to the white man. Teacher and student made it as far as they could on a raft until they were stopped by debris clogging the river near approaching rapids. There on the banks they were come upon by the soon-to-be-famous guide Mitchell Sabattis. Sabattis and party agreed to guide the young travelers, saving them from their predicament.
The two men needed a proper craft to continue their voyage, so Sabattis and his companions built them a canoe. They selected a tall conifer with a straight trunk and a diameter of a foot-and-a-half and felled it. From that trunk they easily spudded off a sheet of bark roughly five by fifteen feet in dimension. With careful cuts of the outer layer of the bark they folded the whole into a canoe shape, then sowed it in place using the roots of the very same tree as thread. To seal the threads and make the craft watertight they chewed the sap of this tree and made gum which they pushed into the holes. Thus it was that one tree – a conifer of marvelous qualities – supplied the hull of a canoe that carried four men and their gear down the rapids of the Raquette River. » Continue Reading.