Big House mountains, one ascends 2,200 feet, descends 1,400, climbs again 1,600, and goes down 2,000 feet on the far side. Beyond lie steep and narrow ridges athwart the way, paralleling each other like waves at sea. Ten distinct mountain chains are scaled and descended in the next forty miles. There are few "leads" rising gradually to their crests. Each and every one of these ridges is a Chinese wall magnified to altitudes of from a thousand to two thousand feet, and covered with thicket. The hollows between them are merely deep troughs. In the next thirty miles we come upon novel topography. Instead of wave following wave in orderly procession, we find here a choppy sea of small mountains, with hollows running toward all points of the compass. Instead of Chinese walls, we now have Chinese puzzles. The innate perversity of such configuration grows more and more exasperating as we toil westward. In the two hundred miles from the Greenbrier to the Kentucky River, the ridges are all but unscalable, and the streams sprangle in every direction like branches of mountain laurel."
Kephart Our Southern Highlanders