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Title: I Married a Ranger
Author: Smith, Dama Margaret, 1892-1973
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "I Married a Ranger" ***

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   I Married a Ranger

  _By Dama Margaret Smith_

  (_Mrs. "White Mountain"_)


  Copyright 1930 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior
  University All Rights Reserved Published 1930


  _This book is lovingly dedicated
       White Mountain Smith
       who has made me glad
        I married a Ranger_


_I Married a Ranger_ is an intimate story of "pioneer" life in a
national park, told in an interesting, humorous way, that makes it most

To me it is more than a book; it is a personal justification. For back
in 1921, when the author came to my office in Washington and applied for
the clerical vacancy existing at the Grand Canyon, no woman had been
even considered for the position. The park was new, and neither time nor
funds had been available to install facilities that are a necessary part
of our park administrative and protective work. Especially was the Grand
Canyon lacking in living quarters. For that reason the local
superintendent, as well as Washington Office officials, were opposed to
sending any women clerks there.

Nevertheless, after talking to the author, I decided to make an
exception in her case, so she became the first woman Government employee
at the Canyon. _I Married a Ranger_ proves that the decision was a happy

It is a pleasure to endorse Mrs. Smith's book, and at the same time to
pay a tribute of admiration to the women of the Service, both employees
and wives of employees, who carry on faithfully and courageously under
all circumstances.

                  ARNO B. CAMMERER
                    _Associate Director,_
                       National Park Service


  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE

     I. "_Out in Arizona, Where the Bad Men Are_"                      1

    II. "_This Ain't Washington!_"                                    11

   III. "_I Do!_"                                                     21

    IV. _Celebrities and Squirrels_                                   31

     V. _Navajo Land_                                                 42

    VI. "_They Killed Me_"                                            56

   VII. _A Grand Canyon Christmas_                                    67

  VIII. _The Day's Work_                                              77

    IX. _The Doomed Tribe_                                            89

     X. _Where They Dance with Snakes_                               104

    XI. _The Terrible Badger Fight_                                  121

   XII. _Grand Canyon Ups and Downs_                                 131

  XIII. _Sisters under the Skin_                                     147

   XIV. _The Passing Show_                                           158

    XV. _Fools, Flood, and Dynamite_                                 170



"So you think you'd like to work in the Park Office at Grand Canyon?"

"Sure!" "Where is Grand Canyon?" I asked as an afterthought.

I knew just that little about the most spectacular chasm in the world,
when I applied for an appointment there as a Government worker.

Our train pulled into the rustic station in the wee small hours, and
soon I had my first glimpse of the Canyon. Bathed in cold moonlight, the
depths were filled with shadows that disappeared as the sun came up
while I still lingered, spellbound, on the Rim.

On the long train journey I had read and re-read the _Grand Canyon
Information Booklet_, published by the National Park Service. I was
still unprepared for what lay before me in carrying out my rôle as field
clerk there. So very, very many pages of that booklet have never been
written--pages replete with dangers and hardships, loneliness and
privations, sacrifice and service, all sweetened with friendships not
found in heartless, hurrying cities, lightened with loyalty and love,
and tinted with glamour and romance. And over it all lies a fascination
a stranger without the gates can never share.

I was the first woman ever placed in field service at the Grand Canyon,
and the Superintendent was not completely overjoyed at my arrival. To be
fair, I suppose he expected me to be a clinging-vine nuisance, although
I assured him I was well able to take care of myself. Time softens most
of life's harsh memories, and I've learned to see his side of the
question. What was he to do with a girl among scores of road builders
and rangers? When I tell part of my experiences with him, I do so only
because he has long been out of the Service and I can now see the
humorous aspect of our private feud.

As the sun rose higher over the Canyon, I reluctantly turned away and
went to report my arrival to the Superintendent. He was a towering,
gloomy giant of a man, and I rather timidly presented my assignment. He
looked down from his superior height, eyed me severely, and spoke

"I suppose you know you were thrust upon me!"

"No. I'm very sorry," I said, quite meekly.

While I was desperately wondering what to do or say next, a tall blond
man in Park uniform entered the office.

The Superintendent looked quite relieved.

"This is White Mountain, Chief Ranger here. I guess I'll turn you over
to him. Look after her, will you, Chief?" And he washed his hands of

In the Washington office I had often heard of "White Mountain" Smith. I
recalled him as the Government scout that had seen years of service in
Yellowstone before he became Chief Ranger at Grand Canyon. I looked him
over rather curiously and decided that I liked him very well. His keen
blue eyes were the friendliest I had seen since I left West Virginia. He
looked like a typical Western man, and I was surprised that his speech
had a "down East" tone.

"Aren't you a Westerner?"

"No, I'm a Connecticut Yankee," he smiled. "But we drift out here from
everywhere. I've been in the West many years."

"Have you ever been in West Virginia?" I blurted. Homesickness had
settled all over me.

He looked at me quickly, and I reckon he saw that tears were close to
the surface.

"No-o, I haven't been there. But my father went down there during the
Civil War and helped clean up on the rebels!"

Sparks flew then and I forgot to be homesick. But he laughed and led me
toward my new home.

We strolled up a slight rise through wonderful pine trees, with here and
there a twisted juniper giving a grotesque touch to the landscape. The
ground was covered with springy pine needles, and squirrels and birds
were everywhere. We walked past rows and rows of white tents pitched in
orderly array among the pines, the canvas village of fifty or more road
builders. By and by we came to a drab gray shack, weather-beaten and
discouraged, hunched under the trees as if it were trying to blot
itself from the scene. I was passing on, when the Chief (White Mountain)
stopped me with a gesture.

"This is your home," he said. Just that bald statement. I thought he was
joking, but he pushed the door open and we walked inside. The tiny shack
had evidently seen duty as a warehouse and hadn't been manicured since!
But in view of the fact that the Park Service was handicapped by lack of
funds, and in the throes of road building and general development, I was
lucky to draw a real house instead of a tent. I began to see why the
Superintendent had looked askance at me when I arrived. I put on my
rose-colored glasses and took stock of my abode.

It was divided into two rooms, a kitchen and a combination
living-dining-sleeping-dressing-bath-room. The front door was a heavy
nailed-up affair that fastened with an iron hook and staple. The back
door sagged on its leather hinges and moved open or shut reluctantly.
Square holes were cut in the walls for windows, but these were innocent
of screen or glass. Cracks in the roof and walls let in an abundance of
Arizona atmosphere. The furniture consisted of a slab table that
extended all the way through the middle of the room, a wicker chair, and
a golden-oak dresser minus the mirror and lacking one drawer.

White Mountain looked surprised and relieved, when I burst out laughing.
He didn't know how funny the financial inducements of my new job sounded
to me while I looked around that hovel: "So much per annum and furnished

"We'll fix this up for you. We rangers didn't know until this morning
that you were coming," he said; and we went down to see if the cook was
in a good humor. I was to eat at the "Mess House" with the road crew and
rangers, provided the cook didn't mind having a woman around. I began to
have leanings toward "Equal-Rights-for-Women Clubs," but the cook was as
nice as could be. I fell in love with him instantly. Both he and his
kitchen were so clean and cheerful. His name was Jack. He greeted me as
man to man, with a hearty handclasp, and assured me he would look after

"But you'll have to eat what the men do. I ain't got time to fix fancies
for you," he hastened to add.

A steel triangle hung on a tree near the cookhouse door, and when dinner
was ready Jack's helper struck it sharply with an iron bar. This made a
clatter that could be heard a mile and brought the men tumbling from
their tents to eat. As I was washing my hands and face in the kitchen I
heard Jack making a few remarks to his boarders: "Now don't any you
roughnecks forget there's a lady eatin' here from now on, and I'll be
damned if there's goin' to be any cussin', either." I don't believe they
needed any warning, for during the months I lived near their tents and
ate with them they never "forgot."

Many of them no doubt had come from homes as good as mine, and more than
one had college degrees. As they became accustomed to having me around
they shed their reserve along with their coats and became just what they
really were, a bunch of grown-up boys in search of adventure.

A week later it seemed perfectly natural to sit down to luncheon with
platters of steak, bowls of vegetables, mounds of potatoes, and pots of
steaming black coffee; but just then it was a radical change from my
usual glass of milk and thin sandwich lunch. The food was served on long
pine tables, flanked by backless benches. Blue and white enamel dishes,
steel knives and forks, and of course no napkins, made up the service.
We drank coffee from tin cups, cooling and diluting it with condensed
milk poured from the original can. I soon learned that "Shoot the cow!"
meant nothing more deadly than "Pass the milk, please!"

The rangers ate at a table apart from the other men. The Chief sat at
the head of the table, and my plate was at his right. Several rangers
rose to greet me when I came in.

"I'm glad you came," said one of them. "We are apt to grow careless
without someone to keep the rough edges polished for us." That was
Ranger Charley Fisk, the most loyal, faithful friend one could wish for.
He was never too tired nor too busy to add a shelf here or build a
cabinet there in my tiny cabin for me. But all that I had to learn
later. There was Frank, Ranger Winess; he and the Chief had been
together many years in Yellowstone; and Ranger West, and Ranger Peck.
These and several more were at the table.

"Eat your dinner," the Chief advised, and I ate, from steak to pie. The
three meals there were breakfast, dinner, and supper. No lettuce-leaf
lunch for them.

Dinner disposed of, I turned my attention to making my cabin fit to
live in. The cook had his flunky sweep and scrub the floor, and then,
with the aid of blankets, pictures, and draperies from my trunks, the
little place began to lose its forlorn look. White Mountain contributed
a fine pair of Pendleton blankets, gay and fleecy. He spread a Navajo
rug on the floor and placed an armful of books on the table. Ranger Fisk
threw the broken chair outside and brought me a chair he had made for
himself. Ranger Winess had been riding the drift fence while we worked,
but he appeared on the scene with a big cluster of red Indian paintbrush
blossoms he had found in a coulee. None of us asked if they were picked
inside the Park.

No bed was available, and again Ranger Fisk came to the rescue. He lent
me his cot and another ranger contributed his mattress.

White Mountain was called away, and when he returned he said that he had
hired a girl for the fire look-out tower, and suggested that I might
like to have her live there with me. "She's part Indian," he added.

"Fine. I like Indians, and anyway these doors won't lock. I'm glad to
have her." So they found another cot and put it up in the kitchen for

She was a jolly, warm-hearted girl, used to life in such places. Her
husband was a forest ranger several miles away, and she spent most of
her time in the open. All day she stayed high in the fire tower, with
her glasses scanning the surrounding country. At the first sign of
smoke, she determined its exact location by means of a map and then
telephoned to Ranger Headquarters. Men were on their way immediately,
and many serious forest fires were thus nipped in the bud.

She and I surveyed each other curiously. I waited for her to do the

"You won't stay here long!" she said, and laughed when I asked her why.

"This is a funny place to put you," she remarked next, after a glance
around our new domain. "I'd rather be out under a tree, wouldn't you?"

"God forbid!" I answered earnestly. "I'm no back-to-nature fan, and this
is primitive a-plenty for me. There's no bathroom, and I can't even find
a place to wash my face. What shall we do?"

We reconnoitered, and found the water supply. We coaxed a tin basin away
from the cook and were fully equipped as far as a bathroom was

Thea--for that was her Indian name--agreed that it might be well to
fasten our doors; so we dragged the decrepit dresser against the front
portal and moved a trunk across the back entrance. As there were no
shades at the windows, we undressed in the dark and retired.

The wind moaned in the pines. A querulous coyote complained. Strange
noises were everywhere around us. Scampering sounds echoed back and
forth in the cabin. My cot was hard and springless as a rock, and when I
stretched into a more comfortable position the end bar fell off and the
whole structure collapsed, I with it. Modesty vetoed a light, since the
men were still passing our cabin on their way to the tents; so in utter
darkness I pulled the mattress under the table and there made myself as
comfortable as possible. Just as I was dozing, Thea came in from the
kitchen bringing her cot bumping and banging at her heels. She was
utterly unnerved by rats and mice racing over her. We draped petticoats
and other articles of feminine apparel over the windows and sat up the
rest of the night over the smoky lamp. Wrapped in our bright blankets it
would have been difficult to tell which of us was the Indian.

"I'll get a cat tomorrow," I vowed.

"You can't. Cats aren't allowed in the Park," she returned, dejectedly.

"Well, then rats shouldn't be either," I snapped. "I can get some traps
I reckon. Or is trapping prohibited in this area?"

Thea just sighed.

Morning finally came, as mornings have a habit of doing, and found me
flinging things back in my trunk, while my companion eyed me
sardonic-wise. I had spent sufficient time in the great open spaces, and
just as soon as I could get some breakfast I was heading for Washington
again. But by the time I had tucked in a "feed" of fried potatoes, eggs,
hot cakes, and strong coffee, a lion couldn't have scared me away.
"Bring on your mice," was my battle cry.

At breakfast Ranger Fisk asked me quite seriously if I would have some
cackle berries. I looked around, couldn't see any sort of fruit on the
table, and, remembering the cook's injunction to eat what he set before
me, I answered: "No, thank you; but I'll have an egg, please." After
the laughter had subsided, White Mountain explained that cackle berries
were eggs!

I told the rangers about the mice in my house, and the cook overheard
the conversation. A little later a teamster appeared at my cabin with a
tiny gray kitten hidden under his coat.

"Cook said you have mice, Miss. I've brought 'Tuffy' to you. Please keep
him hid from the rangers. He has lived in the barn with me up to now."

With such a loyal protector things took a turn for the better, and my
Indian friend, my wee gray cat, and myself dwelt happily in our little



"This ain't Washington, and we don't keep bankers' hours here," was the
slogan of the Superintendent. He spoke that phrase, chanted it, and sang
it. He made a litany of it; he turned it into a National Anthem. It came
with such irritating regularity I could have sworn he timed it on a
knotted string, sort of "Day-by-day-in-every-way" tempo, one might say.
And it wasn't Washington, and we didn't live lives of ease; no banker
ever toiled from dawn until all hours of the night, Sunday included!

I made pothooks and translated them. I put figures down and added them
up. For the road crew I checked in equipment and for the cook I chucked
out rotten beef. The Superintendent had boasted that three weeks of the
program he had laid out for me would be plenty to send me back where I
came from and then he would have a regular place again. But I really
didn't mind the work. I was learning to love the Arizona climate and the
high thin air that kept one's spirits buoyed up in spite of little
irritations. I was not lonely, for I had found many friends.

When I had been at the Canyon a few days the young people gave a party
for me. It was my début, so to speak. The world-famous stone building at
Hermit's Rest was turned over to us for the evening by the Fred Harvey
people, and, attended by the entire ranger force, I drove out the nine
miles from Headquarters. We found the house crowded with guides,
cowboys, stage-drivers, and their girls. Most of the girls were Fred
Harvey waitresses, and if you think there is any discredit attached to
that job you had better change your mind. The girls there were
bookkeepers, teachers, college girls, and stenographers. They see the
world and get well paid while doing it.

The big rendezvous at Hermit's Rest resembles an enormous cavern. The
fireplace is among the largest anywhere in the world, and the cave
impression is further carried out by having flat stones laid for the
floor, and rock benches covered with bearskins and Navajo rugs. Many
distinguished guests from all parts of the globe have been entertained
in that room, but we forgot all about distinguished personages and had a
real old-fashioned party. We played cards and danced, and roasted
weenies and marshmallows. After that party I felt that I belonged there
at the Canyon and had neighbors.

There were others, however. The Social Leader, for instance. She tried
to turn our little democracy into a monarchy, with herself the
sovereign. She was very near-sighted, and it was a mystery how she
managed to know all about everything until we discovered she kept a pair
of powerful field-glasses trained on the scene most of the time. The
poor lady had a mania for selling discarded clothing at top prices. We
used to ask each other when we met at supper, "Did you buy anything
today?" I refused point-blank to buy her wreckage, but the rangers were
at a disadvantage. They wanted to be gentlemen and not hurt her
feelings! Now and then one would get cornered and stuck with a
second-hand offering before he could make his getaway. Then how the
others would rag him! One ranger, with tiny feet, of which he was
inordinately proud, was forced to buy a pair of No. 12 shoes because
they pinched the Social Leader's Husband's feet. He brought them to me.

"My Gawd! What'll I do with these here box cars? They cost me six bucks
and I'm ruined if the boys find out about it."

An Indian squaw was peddling baskets at my house, and we traded the
shoes to her for two baskets. I kept one and he the other. Not long
after that he was burned to death in a forest fire, and when I packed
his belongings to send to his mother the little basket was among his

There was a Bridge Fiend in our midst, too! She weighed something like
twenty stone, slept all forenoon, played bridge and ate chocolates all
afternoon, and talked constantly of reducing. One day she went for a
ride on a flop-eared mule; he got tired and lay down and rolled over and
over in the sand. They had some trouble rescuing her before she got
smashed. I told her the mule believed in rolling to help reduce. She
didn't see the joke, but the mule and I did. Grand Canyon life was too
exciting for her, so she left us.

A quaint little person was the rancher's wife who brought fresh eggs and
vegetables to us. She wore scant pajamas instead of skirts, because she
thought it "more genteel," she explained. When a favorite horse or cow
died, she carefully preserved the skull and other portions of the
skeleton for interior-decoration purposes.

Ranger Fisk and I took refuge in her parlor one day from a heavy rain.
Her husband sat there like a graven image. He was never known to say
more than a dozen words a day, but she carried on for the entire family.
As Ranger Fisk said, "She turns her voice on and then goes away and
forgets it's running." She told us all about the last moments of her
skeletons before they were such, until it ceased to be funny. Ranger
Fisk sought to change the conversation by asking her how long she had
been married.

"Ten years; but it seems like fifty," she said. We braved the rain after

Ranger Fisk was born in Sweden. He ran away from home at fourteen and
joined the Merchant Marine, and in that service poked into most of the
queer seaports on the map. He had long since lost track of his kinsfolk,
and although he insisted that he was anxious to marry he carefully kept
away from all marriageable ladies.

Ranger Winess was the sheik of the force. Every good-looking girl that
came his way was rushed for a day and forgotten as soon as another
arrived. He played his big guitar, and sang and danced, and made love,
all with equal skill and lightness. The only love he was really constant
to was Tony, his big bay horse.

Ranger West, Assistant Chief Ranger, was the most like a storybook
ranger of them all. He was essentially an outdoor man, without any
parlor tricks. I have heard old-timers say he was the best man with
horses they had ever known. He was much more interested in horses and
tobacco than he was in women and small talk. But if there was a
particularly dangerous task or one requiring sound judgment and a clear
head, Ranger West was selected.

He and Ranger Fisk and Ranger Winess were known as the "Three
Musketeers." They were the backbone of the force.

Sometimes I think my very nicest neighbor was the gardener at El Tovar
Hotel. He saw me hungrily eying his flowers, and gave me a generous
portion of plants and showed me how to care for them. I planted them
alongside my little gray house, and after each basin of water had seen
duty for cleansing purposes it went to water the flowers. We never
wasted a drop of water. It was hauled a hundred miles in tank cars, and
cost accordingly. I sometimes wondered if we paid extra for the red bugs
that swam around in it so gaily. Anyway, my flowers didn't mind the
bugs. They grew into masses of beautiful foliage and brilliant blossoms.
I knew every leaf and bud on them. I almost sat up nights with them, I
was so proud of their beauty. My flowers and my little gray kitten were
all the company I had now. The fire guard girl had gone home.

One of my neighbors asked me to go with a group of Fred Harvey girls to
visit the Petrified Forest, lying more than a hundred miles southeast
of the Canyon. As I had been working exceptionally hard in the Park
Office, I declared myself a holiday, and Sunday morning early found us
well on the way.

We drove through ordinary desert country to Williams and from there on
past Flagstaff and eastward to Holbrook. Eighteen miles from there we
began to see fallen logs turned into stone.

My ideas of the Petrified Forest were very vague, but I had expected to
see standing trees turned to stone. These big logs were all lying down,
and I couldn't find a single stump! We drove through several miles of
fallen logs and came to the Government Museum where unique and choice
specimens had been gathered together for visitors to see. It is hard to
describe this wood, that isn't wood. It looks like wood, at least the
grain and the shape, and knotholes and even wormholes are there; but it
has turned to beautifully brilliant rock. Some pieces look like
priceless Italian marble; others are all colors of the rainbow, blended
together into a perfect poem of shades.

Of course I asked for an explanation, and with all the technical terms
left out, this is about what I learned: "These trees are probably forty
million years old! None of them grew here. This is proved in several
ways: there are few roots or branches and little bark."

The ranger saw me touch the outside of a log that was covered with what
looked to me like perfectly good bark! He smiled.

"Yes, I know that looks like bark, but it is merely an outside crust of
melted sand, et cetera, that formed on the logs as they rolled around in
the water."

"Water?" I certainly hadn't seen any water around the Petrified Forest.

"Yes, water. This country, at one time, was an arm of the Pacific Ocean,
and was drained by some disturbance which brought the Sierra Mountains
to the surface. These logs grew probably a thousand miles north of here
and were brought here in a great flood. They floated around for
centuries perhaps, and were thoroughly impregnated with the mineral
water, doubtless hot water. When the drainage took place, they were
covered by silt and sand to a depth of perhaps two thousand feet. Here
the petrifaction took place. Silica was present in great quantities.
Manganese and iron provided the coloring matter, and through pressure
these chemicals were forced into the grain of the wood, which gradually
was absorbed and its cell structure replaced by ninety-nine per cent
silica and the other per cent iron and manganese. Erosion brought what
we see to the top. We have reason to believe that the earth around here
covers many thousand more."

After that all soaked in I asked him what the beautiful crystals in
purple and amber were. These are really amethysts and topazes found in
the center of the logs. Formed probably by resin in the wood, these
jewels are next hardest to diamonds and have been much prized. One
famous jeweler even had numberless logs blown to splinters with
explosives in order to secure the gems.

The wood is very little softer than diamond, and polishes beautifully
for jewelry, book-ends, and table tops. The ranger warned us against
taking any samples from the Reserve.

We could have spent days wandering around among the fallen giants, each
one disclosing new beauties in color and formation; but we finally left,
reluctantly, each determined to come back again.

It was quite dark when we reached the Canyon, and I was glad to creep
into bed. My kitten snuggled down close to the pillow and sang sleepy
songs, but I couldn't seem to get to sleep. Only cheesecloth nailed over
the windows stood between me and all sorts of animals I imagined prowled
the surrounding forest. The cheesecloth couldn't keep the noises out,
and the cry that I heard might just as well have been the killing scream
of a cougar as a bed-time story of a tree frog. It made my heart beat
just as fast. And although the rangers declared I never heard more than
one coyote at a time, I knew that at least twenty howling voices swelled
the chorus.

While I was trying to persuade myself that the noise I heard was just a
pack rat, a puffing, blowing sound at the window took me tremblingly out
to investigate. I knew some ferocious animal was about to devour me! But
my precious flowers were the attraction. A great, gaunt cow had taken
the last delectable bite from my pansy bed and was sticking out a greedy
tongue to lap in the snapdragons. Throwing on my bathrobe, I grabbed the
broom and attacked the invader. I whacked it fore and aft! I played a
tune on its lank ribs! Taken completely by surprise, it hightailed
clumsily up through the pines, with me and my trusty broom lending
encouragement. When morning came, showing the havoc wrought on my
despoiled posies, I was ready to weep.

Ranger Winess joined me on my way to breakfast.

"Don't get far from Headquarters today," he said. "Dollar Mark Bull is
in here and he is a killer. I've been out on Tony after him, but he
charged us and Tony bolted before I could shoot. When I got Tony down to
brass tacks, Dollar Mark was hid."

I felt my knees knocking together.

"What's he look like?" I inquired, weakly.

"Big red fellow, with wide horns and white face. Branded with a Dollar
Mark. He's at least twenty years old, and mean!"

My midnight visitor!

I sat down suddenly on a lumber pile. It was handy to have a lumber
pile, for I felt limp all over. I told the ranger about chasing the old
beast around with a broom. His eyes bulged out on stems.

Frequent appearances of "Dollar Mark" kept me from my daily tramps
through the pines, and I spent more time on the Rim of the Canyon.

Strangely, the great yawning chasm itself held no fascination for me. I
could appreciate its dizzy depths, its vastness, its marvelous color
effects, and its weird contours. I could feel the immensity of it, and
it repelled instead of attracted. I seemed to see its barrenness and
desolation, the cruel deception of its poisonous springs, and its
insurmountable walls. I could visualize its hapless victims wandering
frantically about, trying to find the way out of some blind coulee,
until, exhausted and thirst-crazed, they lay down to die under the
sun's pitiless glare. Many skeletons, half buried in sand, have been
found to tell of such tragedies.

It was only in the evenings, after the sun had gone down, that I could
feel at ease with the Canyon. Then I loved to sit on the Rim and look
down on the one living spot far below, where, almost a century ago, the
Indians made their homes and raised their crops, watering the fields
from the clear, cold spring that gushes out of the hillside. As the
light faded, the soft mellow moon would swim into view, shrouding with
tender light the stark, grim boulders. From the plateau, lost in the
shadows, the harsh bray of wild burros, softened by distance, floated

On a clear day I could see objects on the North Rim, thirteen miles
away, and with a pair of strong field glasses I could bring the scene
quite close. It looked like a fairyland over there, and I wanted to
cross over and see what it was really like. White Mountain advanced the
theory that if we were married we could go over there for our honeymoon!
I had to give the matter careful consideration; but while I considered,
the moon came up, and behind us in the Music Room someone began to play
softly Schubert's "Serenade." I said, "All right. Next year we'll go!"


_Chapter III: "I DO!"_

The Washington Office decided, by this time, that I was really going to
stay, so they sent another girl out to work with me. The poor
Superintendent was speechless! But his agony was short-lived. Another
superintendent was sent to relieve him, which was also a relief to me!

My new girl was from Alabama and had never been west of that state. She
was more of a tenderfoot than I, if possible. At first she insisted one
had to have a bathtub or else be just "pore white trash," but in time
she learned to bathe quite luxuriously in a three-pint basin. It took
longer for her to master the art of lighting a kerosene lamp, and it was
quite a while before she was expert enough to dodge the splinters in the
rough pine floor. I felt like a seasoned sourdough beside her!

We "ditched" the big cookstove, made the back room into sleeping
quarters, and turned our front room into a sort of clubhouse. White
Mountain gave us a wonderful phonograph and plenty of records. If one is
inclined to belittle canned music, it is a good plan to live for a
while where the only melody one hears is a wailing coyote or the wind
moaning among the pines.

We kept getting new records. The rangers dropped in every evening with
offerings. Ranger Winess brought us love songs. He doted on John
McCormack's ballads, and I secretly applauded his choice. Of course I
had to praise the Harry Lauder selections that Ranger Fisk toted in.
White Mountain favored Elman and Kreisler. The violin held him
spellbound. But when Pat came we all suffered through an evening of
Grand Opera spelled with capital letters!

Nobody knew much about "Pat." He was a gentleman without doubt. He was
educated and cultured, he was witty and traveled. His game of bridge was
faultless and his discussion of art or music authentic. He was ready to
discuss anything and everything, except himself.

In making up personnel records I asked him to fill out a blank. He gave
his name and age. "Education" was followed by "A.B." and "M.A." Nearest
relative: "None." In case of injury or death notify--"_Nobody._" That
was all. Somewhere he had a family that stood for something in the
world, but where? He was a striking person, with his snow-white hair,
bright blue eyes, and erect, soldier-like bearing. White Mountain and
Ranger Winess had known him in Yellowstone; Ranger Fisk had seen him in
Rainier; Ranger West had met him at Glacier. He taught me the game of
cribbage, and the old game of gold-rush days--solo.

One morning Pat came to my cabin and handed me a book. Without speaking
he turned and walked away. Inside the volume I found a note: "I am
going away. This is my favorite book. I want you to have it and keep
it." The title of the book was _Story of an African Farm_. None of us
ever saw Pat again.

The yearly rains began to come daily, each with more force and water
than the preceding one. Lightning flashed like bombs exploding, and
thunder roared and reverberated back and forth from Rim to Rim of the
Canyon. We sank above our shoes in mud every time we left the cabin. The
days were disagreeable, but the evenings were spent in the cabin, Ranger
Winess with his guitar and the other boys singing while we girls made
fudge or sea-foam. Such quantities of candy as that bunch could consume!
The sugar was paid for from the proceeds of a Put-and-Take game that
kept us entertained.

We had a girl friend, Virginia, from Washington as a guest, and she fell
in love with Arizona. Also with Ranger Winess. It was about arranged
that she would remain permanently, but one unlucky day he took her down
Bright Angel Trail. He provided her with a tall lank mule, "By Gosh," to
ride, and she had never been aboard an animal before. Every time By Gosh
flopped an ear she thought he was trying to slap her in the face. On a
steep part of the trail a hornet stung the mule, and he began to buck
and kick.

I asked Virginia what she did then.

"I didn't do anything. By Gosh was doing enough for both of us," she
said. Ranger Winess said, however, that she turned her mule's head in
toward the bank and whacked him with the stick she carried. Which was
the logical thing to do. Unfortunately Ranger Winess teased her a
little about the incident, and a slight coolness arose. Just to show how
little she cared for his company, Virginia left our party and strolled
up to the Rim to observe the effect of moonlight on the mist that filled

Our game of Put-and-Take was running along merrily when we heard a
shriek, then another. We rushed out, and there was Dollar Mark Bull
chasing Virginia around and around among the big pine trees while she
yelled like a calliope. Seeing the door open she knocked a few of us
over in her hurry to get inside. Then she bravely slammed the door and
stood against it! Fortunately, Dollar Mark retreated and no lives were

The rangers departed, we soothed Virginia, now determined not to remain
permanently, and settled down for the night. Everything quiet and
peaceful, thank goodness!

Alas! The most piercing shrieks I ever heard brought me upright in bed
with every hair standing on end. It was morning. I looked at Virginia's
bed. I could see her quite distinctly, parts of her at least. Her head
was buried, ostrich-wise, in the blankets, while her feet beat a wild
tattoo in the air. Stell woke up and joined the chorus. The cause of it
all was a bewildered Navajo buck who stood mutely in the doorway,
staring at the havoc he had created. At arm's length he tendered a pair
of moccasins for sale. It was the first Reservation Indian in native
dress, or rather undress, the girls had seen, and they truly expected to
be scalped.

It never occurs to an Indian to knock at a door, nor does the question
of propriety enter into his calculations when he has an object in view.

I told him to leave, and he went out. An hour later, however, when we
went to breakfast, he was squatted outside my door waiting for us to
appear. He had silver bracelets and rings beaten out of Mexican coins
and studded with native turquoise and desert rubies. We each bought
something. I bought because I liked his wares, and the other girls
purchased as a sort of thank-offering for mercies received.

The bracelets were set with the brilliant rubies found by the Indians in
the desert. It is said that ants excavating far beneath the surface
bring these semi-precious stones to the top. Others contend that they
are not found underneath the ground but are brought by the ants from
somewhere near the nest because their glitter attracts the ant. True or
false, the story results in every anthill being carefully searched.

Virginia's visit was drawing to a close, and White Mountain and I
decided to announce our engagement while she was still with us. We gave
a dinner at El Tovar, with the rangers and our closest friends present.
At the same party another ranger announced his engagement and so the
dinner was a hilarious affair.

One of the oldest rangers there, and one notoriously shy with women,
made me the object of a general laugh. He raised his glass solemnly and
said: "Well, here's wishin' you joy, but I jest want to say this: ef
you'd a played yo' cyards a little bit different, you wouldn't 'a had to
take White Mountain."

Before the dinner was over a call came from the public camp ground for
aid. Our party broke up, and we girls went to the assistance of a
fourteen-year-old mother whose baby was ill. Bad food and ignorance had
been too much for the little nameless fellow, and he died about
midnight. There was a terrible electric storm raging, and rain poured
down through the old tent where the baby died.

Ranger Winess carried the little body down to our house and we took the
mother and followed. We put him in a dresser drawer and set to work to
make clothes to bury him in. Ranger Fisk and Ranger Winess made the tiny
casket, and we rummaged through our trunks for materials. A sheer dimity
frock of mine that had figured in happier scenes made the shroud, and
Virginia gave a silken scarf to line the coffin. Ranger Winess tacked
muslin over the rough boards so it would look nicer to the young mother.
There were enough of my flowers left by Dollar Mark to make a wreath,
and that afternoon a piteous procession wended its way to the cemetery.
And such a cemetery! Near the edge of the Canyon, a mile or so from
Headquarters it lay, a bleak neglected spot in a sagebrush flat with
nothing to mark the cattle-tramped graves, of which there were four. At
the edge of the clearing, under a little pine, was the open grave, and
while the coffin was lowered the men sang. I never heard a more lonesome
sound than those men singing there over that little grave. White
Mountain read the burial service.

We took the mother back to our cabin while the grave was being filled
in. I used to see her walking out there each morning with a few wild
flowers to put on the mound. Ranger Winess managed to ride that way and
keep her in sight until she returned to the camp ground. While the blue
lupine blossomed she kept the mound covered with the fragrant flowers.

Ranger Fisk had a vacation about this time, and he insisted White
Mountain and I should get married while he could act as best man. So we
journeyed to Flagstaff with him and were married. It seemed more like a
wedding in a play than anything else. Ranger Fisk was burdened with the
responsibility of the wedding-ring, license, minister's fee, and flowers
for the occasion. He herded us into the clerk's office to secure the
necessary papers, and the girl clerk that issued them was a stickler for
form. We gave our names, our parents' names, our ages, birth-places, and
previous states of servitude. I was getting ready to show her my
vaccination scar, when she turned coldly critical eyes on me and asked:
"Are you white?" This for a Virginian to answer was quite a blow.

We went to the minister's house, and since two witnesses were necessary,
the wife was called in from her washing. She came into the parlor drying
her hands on her apron, which she discarded by rolling up and tossing
into a chair. Ranger Fisk produced the ring, with a flourish, at the
proper moment, gave the minister his money, after all the "I do's" had
been said, and the wedding was over. So we were married. No wedding
march, no flower girls, no veil, no rice, no wedding breakfast. Just a
solemn promise to respect each other and be faithful. Perhaps the
promise meant just a little more to us because it was not smothered in

For a wedding-trip we visited the cliff dwellings in Walnut Canyon.
Here, hundreds of years ago, other newly married couples had set up
housekeeping and built their dreams into the walls that still tell the
world that we are but newcomers on this hemisphere.

The news of our marriage reached the Canyon ahead of us, and we found
our little cabin filled with our friends and their gifts. They spent a
merry evening with us and as we bade them goodnight we felt that such
friendship was beyond price indeed.

But after midnight! The great open spaces were literally filled with a
most terrifying and ungodly racket. I heard shrieks and shots, and tin
pans banging. Horrors! The cook was on another vanilla-extract
jamboree!! But--drums boomed and bugles blared. Ah, of course! The
Indians were on the warpath; I never entirely trusted those red devils.
I looked around for a means of defense, but the Chief told me not to be
alarmed--it was merely a "shivaree."

"Now, what might that be?" I inquired. I supposed he meant at least a
banshee, or at the very least an Irish wake! It was, however, nothing
more or less than our friends serenading us. They came inside, thirty
strong; the walls of the cabin fairly bulged. They played all sorts of
tricks on us, and just as they left someone dropped a handful of sulphur
on top of the stove. Naturally, we went outside with our visitors to
wish them "godspeed!"

"I'll never get married again; at least not in the land of the
shivaree," I told White Mountain as we tried to repair the damage.

I guess we were let off easy, for when our ranger friend returned with
his bride they suffered a much worse fate. The groom was locked for
hours in the old bear cage on the Rim, and his wife was loaded into a
wheelbarrow and rolled back and forth across the railroad tracks until
the Chief called a halt to that. He felt the treatment was a little too
severe even for people in love.

Since I could not go to live in the bachelor ranger quarters, White
Mountain moved into my cabin until our house could be completed. A tent
house was built for Stell in the back yard of our cabin. She was afraid
to live alone, and used to wake us at all hours of the night. Once she
came bursting into our cabin, hysterical with fright. A bunch of coyotes
had been racing around and around her tent trying to get into the
garbage can. They yelped and barked, and, finally, as she sobbed and
tried to explain, "They sat down in my door and laughed like crazy
people." She finished the night on our spare cot, for anybody that
thinks coyotes can't act like demons had better spend a night in Arizona
and listen to them perform.

Stell wasn't a coward by any means. She was right there when real
courage was needed. A broken leg to set or a corpse to bathe and dress
were just chores that needed to be done, and she did her share of both.
But seven thousand feet altitude for months at a time will draw a
woman's nerves tauter than violin strings. I remember, one morning,
Stell and I came home in the dawn after an all-night vigil with a dying
woman. We were both nearly asleep as we stumbled along through the
pines, but not too far gone to see Dollar Mark come charging at us. We
had stopped at the cookhouse and begged a pot of hot coffee to take to
our cabins. Stell was carrying it, and she stood her ground until the
mean old bull was within a few feet of her. Then she dashed the
boiling-hot coffee full in his gleaming red eyes, and while he snorted
and bellowed with pain we shinnied up a juniper tree and hung there like
some of our ancestors until the road crew came along and drove him away.
We were pretty mad, and made a few sarcastic remarks about a ranger
force that couldn't even "shoot the bull." We requested the loan of a
gun, if necessary! Ranger Winess took our conversation to heart, and
next morning hung a notice in Headquarters which "Regretted to report
that Dollar Mark Bull accidentally fell over the Rim into the Canyon and
was killed." In my heart I questioned both the "regret" and the
"accidental" part of the report, and in order to still any remorse that
the ranger might feel I baked him the best lemon pie I had in my



Soon after our wedding the Chief crossed to the North Rim to meet a
party of celebrities, which included his old friend Emerson Hough. This
was to have been our honeymoon trip, but I was left at home! The new
Superintendent needed me in the office; therefore White Mountain spent
our honeymoon trip alone. I had heard of such a thing, but never
expected it to happen to me. I might have felt terribly cut up about it
but on the South Rim we were fermenting with excitement getting ready to
entertain important guests.

General Diaz of Italy and his staff were coming, soon to be followed by
Marshal Foch with his retinue. And in the meantime Tom Mix and Eva Novak
had arrived with beautiful horses and swaggering cowboys to make a
picture in the Canyon. What was a mere honeymoon compared to such

Tom and Eva spent three weeks making the picture, and we enjoyed every
minute they were there. Ranger Winess was assigned to duty with them,
and when they left the Canyon he found himself with the offer of a
movie contract. Tom liked the way the ranger handled his horse and his
rifle, and Tom's wife liked the sound of his guitar. So we lost Ranger
Winess. He went away to Hollywood, and we all went around practicing:
"I-knew-him-when" phrases. But Hollywood wasn't Grand Canyon, and there
wasn't a horse there, not even Tom's celebrated Tony, that had half as
much brains as his own bay Tony of the ranger horses. So Winess came
back to us, and everybody was happy again.

While the picture was being made, some of the company found a burro
mother with a broken leg, and Ranger Winess mercifully ended her
suffering. A tiny baby burro playing around the mother they took to camp
and adopted at once. He was so comical with his big velvet ears and wise
expression. Not bigger than a shepherd dog, the men could pick him up
and carry him around the place. Tom took him to Mixville and the movie
people taught him to drink out of a bottle, so he is well on the road to
stardom. Ranger Winess, visiting in New Jersey a couple of years later,
dropped into a theater where Tom Mix was in a vaudeville act. Mix spied
the ranger, and when the act was over he stepped to the edge of the
stage and sang out: "Hey, Winess, I still got that burro!"

A dummy that had been used in the picture was left lying quite a
distance up the side of a mountain, but quite visible from their movie
camp. Tom bet his Director, Lynn Reynolds, twenty-five dollars that the
dummy was six feet tall. He knew quite well that it was _not_ six feet
tall, and knew that Reynolds knew so too. But the bet was on. A guide
going to the top, was bribed by a ten-dollar bill from Tom, to stretch
the dummy out to the required length. This guide went up the trail a few
hours before Tom and Reynolds were due to measure the dummy. Imagine
their feelings when they arrived, and found the money and this note
pinned to the object of dispute:

     "Mr. Tom Mix, deer sir. I streetched the dam thing till it busted.
     It hain't no higher than me, and I hain't six feet. You'll plees
     find herein yore money.

                          Youers truly,

It is said that Reynolds collected in full and then hunted Shorty up and
bestowed the twenty-five dollars on him.

White Mountain returned from the North Rim full of his trip. He,
together with Director Mather and Emerson Hough, had been all through
the wonderful Southern Utah country, including Bryce Canyon and Zion
National Park. Mr. Hough had just sold his masterpiece, _The Covered
Wagon_, to the _Saturday Evening Post_, and was planning to write a
Canyon story. He told White Mountain he felt that he was not big enough
to write such a story but intended to try. His title was to be "The
Scornful Valley." Before he could come to the Canyon again, he died on
the operating table.

Preparations were made for the visit of General Diaz, who came about
Thanksgiving time. A great deal of pomp and glory surrounded his every
movement. He and White Mountain were alone for a moment on one of the
points overlooking the Canyon, and the General, looking intently into
the big gorge, said to the Chief: "When I was a small boy I read a book
about some people that stole some cattle and hid away in the Canyon. I
wonder if it could have been near here?" White Mountain was able to
point out a place in the distance that had been a crossing place for
cattle in the early days, which pleased the soldier greatly.

Hopi Joe and his Indian dancers gave an unusually fine exhibition of
their tribal dances for the visitors. The General expressed his
appreciation quite warmly to Joe after the dance ended, and asked Joe to
pose with him for a picture. He was recalling other boyhood reading he
had done, and his interest in the Indians was quite naïve. Joe took him
into the Hopi House and they spent an hour or so going over the
exhibition of Indian trophies there.

After dinner, the General retired to his private car to rest, but the
staff remained at the hotel and we danced until well after midnight. The
General's own band furnished the music. There were no women in the
visitor's party, but there was no lack of partners for the handsome,
charming officers. That few of them spoke English and none of us
understood Italian made no difference. Smiles and flirtatious glances
speak a universal language, and many a wife kept her wedding-ring out of
the lime-light.

While we all enjoyed the visit of this famous man, we took a personal
interest in Marshal Foch. And I'm not sure that General Diaz would have
been entirely pleased could he have seen the extra special arrangements
that were made to welcome Marshal Foch a few days later. Every ranger
was called in from outlying posts; uniforms were pressed, boots shined,
and horses groomed beyond recognition. Some of the rangers had served in
France, and one tall lanky son of Tennessee had won the Croix de Guerre.
To his great disgust and embarrassment, he was ordered to wear this
decoration. When the special train rolled in, the rangers were lined up
beside the track. The gallant old warrior stepped down from his car and
walked along the line. His eye rested on that medal. He rushed up and
fingered it lovingly "Croix de Guerre! Oui, oui, Croix de Guerre!" he
kept repeating, as delighted as a child would be at the sight of a
beloved toy. The ranger's face was a study. I believe he expected to be
kissed on both cheeks, as he probably had been when the medal was
originally bestowed upon him.

White Mountain was presented to the Marshal as "Le Chieftain de le
Rangeurs," and, as he said later, had a handshake and listened to a few
words in French from the greatest general in history!

The Marshal was the least imposing member of his staff. Small,
unassuming, and even frail, he gave the impression of being infinitely
weary of the world and its fighting, its falseness, and its empty pomp.
He spoke practically no English, but when a tiny Indian maid crept near
in her quaint velvet jacket and little full skirts, he extended a hand
and said quite brokenly: "How are you, Little One?" In fact he spoke
very little even in his own language.

Several hours were consumed in viewing the Canyon and at lunch. Then he
was taken out to Hermit's Rest and sat in front of the great fireplace
for an hour, just resting and gazing silently into the glowing embers.
All the while he stroked the big yellow cat that had come and jumped
upon his knee as soon as he was settled. Then he walked down the trail a
little way, refusing to ride the mule provided for him. When it was
explained that his photograph on the mule was desired, he gravely bowed
and climbed aboard the animal.

Our new Superintendent, Colonel John R. White, had been in France and
spoke French fluently. He hung breathlessly on the words of the Marshal
when he turned to him after a long scrutiny of the depths below. "Now,"
thought Colonel White, "I shall hear something worthy of passing along
to my children and grandchildren."

"What a beautiful place to drop one's mother-in-law!" observed the
Marshal in French. Later he remarked that the Canyon would make a
wonderful border line between Germany and France!

Hopi Joe gave his tribal dances around a fire built in the plaza. After
the dance was over, the Marshal asked for an encore on the War Dance.
Joe gave a very realistic performance that time. Once he came quite near
the foreign warrior, brandishing his tomahawk and chanting. A pompous
newspaper man decided to be a hero and pushed in between Joe and Marshal
Foch. The General gave the self-appointed protector one look, and he was
edged outside the circle and told to stay there, while Joe went on with
his dance.

A marvelous Navajo rug was presented to the visitor by Father Vabre,
with the information that it was a gift from the Indians to their friend
from over the sea. He was reminded that when the call came for
volunteers many thousands of Arizona Indians left their desert home and
went across the sea to fight for a government that had never recognized
them as worthy to be its citizens.

The General's face lighted up as he accepted the gift, and he replied
that he would carry the rug with him and lay it before his own
hearthstone, and that he would tell his children its story so that after
he had gone on they would cherish it as he had and never part with it.
One likes to think that perhaps during his last days on earth his eyes
fell on this bright rug, reminding him that in faraway Arizona his
friends were thinking of him and hoping for his recovery.

A wildcat presented by an admirer was voted too energetic a gift to
struggle with, so it was left in the bear cage on the Rim. Somebody
turned it out and it committed suicide by leaping into the Canyon.

A raw cold wind, such as can blow only at the Canyon, swept around the
train as it carried Marshal Foch away. That wind brought tragedy and
sorrow to us there at El Tovar, for, exposed to its cold blast, Mr.
Brant, the hotel manager, contracted pneumonia. Travelers from all parts
of the world knew and loved this genial and kindly gentleman. He had
welcomed guests to El Tovar from the day its portals were first opened
to tourists. Marshal Foch was the last guest he welcomed or waved to in
farewell, for when the next day dawned he was fighting for life and in a
few days he was gone.

He had loved the Canyon with almost a fanatic's devotion, and although
Captain Hance had not been buried on its Rim as had been his deep
desire, Mr. Brant's grave was located not far from the El Tovar,
overlooking the Great Chasm. The tomb had to be blasted from solid rock.
All night long the dull rumble of explosives told me that the rangers,
led by the wearer of the Croix de Guerre, were toiling away. The first
snow of the season was falling when the funeral cortège started for the
grave. White Mountain and other friends were pall-bearers, and twenty
cowboys on black horses followed the casket. Father Vabre read the
burial service, and George Wharton James spoke briefly of the friendship
which had bound them together for many years. Since that time both the
good priest and the famous author have passed on.

Mr. Brant had an Airedale dog that was his constant companion. For days
after his death this dog would get his master's hat and stick and search
all over the hotel for him. He thought it was time for their daily walk.
When the dog died they buried him near his master's grave. This had been
Mr. Brant's request.

The snow grew deeper and the mercury continued to go down, until it was
almost impossible to spend much time outside. But the little iron stove
stuffed full of pine wood kept the cabin fairly warm, and the birds and
squirrels learned to stay close to the stovepipe on the roof.

The squirrels would come to the cabin windows and pat against them with
their tiny paws. They were begging for something to eat, and if a door
or window were left open a minute it was good-by to anything found on
the table. Bread, cake, or even fruit was a temptation not to be
resisted. One would grab the prize and dart up the trunk of a big pine
tree with the whole tribe hot-footing it right after him. One bold
fellow waylaid me one morning when I opened the door, and bounced up on
the step and into the kitchen. I shoved him off the cabinet, and he
jumped on top of the stove. That wasn't hot enough to burn him but
enough to make him good and mad, so he scrambled to my shoulder, ran
down my arm, and sank his teeth in my hand. Then he ran up to the top of
the shelves and sat there chattering and scolding until the Chief came
home and gave him the bum's rush. This same fellow bit the Chief, too;
but I always felt _he_ had it coming to him. White Mountain had a glass
jar of piñon nuts, and he would hold them while the squirrels came and
packed their jaws full. They looked too comical with their faces puffed
up like little boys with mumps. When "Bunty" came for his share, the
Chief placed his hand tightly over the top, just to tease him. He wanted
to see what would happen. He found out. Bunty ran his paws over the
slick surface of the jar two or three times, but couldn't find any way
to reach the tempting nuts. He stopped and thought about the situation a
while, then it seemed to dawn on him that he was the victim of a
practical joke. All at once he jumped on the Chief's hand, buried his
teeth in his thumb, then hopped to a lumber pile and waited for
developments. He got the nuts, jar and all, right at his head. He
side-stepped the assault and gloated over his store of piñons the rest
of the afternoon.

It had been an off year for piñons, so boxes were put up in sheltered
nooks around the park and the rangers always put food into them while
making patrols. I carried my pockets full of peanuts while riding the
trails, and miles from Headquarters the squirrels learned to watch for
me. I learned to look out for them also, after one had dropped from an
overhanging bough to the flank of a sensitive horse I was riding. The
Fred Harvey boys purchased a hundred pounds of peanuts for the little
fellows, and the animals also learned to beg from tourists. All a
squirrel had to do in order to keep well stuffed was to sit up in the
middle of the road and look cunning.

One day a severe cold kept me in bed. Three or four of the little
rascals found an entrance and came pell-mell into the house. One located
a cookie and the others chased him into my room with it. For half an
hour they fought and raced back and fourth over my bed while I kept
safely hidden under the covers, head and all. During a lull I took a
cautious look around. There they sat, lined up like schoolboys, on the
dresser, trying to get at the impudent squirrels in the glass! Failing
in that, they investigated the bottles and boxes. They didn't care much
for the smell of camphor, but one poke-nosey fellow put his nose in the
powder jar and puffed; when he backed away, he looked like a merry old
Santa Claus, his whiskers white with powder and his black eyes

Once the Chief gave them some Eastern chestnuts and black walnuts. They
were bewildered. They rolled them over and over in their paws and
sniffed at them, but made no effort to cut into the meat. We watched to
see what they would do, and they took those funny nuts out under the
trees and buried them good and deep. Maybe they thought time would
mellow them.

But the worst thing those little devils did to me happened later. I had
cooked dinner for some of the powers-that-be from Washington, and for
dessert I made three most wonderful lemon pies. They were dreams! Each
one sported fluffy meringue not less than three inches thick (and eggs
eighty cents a dozen). They were cooling on a shelf outside the door.
Along comes greedy Mr. Bunty looking for something to devour.

"You go away. I'm looking for real company and can't be bothered with
you!" I told him, and made a threatening motion with the broom.

He went--right into the first pie, and from that to the middle one; of
course he couldn't slight the third and last one, so he wallowed across
it. Then the horrid beast climbed a tree in front of my window. He
cleaned, and polished, and lapped meringue off his gray squirrel coat,
while I wiped tears and thought up a suitable epitaph for him. A dirty
Supai squaw enjoyed the pies. She and her assorted babies ate them,
smacking and gabbling over them just as if they hadn't been bathed in by
a wild animal.


_Chapter V: NAVAJO LAND_

Indians! Navajos! How many wide-eyed childhood hours had I spent
listening to stories of these ferocious warriors! And yet, here they
were as tame as you please, walking by my door and holding out their
native wares to sell.

From the first instant my eyes rested upon a Navajo rug, I was
fascinated by the gaudy thing. The more I saw, the more they appealed to
the gypsy streak in my makeup. Each Navajo buck that came to my door
peddling his rugs and silver ornaments was led into the house and
questioned. Precious little information I was able to abstract at first
from my saturnine visitors. As we became better acquainted, and they
learned to expect liberal draughts of coffee sweetened into a syrup,
sometimes their tongues loosened; but still I couldn't get all the
information I craved regarding those marvelous rugs and how they were

Finally the Chief decided to spend his vacation by taking me on a trip
out into the Painted Desert, the home of this nomadic tribe. We chose
the early days of summer after the spring rains had brought relief to
the parched earth and replenished the water holes where we expected to
camp each night. Another reason was that a great number of the tribal
dances would be in full swing at this time. Old "Smolley," an antique
"navvy," had just disposed of a supply of rugs and was wending his way
homeward at the same time. Not choosing to travel in solitude, he firmly
fastened himself to our caravan. I would have preferred his absence, for
he was a vile, smelly old creature with bleary eyes and coarse uncombed
gray hair tied into a club and with a red band around his head. His
clothes were mostly a pair of cast-off overalls, which had not been
discarded by the original owner until he was in danger of arrest for
indecent exposure. Incessant wear night and day by Smolley had not
improved their looks. But Smolley knew that I never could see him hungry
while we ate; consequently he stuck closer than a brother. Our
hospitality was well repaid later, for he took care that we saw the
things we wanted to see in Navajo Land.

The first day we rode through magnificent groves of stately yellow pines
which extended from Grand Canyon out past Grand View and the picturesque
old stage tavern there which is the property of Mr. W. R. Hearst. Quite
a distance beyond there we stopped for lunch on a little knoll covered
with prehistoric ruins. I asked Smolley what had become of the people
who had built the homes lying at our feet. He grunted a few times and
said that they were driven out on a big rock by their enemies and then
the god caused the rock to fly away with them somewhere else.
Interesting, if true. I decided that my guess was as good as his, so let
the subject drop. It must have been a long time ago, for there were
juniper trees growing from the middle of these ruins that the Chief said
were almost three thousand years old. (He had sawed one down not much
larger than these, polished the trunk and counted the annual rings with
a magnifying-glass, and found it to be well over that age.) Among the
rocks and débris, we found fragments of pottery painted not unlike the
present Zuñi ware, and other pieces of the typical basket pottery
showing the marks of woven vessels inside of which they had been
plastered thousands of years ago. I fell to dreaming of those vanished
people, the hands that had shaped this clay long since turned to dust
themselves. What had their owner thought of, hoped, or planned while
fashioning this bowl, fragments of which I turned over in my palms aeons
later? But the lunch-stop ended, and we moved on.

That night we camped at Desert View and with the first streak of dawn we
prepared to leave the beaten path and follow a trail few tourists
attempt. When we reached the Little Colorado, we followed Smolley
implicitly as we forded the stream. "Chollo," our pack mule, became
temperamental halfway across and bucked the rest of the way. I held my
breath, expecting to see our cargo fly to the four winds; but the Chief
had not packed notional mules for years in vain. A few pans rattled, and
later I discovered that my hair brush was well smeared with jam. No
other damage was done.

All day long we rode through the blazing sun. I kept my eyes shut as
much as possible, for the sun was so glaring that it sent sharp pains
through my head. In front the Chief rode placidly on. Outside of turning
him into a beautiful brick red, the sun seemingly did not affect him.
Smolley was dozing. But I was in agony with thirst and heat and
weariness. My horse, a gift from the Chief which I had not been wise
enough to try out on a short journey before undertaking such a trip, was
as stiff as a wooden horse. I told the Chief I knew Mescal was
knock-kneed and stiff-legged.

"Oh, no," was the casual reply, "he's a little stiff in the shoulders
from his fall."

"What fall?"

"Why, I loaned him to one of the rangers last week and he took him down
the Hermit Trail and Mescal fell overboard."

"Is he subject to vertigo?" I wanted to know. I had heard we should have
steep trails to travel on this trip.

"No; the ranger loaded him with two water kegs, and when Mescal got
excited on a steep switchback the ranger lost his head and drove him
over the edge. He fell twenty feet and was knocked senseless. It took
two hours to get him out again."

"Some ranger," was my heated comment; "who was it?"

"No matter," said the Chief. "He isn't a ranger any more." The Chief
said Mescal did not suffer any from the stiffness, but I'll admit that I
suffered both mentally and physically. Anyway I had that to worry about
and it took my mind off the intolerable heat.

Almost before we knew it a storm gathered and broke directly over our
heads. There was no shelter, so we just kept riding. I had visions of
pneumonia and sore throat and maybe rheumatism. In fact I began to feel
twinges of rheumatics, but the Chief scoffed. He said I should have had
a twelve-inch saddle instead of a fourteen and if I wasn't so dead set
on a McClellan instead of a Western Stock I would be more comfortable.
He draped a mackinaw around me and left me to my fate. I wasn't scared
by the storm, but Mescal was positively unnerved. He trembled and
cringed at every crash. I had always enjoyed electrical storms, but I
never experienced one quite so personal before. Cartwheels and
skyrockets exploded under my very nose and blue flame wrapped all around
us. The Chief had gone on in search of the pack mule, and I was alone
with Smolley. Through a lull in the storm I caught a glimpse of him. He
slouched stolidly in the saddle as unconcernedly as he had slouched in
the broiling heat. In fact I think he was still dozing.

As suddenly as the storm had come it was gone, and we could see it ahead
of us beating and lashing the hot sands. Clouds of earthy steam rose
enveloping us, but as these cleared away the air was as cool and pure
and sweet as in a New England orchard in May. On a bush by the trail a
tiny wren appeared and burst into song like a vivacious firecracker.
Rock squirrels darted here and there, and tiny cactus flowers opened
their sleepy eyes and poured out fragrance. And then, by and by, it was
evening and we were truly in Navajo Land.

We made our camp by a water hole replenished by the recent rain. While
the Chief hobbled the horses I drank my fill of the warm, brackish water
and lay back on the saddles to rest. The Chief came into camp and put a
can of water on the fire to boil. When it boiled he said, "Do you want a
drink of this hot water or can you wait until it cools?"

"Oh, I had a good drink while you were gone," I answered drowsily.

"Where did you get it? The canteens were dry."

"Why, out of the waterhole, of course"; I was impatient that he could be
so stupid.

"You did? Well, unless God holds you in the palm of his hand you will be
good and sick. That water is full of germs. To say nothing of a dead cow
or two. I thought you had better sense than to drink water from holes in
the ground." I rose up and took another look at the oasis. Sure enough,
horns and a hoof protruded from one end of the mudhole. I sank back
weakly and wondered why I had ever thought I wanted to visit the
Navajos. I hoped my loved ones back in the Virginias would not know how
I died. It sounded too unromantic to say one passed out from drinking
dead cow! I might as well say here that evidently I was held firmly by
the Deity, for I felt no ill effects whatever. I couldn't eat any
supper, but I knew Smolley would soon blow in and it would not be

As dusk settled around us we could almost hear the silence. Here and
there a prairie owl would whirl low to the ground with a throaty chuckle
for a time, but that soon ceased. Across the fire I could see the dull
glow of the Chief's cigarette, but the air was so quiet that not the
faintest odor of tobacco drifted to me. While we lolled there, half
waking, half dreaming, Old Smolley stepped noiselessly into camp and at
a wave of the Chief's hand swiftly emptied the coffeepot and skillet. He
wiped his greasy mouth on his sleeve and said: "Sing-sing this night.
Three braves sick. Sing 'em well. You wanna see?"

Did we! I was up and ready before his last word was out. We followed him
for ten minutes up a dry wash filled with bowlders and dry brush. I
stepped high and wide, fully expecting to be struck by a rattlesnake any
minute. I knew if I said anything the Chief would laugh at me, so I
stayed behind him and looked after my own safety. We reached a little
mesa at the head of the coulee and found Indians of all shapes and sizes
assembled there. Two or three huge campfires were crackling, and a pot
of mutton stewed over one of them. Several young braves were playing
cards, watched by a bevy of giggling native belles. The lads never
raised their eyes to the girls, but they were quite conscious of
feminine observation.

Three men, grievously ill indeed, and probably made worse by the long
ride to the scene of the dance, were lying in a hogan built of
cottonwood branches. Outside, standing closely packed together, were the
Navajo bucks and the medicine men. When an Indian is sick he goes to the
doctor instead of sending for the doctor to visit him. And then
invitations are sent out all over the Reservation for the singers to
come and assist in the cure. The Navajos had responded loyally on this
occasion and were grouped according to location. One group would sing
the weird minor wail for half an hour and then another bunch would break
in for a few minutes, only to have still a third delegation snatch the
song away from them. So closely did they keep time and so smoothly did
one bunch take up where another left off that we, standing less than
twenty feet away, could not tell which group was singing except when the
Tuba City crowd took up the plaint. Their number was so small that they
couldn't get out much noise. The Indians had discarded their civilized
garb for the occasion and were clad mostly in atmosphere helped out with
a gee-string of calico. Some had streaks of white and black paint on
them. I fell to dreaming of what it would have meant to be captured by
such demons only a few years ago, and it wasn't long until I lost
interest in that scene. I was ready to retreat. We watched the medicine
men thump and bang the invalids with bunches of herbs and prayer sticks
a few minutes longer; then with Smolley as our guide we wandered over to
the Squaw Dance beside another bonfire, located at a decorous distance
from the improvised hospital hogan.

The leading squaw, with a big bunch of feathers fastened to a stick,
advanced to the fire and made a few impressive gestures. She was garbed
in the wide, gathered calico skirt, the velvet basque trimmed with
silver buttons, and the high brown moccasins so dear to feminine
Navajos. The orchestra was vocal, the bucks again furnishing the music.
After circling around the spectators a few times the squaw decided on
the man she wanted and with one hand took a firm grasp of his shirt just
above the belt. Then she galloped backward around him while he was
dragged helplessly about with her, looking as sheepish as the mutton
simmering in the kettle. Other squaws picked partners and soon there
were numerous couples doing the silly prance. Silly it looked to us, but
I thought of a few of our civilized dances and immediately reversed my

The squaws occasionally prowled around among the spectators, keeping in
the shadows and seeking white men for partners. These, mostly cowboys
and trading-post managers, were wary, and only one was caught napping.
It cost him all the loose silver he had in his pocket to get rid of the
tiny fat squaw that had captured him.

We were told that dances and races would continue for several days, and
so, firmly bidding good night to Smolley, we went back to camp and fell
asleep with the faint hubbub coming to us now and then.

Almost before the Chief had breakfast started the next morning Smolley
stepped into the scene and took a prominent seat near the steaming
coffeepot. "You arrive early," I remarked. "Now how could you know that
breakfast was so near ready?" This last a trifle sarcastically, I fear.
"Huh, me, I sleep here," pointing to the side of a rock not ten feet
from my own downy bed. That settled me for keeps. I subsided and just
gazed with a fatal hypnotism at the flapjacks disappearing down his
ample gullet. It was fatal, for while I was spellbound the last one
disappeared and I had to make myself some more or go without breakfast.
When Smolley had stilled the first fierce pangs of starvation he pulled
a pair of moccasins out of the front of his dirty shirt and tossed them
to me. (The gesture had somewhat the appearance of tossing a bone to an
angry dog.) Anyway the dog was appeased. The moccasins had stiff rawhide
soles exactly shaped to fit my foot, and the uppers were soft brown
buckskin beautifully tanned. They reached well above the ankles and
fastened on the side with three fancy silver buttons made by a native
silversmith. A tiny turquoise was set in the top of each button. I
marveled at the way they fitted, until the Chief admitted that he had
given Smolley one of my boudoir slippers for a sample. Eventually the
other slipper went to a boot manufacturer and I became the possessor of
real hand-made cowboy boots.

Breakfast disposed of, we mounted and went in search of a rug factory,
that being the initial excuse for the journey. A mile or two away we
found one in operation. The loom consisted of two small cottonwood trees
with cross-beams lashed to them, one at the top and the other at the
bottom. A warp frame with four lighter sticks forming a square was
fastened within the larger frame. The warp was drawn tight, with the
threads crossed halfway to the top. Different-colored yarns were wound
on a short stick, and with nimble fingers a squaw wove the pattern.
There was no visible pattern for her to follow. She had that all mapped
out in her brain, and followed it instinctively. I asked her to describe
the way the rug would look when finished, and she said, "No can tell. Me
know here," tapping her forehead. I liked the way the weaving was begun,
and so I squatted there in the sunshine for two hours trying to get her
to talk. Finally I gave her ten dollars for the rug when it should be
finished and little by little she began to tell me the things I wanted
to know. We made no real progress in our conversation until I learned
that she had been a student at Sherman Indian Institute for eight years.
When she found that I knew the school well and some of the teachers, a
look of discontent and unhappiness came over her face. She said that she
had been very, very happy at Sherman. With a wave of her slender brown
hand she said: "Look at this!" Her eyes rested with distaste on the
flock of sheep grazing near, turned to the mud-daubed hogan behind us,
and swept on across the cactus-studded desert. "They teach us to sleep
in soft, white beds and to bathe in tile bathtubs. We eat white cooking.
We cook on electric stoves. We are white for years, and then they send
us back to this! We sleep on the earth, we cook with sheep-dung fires;
we have not water even for drinking. We hate our own people, we hate our
children when they come!" I was so startled at the outburst. Her English
was faultless. I had enough sense to keep still, and she went on more
quietly: "When I left Sherman I hoped to marry a boy there who was
learning the printer's trade. Then we could have lived as your people
do. My father sold me for ten ponies and forty sheep. I am a squaw now.
I live as squaws did hundreds of years ago. And so I try to be just a
squaw. I hope to die soon." And there it was, just as she said. Turned
into a white girl for eight years, given a long glimpse of the Promised
Land, then pushed back into slavery. We saw lots of that. It seemed as
though the ones that were born and lived and died without leaving the
reservation were much happier.

"What is your name?" I asked after we had been silent while her swift,
nervous fingers wove a red figure into a white background. "I'm Mollie,
Smolley's daughter." So the greedy old dog had sold his own child. That
is the usual thing, Mollie said. Girls are sold to the highest bidder,
but fortunately there is a saving clause. In case the girl dislikes her
husband too much she makes him so miserable he takes her back to her
father and they are divorced instantly. The father keeps the wedding
gifts and sells her again for more sheep and horses. The flocks really
belong to the women, but I can't see what good they do them. The women
tend them and shear them and even nurse them. They wash and dye and card
and weave the wool into rugs, and then their lordly masters take the
rugs and sell them. A part of the money is gambled away on pony races or
else beaten into silver jewelry to be turned into more money. A certain
number of rugs are turned in to the trading-post for groceries, calico,
and velvet. Navajos never set a table or serve a meal. They cook any
time there is anything to cook, and then when the grub is done, eat it
out of the pot with their fingers. They have no idea of saving anything
for the next meal. They gorge like dogs, and then starve perhaps for
days afterward.

Mollie had two children, a slim, brown lad perhaps ten years old, who
was watching the sheep near by, and a tiny maid of three, sitting
silently by her mother. The boy seemed to have inherited some of his
mother's rebellion and discontent, but it appeared on his small face as
wistfulness. He was very shy, and when I offered him a silver coin he
made no move to take it. I closed his fingers around it, and he ran to
his mother with the treasure. As he passed me going back to his sheep,
he raised his great, sad black eyes and for a second his white teeth
flashed in a friendly grin.

The men folks had wandered on to the races a mile away, and Mollie, the
babe, and I followed. There was no business of closing up house when we
left. She just put the bright wool out of the reach of pack rats and we
were ready. I admired her forethought, for only the night before I had
lost a cake of soap, one garter, and most of my hairpins. Of course the
rat was honest, for he had left a dried cactus leaf, a pine cone, and
various assorted sticks and straws in place of what he took. That's why
this particularly vexing rodent is called a "trade rat." I used to hear
that it takes two to make a bargain. That knowledge has not penetrated
into pack-ratdom.

A few Hopi and Supai Indians were darting around on show ponies, spotted
and striped "Paints," as they call them. A Navajo lad came tearing down
upon us, riding a most beautiful sorrel mare. It seemed that he would
ride us down; but I never did run from an Indian, so I stood my ground.
With a blood-chilling war whoop he pulled the mare to her haunches and
laughed down at me. He was dressed as a white man would be and spoke
perfect English. He was just home from Sherman, he explained, and was
going to race his mare against the visitors. I took his picture on the
mare, and he told me where to send it to him after it was finished. "I
hope you win. I'm betting on you for Mollie," I told him and gave him
some money. He did win! Around the smooth hillside the ponies swept, and
when almost at the goal he leaned forward and whistled in the mare's
ear. She doubled up like a jackknife and when she unfolded she was a
nose ahead of them all. Every race ended the same way. He told me he won
two hundred silver dollars all told. I am wearing a bracelet now made
from one of them. Very seldom does one see a rattlesnake portrayed in
any Hopi or Navajo work, but I had my heart set on a rattlesnake
bracelet. Silversmith after silversmith turned me down flat, until at
last Mollie and the boy told me they would see that I got what I wanted.
A month later a strange Indian came to my house, handed me a package
with a grunt, and disappeared. It was my bracelet. I always wear it to
remind me of my visit to Navajo Land.


_Chapter VI: "THEY KILLED ME"_

White Mountain and I walked out to the cemetery one evening at sunset,
and I asked him to tell me about the four sleeping there. One trampled
grave, without a marker, was the resting-place of a forest ranger who
had died during the flu epidemic. At that time no body could be shipped
except in a metal casket, and since it had been impossible to secure one
he was buried far from his home and people. The mother wrote she would
come and visit the grave as soon as she had enough money, but death took
her too and she was spared seeing his neglected grave.

The Chief stood looking down at the third grave, which still held the
weather-beaten débris of funeral wreaths.

"Cap Hance is buried here," he said. "He was a dear friend of mine."

From his tone I scented a story, and as we strolled back to Headquarters
he told me something of the quaint old character. In the days that
followed, I heard his name often. Travelers who had not been at the
Canyon for several years invariably inquired for "Cap" as soon as they
arrived. I always felt a sense of personal shame when I heard a ranger
directing them to his grave. He had begged with his last breath to be
buried in the Canyon, or else on the Rim overlooking it. "God willing,
and man aiding," as he always said. However, his wish had been ignored,
for the regular cemetery is some distance from the Rim.

This Captain John Hance was the first settler on the Rim of the Grand
Canyon. The Hance Place is located about three miles east of Grand View
Point. Here he built the old Hance Trail into the Canyon, and discovered
numerous copper and asbestos mines. Many notables of the early days
first saw the Canyon from his home, staging in there from Flagstaff,
seventy miles away. He had an inexhaustible fund of stories, mostly made
up out of whole cloth. These improbable tales were harmless, however,
and in time he became almost an institution at the Canyon. The last
years of his life were spent at El Tovar, regaling the tourists with his
colorful and imaginary incidents of the wild and woolly days.

He was quite proud of his Munchausenian abilities. Another old-timer at
the Canyon, W. W. Bass, who is still alive, was Cap's best friend. Cap
Hance was often heard to declare: "There are three liars here at the
Canyon; I'm one and Bass is the other two."

Romantic old ladies at El Tovar often pressed him for a story of his
early fights with the Indians. Here is one of his experiences:

"Once, a good many years ago when I was on the outs with the Navajos, I
was riding the country a few miles back from here looking up some of my
loose horses. I happened to cast my eye over to one side and saw a bunch
of the red devils out looking for trouble. I saw that I was outnumbered,
so I spurred old Roaney down into a draw at the left, hoping that I
hadn't been seen. I got down the draw a little piece and thought I had
given them the slip, but the yelling told me that they were still after
me. I thought I could go down this draw a ways and then circle out and
get back to my ranch. But I kept going down the canyon and the walls
kept getting steeper and steeper, and narrower and narrower until
finally they got so close together that me and Roaney stuck right

At this point he always stopped and rolled a cigarette. The ladies were
invariably goggle-eyed with excitement and would finally exclaim:

"What happened then, Captain Hance?"

"Oh, they killed me," he'd say simply.

Another time he was again being chased by Indians, and looking back over
his shoulder at them, not realizing that he was so near the Rim of the
Canyon, his horse ran right up to the edge and jumped off into space.

"I'd a been a goner that time," he said, "if I hadn't a had time to
think it over and decide what to do." (He fell something like five
thousand feet.) "So when my horse got within about fifteen feet from the
ground, I rose up in the stirrups and gave a little hop and landed on
the ground. All I got was a twisted ankle."

A lady approached him one day while he stood on the Rim gazing into the
mile-deep chasm.

"Captain Hance," she said, "I don't see any water in the Canyon. Is this
the dry season, or does it never have any water in it?"

Gazing at her earnestly through his squinty, watery eyes, he exclaimed:

"Madam! In the early days many's the time I have rode my horse up here
and let him drink _right where we stand_!"

The old fellow was a bachelor, but he insisted that in his younger days
he had married a beautiful girl. When asked what had become of her he
would look mournful and tell a sad tale of her falling over a ledge down
in the Canyon when they were on their honeymoon. He said it took him
three days to reach her, and that when he did locate her he found she
had sustained a broken leg, so he had to shoot her.

As he grew feeble, he seemed to long for the quiet depths of the gorge,
and several times he slipped away and tried to follow the old trail he
had made in his youth. He wanted to die down at his copper mine. At
last, one night when he was near eighty years old, he escaped the
vigilance of his friends and with an old burro that had shared his
happier days he started down the trail. Ranger West got wind of it and
followed him. He found him where he had fallen from the trail into a
cactus patch and had lain all night exposed to the raw wind. He was
brought back and cared for tenderly, but he passed away. Prominent men
and women who had known and enjoyed him made up a fund to buy a bronze
plate for his grave. Remembering the size of his yarns, whoever placed
the enormous boulders at his head and feet put them nine feet apart.

Halfway between my cabin and the Rim, in the pine woods, is a well-kept
grave with a neat stone and an iron fence around it. Here lies the body
of United States Senator Ashurst's father, who was an old-timer at the
Canyon. Years ago, while working a mine at the bottom of the Canyon, he
was caught by a cave-in and when his friends reached him he was dead.
They lashed his body on an animal and brought him up the steep trail to
be buried. While I was in Washington, Senator Ashurst told me of his
father's death and something of his life at the Canyon. He said that
often in the rush and worry of capitol life he longed for a few peaceful
moments at his father's grave.

I never saw Senator Ashurst at the Grand Canyon, but another senator was
there often, stirring up some row or other with the Government men. He
seemed to think he owned the Canyon, the sky overhead, the dirt
underneath, and particularly the trail thereinto. His hirelings were
numerous, and each and every one was primed to worry Uncle Sam's
rangers. As dogs were prohibited in the Park, every employee of the
Senator's was amply provided with canines. Did the tourists particularly
enjoy dismounting for shade and rest at certain spots on the trail,
those places were sure to get fenced in and plastered with "Keep Off"
signs, under the pretense that they were mining claims and belonged to
him. We used to wonder what time this Senator found to serve his

Uncle Sam grew so weary of contesting every inch of the trail that he
set himself to build a way of his own for the people to use. Several men
under the direction of Ranger West were set to trail-building. They made
themselves a tent city on the north side of the river and packers were
kept busy taking mule loads of materials to them daily. Hundreds of
pounds of TNT were packed down safely, but one slippery morning the
horses which had been pressed into service lost their footing, slid over
the edge of the trail, and hit Bright Angel again a thousand feet below.
The packers held their breath expecting to be blown away, as two of the
horses that fell were loaded with the high explosive. It was several
minutes before they dared believe themselves safe. They sent for White
Mountain, and when he reached the animals he found they were literally
broken to pieces, their packs and cargoes scattered all over the side of
the mountain. They dragged the dead animals a few feet and dropped them
into a deep fissure which was handy. Fresh snow was scraped over the
blood-stained landscape, and when the daily trail party rode serenely
down a few minutes later there was nothing to show that a tragedy had
taken place.

Later an enormous charge of this high explosive was put back of a point
that Rees Griffith, the veteran trail-builder, wished to remove, and the
result was awaited anxiously. About four in the afternoon Rees called
Headquarters and reported that the shot was a huge success. He was
greatly elated and said his work was about done.

It was.

An hour later Ranger West called for help: Rees had climbed to the top
to inspect the shot at close range, and a mammoth boulder loosened by
the blast came tumbling down, carrying Rees to the rocks below. He was
terribly crushed and broken, but made a gallant fight to live. In
looking over some notes I found a copy of White Mountain's report, which
tells the story much more completely than I could hope to:

"In accordance with instructions, accompanied by Nurse Catti from El
Tovar I left Headquarters about 6:30 P.M. bound for Camp
Roosevelt, to be of such assistance as possible to Rees Griffith, who
had been injured by a falling rock.

"The night was not very cold, rather balmy than otherwise, and the
descent into the Canyon was made as quickly as possible, the factor of
safety being considered. Had we been engaged in any other errand the
mystical beauty of the Canyon, bathed in ethereal moonlight, would have
been greatly enjoyed. We reached the packers' camp at Pipe Creek at nine
o'clock and found hot coffee prepared for us. Miss Catti borrowed a pair
of chaps there from one of the boys, as the wind had come up and it was
much colder. We were warned to proceed slowly over the remainder of the
trail on account of packed ice in the trail. We covered Tonto Trail in
good time, but below the 1,500-foot level on down was very dangerous.
The tread of the trail was icy and in pitch darkness, the moonlight not
reaching there. However, we reached the bottom without mishap. Miss
Catti never uttered a word of complaint or fear, but urged me to go as
fast as I considered safe.

"When we reached Kaibab Suspension Bridge a ranger was waiting to take
our mules. We walked across the bridge and found other mules there. We
thus lost no time in crossing the bridge with animals.

"We arrived at Camp Roosevelt a few minutes after eleven and went
immediately to where Rees had been carried. Examination showed that he
had been dead probably fifteen minutes. He had been unconscious since
nine-thirty. Two fellow-Mormons sat with the body the rest of the night.

"When morning came arrangements were made with Rangers West and Peck to
pack the body out of the Canyon if it should be so ordered. (We would
have mounted a platform on a mule's back, lashed the body in place, and
packed it out in that manner.) However, we all felt that it would be
much better to bury him in the Canyon near the place where he lost his
life. After conferring with the Superintendent by telephone, Miss Catti,
Landscape Engineer Ferris, Rangers West, Peck, and myself selected a
spot considered proper from the point of landscape engineering, high
water, surface wash, and proximity to the trail. This place is about
five hundred yards west of the bridge in an alcove in the Archaean Rock
which forms the Canyon wall. We dug a grave there.

"The carpenter made a very good coffin from materials at hand, and we
lined it with sheets sent down by Mrs. Smith for that purpose. She also
sent a Prayer Book and a Bible to us by Ranger Winess, who accompanied
the coroner to the scene of the accident. An impaneled jury of six
declared the death to be due to unavoidable accident. After the inquest
the coroner turned the personal effects of Rees over to me. They
consisted of a gold watch and two hundred and ninety dollars in a money
belt. I hold these subject to instructions from the widow. The body was
prepared for burial by wrapping it in white according to Mormon custom.
The coffin was carried to the grave, and, while our small company stood
uncovered, I said a few words to the effect that it was right that this
man should be laid to rest near the spot where he fell and where he had
spent a great part of his life; that it was fitting and proper that we
who had known him, worked with him, and loved him should perform this
last duty. Then the services for the burial of the dead were read, and
we left him there beside the trail he built."

In the meantime I had been hovering anxiously at the phone, worried
about the dark, icy trail White Mountain and Nurse had to travel, and
fearing to hear that Rees was seriously injured. As soon as they reached
camp they called and said he had gone before they could get there. He
told me to wire the doctor at Williams and tell him he was not needed;
also to see that a message was sent to the wife and children of the dead
man telling them he would have to be buried in the Canyon where he was
killed. These errands were to be attended to over the local phone, but
for some reason the wire was dead. I was in a quandary. Just having
recovered from a prolonged attack of flu, I felt it unwise to go out in
several feet of snow, but that was my only course.

Dressing as warmly as I could, I started up through the woods to ranger
quarters. The snow was above my waist, and I bumped into trees and fell
over buried logs before I reached the building. The long hall was in
darkness. I knew that most of the boys were out on duty. What if no one
were there! I knew my strength was about used up, and that I could never
cross the railroad tracks to the Superintendent's house.

I went down the long cold hall knocking on every door. Nothing but
silence and plenty of it. I reached the door at the end of the hall and
knocked. Instantly I remembered that room belonged to Rees. His dog,
waiting to be taken down into the Canyon, leaped against the inside of
the door and went into a frenzy of howling and barking. I was
panic-stricken, and my nerve broke. I began to scream. Ranger Winess had
slept all through my knocking, but with the first scream he developed a
nightmare. He was back in the Philippines surrounded by fighting Moros
and one was just ready to knife him! He turned loose a yell that crowded
my feeble efforts aside. Finally he got organized and came to my rescue.
I told him Rees was dead and gave him the Chief's message.

"All right. I'll get dressed and attend to everything. You better get
back to bed."

I informed him I would not move an inch until I had company back through
the darkness. He then took me home, and went to make arrangements.

I called the Chief and told him Ranger Winess was on the job. Then I
tried to sleep again. Coyotes howled. Rees' dog barked faintly; a
screech owl in a tree near by moaned and complained, and my thoughts
kept going with the sad news to the little home Rees had built for his
family in Utah.

Strange trampling, grinding noises close to the window finally made me
so nervous I just had to investigate. Taking the Chief's "forty-five,"
which was a load in itself, I opened the rear door and crept around the
house. And there was a poor hungry pony that had wandered away from an
Indian camp, and found the straw packed around our water pipes. He was
losing no time packing himself around the straw. I was so relieved I
could have kissed his shaggy nose. I went back to bed and slept



Funny how one can never get over being homesick at Christmas. Days and
weeks and even months can pass by without that yearning for family and
home, but in all the years since I hung my stocking in front of the big
fireplace in the old home I have never learned to face Christmas Eve in
a strange place with any degree of happiness. I believe the rangers all
felt the same way. Several days before Christmas they began to plan a
real "feed."

We had moved into our new house now, and it was decided to make a home
of it by giving a Christmas housewarming.

The rangers all helped to prepare the dinner. Each one could choose one
dish he wanted cooked and it was cooked, even if we had to send to
Montgomery Ward and Company for the makin's. Ranger Fisk opined that
turkey dressing without oysters in it would be a total loss as far as he
was concerned, so we ordered a gallon from the Coast. They arrived three
days before Christmas, and it was his duty to keep them properly
interred in a snow drift until the Great Day arrived.

Ranger Winess wanted pumpkin pies with plenty of ginger; White Mountain
thought roast turkey was about his speed. Since we would have that
anyway, he got another vote. This time he called for mashed turnips and
creamed onions. The Superintendent, Colonel White, being an Englishman,
asked plaintively if we couldn't manage a plum pudding! We certainly
managed one just bursting with plums. That made him happy for the rest
of the day.

I didn't tell anybody what I intended to have for my own special dish,
but when the time came I produced a big, rich fruit cake, baked back
home by my own mother, and stuffed full of nuts and fruit and ripened to
a perfect taste.

All the rangers helped to prepare the feast. One of them rode down the
icy trail to Indian Gardens and brought back crisp, spicy watercress to
garnish the turkey.

After it became an effort to chew, and impossible to swallow, we washed
the dishes and gathered around the blazing fire. Ranger Winess produced
his omnipresent guitar and swept the strings idly for a moment. Then he
began to sing, "Silent Night, Holy Night." That was the beginning of an
hour of the kind of music one remembers from childhood. Just as each one
had chosen his favorite dish, now each one selected his favorite
Christmas song. When I asked for "Little Town of Bethlehem" nobody
hesitated over the words. We all knew it better than we do "Star
Spangled Banner!" I could have prophesied what Colonel White would call
for, so it was no surprise when he swung into "God rest ye merry,
gentlemen, let nothing ye dismay." Fortunately, most of us had sung
carols in our distant youth, and we sang right with the Colonel.

Someone suggested that each one tell of the strangest Christmas Day he
or she had ever spent. For a while none of us were in Arizona. Ranger
Winess was in a state of siege in the Philippines, while the Moros
worked themselves into a state of frenzy for the attack that followed;
Ranger Fisk scaled Table Mountain, lying back of Capetown, and there
picked a tiny white flower which he had pressed in the Bible presented
to him there that day; each sailor in port had received a Bible that day
with this inscription: "Capetown, Africa, Christ's Birthday, December
25, 19--." White Mountain snowshoed twenty miles in Yellowstone to have
Christmas dinner with another ranger, but when he got there he found his
friend delirious with flu. "Did he die?" we questioned anxiously. Ranger
Winess and the Chief looked at each other and grinned.

"Do I look like a dead one?" Ranger Winess demanded.

"I couldn't let him die," White Mountain said. "We had just lost one
Government man, mysteriously, and hadn't any more to spare. So I got his
dogs and sledge and hauled him into Headquarters."

Of course we wanted to know about the "lost" ranger. It seemed that
there had broken out among the buffalo herd in the Park a strange malady
that was killing them all off. An expert from Washington was en route
to make a study of the ailment, and was due to arrive just before
Christmas. Days passed into weeks and still he didn't show up. Inquiries
to Washington disclosed that he had started as per schedule. Tracing his
journey step by step it was discovered that on the train out of Chicago
he had become ill with flu and had been left in a small town hospital.
There he had died without recovering his speech, and had been buried in
the potter's field!

"Well, then what happened to the buffalo?"

"Washington sent us a German scientist. We loved that nation just about
that time, and on his arrival diplomatic relations were badly strained.
He was too fat and soft to use snowshoes or skis, so we loaded him on a
light truck and started for the buffalo farm. We stalled time and again,
and he sat in lordly indifference while we pushed and shoveled out. We
seemed hopelessly anchored in one drift, and from his perch where he sat
swaddled up like a mummy came his 'Vy don't you carry a portable
telephone so ve couldt hook it over the vires and call for _them_ to
come and pull us oudt?' One of the rangers replied, 'It would be nice
for us to telephone ourselves to please pull us oudt. _We_ are the
_them_ that does the pulling around here.'

"The old boy mumbled and sputtered but rolled out and put a husky
shoulder to the wheel, and we went on our way rejoicing. He won our
respect at the buffalo farm for he soon discovered the germ that was
killing our charges, and he prepared a serum with which we vaccinated
the entire herd."

"Wow!" Colonel White exclaimed. "I think I'd rather fight Moros than
vaccinate buffalo." He, too, had spent years in foreign warfare; his
experiences are graphically told in _Bullets and Bolos_.

While we heard about the buffalo, one of the rangers left the room. He
came back presently, and White Mountain said to me: "Don't you want to
see your Christmas present?"

I looked across at my proud new riding-boots, with their fancy
stitching, and funny high heels just like those the rangers wore. "I'm
crazy about them," I said.

But the whole bunch were laughing. White Mountain led me to the door,
and there I had my first glimpse of Tar Baby! He was a four-year-old
horse that had spent those years running wild on the range. A few months
before he had been captured and partly tamed. But he was hard-mouthed,
and stiff-necked and hell-bent on having his own way about things. I
didn't know all that when I saw him this Christmas Day. To me he was
perfect. He was round and fat, shiny black, with a white star in his
forehead, and four white feet. One eye was blue, and the other one the
nicest, softest, kindest brown! He was just that kind of a Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde horse, too! He was fitted out with a new saddle, a gaudy
Navajo saddle blanket, and a bridle with silver inlaid fittings. The
spade bit was necessary. I found that out later, also.

I would have stood there speechless with admiration the rest of the day,
but the others reminded me it was time to light the big tree we had
planned for the children in the Park.

The rangers had brought a slender fir into the Information Room and we
had it trimmed within an inch of its life. Cranberries and popcorn ropes
festooned its branches, and again Montgomery Ward and Company's
catalogue had been searched for treasures to load it with. Every child
in the Park, regardless of race or color, was remembered. Little brown
brothers, whose Filipino mothers worked in the laundry, found themselves
possessors of strange toys; Navajo babies and Hopi cupids from the Hopi
House were well supplied. One small Hopi lass wailed loudly at the look
of the flaxen-haired doll that fell to her lot. She was afraid to hold
it--she wouldn't let anybody else touch it--so she stood it in a corner
and squalled at it from a safe distance. When the party was over, an
older sister had to carry it for her. I suspect she much preferred her
native dolls.

After the tree was bare, we all went down to the Fred Harvey Recreation
Room and danced the rest of the evening away.

I could hardly wait for morning to go for a ride on Tar Baby. Ranger
West brought him down to the house to saddle him. While I dressed up in
my new boots I overheard the conversation between the ranger and the
horse. It was a rather one-sided talk, but quite interesting.

"Whoa there, Tar Baby!" very firmly and casually. "Stand still now!"

"Hey, now, you black devil, don't you try bitin' me again! Yes, he's a
nice baby horse," this last remark quite saccharine. A slight silence
fell while the cinches were being tightened, then--heels beating a tune
on the side of the shed, and sultry, sulphuric remarks being fitted to
the tune. About that time I was ready to go out.

"Have any trouble with Tar Baby?"

"No, oh, no. None whatever. Ready to go?"

Every morning as soon as I was in the saddle we had the same argument.
Would he go where and as fast as I desired, or would he run as fast and
as far as he pleased? Sore wrists and a strained disposition were the
price I paid for winning the battle. He just went wild if he could race
with another horse. Of course White Mountain put his foot down on such
racing, and since the rangers were such good sports their Chief never
learned that racing was part of the daily program!

One day, when some of the Washington officials were there, the Chief
borrowed Tar Baby to ride. He said it took him half a day to get him to
stay on the ground with the other horses. He came home fully determined
that I must trade my Christmas gift for a more sensible horse. Tears and
coaxing availed nothing, but I did win his consent to one more ride
before I gave him up.

Ranger West was going to ride the drift fence and I started out with
him. Tar Baby was a handful that day, and I was having all I could do to
control him. We passed a bunch of tourists having lunch out of paper
sacks, and one of the men had a wonderful idea. He said something to the
others, and while they giggled he blew one of the bags full of air and
exploded it right under my horse. Of course Tar Baby bolted, and even as
he ran away I admired his ability to keep ahead of Ranger West, who was
running full tilt after us. It was five minutes before I could get the
bit out of his teeth and bring the spade device into play. I had to
choke him into submission.

Ranger West and Ranger Fisk conducted those tourists out of the Park,
and they had to leave without seeing the Canyon.

"Ve drove here from New York to see this Canyon," one complained, and
made wide gestures with both hands.

"It wouldn't do you any good to see it," Ranger West told him grimly.
"You'd probably push somebody over the edge to have a little fun."

I was sure the Chief would take Tar Baby away after that. But I guess he
thought if the horse hadn't killed me with such a good chance as he had,
I was safe. He never said another word about selling him.

Several Indians were camped around in the woods near the Park, and we
visited them quite often. An Indian has as many angles in his makeup as
a centipede has legs. Just about the time you think you have one
characteristically placed, you put your finger down and he isn't there.
Charge one with dishonesty, and the next week he will ride a hundred
miles to deliver a bracelet you paid for months before. Decide he is
cruel and inhuman, and he will spend the night in heart-breaking labor,
carrying an injured white man to safety.

I suggested hiring a certain Navajo to cut some wood, and was told that
he was too lazy to eat what he wanted. In a few days this same brave
came to Headquarters with the pelt of a cougar. He had followed the
animal sixty miles, tracking it in the snow on foot without a dog to
help him. We knew where he took the trail and where it ended. He killed
the big cat, skinned it, and carried the pelt back to the Canyon. You
won't find many white men with that much grit! A tourist from New York
saw the pelt and coveted it. He offered twenty-five dollars. Neewah
wanted fifty. The tourist tried to beat him down. There wasn't any
argument about it. The whole conversation was a monologue. The Indian
saw that the tourist wanted the skin badly, so he just sat and stared
into space while the tourist elaborated on how much twenty-five dollars
would buy and how little the pelt had cost the Indian! The buck simply
sat there until it was about time for the train to pull out, then he
picked up the hide and stalked away. Mr. Tourist hastened after him and
shelled out fifty pesos. I expect he told the home folks how he shot
that panther in self-defense.

Ranger West did shoot a big cougar soon afterward. Not in self-defense
but in revenge.

Not many deer lived on the South Rim then. That was before the fawns
were brought by airplane across the Canyon! The few that were there were
cherished and protected in every possible way. A salt pen was built so
high the cattle couldn't get in, and it was a wonderful sight to see the
graceful deer spring over that high fence with seemingly no effort at
all. Ranger West came in one morning with blood in his eye--one of his
pets had been dragged down under the Rim and half devoured by a giant
cougar. A hunt was staged at once. I was told to stay at home, but that
didn't stop me from going. Ranger Fisk always saddled Tar Baby for me
when everybody else thought it best to leave me behind. So I wasn't far
away when the big cat was treed by the dogs. He sat close to the trunk
of the dead tree, defying the dogs and spitting at them until they were
almost upon him. Then he sprang up the tree and lay stretched out on a
limb snarling until a rifle ball brought him down. He hit the ground
fighting, and ripped the nose of an impetuous puppy wide open. Another
shot stretched him out. He measured eight feet from tip to tip. His skin
was tanned by an Indian and adorns a bench in the Ranger Office.



The snow had been tumbling down every day for weeks, until several feet
lay on the ground. After each storm the rangers took snow plows and
cleared the roads along the Rim, but the rest of our little world lay
among big snow drifts. As we walked around among the houses, only our
heads and shoulders showed above the snow. It was like living in Alaska.
The gloomy days were getting monotonous, and when the Chief announced he
was going to make an inspection trip over Tonto Trail, I elected myself,
unanimously, to go along.

"But it's cold riding down there, even if there is no snow," protested
White Mountain. "And, besides, your horse is lame."

"Well, it isn't exactly hot up here, and I'll borrow Dixie. I'm going!"

Ranger West obligingly lent Dixie to me and I went. The thermometer
registered well below zero when we started down Bright Angel Trail. On
account of the icy trail my descent threatened to be a sudden one. Dixie
slid along stiff-legged, and I was half paralyzed with fright and cold.
But every time the Chief looked back, I pulled my frozen features into
what I considered a cheerful smile. I got more and more scared as we
went farther down, and finally had a brilliant idea. "My feet are
awfully cold, and couldn't I walk a while?" The Chief had probably heard
that same excuse from a thousand others, but he gravely assented and
helped me dismount. I started down the trail leading Dixie. My feet
really were so cold they were numb. This was probably a mercy, since
Dixie kept stepping on them! I began to run to "keep out from in under,"
and she kept pace until we were almost galloping down the trail. When we
got below the snow line, my excuse wouldn't work, and I had to ride

There was sagebrush and sand and cactus. Then sand and cactus and
sagebrush. Here and there we saw a lop-eared burro, and far away I saw
an eagle sailing around. Having nothing else to do I counted the burros
we passed--seventy. A bunch grazing near the trail looked interesting,
so I made a careful approach and took their picture. Of course I forgot
to roll the film, and a little later Friend Husband decided to
photograph the enormous pillar that gives the name to Monument Creek.
The result was rather amazing when we developed the film a week later.
The wild burros were grazing placidly on the summit of a barren rock, a
couple of hundred feet in the air, without visible means of ascent or
descent. The Chief made a few sarcastic remarks about this picture, but
I firmly reminded him my burros were there first! He didn't say anything

It took a long day's riding to reach Hermit's Camp just at dusk. We were
warmly welcomed by a roaring fire and hot supper. After I ate and then
sat a while I was too stiff to move. I knew I would stay awake all night
and nurse my aches. That, added to my fear of "phoby cats," made me
reluctant to retire. What's a hydrophobia cat? I don't know for sure
that it's anything, but the camp man told me to keep my door locked or
one would sneak in and bite me. He also said that I would go crazy if
one chewed on me. I intended to keep at least one ear cocked for
suspicious noises; but when I hit the cot everything was a blank until I
heard the Chief making a fire in the little tin stove.

"Wake up and get dressed. Breakfast will be ready in a few minutes, and
I want you to walk down to the creek and see the trout."

"Walk?" I never expected even to crawl again. Sore! Stiff!! I labored
all of ten minutes trying to get my boots on. And I had to ride up
Hermit Trail that day. I was glad to ride. I never mentioned walking to
warm my feet. The trail wound up and up. Today I slid down on Dixie's
tail, whereas yesterday I had braced my heels against her ears. A young
snowslide came down the mountainside, and we almost went on with it. It
missed us by such a very slight margin that fugitive snowballs rolled
around Dixie's feet and left her trembling and cringing with fright.

Dixie and I had been loitering quite a distance behind, because White
Mountain had made us a little mad about something; but we decided we
really had no right to be killed without letting him know about it, and
we kept close to his heels the rest of the way.

All too soon we reached near-zero weather again. It got zero, then
zero-er, and quickly zero-est. I thought of all the hot things I could
remember, endeavoring to raise the temperature.

Real chili con carne.

Pennsylvania Avenue in August.

Hornet stings.

Spankings sustained in my youth!

It was useless. I couldn't qualify as a Scientist. Maybe I lacked
concentration, for between looking out for another avalanche and
wondering how soon I could decently ask for another cup of coffee from
the thermos bottle, my thoughts wandered.

Perhaps the Chief was cold, too. Anyway, we stopped at Santa Maria
Spring and spread out our lunch. The quaint little shelter over the
spring was being rapidly covered with Boston ivy. White Mountain said
Earl Shirley used to ride down there twice a week after a hard day's
work to water the newly set plants so they would grow. One is always
learning new things about Western men!

It was mighty good to find Ranger Fisk at the top of the trail. He said
he thought I would be cold and tired so he brought a flivver to take me
the remaining six miles in to Headquarters. He had the house warm and
had melted snow for drinking-water. All the water pipes had frozen while
we were gone, and I washed my face with cold cream for several days.

I hadn't more than settled down comfortably when the Chief found it
necessary to make another trip down. When he mentioned going I played
the piano so loud I couldn't hear him. I had no desire to go. Not while
I could sit in my warm house and read and sew in my comfortable rocking
chair. It was without a single qualm that I waved him a floury adieu
from the midst of cookie-making. I closed the door and went back to my
baking, which was abruptly terminated by a blazing board falling into
the crock of dough. The house was burning over my luckless head. I
turned around and around a few times in the same spot, then tried to
throw a bucket of water up against the ceiling. Had I been the
conflagration it would have ended then and there, for I was thoroughly
drenched. Failing to be my own fire engine I ran out and happened to see
Ranger Winess crossing the road. He must have been startled at my war
whoop, for he came running. By that time the smoke was rolling out
through the roof. While he climbed into the loft and tore pieces of
blazing boards away, I gave the emergency call by telephone, and soon we
had plenty of help. After the fire was conquered, I went to the hotel
and stayed until the Chief got back.

The months from Christmas to April are the dullest at Grand Canyon. Of
course tourists still come but not in the numbers milder weather brings.
There is little or no automobile travel coming in from the outside
world. Very few large groups or conventions come except in June, which
seems to be the month for brides and large parties. That left the ranger
family more time for play, especially in the evenings, and we had jolly
parties in our big living-room. The piano was the drawing card, and
combined with Ranger Winess' large guitar manufactured strange music.
When the other rangers joined in and sang they managed to make quite a
racket. Perhaps the songs they sang would not have met with enthusiasm
in select drawing-rooms, but they had a charm for all that. Cowboy
songs, sea chanties, and ballads many years old were often on call.
Kipling's poems, especially "I Learned about Women from Her" were prime

I soon learned to take my sewing close to the fire and sit there quietly
a few minutes in order to be forgotten. There are realms of masculine
pleasure into which no mere woman should intrude. Besides that, I never
could negotiate the weird crooks and turns they gave to their tunes.
Every time an old favorite was sung, it developed new twists and curves.
Ranger Winess would discover a heretofore unknown chord on his guitar:
"Get that one, boys. That's a wicked minor!" Then for the ensuing five
minutes, agonizing wails shattered the smoke screen while they were on
the trail of that elusive minor. I had one set rule regarding their
concerts--positively no lighted cigarettes were to be parked on my

One song Ranger Winess always rendered as a solo, because all the others
enjoyed hearing it too much to join in with him:


  I was hangin' 'round the town, and I didn't have a dime.
  I was out of work and loafin' all the time.
  When up stepped a man, and he said, "I suppose
  You're a bronco-buster. I can tell by your clothes."

  Well, I thought that I was, and I told him the same.
  I asked him if he had any bad ones to tame?
  "I have an old pony what knows how to buck;
  At stacking up cowboys he has all the luck."'

  I asked him what'd he pay if I was to stay
  And ride his old pony around for a day.
  "I'll give you ten dollars;" I said, "That's my chance,"
  Throwed my saddle in the buckboard and headed for the ranch.

  Got up next morning, and right after chuck
  Went down to the corral to see that pony buck.
  He was standin' in the corner, standin' all alone----
  That pig-eyed pony, a strawberry roan!

  Little pin ears that were red at the tip;
  The X-Y-Z was stamped on his hip.
  Narrow in the chest, with a scar on his jaw,
  What all goes with an old outlaw!

  First came the bridle, then there was a fight;
  But I throwed on my saddle and screwed it down tight,
  Stepped to his middle, feelin' mighty fine,
  Said: "Out of the way, boys, watch him unwind!"

  Well, I guess Old Roaney sure unwound;
  Didn't spend much of his time on the ground!
  Went up in the East, come down in the West----
  Stickin' to his middle, I was doin' my best!

  He went in the air with his belly to the sun
  The old sun-fishin' son-of-a-gun!
  Lost both the stirrups and I lost my hat
  Reached for the horn, blinder than a bat.

  Then Old Roaney gently slid into high,
  Left me sittin' on nothin' but the sky.
  There ain't no cowboy who is alive
  Can ride Old Roaney when he makes his high dive!

When the piano player stopped and Frank struck a few soft chords on his
guitar I knew they were getting sentimental. Pretty soon someone would
begin to hum: "When the dew is on the rose, and the world is all
repose." ... Those rangers lived close to danger and hardships every
day, but they had more real sentiment in their makeup than any type of
men I know. Maybe it's because women are so scarce around them that they
hold all womanhood in high regard. Most of them dreamed of a home and
wife and children, but few of them felt they had a right to ask a woman
to share their primitive mode of living. They might not jump up to
retrieve a dropped handkerchief, or stand at attention when a woman
entered a room, but in their hearts they had a deep respect for every
woman that showed herself worthy.

Now and then, a certain son of Scotland, Major Hunter Clarkson, dropped
in. He was a real musician, and while I sewed and the Chief smoked he
treated us to an hour of true melody. He used to play the bagpipes at
home with his four brothers, he said, and he admitted that at times the
racket they made jarred his mother's china from the shelves!

He had served with the British forces in Egypt, and if he could have
known how interested we were in his experiences, he would have given us
more than a bare hint of the scenes that were enacted during the defense
of the Dardanelles and the entrance into Jerusalem.

One night he was telling us something about the habits of the Turks they
fought, when the telephone rang and interrupted the narrative, which was
never finished. The Chief had to go and investigate an attempted

It seemed that a lad under twenty, in Cleveland, had seen on a movie
screen a picture of Grand Canyon. He tucked that vision away somewhere
in his distorted brain, and when he had his next quarrel with his mother
he gathered together all his worldly wealth and invested it in a ticket
to Grand Canyon. There he intended to end his troubles, and make his
mother sorry she hadn't sewed on a button the instant he had asked her
to! That was a touching scene he pictured to himself--his heart-broken
mother weeping with remorse because her son had jumped into the Canyon.

But! When he reached the Rim and looked over, it was a long way to the
bottom, and there were sharp rocks there. Perhaps no one would ever find
him, and what's the use of killing one's self if nobody knows about it?
Something desperate had to be done, however, so he shot himself where he
fancied his heart was located (he hit his stomach, which was a pretty
close guess) with a cheap pistol he carried, hurled the gun into the
Canyon, and started walking back to Headquarters. He met Ranger Winess
making a patrol and reported to him that he had committed suicide!
Rangers West and Winess took care of him through the night, with Nurse
Catti's supervision, and the next day the Chief took him to Flagstaff,
where the bullet was removed and he was returned to his mother a sadder
and a wiser boy.

There is some mysterious power about the Canyon that seems to make it
impossible for a person to face the gorge and throw himself into it.

A young man, immensely wealthy, brought his fiancée to the Canyon for a
day's outing. At Williams, where they had lunch, he proposed that she go
on to the Coast with him, but she refused, saying that she thought it
was not the thing to do, since her mother expected her back home that
night. He laughed and scribbled something on a paper which he tucked
carelessly into a pocket of his overcoat. They went on to the Canyon and
joined a party that walked out beyond Powell's Monument. He walked up to
the Rim and stared into the depths, then turned facing his sweetheart.
"Take my picture," he shouted; and while she bent over the kodak, he
uttered a prayer, threw his arms up, and leaped _backward_ into the
Canyon. He had not been able to face it and destroy the life God had
given him. Hours later rangers recovered his body, and in his pocket
found the paper on which he had written: "You wouldn't go with me to Los
Angeles, so it's goodbye!"

Ranger West came in one day and told me that there was a lot of sickness
among the children at an Indian encampment a few miles from
Headquarters. I rode out with him to see what was the matter and found
that whooping-cough was rampant. For some reason, even though it was a
very severe winter, the Supai Indians had come up from their home in
Havasu Canyon, "Land of the Sky-Blue Water," made famous by Cadman, and
were camped among the trees on a hillside. The barefoot women and dirty
children were quite friendly, but the lazy, filthy bucks would have been
insolent had I been alone. They lolled in the "hewas," brush huts daubed
with mud, while the women dragged in wood and the children filled sacks
with snow to melt for drinking purposes. To be sure they didn't waste
any of it in washing themselves.

They would not let me doctor the children, and several of them died; but
we could never find where they were buried. It is a custom of that tribe
to bury its members with the right arm sticking up out of the ground. In
case it is a lordly man that has passed to the Happy Hunting Ground his
pony is shot and propped upright beside the grave with the reins
clutched in the dead master's hand.

I thought I might be able to reach a better understanding with the women
if the men were not present, so I told them to bring all the baskets
they made to my house and I would look at them and buy some of them.
Beautiful baskets were brought by the older squaws, and botched-up
shabby ones by the younger generation. Sometimes a sick child would be
brought by the mother, but there was little I could do for it outside of
giving it nourishing food. An Indian's cure-all is castor oil. He will
drink quarts of that if he can obtain it.

The Supai women are without dignity or appeal, and I never formed the
warm friendships with them that I did with women of other tribes. They
begged for everything in sight. One fat old squaw coveted a yellow
evening gown she saw in my closet; I gave it to her, also a discarded
garden hat with big yellow roses on it. She draped the gown around her
bent shoulders and perched the hat on top of her gray tangled hair and
went away happier than Punch. In a few minutes a whole delegation of
squaws arrived to see what they could salvage.

Wattahomigie, their chief, and Dot, his wife, are far superior to the
rest of the tribe, and when it was necessary to have any dealing with
their people the Chief acted through Wattahomigie. He had often begged
us to visit their Canyon home, and we promised to go when we could. He
came strutting into our house one summer day and invited us to accompany
him home, as the season of peaches and melons was at its height. He had
been so sure we would go that he left orders for members of the tribe to
meet us at Hilltop where the steep trail begins. We listened to him.



Wattahomigie reminded us the next morning that we had promised to go
with him, so we rushed around and in an hour were ready to follow his

It's a long trail, winding through forest and desert, up hill and down,
skirting sheer precipices and creeping through tunnels. And at the end
of the trail one stumbles upon the tiny, hidden village where the last
handful of a once powerful nation has sought refuge. Half-clad,
half-fed, half-wild, one might say, they hide away there in their
poverty, ignorance, and superstition. But oh, the road one must travel
to reach them! I hadn't anticipated Arizona trails when I so blithely
announced to White Mountain, "Whither thou goest, I will go." Neither
had I slept in an Indian village when I added, "And where thou lodgest,
I will lodge."

We loaded our camp equipment into the Ford, tied a canvas bag of water
where it would be air-cooled, strapped a road-building shovel on the
running-board, and were on our way.

The first few miles led through forests of piñon and pine. Gradually
rising, we reached the desert, where only cactus, sagebrush, and yucca
grew. As far as we could see the still, gray desert lay brooding under
the sun's white glare. Surely no living thing could exist in that alkali
waste. But look! An ashen-colored lizard darts across the trail, a sage
rabbit darts behind a yucca bush, and far overhead a tireless buzzard
floats in circles. Is he keeping a death watch on the grizzled old
"Desert Rat" we pass a little later? His face burned and seamed with the
desert's heat and storms, the old prospector cheerfully waved at us, as
he shared his beans and sour dough with a diminutive burro, which bore
his master's pack during the long search through the trackless desert
for the elusive gold. For us it would be suicide to leave the blazed
trail. The chances are that the circling buzzard and hungry coyotes will
be the only mourners present at his funeral.

Now and then we passed a twisted, warped old juniper that was doubtless
digging for a foothold while Christ walked on earth. The Chief said
these old junipers vie with the Sequoias in age. Nothing else broke the
monotony of the heat and sand, until we came to the first water hole.

It was dry now, for the summer rains were long overdue, and bogged
firmly in the red adobe mud was a gaunt long-horned cow. The Chief was
too tender-hearted to shoot her and drive on, as he knew he should.
Instead he stopped the car and got out to see if he could possibly
"extract" her. Failing to frighten her into pulling herself out, he
goaded her into a frenzy by throwing sharp stinging rocks at her. One
landed on her tender flank and she tossed her horns and struggled. The
Chief stooped, with his back to her, for another rock, just as she
pulled out.

"Look out. She's coming for you!" I yelled.

Straight at her rescuer she charged with an angry rumble. Round and
round a stunted piñon they raced, hot and angry. I was too helpless with
mirth to be of any aid, and the Chief's gun was in the car. Still, an
angry range cow on the prod is no joke, and it began to look serious. At
last the impromptu marathon ended by the Chief making an extra sprint
and rolling into the Ford just as her sharp horns raked him fore and

"Well!" he exploded, and glared at me while I wiped the tears out of my

"Shall we drive on?" I inquired meekly. We drove on.

A few miles along the way a piteous bawling reached us. Since even
Arizona cattle must drink sometimes, a cow had hidden her baby while she
went to a distant water hole. Three coyotes had nosed him out and were
preparing to fill up on unwilling veal. He bobbed about on his unsteady
little legs and protested earnestly. The sneaking beasts scattered at
our approach, and we drove on thinking the calf would be all right.
Looking back, however, we saw that the coyotes had returned and pulled
him down. This time the Chief's forty-five ended the career of one, and
the other two shifted into high, getting out of range without delay. The
trembling calf was loaded into the machine and we dropped him when the
main herd was reached. Here he would be safe from attack, but I have
often wondered if the mother found her baby again. At the next water
hole a lean lynx circled warily around with his eye fixed hungrily on
some wild ducks swimming too far from shore for him to reach. It seemed
that the sinister desert mothered cruel breeds.

We had reached the "Indian Pasture" now, where the Indians kept their
ponies. A score of Supai bucks were digging a shallow ditch. Upon being
questioned they said the ditch was a mile long and would carry water to
the big dam in their pasture when the rains fell. They were finishing
the ditch just in time, for the first of the season's storms was closing
down upon us. There was an ominous stillness, then the black cloud was
rent with tongues of flame. And the rains descended--more than
descended. They beat and dashed and poured until it seemed that the very
floodgates of heaven had opened over our unfortunate heads. It was
impossible to stay in the glue-and-gumbo road, so we took to the open
prairie. Since this part of the country is well ventilated with
prairie-dog holes, we had anything but smooth sailing.

"Stop," I shouted, trying to make myself heard above the roar of the

"No time to stop now," was the answer.

We pulled under a sheltering juniper and slowed up.

"What did you want to stop there for? Don't you know we have to keep on
moving if we reach a shelter tonight?" inquired the pilot of our ship.
He had evidently been brooding over my unseemly mirth at the mad cow

"Oh, all right," I agreed, "but the bedding-roll bounced out and I
thought you might want to pick it up." The fugitive bedding recovered,
we resumed our journey.

The storm ended as suddenly as everything else happens in that
topsy-turvy land and in the eastern sky hung a double quivering rainbow.
I rubbed my eyes and looked again. It _was_ double! The Chief explained
that this was due to a mirage, but I placed it to the credit of
altitude, like all other Arizona wonders.

At Hilltop we found Indian guides with trail ponies to take us the rest
of the way. They had been waiting two days for us, they said. Strolling
to the Canyon's brink I encountered a fearful odor. "What in the world
is that?" I asked Wattahomigie (which by the way means "Good Watchful
Indian"). "Him pony," was the stolid reply. "But--?" "Buck and fall over
trail," explained my Indian brave. I fled to the Chief for comfort and
change of air. He investigated and found that when Wattahomigie had
brought the ponies up from the village one had become unruly and pitched
over the Rim, landing squarely across the trail a hundred feet below. It
was the only trail, but it never occurred to the Noble Red Man to remove
the dead horse. No indeed! If it proved impossible to get around the
obstacle, why, stay off the trail until Providence cleared the way. In
other words let Nature take its course. The Chief procured a few pounds
of TNT from the Government warehouse located there, and with the aid of
that soon cleared the trail.

"That good way to clear trail," approved Wattahomigie. "No pull, no dig,
no nothin'." I hoped no TNT would be left roaming at large for
promiscuous experiments by Wattahomigie while we were natives of his

We camped there at Hilltop that night, and after a supper of fried
sage-rabbit, corn cakes, and coffee, I rolled into the blankets and fell
asleep without worrying about the morrow. Something awakened me. I
certainly _had_ heard something. Inch by inch I silently lifted myself
from the blankets and peered into the shadows. Standing there like a
graven image was a beautiful doe with twin fawns playing around her.
Curiosity had conquered caution and she was investigating our camp. Just
then a coyote's wild cry sounded from the distance. She lifted her
sensitive nose and sniffed the air, then wheeled and glided into the
deep shadows. Other coyote voices swelled the chorus. Hundreds it seemed
were howling and shrieking like mad, when I dropped to sleep to dream I
was listening to grand opera at the Metropolitan.

Morning dawned clear and crisp. "Will it rain today?" I asked an Indian.
"No rain; three sleeps, then rain," he told me; and this proved correct.

Wattahomigie had provided a long-legged race horse for me to ride. "Will
he carry her all right?" the Chief asked him. Wattahomigie looked me
over carefully and one could almost see him comparing me mentally with a
vision of his fat squaw, Dottie. His white teeth flashed a smile: "Sure,
my squaw him all time ride that pony." That settled the matter. "Him
squaw" weighs a good two hundred pounds and is so enveloped in
voluminous skirts that the poor horse must feel completely submerged.

This trail does not gradually grow steeper--it starts that way. I had
been told that all other trails we had traveled were boulevards compared
to this one, and it was well that I had been warned beforehand. My place
was near the center of the caravan, and I was divided between the fear
that I should slide down on top of the unwary Indian riding ahead and
the one that the Chief's horse directly behind would bump me off the
trail. It was a cheerful situation. The Canyon walls closed in upon us,
and the trail grew worse, if that could be possible. The firm rock gave
way to shale that slipped and slid under the feet of the horses. It was
so narrow that one slip of a hoof would send the horse crashing on the
rocks hundreds of feet beneath. Still this is the only path it has been
possible to make down to the Indian retreat. It was carved out by a past
generation when they crept down into the valley far below to make their
last futile stand.

We rounded a point and came out near a sparkling pool of clear, inviting
water fed by a stream bursting out of what appeared to be solid rock. I
knelt to drink, but was jerked to my feet sharply by a watchful Indian.
The water is unfit to drink on account of the arsenic it contains. I
noticed that none of the hot, tired horses even dipped their dusty noses
into the pool. Safely away from this unhealthy spot we came into
Rattlesnake Canyon, so named for obvious reasons, where the riding was
much easier. Twelve miles onward and two thousand feet farther down
found us among bubbling springs and magnificent cotton woods. This is
where the Thousand Springs come into the sunlight after their rushing
journey through many miles of underground caverns. New springs broke
out from the roots of the trees and along the banks of the stream until
it was a rushing little river.

We were evidently expected, for when we reached the village the natives
all turned out to see and be seen: brown children as innocent of
clothing as when they first saw the light; fat, greasy squaws with
babies on their backs; old men and women--all stared and gibbered at us.

"Big Jim" and "Captain Burros" headed what seemed to be the committee of
welcome. Big Jim was clad in a full-dress suit and silk hat donated to
him by Albert, King of the Belgians, and with that monarch's medal of
honor pinned to his front, Jim was, speaking conservatively, a startling
vision. Captain Burros wore the white shirt of ceremony which he dons
only for special occasions, with none of the whiteness dimmed by being
tucked into his trousers.

Big Jim welcomed us gravely, asking the Chief: "Did you bring my
_fermit_?" This permit, a paper granting Big Jim a camping location on
Park grounds, having been duly delivered, Jim invited us to share his
hewa, but after one look at the surroundings we voted unanimously to
camp farther up the stream among the cottonwoods. We chose a level spot
near the ruins of an old hewa.

While supper was being prepared an aged squaw tottered into camp and sat
down. She wailed and beat her breast and finally was persuaded to tell
her troubles. It seemed that she and her husband had lived in this hewa
until his death a year or two before. Then the hewa was thrown open to
the sky and abandoned, as is their custom. She disliked to mention his
name because he might hear it in the spirit world and come back to see
what was being said about him.

"Don't you want him to come back?" I asked idly, thinking to tease her.
Her look of utter terror was answer enough and shamed me for my
thoughtlessness. These Indians have a most exaggerated fear of death.
When one dies he and his personal belongings are taken to a wild spot
and there either cremated or covered with stones. No white man has ever
been permitted to enter this place of the dead. Any hour of the day or
night that a white man approaches, an Indian rises apparently from out
of the earth and silently waves him away. Until a few years ago the best
horse of the dead Indian was strangled and sent into the Happy Hunting
Ground with its owner, but with the passing of the older generation this
custom has been abandoned.

From a powerful and prosperous tribe of thousands this nation has
dwindled down to less than two hundred wretched weaklings. Driven to
this canyon fastness from their former dwelling-place by more warlike
tribes, they have no coherent account of their wanderings or their
ancestors. About all they can tell is that they once lived in cliff
dwellings; that other Indians drove them away; and that then Spaniards
and grasping whites pushed them nearer and nearer the Canyon until they
descended into it, seeking refuge. They are held in low esteem by all
other Indian tribes and never marry outside of their own people.
Ridiculous and unreasonable tales about their savage customs have kept
timid explorers at a safe distance, and thus little has been learned
about them. This last fragment will pass away within a few years and all
trace will be lost. Tuberculosis claims a dozen yearly; the children are
weaklings from diseased parents and the result of intermarriage, so they
fall victims of comparatively harmless ailments. A few years ago an
epidemic of measles swept through the tribe. Poor ignorant creatures,
trying to cool the burning fever they spent hours bathing in the cold
waters of the stream flowing through the village. More than eighty died
in one week from the effects, and others that lived through it are
invalids. This was almost too much for their superstitious minds. They
were for fleeing from that accursed place, but the old men said: "Where
can we go? We have no other place but this. Let us wait here for death."
So they spent hours in dancing and ceremonies to appease the angry gods.
They have no favoring gods, only evil spirits which they must outwit or
bribe with dances. The Peach Dance which we had gone to see was for the
purpose of celebrating good crops of melons, corn, and other products
and to implore the mercy of harmful powers during the winter months.

After the sun was out of sight we followed Wattahomigie to the scene of
the dance. There was no other light than that of the brush fires. A huge
circle of howling, chanting Indians had formed a wide ring in which a
dozen or more bucks and as many squaws were gathered. There seemed to be
no prearranged procedure. When one of the dancers would feel so
inclined, he, or she, would start a wild screeching and leaping about.
This would continue until the singer ran out of breath. Occasionally a
squaw would grow so enthused she would be quite overcome with emotion
and fall to the ground, foaming at the mouth. No notice would be taken
except to grab her by the hair and drag her to the edge of the circle.
The dance lasted until the gray dawn and was the most ghastly and weird
experience I ever went through. All I can compare it to is the nightmare
I used to have after too much mince pie.

Safely back at our camp with a brisk fire crackling under a pot of
coffee, I began to throw off the shivering sensation, and by the time
the coffee pot was empty I was ready for new adventures. Word had gone
forth that I would buy all the baskets the squaws brought to me. I hoped
in this way to get some first-hand information about the feminine side
of affairs. Squaws and baskets and information poured in. Baskets of all
sizes and shapes were brought, some good, some bad, but I bought them
all. If I hesitated a moment over one the owner put the price down to a
few cents. Just a dime or two for a whole week's work. Time has no value
to them, and the creek banks are covered with the best willows in the
world for basket-making. The basket-making art is the only talent these
squaws have, while the bucks excel in tanning buckskin and other skins.
These they trade to the Navajo Indians for silver and blankets. Then
they race their ponies or gamble for the ownership of the coveted
blankets. How they do love to gamble! Horses, blankets, squaws--anything
and everything changes hands under the spell of the magic cards. Even
the squaws and children gamble for beads and bright-colored calico. When
a few pieces of real money are at stake, all is wild excitement. How
the black eyes snap, and how taut is every nerve!

Their hewas are merely shelters of willow, and there is absolutely no
privacy about anything. Yet they are neither immoral nor unmoral. The
girls all marry very young. At the age of twelve or thirteen the girl is
chosen by some brave, who bargains with the father for her. A pony or
its value in buckskin will buy almost any father's favorite daughter.
But the girl is not forced to go with a lover whom she does not approve.
The marriage ceremony is not elaborate; after all preliminaries are
disposed of, the would-be bridegroom takes his blanket and moves into
the hewa of the girl's people. If two or three moons pass without any
quarrels between the young people, they move into a hewa of their own,
and thus it is known that they are married. Divorce is just as simple;
he merely sends her back to her father. An Indian brave of the Supai
tribe can have as many wives as he can buy according to the tribal law.
But since there is only about one squaw to every three braves, a man is
lucky to have any wife, and divorce is rare. When two or more braves
center their affections on one fair damsel, things are likely to happen.
But three Indian judges solemnly sit in council and settle the question.
Their solution is usually final, although two or three disgruntled
braves have journeyed to our home at El Tovar sixty miles away to appeal
to White Mountain for aid.

The valley is fertile, and all sorts of fruits and vegetables thrive. In
fact the natives live on what they raise in their haphazard way. They
have a rude system of irrigation which carries water to every little
garden. One other thing grows in abundance there--dogs! Such a flock of
surly, mangy mongrels one would have to travel far to find. I don't know
what they live on, for I never saw one of them being fed.

"Big sing tonight," said one of the squaws squatting by our campfire.

"What is a sing, Dottie?"

"Much sing and dance. Medicine man drive away bad spirit from blind

Of course we were present at the "sing," although I would never have
called it that. An old half-blind Indian afflicted with granulated
eyelids was the victim. The night was chilly, but he was clothed only in
a look of resignation. The medicine man had a shot-filled gourd, a bunch
of dried herbs, and an unlimited capacity for howling. First of all the
patient was given a "sweat bath." He was put into a little teepee made
of willows closely covered with burlap. Hot rocks were introduced and a
pan of water thrown on them. More rocks and more water went inside until
the poor Indian could stand it no longer. He came forth choking and
gasping with the perspiration running from him. Buckets of cold water
were then dashed over him and the medicine man got busy beating him over
the head with the bunch of herbs, keeping up an unearthly screeching.
This would last until morning, they said, but my interest flagged just
about the time the priest found his second wind, and I retired.

Five beautiful waterfalls are scattered down the valley, and I was most
anxious to visit these. For some reason Wattahomigie hung back and we
had trouble in persuading him to take us there. He reluctantly
accompanied us when he saw we intended to go either with him or without.
His attitude was explained when we were well along the trail; some freak
of formation has made great sounding boxes of the Canyon, and these
gather the noises of the water and the wind and return them again in
shrieks of demoniacal laughter, barking of dogs, and sounds of talking
and singing. It is startling to say the least, and no amount of
explaining would convince Wattahomigie that it is not the revel hall of
departed Indian spirits. The sun is lost there at midday, and darkness
settles down soon after.

We camped at Mooney Falls that night, so called on account of an
adventurous prospector of that name losing his life by falling over the
ledge there. It took ten months for his comrades to get equipment
together and recover his body, which they buried at the foot of the
falls. This place naturally holds no attraction for our Indian friends,
and we had literally to push them from under our feet. They almost sat
in the campfire, so determined were they to stay near us.

The next day we started to Hilltop, with Big Jim and his squaw with us
as an escort of honor. Jim rode serenely along, while Mary trudged after
on foot.

"Jim," said the Chief, "how is it that you ride and Mary walks?"

Jim's voice was reproachfully astonished that anyone could be so dense:
"Mary, she no got um horse!"

The Indians gathered to see us off. I looked at the faces before me.
Even the babies seemed hopeless and helpless. It is a people looking
backward down the years with no thought of the morrow.

"Can't you get them to be more hopeful or cheerful? Won't they even try
to help themselves?" I asked Wattahomigie in desperation. He sadly shook
his head.

"No help," he said; "plenty for today, maybe no tomorrow."

And maybe he's right. Not many more morrows for that doomed tribe.



A few days after our visit to Supai, Ranger Fisk dropped in.

"Going to the Snake Dance?" he asked me.

"What's a Snake Dance, and where is it?"

"Oh, it's over in the Hopi Reservation, and the crazy redskins hop
around with rattlesnakes in their mouths so it'll rain."

"I don't believe _that_. I'm going over and ask Joe about it," I
replied, indignant that Charlie would try to tell me anything so

I returned pretty soon from my visit to Joe, who is Chief of the Hopi
Indians. He made his home with the Spencers at the Hopi House, and we
were tried and true friends.

"What did he say?" Both the Chief and Ranger Fisk hurled the question at

"He said rattlesnakes are their brothers and they carry messages to the
rain gods telling them of the need for rain in Hopi land. He didn't want
to tell me much about it. White Mountain, let's go. _Please!_"

So we went. But before we started I managed to gather a little more
information about the yearly ceremony that is held in the Painted Desert
country. Joe told me that the Government at Washington was opposed to
their Snake Dance. He told me to bear in mind that water is the very
breath of life to the desert dwellers, and that while his people did not
like to oppose the agents placed there by the Government they certainly
intended to continue their dance.

We loaded the flivver with food and water, since we knew our welcome
would be a shade warmer if we did not draw on the meager water supply in
the Reservation. We dropped down to Flagstaff, and there on every street
corner and in every store and hotel the Hopi Snake Dance was the main
subject of conversation. It seemed that everybody was going!

We left the main road there and swung off across the desert for the Hopi
villages, built high on rocky mesas overlooking the surrounding country.
It was delightful during the morning coolness, but all too soon the sun
enveloped us. We met two or three Navajo men on their tough little
ponies, but they were sullen and refused to answer my waves to them.
While we repaired a puncture, a tiny Navajo girl in her full calico
skirt and small velvet basque drove her flock of sheep near and shyly
watched us. I offered her an apple and she shied away like a timid
deer. But candy was too alluring. She crept closer and closer, and then
I got sorry for her and placed it on a rock and turned my back. She lost
no time in grabbing the sweet and darting back to her flock.

The road was badly broken up with coulees and dry washes that a heavy
rain would turn into embryo Colorados. I found myself hoping that the
Snake Dance prayer for rain would not "take" until we were safely back
over this road.

Evening found us encamped at the foot of the high mesa upon which was
built the Hopi village where the dance would be held this year. Close
beside was the water hole that furnished the population with a scant
supply. It was a sullen, dripping, seeping spring that had nothing in
common with our gushing, singing springs of the Southern mountains. The
water was caught in a scooped-out place under the cliff, crudely walled
in with stones to keep animals away. Some stray cattle, however, had
passed the barrier and perished there, for their bones protruded from
the soft earth surrounding the pool. It was not an appetizing sight.
Rude steps were cut in the rocky trail leading to the pueblo dwellings
above two miles away, from whence came the squaws with big ollas to
carry the water. This spring was the gossiping ground for all the female
members of the mesa. They met there and laughed and quarreled and
slandered others just as we white women do over a bridge table.

I found myself going to sleep with my supper untasted, and leaving White
Mountain to tidy up I went to bed with the sand for a mattress and the
stars for a roof. Some time in the night I roused sufficiently to be
glad that all stray rattlers, bull snakes, and their ilk were securely
housed in the kivas being prayed over by the priests. At dawn we
awakened to see half a score of naked braves dash by and lose themselves
in the blue-shadowed distance. While we had breakfast I spoke of the

"Yes," said the Chief, "they are going out to collect the rattlesnakes."

"Collect the rattlesnakes! Haven't they been garnered into the fold

"No, today they will be brought from the north, tomorrow from the west,
next day from the south, and last from the east." He glanced at me.
"Provided, of course, that they don't show up here of their own accord.
I _have_ heard that about this time of year every snake within a radius
of fifty miles starts automatically for the Snake Dance village."

"Well, _I_ shall sleep in the car tomorrow night and the next night and
the next one, too."

"Where will you sleep tonight?"

"I'll not sleep. I intend to sit on top of the machine and see if any
snakes do come in by themselves. Not that I'm afraid of snakes," I
hastened to add; "but I'd hate to delay any pious-minded reptile
conscientiously bent on reaching the scene of his religious duties."

We solved the difficulty by renting a room in one of the pueblo houses.

We followed the two-mile trail up the steep cliff to Walpi and found
ourselves in a human aerie. Nobody knows how many centuries have passed
since this tribe first made their home where we found them now. Living
as they do in the very heart of a barren, arid waste, they control very
little land worth taking from them and have therefore been unmolested
longer than they otherwise would have been. They invite little attention
from tourists except during the yearly ceremonial that we had come to
witness. What _is_ this Snake Dance? The most spectacular and weird
appeal to the gods of Nature that has ever been heard of!

To gain an understanding of what rain means to these Indians we had only
to live in their village the few days preceding the dance. They are
compelled to exist on the water from winter's melting snow and the
annual summer showers, which they catch in their rude cisterns and water
holes. One's admiration for this unconquerable tribe is boundless, as
the magnitude of their struggle for existence is comprehended. Choosing
the most inaccessible and undesirable region they could find in which to
make a determined and successful stand against the Spanish and the hated
friars, they have positively subjugated the desert. Its every resource
is known and utilized for their benefit. Is there an underground
irrigation that moistens the soil, they have searched it out and thrust
their seed corn into its fertile depths. The rocks are used to build
their houses; the cottonwood branches make ladders and supports for the
ceilings; the clay is fashioned into priceless pottery; grasses and
fiber from the yucca turn into artistic baskets under their skillful
fingers. Every drop of water that escapes from the springs nourishes
beans and pumpkins to be stored away for winter use. Practically every
plant on the desert is useful to them, either for their own needs or as
food for their goats and burros.

We knew and were known by many of the younger members of the tribe who
had visited at the Grand Canyon, so we found a warm welcome and ready
guides in our stroll around the village.

The Hopi Indians are friendly and pleasant. They always respond to a
greeting with a flashing smile and a cheery wave of the hand. This is
not the way the sullen Navajos greet strangers. We saw many of that
nomad tribe walking around the Hopi village. They were just as curious
as we were about this snake dance.

"Do the Navajos believe your dance will make the rain come?" I asked a
young Hopi man who was chatting with the Chief.

"Oh, yes. They believe."

"Well, why don't you Hopis make them pay for their share of the rain you
bring. It falls on their Reservation." That was a new thought to the
Hopi and we left him staring over the desert, evidently pondering. I
hope I didn't plant the seed that will lead to a desert warfare!

I watched with fascinated eyes the antics of round, brown babies playing
on the three-story housetops. I expected every instant that one would
come tumbling off, but nobody else seemed to worry about them. On one
housetop an aged Hopi was weaving a woolen dress for his wife. What a
strange topsy-turvy land this was--where the men do the weaving and the
wives build the houses. For the women do build those houses. They are
made from stone brought up from the desert far below, and then they are
thickly plastered with a mixture of adobe and water. Many families live
in the same pueblo, but there are no openings from one room to another.
Each house has its own entrance. There are generally three stories to
each pueblo, the second one set back eight or ten feet on the roof of
the first, and the third a like distance on the top of the second. This
forms a terrace or balcony where many household duties are performed.

I noticed that one pueblo was completely fenced in with head and foot
pieces of ornate iron beds! Evidently the Government had at some time
supplied each family with a bed and they had all passed into the hands
of this enterprising landscape engineer. The houses we peeped into were
bare of furniture with the exception of a Singer sewing machine. I
venture to say there was one in every home up there. Many family groups
were eating meals, all sitting in a circle around the food placed in
dishes on the floor. It was difficult to see what they were serving, on
account of the swarms of flies that settled on everything around. I saw
corn on the ear, and in many places a sort of bean stew. Where there was
a baby to be cared for, the oldest woman in the family sat apart and
held it while the others ate. One old grandmother called my attention to
the child she had on her lap. He was a big-eyed, shrunken mite, strapped
flat to his board carrier. The day was broiling hot, but she motioned me
to touch his feet. "Sick," she said. His tiny feet were like chunks of
ice. It was a plain case of malnutrition, and what could I do to help,
in the few days I was to be there?

Many of the school boys and girls from boarding-schools were home for
vacation, but they knew little or nothing about the meaning of the
different dances and ceremonies that were going on in a dozen
underground kivas in the village. One pretty maiden with marvelous
masses of gleaming black hair volunteered to help us interview her
uncle, an old Snake Priest, about his religion. We found "Uncle"
lounging in the sunshine, mending his disreputable moccasins. He was not
an encouraging subject as he sat there with only a loin cloth by way of
haberdashery. He welcomed us as royally, however, as if he wore a king's
robes, and listened courteously while the girl explained our errand.

If there is a more difficult feat in the world than extracting
information from a reluctant Indian I have never come across it. We gave
up at last, and waited to see what was going to happen.

The exact date of the dance is determined by the Snake Priest, and
announced from the housetops nine days before it takes place. The
underground "kivas" are filled with the various secret orders,
corresponding to our lodges, going through their mystic ceremonies. From
the top of the ladder that extends above the kiva opening, a bunch of
turkey feathers hung, notifying outsiders that lodge was in session and
that no visitors would be welcome.

What candles and a cross mean to good Catholics, feathers mean to a
Hopi. Flocks of turkeys are kept in the village for the purpose of
making "bahos," or prayer sticks. These little pleas to spirits are
found stuck all over the place. If a village is particularly blessed,
they have a captive eagle anchored to a roof. And this bird is
carefully fed and watered in order that its supply of feathers may not

Days before the dance, the young men are sent out to bring in the
snakes. Armed with a little sacred meal, feathers, a long forked stick,
and a stout sack, they go perhaps twenty miles from the village. When a
snake is located dozing in the sun, he is first sprinkled with the
sacred meal. If he coils and shows fight the ever trusty feather is
brought into play. He is stroked and soothed with it, and pretty soon he
relaxes and starts to crawl away. Quick as a flash he is caught directly
behind the head and tucked away in the sack with his other objecting
brethren. Every variety of snake encountered is brought in and placed in
the sacred kiva.

The legend on which they so firmly base their belief in snake magic is

An adventurous Hopi went on a journey to find the dwelling-place of the
Rain God, so that he might personally present their plea for plenty of
showers. He floated down the Colorado until he was carried into the
Underworld. There he met with many powerful gods, and finally the Snake
God taught him the magic of making the rain fall on Hopi fields. They
became fast friends, and when the Hopi returned to his home the Snake
God presented him with his two daughters, one for a wife to the Hopi's
brother, who belonged to the Antelope Clan, and the other to become his
own bride. When the weddings took place all the snake brothers of the
brides attended, and a great dance was made in their honor. Since that
time a yearly dance and feast is held for the snakes, and they then
descend to their Snake God father and tell him the Hopis still need

While the men garner snakes and perform in the kivas, the women are not
idle. Far from it! Pottery-makers are busy putting the last touches of
paint on their pottery, and basket makers add the last row of weaving to
the baskets. These wares are displayed in every doorway and window,
where they are most likely to catch the tourist eye. The best specimens
are not put out for sale. I believe the attitude is, "Why place pearls
before swine?"

Houses are swept, and new plaster is applied inside and out. The girls
chatter over their grinding stones, where they crush the meal for making
"piki." Others mix and bake this piki, and it is piled high on flat
baskets. It is made of cornmeal and water, and is baked on hot flat
stones. The stone is first greased with hot mutton tallow, then the cook
dips her fingers into the mixture and with one swift swipe spreads it
evenly over the scorching surface. How they escape blistered fingers is
always a marvel to me.

Squaws are wearily climbing the steep trail with heavy ollas of water on
their backs, held there by a shawl knotted around their foreheads.
Others pass them going to the spring, where they sit and gossip a while
before starting back with their burdens. It takes about the last of the
hoarded water to prepare for the dance, since religion demands that
every house and street be sprinkled and each and every Hopi must have
his yearly bath and shampoo.

I found a pretty girl having her hair put up in squash blossoms for the
first time. Her mother told me she was ready to choose her husband now,
and that the hairdress would notify the young braves to that effect. In
Hopi land the girl chooses her own husband, proposes, and then takes him
to live in her house. If she tires of him she throws his belongings out,
and _he_ "goes back to mother!" After the Snake Dance my little girl
would make her choice. I tried to get advance information, but she
blushed and giggled like any other flapper.

The old men were going to and from the planting grounds, many miles away
in the valley. They went at a sort of dog trot, unless one was rich
enough to own a burro; in that case it did the dog trotting. After the
fields are planted, brush shelters are built and the infirm members of
the tribe stay there to protect the fields from rabbits and burros. Who
could blame a hungry little burro for making away with a luscious hill
of green corn in the midst of a barren desert? And yet if he is caught
he has to pay, literally--one of his ears for the ear of corn he has
eaten. Very few Hopi burros retain their original couple of ears.

The agents say that the time and strength consumed by the Indians in
going to and from their fields, and in carrying water up to the village,
could better be spent cultivating the crops. Therefore, many attempts
have been made to move the Hopis from their lofty homes on the crags to
Government houses on the level below. But they steadfastly refuse to be

Stand at the mesa edge and look out across the enchanting scene. To the
far south the snow-crowned San Francisco peaks rear their lofty heights.
To the north and east the sandy desert stretches away in heart-breaking
desolation, relieved only by the tiny green patches of peach trees and
corn fields. The blazing sun beats down appallingly. A purple haze
quivers over the world. But evening comes, and as the sun drops out of
sight a pink glow spreads over the eastern sky, giving a soft radiance
to the landscape below. Soon this desert glow fades, and shadows creep
nearer and nearer, until one seems to be gazing into the sooty depths of
a midnight sea. Turn again toward the village. Firelight darts upward
and dies to a glow; soft voices murmur through the twilight; a carefree
burst of laughter comes from a group of returned school children.

It suddenly dawns on one that this is the home of these people, their
home as it was their fathers' and their fathers' home before them. They
are contented and happy. Why leave their sun-kissed, wind-swept heights,
seven thousand feet high, for the scorching desert below?

The village was seething at the first hint of dawn on the day of the
actual snake dance. Crowding the dizzy mesa edges were masses of Indians
and whites drawn there for the ceremony. Somewhere, far below, through
the desert dawn, a score of young men were running the grilling race to
reach the village. The first to arrive would secure the sacred token
bestowed by the Head Priest. This would insure fruitful crops from his
planting next year and, perhaps more important, the most popular girl in
the village would probably choose him for a husband. We stood near our
squash-blossom girl, and the progress of the race was written on her
face. I knew her choice was among the runners, and when the first one to
arrive darted, panting, up to the priest and grasped the token, I knew
who was her choice!

The white visitors spent the forenoon strolling around the mesa, tasting
Hopi food, feeding candy to the naked, roly-poly babies, or bargaining
with visiting Navajos for rugs and silver jewelry. French, Spaniards,
Mexicans, Germans, Americans, and Indians jostled each other
good-naturedly. Cowboys, school teachers, moving-picture men, reporters,
missionaries, and learned doctors were all there. One eminent doctor
nudged the Chief gleefully and displayed a small flask he had hidden
under his coat. I wondered if he had fortified himself with liquor in
case of snakebite. He surely had! And how? He had heard for years of the
secret antidote that is prepared by the Snake Priest and his wife, to be
used all during the nine days the snakes are being handled. He traveled
there from Chicago to secure a sample of that mixture. He found the
ready ear of a Hopi youth, who supplied him with a generous sample in
return for five dollars. The doctor was satisfied, for the time being,
and so was the mischief-loving kid. He told us a few minutes later that
he had sold seven such samples on the Q.T. and that he was going to have
to mix up another brew! "What are you selling them?" I asked, trying to
be as stern as possible. "Water we all washed in," he said, and we both
had a good laugh.

At noon the snakes were taken from the big jars and washed in other
ollas of water. This is a matter of politeness. Since the snake brothers
cannot wash themselves, it must be done for them.

The middle of the afternoon found the crowd choosing places of vantage
for the Snake Dance, which would begin just before sundown and last
perhaps half an hour. Owners of houses were charging a dollar a seat on
their roofs, and they could have sold many more seats had there been
room for them.

Scarcely a person seemed to realize that they were there to witness a
religious ceremony and that to the Indians it was as sacred as could be
any High Church service. Shouting and cheering, they waited for the
dancers to appear.

Finally a naked Indian, painted white and black and red, with a lot of
strung shells draped over his chest, appeared, carrying the olla of
snakes. These he deposited in a hut built of willow boughs with a
bearskin for a door.

Following him came twenty priests painted as he was, each with a loin
cloth and a coyote skin hanging from the cloth behind. These went around
the circle seven times, which seems to be the mystic number used in all
these ceremonies. They chanted a weird, wordless tune all the time. Then
they gathered in front of the kiva, where the snakes could be heard
keeping up a constant dull rattling, and chanted this same tune seven
times, stamping on the boards that covered the opening to the
Underworld, in order that the gods down there might know they were on
the job. One priest had a piece of board on the end of a strong string
and every so often he would step out in front of the others and whirl
and whiz that board around until it wailed like a lost soul. _That_ was
the wind before the rain!

A priest entered the snake kiva and passed a snake out to a priest
dancer. The dancer placed this big rattler in his mouth and began the
circle. Close beside him danced a companion called the "hugger." This
protecting Indian kept one arm around the dancer's shoulders and his
other hand occupied with a bunch of feathers with which he kept the
snake's head from coming too close to the dancer's face. Entirely around
the ring they went until the starting-place had been reached, when, with
a quick, sharp jerk of his head, the dancer threw the snake into the
center of the plaza. It lay there coiled, sputtering, and rattling in
rage for a moment, then started to glide away. Quick as a flash a
"gatherer" snatched him up and twirled him around his arm.

As soon as the first dancer was rid of his snake he went for another,
and we noticed that he was always given rattlers. Some of the other
priests had thin, nervous whip snakes; some had big, sluggish bull
snakes; but at least eighty per cent of the snakes were active, angry
rattlers. The first dancer was an old man, gray-headed, and rather
stooped. He had a poor hugger, for at least three times during the dance
the hugger let a rattler strike the old priest. Once the priest flinched
with pain and let the snake loose from his mouth. It hung on to his
cheek with its fangs firmly implanted, and at last he tore him loose
with both hands. The blood spurted from the wound, and a Hopi man beside
me made a nervous clucking sound.

"Will he die from that bite?" I asked the Hopi.

"I think not. Maybe. I don't know." And I'm sure he didn't know any more
about it than I did. But the old fellow continued with his dancing as if
nothing had happened. At last about eighty snakes had been danced with
and were now writhing, animated bouquets in the hands of the gatherers.
A squaw came out and made a circle of sacred meal. Into this all the
snakes were dumped, and more meal was sprinkled on them. Then each
carrier, of which there were four, gathered all the snakes he could
grasp by thrusting his arms into the squirming mass, and one carrier
departed in each direction. We watched one running swiftly down the
cliff until he reached the level desert, where he dumped his cargo, and
came back to the plaza. There he and his other returned companions lined
up on the edge of the mesa and drank a big draught of the secret
preparation prepared by the Snake Priest and his wife. Then they let
nature take its course. Such a heaving, vomiting set of redskins you
never saw!

This little chore attended to, they removed their paint and prepared to
join in the feast and dancing that would last through the night.

Before I left I hunted up the old Snake Priest and pressed him for an
explanation of why the snake bites did not harm them. This is what he
told me.

"We do not extract the fangs. We do not cause the snakes to bite at
things and exhaust their poison. We do not stupefy them with drugs as
you could well see. But we do cleanse the priests so thoroughly that the
poison cannot take hold. For nine days they fast, partaking of no food,
and only of herb drinks prepared by our wise ones. They have many sweat
baths and get the harmful fluids out of their blood. They have
absolutely no fear of the snakes, and convey to them no nervousness or
anger. Just before the dance they have a big drink of the herb brew, and
they are painted thickly with an ointment that contains herbs that kill
snake poison. Then after the dance, the emetic. That is all."

"How many of your tribe know of this secret preparation?"

"Only two. Myself and my squaw. Should I die my squaw tell the secret to
my son. When my squaw die he teach _his_ squaw."

Probably because this dance is staged at the time of year the rains are
due in Arizona, it is seldom that twenty-four hours elapse after the
dance before a downpour arrives. Hopi Snake Priests are good weather



When winter ends, spring comes with a rush at the Canyon, and flowers
pop up over night. They follow the melting snow until the hills are
covered with flaming paintbrushes and tender blue lupine. Greasewood and
manzanita put out fragrant, waxy blossoms, and wild pinks and Mariposa
lilies hedge the trails.

Encouraged by the glorious display of wild flowers, I planned, with more
enthusiasm than judgment, to have a real flower garden beside our new

I built a low rock wall around the space I had selected, and piled it
full of rich black loam as fine as any green-house could afford. Father
had sent seeds from the old garden at home, and various friends had
contributed from their gardens in the East. These seeds had been planted
in boxes which I kept near the stove until frost was gone. They were
full of promising plants. Hollyhocks, larkspur, pansies, and foxglove
were ready to transplant, when a terrible catastrophe occurred--a little
neighbor girl called on me, and, finding me gone, was right peeved. She
entertained herself by uprooting my posies. With a complete thoroughness
she mixed plants and dirt together, stirring water into the mixture with
my trowel. If her grown-up cake-making is done as conscientiously as was
that job, she'll be a wonderful pastry cook! I discovered the mischief
while it was still fresh, and out of the wreckage salvaged a few brave
seedlings. They pouted awhile before they took heart, and root, but
finally perked up again. Time healed their wounds and if an ambitious
squirrel hadn't been looking for a place to hide a nut I might still
have taken prizes in the state fair. As it was, only a very few sturdy
plants lived to grace the garden. They flourished, and I had begun to
look in their direction without crossing my fingers when a hungry cow
and her yearling boy appeared on the scene.

"Help yourself, son!" Ma cow said, suiting her actions to the advice

Midsummer found a lonely cactus and a horned toad blooming in my garden.

The weather got hotter and more hot, and my bird bath was duly
appreciated by the feathered population. They gathered there in flocks,
and the news went far and wide that water was to be had at the Chief's
house. All the birds that had been fed during the winter brought their
aunts, uncles, and cousins seventy times seven removed, until all I had
to do was lie in my hammock and identify them from a book with colored

White Mountain's special pet was a tiny chickadee. This fragile little
speck of birddom fluttered into the house one stormy day, and the Chief
warmed it in his hands and fed it warm milk and crumbs. From that day on
it belonged, brave soul and wee body, to him. As the days grew warmer it
spent its time somewhere in the forest, but at mealtime when the Chief
came home all he had to do was step outside the door and whistle. Out of
the sky a diminutive atom would hurl itself downward to light on his
outstretched palm. While we ate it would perch on White Mountain's
shoulder and twitter and make soft little noises in its throat, now and
then coming across to me but soon returning to its idol. There was
something so touching in the confidence of the helpless bird, it brought
a tight feeling into one's throat.

At the height of the drought a national railroad strike was called, and
for a few weeks things looked serious for us poor mortals stranded a
hundred miles from our water supply. Life took a backward leap and we
lived as our forefathers did before us. No water meant no light except
oil lamps, and when the oil supply failed we went to bed at dark.
Flashlights were carefully preserved for emergencies. We learned that
tomato juice will keep life in the body even if it won't quench thirst.

There was one well four miles away, and rangers were stationed there to
see that nothing untoward happened to that supply. The water was drawn
with a bucket, and it was some job to water all the park animals.
Visitors were at that time barred from the Park, but one sage-brusher
managed to get in past the sentry. He camped at Headquarters and sent
his ten-year-old boy walking to Rowe Well to fill a pail with water and
carry it back. Just before dark that night the Chief and I coming in
from Hilltop met the little fellow, courageously struggling along eight
miles from Headquarters and getting farther away every step. His bucket
was leaky, and little of the precious water remained. We took him back
to the well again, filled his bucket, and delivered him to his father.
The lad pulled a dime from his pocket and extended it toward the Chief.

"You keep it, son," said White Mountain.

"Better take it, Mister. You hauled me quite a ways."

The Chief leaned toward him confidentially. "You see it's like this. I
work for the Government and Uncle Sam doesn't like for us to take tips."

And so the matter rested. The boy had discharged his obligation like a
gentleman. He didn't know he had offered the Chief Ranger a dime for
saving his life.

A few stray I. W. W.'s ("I Won't Works," the rangers called them) came
in to see that nobody did anything for the Santa Fe. Of course the
rangers were put on for guard duty around the railroad station and power
house, day and night, and the fact that they protected the railroad's
property at odd hours did not relieve them from their own regular duties
the rest of the time. For weeks they did the work of three times their
actual number, and did it cheerfully. It finally became necessary to
import Indians from the Navajo Reservation to help with the labor around
the car yard and the boiler yard. These could hardly be described as
having a mechanical turn of mind, but they were fairly willing workers,
and with careful supervision they managed to keep steam up and the
wheels turning. The shop foreman, however, was threatened with apoplexy
a dozen times a day during their term of service.

When it seemed that we just couldn't endure any more, some boss
somewhere pulled a string and train service was resumed. This brought in
a mass of tourists, and the rangers were on the alert again to keep them
out of messes.

One day as the Chief and I were looking at some picturegraphs near the
head of Bright Angel Trail we saw a simple old couple wandering
childlike down the trail.

"You mustn't go far down the trail," advised White Mountain. "It's very
hot today, and you would not be able to make the return trip. It's lots
harder coming back, you know."

The old folks smiled and nodded, and we went on home. About midnight the
phone rang, and the Chief groaned before he answered it. A troubled
voice came over the wire.

"My father and mother went down the trail to the river and haven't come
back. I want the rangers to go and find them," said their son.

"In the morning," replied the Chief.

"Right _now_!" ordered the voice.

"I, myself, told your father and mother not to go down there. They went
anyway. They are probably sitting on a rock resting, and if so they are
safe. If they are not on the trail the rangers could not find them, and
I have no right to ask my men to endanger their lives by going on such a
wild-goose chase."

The son, a middle-aged man, acted like a spoiled child. He threatened
and blustered and raved until the Chief hung up the receiver. At dawn
the rangers went after the two old babes in the wood and found them
creeping slowly up the trail.

"Ma give out," puffed the husband.

"Pa was real tuckered hisself," explained Ma. "But we had a nice time
and we'll know to do what we're told next time." She was a game old
sport. Son was speedily squelched by Ma's firm hand, and the adventure
ended. Ma confessed to me that she had sat through the night in deadly
fear of snakes, catamounts, and other "varmints," but, with a twinkle in
her eye: "Don't you dare tell them men folks I was a-scairt!" I knew
just how she felt.

Everything was up in the air over the Fourth of July celebration that we
intended to stage. It was to be a combination of Frontier Days, Wild
West Show, and home talent exhibition. Indians came from the various
reservations; cow-hands drifted in from the range; tourists collected
around the edges; the rangers were there; and every guide that could be
spared from the trail bloomed out in gala attire. We women had cooked
enough grub to feed the crowd, and there was a barrel of lemonade, over
which a guard was stationed to keep the Indians from falling in head

The real cowboys, unobtrusive in their overalls and flannel shirts,
teetered around on their high-heeled tight boots and gazed open-mouthed
at the flamboyance of the Fred Harvey imitations. Varied and unique
remarks accompanied the scrutiny. Pretty soon they began to nudge each
other and snicker, and I saw more than one of them in consultation with
the rangers. I felt in my bones that mischief was brewing.

The usual riding and roping and tying stunts were pulled off, and in the
afternoon the Indians were challenged to race horses with the white
boys. The race was for half a mile and back, around the curve of a
hillside. Off they went amid the wildest war-whoops and cowboy yells I
ever heard. The Indians had the advantage, since they burdened their
mounts with neither saddle nor bridle. Stretched flat along the pony's
back, the rider guided him by knee pressure and spurred him to victory
by whistling shrilly in a turned back ear. I was amused to see how the
wily Indians jockeyed for the inside of the track, and they always got
it too. Not a white man's horse won a dollar in the race. It might have
been different, probably would have, in an endurance race, for Indian
horses are swift only in short runs. They never have grain, and few of
them have as much water as they need.

Just before the sports ended, White Mountain announced that some of the
cowboys had brought a badger into Headquarters with them and that they
had another one located. If they succeeded in capturing it, there would
be a badger fight at the Fred Harvey mess hall that night--provided no
gambling or betting was done. Since the show was to be put on by the
cowboys, they themselves should have the honor of picking the men
fortunate enough to hold the ropes with which the badgers would be tied.
Among the rangers broke out a frenzied dispute as to which ones should
be chosen. That was more than the guides could stand for. No ranger
could put that over on _them_. They pushed in and loudly demanded their
rights from the owners of the fightin' badgers. In fair play to both
sides, Frank Winess was chosen from the ranger force and a sheik
stage-driver, newly arrived, represented Fred Harvey. The guides were
forced to be satisfied with this arrangement. We disbanded to meet at
seven for the fight. In case the other badger made good his escape we
could still have a look at the one already in captivity and the evening
would not be wasted.

"Better wear your riding boots," Ranger Winess advised me. "Badgers
scratch and fight like forty, and you know your failing when it comes to
getting into the middle of a bad fix." I didn't reply to this, but I put
on my high boots.

At seven we reached the scene of battle. I was not entirely pleased with
the idea of letting two frantic animals scratch each other to death, but
the Chief seemed quite serene and I had the utmost confidence in his
kindness to dumb animals. Two or three hundred onlookers, including
tourists, were circled around an open space, which was lighted with
automobile headlights. Under each of two big wooden boxes at opposite
sides of the circle, a combatant lay.

"Stand well back," ordered the Chief. And the crowd edged away. "Hey,
you, Billy, I said no betting!" Billy Joint hastily pocketed the roll of
bills he had been airing.

"What's wrong, Frank?" For Ranger Winess limped into the ring, flinching
at every step.

"Nothin', Chief," bravely trying to cover up the pain with a grin.

"I asked you what's the matter!"

"Well, gee whiz, if you have to know everything, one of them broncs
piled up with me this afternoon, and I busted my knee."

The Chief felt sorry for Frank, because he knew how his heart was set on
the sport in hand.

"Sorry, Winess, but you'll have to step out and let Charley take your

Ranger Fisk began to protest: "Gee, Chief, I ain't a fightin' man. I
don't hanker to hold that tearing varmint." Frank was too crushed to say
anything. But Shorty--in the foremost ranks stood Shorty! No guide so
wonderfully chapped, so brightly handkerchiefed, so amazingly shirted,
or so loudly perfumed as Shorty. He had a tourist girl on his manly arm
and he longed for worlds to conquer.

He advanced with a firm and determined tread. "Look here, Chief Ranger.
Your man has been disqualified. The rangers have had their chance. It's
up to us guides now. I demand the right to enter this ring."

The Chief considered the matter. He looked at the rangers, and after a
few mutters they sullenly nodded.

"All right, Shorty. But you are taking all responsibility. Remember,
whatever happens you have made your own choice. Charley, you and Frank
look out for Margie. You know how foolish she is. She's likely to get
all clawed up."

I was mad enough to bite nails into tacks! Foolish! Look out for _me_!
He was getting awfully careful of me all of a sudden. I jerked my arm
loose from Ranger Fisk when he tried to lead me back from the front,
and he reluctantly stayed beside me there.

The pretty stage-driver was nervous. With his gloved hand he kept
smoothing his hair back and he shifted from one foot to the other, while
he grasped the rope firmly. As for Shorty, he was entirely unconcerned,
as became a brave bold man. He merely traded his sheepskin chaps for a
pair of silver-studded leather ones. Then he clamped his wide sombrero
firmly on his head and declared himself ready.

"Jerk quick and hard when we raise the boxes," the referee directed. "If
they see each other at once, you boys aren't so liable to get bit up."

"Jerk them out," bellowed Frank.

They jerked. The onlookers gasped; then howled! then _roared_!!

The gladiators fled! Nor stood on the order of their going.

In the middle of the ring, firmly anchored to the ropes, were two
articles of crockery well known to our grand-mothers in the days when
the plumbing was all outside.

So ended the Glorious Fourth.



I was busy baking pies one morning when White Mountain sauntered into
the kitchen and stood watching me. "How soon can you be ready to start
across the Canyon?" he asked, as carelessly as though I had not been
waiting for that priceless moment nearly two years.

"How soon?" I was already untying my apron. "Right _now_!"

"Oh, not that sudden. I mean can you be ready to start in the morning?"

And with no more ceremony than that my wonderful adventure was launched.
Long before dawn the next morning I was up and dressed in breeches, wool
shirt, laced boots, and a wide felt hat, and felt like a full-fledged
"dude." The Chief had insisted that I should ride a mule, but I had my
own notions about that and "Supai Bob" was my mount. This was an Indian
racing horse, and the pride of Wattahomigie's heart, but he cheerfully
surrendered him to me whenever I had a bad trail to ride. He was high
from the ground, long-legged, long-necked and almost gaunt, but gentle
and sure-footed.

We left El Tovar before anybody was stirring and while the depths of the
Canyon were still lost in darkness. At the head of the trail I
involuntarily pulled up short. "Leave hope behind all ye who enter
here," flashed through my brain. Dante could have written a much more
realistic _Inferno_ had he spent a few days in the Grand Canyon
absorbing local color. Far below, the trail wound and crawled, losing
itself in purple shadows that melted before the sun as we descended. The
world still slept, with the exception of a few saucy jays who flew about
us loudly claiming the heavens, the earth, and the waters beneath,
should there be any. Two hours of steady descent brought us to the base
of the red-wall limestone. In that two hours we had passed from the belt
of pine and shrub to the one of sagebrush and cactus. Half an hour
farther, and we arrived at Indian Gardens, a clump of willows and
cottonwoods shading a stream of cold bubbling water from a never-failing
spring. This little stream is full of delicious watercress, and more
than once on festive occasions a ranger had gone down and brought back a
supply to garnish the turkey. Not until I made the ride myself could I
appreciate his service. At one time this spot was cultivated by the
Havasupai Indians; hence the name. Every dude that has followed a Fred
Harvey guide down the trail remembers this God-given oasis with
gratitude. Water and shade and a perfectly good excuse for falling out
of the saddle! No flopping mule ears; no toothache in both knees; no
yawning void reaching up for one. Ten whole minutes in Paradise, and
there's always a sporting chance that Gabriel may blow his horn, or an
apoplectic stroke rescue one, before the heartless guide yells: "All

We filled our canteens from the spring, for this is really the last good
water until the bridge is crossed, and rode across the Tonto Trail along
the plateau for five miles, through sagebrush, cactus, and yucca. Here
and there a chuckwalla darted across the trail or a rock squirrel sat on
his haunches and scolded as we passed. Nothing broke the monotony of the
ride. At one point on the ride the trail hangs over the edge of Pipe
Creek, a mere little chasm two thousand feet deep. Anywhere else this
crevice between sheer walls of blackened, distorted, jagged rocks would
be considered one of the original Seven Wonders. Placed as it is, one
tosses it a patronizing glance, stifles a yawn, and rides on. A mile or
so along we crossed a trickle of water coming from Wild Burro Springs,
so named because the burros common to this region come there to drink.
Just as we drew rein to allow our horses to quench their thirst, the
sultry silence was shattered beyond repair. Such a rasping, choking,
jarring sound rolled and echoed back and forth from crag to crag!
"What's that?" I gasped, after I had swallowed my heart two or three
times. The Chief pointed to a rock lying a few feet away. Over the top
of this an enormous pair of ears protruded, and two big, solemn eyes
were glued on us unblinkingly. It was only a wee wild burro, but what a
large voice he owned! The thousand or more of these small gray and black
animals are a heritage from the day of the prospector. Some of them are
quite tame. One called "Bright Angel" was often utilized by tourists as
a mount while they had pictures snapped to take to the admiring family
left behind.

We passed on across the plateau and rounded O'Neill Butte, named for
Bucky O'Neill, one of Roosevelt's Rough Riders killed at San Juan Hill,
and we suddenly came to the "sure 'nuff" jumping-off place at the edge
of Granite Gorge. One should have at least a week's warning before this
scene is thrown upon the screen. I think it was here that Irvin Cobb
tendered his resignation--effective immediately. Straight down, fifteen
hundred feet beneath one, flows the Colorado. There are no words to
describe this. One must see it for one's self. Down, down, back and
forth zigzags that trail, jumping from crag to crag and mesa to mesa,
finally running on to the mere thread suspended from wall to wall high
above the sullen brown torrent. When once started down this last lap of
the journey riverward, one finds that the trail is a great deal smoother
than that already traveled. But the bridge! Picture to yourself a
four-foot wooden road, four hundred and twenty feet long, fenced with
wire, and slung on steel cables fifty feet above a rushing muddy river,
and you will see what I was supposed to ride across. My Indian horse
stopped suddenly, planted himself firmly--and looked. I did likewise.

"Those cables look light," I said, seeking some excuse to stay right
where I was. But the Chief calmly informed me that they were "heavy
enough." I presume he should know, having helped to carry them down that
twelve-mile trail. Pride alone prevented me from turning and fleeing
back up that steep trail like a fly up a wall. I looked at White
Mountain. He was riding serenely on, never doubting my close attendance
at his horse's heels. I told myself that I had undoubtedly reached a
bridge that _had_ to be crossed, and so I spoke firmly, or as firmly as
possible under the circumstances, to Supai Bob. No results. Bob was as
unresponsive as any other Indian when he doesn't want to "savvy." I
coaxed, I pulled, I pushed. I spanked with a board. Bob was not
interested in what was across the river. Then and there I formed a high
regard for that pony's sound judgment and will-power. At last the Chief
looked back and saw my predicament. He turned his horse loose to
continue across alone and came back over the wildly swaying bridge to

"What's the matter?"

Just as if he couldn't well see! I glared at him and he grinned.

"Why don't you talk to him in Supai language?"

"Speak to him yourself," I snapped and stalked out on that heaving
horror. I never learned the details of the conversation, but a clatter
of hoofs sounded behind me and Bob anchored his nose against my
shoulder, there to remain until terra firma was regained. I worried all
the rest of the way over and back about having to get him across again,
but returning, he walked on to the bridge as if crossing it were his
life work.

On the north end of the bridge where the cables are anchored is a
labyrinth of trails crossing and recrossing. The Chief explained that
Bright Angel, the little wild burro, had made those at a time when high
water had marooned him on that small area. While the bridge was being
built he hung around constantly, and when it was completed he was the
first animal allowed to cross it. I wonder what he thought of the
promised land he had gazed at so longingly for years. Poor Brighty fell
a victim to a tramp who refused to listen to advice, and crossed to the
North Rim after the snows had come. Perhaps he had reasons for hiding
away, but he took little Brighty from his winter home in the bottom of
the Canyon to carry his pack for him. After being snowed in for several
weeks in a cattle cabin several miles back from the Rim, Brighty died of
starvation and was eaten by the man. Brighty had plenty of friends that
miss him when they go down into the Canyon, and it will fare badly with
his murderer if any of the rangers or guides see him again.

Beside the trail, just across the bridge, is a prehistoric ruin. When
Major Powell landed there on his first trip down the Colorado River in
1869, he found broken pottery, an old "matate" and many chipped flints,
indicating that this had been the home of an arrowmaker. The mealing
stone, or matate, can be seen at Phantom Ranch, half a mile on along the

And just at this point of the trip we came to a tragic spot, the one
where Rees Griffith lies buried beside his own well-built trail. It had
been in the dead of winter when Rees was buried there by his friends,
and now the summer's scorching sun was streaming down on his grave. The
colorful lines of the half-breed Déprez drifted through my mind:

  And there he lies now, and nobody knows;
  And the summer shines, and the winter snows,
  And the little gray hawk floats aloft in the air,
  And the gray coyote trots about here and there,
  And the buzzard sails on,
  And comes back and is gone,
  Stately and still like a ship on the sea;
  And the rattlesnake slides and glitters and glides
  Into his rift in a cottonwood tree.

Just that lonely and already forgotten was the resting-place of the
master trail-builder.

It was noontime now, and all our grub, with the exception of a box of
crackers and a jar of fig jam, likewise our bedding, was far ahead on a
pack mule which had decided not to stop for lunch or dinner. Since we
were not consulted in the matter we lunched on jam and crackers and then
dined on crackers and jam. We hung the remainder of the feast in a tree
and breakfasted on it a week later on our return trip.

When one tries to describe the trail as it was to the North Rim in those
days, words prove weak. The first twelve miles we had already traveled
are too well known to need description; the remaining twenty--all
rebuilt since that time--defy it. Sometimes the trail ran along in the
creek bed for yards and yards. This made it impassable during the spring
freshets. Arizona horses are trained to drink at every opportunity for
fear there may never be another chance, and our mounts had learned
their lesson well. They tried to imbibe at every crossing, and long
after they were loaded to the gunwales they dipped greedy noses into the

Six miles north of the river we turned aside from the main trail and
followed a path a few rods to Ribbon Falls. We had intended to spend the
night there, and I supposed we were to sleep standing up; but there was
Chollo, our prodigal pack mule, who had found a luscious patch of grass
near the Falls and decided to make it her first stopping-place. In that
manner we recovered the bedding roll. White Mountain murmured a few
sweet nothings into her innocent ear and anchored her firmly to a stake.
That didn't please her at all. She complained loudly to her wild
brethren, and they sympathized in heart-comforting brays from all points
near at hand. Our horses were given grain and turned into the grassy
cove, and supper was prepared. And while the coffee boiled we had a
refreshing swim in Nature's bathtub at the bottom of the Falls. High
above, the crystal stream bursts forth from the red cliff and falls in a
sparkling cascade seventy feet, to strike against a big rock upholstered
in softest green. Here it forms a morning-glory pool of almost icy
coolness. Hot coffee and bacon with some of White Mountain's famous
biscuits baked in a reflector tasted like a feed at Sherry's. I watched
the Chief mix his biscuits while I lay resting against the piled-up
saddles. I wondered how he intended to cook them, but managed to keep
still and find out for myself. He took a folded piece of tin from his
pack and with a few magic passes turned it into a roof-shaped structure
resting on its side on two short steel legs. Another twist of the wrist
lifted a little tin shelf into place. This contraption was set about a
yard from the glowing fire and the pan of biscuits was placed on the
shelf. As I stared at the open-work baker the biscuits puffed into
lightness and slowly turned a rich tempting brown. After we had eaten
the last one and the camp was put in order, we sat watching a fat moon
wallow lazily up from behind the Rim. Strange forms crept into sight
with the moon-rise--ruined Irish castles, fortresses hiding their dread
secrets, sculptured groups, and weird goblins. By and by a few stars
blossomed--great soft golden splashes, scattered about in an inverted
turquoise bowl. The heavens seemed almost at our fingertips from the
bottom of this deep southern gorge.

While Bright Angel Creek murmured a soft accompaniment, the Chief told
me how it received its name. An old legend says: Among the first Spanish
explorers a small party attempted to cross the Colorado Canyon. They
wandered down on to the plateau north of the river, and there their food
and water gave out. Many hundreds of feet below them at the bottom of a
sheer precipice flowed the great river. Their leader swooned from thirst
and exhaustion. It seemed certain that death was near. Above them
towered a wall they could not surmount. Just as they were ready to throw
themselves into the river so far below, their leader revived and pleaded
with them to keep going a little longer. He said: "In my dreams I have
seen a beautiful _luminoso angelo_ with sparkling water dripping from
his pinions. He beckons us on, and promises to lead to water." They took
fresh courage and struggled on in desperation, when, lo, at their very
feet flowed a crystal stream of life-giving water. In remembrance of the
vision this stream was called "Bright Angel." Pretty as this legend is,
the bestowal of the name is now officially credited to Major Powell.

After the story ended I crept between my blankets, and as soon as I
became sufficiently inured to the conversation between Chollo and her
sympathizers I fell asleep. But along toward morning some inquisitive
deer came in to share the grain our horses had scattered, and a big
porcupine came home from lodge, quarreling and debating with himself
about something. He stopped near us and chattered angrily about it,
permanently ending our sleep.

After breakfast we followed the trail through more ancient ruins, into a
cottonwood grove and then on to a sandy flat. Sitting low in my saddle,
almost dozing, I revived suddenly at a never-to-be-mistaken B-u-u-z-z-z!
The horses recognized it instantly and froze in their tracks. Sibilant,
wicked, it sounded again, and then a yellow streak slid across the trail
and disappeared under a low bush. We waited, and pretty soon a
coffin-shaped head came up and waved slowly to and fro. The Chief shot
him with his forty-five and the snake twisted and writhed into the
trail, then lay still. A moment later I had the rattles in my hatband
for a souvenir. "Look out for his mate," the Chief said; but we didn't
see it, and a few days later a ranger camping there found it coiled in
his bed, and its rattles joined the ones already in my possession.

On and on climbed the trail, growing steeper at every turn. I could have
walked with a greater degree of comfort, but the Chief said: "Ride!" So
I rode; and I mean just that. I rode every inch of that horse several
times over. What time I wasn't clinging to his tail being dragged up a
precipice, I was hanging around his neck like a limpet. One time, when
the girth slipped, both the saddle and I rode upside down under his
belly. Some time ago I saw a sloth clinging, wrong end to, to the top
bars of his cage. It brought back painful memories of when the saddle

When we reached the blue-wall a mighty roaring was audible. Far above, a
torrent of water from some subterranean cavern bursts from the ledge
with such force that the sound carries for miles. This is called Roaring
Springs. Getting up over the blue-wall limestone was arduous. This
limestone formation is difficult to conquer wherever it is found. Almost
straight up, clinging to the horse's mane, we climbed, stopping
frequently to let the panting animals breathe.

As we neared the North Rim, now and then along the trail a wild rose
blossomed, and as we climbed higher we threaded a maze of sweet locust,
fern, and bracken. It was a fairyland. And then the trail topped out at
an elevation of eight thousand feet into the forest primeval. Towering
yellow pines, with feet planted in masses of flowers, pushed toward
heaven. Scattered among the rugged pines were thousands of slender aspen
trees, swaying and quivering, their white trunks giving an artificial
effect to the scene as if the gods had set a stage for some pagan drama.
Ruffed grouse strutted about, challenging the world at large. Our
horses' hoofs scattered a brood and sent them scuttling to cover under
vines and blossoms. Roused from his noonday siesta, a startled deer
bounded away. One doe had her fawn secreted near the trail and she
followed us for some distance to make sure her baby was safe.

As we swung around a curve into an open valley, we came to a decrepit
signpost. And what do you suppose it said? Merely: "Santa Fe R. R. and
El Tovar," while a hand pointed back the way we had come. I wondered how
many travelers had rushed madly around the corner in order to catch the
Santa Fe Limited. But in those days the North Rim seemed to sprout
signs, for soon we overtook this one:

                 THE JIM OWENS CAMP
                  RATES REASONABLE

Of course the signing of Park lands is contrary to the policies of the
National Park Service, and after White Mountain's inspection trip, these
were promptly removed.

At length we arrived at Jim's camp. Uncle Jim must have caught several
cougars to order, for the cabin walls were covered with pelts and
murderous-looking claws frescoed the ceiling. Uncle Jim told us that he
has caught more than eleven hundred cougars in the past twenty years. He
guided Teddy Roosevelt on his hunts in Arizona, and I doubt if there is
a hunter and guide living today that is as well known and loved by
famous men as is Jim Owens. He has retired from active guiding now, and
spends his time raising buffalo in the Rock House Valley.

Scenery on the North Rim is more varied and beautiful than that where we
lived at El Tovar. Do you favor mountains? "I will lift up mine eyes to
the hills from whence cometh my help." Far across the Canyon loom the
snow-capped heights of San Francisco Peaks. Truly from those hills comes
help. Water from a huge reservoir filled by melting snow on their
summits supplies water to towns within a radius of a hundred miles.

Look to the south and you see the Navajo Reservation, and the glorious,
glowing Painted Desert. If peaceful scenes cloy, and you hanker for a
thrill, drop your glance to the Colorado River, foaming and racing a
mile or so below. Sunset from this point will linger in my memory while
I live. A weird effect was caused by a sudden storm breaking in the
Canyon's depths. All sense of deepness was blotted out and, instead,
clouds billowed and beat against the jutting walls like waves breaking
on some rock-bound coast.

Point Sublime has been featured in poems and paint until it needs little
introduction. It was here that Dutton drew inspiration for most of his
poems of Grand Canyon, weaving a word picture of the scene,
awe-inspiring and wonderful. How many of you have seen the incomparable
painting of the Grand Canyon hanging in the Capitol at Washington? The
artist, Thomas Moran, visited Point Sublime in 1873 with Major Powell,
and later transferred to canvas the scene spread before him.

Deer and grouse and small animals were about us all the way, and I had
the pleasure of seeing a big white-tailed squirrel dart around and
around a tree trunk. This squirrel is found nowhere else.

That evening at sunset we drove with Blondy Jensen to VT Park through
the "President's Forest." At first we saw two or three deer together,
and then we came upon them feeding like herds of cattle, literally
hundreds of them. They were all bucks. Blondy said the does were still
back in the deep woods with their fawns. We reached the Diamond Bar
Ranch just as supper was ready, and the cowboys invited us to eat. Two
big Dutch ovens were piled with live coals before the fireplace. I eyed
them with a lot of curiosity until a smiling cowboy lifted the lids for
me to peep within. One was full of simmering tender beef and the other
held biscuits just turning a delicious brown. I made up our minds then,
and we all stayed for supper.

It was late when we started back to our camp on the Rim, and the big car
slid along at a great rate. Suddenly Blondy jammed on the brakes and
almost lost me through the windshield. An enormous full-grown deer
loomed directly in front of the headlights. There he stood, head thrown
back, nostrils distended, monarch of all he surveyed. A moment longer he
posed, then leaped away into the darkness, leaving us wondering if we
had really seen anything.

All too soon it was time for us to start back to the South Rim, and we
made a reluctant departure. It rained on us part of the way, and
loosened rocks made the going perilous. Halfway down the steepest part
we met half a dozen loose pack mules. One of the first rules of safety
for a trail without turnouts is that no loose stock must be allowed on
it. My Indian horse chose that particular time and place to throw a fit
of temperament, and he climbed out of the way of the wild mules by
scrambling up a perpendicular rock and flattening out against the
hillside. I slid off over his tail and landed in the trail on the back
of my neck, but popped up to see what had happened to the Chief. The
pack mules were being urged on from the rear by a fool mule-skinner, and
they had crowded Tony, the Chief's mount, off the trail on to a
good-sized rock that stuck out over the brink. He stood trembling on the
rock and the Chief stood beside him on the same rock with an arm around
the scared horse's neck, talking to him in his usual slow, calm way, all
the time stroking Tony's ears and patting his neck. Inch by inch the
rock was parting from the earth holding it, and it seemed to me I would
just die of terror. White Mountain just kept on talking to the horse and
trying to coax him back into the trail. At last Tony turned an almost
human look on the Chief and then stepped back into the trail, just as
the boulder gave way and went crashing down the incline, carrying trees,
rocks, and earth with it.

"Why didn't you let him go? Why did you just stand there like an idiot?"
I raved. The reaction was so great that I entirely lost my temper.

"Oh, my good new saddle was on him. I couldn't let that go, you know,"
said White Mountain.

In the meantime the mules continued to mill and buck in the trail. Up
rushed Mr. Mule-Skinner. He addressed the Chief in about these words:
"Get the hell outa my way, you ---- ---- fool. Ain't you got no sense at

We will skip the next inch or two of this narrative, and let kind
oblivion cover it as cool dusk masks the ravages of burning noon.
Anyway, this was part of a hunting outfit, including Fred Stone, bound
for the North Rim. To this day I can't see any comedy in Mr. Stone's

Tony seemed quite unnerved by his encounter, and as we crossed the
swinging bridge he became startled at something and plunged wildly
against the wire fencing the bridge. The Chief threw out a hand to
steady himself and his ring, caught on a broken wire, cut into and
buried itself in his flesh. When we reached the south end of the bridge
we dismounted and tried to care for the painful wound, but with no
medicine or water there was little we could do. We bound it up in a
handkerchief and went on to the top, the Chief suffering agonies with
the injury and the intense heat. On top a ranger cut the flesh away and
filed the ring off. I added it to my other souvenirs.



  "For the Colonel's Lady and Judy O'Grady
  Are sisters under the skin!"

"And what of the women and children? How do they live?" I have been
asked again and again, when speaking of Indians of the Southwest. And
who isn't interested in the intimate details of the home life of our
Indian sisters?

What of their work? Their homes? Their dress? And--most interesting to
us paleface women--what of their love affairs?

Most of you have seen the stolid squaw, wrapped in a soiled blanket,
silently offering her wares to tourists throughout the Southwest. Does
it seem strange to you that this same stoical creature is just bubbling
over with femininity? That she loves with devotion, is torn with
passionate jealousy, and adorns herself just as carefully within her
limited means for the benefit of masculine eyes, as you do? Among
friends she sparkles, and laughs and gossips with her neighbors over a
figurative back fence just as you do in Virginia or Vermont. Just
living, loving, joyous, or sorrowing women are these brown-skinned
sisters of ours.

Were I looking for inspiration to paint a Madonna I would turn my steps
toward the Painted Desert, and there among the Indian people I would
find my model. Indian mothers are real mothers. Their greatest passion
is mother-love. Not a pampering, sheltering, foolish love, but a great,
tender love that seeks always what is best for the child, regardless of
the mother's feelings or the child's own desires. The first years of an
Indian baby's life are very simple. Apart from being fed without having
to catch his dinner, there is not much to choose between his existence
and that of any other healthy young animal. He and his little companions
dart about in sunshine and rain, naked as little brown kewpies. I have
never seen a deformed Indian baby or one with spinal trouble. Why?
Because the mothers grow up living natural lives: they dress in
loose-fitting, sensible clothing; they wear flat-heeled shoes or
moccasins; they eat plain, nourishing food; and they walk and ride and
work until almost the minute the child is born. They take the newborn
babe to a water hole, bathe it, then strap it on a straight board with
its little spine absolutely supported. Here it spends the first six
months of its existence.

The child's chin is bound round with a soft strip of leather, so that
its breathing is done through its nostrils; no adenoids or mouth
breathing among the Indians, and very little lung trouble as long as
they do not try to imitate the white man's ways.

Different tribes celebrate the birth of a child in different ways. The
gift is always welcome when a little new life comes into an Indian home.
The Hopi mother rubs her baby with wood ashes so that its body will not
be covered with hair. Then a great feast is held and thank-offering
gifts are received. Each relative brings an ear of corn to the mother
and gives a name to the child. It may receive twenty or more names at
birth, and yet in later life it will choose a name for itself or be
named by its mother.

Not so much ceremony greets the Navajo baby. Navajo mothers are far too
busy and baby additions are too frequent to get excited about. The
mother bathes herself and the newcomer in cold water, wraps him in his
swaddling clothes of calico, straps him on his board cradle, suspends it
on a limb, and goes on with the spinning or weaving that had occupied
her a few minutes before. All Indian babies are direct gifts from the
Powers That Be, and a token of said Powers' favor. A childless Indian
wife is pitied and scoffed at by her tribe.

After a few months the child is released from his cradle prison and
allowed to tumble around the mother's loom while she weaves her
blankets. He entertains himself and learns to creep and then to walk
without any help. If there is an older child he is left in its care. It
is not unusual to see a two or three-year-old youngster guarding a still
younger one, and keeping it out of the fire or from under the hoofs of
the ponies grazing around the camp.

As the children grow older they are trained to work. The boys watch the
flocks and help cultivate the fields, if fields there be, and the little
girls are taught the household tasks of tanning the sheep hides, drying
the meat in the sun, braiding the baskets, carding and spinning wool and
making it into rugs, shaping the pottery and painting and baking it over
the sheep-dung fires. These and dozens of other tasks are ever at hand
for the Indian woman to busy herself with. If you think for an instant
that you'd like to leave your own house and live a life of ease with the
Indian woman, just forget it. It is a life of labor and hardship, of
toil and endless tasks, from day-break until long after dark, and with
the most primitive facilities one can imagine. Only on calendars do we
see a beauteous Indian maiden draped in velvet, reclining on a mossy
bank, and gazing at her own image in a placid pool. That Indian is the
figment of a fevered artist brain in a New York studio. Should a real
Indian woman try that stunt she'd search a long way for the water. Then
she'd likely recline in a cactus bed and gaze at a medley of hoofs and
horns of deceased cows bogged down in a mud hole. Such are the
surroundings of our real Indians.

Indian women are the home-makers and the home-keepers. They build the
house, whether it be the brush hewa of the Supai or the stone pueblo of
the Hopi. They gather the piñon nuts and grind them into meal. They
crush the corn into meal, and thresh and winnow the beans, and dry the
pumpkin for winter use. They cut the meat into strips and cure it into
jerky. They dry the grapes and peaches. They garner the acorns and store
them in huge baskets of their own weaving. They shear the sheep, and
wash, dye, spin, and weave the wool into marvelous blankets. They cut
the willows and gather sweet grasses for the making of baskets and
trays. They grind and knead and shape clay into artistic pottery and
then paint it with colors gleaned from the earth. They burn and bake the
clay vessels until they are waterproof, and they carry them weary miles
to the railway to sell them to the tourists so that their children may
have food and clothing.

The Hopi woman brings water to the village up a mile or two of
heart-breaking trail, carrying it in great ollas set on her head or
slung on her back. She must have water to make the mush for supper, and
such trivial things as a shampoo or a bath are indulged in only just
before the annual Snake Dance. Religion demands it then!

Where water is plentiful, however, the Indians bathe and swim daily.
They keep their hair clean and shining with frequent mud baths! Black,
sticky mud from the bottom of the river is plastered thickly over the
scalp and rubbed into the hair, where it is left for several hours. When
it is washed away the hair is soft, and gleams like the sheeny wing of
the blackbird. Root of the yucca plant is beaten into a pulp and used as
a shampoo cream by other tribes. Cosmetics are not greatly in use among
these women. They grow very brown and wrinkled at an early age, just
when our sheltered women are looking their best. This is accounted for
by the hard lives they live, exposed to the burning summer suns and
biting winter winds, and by cooking over smoky campfires or hovering
over them for warmth in the winter.

An Indian's hands are never beautiful in an artistic sense. How could
they be? They dress and tan the sheep and deer hides; they make
moccasins and do exquisite bead work; they cut and carry the wood and
keep the fires burning. They cook the meals and sit patiently by until
the men have gobbled their fill before they partake. They care tenderly
for the weaklings among the flocks of sheep and goats. Navajo women
often nurse a deserted or motherless lamb at their own ample breasts.
They make clothes for themselves and their families, although to look at
the naked babies one would not think the dress-making business

But with all the duties incumbent on an Indian mother she never neglects
her children. They are taught all that she thinks will help them live
good lives. The girls grow up with the knowledge that their destiny is
to become good wives and mothers. They are taught that their bodies must
be kept strong and fit to bear many children. And when the years of
childhood are passed they know how to establish homes of their own.

Many interesting customs are followed during courtship among the tribes.
The Pueblos, among whom are the Hopis, have a pretty way by which the
maidens announce their matrimonial aspirations. How? By putting their
soft black hair, which heretofore has been worn loose, into huge whorls
above the ears. This is called the squash-blossom headdress and
signifies maturity. When this age is reached, the maiden makes up her
mind just which lad she wants, then lets him know about it. The Hopi
girl does her proposing by leaving some cornmeal piki or other edible
prepared by her own hands at the door of the selected victim under cover
of darkness. He usually knows who has left it, and then, if "Barkis is
willin'," he eats out of the same bowl of mush with her, the medicine
man holds a vessel of water into which both dip their hands, and the
wedding ceremony is finished. He moves into the bride's house and they
presumably live happily ever afterward. However, squalls do arise
sometimes, and then the husband is likely to come home from work in the
fields or a night at the lodge and find his wardrobe done up in his
Sunday bandanna waiting on the doorstep for him. In that case all he can
do is take his belongings and "go home to mother." His wife has divorced
him by merely throwing his clothes out of her house.

Navajo bucks purchase their wives for a certain number of sheep or
horses, as do also the Supai, Cheyenne, Apache, and other desert tribes.
There is not much fuss made over divorce among them, either. If a wife
does not like her husband's treatment of her, she refuses to cook for
him or to attend to any of her duties, and he gladly sends her back to
her father. He, like Solomon of old, agrees that "it is better to dwell
alone in the wilderness than with an angry and contentious woman." The
father doesn't mind getting her back, because he keeps the original
purchase price and will also collect from the next brave that wants to
take a chance on her; why should he worry? In a few instances braves
have been known to trade wives and throw in an extra pony or silver belt
to settle all difficulties. The missionaries are doing much to
discourage this practice and are trying to teach the Indians to marry in
a civilized manner. In case they do succeed let us hope that while the
savages embrace the marrying idea they will not emulate civilized people
in divorce matters.

For a primitive people with all the untrained impulses and natural
instincts of animals, there is surprisingly little sexual immorality
among the tribes. It seems that the women are naturally chaste. For
there is no conventional standard among their own people by which they
are judged. If an unmarried squaw has a child, there are deploring
clucks, but the girl's parents care tenderly for the little one and its
advent makes no difference in the mother's chances for a good marriage.
Also the child does not suffer socially for its unfortunate birth, which
is more humane at least than our method of treating such children. The
children of a marriage take the mother's name and belong to her clan.
She has absolute control of them until the girl reaches a marriageable
age; then Dad collects the marriage price.

Another thing we civilized parents might take into consideration. Indian
babies are never punished by beating or shaking. It is the Indian idea
that anything which injures a child's self-respect is very harmful. Yet
Indian children are very well-behaved, and their respect and love for
their elders is a beautiful thing. I have never seen an Indian child cry
or sulk for anything forbidden it.

Schools for Reservation children are compulsory, but whether they are
altogether a blessing or not is still doubtful. To take an Indian child
away from its own free, wild life, teach it to dress in white man's
clothes, eat our food, sleep in our beds, bathe in white-tiled bathtubs,
think our thoughts, learn our vices, and then, having led them to
despise their own way of living, send them back to their people who have
not changed while their children were being literally reborn--what does
this accomplish? Doesn't Aesop tell us something of a crow that would be
a dove and found himself an outcast everywhere? We are replacing the
beautiful symbolism of the Indian by our materialism and leaving him
bewildered and discouraged. Why should he be taught to despise his
hogan, shaped after the beautiful rounded curve of the rainbow and the
arched course of the sun in his daily journey across the sky--a type of
home that has been his for generations? Do we ever stop to think why the
mud hut is dome-shaped, why the door always faces the east?

I have been watching one Hopi family for years. In this case simple
housekeeping, plain sewing, and suitable cooking have been taught to the
girl in school. The mother waits eagerly for the return of the daughter
from school so that she can hear and learn and share what has been
taught to her girl. Her efforts to keep pace with the child are so
intense and her pride in her improved home is so great that it is
pitiful. Isn't there some way the elders can share the knowledge we are
trying to give the younger generation, so that parents and children may
be brought closer together rather than estranged?

No matter what color the skin, feminine nature never varies! Let one
squaw get a new calico dress, and it creates a stir in every tepee. The
female population gathers to admire, and the equivalent to our ohs and
ahs fills the air. It takes something like twenty yards of calico to
make an Indian flapper a skirt. It must be very full and quite long,
with a ruffle on the hem for good measure. There is going to be no
unseemly display of nether limbs. When a new dress is obtained it is put
on right over the old one, and it is not unusual for four or five such
billowing garments to be worn at once. A close-fitting basque of velvet
forms the top part of this Navajo costume, and over all a machine-made
blanket is worn. Store-made shoes, or more often the hand-made moccasins
of soft doeskin trimmed with silver and turquoise buttons, are worn
without stockings. The feet of Indian women are unusually small and
well-shaped. The amount of jewelry that an Indian wears denotes his
social rank, and, like their white brothers, they adorn the wife, so
that it is not unusual to see their women decked out until they resemble
prosperous Christmas trees. Many silver bracelets, studded with the
native turquoises, strings and strings of silver beads, and shell
necklaces, heavy silver belts, great turquoise earrings, rings and
rings, make up the ensemble of Navajo jewelry. Even the babies are
loaded down with it. It is the family pocketbook. When an Indian goes to
a store he removes a section of jewelry and trades it for whatever takes
his fancy. And one thing an Indian husband should give fervent thanks
for--his wife never wears a hat.

Our Indian sisters are not the slaves of their husbands as we have been
led to believe. It is true that the hard work in the village or camp is
done by the squaws, but it is done cheerfully and more as a right than
as a duty. In olden times the wives kept the home fires burning and the
crops growing while the braves were on the warpath or after game. Now
that the men no longer have these pursuits, it never occurs to them to
do their wives' work. Nor would they be permitted to do it.

After the rugs, baskets, or pottery are finished, the husband may take
them to the trading-post or depot and sell them; but the money must be
turned over to the wife or accounted for to her full satisfaction.

All the Indian women are tireless and fearless riders. They ride
astride, with or without a saddle, and carry two or three of the smaller
children with them. However, if there is only one pony, wifie walks,
while her lordly mate rides. That is Indian etiquette.



Tourists! Flocks of them, trainloads and carloads! They came and looked,
and passed on, and were forgotten, nine-tenths of them at least.

Anyone who is interested in the study of human nature should set up shop
on the Rim of the Grand Canyon and watch the world go by. I have never
been able to determine why Eastern people can't act natural in the West!
For instance: Shy spinster schoolma'ams, the essence of modesty at home,
catch the spirit of adventure and appear swaggering along in the
snuggest of knickers. They would die of shame should their home-town
minister or school president catch them in such apparel. Fat ladies
invariably wear breeches--tight khaki breeches--and with them they wear
georgette blouses, silk stockings, and high-heeled pumps. I have even
seen be-plumed chapeaux top the sport outfit. One thing is a safe
bet--the plumper the lady, the snugger the breeches!

Be-diamonded dowagers, hand-painted flappers, timid wives from Kansas,
one and all seem to fall for the "My God" habit when they peer down
into the Canyon. Ranger Winess did tell me of one original damsel; she
said: "Ain't it cute?"

I was standing on the Rim one day, watching a trail party through field
glasses, when a stout, well-dressed man stopped and asked to borrow my
glasses. He spoke of the width and depth of the Canyon, and stood
seemingly lost in contemplation of the magnificent sight. I had him
classified as a preacher, and I mentally rehearsed suitable Biblical
quotations. He turned to me and asked, "Do you know what strikes me most
forcibly about this place?"

"No, what is it?" I hushed my soul to listen to some sublime sentiment.

"_I haven't seen a fly since I've been here!_"

I was spluttering to White Mountain about it and wishing I had pushed
him over the edge, but the Chief thought it was funny. He said the man
must have been a butcher.

It is a strange fact that tourists will not listen to what Rangers tell
them to do or not to do. The Government pays men who have spent their
lives in such work to guide and guard strangers when they come into the
National Parks. Many visitors resent advice, and are quite ready to cry
for help when they get into difficulties or danger by ignoring
instructions. And usually they don't appreciate the risks that are taken
to rescue them from their own folly.

A young man from New York City, with his companion, walked down the
Bright Angel Trail to the Colorado River. Everybody knows, or should
know, that the Colorado River is a most treacherous river. One glance at
the sullen, silt-filled current tells that story. It seldom gives up its
dead. But the New Yorker swam it, with his shoes and underclothing on.
By the time he reached the far side he was completely exhausted. More
than that he was panic-stricken at the undercurrents and whirlpools that
had pulled at him and almost dragged him under. He would not swim back.
His companion signaled and yelled encouragement, but nothing doing.

Behind him rose a hundred-foot precipice; his clothes and his friend
were on the southern bank. The bridge was four miles above, but
unscalable walls made it impossible for him to reach that. Furthermore,
night was at hand.

When his friend knew that it was hopeless to wait any longer, he left
him perched on a rock and started to Headquarters for help. This was a
climb over seven miles of trail that gained a mile in altitude in that
distance. Disregarding the facts that they had already done their day's
work, that it was dark, and that his predicament was of his own making,
the rangers went to the rescue.

A canvas boat was lashed on a mule, another mule was led along for the
victim to ride out on, and with four rangers the caravan was off. It was
the plan to follow the trail to the Suspension Bridge, cross to the
northern bank, follow down the river four miles to the cliff above the
spot where the adventurer was roosting let the boat down over the ledge
to the river, and, when the New Yorker got in, pull the boat upstream by
means of the ropes until they found a safe place to drag it to shore.

When almost down the trail they met the lad coming up, and he was mad!
"Why didn't they come quicker? Why wasn't there a ranger down there to
keep him from swimming the river?" And so forth. But no thanks to the
men that had gone willingly to his rescue. However, they said they were
well paid by the sight of him toiling up the trail in the moonlight, _au
naturel_! They loaded him on a mule and brought him to the top. Then he
refused to pay Fred Harvey for the mule. I might add _he paid_!

I often wondered why people pay train fare across the continent and then
spend their time poking around in _our_ houses. They would walk in
without knocking, pick up and examine baskets, books, or anything that
caught their fancy. One woman started to pull a blanket off my couch,
saying "What do you want for this?" It was an old story to members of
the Park Service, and after being embarrassed a few times we usually
remembered to hook the door before taking a bath.

One day Chief Joe and I were chatting in front of the Hopi House. His
Indians had just completed one of their entertaining dances. As it
happened we were discussing a new book that had just been published and
I was interested in his view of the subject, _Outline of History_. All
at once an imposing dowager bore down upon us with all sails set.

"Are you a real Indian?"

"Yes, madam," Joe bowed.

"Where do you sleep?"

"In the Hopi House."

"What do you eat?" She eyed him through her lorgnette.

"Most everything, madam," Joe managed to say.

Luckily she departed before we lost control of ourselves. Joe says that
he has been asked every question in the category, and then some. I think
some of our stage idols and movie stars would be jealous if they could
see the number of mash notes Joe receives. He is flattered and sought
after and pursued by society ladies galore. The fact that he is married
to one of his own people and has a fat, brown baby does not protect him.

The Fred Harvey guides could throw interesting lights on tourist conduct
if they wished, but they seldom relate their experiences. Our card club
met in the recreation room of the guide quarters, and sometimes I would
get a chance to listen in on the conversation of the guides. Their
narrations were picturesque to say the least.

"What held you up today, Ed?"

"Well," drawled Ed, "a female dude wouldn't keep her mule movin' and
that slowed up the whole shebang. I got tired tellin' her to kick him,
so I jest throwed a loop round his neck and hitched 'im to my saddle
horn. She kept up then."

"Make her mad?"

"Uh-huh." A pause while he carefully rolled and lighted a cigarette. "I
reckon so. When we topped out an' I went to help her down, she wuz right
smart riled."

"Say she wuz goin' to report you to the President of these here United

"Don't know about that. She gimme a cut across the face with her bridle
reins." Another pause. "'Twas real aggravatin'."

Personally, I marveled at his calm.

"What made you late in toppin' out?" Ed asked in his turn.

"Well, we wuz late in startin' back, anyhow, and then I had to stop fer
an hour pickin' cactus thorns outta an old-maid female."

"Mule unload her in a patch, or did she sit down on one?" Ed was

"Naw, didn't do neither one. She tried to eat a prickly pear offa bush
of cactus, and got her tongue full uv stickers. Said she always heard
tell them cactus apples wuz good eatin'. I propped her mouth open with a
glove so she couldn't bite none, and I picked cactus stickers till I wuz
plumb weary."

"Yeh, women is funny that way," philosophized the listener. "They do say
Eve et an apple when she shouldn't ought to had."

Another lad was lamenting because he had a pretty girl next to him in
the trail party; as he said: "I was sure tryin' to make hay before the
sun went down. Every time I'd say something low and confidential for her
ear alone, a deaf old coot on the tail-end of the line would let out a

"'What'd you say, Guide?' or, 'I didn't get _that_, Guide.'

"I reckon he thought I was exclaimin' on the magnificence of the
picturesque beauty of the scenery, and he wasn't gittin' his money's
worth of the remarks."

One guide said he had trouble getting a man to make the return trip. He
was so scared going down he figured he'd stay down there rather than
ride back up the trail.

Every morning, rain, snow, or shine, these guides, in flaming
neckerchiefs, equally audible shirts, and woolly chaps, lead their
string of patient mules up to the corral at the hotel, where the trail
parties are loaded for the trip into the Canyon. Each mule has a
complete set of individual characteristics, and mules are right set in
their ways. If one wants to reach over the edge of a sheer precipice and
crop a mouthful of grass, his rider may just as well let him reach.
Mules seldom commit suicide, although at times the incentive must be

"Powder River," "Dishpan," "Rastus," and a few other equally hardy mule
brethren are allotted to carry helpless fat tourists down the trail.
It's no use for a fragile two-hundred-pound female to deny her weight.
Guides have canny judgment when it comes to guessing, and you can't fool
a Harvey mule.

"Saint Peter," "Crowbar," and "By Jingo" are assigned to timid old
ladies and frightened gentlemen.

If I were issuing trail instructions for Canyon parties I would say
something like this, basing my directions on daily observation:

"The trail party starts about nine o'clock, and the departure should be
surrounded with joyous shouts of bravado. After you have mounted your
mule, or been laboriously hoisted aboard, let your conscience guide you
as to your actions up and down the trail. When you top out at the end of
the day and it is your turn to be unloaded, weakly drag your feet out
of the stirrups, make sure that the guide is planted directly underneath
you, turn loose all holds, and fall as heavily as possible directly on
top of him.

"After you have been placed on your feet, say about the third time, it
might be well to make a feeble effort to stand alone. This accomplished,
hobble off to the hotel, taking care to walk as bow-legged as possible.
If you have a room with bath, dive into a blistering hot tubful and
relax. If you were having a stingy streak when you registered, order a
bath at the public bathroom and be thankful you have seventy-five cents
with which to pay for it. Later take an inventory of your damages and,
if they are not too severe, proceed to the dining-room and fill up on
the most soul-satisfying meal Fred Harvey ever placed before the public.

"Afterward, in the lobby, between examinations of 'I wish you were here'
postcards, it might be well to warn newcomers about the dangers of the
trip. Probably few tourists are as expert riders as you."

We liked to poke fun at the saddle-sore dudes, but all the same the trip
is a soul-trying one, and the right to boast to home folks about it is
hardly earned.

It is really a revelation to study the reaction of the Canyon on various
races. On leaving the train a Japanese or Korean immediately seeks out a
ranger or goes to the Park Office and secures every bit of information
that is to be had. Age, formation, fauna, and flora are all
investigated. Then armed with map, guidebook, and kodak he hikes to the
bottom of the trail, and takes everything apart en route to see how it
is made. English and German travelers come next in earnest study and
observation. I am sorry to say that all foreigners seemed to show more
intelligent interest in the Canyon than our own native Americans.
Perhaps that is because only the more educated and intellectual
foreigners are able to make the trip across the ocean. Lots of Americans
never get farther than El Tovar, where they occupy easy chairs, leaving
them several times a day to array themselves in still more gorgeous

Of course, out of the hundreds of thousands that come to Grand Canyon,
only a stray one now and then causes any anxiety or trouble. It is human
nature to remember those that make trouble while thousands of the finest
in the land pass unnoticed. Any mother can tell you that gentle,
obedient Mary is not mentioned once, whereas naughty, turbulent Jane
pops into the conversation continually. Rangers feel the same way about
their charges.

Perhaps a hundred people got on the train leaving the Canyon one snowy
zero night. Those people were forgotten instantly, but not so the
bellicose dame found wandering around the station asking when _her_
train would go. She had a ticket to New York, and stood on the platform
like Andy Gump while the train with her baggage aboard pulled out.

"It was headed the wrong way!" she explained tearfully, and stuck to her
story, even when the sorely tried superintendent led her to the tracks
and showed her that said track absolutely and finally ended there,
without argument or compromise. And she was furious. Her former
outburst was a mild prelude to what poured forth now. She would _not_
stay there until morning when the next train left. She demanded a
special train; she ordered a handcar with which to overtake the recreant
train; she called for a taxi to chase across to Williams with her, a
mere eighty miles of ten-foot snowdrifts. Only shortage of breath
occasioned by altitude and outraged sensibilities prevented her
commandeering an airplane! None of these vehicles being forthcoming, she
would stop in Washington if she ever made her escape from this
God-forsaken hole, and have every Park employee fired. The
Superintendent took her to the hotel, then came to me for help.

"Please lend her a comb and a nightgown," he begged.

"All right." I was used to anything by now. "Silk or flannel?"

"Well," he said thoughtfully. "She acts like red flannel but probably
expects crêpe de chine."

I sent both over, and never saw either again.

My heart went out to a poor little lady, sent by heartless relatives,
traveling with only a maid. She was not mentally able to care for
herself and certainly should not have been allowed to visit Grand
Canyon. However, she and the maid arrived, with other visitors, and the
maid seated her charge on a bench near the Rim, then went away about her
own business. When she came back, behold, the little lady had vanished.
After a long time, the maid reported her absence to the Ranger Office,
and a search was organized. Soon after the rangers had set out to look
for her, an automobile traveling from Flagstaff reported they had met a
thinly dressed woman walking swiftly out into the desert. She had
refused to answer when they spoke to her, and they were afraid she was
not responsible for her actions.

Ranger Winess, the Chief, and I climbed into the ever-ready Ford and
took up the trail. A heavy storm was gathering and the wind cut like a
knife. For several miles we saw nothing; then we saw her tracks in the
muddy road where the sun had thawed the frozen ground earlier in the
day. After a while great flakes of snow came down, and we lost all
trace. Backtracking ourselves, we found where she had left the road and
had hidden behind a big rock while we had passed. For an hour, through
the falling snow, with night closing around us, we circled and searched,
keeping in touch with each other by calling back and forth continually.
It would have been easy enough for the rangers to have lost me, for I
had no idea what direction I was moving in. We were about to give up and
go back to Headquarters for men and lights when Ranger Winess stumbled
over her as she crouched behind a log. She would have frozen to death in
a very short time, and her coyote-picked bones would probably never have
been discovered. She insisted she knew what she was about, and we had
literally to lift her into the car and take her back to El Tovar.

Whether the Canyon disorganized their judgment or whether they were
equally silly at home I cannot tell, but certainly the two New England
school teachers who tried horseback-riding for the first time, well--! I
was mixing pie crust when the sound of thundering hoofbeats down through
the woods took me to the door. Just at my porch some men were digging a
deep ditch for plumbing. Two big black horses, a woman hanging around
the neck of each, came galloping down on us, and as the foremost one
gathered himself to leap the ditch, his fainting rider relaxed and fell
right into the arms of a young Mormon workman. He carried her into my
house, and I, not being entirely satisfied with the genuineness of the
prolonged swoon, dismissed the workman and dashed the ice-cold pie crust
water in her face. She "came to" speedily. Her companion arrived about
that time and admitted that neither of them had ever been on a horse
before, and not wanting to pay for the services of a guide they had
claimed to be expert riders. It hadn't taken the horses long to find out
how expert their riders were, and they had taken matters into their own
hands, or perhaps it might be better to say they had taken the bits in
their teeth and started for their stable.

The girl on the leading horse said she had been looking for quite a
while for a suitable place to fall, and when she saw the Mormon she knew
that was her chance!

It wasn't always the humans that got into trouble, either. I remember a
beautiful collie dog that was being given an airing along the Rim. He
suddenly lost his head, dashed over the low wall, and leaped to his
death a thousand feet below. It took an Indian half a day of arduous
climbing around fissures and bluffs to reach him and return him to his
distracted owners for burial. They could not bear to leave the Canyon
until they knew he was not lying injured and suffering on a ledge



The Chief and I stayed home for a few days, and life rambled on without
untoward incident. I began to breathe easier and stopped crossing my
fingers whenever the phone rang.

I even grew so placid that I settled myself to make a wedding dress for
the little Mexican girl who helped me around the house. Her father was
head of the Mexican colony whose village lies just out of Headquarters.
Every member of the clan was a friend of mine, for I had helped them
when they were sick and had saved all the colored pictures in magazines
for their children.

The wedding day dawned early, very early! At five o'clock I dragged
myself from my warm bed and went to the schoolhouse where the wedding
was staged. Father Vabre married the couple, and then we all went home
with the happy pair. An accordion and a harmonica furnished music enough
for several weddings; at least they made plenty of racket. We were
seated at the table with the bride and groom. They sat there all day
long, she still wearing her long wedding veil. The groom was attired in
the niftiest shepherd-plaid suit I ever beheld. The checks were so large
and so loud I was reminded constantly of a checker-board. A bright blue
celluloid collar topped the outfit. I do not think the bridal couple
spoke a word all day. They sat like statues and stonily received
congratulations and a kiss on each cheek from all their friends. There
was such a lot of dancing and feasting, and drinking the native wine
secured for that grand occasion. Our plates were loaded with food of all
sorts, but I compromised with a taste of the wine and a cup of coffee.
The dancing and feasting lasted two or three days, but one day exhausted
my capacity for endurance.

Soon after the wedding, a tiny baby sister of the bride died, and its
father came to get permission to bury it in the Park cemetery. I asked
if I could do anything to help them, and Sandoval said I was to make the
dress and put it on the baby for them. He produced bright orange
organdie and pink ribbons for the purpose. Next morning I took the
completed dress and some flowers the El Tovar gardener had contributed
down to their home. I dressed the wee mite in the shroud, which was
mightily admired, and placed the crucifix the mother gave me in its tiny
waxen fist. Then the bride came with her veil and wreath of orange
blossoms, and said she wanted to give them to the little sister. The
mother spoke no English, but she pointed here and there where she wanted
the flowers and bright bows of ribbon pinned. Strange, it looked to me,
the little dead baby decked out in wedding finery, but the poor mother
was content. She patted a ribbon and smoothed the dress, saying to me in

"The Madonna will find my baby _so_ beautiful!"

One hot August day, the Chief and Ranger West went down into Salt Creek
Basin, at the bottom of the Canyon, to look for some Government horses
that had strayed away. In spite of their feeble protests I tagged along.

We had checked up on the stock and were following the trail homeward.
Ranger West rode in front on Black Dixie. Ordinarily he would have been
humming like an overgrown bumblebee, or talking to Dixie, who he said
was the only female he knew he would tell secrets to. But we had ridden
far that day, and the heat radiated from the great ore rocks was almost
beyond endurance. Now and then we could catch a glimpse of the river
directly at the foot of the ledge our trail followed, and the water
looked invitingly cool. All at once Dixie stopped so suddenly that
Ranger West almost took a header. A man's hat was lying in the trail.
Dismounting, the men looked for tracks. A quite legible story was
written there for them to read. Some tenderfoot, thirst-crazed, had
stumbled along that trail since we had passed that way a couple of hours
earlier. Putting our horses to a lope we rode on until we came to his
empty canteen; and a little farther on to a discarded coat and shirt.
The tracks in the sand wavered like those of a drunken man.

"We'll find his shoes next," the Chief called to Ranger West; "and then
pretty soon the end of the trail for him. Can't go far barefoot in this
hot sand."

"Say," Ranger West shouted, "White Mountain, Poison Spring is just
around the bend. We'll find the poor devil flattened out there sure.
_You_ ride slow, Margie, and we'll hurry along."

I didn't say anything, but I hurried along too. This spring he spoke of
was strongly impregnated with arsenic. Even the wild burros shunned it;
but I hardly dared to hope this desperate man would pass by it. The men
rode over the expected shoes without stopping, but I got off of Tar Baby
and got them. I began to think I would stay a little way behind. I felt
rather weak and sick. Rounding the turn I could see there was nothing at
the spring, and in the distance a stumbling figure was weaving along.
The men were nearing him, so I spurred to a run. Every now and then the
man would fall, lie prone for a minute, then struggle to his feet and go
on. Suddenly my heart stood still. The figure left the trail and headed
straight for the edge of the precipice. The river had made itself heard
at last.

Ranger West turned Dixie from the trail and rode straight across the
plateau to where the man had disappeared behind a big boulder. The Chief
followed West, but I rode the trail and kept my eyes resolutely ahead of
me. I knew I couldn't endure seeing the man jump to certain death when
we were at his heels with water and life.

When I looked up again Ranger West had his rope in his hand widening the
loop. White Mountain was with him. They were ten or fifteen feet from
the man, who was lying on his stomach peering down at the water. As the
poor fellow raised himself for the plunge, with a quick flirt of his
wrist the ranger tossed the rope across the intervening space, and as
the noose settled around the man's arms White Mountain and the ranger
dragged him back from death.

He lay stunned for a space, then twisted himself over, and mumbled
through swollen, bleeding lips: "Is that really water down there?"

They helped him back into the trail and gave him a swallow from a
canteen. It took both the men to manage him, for with the first taste of
water he went raving crazy. He fought and cursed them, and cried like a
baby because he couldn't hold the canteen in his own hands. They laid
him in the shade of our horses and poured a few drops down his throat at
intervals until a degree of sanity returned. He was then placed on the
Chief's horse, and the Chief and Ranger West took turns, one riding
Dixie while the other helped the man stay in the saddle. We found later
he was a German chemist looking for mineral deposits in the Canyon.

Each morning a daily report of the previous day's doings is posted in
Ranger Headquarters. I was curious to know what Ranger West's
contribution would be for that day. This is what he said:

"Patrolled Tonto Trail looking for lost horses. Accompanied Chief Ranger
and wife. Brought in lost tenderfoot. Nothing to report."

And that was that.

The Chief decided to drive out to Desert View the afternoon following
our Canyon experience, and he said I could go if I liked; he said he
couldn't promise any excitement, but the lupine was beautiful in Long
Jim Canyon, and I might enjoy it.

"Thank God for a chance to be peaceful. I'm fed up on melodrama," I
murmured, and I climbed into that old Ford with a breath of relief.

We had such a beautiful drive. I waded waist-high in the fragrant
lupine, and even took a nap on pine needles while White Mountain located
the bench mark he was seeking. When he came back to me he said we had
better start home. He saw a cloud that looked as if it might rain.

Before we reached the Ford, the rain came down; then more rain came, and
then there was a cloudburst. By that time we were well down toward the
middle of Long Jim Canyon. This canyon acts just like a big ditch when
rain falls. We had to keep going, and behind us a wall of water raced
and foamed and reached out for us. It carried big logs with it, and
maybe that water didn't make some time on the down grade.

"Hang on, hold everything!" the Chief yelled in my ear, and we were off
on as mad a race as John Gilpin ever rode. Henry would be proud of his
offspring if he knew how one _could_ run when it had a flood behind it.

"Peaceful! Quiet!! Restful!!!" I hissed at the Chief, between bumps.
Driving was rather hazardous, because the water before us had carried
trees and débris into the road almost blocking it at places. Now and
then we almost squashed a dead cow the flood had deposited in our path.

I hoped the gasoline would hold out. I prayed that the tires would last.
And I mentally estimated the endurance power of springs and axles.
Everything was jake, to use a cowboy expression, and we reached the
mouth of the Canyon where both we and the flood could spread out.

"Whew!" said the Chief, wiping his face. I didn't say anything.

I can't remember that anything disastrous happened for two or three days
after the flood. Life assumed an even tenor, and I yawned occasionally
from sheer ennui.

To break the monotony I made a salad. That was momentous! Salads meant
something in our young lives out there. One of the rangers on leave had
returned and brought me a fine head of lettuce--an entirely rash way of
saying it with flowers. One last can of shrimp reposed on the shelf. It
almost had cobwebs on it, we had cherished it so long, saving it for
some grand spree. The time had arrived. That salad looked tempting as I
sliced the rosy pimiento on top and piled it in the blue and white bowl.
The ranger who contributed the lettuce was an invited guest, and he
stood on one foot, then on the other, while the dressing was mixed. Even
White Mountain hovered over it anxiously.

Just then came a knock! A very famous "bugologist" had come to call on
us. Of course the Chief invited him to dinner, while the ranger and I
looked glumly at each other. Maybe there wouldn't be plenty of salad for

Our guest was deep in his favorite sport, telling us all about the bugs
that killed the beautiful yellow pines at the Canyon.

"Have some butter, Professor, and try this salad," invited White

"Thanks, it looks enticing," answered our distinguished guest, and he
placed the bowl with all its contents on his plate. Bite by bite the
salad disappeared, while he discoursed on the proper method of killing
the Yellow Pine Beetle.

"Why aren't you folks eating some of this delicious salad? You deprive
yourself of a treat when you refuse to eat salads. The human body
requires the elements found in fresh, leafy plants, etc., etc."

I gave the Chief's shins a sharp little kick.

"We seldom eat salads," murmured White Mountain.

I think I heard the disappointed ranger mutter: "Damn right we don't!"

When the last bite was gone we all stepped outside to look for signs of
the dread beetle on our own trees. While we stood there a blast was put
off by the construction gang on the railway directly in front of our
house. Rocks, 'dobe, and pine cones rattled down all around us. We beat
a retreat into the house and the Chief called to the man in charge and
warned him that such charges of powder as that must be covered if any
more blasting were to be done.

Again next morning big rocks struck the house, and broke a window. In
the absence of a ranger, I walked down and requested the Turk in charge
of the labor to use a little more discretion. Our house was newly
painted inside and out. My windows were all clean, new curtains were up,
the floors were newly waxed, and we were quite proud of our place of
abode. I said to the Turk I was afraid the roof would leak if such sharp
rocks hit it. He replied insolently that if he blew the roof off, the
Santa Fe would put another on. I went back to the house in fear and
trembling, and picked up my sewing. For half an hour I sewed in quiet.
Then a terrific explosion rent the air. There was ominous silence for an
instant, then the house crumpled over my head. The ridgepole came
crashing down, bringing part of the roof and ceiling with it. Rocks and
a great boulder fell into the room, knocking the stove over. Ashes and
soot went everywhere. One rock grazed me and knocked the sewing basket
from my lap. Part of a railroad tie carried the window sash and curtains
in with it and landed on the piano.

I have a vague recollection of searching vainly for my thimble, and then
of grimly determining to locate the Chief's gun. It is well he wore his
arsenal that day, else the usual order of things would have been
reversed--a Christian would have massacred a Turk!

While I was aimlessly wandering around through the wreckage, half dazed,
White Mountain and the Superintendent rushed in. They frantically pulled
me this way and pushed me that, trying to find out if I were hopelessly
injured, or merely killed. They found out I could still talk! Then they
turned their attention to the Turk and his men who came trooping in to
view the remains. It seemed they had put down a charge of four sticks
and it had failed to explode. So they had added four more and let her
ramble. It was _some_ blow-up! At least the Turk found it so.

"What do you want me to do?" that unfortunate asked me, after the Park
men finished with him.

"Oh, go outside and die!"

"White Mountain, give me your pocketbook. I'm going to buy a ticket to
West Virginia. I've had enough of the great open spaces," I continued.

"Why go now?" he wanted to know. "You've escaped death from fire, flood,
and fools. Might as well stay and see it through."

So we started shoveling out the dirt.


[1] Reprinted, by permission, with a few changes, from _Good

[2] Reprinted, by permission, with a few changes, from _Good

[3] Reprinted, by permission, with a few changes from _Good

[4] Reprinted, by permission, from the _Los Angeles Times_ Sunday

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