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Title: Cruisings in the Cascades - A Narrative of Travel, Exploration, Amateur Photography, - Hunting, and Fishing
Author: Shields, George O.
Language: English
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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.

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  [Illustration: G. O. Shields]

  CRUISINGS IN THE CASCADES.

  A NARRATIVE OF

  Travel, Exploration, Amateur Photography, Hunting, and Fishing,

  WITH SPECIAL CHAPTERS ON

  HUNTING THE GRIZZLY BEAR, THE BUFFALO, ELK, ANTELOPE, ROCKY MOUNTAIN
  GOAT, AND DEER; ALSO ON TROUTING IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS; ON A MONTANA
  ROUND-UP; LIFE AMONG THE COWBOYS, ETC.

  BY G. O. SHIELDS,
  ("COQUINA")

  AUTHOR OF
  "RUSTLINGS IN THE ROCKIES,"
  "HUNTING IN THE GREAT WEST,"
  "THE BATTLE OF THE BIG HOLE," ETC.

  CHICAGO AND NEW YORK:
  RAND, MCNALLY & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS.
  1889.


  COPYRIGHT, 1889, BY RAND, MCNALLY & CO.

The articles herein on Elk, Bear, and Antelope Hunting are reprinted by
the courtesy of Messrs. Harper & Brothers, in whose Magazine they were
first published; and those on Buffalo Hunting and Trouting are
reproduced from "Outing" Magazine, in which they first appeared.

    "Come live with me and be my love.
    And we will all the pleasures prove
    That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
    Woods or steepy mountains, yield."
                                 --_Marlowe._

    "Earth has built the great watch-towers of the mountains, and they
    lift their heads far up into the sky, and gaze ever upward and
    around to see if the Judge of the World comes not."
                                                       --_Longfellow._



PREFACE.


And now, how can I suitably apologize for having inflicted another book
on the reading public? I would not attempt it but that it is the custom
among authors. And, come to think of it, I guess I won't attempt it
anyway. I will merely say, by way of excuse, that my former literary
efforts, especially my "Rustlings in the Rockies," have brought me in
sundry dollars, in good and lawful money, which I have found very useful
things to have about the house. If this volume shall meet with an
equally kind reception at the hands of book buyers, I shall feel that,
after all, I am not to blame for having written it.

                                                             THE AUTHOR.

CHICAGO, MARCH, 1889.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER I.

  The Benefits, Mental and Physical, of Mountain Climbing--A
    Never-failing Means of Obtaining Sound Sleep and a Good
    Appetite--The Work to be in Proportion to the Strength of the
    Climber--People Who Would Like to See, but are Too Lazy to
    Climb--How the Photograph Camera May Enhance the Pleasures and
    Benefits of Mountain Climbing--Valuable Souvenirs of Each
    Ascent--How "These Things are Done in Europe"--An Effective Cure
    for Egotism.

  CHAPTER II.

  The Cascade Mountains Compared with the Rockies--Characteristics
    and Landmarks of the Former--The Proper Season for Cruising in
    the Cascades--Grand Scenery of the Columbia--Viewing Mount
    Tacoma from the City of Tacoma--Men Who Have Ascended this
    Mysterious Peak--Indian Legends Concerning the Mountain--Evil
    Spirits, Who Dwell in Yawning Caverns--The View from the
    Mountain--Crater Lake and the Glaciers--Nine Water-falls in
    Sight from One Point.

  CHAPTER III.

  The City of Seattle--A Booming Western Town--Lumbering and Salmon
    Canning--Extensive Hop Ranches--Rich Coal and Iron Mines--Timber
    Resources of Puget Sound--Giant Firs and Cedars--A Hollow Tree
    for a House--Big Timber Shipped to England--A Million Feet of
    Lumber from an Acre of Land--Novel Method of Logging--No Snow in
    Theirs--A World's Supply of Timber for a Thousand Years.

  CHAPTER IV.

  Length, Breadth, and Depth of Puget Sound--Natural Resources of
    the Surrounding Country--Flora and Fauna of the Region--Great
    Variety of Game Birds and Animals--Large Variety of Game and
    Food Fishes--A Paradise for Sportsman or Naturalist--A Sail
    Through the Sound--Grand Mountains in Every Direction--The Home
    of the Elk, Bear, Deer, and Salmon--Sea Gulls as Fellow
    Passengers--Photographed on the Wing--Wild Cattle on Whidby
    Island--Deception Pass; its Fierce Current and Wierd
    Surroundings--Victoria, B. C.--A Quaint Old, English-looking
    Town.

  CHAPTER V.

  Through English Bay--Water Fowls that Seem Never to Have Been
    Hunted--Rifle Practice that was Soon Interrupted--Peculiarities
    of Burrard Inlet--Vancouver and Port Moody--A Stage Ride to
    Westminster--A Stranger in a Strange Land--Hunting for a
    Guide--"Douglass Bill" Found and Employed--An Indian Funeral
    Delays the Expedition.

  CHAPTER VI.

  The Voyage up the Frazier--Delicious Peaches Growing in Sight of
    Glaciers--The Detective Camera Again to the Front--Good Views
    from the Moving Steamer--A Night in an Indian Hut--The Sleeping
    Bag a Refuge from Vermin--The Indian as a Stamping Ground for
    Insects--He Heeds Not Their Ravages.

  CHAPTER VII.

  A Breakfast with the Bachelor--Up Harrison River in a Canoe--Dead
    Salmon Everywhere--Their Stench Nauseating--The Water Poisoned
    with Carrion--A Good Goose Spoiled with an Express
    Bullet--Lively Salmon on the Falls--Strange Instinct of this
    Noble Fish--Life Sacrificed in the Effort to Reach its Spawning
    Grounds--Ranchmen Fishing with Pitchforks, and Indians with
    Sharp Sticks--Salmon Fed to Hogs, and Used as Fertilizers; the
    Prey of Bears, Cougars, Wild Cats, Lynxes, Minks, Martins,
    Hawks, and Eagles.

  CHAPTER VIII.

  The River Above the Rapids--A Lake Within Basaltic Walls--Many
    Beautiful Waterfalls--Mount Douglas and its Glaciers--A Trading
    Post of the Hudson Bay Fur Company--The Hot Springs; an Ancient
    Indian Sanitarium--Anxiously Waiting for "Douglass Bill"--Novel
    Method of Photographing Big Trees.

  CHAPTER IX.

  An Early Morning Climb--A Thousand Feet Above the Lake--Fresh
    Deer Signs in Sight of the Hotel--Three Indians Bring in Three
    Deer--"Douglass Bill" Proves as Big a Liar as Other
    Indians--Heading off a Flock of Canvas Backs--A Goodly Bag of
    these Toothsome Birds--A Siwash Hut--A Revolting Picture of
    Dirt, Filth, Nakedness, and Decayed Fish--Another Guide
    Employed--Ready on Short Notice--Off for the Mountain.

  CHAPTER X.

  Characteristics of the Flathead Indians--Canoeists and Packers by
    Birth and Education--A Skillful Canoe Builder--Freighting
    Canoes--Fishing Canoes--Traveling Canoes--Two Cords of Wood for
    a Cargo, and Four Tons of Merchandise for Another--Dress of the
    Coast Indians.

  CHAPTER XI.

  Climbing the Mountain in a Rainstorm-Pean's Dirty Blankets--His
    Careful Treatment of His Old Musket--A Novel Charge for Big
    Game--The Chatter of the Pine Squirrel--A Shot Through the
    Brush--Venison for Supper--A Lame Conversation: English on the
    One Side, Chinook on the Other--The Winchester Express Staggers
    the Natives--Peculiarities of the Columbia Black Tail Deer.

  CHAPTER XII.

  The Chinook Jargon; an Odd Conglomeration of Words; the Court
    Language of the Northwest; a Specimen Conversation--A Camp on
    the Mountain Side--How the Indian Tried to Sleep Warm--The
    Importance of a Good Bed when Camping--Pean is taken Ill--His
    Fall Down a Mountain--Unable to go Further, We Turn Back--Bitter
    Disappointment

  CHAPTER XIII.

  The Return to the Village--Two New Guides Employed--Off for the
    Mountains Once More--The Tramp up Ski-ik-kul Creek Through
    Jungles, Gulches, and Cañons--And Still it Rains--Ravages of
    Forest Fires--A Bed of Mountain Feathers--Description of a
    Sleeping Bag; an Indispensable Luxury in Camp Life; an Indian
    Opinion of It

  CHAPTER XIV.

  Meditations by a Camp Fire--Suspicions as to the Honesty of My
    Guides; at Their Mercy in Case of Stealthy Attack--A Frightful
    Fall--Broken Bones and Intense Suffering--A Painful and Tedious
    Journey Home--A Painful Surgical Operation--A Happy Denouement

  CHAPTER XV.

  The Beauties of Ski-ik-kul Creek; a Raging Mountain Torrent;
    Rapids and Waterfalls Everywhere; Picturesque Tributaries--Above
    the Tree Tops--The Pleasure of Quenching Thirst--A Novel
    Spear--A Fifteen-Pound Salmon for Supper--The Indians' Midnight
    Lunch--A Grand Camp Fire--At Peace with All Men

  CHAPTER XVI.

  Seymour Advises a Late Start for Goat Hunting; but His Council is
    Disregarded--We Start at Sunrise--A Queer Craft--Navigating
    Ski-ik-kul Lake--A "Straight-up" Shot at a Goat--Both Horns
    Broken Off in the Fall--More Rain and Less Fun--A Doe and
    Kid--Successful Trout Fishing--Peculiarities of the Skowlitz
    Tongue; Grunts, Groans and Whistles--John has
    Traveled--Seymour's Pretended Ignorance of English

  CHAPTER XVII.

  En Route to the Village Again--A Water-Soaked Country--"Oh, What
    a Fall was There, My Countrymen!"--Walking on Slippery
    Logs--More Rain--Wet Indians--"Semo He Spile de Grouse"--A
    Frugal Breakfast--High Living at Home--A Bear He did a Fishing
    Go; but He was Caught Instead of the Fish, and His Skin is
    Bartered to the Unwashed Siwashes.

  CHAPTER XVIII.

  John and His Family "At Home"--An Interesting Picture of Domestic
    Economy--Rifle Practice on Gulls and Grebes--Puzzled
    Natives--"Phwat Kind of Burds is Them?"--A day on the
    Columbia--The Pallisades from a Steamer--Photographing Bad Lands
    from a Moving Train.

  CHAPTER XIX.

  Deer Hunting at Spokane Falls--Ruin Wrought by an Overloaded
    Shotgun: A Tattered Vest and a Wrecked Watch--Billy's Bear
    Story--The Poorest Hunter Makes the Biggest Score--A Claw in
    Evidence--A Disgusted Party.

  CHAPTER XX.

  A Fusilade on the Mule Deer--Two Does as the Result--A Good Shot
    Spoiled--View from the Top of Blue Grouse Mountain--A Grand
    Panorama; Lakes, Mountains, Prairies and Forests--Johnston's
    Story--Rounding Up Wild Hogs--A Trick on the Dutchman--A Bucking
    Mule and a Balky Cayuse--Falls of the Spokane River.

  CHAPTER XXI.

  Hunting the Grizzly Bear--Habitat and Characteristics--A Camp
    Kettle as a Weapon of Defense--To the Rescue with a
    Winchester--Best Localities for Hunting the Grizzly--Baiting and
    Still-Hunting--A Surprise Party in the Trail--Two Bulls-eyes and
    a Miss--Fresh Meat and Revelry in Camp.

  CHAPTER XXII.

  Elk Hunting in the Rocky Mountains--Characteristics of the
    Elk--His Mode of Travel--A Stampede in a Thicket--The Whistle of
    the Elk, the Hunter's Sweetest Music--Measurements of a Pair of
    Antlers--Saved by Following an Elk Trail--The Work of
    Exterminators--The Elk Doomed.

  CHAPTER XXIII.

  Antelope Hunting in Montana--A Red Letter Day on Flat
    Willow--Initiating a Pilgrim--Sample Shots--Flagging and
    Fanning--Catching Wounded Antelopes on Horseback--Four
    Mule-Loads of Meat.

  CHAPTER XXIV.

  Buffalo Hunting on the Texas Plains--A "Bull Train" Loaded with
    Skins--A Sensation in Fort Worth--En Route to the Range--Red
    River Frank's Mission--A Stand on the Herd--Deluged with Buffalo
    Blood--A Wild Run by Indians--Tossed into the Air and Trampled
    into the Earth.

  CHAPTER XXV.

  Hunting the Rocky Mountain Goat--Technical Description of the
    Animal--Its Limited Range--Dangers Incurred in Hunting It--An
    Army Officer's Experience--A Perilous Shot--A Long and Dangerous
    Pursuit--Successful at Last--Carrying the Trophies to
    Camp--Wading up Lost Horse Creek--Numerous Baths in Icy
    Water--An Indian's Fatal Fall--Horses Stampeded by a Bear--Seven
    Days on Foot and Alone--Home at Last.

  CHAPTER XXVI.

  Trouting in the Mountains--Gameness of the Mountain Trout--A Red
    Letter Day on the Bitter Root--Frontier Tackle and Orthodox
    Bait--How a Private Soldier Gets to the Front as an Angler--A
    Coot Interrupts the Sport, and a Rock Interrupts the
    Coot--Colonel Gibson takes a Nine-Pounder--A Native Fly
    Fisherman--Grand Sport on Big Spring Creek--How Captain Hathaway
    does the Honors--Where Grand Sport may be Found.

  CHAPTER XXVII.

  Deer Hunting in Northern Wisconsin--On the Range at Daylight--The
    Woods Full of Game--Missing a Standing "Broadside" at Thirty
    Yards--Several Easy Shots in Rapid Succession; the only Fruits
    Shame and Chagrin--Nervousness and Excitement Finally Give Way
    to Coolness and Deliberation--A Big Buck at Long Range--A Steady
    Aim and a Ruptured Throat--A Blind Run Through Brush and Fallen
    Trees--Down at Last--A Noble Specimen--His Head as a Trophy

  CHAPTER XXVIII.

  Among the Pines--A Picture of Autumnal Loveliness--Cordial
    Welcome to a Logging Camp--A Successful Shot--The Music of the
    Dinner Horn--A Throat Cut and a Leg Broken--A Stump for a
    Watch-Tower--The Raven Homeward Bound--A Suspicious Buck--A
    Mysterious Presence--Dead Beside His Mate--Three Shots and Three
    Deer

  CHAPTER XXIX.

  A Typical Woodsman--Model Home in the Great Pine Forest--A
    Lifetime in the Wilderness--A Deer in a Natural
    Trap--Disappointment and Despondency--"What, You Killed a
    Buck!"--Sunrise in the Woods--An Unexpected Shot--A Free Circus
    and a Small Audience--A Buck as a Bucker--More Venison

  CHAPTER XXX.

  Cowboy Life--The Boys that Become Good Range Riders--Peculiar
    Tastes and Talents Required for the Ranch--Wages Paid to
    Cowboys--Abuse and Misrepresentation to which They are
    Subjected--The "Fresh Kid," and the Long-Haired "Greaser"--The
    Stranger Always Welcome at the Ranch--A Dude Insulted--A Plaid
    Ulster, a Green Umbrella, and a Cranky Disposition--Making a
    Train Crew Dance--An Uncomplimentary Concert--No Sneak Thieves
    on the Plains--Leather Breeches, Big Spurs, and a Six-Shooter in
    a Sleeping Car--Fear Gives Way to Admiration--The Slang of the
    Range--The "Bucker," and the "Buster"--The Good
    Cow-Horse--Roping for Prizes--Snaking a Bear with a Lariat--A
    Good School for Boys--Communion with Nature Makes Honest

  CHAPTER XXXI.

  A Montana Roundup--Ranges and Ranches on Powder River; Once the
    Home of the Buffalo, the Elk, the Antelope; now the Home of the
    Texas Steer and the Cowboy--The Great Plains in Spring Attire--A
    Gathering of Rustlers--"Chuck Outfits" to the Front--Early
    Risers--Taming an "Alecky" Steer--A Red-Hot Device--Branding and
    Slitting--The Run on the Mess Wagon--"Cutting Out" and "Throwing
    Over"--A Cruel Process.



CRUISINGS IN THE CASCADES.



CHAPTER I.

    "Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery."
                                                             --RUSKIN.


For anyone who has the courage, the hardihood, and the physical strength
to endure the exercise, there is no form of recreation or amusement
known to mankind that can yield such grand results as mountain climbing.
I mean from a mental as well as from a physical standpoint; and, in
fact, it is the mind that receives the greater benefit. The exertion of
the muscular forces in climbing a high mountain is necessarily severe;
in fact, it is more than most persons unused to it can readily endure;
and were it not for the inspiration which the mind derives from the
experience when the ascent is made it would be better that the subject
should essay some milder form of exercise. But if one's strength be
sufficient to endure the labor of ascending a grand mountain peak, that
extends to or above timber line, to the regions of perpetual snow and
ice, or even to a height that gives a general view of the surrounding
country, the compensation must be ample if one have an eye for the
beauties of nature, or any appreciation of the grandeur of the Creator's
greatest works.

[Illustration: MOUNT HOOD.]

Vain, self-loving man is wont to consider himself the noblest work of
God, but let him go to the top of one of these lofty mountains,
surrounded by other towering peaks, and if he be a sane man he will soon
be convinced that his place in the scale of creation is far from the
top. Let him stand, for instance, on the summit of Mount Hood, Mount
Tacoma, or Mount Baker, thousands of feet above all surrounding peaks,
hills, and valleys, where he may gaze into space hundreds of miles in
every direction, with naught to obstruct his view, face to face with his
Creator, and if he have aught of the love of nature in his soul, or of
appreciation of the sublime in his mental composition, he will be moved
to exclaim with the Apostle, "What is man that Thou art mindful of him,
or the son of man that Thou visitest him?" He will feel his littleness,
his insignificance, his utter lack of importance, more forcibly perhaps
than ever before. It seems almost incredible that there should be men in
the world who could care so little for the grandest, the sublimest
sights their native land affords, as to be unwilling to perform the
labor necessary to see them to the best possible advantage; and yet it
is so, for I have frequently heard them say:

"I should like very much to see these grand sights you describe, but I
never could afford to climb those high mountains for that pleasure; it
is too hard work for me."

And, after all, the benefits to be derived from mountain climbing are
not wholly of an intellectual character; the physical system may be
benefited by it as well. It is a kind of exercise that in turn brings
into use almost every muscle in the body, those of the legs being of
course taxed most severely, but those of the back do their full share of
the work, while the arms are called into action almost constantly, as
the climber grasps bushes or rocks by which to aid himself in the
ascent. The lungs expand and contract like bellows as they inhale and
exhale the rarified atmosphere, and the heart beats like a trip-hammer
as it pumps the invigorated blood through the system. The liver is
shaken loose from the ribs to which it has perchance grown fast, and the
stomach is aroused to such a state of activity as it has probably not
experienced for years. Let any man, especially one of sedentary habits,
climb a mountain 5,000 feet high, on a bright, pleasant day, when

    "Night's candles are burnt out and jocund day
    Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops."

[Illustration: MOUNT TACOMA.]

There let him breathe the rare, pure atmosphere, fresh from the portals
of heaven, and my word for it he will have a better appetite, will eat
heartier, sleep sounder, and awake next morning feeling more refreshed
than since the days of his boyhood.

Although the labor be severe it can and should be modulated to the
strength and capabilities of the person undertaking the task. No one
should climb faster than is compatible with his strength, and halts
should be made every five or ten minutes, if need be, to allow the
system ample rest. In this manner a vast amount of work may be
accomplished in a day, even by one who has had no previous experience
in climbing.

[Illustration: ON THE COLUMBIA.]

The benefits and pleasures of mountain climbing are much better
understood and appreciated in Europe than in this country. Nearly every
city of England, France, Spain, Germany, and other European countries
has an Alpine, Pyrenese, or Himalayan club. The members of these clubs
spend their summer outings in scaling the great peaks of the mountains
after which the societies are named, or other ranges, and the winter
evenings in recounting to each other their experiences; and many a man,
by his association with the clubs and by indulgence in this invigorating
pastime develops from a delicate youth into a muscular, sturdy, athletic
man in a few years.

The possible value of mountain climbing as a recreation and as a means
of gaining knowledge, has been greatly enhanced, of late years, by the
introduction of the dry-plate system in photography, and since the
small, light, compact cameras have been constructed, which may be easily
and conveniently carried wherever a man can pack his blankets and a
day's supply of food. With one of these instruments fine views can be
taken of all interesting objects and bits of scenery on the mountain,
and of the surrounding country. The views are interesting and
instructive to friends and to the public in general, and as souvenirs
are invaluable to the author. And from the negatives thus secured
lantern slides may be made, and from these, by the aid of the calcium
light, pictures projected on a screen that can only be excelled in their
beauty and attractiveness by nature herself.

[Illustration: GLACIERS ON MOUNT TACOMA.]



CHAPTER II.


Each succeeding autumn, for years past, has found me in some range of
mountains, camping, hunting, fishing, climbing, and taking views. The
benefits I have derived from these expeditions, in the way of health,
strength, and vigor, are incalculable, and the pleasures inexpressible.
My last outing was in the Cascade Range, in Oregon and Washington
Territory, where I spent a month in these delightful occupations, and it
is with a view of encouraging and promoting a love for these modes of
recreation that this record is written.

    "I live not in myself, but I become
      Portion of that around me; and to me
    High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
      Of human cities torture."

[Illustration: A VIEW IN THE CASCADES.]

The Cascade Range of mountains extends from Southern Oregon through
Washington Territory, away to the northward in British Columbia. In
width, from east to west, it varies from fifty to one hundred miles. It
is the most densely-timbered range on the continent, and yet is one of
the highest and most rugged. It may not possess so many ragged,
shapeless crags and dark cañons as the Rocky Range, and yet everyone who
has ever traversed both accords to the Cascades the distinction of
being the equal, in picturesqueness and grandeur, of the Rockies, or, in
fact, of any other range in the country. As continental landmarks,
Mounts Pitt, Union, Thielson, Jefferson, Hood, Adams, St. Helens,
Tacoma, Baker, Stuart, Chiam, Douglass, and others are unsurpassed.
Their hoary crests tower to such majestic heights as to be visible, in
some instances, hundreds of miles, and their many glaciers feed mighty
rivers upon whose bosoms the commerce of nations is borne. Mount
Jefferson is 9,020 feet high; Mount Adams, 9,570; Mount St. Helens,
9,750; Mount Baker, 10,800, Mount Hood, 11,025, and Mount Tacoma,
14,444. There are many other peaks that rise to altitudes of 7,000 to
9,000 feet, and from these figures one may readily form something of an
idea of the general height and beauty of the Cascade Range. The
foot-hills are generally high, rolling, and picturesque, and so heavily
timbered that in many places one cannot see a hundred yards in any
direction. Higher up the range, however, this heavy timber is replaced
by smaller trees, that stand farther apart, and the growth of underbrush
is not so dense; consequently, the labor of travel is lightened and the
range of vision is extended. The geological formation in the Cascades is
varied. Igneous rock abounds; extensive basaltic cliffs and large bodies
of granite, limestone, sandstone, etc., are frequently met with, and
nearly all the table-lands, in and about the foot-hills, are composed of
gravel drift, covered with vegetable mold. The Cascades may be explored
with comfort later in the fall than the Rockies or other more eastern
ranges, the winter setting in on the former much later than on the
latter, although the winter rains usually come in November. September
and October are the most pleasant months for an outing in the Cascades.

[Illustration: ONEONTA GORGE, COLUMBIA RIVER, OREGON.]

* * * It was late in October when my wife and I started from Chicago for
a tour of a month among the bristling peaks of the Cascades and the
picturesque islands of Puget Sound. A pleasant ride of fifteen hours on
the Wisconsin Central Railroad to St. Paul, and another of three days
and nights on the grand old Northern Pacific, brought us face to face
with the glittering crests and beetling cliffs that were the objects of
our pilgrimage. As the tourist goes west, the first view of the range is
obtained at the Dalles of the Columbia river, from whence old Mount
Hood, thirty-five miles distant, rears its majestic head high into the
ethereal vault of heaven, and neighboring peaks, of lesser magnitude,
unfold themselves to the enraptured vision. As the train whirls down the
broad Columbia river, every curve, around which we swing with dazzling
speed, reveals to our bewildered gaze new forms of beauty and new
objects of wonder. So many descriptions of the scenery along this mystic
stream have been written, that every reading man, woman, and child in
the land must be familiar with it, and I will not repeat or attempt to
improve upon any of them. To say the most extravagant representations
are not exaggerated, is to speak truly, and no one can know how
beautiful some of these towers and cliffs are until he has seen them.

The train arrived at Portland, that old and far-famed metropolis of the
North Pacific coast, at half past ten o'clock in the morning, and after
twenty-four hours pleasantly spent in viewing its many points of
interest and the snow-covered mountains thereabouts, we again boarded
the Northern Pacific train and sped toward Tacoma, where we arrived at
six o'clock in the evening. Here we passed another day in looking over a
booming Western city, whose future prosperity and greatness have been
assured by its having been chosen as the tide-water terminus of the
Northern Pacific Railway. Tacoma is situated on Commencement Bay, an arm
of Puget Sound, and has a harbor navigable for the largest ocean
steamships. The vast forests of pine, fir, and cedar, with which it is
surrounded, give Tacoma great commercial importance as a lumbering town,
and the rich agricultural valleys thereabout assure home production of
breadstuffs, vegetables, meats, etc., sufficient to feed its army of
workingmen. Rich coal fields, in the immediate neighborhood, furnish
fuel for domestic and manufacturing purposes at merely nominal prices.
All the waters hereabouts abound in salmon, several varieties of trout
and other food-fishes, while in the woods and mountains adjacent, elk,
deer, and bears are numerous; so the place will always be a popular
resort for the sportsman and the tourist. The chief attraction of the
city, however, for the traveler, will always be the fine view it affords
of Mount Tacoma. This grand old pinnacle of the Cascade Range,
forty-five miles distant, lifts its snow-mantled form far above its
neighbors, which are themselves great mountains, while its
glacier-crowned summit rises, towers, and struggles aloft 'til----

    "Round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
    Eternal sunshine settles on its head;"

and its crown is almost lost in the limitless regions of the deep blue
sky.

From the verandas of the Tacoma House one may view Mount Tacoma until
wearied with gazing. The Northern Pacific Railway runs within fifteen
miles of the base of it, and from the nearest point a trail has been
made, at a cost of some thousands of dollars, by which tourists may
ascend the mountain on horseback, to an altitude of about 10,000 feet,
with comparative comfort; but he who goes above that height must work
his passage. There are several men who claim the distinction of being
the only white man that has ever been to the top of this mountain.
Others declare that it has been ascended only twice; but we have
authentic information of at least three successful and complete ascents
having been made. Indian legends people the mountain with evil spirits,
which are said to dwell in boiling caldrons and yawning caverns--

    "Calling shapes, and beck'ning shadows dire,
        And airy tongues that syllable men's names."

Tradition says their wild shrieks and groans may be heard therein at all
times; and no Indians are known ever to have gone any great distance up
Mount Rainier, as they call it. White men have tried to employ the
native red men as guides and packers for the ascent, but no amount of
money can tempt them to invade the mysterious cañons and cliffs with
which the marvelous pile is surrounded. They say that all attempts to do
so, by either white or red men, must result in certain destruction.
Undoubtedly the first ascent was made about thirty years ago, by General
(then Lieutenant) Kautz, and Lieutenant Slaughter, of the United States
Army, who were then stationed at Steilacoom, Washington Territory. They
took pack animals, and with an escort of several men ascended as far as
the animals could go. There they left them and continued the climb on
foot. They were gone nine days, from the time of leaving their mules
until they returned to the animals, and claimed, no doubt justly, to
have gone to the top of Liberty Cap, the highest of the three distinct
summits that form the triplex corona; the others being known as the
Summit and the Dome. The next ascent, so far as known, was made in 1876
by Mr. Hazard Stevens, who gave an account of his experiences in the
_Atlantic Monthly_ for November, of that year. In 1882, Messrs. Van
Trump and Smith, of San Francisco, made a successful ascent, and in the
same year an Austrian tourist who attempted to ascend the mountain, got
within three hundred feet of the top, when his progress was arrested by
an avalanche, and he came very near losing his life. Mr. L. L. Holden,
of Boston, went to within about six hundred feet of the summit in 1883,
and Mr. J. R. Hitchcock claims to have reached it in 1885.

From the point gained by the trail above mentioned, the tourist may look
down upon the glaciers of the North Fork of the Puyallup River, 3,000
feet below, while on the other hand, the glaciers of the cañon of the
Carbon may be seen 4,000 feet beneath him. Away to the north, glimmering
and glinting under the effulgent rays of the noonday sun, stretches that
labyrinth of waters known as Puget Sound--

    "Whose breezy waves toss up their silvery spray;"

while the many islands therein, draped in their evergreen foliage, look
like emeralds set in a sheet of silver. Many prominent landmarks in
British Columbia are seen, while to the north and south stretches the
Cascade Range, to the west the Olympic, and to the southwest the Coast
Range. All these are spread out before the eye of the tourist in a grand
panorama unsurpassed for loveliness. Crater Lake forms one of the
mysteries of Mount Tacoma. About its ragged, ice-bound and rock-ribbed
shores are many dark caverns, from which the Indians conceived their
superstitious fears of this mysterious pile. An explorer says of one of
these chambers:

"Its roof is a dome of brilliant green, with long icicles pendant
therefrom; while its floor is composed of the rocks and débris that
formed the side of the crater, worn smooth by the action of water and
heated by a natural register, from which issue clouds of steam."

The grand cañon of the Puyallup is two and a half miles wide, and from
its head may be seen the great glacier, 300 feet in thickness, which
supplies the great volume of water that flows through the Puyallup
river. From here no less than nine different waterfalls, varying in
height from 500 to 1,500 feet, are visible; and visitors are sometimes
thrilled with the magnificent spectacle of an avalanche of thousands of
tons of overhanging ice falling with an overwhelming crash into the
cañon, roaring and reverberating in a way that almost makes the great
mountain tremble. Fed by the lake, torrents pour over the edge of the
cliff, and the foaming waters, forming a perpetual veil of seemingly
silver lace, fall with a fearful leap into the arms of the surging
waves below. Mount Tacoma will be the future resort of the continent,
and many of its wondrous beauties yet remain to be explored.

[Illustration: VIEW ON GREEN RIVER NEAR MOUNT TACOMA.]



CHAPTER III.


The Oregon Railway & Navigation Company's steamers leave Tacoma, for
Seattle, at four o'clock in the morning, and at six-thirty in the
evening, so we were unable to see this portion of the sound until our
return trip. Seattle is another of those rushing, pushing, thriving,
Western towns, whose energy and dash always surprise Eastern people. The
population of the city is 15,000 souls; it has gas-works, water-works,
and a street railway, and does more business, and handles more money
each year than many an Eastern city of 50,000 or more.

The annual lumber shipments alone aggregate over a million dollars, from
ten saw-mills that cost over four millions, and the value of the
salmon-canning product is nearly a million more. The soil of the valleys
adjacent to Seattle is peculiarly adapted to hop-raising, and that
industry is extensively carried on by a large number of farmers. Some of
the largest and finest hop-ranches in the world are located in the
vicinity, and their product is shipped to various American and European
ports, over 100,000 tons having been shipped in 1888, bringing the
growers the handsome sum of $560,327.

During the fifteen years since the beginning of this important
cultivation, the hop crop is said never to have failed, nor has it been
attacked by disease, nor deteriorated by reason of the roots being kept
on the same land without replanting. It is believed that the Dwamish,
the White River, and the Puyallup Valleys could easily produce as many
hops as are now raised in the United States, if labor could be obtained
to pick them. Indians have been mainly relied upon to do the picking,
and they have flocked to the Sound from nearly all parts of the
Territory, even from beyond the mountains. Many have come in canoes from
regions near the outlet of the Sound, from British Columbia, and even
from far off Alaska, to engage temporarily in this occupation; then to
purchase goods and return to their wigwams. They excel the whites in
their skill as pickers, and, as a rule, conduct themselves peaceably.

Elliot Bay, on which Seattle is built, affords a fine harbor and good
anchorage, while Lakes Union and Washington, large bodies of fresh
water--the former eleven and the latter eighteen feet above tide
level--lie just outside the city limits, opposite. There are rich coal
mines at hand, which produce nearly a million dollars worth each year.
Large fertile tracts of agricultural lands, in the near vicinity,
produce grain, vegetables, and fruits of many varieties, and in great
luxuriance. Iron ore of an excellent quality abounds in the hills and
mountains back of the city, and with all these natural resources and
advantages at her command, Seattle is sure to become a great metropolis
in the near future. The climate of the Puget Sound country is temperate;
snow seldom falls before Christmas, never to a greater depth than a few
inches in the valleys and lowlands, and seldom lies more than a few days
at a time. My friend, Mr. W. A. Perry, of Seattle, in a letter dated
December 6, says:

"The weather, since your departure, has been very beautiful. The morning
of your arrival was the coldest day we have had this autumn. Flowers are
now blooming in the gardens, and yesterday a friend who lives at Lake
Washington sent me a box of delicious strawberries, picked from the
vines in his garden in the open air on December 4, while you, poor
fellow, were shivering, wrapped up in numberless coats and furs, in the
arctic regions of Chicago. Why don't you emigrate? There's lots of room
for you on the Sumas, where the flowers are ever blooming, where the
summer never dies, where the good Lord sends the _tyee_ (great) salmon
to your very door; and where, if you want to shoot, you have your choice
from the tiny jacksnipe to the cultus bear or the lordly elk."

There are thousands of acres of natural cranberry marshes on the shores
of the sound, where this fruit grows wild, of good quality, and in great
abundance. It has not been cultivated there yet, but fortunes will be
made in that industry in the near future.

But the crowning glory of Puget Sound, and its greatest source of
wealth, are the vast forests of timber. It is scarcely advisable to
tell the truth concerning the size to which some of the giant firs and
cedars grow in this country, lest I be accused of exaggeration; but, for
proof of what I say, it will only be necessary to inquire of any
resident of the Sound country. There are hundreds of fir and cedar trees
in these woods twenty to twenty-five feet in diameter, above the spur
roots, and over three hundred feet high. A cube was cut from a fir tree,
near Vancouver, and shipped to the Colonial Exhibition in London in
1886, that measured nine feet and eight inches in thickness each way.
The bark of this tree was fourteen inches thick. Another tree was cut,
trimmed to a length of three hundred and two feet, and sent to the same
destination, but this one, I am told, was only six feet through at the
butt.

[Illustration: PUGET SOUND SAW-LOGS.]

From one tree cut near Seattle six saw-logs were taken, five of which
were thirty feet long, each, and the other was twenty-four feet in
length. This tree was only five feet in diameter at the base, and the
first limb grew at a height of two feet above where the last log was cut
off, or over one hundred and seventy feet from the ground. A red cedar
was cut in the same neighborhood that measured eighteen feet in diameter
six feet above the ground; and there is a well-authenticated case of a
man, named Hepburn, having lived in one of these cedars for over a year,
while clearing up a farm. The tree was hollow at the ground, the cavity
measuring twenty-two feet in the clear and running up to a knot hole
about forty feet above. The homesteader laid a floor in the hollow,
seven or eight feet above the ground, and placed a ladder against the
wall by which to go up and down. On the floor he built a stone
fireplace, and from it to the knot hole above a stick and clay chimney.
He lived upstairs and kept his horse and cow downstairs. It may be well
to explain that he was a bachelor, and thus save the reader any anxiety
as to how his wife and children liked the situation.

The "Sumas Sapling" stands near Sumas Lake, northeast of Seattle. It is
a hollow cedar, twenty-three feet in the clear, on the ground, and is
estimated to be fifteen feet in diameter twenty feet above the ground. I
have, in several instances, counted more than a hundred of these mammoth
trees on an acre of land, and am informed that one tract has been out
off that yielded over 1,000,000 feet of lumber per acre. In this case
the trees stood so close together that many of the stumps had to be dug
out, after the trees had been felled, before the logs could be gotten
out. The system of logging in vogue here differs widely from that
practiced in Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, and elsewhere. No snow or ice
are required here, and, in fact, if snow falls to any considerable depth
while crews are in the woods a halt is called until it goes off.

Corduroy roads are built into the timber as fast as required, on which
the teams travel, so that it is not necessary that the ground should be
even frozen. Skids, twelve to eighteen inches thick, are laid across,
these roads, about nine feet apart, and sunk into the ground so as to
project about six inches above the surface; the bark is peeled off the
top, they are kept greased, and the logs are "snaked" over them with
four to seven yoke of cattle, as may be required. The wealthier
operators use steam locomotives and cars, building tracks into the
timber as fast and as far as needed. This great timber belt is
co-extensive with Puget Sound, the Straits of Georgia, and the Cascade
Mountains. I believe that at the present rate at which lumber is being
consumed, there is fir, pine, and cedar enough in Washington Territory
and British Columbia to last the world a thousand years.



CHAPTER IV.


Puget Sound is a great inland sea, extending nearly 200 miles from the
ocean, having a surface of about 2,000 square miles, and a shore line of
1,594 miles, indented with numerous bays, harbors, and inlets, each with
its peculiar name; and it contains numerous islands inhabited by
farmers, lumbermen, herdsmen, and those engaged in quarrying lime and
building stone. Nothing can surpass the beauty of these waters and their
safety. Not a shoal exists within the Sound, the Straits of Juan de
Fuca, Admiralty Bay, Hood's Canal, or the Straits of Georgia, that would
in any way interrupt their navigation by a seventy-four-gun ship. There
is no country in the world that possesses waters equal to these. The
shores of all the inlets and bays are remarkably bold, so much so that a
ship's side would touch the shore before her keel would touch the
ground. The country by which these waters are surrounded has a
remarkably salubrious climate.

The region affords every advantage for the accommodation of a vast
commercial and military marine, with conveniences for docks, and there
are a great many sites for towns and cities, which at all times would be
well supplied with water, and the surrounding country, which is well
adapted to agriculture, would supply all the wants of a large
population. No part of the world affords finer islands, sounds, or a
greater number of harbors than are found within these waters. They are
capable of receiving the largest class of vessels, and are without a
single hidden danger. From the rise and fall of the tide (18 feet),
every facility is afforded for the erection of works for a great
maritime nation. The rivers also furnish hundreds of sites for
water-power for manufacturing purposes. On this Sound are already
situated many thriving towns and cities, besides those already
mentioned, bidding for the commerce of the world.

The flora of the Sound region is varied and interesting. A saturated
atmosphere, constantly in contact with the Coast Range system of
upheaval, together with the warm temperature, induces a growth of
vegetation almost tropical in its luxuriance. On the better soils, the
shot-clay hills and uplands, and on the alluvial plains and river
bottoms, grow the great trees, already mentioned, and many other species
of almost equal beauty, though of no commercial value.

"The characteristic shrubs are the cornels and the spiræas, many
species. These, with the low thickets of salal (_Gaultheria shallon_),
Oregon grape (berries), and fern (chiefly pteris, which is the most
abundant), and the tangle of the trailing blackberry (_Rubus pedatus_)
make the forests almost impenetrable save where the ax or the wild beast
or the wilder fire have left their trails.

"The dense shade of the forest gives little opportunity for the growth
of the more lowly herbs. Where the fire has opened these shades to the
light the almost universal fireweed (_epilobium_) and the lovely brown
fire-moss (_funaria_) abound. In swamps and lowlands the combustion of
decay, almost as quick and effective as fire itself, opens large spaces
to the light; and here abound chiefly the skunk cabbage of the Pacific
coast (_lysichiton_) and many forms of the lovliest mosses, grown beyond
belief save by those who have looked upon their tropical congeners.
_Hypnums_ and _Mniums_ make the great mass which meet the eye; and among
the many less obvious forms a careful search will reveal many species
characteristic of this coast alone. The lower forms of the cryptogams,
the lichens and the fungi, abound in greatest profusion as might be
expected. The chief interest in these, in the present state of our
knowledge of them, springs from their disposition to invade the more
valuable forms of vegetation which follow advancing civilization."

[Illustration: VIEWS ON PUGET SOUND.]

I measured one fungus, which I found growing upon the decaying trunk of
a mammoth fir, that was thirteen inches thick and thirty-four inches
wide. I have frequently seen mosses growing on rotten logs, in the deep
shades of these lonely forests, that were twelve to sixteen inches deep,
and others hanging from branches overhead three feet or more in length.
There are places in these dense forests where the trees stand so close
and their branches are so intertwined that the sun's rays never reach
the ground, and have not, perhaps for centuries; and it is but natural
that these shade and moisture loving plants should grow to great size in
such places.

The fauna of this Territory includes the elk, black-tailed deer,
_Cervus columbianus_; the mule-deer, _Cervus macrotus_; the Virginia
deer, _Cervus virginianus_; the caribou, the Rocky Mountain goat, Rocky
Mountain sheep, the grizzly and black bear. Among the smaller mammals
there are the raccoon, the cougar, wild cat, gray wolf, black wolf,
prairie wolf or coyote, gray and red fox, fisher, mink, martin, beaver,
otter, sea otter, red squirrel, ermine, muskrat, sea lion, fur and hair
seals, wolverine, skunk, badger, porcupine, marmot, swamp hare,
jack-rabbit, etc. Of birds and wild fowls there is a long list, among
which may be mentioned several varieties of geese and brant, including
the rare and toothsome black brant, which in season hovers in black
clouds about the sand spits; the canvas back, redhead, blue bill, teal,
widgeon, shoveler, and various other ducks; ruffed, pinnated, and blue
grouse; various snipes and plovers; eagles, hawks, owls, woodpeckers,
jays, magpies, nuthatches, warblers, sparrows, etc. There are many
varieties of game and food fishes in the Sound and its tributaries, in
addition to the salmon and trout already mentioned. In short, this whole
country is a paradise for the sportsman and the naturalist, whatever the
specialty of either.

We left Seattle, _en route_ for Victoria, at seven o'clock on a bright,
crisp November morning. The air was still, the bay was like a sheet of
glass, and only long, low swells were running outside. We had a charming
view of the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Olympics to the west,
all day. The higher peaks were covered with snow, and the sunlight
glinted and shimmered across them in playful, cheery mood. Deep shadows
fell athwart dark cañons, in whose gloomy depths we felt sure herds of
elk and deer were nipping the tender herbage, and along whose raging
rivers sundry bears were doubtless breakfasting on salmon straight. Old
Mount Baker's majestic head, rising 10,800 feet above us and only fifty
miles away, was the most prominent object in the gorgeous landscape, and
one on which we never tired of gazing. We had only to cast our eyes from
the grand scene ashore to that at our feet, and _vice versa_, to--

    "See the mountains kiss high heaven,
    And the waves clasp one another."

A large colony of gulls followed the steamer, with ceaseless beat of
downy wings, from daylight till dark, and after the first hour they
seemed to regard us as old friends. They hovered about the deck like
winged spirits around a lost child. Strange bird thus to poise with
tireless wing over this watery waste day after day! Near the route of
the vessel one of the poor creatures lay dead, drifting sadly and alone
on the cold waves. Mysterious creature, with--

    "Lack lustre eye, and idle wing,
      And smirched breast that skims no more,
    Hast thou not even a grave
      Upon the dreary shore,
    Forlorn, forsaken thing?"

Our feathered fellow-passengers greeted us with plaintive cries whenever
we stepped out of the cabin, dropping into the water in pursuit of every
stray bit of food that was thrown overboard from the cook-room. My wife
begged several plates of stale bread from the steward, and, breaking it
into small pieces, threw handfuls at a time into the water.

[Illustration: OUR FEATHERED FELLOW-PASSENGERS.]

Twenty or thirty of the birds would drop in a bunch where the bread
fell, and a lively scramble would ensue for the coveted food. The lucky
ones would quickly corral it, however, when the whole flight, rising
again, would follow and soon overtake the vessel. Then they would
cluster around their patron, cooing, and coaxing for more of the welcome
bounty. I took out my detective camera and made a number of exposures on
the gulls, which resulted very satisfactorily. Many of the prints show
them sadly out of focus, but this was unavoidable, as I focused at
twenty feet, and of course all that were nearer or farther away, at the
instant of exposure, are not sharp. Many, however, that were on wing at
the time of making the exposure, and at the proper distance from the
lens, are clearly and sharply cut.

These pictures form a most interesting study for artists, anatomists,
naturalists, and others, the wings being shown in every position assumed
by the birds in flight. The shutter worked at so high a pressure that
only one or two birds in the entire series show any movement at all, and
they are but very slightly blurred. When we consider that the steamer,
as well as the gulls, was in motion--running ten miles an
hour--trembling and vibrating from stem to stern, and that, in many
cases, the birds were going in an opposite direction from that of the
vessel, the results obtained are certainly marvelous. It may interest
some of my readers to know that I used an Anthony detective camera,
making a four-by-five-inch picture, to which is fitted a roll holder,
and in all the work done on this trip, I used negative paper. I also
obtained, _en route_, several good views of various islands, and points
of interest on the mainland, while the boat was in motion.

There are many beautiful scenes in and about the Sound; many charming
islands, clothed in evergreen foliage, from whose interiors issue clear,
sparkling brooks of fresh water; while the mainland shores rise
abruptly, in places, to several hundreds of feet, bearing their burdens
of giant trees. There are perpendicular cut banks on many of the islands
and the mainland shores, thirty, forty, or fifty feet high, almost
perpendicular, made so by the hungry waves having eaten away their
foundations, and the earth having fallen into the brine, leaving exposed
bare walls of sand and gravel. On Whidby Island, one of the largest in
the Sound, there was, up to a few years ago, a herd of wild cattle, to
which no one made claim of ownership, and which were, consequently,
considered legitimate game for anyone who cared to hunt them. They were
wary and cunning in the extreme. The elk or deer, native and to the
manor born, could not be more so. But, alas, these cattle were not to be
the prey of true, conscientious sportsmen; for the greed of the market
hunter and the skin hunter exceeded the natural cunning of the noble
animals, and they have been nearly exterminated; only ten or twelve
remain, and they will soon have to yield up their lives to the
insatiable greed of those infamous butchers.

[Illustration: DECEPTION PASS, PUGET SOUND.]

One of the most curious and interesting points in the sound is Deception
Pass. This is a narrow channel or passage between two islands, only
fifty yards wide, and about two hundred yards long. On either side rise
abrupt and towering columns of basaltic rock, and during both ebb and
flow the tide runs through it, between Padilla and Dugalla Bays, with
all the wild fury and bewildering speed of the maelstrom. This pass
takes its name from the fact of there being three coves near--on the
west coast of Whidby Island--that look so much like Deception that they
are often mistaken for it at night or during foggy weather, even by
experienced navigators. All the skill and care of the best pilots are
required to make the pass in safety, and the bravest of them heave a
sigh of relief when once its beetling cliffs and seething abysses are
far astern. Gulls hover about this weird place, and eagles soar above it
at all hours, as if admiring its pristine beauties, yet in superstitious
awe of the dark depths. Mount Erie, two miles away, rising to a height
of 1,300 feet, casting its deep shadows across the pass and surrounding
waters, completes a picture of rare beauty and grandeur.

We reached Victoria, that quaint, old, aristocratic, ultra-English town,
just as the sun was sinking beneath the waves, that rolled restlessly on
the surface of Juan de Fuca Strait. We were surprised to see so
substantial and well-built a town as this, and one possessing so much of
the air of age and independence, so far north and west. One might
readily imagine, from the exterior appearance of the city and its
surroundings, that he were in the province of Quebec instead of that of
British Columbia. My wife felt that she must not remain longer away from
home at present, and we were to part here; therefore, in the early
morning she embarked for home, while I transferred my effects and self
to the steamer Princess Louise, bound for Burrard Inlet.



CHAPTER V.


At daylight in the morning we entered English Bay, having crossed the
strait during the night. The sun climbed up over the snow-mantled
mountains into a cloudless sky, and his rays were reflected from the
limpid, tranquil surface of the bay:

    "Blue, darkly, deeply, beautifully blue,"

as if from the face of a mirror. A few miles to the east, the
triple-mouthed Frazer empties its great volume of fresh, cold,
glacier-tinted fluid into the briny inland sea, and its delta, level as
a floor, stretches back many miles on either side of the river to the
foot-hills of the Cascades. Thousands of ducks sat idly and lazily in
the water, sunning themselves, pruning their feathers, and eyeing us
curiously but fearlessly, as we passed, sometimes within twenty-five or
thirty yards of them. A few geese crossed hither and thither, in low,
long, dark lines, uttering their familiar honk, honk; but they were more
wary than their lesser cousins, and kept well out of range. I asked the
purser if there was any rule against shooting on board, and he said no;
to go down on the after main deck, and shoot until I was tired. I took
my Winchester express from the case, went below and opened on the ducks.
They at once found it necessary to get out of the country, and their
motion, and that of the vessel combined, caused me to score several
close misses, but I finally found the bull's-eye, so to speak, and
killed three in rapid succession. Then the mate came down and said:

"We don't allow no one to be firin' off guns on board."

"I have the purser's permission," I said.

"Well," he replied, "the captain's better authority than the purser on
this here boat," whereupon he returned to the cabin deck, and so did I.
I was not seriously disappointed, however, for I cared little for the
duck shooting; I was in quest of larger game, and only wanted to
practice a little, to renew acquaintance and familiarity with my weapon.
Early in the day we entered Burrard Inlet, a narrow, crooked, and
peculiarly shaped arm of the salt water, that winds and threads its way
many miles back into the mountains, so narrow in places, that a boy may
cast a stone across it, and yet so deep as to be navigable for the
largest ocean steamship. The inlet is so narrow and crooked that a
stranger, sailing into it for the first time, would pronounce it a great
river coming down from the mountains. Through this picturesque body of
water our good boat cleft the shadows of the overhanging mountains until
nearly noon, when we landed at Vancouver, the terminus of the Canadian
Pacific Railway. In consequence of this important selection, the place
is a busy mart of trade. The clang of saw and hammer, the rattle of
wheels, the general din of a building boom, are such as to tire one's
nerves in a few hours. Later in the day we reached Port Moody. This town
was originally designated as the tide-water terminus of the road, and
had its brief era of prosperity and speculation in consequence; but now
that the plan has been changed it has been reduced to a mere way
station, and has relapsed into the dullest kind of dullness.

From here I staged across the divide to New Westminster, on the Frazer
river, the home of Mr. J. C. Hughs, who had invited me there to hunt
Rocky Mountain goats with him. I was grieved beyond measure, however, to
learn on my arrival that he was dangerously ill, and went at once to his
house, but he was unable to see me. He sank rapidly from the date of his
first illness, died two days after my arrival, and I therefore found
myself in a strange land, with no friend or acquaintance to whom I could
go for information or advice.

My first object, therefore, was to find a guide to take me into the
mountains, and although I found several pretended sportsmen, I could
hear of no one who had ever killed a goat, except poor Hughs, and a Mr.
Fannin, who had formerly lived there, but had lately moved away, so of
course no one knew where I could get a guide. Several business men, of
whom I asked information, inquired at once where I was from, and on
learning that I was an American, simply said "I don't know," and were,
or at least pretended to be, too busy to talk with me. They seemed to
have no use for people from this side of the boundary line, and this
same ill-feeling toward my Nation (with a big N) was shown me in other
places, and on various occasions, while in the province. I found,
however, one gracious exception, in New Westminster, in the person of
Mr. C. G. Major, a merchant, who, the moment I made known to him my
wish, replied:

"Well, sir, the best guide and the best hunter in British Columbia left
here not three minutes ago. He is an Indian who lives on Douglass Lake,
and I think I can get him for you. If I can, you are fixed for a good
and successful hunt."

This news, and the frank, manly, cordial greeting that came with it,
were surprising to me, after the treatment I had been receiving. Mr.
Major invited me into his private office, gave me a chair by the fire,
and sent out a messenger to look for "Douglass Bill," the Indian of whom
he had spoken. This important personage soon came in. Mr. Major told him
what I wanted, and it took but a few minutes to make a bargain. He was a
solid, well-built Indian, had an intelligent face, spoke fair English,
and had the reputation of being, as Mr. Major had said, an excellent
hunter. Mr. Major further said he considered Bill one of the most
honest, truthful Indians he had ever known, and that I could trust him
as implicitly as I could any white man in the country.

This arrangement was made on Saturday night, but Bill said he could not
start on the hunt until Wednesday morning, as his mother-in-law had just
died, and he must go and help to bury her on Tuesday. The funeral was to
take place on the Chilukweyuk river, a tributary of the Frazer, about
fifty miles above New Westminster, and it was arranged that I should go
up on the steamer, and meet him at the mouth of Harrison river, another
tributary stream, on Wednesday morning. We were then to go up the
Harrison to the hunting grounds. I was delighted at the prospect of a
successful hunt, with so good a guide, and cheerfully consented to wait
the necessary three days for the red man to perform the last sad rites
of his tribe over the remains of the departed _kloochman_, but I was
doomed to disappointment.

[Illustration: A VIEW ON THE FRAZER.]



CHAPTER VI.


For many years I had read, heard, and dreamed of the Frazer, that
mysterious stream which flows out from among the icy fastnesses of the
Cascades, in the far-off confines of British Columbia. For many years
had I longed to see with my own eyes some of the grand scenery of the
region it drains, and now, at last, that mighty stream flowed at my
feet. How eagerly I drank in the beauty of the scene! How my heart
thrilled at the thought that I stood face to face with this land of my
dreams and was about to explore a portion, at least, of the country in
which this great river rises. The beautiful lines penned by Maria
Brooks, on the occasion of her first visit to the St. Lawrence, came
vividly to my mind:

    "The first time I beheld thee, beauteous stream,
      How pure, how smooth, how broad thy bosom heaved;
    What feelings rushed upon my heart! a gleam
      As of another life my kindling soul received."

I left New Westminster at seven o'clock Monday morning on the steamer
Adelaide, for the mouth of Harrison river, sixty miles up the Frazer.
There were over twenty Indians on board, going up to the mouth of the
Chilukweyuk, to attend the funeral of Douglass Bill's deceased relative.
As soon as I learned their destination I inquired if he were among
them, but they said he was not. He had come aboard before we left, but
for some reason had decided to go on another boat that left half an hour
ahead of the Adelaide. The voyage proved intensely interesting. The
Frazer is from a quarter to half a mile wide, and is navigable for large
steamers for a hundred miles above its mouth. There are portions of the
valley that are fertile, thickly settled, and well cultivated. The
valleys of some of its tributaries are also good farming districts, and
grain, fruits, and vegetables of various kinds grow in abundance. At the
mouth of the Chilukweyuk I saw fine peaches that had grown in the
valley, within ten miles of perpetual snow. The river became very
crooked as we neared the mountains, and finally we entered the gorge, or
cañon, where the rocky-faced mountains rise, sheer from the water's
edge, to heights of many hundreds of feet, and just back of them tower
great peaks, clad in eternal snows. The little camera was again brought
into requisition and, as we rounded some of these picturesque bends and
traversed some of the beautiful reaches, I secured many good views,
though the day was cloudy and lowery. The boat being in motion, I was,
of course, compelled to make the shortest possible exposures, and was,
therefore, unable to get fine details in the shadows; yet many of the
prints turned out fairly well.

We saw several seals in the river on the way up, and the captain
informed me that at certain seasons they were quite plentiful in the
Frazer and all the larger streams in the neighborhood. They go up the
Frazer to the head of navigation and he could not say how much farther.
He said that on one occasion a female seal and her young were seen
sporting in the water ahead of the steamer, and that when the vessel
came within about fifty yards they dove. Nothing more was seen of the
puppy, and the captain thought it must have been caught in the wheel and
killed, for the mother followed the vessel several miles, whining,
looking longingly, pitifully, and beseechingly at the passengers and
crew. She would swim around and around the steamer, coming close up,
showing no fear for her own safety, whatever, but seeming to beg them to
give back her baby. She appeared to have lost sight of it entirely,
whatever its fate, and to think it had been captured and taken on board.
Her moaning and begging, her intense grief, were pitiable in the
extreme, and brought tears to the eyes of stout, brawny men. Finally she
seemed completely exhausted with anguish and her exertions and gradually
sank out of sight. My informant said he hoped never to witness another
such sight.

We arrived at the mouth of Harrison river at six o'clock in the evening.
There is a little Indian village there called by the same name as the
river, and Mr. J. Barker keeps a trading post on the reservation, he
being the only white man living there. He made me welcome to the best
accommodations his bachelor quarters afforded, but said the only
sleeping-room he had was full, as two friends from down the river were
stopping with him for the night, and that I would have to lodge with one
of the Indian families. He said there was one _kloochman_ (the Chinook
word for squaw) who was a remarkably neat, cleanly housekeeper, who had
a spare room, and who usually kept any strangers that wished to stop
over night in the village. While we were talking the squaw in question
came in and Mr. Barker said to her:

"Mary, yah-kwa Boston man tik-eh moo-sum me-si-ka house po-lak-le."
(Here is an American who would like to sleep in your house to-night.) To
which she replied:

"Yak-ka hy-ak" (he can come), and the bargain was closed.

I remained at the store and talked with Mr. Barker and his friends until
ten o'clock, when he took a lantern and piloted me over to the Indian
rancherie, where I was to lodge. I took my sleeping-bag with me and
thanked my stars that I did, for notwithstanding the assurances given me
by good Mr. Barker that the Indian woman was as good a housekeeper as
the average white woman, I was afraid of vermin. I have never known an
Indian to be without the hemipterous little insect, _Pediculus_
(_humanus_) _capitis_. Possibly there may be some Indians who do not
wear them; I simply say I have never had the pleasure of knowing one,
and I have known a great many, too. I seriously doubt if one has ever
yet lived many days at a time devoid of the companionship of these
pestiferous little creatures. In fact, an Indian and a louse are natural
allies--boon companions--and are as inseparable as the boarding-house
bed and the bedbug. The red man is so inured to the ravages of his
parasitic companion, so accustomed to have him rustling around on his
person and foraging for grub, that he pays little or no attention to the
insect, and seems hardly to feel its bite.

You will rarely see an Indian scratch his head or, in fact, any portion
of his person, as a white man does when he gets a bite. Lo gives forth
no outward sign that he is thickly settled, and it is only when he sits
or lies down in the hot sun that the inhabitants of his hair and
clothing come to the front; then you may see them crawling about like
roaches in a hotel kitchen. Or, when he has lain down on a board, or
your tent canvas, or any light-colored substance and got up and gone
away, leaving some of his neighbors behind, then you know he is--like
others of his race--the home of a large colony of insects.

When Mary and her husband, George, saw my roll of bedding, which they
supposed to be simply blankets, they protested to Mr. Barker that I
would not need them, that there was "hy-iu mit-lite pa-se-se" (plenty of
covering on the bed). I told them, however, that I could sleep better in
my own blankets and preferred to use them. I took the bundle into my
room, spread the sleeping-bag on the bed and crawled into it. The outer
covering of the bag being of thick, hard canvas, I hoped it would prove
an effectual barrier against the assaults of the vermin, and that they
might not find the portal by which I entered, and so it proved.

George and Mary live in a very well-built, comfortable, one-story frame
cottage, divided into two rooms; the kitchen, dining-room, parlor and
family sleeping-room all in one, and the spare room being the other.
The house has four windows and one door, a shingle roof and a board
floor. They have a cooking-stove, several chairs, a table, cupboard,
etc. The bedstead on which I slept was homemade, but neat and
substantial. It was furnished with a white cotton tick, filled with
straw, feather pillows, several clean-looking blankets, and a pair of
moderately clean cotton sheets. I have slept in much worse-looking beds
in hotels kept by white people.

[Illustration: GEORGE AND MARY.]

This Indian village, Harrison river, or Skowlitz, as the Indians call
both the river and the village, is composed of about twenty families,
living in houses of about the same class and of the same general design
as the one described, although some are slightly larger and better,
while others are not quite so good. All have been built by white
carpenters, or the greater part of the work was done by them, and the
lumber and other materials were manufactured by white men. None of the
dwellings have ever been painted inside or out, but there is a neat
mission church in the village that has been honored with a coat of white
paint. There are a few log shacks standing near, that look very much as
if they had been built by native industry. The frame houses, I am
informed, were erected by the Government and the church by the Catholic
Missionary Society.



CHAPTER VII.


I was not compelled to eat with George and Mary, for Mr. Barker had
kindly invited me to breakfast with him, and when I reached his store,
at the breakfast hour in the morning, I found a neat inviting-looking
table in the room back of the store, loaded with broiled ham, baked
potatoes, good bread and butter, a pot of steaming coffee, etc.; all of
which we enjoyed intensely. Mr. Barker informed me there was a cluster
of hot springs ten miles up the river, at the foot of Harrison Lake, the
source of Harrison river, near which a large hotel had lately been
built. Upon inquiry as to a means of getting up there, I learned that he
had employed a couple of Indians to take some freight up that morning in
a canoe, and that I could probably secure a passage with them. As
Harrison Lake, or rather the mountains surrounding it, were the
hunting-grounds which Douglass Bill had selected, and as we would have
to pass these hot springs en route, I decided to go there and wait for
him. I therefore arranged with Barker to send him up to the springs,
when he should call for me at the store, and took passage in the freight
canoe.

The Harrison river is a large stream that cuts its way through high,
rugged mountains, and the water has a pronounced milky tinge imparted
by the glaciers from which its feeders come, away back in the Cascades.
It is a famous salmon stream, and thousands of these noble fishes, of
mammoth size, that had lately gone up the river and into the small
creeks to spawn, having died from disease, or having been killed in the
terrible rapids they had to encounter, were lying dead on every sand
bar, lodged against every stick of driftwood, or were slowly floating in
the current. Their carcasses lined the shore all along the lower portion
of the river, and the hogs, of which the Indians have large numbers,
were feasting on the putrid masses as voraciously as if they had been
ears of new, sweet corn. The stench emitted by these festering bodies
was nauseating in the extreme; and the water, ordinarily so pure and
palatable, was now totally unfit for use. I counted over one hundred of
these dead fishes on a single sand bar of less than half an acre in
extent. Cruising amid such surroundings was anything but pleasant, and I
was glad the current was slow here so that, though going up stream, we
were able to make good progress, and soon got away from this nauseating
sight.

About a mile above the village we rounded a bend in the river, where it
spread out to nearly a quarter of a mile in width, and on a sand bar in
the middle of the stream, sat a flock of geese. I picked up my rifle and
took a shot at them, but the ball cut a ditch in the water nearly fifty
yards this side, and went singing over their heads into the woods
beyond. They did not seem lo enjoy such music, and taking wing started
for some safer feeding-ground, carrying on a lively conversation in
goose Latin, probably about any fool who would try to kill geese at that
distance. I turned loose on them again, and in about a second after
pulling the trigger one of them seemed to explode, as if hit by a
dynamite bomb. For a few seconds the air was full of fragments of goose,
which rained down into the water like a shower of autumn leaves. My red
companions enjoyed the result of this shot hugely, and a canoe load of
Indians from up river, who were passing at the time, set up a regular
war whoop. We pulled over and got what was left of the goose, and found
that my express bullet had carried away all his stern rigging, his
rudder, one of his paddles, and a considerable portion of his hull. The
water was covered with fragments of sail, provisions of various kinds,
and sundry bits of cargo and hull. Charlie picked up so much of the
wreck as hung together, and said in his broken, laconic English:

[Illustration: DEAD SALMON ON HARRISON RIVER.]

"Dat no good goose gun. Shoot him too much away."

There were plenty of ducks, coots, grebes, and gulls on the river, and I
had fine sport with them whenever I cared to shoot.

A mile above where I killed the goose we entered a long reach of shoal
rapids, where all the brawn and skill of the Indians were required to
stem the powerful current and the immense volume of water. The rapids
are over a mile long, and it took us nearly two hours to reach their
head. As soon as we were well into them we came among large numbers of
live, healthy salmon. Many of them were running down the stream, some
up, while others seemed not to be going anywhere in particular, but
just loafing around, enjoying themselves. They were wild, but, owing to
the water being so rough and rapid, we frequently got within two or
three feet of them before they saw us, and the Indians killed two large
ones with their canoe poles. Occasionally we would corner a whole school
of them in some little pocket, where the water was so shallow that their
dorsal fins would stick out, and where there was no exit but by passing
close to the canoe. When alarmed they would cavort around like a herd of
wild mustangs in a corral, until they would churn the water into a foam;
then, emboldened by their peril, they would flash out past us with the
velocity of an arrow. They were doing a great deal of jumping;
frequently a large fish, two or three feet long, would start across the
stream, and make four or five long, high leaps out of the water, in
rapid succession, only remaining in the water long enough after each
jump to gain momentum for the next. I asked Charlie why they were doing
this, if they were sick, or if something was biting them.

[Illustration: WRECKED BY AN EXPRESS BULLET.]

"No," he said. "Play. All same drunk--raise hell!"

These salmon run up the rivers and creeks to deposit their spawn, and
seem possessed of an insane desire to get as far up into the small
brooks as they possibly can. They frequently pursue their mad course up
over boiling, foaming, roaring rapids, and abrupt, perpendicular falls,
where it would seem impossible for any living creature to go--regardless
of their own safety or comfort. They are often found in dense schools in
little creeks away up near their sources, where there is not water
enough to cover their bodies, and where they become an easy prey to man,
or to wild beasts. In such cases, Indians kill them with spears and
sharp sticks, or even catch and throw them out with their hands.

Or if their journeyings take them among farms or ranches, as is often
the case, the people throw them out on the banks with pitch-forks, and
after supplying their household necessities, they cart the noble fish
away and feed them to their hogs, or even use them to fertilize their
fields. I have seen salmon wedged into some of the small streams until
you could almost walk on them. The banks of many creeks, far up in the
foot-hills, are almost wholly composed of the bones of salmon. In
traveling through dense woods I have often heard, at some distance
ahead, a loud splashing and general commotion in water, as if of a dozen
small boys in bathing. This would, perhaps, be the first intimation I
had that I was near water, and, on approaching the source of the noise,
I have found it to have been made by a school of these lordly salmon,
wedged into one of the little streams, thrashing the creek into suds in
their efforts to get to its head.

After depositing their spawn the poor creatures, already half dead from
bruises and exhaustion incurred in their perilous voyage up stream,
begin to drift down. But how different, now, from the bright, silvery
creatures that once darted like rays of living light through the sea.
Unable to control their movements in the descent, even as well as in the
ascent, they drift at the cruel mercy of the stream. They are driven
against rough bowlders, submerged logs and snags, or through raging
rapids by the fury of the torrent, until hundreds, yes thousands, of
them are killed outright, and thousands more die from sheer exhaustion.

I have seen salmon with their noses broken and torn off; others with a
lower jaw torn away; some with sides, backs, or bellies bruised and
bleeding; others with their tails whipped and split into shreds, and
still others with their entrails torn out by snags. In this sad plight
they are beset at every turn in the river by their natural enemies.
Bears, cougars, minks, wild cats, fishers, eagles, hawks, and worst and
most destructive of all, men, await them everywhere, and it would be
strange, indeed, if one in each thousand that left the salt water should
live to return. The few that do so, are, of course, so weak that they
fall an easy prey to the seals, sharks, and other enemies, that wait
with open mouths to engulf them. So, all the leaping, rushing multitude
that entered the river a few months ago, have, ere this, gone to their
doom, but their seed is planted in the icy brook, far away in the
mountains, and their young will soon come forth to take the place of the
parents that have passed away. The instinct of reproduction must,
indeed, be an absorbing passion in poor dumb creatures, when they will
thus sacrifice life in the effort to deposit their ova where the
offspring may best be brought into being.

[Illustration: INDIAN SPEARING SALMON.]



CHAPTER VIII.


Above the rapids we had a lovely reach of river, from a quarter to half
a mile wide, with no perceptible current. Impelled by our united
efforts, our light cedar canoe shot over the water as lightly and almost
as swiftly as the gulls above us sped through the air. I took one of the
poles and used it while the Indians plied their paddles, and for a
distance of nearly two miles the depth of water did not vary two inches
from four and a half feet. The bottom was composed of a hard, white
sand, into which the pole, with my weight on it, sunk less than an inch;
in fact, the current is so slight, the width of the river so great, and
the general character of the water such, that it might all be termed a
lake above the falls; though the foot of the lake, as designated on the
map, has a still greater widening five miles above the head of the
falls.

Abrupt basaltic walls, 500 to 1,000 feet high and nearly perpendicular,
rise from the water's edge on either side. On the more sloping faces of
these, vegetation has obtained root-room, little bunches of soil have
formed, and various evergreens, alders, water hazels, etc., grow
vigorously. Half a foot of snow had lately fallen on the tops of these
mountains, and a warm, southwest wind and the bright sun were now
sending it down into the river in numerous plunging streams of crystal
fluid. For thousands of years these miniature torrents have, at frequent
intervals, tumbled down here, and in all that time have worn but slight
notches in the rocky walls.

[Illustration: A TRIBUTARY OF THE HARRISON.]

Shrubs have grown up along and over these small waterways, and as the
little rivulets come coursing down, dodging hither and thither under
overhanging clumps of green foliage, leaping from crag to crag and
curving from right to left and from left to right, around and among
frowning projections of invulnerable rock, glinting and sparkling in the
sunlight, they remind one of silvery satin ribbons, tossed by a summer
breeze, among the brown tresses of some winsome maiden. I took several
views of these little waterfalls, but their transcendent beauty can not
be intelligently expressed on a little four-by-five silver print.

Several larger streams also put into the Harrison, that come from remote
fastnesses, and seem to carve their way through great mountains of
granite. Their shores are lined with dense growths of conifers, and
afford choice retreats for deer, bears, and other wild animals.

At three o'clock in the afternoon we rounded a high point of rocks that
jutted out into the river, and another beautiful picture--another
surprise, in this land of surprises--lay before us. Harrison Lake,
nestling among snowy peaks and dotted with basaltic islands, reflected
in its peaceful depths the surrounding mountains as clearly as though
its placid surface had been covered with quicksilver. This lake is about
forty miles long, is fed by the Lillooet river and numerous smaller
streams. Silver creek, which comes in on the west side, twenty miles
north of the hot springs, is a beautiful mountain stream of considerable
size. A quarter of a mile above its mouth, it makes a perpendicular fall
of over sixty feet. It is one of the most beautiful falls in the
country. Near the head of the lake, and in full view from the springs,
old Mount Douglass, clad in perpetual snow and glacial ice, towers into
the blue sky until its brilliancy almost dazzles one's eyes. Though
forty miles away, one who did not know would estimate the distance at
not more than five, so clearly are all the details of the grand picture
shown. It is said that from the glaciers on this peak come the streams
whose waters give their peculiar milky cast to Harrison Lake and
Harrison river. Near the base of Mount Douglass is an Indian village of
the same name, and the Hudson Bay Fur Company formerly had a trading
post in the neighborhood, which they called Fort Douglass. This Indian
village is the home of my prospective guide, and from it he has adopted
his unpoetic cognomen.

Half a mile to the right of where we entered the lake, the famous hot
springs, already mentioned, boil out from under the foot of a mountain,
and discharge their steaming fluid into the lake. The curative power of
these waters has been known to the natives for ages past, and the sick
have come from all directions, and from villages many miles away, to
bathe in the waters and be healed. All about the place are remains of
Indian encampments, medicine lodges, etc. The tribes in this vicinity
are greatly exercised over the fact of the white man having lately
asserted ownership of their great sanitarium, and having assumed its
control. Mr. J. R. Brown has erected over the springs a large
bath-house, and near that a commodious hotel. He has cut a road through
a pass in the mountains to Agassiz station, on the Canadian Pacific
Railway, five miles distant, so that the springs may now be easily
reached by invalids wishing to test their curative properties. Soon
after my arrival at the springs, I climbed the mountain to the east of
the hotel, and passed the time pleasantly, until sunset, viewing the
beautiful scenery in the neighborhood.

On the following morning I took a boat and rowed up the east shore of
the lake, in hope of getting a shot at a deer, but though I saw plenty
of fresh signs all along the shore no game was visible. I spent the
afternoon looking anxiously for my promised guide, but he came not. I
again amused myself, however, taking views of the scenery, but found on
developing the negatives that I had not been eminently successful with
either Mount Douglass or Mount Chiam. Snowy mountains are about the most
difficult objects in all nature to photograph, especially if you attempt
to include anything beside the snowy peaks in the picture; for they are
so intensely white, and the sky or even clouds that form the background
are so light and afford so slight contrast, that it is next to
impossible to get good sharp pictures of them. The landscape about the
mountains is sure to offer some dark objects, perhaps deep shadows, and
even the mountain itself nearly always has bare rocks and dark, gloomy
cañons, and to get these and the dazzling whiteness of the snow and ice
on the same plate is decidedly difficult. Of course we see many fine
photographs of snow-covered mountains, but if taken with a clear sky or
with light clouds for background, there is generally more or less
retouching necessary, and more or less doctoring in printing, with
tissue paper, glass screens, etc., in order to obtain the results we see
in the prints. I made some fair views of both these peaks, but not such
as an enthusiastic amateur might wish. Of the lower mountains, where at
that time there was no snow, of the lake, the islands, etc., I got very
satisfactory pictures. I went up the road, toward the railway station, a
mile or more, where it passes through one of those grand forests for
which this country is so famous, where--

    "Those green-robed senators of mighty woods
    Dream, and so dream all night without a stir."

There I made views of some of the giant cedars, the dense moss-hung
jungles, the great fir trees, etc. In these dark, densely-shaded woods I
had to take off the flying shutter and make time exposures. I gave three
to five seconds to each plate. In the prints the trees and other objects
nearest to the lens are of course over-exposed, but the details in the
shadows and objects in the extreme distance are clearly and beautifully
brought out. For these time exposures I placed the camera on some
convenient log, stump, or stone, in lieu of a tripod. In two instances I
seated the rear end of the instrument on the ground, with the lens
bearing up through the tops of the trees. The whitened trunk and broken,
straggling arms of one great old dead fir--one that has flourished in
this rich soil and drawn sustenance from the moist, ozone-laden
atmosphere of these mountains for hundreds of years, but has lived out
his time and is now going the way of all things earthly--forms the
subject of one of the best and most interesting pictures of the whole
series. The tops of several other trees--birch, maple, etc., that stood
near the fir--are also shown in the picture. It can best be seen and
appreciated by holding it above your head, looking up at it, and
imagining yourself there in the forest, looking up through the tops of
the giant trees into the blue ethereal dome of heaven.



CHAPTER IX.


In the morning I got up early to look for Douglass Bill, thinking and
hoping he might have landed during the night, but no one had seen him
and there was no strange canoe in the harbor. After breakfast, in order
to kill time, I climbed the mountain east of the hotel to a height of
about a thousand feet. It is heavily timbered, and I found plenty of
fresh deer-signs within plain sound of the hammers wielded by the
carpenters at work on the hotel, but failed to get a shot. I returned at
eleven o'clock, but Bill had not yet shown up. Three other Indians were
there, however, with three deer in their canoe, which they had killed on
the opposite side of the lake the day before. I now concluded that Mr.
Major's confidence in Bill was misplaced; that he was not going to keep
his contract, and was, in short, as treacherous, as unreliable, and as
consummate a liar as other Indians; so I entered into negotiations with
these three Indians to get one or two of them to go with me. But they
had planned a trip to New Westminster, to sell their venison, and I
could not induce any one of them to go, though I offered big wages, and
a premium on each head of game I might kill, besides. They said that if
I wished they would take me to their village--which is five miles down
the river--and that there were several good goat hunters there whom I
could get. I accepted their offer of transportation, stepped into the
canoe, and we pulled out. As we entered the shoal water in the river I
asked for a pole, and impelled by it and the three paddles we sped down
the stream at a rapid rate.

There was a cold, disagreeable rain falling and a chilly north wind
blowing. This storm had brought clouds of ducks into the river, among
them several flocks of canvas backs. The Indians, who were using
smooth-bore muskets, killed several of these toothsome fowls. One flock
rose ahead of us and started directly down the river, but by some kind
of native intuition the Indians seemed to know that they would come back
up the opposite shore. They dropped their guns, caught up the paddles
and plied them with such force that every stroke fairly lifted the light
cedar canoe out of the water, and we shot across the river with the
speed of a deer. Sure enough, after flying a hundred yards down stream
the ducks turned and, hugging the shore, undertook to pass up the river
on the other side, but we cut them off, so that they had to pass over
our heads. At this juncture the two muskets carried by the two young men
cracked and three canvas backs dropped, limp and lifeless, into the
water within a few feet of us.

We arrived at the hut occupied by this family at noon. It stands on the
bank of the river, half a mile above the village of Chehalis, and as we
pulled up, two old and two young squaws and nine small Indians, some of
them mere papooses in arms (but not in long clothes--in fact, not in
any clothes worth mentioning), came swarming out to meet us. Their abode
was a shanty about twelve feet square, made by setting four corner posts
into the ground, nailing cross-ribs on, and over these clapboards riven
from the native cedars, and the roof was of the same material. The adult
members of this social alliance had been engaged in catching and drying
salmon during the recent run; the heads, entrails and backbones of which
had been dumped into the river at their very door. There being no
current near the shore they had sunk in barely enough water to cover
them, and lay there rotting and poluting the water used by the family
for drinking and cooking. Cart-loads of this offal were also lying about
the dooryard, and had been trampled into and mixed up with the mud until
the whole outfit stunk like a tanyard.

Within was a picture of filth and squalor that beggars description. The
floor of the hut was of mother earth. A couple of logs with two
clapboards laid across them formed the only seats. On one side was a
pile of brush, hay, and dirty, filthy blankets, indiscriminately mixed,
on which the entire three families slept, presumably in the same
fashion. Near the centre of the hut a small fire struggled for
existence, and that portion of the smoke that was not absorbed by the
people, the drying fish and other objects in the room, escaped through a
hole in the centre of the roof. The children, barefooted and half-naked,
came in out of the rain, mud, and fish carrion, in which they had been
tramping about, and sat or lay on the ground about the fire, looking as
happy as a litter of pigs in a mud hole. On poles, attached by cedar
withes to the rafters, were hung several hundred salmon, absorbing
smoke, carbonic acid gas from the lungs of the human beings beneath, and
steam from the cooking that was going on. It is understood that after
this process has been prolonged for some weeks these once noble fishes
will be fit for the winter food of the Siwash.

Some of the houses in Chehalis are neat frame cottages; in fact, it is a
better-built town, on the whole, than the village of Harrison River
already described; but these better houses all stand back about a
quarter of a mile from the river, and the inhabitants have left them and
gone into the "fish-houses," the clapboard structures, on the immediate
river bank. Some of these shanties are much larger than the one
mentioned above, and in some cases four, five, or even six families hole
up in one of these filthy dens during the fish-curing season.

As a matter of fact, there are salmon of one variety or another in these
larger rivers nearly all the year, but sometimes the weather is too
cold, too wet, or otherwise too disagreable in winter for the noble red
man to fish with comfort, and hence all these preparations for a rainy
day. After the fishes are cured they are hung up in big out-houses set
on posts, or in some cases built high up in the branches of trees, in
order to be entirely out of the reach of rats, minks, or other vermin,
and the members of the commune draw from the stock at will. The coast
Indians live almost wholly on fish, and seem perfectly happy without
flesh, vegetables, or bread, if such be not at hand, though they can eat
plenty of all these when set before them. If one of them kills a deer he
seldom or never eats more of it than the liver, heart, lungs, etc. He
sells the carcass, if within a three days' voyage of a white man who
will buy venison.

[Illustration: SALMON BOXES IN TREES.]

One of the young men already mentioned went with me down to one of the
big fish-houses and called out Pean, a man about fifty years of age, who
he said was a good goat hunter and a good guide. They held a hurried
conversation in their native tongue, at the close of which the young
man said Pean would go with me for two dollars a day. I asked Pean if he
could talk English, and he said "yes," but this proved, in after
experience, to be about the only English word he could speak. He rushed
into the hut, and in about three or four minutes returned with his gun,
powder-horn, bullet-pouch, pipe, and a small roll of blankets, and was
ready for a journey into the mountains of, he knew not how many days.
His canoe was on the river bank near us, and as we were stepping into it
I asked him a few questions which he tried to answer in English, but
made a poor stagger at it, and slid off into Chinook.

Just then another old Indian came up with a canoe-load of wood. I asked
him if he could speak English--"wah-wah King George"; and he said "Yes."

I then told him I had hired this other man to go hunting with me and
asked him if he knew him.

"Oh, yes," he said; "me chief here. All dese house my house. All dese
people my people. No other chief here." I said I was delighted to know
him, shook hands with him, gave him a cigar, and inquired his name.

"Captain George," he said; "me chief here."

"Is he a good hunter?" pointing to Pean.

"Yes, Pean good hunter; good man. He kill plenty sheep, deer, bear."
With this additional certificate of efficiency and good character I felt
more confidence in Pean, and stepping into the canoe was once more _en
route_ to the mountains.

Still, I felt some misgivings, for my past experience with the fish
eaters had taught me not to place implicit faith in their statements or
pretensions, and the sequel will show how well grounded these fears
were.



CHAPTER X.


The Flathead nation, to which nearly all the Puget Sound Indians belong,
may almost be termed amphibians; for though they can, and do in some
cases, live inland exclusively, they are never happy when away from the
water. They are canoeists by birth and education. A coast Indian is as
helpless and miserable without a canoe as a plains Indian without a
horse, and the Siwash (Chinook for coast Indian) is as expert in the use
of the canoe as the Sioux, Crow, or Arapahoe in the use and control of
his cayuse. Almost the sole means of travel, of intercommunication among
these people, and between themselves and the whites, is the canoe.

There are very few horses owned in any of the coast tribes, and these
are rarely ridden. When a Siwash attempts to ride a horse he climbs onto
it kicking and grunting with the effort, much as an Alabama negro mounts
his mule, and sits him about as gracefully. But let the Siwash step into
his canoe, and he fears no rapid, whirlpool, nor stormy billow. He faces
the most perilous water and sends his frail cedar shell into it with a
skill and a consciousness of mastery that would put to the blush any of
the prize winners in our Eastern canoe-club regattas. The canoes are
models of nautical architecture. They are cut and carved from the cedar
trees which bounteous Nature, in wise provision for the wants of Her
children, has caused to grow so plentifully and to such prodigious size
in the Sound country. They are of various sizes and lengths, owing to
the uses for which they are intended. If for spearing salmon or for
light traveling, they are cut from a tree twenty to twenty-four inches
in diameter, and are not more than twelve to fifteen feet long. If for
attending nets and bringing in the catch, they are generally longer, and
if for freighting and long-distance traveling, they are of immense size
and capable of carrying great burdens. A tree of the size wanted is
selected, perfectly sound and free from knots, and a log of the desired
length cut off. The log is hollowed, carved out to the desired shape,
then trimmed and tapered outside until it is a mere shell, scarcely more
than an inch thick anywhere.

[Illustration: AN OCCIDENTAL GONDOLA.]

It is then filled with water, a fire is built near in which rocks are
heated and thrown into the canoe until the water boils. This is
continued until the wood is thoroughly cooked and softened, when the
water is turned out, the canoe is spread at the centre, braced out to
nearly twice its natural width or diameter, and left to dry. This gives
it "sheer" and enables it to ride a heavy sea like a lifeboat.
Handsomely carved figureheads are attached to some of the large canoes,
and the entire craft is painted, striped, and decorated in gay colors.
I measured one of these cedar canoes that was thirty-four feet long and
five and a half feet beam, and was told by its owner that he had carried
in it four tons of freight on one trip, and two cords of green wood on
another. It would carry fifty men comfortably and safely. There are not
many of the Indians that can make the larger and better grade of canoes,
and the trade is one that but few master.

There is one famous old canoe builder near Vancouver, to whom Indians go
from distances of a hundred miles or more when they want an extra fine,
large, light canoe. For some specimens of his handiwork he gets as high
as $80 to $100. The Indians throughout Washington Territory and British
Columbia do considerable freighting for whites, on streams not navigable
for steamers, and they take freight up over some of the rapids where no
white man could run an empty canoe.

Some of these Flatheads are industrious and are employed by the whites
in salmon canneries, lumbering and logging operations, farming, etc.
Steamboat men employ them almost exclusively for deck hands, and they
make the best ones to be had in the country; better than either whites
or Chinamen. They are excellent packers by education. In this
densely-timbered country horses can not, as a rule, be used for packing,
and the Indians, in going across country where there is no watercourse,
pack all their plunder on their backs. Whites traveling in the woods
also depend on Indians to pack their luggage; consequently it is not
strange that the latter become experts at the business, and it is this
schooling that makes them valuable as deck hands. They are not large
men, but are tough, sinewy, and muscular. An average Siwash will pick up
a barrel of flour or pork, a case of dry goods, or other heavy freight
weighing three hundred pounds or more, roll it onto his back, and walk
up a gang-plank or a steep river-bank as easily as a white man would
with a barrel of crackers.

No work is too dirty or too hard for them. They are obedient to orders
and submissive to discipline, but their weak point, like that of all
Indians, is their inordinate love of whisky. Quite frequently, after
working a few weeks or months, they quit and go on a drunken debauch
that ends only when their money is gone. Their dress is much the same,
in general, as that of the whites in this region, with the exception
that the Indians wear moccasins when hunting. This footgear is little in
favor here with white hunters, owing to there being so much rainfall,
and so much wading to do. Rubber boots are indispensable for hunting in
most seasons, and a rubber coat should also be included in every
hunter's outfit. I found the Hannaford ventilated rubber boot the most
comfortable and perfect footgear I have ever worn. You can scarcely walk
a mile in any direction in this country at any time of year, on
mountains or lowlands, without encountering water. Moccasins soon become
soaked, and are then the most uncomfortable things imaginable. I asked
one of my guides why he did not wear rubber boots instead of moccasins,
and he replied:

"O, I dunno. De moxicans cheaper, mebbe. I mek him myself. Can't mek de
boots."

This is about the only use the Indians make of buckskin. It is not
popular with them as a material for clothing, on account of the vast
amount of rainy weather.

It has been said they make cloth from the wool of the goat, but, so far
as I could learn, they make very little, if any of it, of late years. I
saw some blankets that Indians had woven from this wool, but they were
very coarse. They have no machinery for spinning; the yarn is merely
twisted by hand, and is so coarse and loose that it would not hold
together a week if made into a garment and worn in the woods. Of course,
a fair article of yarn, and even cloth, may be, and has been, made
entirely by hand, but these people have neither the skill, the taste,
nor the industry to enable them to do such work. A coarse hair grows
with the wool on the goat, and the squaws do not even take the trouble
to separate it, but work both up together, making a very uncouth-looking
fabric, even if thick, warm, and serviceable.

As a class, these Indians appear to be strictly honest, toward each
other at least. They leave their canoes, guns, game, or in fact, any
kind of property, anywhere they choose, without the slightest effort at
concealment, and always feel perfectly sure of finding it on their
return. About the only case of pilfering I ever heard of, while among
them (and I took special pains to investigate) was when John asked me
for some fish-hooks, and said in explanation:

"I had plenty hooks, but I reckon Seemo he steal all my hooks."

"Why, does Seymour steal?" I inquired. He looked all around to see if
Seymour was within hearing, and not seeing him, replied:

"You bet. He steal my hooks, too."

[Illustration: A SIWASH AND HIS MORNING'S CATCH.]

[Illustration: AN INDIAN SALMON FISHERY.]



CHAPTER XI.


I had left my bedding at the Hot Springs Hotel, and returning to get it
staid there all night. Early next morning (Friday, November 12) we
crossed Harrison Lake, in a drenching rain, to the foot of a high
mountain, about two miles from the springs, on which Pean, Captain
George, and other Indians said there were plenty of goats. We beached
our canoe, and made up packs for the climb up the mountain. The outfit
consisted of our guns, my sleeping-bag, Pean's gun and blankets, a few
sea biscuits, a piece of bacon, and some salt.

My sleeping-bag was wrapped up in a piece of canvas, and when I handed
it to Pean, he commenced to unroll it to put his blankets in with it,
but I objected. Visions of the insects with which I knew his bedding was
inhabited rose up before me. I thought of the rotary drill, key-hole
saw, and suction pump with which they are said to be armed, and I did
not want any of them in my bag. So I unrolled the canvas only a part of
its length, laid his blankets in and rolled it up again, hoping the
remaining folds might prevent the vermin from finding their way in, and
my reckoning proved correct. One of his blankets had been white in its
day, but had long since lost its grip on that color, and was now about
as pronounced a brunette as its owner. The other blanket was gray, but
even through this sombre shade, as well as through the rank odor it
emitted, gave evidence that it had not been washed for many years. Pean
brought with him a cotton bedspread that had also once been white, but
left this with the canoe. In my pack I carried the grub, and an extra
coat for use on the mountain, where we expected to encounter colder
weather.

We started up the mountain at ten o'clock in the forenoon. For the first
two miles we skirted its base to the eastward, through dense timber,
crossing several deep, dark jungles and swamps. Then we began the ascent
proper, and as soon as we got up a few hundred feet on the mountain
side, we found numerous fresh deer-signs. We halted to rest, when Pean
took from its case his gun, which up to this time he had kept covered,
and which I naturally supposed to be a good, modern weapon. It proved,
however, an old smooth bore, muzzle-loading, percussion-lock musket, of
.65 calibre, with a barrel about fifty inches long. He drew out the
wiping stick, on the end of which was a wormer, pulled a wad of paper
from the gun and poured a charge of shot out into his hand. This he put
carefully into his shot-bag. Then he took from another pouch a No. 1
buckshot, and dropped it into the muzzle of his musket. It rolled down
onto the powder, when he again inserted the bunch of paper, rammed it
home with the rod, put on a cap, and was loaded for bear, deer, or
whatever else he might encounter. He then replaced the musket in its
sealskin cover as carefully as if it had been a $300 breech-loader.

Nearly all these Indians use just such old muskets, bought from the
Hudson Bay Company, and yet they keep them in covers made of the skin of
the seal, which they kill in the rivers hereabout, or of deer or other
animals. They take excellent care of their guns in this respect, but I
have never seen one of them clean or oil his weapon, and several of them
told me they seldom do so.

My Winchester express, with fancy stock, Lyman sight, etc., was a
curiosity to them. None of them had ever seen anything like it, and one
of them asked me what kind of a rifle it was. When told it was a
Winchester, he said:

"I didn't know Winchester so big like dat. Didn't know he had stock like
dat." He had only seen the little .44 Winchester, with a plain stock,
and innocently supposed it was the only kind made.

Pean and I had a hard day's work toiling up the mountain through fallen
timber, over and around great ledges of jutting rock, across deep,
rugged cañons and gulches, and through dense jungles of underbrush.
About two o'clock in the afternoon we halted, lay down for a rest, and
had been there but a few minutes when I heard the sharp, familiar
chatter of the little pine squirrel. I looked around quickly, expecting
to see one within a few feet of me, but instead saw Pean lying close to
the ground, beckoning to me and pointing excitedly up the game trail in
which we had been walking. Looking through the thick, intervening brush,
I saw two deer, a buck and a doe, looking toward us. They had not seen
nor scented us, but had merely heard the chatter of the little squirrel,
as they supposed, and, though apparently as completely deceived by it as
I had been, they had stopped to listen, as they do at almost every sound
they hear in the woods. But there was no squirrel there. Pean had taken
this method of calling my attention, and had imitated the cry of the
familiar little cone-eater so perfectly that even the deer had been
deceived by it.

I cautiously and slowly drew my rifle to my shoulder, and taking aim at
the breast of the buck, fired. Both deer bounded away into thicker
brush, and were out of sight in an instant. Pean sprang after them, and
in a few minutes I heard the dull, muffled report of his musket. He
shouted to me, and going to him I found the buck dead and the Indian
engaged in butchering it. My bullet had gone a little farther to the
left than I intended, breaking its shoulder, and had passed out through
the ribs on the same side. The deer had fallen after going but a few
yards, but was not quite dead when Pean came up and shot it through the
head. We took out the entrails, cut a choice roast of the meat for our
supper and breakfast, and hurried on our way.

We camped at four o'clock on a small bench of the mountain, and you may
rest assured, gentle reader, that our conversation in front of the camp
fire that night was novel. Pean, you will remember, could not speak half
a dozen words of English. He spoke entirely in Chinook, and I knew but a
few words of that jargon. I had a Chinook dictionary with me, however,
and by its aid was able to pick out the few words necessary in what
little talking I had to do, and to translate enough of Pean's answers to
my questions to get along fairly well. The great trouble with him seemed
to be that he was wound up to talk, and whenever I made a remark or
asked a question in his adopted language he turned loose, and talked
until I shut him off with "Halo kumtucks" (I don't understand). No
matter how often I repeated this he seemed soon to forget it, and would
open on me again whenever he got a cue. He was a fluent talker, and if I
had only been well up in the jargon, I could have got lots of pointers
from him.

The deer of this region is the true black-tail (_Cervus columbianus_),
not the mule-deer (_Cervus macrotis_), that is so often miscalled the
black-tail. The black-tail is smaller than the mule-deer, and its ears,
though not so large as those of the latter, are larger than those of the
Virginia deer (_Cervus virginianus_). Its tail is white underneath, dark
outside, shading to black at the lower end, and while longer than that
of the mule-deer, is not so long as that of the Virginia deer.



CHAPTER XII.


Chinook is a queer jargon. It is said to have been manufactured many
years ago by an employé of the Hudson Bay Fur Company, who taught the
principal chiefs of various Indian tribes to speak it in order to
facilitate traffic with them. From that time it has grown and spread
until almost every Indian of the North Pacific Coast, and many inland
tribes of Washington, British Columbia, and Oregon speak it. White men
of all nations who live in this country speak it, and even the
almond-eyed Chinaman learns it soon after locating here. In short, it is
the court language of the Northwest, as the sign language is of the
plains. It is made up from various Indian tongues, with a few English,
or rather pigeon-English, French, and Spanish words intermixed. There
are only about 1,500 words in the language and it is very easy to learn.
Of course, it is woefully lacking in strength and beauty. You will often
want to say something that can not be said in Chinook, because there are
no words in that jargon with which to say it. But it is made to answer
the purposes of trade, travel, and barter, in common forms. For
instance:

"Kah-tah si-ah ko-pa Frazer chuck?" would be, "How far is it to the
Frazer river?"

"Yutes kut klat-a-wa la-pe-a," "Only a short walk." If you wish to say
good-morning or good-evening to an Indian you say:

"Kla-how-ya, six."

"Chah-co yah-wa" is "Come here."

"Mi-ka tik-eh mam-ook?" "Do you want to work?"

"Ik-ta mi-ka mam-ook?" "At what?"

"Mam-ook stick." "Cut some wood."

"Na-wit-ka." "Certainly."

"Kon-si dat-la spose mi-ka mam-ook kon-a-way o-koke stick?" "What do you
want for cutting that lot of wood?"

"Ikt dol la." "One dollar."

The numerals are ikt (one), mox (two), klone (three), lock-it (four),
kwin-num (five), tagh-kum (six), sin-na mox (seven), sto te-kin (eight),
twaist (nine), tah-tlum (ten), tah-tlum pee-ikt (eleven), tah-tlum
pee-mox (twelve), mox-tah tlum (twenty), klone tah-tlum (thirty), ikt
tali-kamo-nux (one hundred), tah-tlum to-ka mo-mik (one thousand), etc.
It is often difficult to get accurate information from these Indians as
to distances or time, as they have little idea of English miles or of
the measurements of time, and very few of them own or know how to read a
watch or clock. Under Pean's tutelage I learned rapidly, and was soon
able to carry on quite an interesting conversation by the aid of the
little dictionary.

By the light of a rousing camp-fire I cut a large quantity of cedar
boughs and made for myself a bed a foot deep. On this I spread my
sleeping-bag, crawled into it and slept the sleep of the weary hunter.
Pean cut only a handful of boughs, spread them near the fire, threw his
coat over them, and lay down. Then he folded his two blankets and spread
them over him, mostly on the side away from the fire, leaving that part
of his body next to the fire exposed so as to catch its heat direct.
During the night, whenever he turned over, he would shift his blankets
so as to keep them where most needed. At frequent intervals he would get
up and replenish the fire from the large supply of dry wood we had
provided. The night was bitter cold, at this high altitude, and snow
fell at frequent intervals. A raw wind blew, and the old man must have
suffered from the cold to which he exposed himself.

There are few of these savages that understand and appreciate fully the
value of a good bed when camping. In fact, many white hunters and
mountaineers go on long camping trips with insufficient bedding, simply
because they are too lazy to carry enough to keep them comfortable. I
would rather get into a good warm, soft bed at night without my supper,
than eat a feast and then sleep on the hard ground, without covering
enough to keep me warm. After a hard day's work a good bed is absolutely
necessary to prepare one for the labor and fatigue of the following day.

    "In bed we laugh, in bed we cry,
    And born in bed, in bed we die;
    The near approach, a bed may show,
    Of human bliss to human woe."

Any ablebodied man may endure a few nights of cold, comfortless sleep,
but it will tell on him sooner or later; while if he sleep comfortably
and eat heartily, he may endure an incredible amount of labor and
hardship of other kinds. You may tramp all day with your feet wet, and
all your clothing wet, if need be, but be sure you crawl into a good,
warm, dry bed at night.

Old Pean complained of feeling unwell during the evening, and in the
morning when we got up said he was sick. I prepared a good breakfast,
but he could not, or at least would not, eat. Then he told me that he
had once fallen down a mountain; that his breast-bone had been crushed
in by striking on a sharp rock, and that it always hurt him since when
doing any hard work. He said the climb up the mountain with the pack was
too hard for him and he was played out, that he could go no farther.

Here was another bitter disappointment, as we were yet two miles from
the top of the mountain, and in going that distance a perpendicular
ascent of from 2,000 to 3,000 feet must be made. I deliberated,
therefore, as to whether I should go up the mountain alone and let Pean
go back, but decided it would be useless. I could not carry more load
than my sleeping-bag, gun, etc., and therefore could bring no game down
with me if I killed it, not even a head or skin. Beside, if he went back
he would take his canoe, and I would be left with no means of crossing
the lake. So the only thing to be done was to pack up and retrace our
steps. On our way down we stopped and took the head and skin off of the
deer killed the day before, and I carried them to the canoe. Arriving at
the lake, we pulled again for Chehalis in a cold, disagreeable rain. I
stopped at the hot springs on my way down, and took my leave of my
host, Mr. Brown, who had been so kind to me, and who regretted my ill
luck almost as much as I did.



CHAPTER XIII.


On our return to Chehalis--that town of unsavory odors and
salmon-drying, salmon-smoking Siwashes--I at once employed two other
Indians, named John and Seymour, and, on the following day we started up
Ski-ik-kul Creek, to a lake of the same name, in which it heads ten
miles back in the mountains. The Indians claimed that goats, or sheep,
as they call them, were plentiful on the cliffs surrounding this lake,
and that we could kill plenty of them from a raft while floating up and
down along the shores. Seymour claimed to have killed twenty-three in
March last, just after the winter snows had gone off, and a party of
seven Siwashes from Chehalis had killed ten about two weeks previous to
the date of my visit.

Such glowing accounts as these built up my hopes again to such a height
as to banish from my mind all recollection of the bitter disappointment
in which the former expedition had ended, and, although the rain
continued to fall heavily at short intervals, so that the underbrush
reeked with dampness and drenching showers fell from every bush we
touched, I trudged cheerily along regardless of all discomforts.

The first two miles up the creek, we had a good, open trail, but at the
end of this we climbed a steep, rocky bluff, about 500 feet high, and
made the greater portion of the remaining distance at an average of
about this height above the stream. There was a blind Indian trail all
the way to the lake, but it led over the roughest, most tortuous,
outlandish country that ever any fool of a goat hunter attempted to
traverse. There are marshes and morasses away up among these mountains,
where alders and water beeches, manzanitas, and other shrubs grow so
thick that their branches intertwine to nearly their full length. Many
of these have fallen down in various directions, and their trunks are as
inextricably mixed as their branches, forming altogether a labyrinthine
mass, through which it was with the utmost difficulty we could walk at
all.

There were numberless little creeks coming down from the mountain into
the main stream, and each had in time cut its deep, narrow gulch, or
cañon, lined on both sides with rough, shapeless masses of rock, and all
these we were obliged to cross. In many cases, they were so close
together that only a sharp hog-back lay between them, and we merely
climbed out of one gulch 300 or 400 feet deep, to go at once down into
another still deeper, and so on. Fire had run through a large tract of
this country, killing out all the large timber, and many trees have
since rotted away and fallen, while the blackened and barkless trunks of
others, with here and there a craggy limb, still stand as mute monuments
to the glory of the forest before the dread element laid it waste.

We camped that night at the base of one of these great dead firs around
which lay a cord or more of old dry bark that had fallen from it, and
which, with a few dry logs we gathered, furnished fuel for a rousing,
all-night fire. Within a few feet of our camp, a clear, ice-cold little
rivulet threaded its serpentine way down among rocks and ferns, and made
sweet music to lull us to sleep. After supper, I made for myself the
usual bed of mountain feathers (cedar boughs), on which to spread my
sleeping-bag.

This old companion of so many rough jaunts, over plains and mountains,
has become as necessary a part of my outfit for such voyages as my
rifle. Whether it journey by day, on the hurricane deck of a mule, in
the hatchway of a canoe, on my shoulder blades or those of a Siwash, it
always rounds up at night to house me against the bleak wind, the
driving snow, or pouring rain. I have learned to prize it so highly that
I can appreciate the sentiments of the fallen monarch, Napoleon, on the
lonely island of St. Helena, when he wrote:

"The bed has become a place of luxury to me. I would not exchange it for
all the thrones in the world."

These Indians, like Pean, and, in fact, all others who have seen the
bag, are greatly interested in it. They had never seen anything like it,
and watched with undisguised interest the unfolding and preparing of the
article, and when I had crawled into it, and stowed myself snugly away,
they looked at each other, grunted and uttered a few of their peculiar
guttural sounds, which I imagined would be, if translated:

"Well, I'll be doggoned if that ain't about the sleekest trick I ever
saw. Eh?"

"You bet it's nice to sleep in, but heavy to carry."

[Illustration: DIAGRAM OF SLEEPING-BAG.]

By the way, some of my readers may never have seen one of these valuable
camp appendages, and a description of it may interest them. The outer
bag is made of heavy, brown, waterproof canvas, six feet long, three
feet wide in the centre, tapered to two feet at the head and sixteen
inches at the foot. Above the head of the bag proper, flaps project a
foot farther, with which the occupant's head may be completely covered,
if desired. These are provided with buttons and button-holes, so that
they may be buttoned clear across, for stormy or very cold weather. The
bag is left open, from the head down one edge, two feet, and a flap is
provided to lap over this opening. Buttons are sewed on the bag, and
there are button-holes in the flaps so it may also be buttoned up
tightly. Inside of this canvas bag is another of the same size and
shape, less the head flaps. This is made of lamb skin with the wool on,
and is lined with ordinary sheeting, to keep the wool from coming in
direct contact with the person or clothing. One or more pairs of
blankets may be folded and inserted in this, as may be necessary, for
any temperature in which it is to be used.

If the weather be warm, so that not all this covering is needed over the
sleeper, he may shift it to suit the weather and his taste, crawling in
on top of as much of it as he may wish, and the less he has over him the
more he will have under him, and the softer will be his bed. Beside
being waterproof, the canvas is windproof, and one can button himself up
in this house, leaving only an air-hole at the end of his nose, and
sleep as soundly, and almost as comfortably in a snowdrift on the
prairie as in a tent or house. In short, he may be absolutely at home,
and comfortable, wherever night finds him, and no matter what horrid
nightmares he may have, he can not roll out of bed or kick off the
covers.

Nor will he catch a draft of cold air along the north edge of his spine
every time he turns over, as he is liable to do when sleeping in
blankets. Nor will his feet crawl out from under the cover and catch
chilblains, as they are liable to do in the old-fashioned way. In fact,
this sleeping-bag is one of the greatest luxuries I ever took into camp,
and if any brother sportsman who may read this wants one, and can not
find an architect in his neighborhood capable of building one, let him
communicate with me and I will tell him where mine was made.



CHAPTER XIV.


Long after the Indians went to sleep I lay there, looking into the fire
and thinking. Many and varied were the fancies that chased each other
through my restless brain--some pleasant, some unpleasant. I pondered on
the novelty, even the danger, of my situation. I was away up there in
that wild, trackless, mountain wilderness, alone, so far as any
congenial companionship was concerned. Yes, I was worse than alone, for
the moment I might close my eyes and sleep I would be at the mercy of
these two reckless red men. True, they are not of a courageous, warlike
race, but what might they not do for the sake of plunder? They could
crush my skull at a blow and conceal my body beyond all possibility of
discovery; or they could leave it and, saying I had killed myself by a
fall, reveal its resting place to anyone who might care to go in search
of me. I had some property with me, especially my rifle, sleeping-bag,
and a small sum of money, that I knew they coveted, and I reflected that
they might already have concocted some foul scheme for disposing of me
and getting possession of my effects.

In their native tongue of strange, weird gutturals, hisses, and
aspirations, they had conversed all the evening of--I knew not what.
John had rather an honest, frank face, that I thought bespoke a good
heart, but Seymour had a dark, repulsive countenance that plainly
indicated a treacherous nature. From the first I had made up my mind
that he was a thief, if nothing worse. He pretended not to be able to
speak or understand English, although I knew he could. John spoke our
tongue fairly, and through him all communication with either or both was
held. Should they contemplate any violence I would welcome them both to
an encounter, if only I could have notice of it a second in advance.
Their two old smooth-bore muskets would cut no figure against the deadly
stream of fire that my Winchester express could pour forth. But I
dreaded the treachery, the stealth, the silent midnight assault that is
a characteristic of their race. Yet, on further consideration, I
dismissed all such forebodings as purely chimerical. These were
civilized Indians, living within the sound of the whistle of a railroad
engine, and would hardly be willing to place themselves within the toils
of the law, by the commission of such a crime, even if they had the
courage or the desire to do it, and I hoped they had neither.

Then my fancies turned to the contemplation of pleasanter themes. I
thought of the dear little black-eyed woman, whom I had parted with on
board the steamer nearly a week ago. She is homeward-bound and must now
be speeding over the Dakota or Minnesota prairies, well on toward St.
Paul. Will she reach home in safety? God grant it--and that in due time
I may be permitted to join her there. Then other familiar images passed
and repassed my mental ken. The kind acts of dear friends, the
hospitalities shown me by strangers and passing acquaintances in distant
lands and in years long agone came trooping through my memory, and a
feeling of gratitude for those kindnesses supplanted for the time that
of solitude. Gradually and sweetly I sank into a profound slumber and
all was stillness and oblivion.

Several hours, perhaps, have passed, and I am thirsty. I get up and
start to the little brook for water; to reach it a log, lying across a
deep fissure in the rocks, must be scaled. With no thought of danger I
essay the task by the dying fire's uncertain light and that of the
twinkling stars. I have not counted on the heavy covering of frost that
has been deposited on the log since dark, and stepping out upon the
barkless part of the trunk, my moccasins slip, and with a shriek and a
wild but unsuccessful grasp at an overhanging limb I fall twenty feet
and land on the mass of broken and jagged granite beneath! The Indians,
alarmed by my cries, spring to my relief, carry me to the fire, give me
stimulants, bind up my broken arm, and do all in their power to
alleviate my sufferings.

They are not the crafty villains and assassins that my fancy had
painted. They are kind, sympathetic friends. I realize that my right
collar-bone and three ribs on the same side are broken, and when I
remember where I am, the deplorableness and utter helplessness of my
condition appal me.

[Illustration: EN ROUTE TO THE INDIAN VILLAGE.]

The long hours until daylight drag slowly by, and at last, as the sun
tips the distant mountain tops with golden light, we start on our
perilous and painful journey to the Indian village and to the steamboat
landing. The two red men have rigged a litter from poles and blankets,
on which they carry me safely to their homes, and thence in a canoe to
the landing below. How the long, tedious journey thence, by steamer and
rail, to my own home is accomplished; how the weary days and nights of
suffering and delirium which I endure _en route_ were passed, are
subjects too painful to dwell upon. I am finally assisted from the
sleeper at my destination. My wife, whom the wire has informed of my
misfortune and my coming, is there. She greets me with that fervent
love, that intensity of pity and emotion that only a wife can feel. Her
lips move, but her tongue is paralyzed. For the time she can not speak;
the wells of her grief have gone dry; she can not weep; she can only
act. I am taken to my home, and the suspense, the anxiety, having been
lived out, the climax having been reached and passed I swoon away. Again
the surgeon appears to be racking me with pain in an effort to set the
broken ribs, and seems to be making an incision in my side for that
purpose, when I awake.

The stars shone brightly above me, the frost on the leaves sparkled
brightly in the fire-light. It took me several minutes to realize that I
had been dreaming. I searched for the cause of the acute pain in my
side, and found it to be the sharp point of a rock that my cedar boughs
had not sufficiently covered and which was trying to get in between two
of my ribs. I got up, removed it and slept better through the remainder
of the night.



CHAPTER XV.


Ski-ik-kul, or Chehalis Creek, as the whites call it, is surely one of
the most beautiful streams in the whole Cascade Range. Its size may be
stated, approximately, as two feet in depth by fifty feet in width, at
or near the mouth, but its course is so crooked, so tortuous, and its
bed so broken and uneven that the explorer will seldom find a reach of
it sufficiently quiet and undisturbed to afford a measurement of this
character. At one point it is choked into a narrow gorge ten feet wide
and twice as deep, with a fall of ten feet in a distance of thirty.
Through this notch the stream surges and swirls with the wild fury, the
fearful power, and the awe-inspiring grandeur of a tornado. At another
place it runs more placidly for a few yards, as if to gather strength
and courage for a wild leap over a sheer wall of frowning rock into a
foaming pool thirty, forty, or fifty feet below. At still another place
it seems to carve its way, by the sheer power of madness, through piles
and walls of broken and disordered quartz, granite, or basalt, even as
Cortes and his handful of Spanish cavaliers hewed their way through the
massed legions of Aztecs at Tlascala.

Farther up, or down, it is split into various channels by great masses
of upheaved rock, and these miniature streams, after winding hither and
thither through deep, dark, narrow fissures for perhaps one or two
hundred yards, reunite to form this headlong mountain torrent. Viewing
these scenes, one is forcibly reminded of the poet's words:

    "How the giant element,
    From rock to rock, leaps with delirious bound."

Series of cascades, a quarter to half a mile long, are met with at
frequent intervals, which rival in their beauty and magnificence those
of the Columbia or the Upper Yellowstone. Whirlpools occur at the foot
of some of these, in which the clear, bright green water boils,
sparkles, and effervesces like vast reservoirs of champagne. The
moanings and roarings emitted by this matchless stream in its mad career
may be heard in places half a mile. At many points its banks rise almost
perpendicularly to heights of 300, 400, or 500 feet. You may stand so
nearly over the water that you can easily toss a large rock into it, and
yet you are far above the tops of the massive firs and cedars that grow
at the water's edge. Looking down from these heights you may see in the
crystal fluid whole schools of the lordly salmon plowing their way up
against the almost resistless fury of the current, leaping through the
foam, striking with stunning force against hidden rocks, falling back
half dead, and, drifting into some clear pool below, recovering strength
to renew the hopeless assault.

The time will come when an easy roadway, and possibly an iron one, will
be built up this grand cañon, and thousands of tourists will annually
stand within its walls to gaze upon these magic pictures, absorbed in
their grandeur and romantic beauty. Nor does the main stream afford the
only objects of beauty and interest here. It is a diamond set in a
cluster of diamonds, for many of the little brooks, already mentioned as
coming down the mountain on either side, are only less attractive
because smaller. Many of them tumble from the tops of rocky walls, and
dance down among the branches of evergreen trees, sparkling like ribbons
of silver in the rays of the noonday sun.

Theodore Roosevelt, in his excellent work, "Hunting Trips of a
Ranchman;" says: "Thirst is largely a matter of habit." So it may be,
but I am sadly addicted to the habit, and I found it one from which, on
this trip, I was able to extract a great deal of comfort, for we crossed
one or more of these little brooks every hour, and I rarely passed one
without taking a copious draught of its icy fluid. The days, were
moderately warm, and the hard labor we performed, walking and climbing,
made these frequent opportunities to quench thirst one of the most
pleasant features of the journey. I was frequently reminded of Cole's
beautiful tribute to the mountain brook:

          "Sleeping in crystal wells,
          Leaping in shady dells,
          Or issuing clear from the womb of the mountain,
          Sky-mated, related, earth's holiest daughter;
          Not the hot kiss of wine,
    Is half so divine as the sip of thy lip, inspiring cold water."

We arrived at our destination, the foot of Ski-ik-kul Lake (and the
source of the creek up which we had been traveling), at four o'clock in
the afternoon of the second day out. We made camp on the bank of the
creek, and John and I engaged in gathering a supply of wood. After we
had been thus occupied for ten or fifteen minutes, I noticed that
Seymour was nowhere in sight, and asked John where he was.

"He try spear salmon."

"What will he spear him with?" I said. "Sharp stick?"

"No. He bring spear in him pocket," said John.

We were standing on the bank of the creek again, and as he spoke there
was a crashing in the brush overhead, and an immense salmon, nearly
three feet long, landed on the ground between us. Seymour had indeed
brought a spear with him in his pocket. It was made of a fence-nail and
two pieces of goat horn, with a strong cord about four feet long
attached. There was a sort of socket in the upper end of it, and the
points of the two pieces of horn were formed into barbs. As soon as
Seymour had dropped his pack he had picked up a long, dry, cedar pole,
one end of which he had sharpened and inserted between the barbs,
fastening the string so that when he should strike a fish the spear
point would pull off. With this simple weapon in hand he had walked out
on the vast body of driftwood with which the creek is bridged for half a
mile below the lake, and peering down between the logs, had found and
killed the fish. We made a fire in the hollow of a great cedar that
stood at the water's edge. The tree was green, but the fire soon ate a
large hole into the central cavity, and, by frequent feeding with dry
wood, we had a fire that roared and crackled like a great furnace, all
night. It

    "Kindled the gummy bark of fir or pine,
    And sent a comfortable heat from far,
    Which might supply the sun."

[Illustration: SUPPER FOR THREE-SAUMON RÔTI.]

Seymour cut off the salmon's head, split the body down the back, and
took out the spine. Then he spread the fish out and put skewers through
it to hold it flat. He next cut a stick about four feet long, split it
half its length, tied a cedar withe around to keep it from splitting
further, and inserting the fish in the aperture, tied another withe
around the upper end. He now stuck the other end of the stick into the
ground in front of the fire, and our supper was under way.

I have often been reduced to the necessity of eating grub cooked by
Indians, both squaws and men, and can place my hand on my heart and say
truthfully I never hankered after Indian cookery. In fact, I have always
eaten it with a mental reservation, and a quiet, perhaps unuttered
protest, but I counted the minutes while that fish cooked. I knew
Seymour was no more cleanly in his habits than his kin--in fact, he
would not have washed his hands before commencing, nor the fish after
removing its entrails, had I not watched him and made him do so; but
even if he had not I should not have refused to eat, for when a man has
been climbing mountains all day he can not afford to be too scrupulous
in regard to his food. When the fish was thoroughly roasted on one side
the other was turned to the fire, and finally, when done to a turn, it
was laid smoking hot on a platter of cedar boughs which I had prepared,
and the savory odors it emitted would have tempted the palate of an
epicure. I took out my hunting knife, and making a suggestive gesture
toward the smoking fish, asked John if I should cut off a piece; for not
withstanding my consuming hunger, my native modesty still remained with
me, and I thus hinted for an invitation to help myself.

"Yes," he said. "Cut off how much you can eat."

You can rest assured I cut off a ration that would have frightened a
tramp. Good digestion waited on appetite, and health on both. I ate with
the hunger born of the day's fatigue and the mountain atmosphere, and
the Indians followed suit, or rather led, and in half an hour only the
head and spine of that fifteen-pound salmon remained, and they were not
yet in an edible condition. Near bedtime, however, they were both
spitted before the fire, and in the silent watches of the night, as I
awoke and looked out of my downy bed, I saw those two simple-minded
children of the forest, sitting there picking the last remaining morsels
of flesh from those two pieces of what, in any civilized camp or
household, would have been considered offal. But when a Siwash quits
eating fish it is generally because there is no more fish to eat. After
such a supper, charmed by such weird, novel surroundings, lulled by the
music of the rushing waters, and warmed by a glowing camp-fire, I slept
that night with naught else to wish for, at peace with all mankind. Even
"mine enemy's dog, though he had bit me, should have stood that night
against my fire."



CHAPTER XVI.


Before going to bed, Seymour cautioned me through his interpreter, the
faithful John, against getting out too early in the morning. He said the
goats did not commence to move around until nine or ten o'clock, and if
we started out to hunt before that time we were liable to pass them
asleep in their beds.

But I read the hypocrite's meaning between his words; he is a lazy
loafer and loves to lie and snooze in the morning. It was his own
comfort, more than our success in hunting, that he was concerned about.
Goats, as well as all other species of large game, are on foot at
daylight, whether they have been out all night or not, and from that
time until an hour after sunrise, and again just before dark in the
evening, are the most favorable times to hunt. The game is intent on
feeding at these times and is not so wary as at other times. I told
Seymour we would get up at four o'clock, get breakfast, and be ready to
move at daylight. And so we did.

The night had been clear and cold; ice had formed around the margin of
the lake, and a hoar frost a quarter of an inch deep covered the ground,
the logs, and rocks that were not sheltered by trees. Ski-ik-kul or
Willey's Lake, as it is termed by the whites, is a beautiful little
mountain tarn about a quarter of a mile wide and four miles long. It is
of glassy transparency, of great depth, and abounds in mountain trout,
salmon, and salmon trout. It is walled in by abrupt, rocky-faced
mountains that rise many hundreds of feet from the water's edge, and on
which a scanty growth of laurel, currant bushes, and moss furnish food
for the goats. Stunted cedars, balsams, spruces, and pines also grow
from small fissures in the rocks that afford sufficient earth to cover
their roots.

The craft on which we were to navigate this lake was an interesting
specimen of Indian nautical architecture. It was a raft Seymour had made
on a former visit. The stringers were two large, dry, cedar logs, one
about sixteen feet long, the other about twenty; these were held
together by four poles, or cross-ties, pinned to the logs, and a floor
composed of cedar clapboards was laid over all. Pins of hard, dry birch,
driven into the logs and tied together at the tops, formed rowlocks, and
the craft was provided with four large paddles, or oars, hewed out with
an ax. In fact, that was the only tool used in building the raft. The
pins had been sharpened to a flat point and driven firmly into sockets
made by striking the ax deeply into the log, and instead of ropes, cedar
withes were used for lashing. These had been roasted in the fire until
tough and flexible, and when thus treated they formed a good substitute
for the white sailor's marline or the cow-boy's picket rope.

We boarded this lubberly old hulk and pulled out up the north shore of
the lake just as the morning sun gave the first golden tints to the
mountain tops. Our progress was slow despite our united strength applied
to the oars, but it gave us more time to scan the mountain sides for
game. I did not find it so plentiful as I had been promised, for I had
been told by the Indians that we should see a dozen goats in the first
hour, but we had been out more than that length of time before we saw
any. Finally, however, after we had gone a mile or more up the lake
shore, I saw a large buck goat browsing among the crags about four
hundred feet above us. He had not seen us, and dropping the oar I caught
up my rifle. The men backed water, and as the raft came to a standstill,
I sent a bullet into him. He sprang forward, lost his footing, came
bounding and crashing to the foot of the mountain, and stopped, stone
dead, in the brush at the water's edge not more than twenty feet from
the raft. We pushed ashore and took him on board, when I found, to my
disappointment, that both horns had been broken off in the fall, so that
his head was worthless for mounting.

We cruised clear around the lake that day and could not find another
goat. In the afternoon it clouded up and set in to rain heavily again in
the cañon, while snow fell on the mountains a few hundred feet above us.
The next morning I went up a narrow cañon to the north, and ascending a
high peak hunted until nearly noon, when I found two more goats, a
female and her kid (nearly full grown), both of which I killed, and
taking the skins and one ham of the kid, I returned to camp. It
continued to rain at frequent intervals, which robbed camp life and
hunting of much of their charm, so I decided to start for home the
following morning. In the afternoon I rigged a hook and line, cut an
alder pole, and caught five fine trout, the largest seventeen and a half
inches long. Seymour speared three more salmon and roasted one of them,
so that we had another feast of fish that night. We also roasted a leg
of goat for use on our way home, and spent the evening cleaning and
drying the three skins as best we could by the camp-fire, to lighten
their weight as much as possible.

Meanwhile, I questioned John at considerable length regarding the nature
of his language, but could get little information, as he seemed unable
to convey his ideas on the subject in our tongue. The language of the
Skowlitz tribe, to which he and Seymour belong, is a strange medley of
gutturals, aspirates, coughs, sneezes, throat scrapings, and a few
words. I said:

"Your language don't seem to have as many words as ours."

"No; English too much. Make awful tired learn him."

"Where did you learn it?"

"O, I work in pack train for Hudson Bay one year, and work on boat one
year."

"Where did the boat run?"

"She run nort from Victoria," he said.

"Where to, Alaska?"

"O, I dunno."

"How far north?"

"O, I dunno. Take seven day. We go to de mout of de river."

"What river? What was the name of the town?"

"O, I dunno know what you call 'em."

And thus I learned, by continued questioning, that he did not know or
remember the English names of the places he had visited, but that they
were probably in Alaska. He always appealed to Seymour to reply to any
of my questions that he could not himself answer, and a question or
remark that in our tongue had taken a dozen words to express he would
repeat in a cough, a throat-clearing sound, and a grunt or two.
Seymour's answer would be returned in a half sneeze, a lisp, a
suppressed whistle, a slight groan, and an upturning of the eye. Then
John would look thoughtful while framing the answer into his pigin
English, and it would come back, for instance, something like this:

"Seymo say he tink we ketch plenty sheep up dat big mountain, on de
top." Or, "He say he tink maybe we get plenty grouse down de creek.
To-morrow we don't need carry meat," etc. John seemed to regard Seymour
as a perfect walking cyclopedia of knowledge, and, in fact, he was well
informed on woodcraft, the habits of birds and animals, Indian lore, and
other matters pertaining to the country in which he lived, but outside
of these limits he knew much less than John.

I was disgusted with his pretended inability to speak or understand
English, for on one of my former visits to the village I had heard him
speak it, and he did it much better than John could. Beside, Pean had
told me that Seymour had attended school at the mission on the Frazer
river, and could even read and write, but now that he had an interpreter
he considered it smart, just as a great many Indians do, to affect an
utter ignorance of our language. I asked him why he did not talk; told
him I knew he could talk, and reminded him that I had heard him speak
good English; that I knew he had been to school, etc. He simply shook
his head and grunted. Then I told him he was a boiled-down fool to act
thus, and that if he really wanted to appear smarter even than his
fellows, the best way to do it was to make use of the education he had
whenever he could make himself more useful and agreeable by so doing. I
saw by the way he changed countenance that he understood every word I
said, though he still remained obstinate. On several occasions, however,
I suddenly fired some short, sharp question at him when he was not
expecting it, and before stopping to think he would answer in good
English.



CHAPTER XVII.


After making a hearty breakfast on Rocky Mountain kid, salmon, and sea
biscuits, we began our return journey down the creek in a drizzling
rain. Our burdens were increased by the weight of the three goat skins,
and the walking was rendered still more precarious than before by the
logs, grass, soil, pine needles, and everything else having become so
thoroughly watersoaked. If we had had hard climbing up the steep pitches
on our outbound cruise, we had it still harder now. We could not stick
in our toe nails as well now as before, and even if we stuck in our
heels going down a hill, they would not stay stuck any better than a
second-hand postage-stamp. I remembered one hill, or cañon wall, that in
the ascent made us a great deal of hard work, and much perturbation of
spirit, because it was steep, rocky, and had very few bushes on it that
we could use as derricks by which to raise ourselves. I dreaded the
descent of this hill, now that the rocks were wet, but we made it
safely. Not so, however, the next one we attempted; it was not so rocky
as the other, and had a goodly bed of blue clay, with a shallow covering
of vegetable mold for a surface, with a little grass and a few weeds.
It was very steep, I think about what an architect would call a
three-quarter pitch, but we essayed it boldly and fearlessly. Seymour
was in the lead, his faithful partisan, John, followed, and I
constituted the tail end of the procession. We had just got well over
the brow, when the end of a dry hemlock stick caught in the mansard roof
of my left foot; the other end was fast in the ground, and, though I
tried to free myself, both ends stuck; the stick played a lone hand, but
it raised me clear out in spite of my struggles. I uttered a mournful
groan as I saw myself going, but was as helpless as a tenderfoot on a
bucking cayuse. My foot was lifted till my heel punched the small of my
back, and my other foot slid out from under me; I spread out like a step
ladder, and clawed the air for succor, but there was not a bush or
branch within reach. I think I went ten feet before I touched the earth
again, and then I landed head first among John's legs. He sat down on
the back of my neck like a trip-hammer, and we both assaulted Seymour in
the rear with such violence as to knock him clear out. For a few seconds
we were the worst mixed up community that ever lived, I reckon. Arms,
legs, guns, hats, packs, and human forms were mingled in one writhing,
squirming, surging mass, and groans, shouts, and imprecations, in
English, Chinook, and Scowlitz, rent the air. Every hand was grabbing
for something to stop its owner, but there were no friendly stoppers
within reach; if one caught a weed, or a stunted juniper, it faded away
from his herculean grasp like dry grass before a prairie fire. I seemed
to have the highest initial velocity of any member of the expedition,
and, though in the rear at the start, I was a full length ahead at the
finish. We finally all brought up in a confused mass at the foot of the
hill, and it took some time for each man to extricate himself from the
pile, and reclaim his property from the wreck. Strange as it may seem,
however, but little damage was done. There was a skinned nose, a bruised
knee or two, a sprained wrist, and everybody was painted with mud. All
were, however, able to travel, and after that, when going down steep
hills, the Siwashes kept looking back to see if I were coming.

[Illustration: TRYING TO GET UP.]

We performed several dangerous feats that day and the next, walking
along smooth, barkless logs, that lay across some of the deep gorges; in
places we were thirty feet or more above the ground, or rather rocks,
where a slip would have resulted in instant death. My hair frequently
stood on end, what little I have left, but John and Seymour always went
safely across and I could not afford to be outdone in courage by these
miserable, fish-eating Siwashes, so I followed wherever they led. We
read that the wicked stand on slippery places, but I can see these
wicked people, and go them about ten better, for I have stood, and even
walked, on many of these wet logs, and they are about the all-firedest
slipperyest things extant, and yet I have not fallen off. I fell only
that once, when I got my foot in the trap, and that would have downed a
wooden man. Just before going into camp that night, John shot a grouse,
but we were all too tired and hungry to cook it then, and made our meal
on cold kid, fish, and biscuits. After supper, however, John dressed
the bird and laid it aside for breakfast, saying we would each have a
piece of it then. The rain ceased falling at dark, and the stars came
out, which greatly revived our drooping spirits. We gathered large
quantities of dry wood and bark, so we were able to keep a good fire all
night. I drew from a half-rotten log, a flat, slab-like piece of pine,
which at first I failed to recognize. John saw it and said:

[Illustration: TRYING TO GET DOWN.]

"Good. Dat's beech."

"Beech," I said. "Why, there's no beech in this country."

"No, beech wood, make good fire, good kindle, good what you call him?
Good torch."

"Oh," I said, "pitch pine, eh?"

"Yas, beech pine." And this was as near as he could get to pitch.

About two o'clock in the morning, it commenced to rain heavily again,
and the poor Indians were soon in a pitable condition, with their
blankets and clothing wet through. They sat up the remainder of the
night, feeding the fire to keep it alive and themselves warm, for they
had neither canvas or rubber coats, or any other kind of waterproof
clothing. They put up some of the longer pieces of the bark we had
gathered for fuel, and made a passable shelter, but it was so small, and
leaked so badly, that it was far from comfortable. I pitied the poor
fellows, but had nothing I could give or even share with them for
shelter. I got up at five o'clock, and we commenced preparations for
breakfast. I told John he had better cook the grouse, but he shook his
head, and said sadly:

"Seymo, he spile de grouse."

"How did he do that?" I inquired.

"He say put him on stick by fire to cook in de night. Then he go to
sleep and stick burn off. Grouse fall in de fire and burn."

"That's too thin," I said. "Seymour cooked that grouse and ate it while
you and I were asleep."

Seymour glared at me, but had not the courage to resent or deny the
charge. An Indian does not let sleep interfere with his appetite; he
eats whatever there is first, and then sleeps. I divided the last of the
bacon and biscuits equally between us, and with a remnant of cold
broiled salmon, we eked out a scant breakfast on which to begin a day's
work. John was clawing some white greasy substance from a tin can with
his fingers, and spreading it on his biscuits with the same tools. He
passed the can to me, and said:

"Have butta?"

"No, thanks," I answered; "I seldom eat butter in camp."

"I like him all time," he replied; "I never git widout butta for brade
at home." This by way of informing me that he knew what good living was,
and practiced it at home. It rained heavily all day, and our tramp
through the jungle was most dreary and disagreeable.

    "The day was dark, and cold, and dreary;
    It rained, and the wind was never weary."

[Illustration: _EN FAMILLE_]

About three o'clock in the afternoon, we sat down to rest on the bank of
the creek. We had been there but a few minutes, when a good sized black
bear came shambling along up the bank of the creek, looking for salmon.
The Indians saw him when a hundred yards or more away, and flattened
themselves out on the ground to await his nearer approach. I raised my
rifle to my shoulder, but they both motioned me to wait, that he was yet
too far away. I disregarded their injunction, however, and promptly
landed an express bullet in the bear's breast. He reared, uttered a
smothered groan, turned, made one jump, and fell dead. Now arose the
question of saving his skin; it was late, and we were yet three miles
from the Indian village; to skin the bear then meant to camp there for
the night, and as the rain still came down in a steady, heavy sheet, I
at once decided that I would not stay out there another night for the
best bear skin in the country. Seymour and John held a short
consultation, and then John said they would come back and get the skin
next day, and take it in lieu of the money I owed them for their
services. We struck a bargain in about a minute, and hurried on,
arriving at the village just as it grew dark. My rubber coat and high
rubber boots had kept me comparatively dry, but the poor Indians were
wet to the skin.



CHAPTER XVIII.


On arriving at Chehalis John kindly invited me to stop over night with
him, but I declined with thanks. I went into his house, however, to wait
while he got ready to take me down to Barker's. It was the same type of
home that nearly all these Indians have--a large clapboard building
about eight feet high, with smoked salmon hung everywhere and a fire in
the centre of the room, which, by the way, was more of a smoke than
fire, curing the winter provender. A pile of wood lay in one corner of
the room, some empty barrels in another, fish-nets were hung in still
another, and the family lived, principally, in the fourth. John lives
with his father-in-law, mother-in-law, two brothers-in-law, one
sister-in-law, his wife and three papooses. Blankets, pots, tinware and
grub of various kinds were piled up promiscuously in this living corner,
and the little undressed kids hovered and shivered around the dull fire,
suffering from the cold. We were soon in the canoe again, _en route_ to
the steamboat landing, where we arrived soon after dark. I regretted to
part with John, for I had found him a good, faithful servant and staunch
friend. I was glad to get rid of Seymour, however, for I had learned
that he was a contemptible sneak, and told him so in as many words.

_En route_ home I had about two hours to wait at Port Moody for the
boat. There were great numbers of grebes and ducks in the bay, and I
asked the dock foreman if there was any rule against shooting there. He
said he guessed not; he had never seen anyone shooting there, but he
guessed there wouldn't be any objection. I got out my rifle and two
boxes of cartridges and opened on the birds. The ducks left at once, but
the grebes sought safety in diving, and as soon as the fusillade began a
number of gulls came hovering around, apparently to learn the cause of
the racket. I had fine sport between the two, and a large audience to
enjoy it with me. In ten minutes from the time I commenced shooting all
the clerks in the dock office, all the freight hustlers in the
warehouse, all the railroad section men, the ticket-agent and
baggage-master, numbering at least twenty men in the aggregate, were
clustered around me, and their comments on my rifle and shooting were
extremely amusing. Not a man in the party had ever before seen a
Winchester express, and the racket it made, the way in which the balls
plowed up the water, and the way the birds, when hit, vanished into thin
air and a few feathers, were mysteries far beyond their power to solve.
At the first lull in the firing half a dozen of them rushed up and
wanted to examine the rifle, the fancy finish and combination sights of
which were as profoundly strange to them as to the benighted Indians.
They soon handed it back to me, however, with the request to resume
hostilities against the birds; they preferred to see the old thing work
rather than to handle it. The gulls were soaring in close, and six
shots, rapidly delivered, dropped three of them into the water,
mutilated beyond recognition. This was the climax; the idea of killing
birds on the wing, with a rifle, was something these men had never
before heard of, and two or three examined my cartridges to see if they
were not loaded with shot, instead of bullets. When they found this
suspicion was groundless they were beside themselves with wonder and
admiration of the strange arm. As a matter of fact, it required no
particular skill to kill the gulls on the wing, for they were the large
gray variety, and frequently came within twenty or thirty feet of me, so
that anyone who could kill them with a shotgun could do so with a rifle.

Finally the steamer came in and I went aboard. The train arrived soon
after and several of its passengers boarded the boat. The gulls were now
hovering about the steamer, picking up whatever particles of food were
thrown overboard from the cook-room. One old Irishman, who had come in
on the train from the interior wilds, walked out on the quarter deck and
looking at them intently for a few minutes, turned to me and inquired:

"Phwat kind of burds is thim--geese?"

"Yes," I said, "thim's geese, I reckon."

"Well, be gorry, if I had a gun here I'd shoot some o'thim"; and he went
and told his companions "there was a flock of the tamest wild geese out
thare ye iver sawed."

[Illustration: A SNAP SHOT WITH A DETECTIVE CAMERA.]

The return journey to Portland was without incident. There I boarded the
steamer and spent another delightful day on the broad bosom of the
Columbia river, winding up among the grand basaltic cliffs and
towering mountain peaks of the Cascade Range. Again the little camera
came into requisition, and though the day was cloudy and blusterous,
though snow fell at frequent intervals, and though the steamer trembled
like a reed shaken by the wind, I made a dozen or more exposures on the
most interesting and beautiful subjects as we passed them, and to my
surprise many came out good pictures. Most of them lack detail in the
deeper shadows, but the results altogether show that had the day been
clear and bright all would have been perfect. In short, it is possible
with this dry-plate process to make good pictures from a moving
steamboat, or even from a railway train going at a high rate of speed. I
made three pictures from a Northern Pacific train, coming through the
Bad Lands, when running twenty-five miles an hour, and though slightly
blurred in the near foreground, the buttes and bluffs, a hundred yards
and further away, are as sharp as if I had been standing on the ground
and the camera on a tripod; and a snap shot at a prairie-dog town--just
as the train slowed on a heavy grade--shows several of the little
rodents in various poses, some of them apparently trying to look pretty
while having their "pictures took."



CHAPTER XIX.


I stopped off at Spokane Falls, on my way home, for a few days' deer
hunting, and though that region be not exactly in the Cascades, it is so
near that a few points in relation to the sport there may be admissible
in connection with the foregoing narrative. I had advised my good
friend, Dr. C. S. Penfield, of my coming, and he had kindly planned for
me a hunting trip. On the morning after my arrival his brother-in-law,
Mr. T. E. Jefferson, took me up behind a pair of good roadsters and
drove to Johnston's ranch, eighteen miles from the falls, and near the
foot of Mount Carleton, where we hoped to find plenty of deer. We hunted
there two days, and though we found signs reasonably plentiful and saw
three or four deer we were unable to kill any. Mr. Jefferson burned some
powder after a buck and a doe the first morning after our arrival, but
it was his first experience in deer hunting, so it is not at all strange
that the game should have escaped. Mr. Jefferson was compelled to return
home at that time on account of a business engagement, but Mr. Johnston,
with characteristic Western hospitality and kindness, said I must not
leave without a shot, and so hooked up his team and drove me twenty-five
miles farther into the mountains, to a place where he said we would
surely find plenty of game. On the way in we picked up old Billy
Cowgill, a famous deer hunter in this region, and took him along as
guide. We stopped at Brooks' stage ranch, on the Colville road to rest
the team, and the proprietor gave us an amusing account of some
experiments he had been making in shooting buckshot from a
muzzle-loading shotgun. He had made some little bags of buckskin, just
large enough to hold twelve No. 2 buckshot, and after filling them had
sewed up the ends. He shot a few of them at a tree sixty yards away, but
they failed to spread and all went into one hole. Then he tried leaving
the front end of the bag open, and still they acted as a solid ball; so
he had to abandon the scheme, and loaded the charge loose, as of old. He
concluded, however, not to fire this last load at the target, and hung
the gun up in its usual place. A few days later he heard the dog barking
in the woods a short distance from the house, and supposed it had treed
a porcupine. Mr. Brooks' brother, who was visiting at the time, took the
gun and went out to kill the game, whatever it might be. On reaching the
place, he found a ruffed grouse sitting in a tree, at which he fired.
The ranchman said he heard the report, and his brother soon came back,
carrying a badly-mutilated bird; he threw it into the kitchen, and put
the gun away; then he sat down, looked thoughtful, and kept silent for a
long time. Finally he blurted out:

[Illustration: THE STAGE RANCH.]

"Say, Tom; that gun got away from me."

"How was that?" queried the ranchman.

"I don't know; but I shot pretty near straight up at the grouse, and
somehow the gun slipped off my shoulder and done this." And opening his
coat he showed his vest, one side of which was split from top to bottom;
he then took out a handful of his watch and held it up--one case was
torn off, the crystal smashed, the dial caved in, and the running gear
all mixed up. The ranchman said he guessed he had put one of the
buckskin bags of shot into that barrel, and forgetting that fact, had
added the loose charge. He said he reckoned twenty-four No. 2 buckshot
made too heavy a load for an eight-pound gun.

We reached "Peavine Jimmy's" mining cabin, which was to be our camp, at
three o'clock in the afternoon, and busied ourselves till dark in the
usual duties of cooking, eating, and gathering wood. Old Billy proved a
very interesting character; he is a simple, quiet, honest, unpretentious
old man, and unlike most backwoodsmen, a veritable coward. He has the
rare good sense, however, to admit it frankly, and thus disarms
criticism. In fact, his frequent admission of this weakness is amusing.
He says that for fear of getting lost he does not like to go off a trail
when hunting, unless there is snow on the ground, so that he can track
himself back into camp. He rides an old buckskin pony that is as modest
and gentle as its master. Billy says he often gets lost when he does
venture away from the trail, but in such cases he just gives old Buck
the rein, hits him a slap, and tells him to go to camp and he soon gets
there. He told us a bear story that night, worthy of repetition.
Something was said that reminded him of it, and he mentioned it, but
added, modestly, that he didn't know as we cared for any bear stories.
But we said we were very fond of them, and urged the recital.

"Well, then," he said, "if you will wait a minute, I'll take a drink of
water first and then I'll tell it to you," and he laughed a kind of
boyish titter, and began:

"Well, me and three other fellers was up north in the Colville country,
huntin', and all the other fellows was crazy to kill a bear. I didn't
want to kill no bear, and didn't expect to. I'm as 'feard as death of a
bear, and hain't no use for 'em. All I wanted to kill was a deer. The
other fellers, they wanted to kill some deer, too, but they wanted bear
the worst. So one mornin' we all started out, and the other fellers they
took the best huntin' ground, and said I'd better go down along the
creek and see if I couldn't kill some grouse, for they didn't believe I
could kill any thing bigger'n that; and I said, all right, and started
off down the creek. Purty soon I come to an old mill that wasn't runnin'
then. And when I got purty near to the mill I set down on a log, for I
didn't think it was worth while to go any furder, for I didn't think I
would find any game down the creek, and I didn't care much whether I did
or not. Well, I heard a kind of a racket in the mill, and durned if
there wasn't a big black bear right in the mill. And I watched him a
little bit, and he started out towards me. And I said to myself, says I,
'Now Billy, here's your chance to kill a bear.'

"I hadn't never killed no bear before, nor never seed one before, and
durned if I wasn't skeered nearly to death. But I thought there wasn't
no use of runnin', for I knowed he could run faster'n I could, so I took
out my knife and commenced cuttin' down the brush in front of me, for I
wanted to make a shure shot if I did shoot, if I could. And the bear,
he come out of the mill and rared up, and put his paws on a log and
looked at me, and I said to myself, says I, 'Now Billy, this is your
time to shoot'; but I wasn't ready to shoot yit. They was one more bush
I wanted to cut out of the way before I shot, so I cut if off and laid
down my knife, and then I took up my gun and tried to take aim at his
breast, but doggoned if I didn't shake so I couldn't see the sights at
all. And I thought one time I wouldn't shoot, and then I knowed the
other fellers would laugh at me if I told 'em I seed a bear and didn't
shoot at him, and besides I was afraid some of 'em was up on the
hillside lookin' at me then. So I just said to myself, says I, 'Now
Billy, you're goin' to get eat up if you don't kill him, but you might
as well be eat up as to be laughed at.' So I jist took the best aim I
could for shakin', an' shet both eyes an' pulled.

"Well, I think the bear must a begin to git down jist as I pulled, for I
tore his lower jaw off and shot a big hole through one side of his neck.
He howled and roared and rolled around there awhile and then he got
still. I got round where I could see him, after he quit kickin', but I
was afeared to go up to him, so I shot two more bullets through his head
to make sure of him. And then I set down and waited a long while to see
if he moved any more; for I was afeard he mightn't be dead yit, and
might be playin' possum, jist to get ahold of me. But he didn't move no
more, so I went up to him with my gun cocked and pointed at his head, so
if he did move I could give him another one right quick. An' then I
punched him a little with my gun, but he didn't stir. An' when I found
he was real dead I took my knife and cut off one of his claws, an' then
I went back to camp, the biggest feelin' old cuss you ever seed.

"Well, arter while the other fellers they all come in, lookin' mighty
blue, for they hadn't any of 'em killed a thing, an' when I told 'em I'd
killed a bear, they wouldn't believe it till I showed 'em the claw. An'
then they wouldn't believe it, neither, for they thought I'd bought the
claw of some Injin. And they wouldn't believe it at all till they went
out with me and seed the bear and helped skin 'im, and cut 'im up, and
pack 'im into camp. An' they was the dog-gondest, disappointedest lot of
fellers you ever seed, for we hunted five days longer, an' nary one of
'em got to kill a bear nor even see one. They thought I was the poorest
hunter and the biggest coward in the lot, but I was the only one that
killed a bear that clip."



CHAPTER XX.


We were out at daylight the next morning and hunted all day with fair
success. Johnston and Billy jumped a bunch of five mule-deer, a buck,
two does, and two fawns. Johnston fired fourteen shots at them before
they got out of the country, and killed the two does. In speaking of it
afterward Billy said he was just taking a good aim at the old buck's eye
when Johnston's gun cracked the first time, and of course the buck ran,
so he did not get a shot.

"But why didn't you shoot at him running?" I inquired.

"Because I can't hit a jumpin' deer," he replied, frankly, "and I hate
like thunder to miss."

I spent the day about a mile from camp on top of Blue Grouse Mountain, a
prominent landmark of the country. A heavy fog hung about the mountain
and over the surrounding country until about three o'clock in the
afternoon, when it lifted and disclosed a view of surpassing loveliness.
Away to the west and southwest there was a level tract of swampy,
heavily timbered country about thirty miles long and ten miles wide. I
looked down on the tops of the trees composing this vast forest, and
they appeared at this distance not unlike a vast field of half-grown
green grain. Beyond this tract to the west a chain of hills wound in
serpentine curves from north to south, their parks and bits of prairie
gleaming in the sun like well-made farms. To the north lay Loon Lake
nestling among the pine-clad hills, its placid bosom sparkling in the
setting sun like a sheet of silver. Farther to the north and northeast
were two other lakes of equal size and beauty, while far distant in the
east were several large bodies of prairie separated by strips of pine
and fir. I longed for my camera, but on account of the unfavorable
outlook of the morning, I had not brought the instrument.

[Illustration: ONE OF JOHNSTON'S PRIZES.]

The following morning promised no better, for the fog hung like a pall
over the whole country; but I took the little detective with me, hoping
the mist would lift as before; in this, however, I was disappointed. I
staid on the mountain from early morning till half-past three, and there
being then no prospect of a change went down. Just as I reached the base
I saw a rift in the clouds, and supposing the long-wished change in the
weather was about to take place, I turned and began the weary climb, but
again the fog settled down, and I was at last compelled to return to
camp without the coveted views. I made several exposures during the day
on crooked, deformed, wind-twisted trees on the top of the mountain,
which, strange to say, came out good. The fog was so dense at the time
that one could not see fifty yards. I used a small stop and gave each
plate from five to twenty seconds, and found, when developed, that none
of them were over exposed, while those given the shorter time were under
exposed. That day's hunting resulted in three more deer, and as we then
had all the meat our team could take out up the steep hills near camp,
we decided to start for home the next morning. While seated around our
blazing log fire in the old cabin that night, Mr. Johnston entertained
us with some interesting reminiscences of his extensive experience in
the West. He has been a "broncho buster," a stock ranchman, and a
cow-boy by turns, and a recital of his varied experiences in these
several lines would fill a big book. Among others, he told us that he
once lived in a portion of California where the ranchmen raised a great
many hogs, but allowed them to range at will in the hills and mountains
from the time they were littered until old enough and large enough for
market; that in this time they became as wild as deer and as savage as
peccaries, so that the only way they could ever be reclaimed and
marketed was to catch them with large, powerful dogs, trained to the
work. Their feet were then securely tied with strong thongs, and they
were muzzled and packed into market or to the ranches, as their owners
desired, on horses or mules.

[Illustration: ARE YOU LOOKING FOR US?]

Johnston had a pair of these dogs, and used to assist his neighbors in
rounding up their wild hogs. In one case, he and several other men went
with an old German ranchman away up into the mountains to bring out a
drove of these pine-skinners, many of whom had scarcely seen a human
being since they were pigs, and at sight of the party the hogs stampeded
of course, and ran like so many deer. The dogs were turned loose, took
up a trail, and soon had a vicious critter by the ears, when the packers
came up, muzzled and tied it securely. The dogs were then turned loose
again, and another hog was rounded up in the same way. These two were
hung onto a pack-animal with their backs down, their feet lashed
together over the pack-saddle, and their long, sharp snouts pointing
toward the horse's head. They were duly cinched, and the horse turned
loose to join the train. This operation was repeated until the whole
herd was corralled and swung into place on the horses, and the
squealing, groaning, and snorting of the terrified brutes was almost
deafening. One pair of hogs were loaded on a little mule which had
never been accustomed to this work, and, as the men were all engaged in
handling the other animals, the old ranchman said he would lead this
mule down the mountain himself. Johnston and his partner cinched the
hogs on in good shape, while the Dutchman hung to the mule.

[Illustration: A BUCKING MULE.]

As they were giving the ropes the final pull, Johnston gave his chum a
wink, and they both slipped out their knives, cut the muzzles off the
porkers when the old man was looking the other way, and told him to go
ahead. He started down the trail towing the little mule, which did not
relish its load in the least, by the halter. The hogs were struggling to
free themselves, and, as the thongs began to cut into their legs, they
got mad and began to bite the mule.

Then there was trouble; stiff-legged bucking set in, and mule and hogs
were churned up and down, and changed ends so rapidly that for a few
minutes it was hard to tell which of the three animals was on the
outside, the inside, the topside, or the bottom-side. The poor little
mule was frantic with rage and fright, and what a mule can not and will
not do under such circumstances, to get rid of a load can not be done by
any four-footed beast. He pawed the air, kicked, and brayed, jumped
backward, forward, and sidewise, and twisted himself into every
imaginable shape. The old Dutchman was as badly stampeded as the mule;
he shouted, yanked, and swore in Dutch, English, and Spanish; he yelled
to the men above to come and help him, but they were so convulsed and
doubled up with laughter that they could not have helped him if they
would.

Finally, the mule got away from the old man and went tearing down into
the cañon; he overtook and passed the balance of the pack-train,
stampeded them almost beyond control of the packers, and knocked the
poor hogs against trees and brush until they were almost dead. He ran
nearly six miles, and being unable to get rid of his pack, fell
exhausted and lay there until the men came up and took charge of him.
The old man accused Johnston of cutting the muzzles off the hogs, but he
and his partner both denied it, said they certainly must have slipped
off, and they finally convinced him that that was the way the trouble
came about.

[Illustration: THE BUCKER AND THE BUSTER.]

This, with sundry other recitals of an equally interesting nature,
caused the evening to pass pleasantly, and at a late hour we turned into
our bunks. We were up and moving long before daylight the next morning,
and as soon as we could see the trail hooked up the team and attempted
to go, but, alas for our hopes of an early start, one of the horses
refused to pull at the very outset--in short, he balked and no mule ever
balked worse. Johnston plied the buckskin until the horse refused to
stand it any longer and began to rear and to throw himself on the
tongue, back in the harness, etc. Johnston got off the wagon, went to
the animal's head and tried to lead it, but the brute would not be led
any more than it would be driven, and commenced rearing and striking at
its master as if trying to kill him. This aroused the ire of the
ranchman and he picked up a piece of a board, about four inches wide and
three feet long, and fanned the vicious critter right vigorously. I took
a hand in the game, at Johnston's request, and warmed the cayuse's
latter half to the best of my ability with a green hemlock gad. He
bucked and backed, reared and ranted, pawed, pitched, plunged and
pranced, charged, cavorted and kicked, until it seemed that he would
surely make shreds of the harness and kindling wood of the wagon; but
the whole outfit staid with him, including Johnston and myself.

We wore out his powers of endurance if not his hide, and he finally got
down to business, took the load up the hill and home to the ranch,
without manifesting any further inclination to strike. We reached the
ranch about nine o'clock at night, and the next day Johnston drove me
into Spokane Falls, where, in due time, I caught the train for home.

[Illustration: VIEW IN THE SPOKANE VALLEY.]

Spokane Falls is a growing, pushing town, and the falls of the Spokane
river, from which the town takes its name, afford one of the most
beautiful and interesting sights on the line of the Northern Pacific
road. There are over a dozen distinct falls within a half a mile, one of
which is over sixty feet in perpendicular height. Several of these falls
are split into various channels by small islands or pillars of basaltic
rock. At one place, where two of these channels unite in a common plunge
into a small pool, the water is thrown up in a beautiful, shell-like
cone of white foam, to a height of nearly six feet. It is estimated by
competent engineers that the river at this point furnishes a water-power
equal in the aggregate to that of the Mississippi at St. Anthony's
Falls. Every passenger over this route should certainly stop off and
spend a few hours viewing the falls of the Spokane river.



CHAPTER XXI.

HUNTING THE GRIZZLY BEAR.


The bear, like man, inhabits almost every latitude and every land, and
has even been translated to the starry heavens, where the constellations
of the Great Dipper and the Little Dipper are known to us as well as to
the ancients as _Ursi Major_ and _Minor_. But North America furnishes
the largest and most aggressive species in the grizzly (_Ursus
horribilis_), the black (_Ursus americanus_), and the polar (_Ursus
maritimus_) bears, and here the hunter finds his most daring sport. Of
all the known plantigrades (flat-footed beasts) the grizzly is the most
savage and the most dreaded, and he is the largest of all, saving the
presence of his cousin the polar bear, for which, nevertheless, he is
more than a match in strength and courage. Some specimens measure seven
feet from tip of nose to root of tail. The distinctive marks of the
species are its great size; the shortness of the tail as compared with
the ears; the huge flat paws, the sole of the hind foot sometimes
measuring seven and a half by five inches in a large male; the length of
the hind legs as compared with the fore legs, which gives the beast his
awkward, shambling gait; the long claws of the fore foot, sometimes
seven inches in length, while those of the hind foot measure only three
or four; the erect, bristling mane of stiff hair, often six inches long;
the coarse hair of the body, sometimes three inches long, dark at the
base, but with light tips. He has a dark stripe along the back, and one
along each side, the hair on his body being, as a rule, a
brownish-yellow, the region around the ears dusky, the legs nearly
black, and the muzzle pale. Color, however, is not a distinctive mark,
for female grizzlies have been killed in company with two cubs, one of
which was brown, the other gray, or one dark, the other light; and the
supposed species of "cinnamon" and "brown" bears are merely color
variations of _Ursus horribilis_ himself.

This ubiquitous gentleman has a wide range for his habitat. He has been
found on the Missouri river from Fort Pierre northward, and thence west
to his favorite haunts in the Rockies; on the Pacific slope clear down
to the coast; as far south as Mexico, and as far north as the Great
Slave Lake in British America. He not only ranges everywhere, but eats
everything. His majesty is a good liver. He is not properly a beast of
prey, for he has neither the cat-like instincts, nor the noiseless tread
of the _felidæ_, nor is he fleet and long-winded like the wolf, although
good at a short run, as an unlucky hunter may find. But he hangs about
the flanks of a herd of buffalo, with probably an eye to a wounded or
disabled animal, and he frequently raids a ranch and carries off a
sheep, hog, or calf that is penned beyond the possibility of escape.

Elk is his favorite meat, and the knowing hunter who has the good luck
to kill an elk makes sure that its carcass will draw Mr. Grizzly if he
is within a range of five miles. He will eat not only flesh, fish, and
fowl, but roots, herbs, fruit, vegetables, honey, and insects as well.
Plums, buffalo-berries, and choke-cherries make a large part of his diet
in their seasons.

[Illustration: DEATH AND THE CAUSE OF IT.]

The grizzly bear possesses greater vitality and tenacity of life than
any other animal on the continent, and the hunter who would hunt him
must be well armed and keep a steady nerve. Each shot must be cooly put
where it will do the most good. Several are frequently necessary to
stop one of these savage beasts. A single bullet lodged in the brain is
fatal. If shot through the heart he may run a quarter of a mile or kill
a man before he succumbs. In the days of the old muzzle-loading rifle it
was hazardous indeed to hunt the grizzly, and many a man has paid the
penalty of his folly with his life. With our improved breech-loading and
repeating rifles there is less risk.

The grizzly is said to bury carcasses of large animals for future use as
food, but this I doubt. I have frequently returned to carcasses of elk
or deer that I had killed and found that during my absence bears had
partially destroyed them, and in their excitement, occasioned by the
smell or taste of fresh meat, had pawed up the earth a good deal
thereabout, throwing dirt and leaves in various directions, and some of
this débris may have fallen on the bodies of the dead game; but I have
never seen where any systematic attempt had been made at burying a
carcass. Still, Bruin may have played the sexton in some cases. He
hibernates during winter, but does not take to his long sleep until the
winter has thoroughly set in and the snow is quite deep. He may
frequently be tracked and found in snow a foot deep, where he is roaming
in search of food. He becomes very fat before going into winter
quarters, and this vast accumulation of oil furnishes nutriment and heat
sufficient to sustain life during his long confinement.

The newspapers often kill grizzlies weighing 1,500, 1,800, or even 2,000
pounds, and in any party of frontiersmen "talking grizzly" you will find
plenty of men who can give date and place where they killed or helped
to kill at least 1,800 pounds of Bruin.

"Did you weigh it?"

"No, we didn't weigh 'im; but every man as seed 'im said he would weigh
that, and they was all good jedges, too."

And this is the way most of the stories of big bear, big elk, big deer,
etc., begin and end. Bears are usually, though not always, killed at
considerable distances from towns, or even ranches, where it is not easy
to find a scales large enough to weigh so much meat.

The largest grizzly I have ever killed would not weigh more than 700 or
800 pounds, and I do not believe one has ever lived that would weigh
1,000 pounds. The flesh of the adult grizzly is tough, stringy, and
decidedly unpalatable, but that of a young fat one is tender and juicy,
and is always a welcome dish on the hunter's table.

The female usually gives birth to two cubs, and sometimes three, at a
time. At birth they weigh only about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds each. The
grizzly breeds readily in confinement, and several litters have been
produced in the Zoological Gardens at Cincinnati. The female is
unusually vicious while rearing her young, and the hunter must be doubly
cautious about attacking at that time. An Indian rarely attacks a
grizzly single-handed at any time, and it is only when several of these
native hunters are together that they will attempt to kill one. They
value the claws very highly, however, and take great pride in wearing
strings of them around their necks.

The grizzly usually frequents the timbered or brush-covered portions of
mountainous regions, or the timbered valleys of streams that head in the
mountains. He occasionally follows down the course of these streams, and
even travels many miles from one stream to another, or from one range of
mountains to another, across open prairie. I once found one on a broad
open plateau in the Big Horn Mountains, about half a mile from the
nearest cover of any kind. He was turning over rocks in search of worms.
At the report of my rifle he started for the nearest cañon, but never
reached it. An explosive bullet through his lungs rendered him unequal
to the journey.

Few persons believe that a grizzly will attack a man before he is
himself attacked. I was one of these doubting Thomases until a few years
ago, when I was thoroughly convinced by ocular demonstration that some
grizzlies, at least, will attempt to make a meal off a man even though
he may not have harmed them previously. We were hunting in the Shoshone
Mountains in Northern Wyoming. I had killed a large elk in the morning,
and on going back to the carcass in the afternoon to skin it we saw that
Bruin had been there ahead us, but had fled on our approach. Without the
least apprehension of his return, we leaned our rifles against a tree
about fifty feet away, and commenced work. There were three of us, but
only two rifles, Mr. Huffman, the photographer, having left his in camp.
He had finished taking views of the carcass, and we were all busily
engaged skinning, when, hearing a crashing in the brush and a series of
savage roars and growls, we looked up the hill, and were horrified to
see three grizzly bears, an old female and two cubs about two-thirds
grown, charging upon us with all the savage fury of a pack of starving
wolves upon a sheepfold.

To make a long story short, we killed the old female and one cub; the
other escaped into the jungle before we could get a shot at him. The
resolute front we put on alone saved our lives.

In another instance, when hunting deer in Idaho, I came suddenly upon a
female grizzly and two cubs, when the mother bear charged me savagely
and would have killed me had I not fortunately controlled my nerves long
enough to put a couple of bullets through her and stop her before she
got to me.

I have heard of several other instances of grizzlies making unprovoked
attacks on men, which were so well substantiated that I could not
question the truth of the reports.

The grizzly is partially nocturnal in his habits, and apparently divides
his labor of obtaining food and his traveling about equally between day
and night. It is not definitely known to what age he lives in his wild
state, but he is supposed to attain to twenty-five or thirty years.
Several have lived in domestication to nearly that age, and one died in
Union Park, Chicago, a few years ago, that was known to be eighteen
years old.

Notwithstanding the great courage and ferocity of this formidable beast,
he will utter the most pitiable groans and howls when seriously or
mortally wounded.

Two brothers were prospecting in a range of mountains near the
headwaters of the Stinking Water river. The younger of the two, though
an ablebodied man, and capable of doing a good day's work with a pick or
shovel, was weak-minded, and the elder brother never allowed him to go
any distance away from camp or their work alone. He, however, sent him
one evening to the spring, a few rods off, to bring a kettleful of
water. The spring was in a deep gorge, and the trail to it wound through
some fissures in the rock. As the young man passed under a shelving
rock, an immense old female grizzly, that had taken up temporary
quarters there, reached out and struck a powerful blow at his head, but
fortunately could not reach far enough to do him any serious harm. The
blow knocked his hat off, and her claws caught his scalp, and laid it
open clear across the top of his head in several ugly gashes. The force
of the blow sent him spinning around, and not knowing enough to be
frightened, he attacked her savagely with the only weapon he had at
hand--the camp kettle.

The elder brother heard the racket, and hastily catching up his rifle
and hurrying to the scene of the disturbance, found his brother
vigorously belaboring the bear over the head with the camp kettle, and
the bear striking savage blows at him, any one of which, if she could
have reached him, would have torn his head from his shoulders. Three
bullets from the rifle, fired in rapid succession, loosened her hold
upon the rocks, and she tumbled lifelessly into the trail. The poor
idiotic boy could not even then realize the danger through which he had
passed, and could only appease his anger by continuing to maul the bear
over the head with the camp kettle for several minutes after she was
dead.

Some years ago I went into the mountains with a party of friends to hunt
elk. Our guide told us we should find plenty of grouse along the trail,
from the day we left the settlements; that on the third day out we
should find elk, and that it would therefore be useless to burden our
pack-horses with meat. We accordingly took none save a small piece of
bacon.

Contrary to his predictions, however, we found no grouse or other small
game _en route_, and soon ate up our bacon. Furthermore, we were five
days in reaching the elk country, instead of three as he said. All this
time we were climbing mountains and had appetites that are known only to
mountain climbers. We had plenty of bread and potatoes, but these were
not sufficient. We hankered for flesh, and though we filled ourselves
with vegetable food, yet were we hungry.

Finally we reached our destination at midday. While we were unloading
the horses, a "fool hen" came and lit in a tree near us. A rifle ball
beheaded her, and almost before she was done kicking she was in the
frying pan.

A negro once had a bottle of whisky, and was making vigorous efforts to
get outside of it, when a chum came up and asked for a pull at it. "O,
g'long, nigger," said the happy owner of the corn juice. "What's one
bottle of whisky 'mong one man?" And what was one little grouse among
five half-starved men? The smell and taste only made us long for more.

After dinner we all went out and hunted until dark. Soon after leaving
camp some of us heard lively firing up the cañon, where our guide had
gone, and felt certain that he had secured meat, for we had heard
glowing accounts, from him and his friends, of his prowess as a hunter.
The rest of us were not so despondent, therefore, when we returned at
dusk empty handed, as we should otherwise have been, until we reached
camp and found the guide there wearing a long face and bloodless hands.

He told a doleful story of having had five fair shots at a large bull
elk, who stood broadside on, only seventy-five yards away, but who
finally became alarmed at the fusilade and fled, leaving no blood on his
trail. The guide of course anathematized his gun in the choicest terms
known to frontiersmen, and our mouths watered as we thought of what
might have been.

Our potatoes, having been compelled to stand for meat also, had vanished
rapidly, and we ate the last of them for supper that night. Few words
were spoken and no jokes cracked over that meal. We ate bread straight
for breakfast, and turning out early hunted diligently all day. We were
nearly famished when we returned at night and no one had seen any living
thing larger than a pine squirrel. It is written that "man shall not
live by bread alone," and we found that we could not much longer. And
soon we should not have even that, for our flour was getting low. But we
broke the steaming flat-cake again at supper, and turned in to dream of
juicy steaks, succulent joints, and delicious rib roasts.

We were up before daylight to find that six or eight inches of light
snow had fallen silently during the night, which lay piled up on the
branches of the trees, draping the dense forests in ghostly white. Our
drooping spirits revived, for we hoped that the tell-tale mantle would
enable us to find the game we so much needed in our business. We broke
our bread more cheerfully that morning than for two days previously, but
at the council of war held over the frugal meal, decided that unless we
scored that day we must make tracks for the nearest ranch the next
morning, and try to make our scanty remnant of flour keep us alive until
we could get there.

Breakfast over we scattered ourselves by the four points of the compass
and set out. It fell to my lot to go up the cañon. Silently I strode
through the forest, scanning the snow in search of foot-prints, but for
an hour I could see none. Then, as I cautiously ascended a ridge, I
heard a crash in the brush beyond and reached the summit just in time to
see the latter end of a large bull elk disappear in the thicket.

He had not heard or seen me, but had winded me, and tarried not for
better acquaintance. I followed his trail some three miles up the cañon,
carefully penetrating the thickets and peering among the larger trees,
but never a glimpse could I get and never a sound could I hear of him.
He seemed unusually wild. I could see by his trail that he had not
stopped, but had kept straight away on that long, swinging trot that is
such a telling gait of the species, and which they will sometimes keep
up for hours together. Finally I came to where he had left the cañon
and ascended the mountain. I followed up this for a time, but seeing
that he had not yet paused, and finding that my famished condition
rendered me unequal to the climb, was compelled to abandon the pursuit
and with a heavy heart return again to the cañon. I kept on up it, but
could find no other game or sign of any. Like the red hunter, in the
time of famine, who

    "Vainly walked through the forest,
    Sought for bird, or beast, and found none;
    Saw no track of deer or rabbit,
    In the snow beheld no foot-prints,
    In the ghostly gleaming forest
    Fell and could not rise from weakness,"

so I trudged on until, wearied and worn out, I lay down beside a giant
fir tree, whose spreading branches had kept the snow from the ground,
and fell asleep. When I awoke my joints were stiff and sore, and I was
chilled to the bone. It was late in the afternoon, and a quiet,
drizzling rain had set in.

I found the trail that led through the cañon, and started back to camp,
trudging along as rapidly as possible, for hunger was gnawing at my
vitals and my strength was fast failing.

    "Over snow-fields waste and pathless,
    Under snow-encumbered branches,
    Empty-handed, heavy-hearted,"

I toiled wearily on. The snow had become saturated with the rain, and
great chunks of it were falling from the trees with dull, monotonous
sounds. "Slush, slush," "Splash, splash," came the gloomy sounds from
all parts of the woods. I was nearing camp, and had abandoned all hope
of seeing game. My only object was to reach shelter, to rest, and feast
on the unsatisfying bread. I heard a succession of the splashings that
came from my left with such regular cadence as to cause me to look up,
when, great St. Hubert! there came a huge grizzly bear shambling and
splashing along through the wet snow. It was his footsteps that I had
been hearing for a minute or two past, and which I had, at first,
thought to be the falling snow.

He had not yet seen me, and what a marvelous change came over me! I
forgot that I was tired; that I was weak; that I was hungry. The
instincts of the hunter reanimated me, and I thought only of killing the
grand game before me. I threw down my rifle, raising the hammer as the
weapon came into position, and the click of the lock reached his ear. It
was the first intimation he had of possible danger, and he stopped and
threw up his head to look and listen. My thoughts came and went like
flashes of lightning. I remembered then the famishing condition of
myself and friends. Here was meat, and I must save it. There must be no
nervousness--no wild shooting now. This shot _must_ tell. And there was
not a tremor in all my system. Every nerve was as of steel for the
instant. The little gold bead on the muzzle of the rifle instantly found
the vital spot behind the bear's shoulder, gleamed through the rear
sight like a spark of fire, and before he had time to realize what the
strange apparition was that had so suddenly confronted him, the voice of
the Winchester was echoing through the cañon and an express bullet had
crashed through his vitals.

The shock was so sudden and the effect on him so deadly that he
apparently thought nothing of fight, but only of seeking a place to die
in peace.

He wheeled and shot into a neighboring thicket with the speed of an
arrow. I fired at him again as he disappeared. He crashed through the
jungle out into the open woods, turned to the right and went across a
ridge as if Satan himself were after him. As the big gray mass shot
through a clear space between two trees I gave him another speeder, and
then he disappeared beyond a ridge.

The snow had melted rapidly and the ground was bare in places, so that I
had some trouble in trailing the bear, but wherever he crossed a patch
of snow his trail was bespattered with blood. I followed over the ridge
and through scattering jack pines, about two hundred yards, and found
him lying dead near the trail. My first and third bullets had gone in
behind his shoulder only an inch apart. The first had passed clear
through him, and the other had lodged against the skin on the opposite
side. Several ribs were broken on either side, and his lungs and other
portions of his interior were ground into sausage; yet so great was his
vitality and tenacity to life that he was able to make this distance at
a speed that would have taxed the best horse in the country, and if he
had seen fit to attack me instead of running away he would probably have
made sausage of me.

But what feasting and what revelry there was in camp that night. It was
a young bear, fat as butter, and rib roasts and cutlets were devoured in
quantities that would have shocked the modesty of a tramp. Not until
well into the night did we cease to eat, and wrap ourselves in our
blankets. We staid several days in the cañon after that, and killed
plenty of elk and other game.

       *       *       *       *       *

The skin of the grizzly is one of the most valuable trophies a sportsman
can obtain on any field, and its rarity, and the danger and excitement
attending the taking of it, the courage it bespeaks on the part of the
hunter, render it a prize of which the winner may justly feel proud for
a lifetime.

The best localities in which to hunt the grizzly bear--that is, those
most accessible and in which he is now most numerous--are the Big Horn,
Shoshone, Wind River, Bear Tooth, Belt, and Crazy Mountains, in Wyoming
and Montana, all of which may be easily reached by way of the Northern
Pacific road.

The best time of year to hunt for this, as well as all the other species
of large game in the Rocky Mountains, is in the months of September,
October, and November, though in the latter month the sportsman should
not venture high up into the mountains where heavy snow-falls are liable
to occur. There is a great deal of bear hunting done in the summer
months, but it is contrary to the laws of nature, and should not be
indulged in by any true sportsman. The skins are nearly worthless then,
while in the autumn they are prime; the heat is oppressive, and the
flies and mosquitoes are great pests.

The best arm for this class of game is a repeating rifle of large
calibre, 45 or 50, carrying a large charge of powder and a solid
bullet. The new Winchester express, 50/110, with solid ball, is perhaps
the best in the market, all things considered.

There are several methods of hunting the grizzly, the most common being
to kill an elk, and then watch the carcass. Shots may frequently be
obtained in this way early in the morning or late in the evening, and on
bright moonlight nights it is best to watch all night, for the immense
size of the grizzly renders him an easy target at short range even by
moonlight. Another method is to still-hunt him, the same as is done with
deer. This is perhaps the most sportsmanlike of all, and if a coulee or
creek bottom be selected where there are plenty of berries, or an open,
hilly, rocky country, where the bears are in the habit of hunting for
worms, or any good feeding-ground where bear signs are plentiful, and
due care and caution be exercised, there is as good a chance of success
as by any other method. Many hunters set guns with a cord running from
the trigger to a bait of fresh meat, and the muzzle of the gun pointing
at the meat; others set large steel traps or deadfalls. But such
contrivances are never used by true sportsmen.

Game of any kind should always be pursued in a fair, manly manner, and
given due chance to preserve its life if it is skillful enough to do so.
If captured, let it be by the superior skill, sagacity, or endurance of
the sportsman, not by traps which close on it as it innocently and
unsuspectingly seeks its food.

Grizzly bear hunting is unquestionably the grandest sport that our
continent affords. The grizzly is the only really dangerous game we
have, and the decidedly hazardous character of the sport is what gives
it its greatest zest, and renders it the most fascinating of pursuits.
Many sportsmen proclaim the superiority of their favorite pastime over
all other kinds, be it quail, grouse, or duck shooting, fox-chasing,
deer-stalking, or what not; and each has its charm, more or less
intense, according to its nature; but no man ever felt his heart swell
with pride, his nerves tingle with animation, his whole system glow with
wild, uncontrollable enthusiasm, at the bagging of any bird or small
animal, as does the man who stands over the prostrate form of a monster
grizzly that he has slain. Let the devotee of these other classes of
sport try bear hunting, and when he has bagged his first grizzly, then
let him talk!



CHAPTER XXII.

ELK HUNTING IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.


Of all the large game on the American continent, the elk (_Cervus
canadensis_) is the noblest, the grandest, the stateliest. I would
detract nothing from the noble game qualities of the moose, caribou,
deer, or mountain sheep. Each has its peculiar points of excellence
which endear it to the heart of the sportsman, but the elk possesses
more than any of the others. In size he towers far above all, except the
moose. In sagacity, caution, cunning, and wariness he is the peer, if
not the superior, of them all. He is always on the alert, his keen
scent, his piercing eye, his acute sense of hearing, combining to render
him a vigilant sentinel of his own safety.

His great size and powerful muscular construction give him almost
unbounded endurance. When alarmed or pursued he will travel for twenty
or thirty hours, at a rapid swinging trot, without stopping for food or
rest. He is a proud, fearless ranger, and even when simply migrating
from one range of mountains to another, will travel from seventy-five to
a hundred miles without lying down. He is a marvelous mountaineer, and,
considering his immense size and weight, often ascends to heights that
seem incredible. He may often be found away up to timber line, and will
traverse narrow passes and defiles, climbing over walls of rock and
through fissures where it would seem impossible for so large an animal,
with such massive antlers as he carries, to go. He chooses his route,
however, with rare good judgment, and all mountaineers know that an elk
trail is the best that can possibly be selected over any given section
of mountainous country. His faculty of traversing dense jungles and
windfalls is equally astonishing. If given his own time, he will move
quietly and easily through the worst of these, leaping over logs higher
than his back as gracefully and almost as lightly as the deer; yet let a
herd of elk be alarmed and start on a run through one of these
labyrinthine masses, and they will make a noise like a regiment of
cavalry on a precipitous charge.

I have stood on the margin of a quaking-asp thicket and heard a large
band of elk coming toward me that had been "jumped" and fired upon by my
friend at the other side, and the frightful noise of their horns
pounding the trees, their hoofs striking each other and the numerous
rocks, the crashing of dead branches, with the snorting of the
affrighted beasts, might well have struck terror to the heart of anyone
unused to such sights and sounds, and have caused him to seek safety in
flight. But by standing my ground I was enabled to get in a couple of
shots at short range, and to bring down two of the finest animals in the
herd.

The whistle of the elk is a sound which many have tried to describe,
yet I doubt if anyone who may have read all the descriptions of it ever
written would recognize it on a first hearing. It is a most strange,
weird, peculiar sound, baffling all efforts of the most skillful
word-painter. It is only uttered by the male, and there is the same
variety in the sound made by different stags as in different human
voices. Usually the cry begins and ends with a sort of grunt, somewhat
like the bellow of a domestic cow cut short, but the interlude is a
long-drawn, melodious, flutelike sound that rises and falls with a
rhythmical cadence, floating on the still evening air, by which it is
often wafted with singular distinctness to great distances. By other
individuals, or even by the same individual at various times, either the
first or last of these abrupt sounds is omitted, and only the other, in
connection with the long-drawn, silver-toned strain, is given.

The stag utters this call only in the love-making season, and for the
purpose of ascertaining the whereabouts of his dusky mate, who responds
by a short and utterly unmusical sound, similar to that with which the
male begins or ends his call.

Once, when exploring in Idaho, I had an interesting and exciting
experience with a band of elk. I had camped for the night on a high
divide, between two branches of the Clearwater river. The weather had
been intensely dry and hot for several days, and the tall rye grass that
grew in the old burn where I had pitched my camp was dry as powder.
There was a gentle breeze from the south. Fearing that a spark might be
carried into the grass, I extinguished my camp-fire as soon as I had
cooked and eaten my supper. As darkness drew on, I went out to picket
my horses and noticed that they were acting strangely. They were looking
down the mountain side with ears pointed forward, sniffing the air and
moving about uneasily.

[Illustration: THE _WAPITI_, OR AMERICAN ELK.]

I gave their picket ropes a turn around convenient jack pines, and then
slipping cautiously back to the tent, got my rifle and returned. I could
see nothing strange and sat down beside a log to await developments. In
a few minutes I heard a dead limb break. Then there was a rustling in a
bunch of tall, dry grass; more snapping of twigs and shaking of bushes.
I ascertained that there were several large animals moving toward me and
feared it might be a family of bears. I feared it, I say, because it was
now so dark that I could not see to shoot at any distance, and knew that
if bears came near the horses the latter would break their ropes and
stampede. I thought of shouting and trying to frighten them off, but
decided to await developments. Presently I heard a snapping of hoofs and
a succession of dull, heavy, thumping noises, accompanied by reports of
breaking brush, which I knew at once were made by a band of elk jumping
over a high log.

The game was now not more than fifty yards away and in open ground, yet
I could not see even a movement, for I was looking down toward a dark
cañon, many hundreds of feet deep. Slowly the great beasts worked toward
me. They were coming down wind and I felt sure could not scent me, but
they could evidently see my horses, outlined against the sky, and had
doubtless heard them snorting and moving about.

The ponies grew more anxious but less frightened than at first, and
seemed now desirous of making the acquaintance of their wild visitors.

Slowly the elk moved forward until within thirty or forty feet of me,
when I could begin to discern by the starlight their dark, shaggy forms.
Then they stopped. I could hear them sniffing the air and could see them
moving cautiously from place to place, apparently suspicious of danger.
But they were coming down wind, could get no indication of my presence,
and were anxious to interview the horses.

They moved slowly forward, and when they stopped this time, two old
bulls and one cow, who were in the front rank, so to speak, stood within
ten feet of me. Their great horns towered up like the branches of dead
trees, and I could hear them breathe.

Again they circled from side to side and I thought surely they would get
far enough to one quarter or the other to wind me, but they did not.
Several other cows and two timid little calves crowded to the front to
look at their hornless cousins who now stood close behind me, and even
in the starlight, I could have shot any one of them between the eyes.

My saddle cayuse uttered a low gentle whinny, whereat the whole band
wheeled and dashed away; but after making a few leaps their momentary
scare seemed to subside, and they stopped, looked, snorted a few times
and then began to edge up again--this time even more shyly than before.

It was intensely interesting to study the caution and circumspection
with which these creatures planned and carried out their investigation
all the way through.

The only mistake they made, and one at which I was surprised,
considering their usual cunning and sagacity, was that some of them at
least did not circle the horses and get to the leeward. But they were in
such a wild country, so far back in the remote fastnesses of the
Rockies, that they had probably never encountered hunters or horses
before and had not acquired all the cunning of their more hunted and
haunted brothers. After their temporary scare they returned, step by
step, to their investigation, and the largest bull in the bunch
approached the very log behind which I sat. He was just in the act of
stepping over it when he caught a whiff of my breath and, with a
terrific snort, vaulted backward and sidewise certainly thirty feet. At
the same instant I rose up and shouted, and the whole band went tearing
down the mountain side making a racket like that of an avalanche.

As before stated, I could have had my choice out of the herd, but my
only pack-horse was loaded so that I could have carried but a small
piece of meat, and was unwilling to waste so grand a creature for the
little I could save from him.

The antlers of the bull elk grow to a great size. He sheds them in
February of each year. The new horn begins to grow in April. During the
summer it is soft and pulpy and is covered with a fine velvety growth of
hair; it matures and hardens in August; early in September he rubs this
velvet off and is then ready to try conclusions with any rival that
comes in his way. The rutting season over, he has no further use for
his antlers until the next autumn, and they drop off. Thus the process
is repeated, year after year, as regularly as the leaves grow and fall
from the trees. But it seems a strange provision of nature that should
load an animal with sixty to seventy-five pounds of horns, for half the
year, when weapons of one-quarter the size and weight would be equally
effective if all were armed alike.

I have in my collection the head of a bull elk, killed in the Shoshone
Mountains, in Northern Wyoming, the antlers of which measure as follows:

Length of main beam, 4 feet 8 inches; length of brow tine, 1 foot 6-1/2
inches; length of bes tine, 1 foot 8-1/2 inches; length of royal tine, 1
foot 7 inches; length of surroyal, 1 foot 8-1/2 inches: circumference
around burr, 1 foot 3-1/4 inches; circumference around beam above burr,
12 inches; circumference of brow tine at base, 7-1/2 inches; spread of
main beams at tips, 4 feet 9 inches. They are one of the largest and
finest pairs of antlers of which I have any knowledge. The animal when
killed would have weighed nearly a thousand pounds.

The elk is strictly gregarious, and in winter time, especially, the
animals gather into large bands, and a few years ago herds of from five
hundred to a thousand were not uncommon. Now, however, their numbers
have been so far reduced by the ravages of "skin hunters" and others
that one will rarely find more than twenty-five or thirty in a band.

In the fall of 1879, a party of three men were sight-seeing and hunting
in the Yellowstone National Park, and having prolonged their stay until
late in October, were overtaken by a terrible snowstorm, which
completely blockaded and obliterated all the trails, and filled the
gulches, cañons, and coulees to such a depth that their horses could not
travel over them at all. They had lain in camp three days waiting for
the storm to abate; but as it continued to grow in severity, and as the
snow became deeper and deeper, their situation grew daily and hourly
more alarming. Their stock of provisions was low, they had no shelter
sufficient to withstand the rigors of a winter at that high altitude,
and it was fast becoming a question whether they should ever be able to
escape beyond the snow-clad peaks and snow-filled cañons with which they
were hemmed in. Their only hope of escape was by abandoning their
horses, and constructing snow-shoes which might keep them above the
snow; but in this case they could not carry bedding and food enough to
last them throughout the several days that the journey would occupy to
the nearest ranch, and the chances of killing game _en route_ after the
severe weather had set in were extremely precarious. They had already
set about making snow-shoes from the skin of an elk which they had
saved. One pair had been completed, and the storm having abated, one of
the party set out to look over the surrounding country for the most
feasible route by which to get out, and also to try if possible to find
game of some kind. He had gone about a mile toward the northeast when he
came upon the fresh trail of a large band of elk that were moving toward
the east. He followed, and in a short time came up with them. They were
traveling in single file, led by a powerful old bull, who wallowed
through snow in which only his head and neck were visible, with all the
patience and perseverance of a faithful old ox. The others followed
him--the stronger ones in front and the weaker ones bringing up the
rear. There were thirty-seven in the band, and by the time they had all
walked in the same line they left it an open, well-beaten trail. The
hunter approached within a few yards of them. They were greatly alarmed
when they saw him, and made a few bounds in various directions; but
seeing their struggles were in vain, they meekly submitted to what
seemed their impending fate, and fell back in rear of their file-leader.
This would have been the golden opportunity of a skin hunter, who could
and would have shot them all down in their tracks from a single stand.
But such was not the mission of our friend. He saw in this noble,
struggling band a means of deliverance from what had threatened to be a
wintry grave for him and his companions. He did not fire a shot, and did
not in any way create unnecessary alarm amongst the elk, but hurried
back to camp and reported to his friends what he had seen.

In a moment the camp was a scene of activity and excitement. Tent,
bedding, provisions, everything that was absolutely necessary to their
journey, were hurriedly packed upon their pack animals; saddles were
placed, rifles were slung to the saddles, and leaving all surplus
baggage, such as trophies of their hunt, mineral specimens and curios of
various kinds, for future comers, they started for the elk trail. They
had a slow, tedious, and laborious task, breaking a way through the deep
snow to reach it, but by walking and leading their saddle animals
ahead, the pack animals were able to follow slowly. Finally they reached
the trail of the elk herd, and following this, after nine days of
tedious and painful traveling, the party arrived at a ranch on the
Stinking Water river, which was kept by a "squaw man" and his wife,
where they were enabled to lodge and recruit themselves and their stock,
and whence they finally reached their homes in safety. The band of elk
passed on down the river, and our tourists never saw them again; but
they have doubtless long ere this all fallen a prey to the ruthless war
that is constantly being waged against them by hunters white and red.

It is sad to think that such a noble creature as the American elk is
doomed to early and absolute extinction, but such is nevertheless the
fact. Year by year his mountain habitat is being surrounded and
encroached upon by the advancing line of settlements, as the fisherman
encircles the struggling mass of fishes in the clear pond with his long
and closely-meshed net. The lines are drawn closer and closer each year.
These lines are the ranches of cattle and sheep raisers, the cabins and
towns of miners, the stations and residences of employés of the
railroads. All these places are made the shelters and temporary abiding
places of Eastern and foreign sportsmen who go out to the mountains to
hunt. Worse than this, they are made the permanent abiding places, and
constitute the active and convenient markets of the nefarious and
unconscionable skin hunter and meat hunter. Here he can find a ready
market for the meats and skins he brings in, and an opportunity to
spend the proceeds of such outrageous traffic in ranch whisky and
revelry. The ranchmen themselves hunt and lay in their stock of meat for
the year when the game comes down into the valleys. The Indians, when
they have eaten up their Government rations, lie in wait for the elk in
the same manner. So that when the first great snows of the autumn or
winter fall in the high ranges, when the elk band together and seek
refuge in the valleys, as did the herd that our fortunate tourists
followed out, they find a mixed and hungry horde waiting for them at the
mouth of every cañon. Before they have reached the valley where the
snow-fall is light enough to allow them to live through the winter their
skins are drying in the neighboring "shacks."

[Illustration: WORK OF THE EXTERMINATORS.]

This unequal, one-sided warfare, this ruthless slaughter of inoffensive
creatures, can not last always. Indeed, it can last but little longer.
In ranges where only a few years ago herds of four or five hundred elk
could be found, the hunter of to-day considers himself in rare luck when
he finds a band of ten or twelve, and even small bands of any number are
so rare that a good hunter may often hunt a week in the best elk country
to be found anywhere without getting a single shot. All the Territories
have good, wholesome game-laws which forbid the killing of game animals
except during two or three months in the fall; but these laws are not
enforced. They are a dead letter on the statute-books, and the illegal
and illegitimate slaughter goes on unchecked.



CHAPTER XXIII.

ANTELOPE HUNTING IN MONTANA.


Of all the numerous species of large game to be found in the far West,
there is none whose pursuit furnishes grander sport to the expert
rifleman than the antelope (_Antilocapra americana_). His habitat being
the high, open plains, he may be hunted on horseback, and with a much
greater degree of comfort than may the deer, elk, bear, and other
species which inhabit the wooded or mountainous districts. His keen
eyesight, his fine sense of smell, his intense fear of his natural
enemy, man, however, render him the most difficult of all game animals
to approach, and he must indeed be a skillful hunter who can get within
easy rifle range of the antelope, unless he happens to have the
circumstances of wind and lie of ground peculiarly in his favor. When
the game is first sighted, even though it be one, two, or three miles
away, you must either dismount and picket your horse, or find cover in
some coulee or draw, where you can ride entirely out of sight of the
quarry. But even under such favorable circumstances it is not well to
attempt to ride very near them. Their sense of hearing is also very
acute, and should your horse's hoof or shoe strike a loose rock, or
should he snort or neigh, the game is likely to catch the sound while
you are yet entirely out of sight and faraway, and when you finally
creep cautiously to the top of the ridge from which you expect a
favorable shot, you may find the game placidly looking for you from the
top of another ridge a mile or two farther away.

But we will hope that you are to have better luck than this. To start
with, we will presume that you are an expert rifleman; that you are in
the habit of making good scores at the butts; that at 800, 900, and
1,000 yards you frequently score 200 to 210 out of a possible 225
points. We will also suppose that you are a hunter of some experience;
that you have at least killed a good many deer in the States, but that
this is your first trip to the plains. You have learned to estimate
distances, however, even in this rare atmosphere, and possess good
judgment as to windage. You have brought your Creedmoor rifle along,
divested, of course, of its Venier sight, wind-guage, and spirit-level,
and in their places you have fitted a Beach combination front sight and
Lyman rear sight. Besides these you have the ordinary open step sight
attached to the barrel just in front of the action. This is not the best
arm for antelope hunting; a Winchester express with the same sights
would be much better; but this will answer very well.

We camped last night on the bank of a clear, rapid stream that gurgles
down from the mountain, and this morning are up long before daylight;
have eaten our breakfasts, saddled our horses, and just as the gray of
dawn begins to show over the low, flat prairie to the east of us, we
mount, and are ready for the start. The wind is from the northeast. That
suits us very well, for in that direction, about a mile away, there are
some low foot-hills that skirt the valley in which we are camped. In or
just beyond these we are very likely to find antelope, and they will
probably be coming toward the creek this morning for water.

We put spurs to our horses and gallop away. A brisk and exhilarating
ride of ten minutes brings us to the foot-hills, and then we rein up and
ride slowly and cautiously to near the top of the first one. Here we
dismount, and, picketing our ponies, we crawl slowly and carefully to
the apex. By this time it is almost fully daylight. We remove our hats,
and peer cautiously through the short, scattering grass on the brow of
the hill.

Do you see anything?

No; nothing but prairie and grass.

No? Hold! What are those small, gray objects away off yonder to the
left? I think I saw one of them move. And now, as the light grows
stronger, I can see white patches on them. Yes, they are antelope. They
are busily feeding, and we may raise our heads slightly and get a more
favorable view. One, two, three--there are five of them--two bucks, a
doe, and two kids. And you will observe that they are nearly in the
centre of a broad stretch of table-land.

"But," you say, "may we not wait here a little while until they come
nearer to us?"

Hardly. You see they are intent on getting their breakfast. There is a
heavy frost on the grass, which moistens it sufficiently for present
purposes, and it may be an hour or more before they will start for
water. It won't pay us to wait so long, for we shall most likely find
others within that time that we can get within range of without waiting
for them. So you may as well try them from here.

Now your experience at the butts may serve you a good turn. After taking
a careful look over the ground, you estimate the distance at 850 yards,
and setting up your Beach front and Lyman rear sights, you make the
necessary elevation. There is a brisk wind blowing from the right, and
you think it necessary to hold off about three feet. We are now both
lying prone upon the ground. You face the game, and support your rifle
at your shoulder by resting your elbows on the ground. The sun is now
shining brightly, and you take careful aim at that old buck that stands
out there at the left. At the report of your rifle a cloud of dust rises
from a point about a hundred yards this side of him, and a little to the
left, showing that you have underestimated both the distance and the
force of the wind--things that even an old hunter is liable to do
occasionally.

We both lie close, and the animals have not yet seen us. They make a few
jumps, and stop all in a bunch. The cross-wind and long distance prevent
them from knowing to a certainty where the report comes from, and they
don't like to run just yet, lest they may run toward the danger instead
of away from it. You make another half-point of elevation, hold a little
farther away to the right, and try them again. This time the dirt rises
about twenty feet beyond them, and they jump in every direction. That
was certainly a close call, and the bullet evidently whistled
uncomfortably close to several of them. They are now thoroughly
frightened. You insert another cartridge, hurriedly draw a bead on the
largest buck again, and fire. You break dirt just beyond him, and we
can't tell for the life of us how or on which side of him your bullet
passed. It is astonishing how much vacant space there is round an
antelope, anyway. This time they go, sure. They have located the puff of
smoke, and are gone with the speed of the wind away to the west. But
don't be discouraged, my friend. You did some clever shooting, some
_very_ clever shooting, and a little practice of that kind will enable
you to score before night.

We go back to our horses, mount, and gallop away again across the
table-land. A ride of another mile brings us to the northern margin of
this plateau, and to a more broken country. Here we dismount and picket
our horses again. We ascend a high butte, and from the top of it we can
see three more antelope about a mile to the north of us; but this time
they are in a hilly, broken country, and the wind is coming directly
from them to us. We shall be able to get a shot at them at short range.
So we cautiously back down out of sight, and then begins the tedious
process of stalking them. We walk briskly along around the foot of a
hill for a quarter of a mile, to where it makes a turn that would carry
us too far out of our course. We must cross this hill, and after looking
carefully at the shape and location of it, we at last find a low point
in it where by lying flat down we can crawl over it without revealing
ourselves to the game. It is a most tedious and painful piece of work,
for the ground is almost covered with cactus and sharp flinty rocks, and
our hands and knees are terribly lacerated. But every rose has its
thorn, and nearly every kind of sport has something unpleasant connected
with it occasionally; and our reward, if we get it, will be worth the
pain it costs us. With such reflections and comments, and with frequent
longing looks at the game, we kill time till at last the critical part
of our work is done, and we can arise and descend in a comfortable but
cautious walk into another draw.

[Illustration: A PORTRAIT.]

This we follow for about two hundred yards, until we think we are as
near our quarry as we can get. We turn to the right, cautiously ascend
the hill, remove our hats, and peer over, and there, sure enough, are
our antelope quietly grazing, utterly oblivious to the danger that
threatens them. They have not seen, heard, or scented us, so we have
ample time to plan an attack. You take the standing shot at the buck,
and together we will try and take care of the two does afterward. At
this short distance you don't care for the peep and globe sights, and
wisely decide to use the plain open ones. This time you simply kneel,
and then edge up until you can get a good clear aim over the apex of the
ridge in this position. The buck stands broadside to you, and at the
crack of your rifle springs into the air, and falls all in a heap,
pierced through the heart.

And now for the two does. They are flying over the level stretch of
prairie with the speed of an arrow, and are almost out of sure range
now. You turn loose on that one on the right, and I will look after the
one on the left. Our rifles crack together, and little clouds of dust
rising just beyond tell us that, though we have both missed, we have
made close calls. I put in about three shots to your one, owing to my
rifle being a repeater, while you must load yours at each shot. At my
fourth shot my left-fielder doubles up and goes down with a broken neck;
and although you have fairly "set the ground afire"--to use a Western
phrase--around your right-fielder, you have not had the good fortune to
stop her, and she is now out of sight behind a low ridge.

But you have the better animal of the two, and have had sport enough for
the first morning. We will take the entrails out of these two, lash them
across our horses behind our saddles, go to camp, and rest through the
heat of the day; for this September sun beams down with great power in
midday, even though the nights are cool and frosty.

And now, as we have quite a long ride to camp, and as we are to pass
over a rather monotonous prairie country _en route_, I will give you a
point or two on flagging antelope, as we ride along, that may be useful
to you at some time. Fine sport may frequently be enjoyed in this way.
If you can find a band that have not been hunted much, and are not
familiar with the wiles of the white man, you will have little trouble
in decoying them within rifle range by displaying to them almost any
brightly-colored object. They have as much curiosity as a woman, and
will run into all kinds of danger to investigate any strange object they
may discover. They have been known to follow an emigrant or freight
wagon, with a white cover, several miles, and the Indian often brings
them within reach of his arrow or bullet by standing in plain view
wrapped in his red blanket. A piece of bright tin or a mirror answers
the same purpose on a clear day. Almost any conspicuous or
strange-looking object will attract them; but the most convenient as
well as the most reliable at all times is a little bright-red flag.

On one occasion I was hunting in the Snowy Mountains, in Northern
Montana, with S. K. Fishel, the government scout, and Richard Thomas,
the packer, from Fort Maginnis. We had not been successful in finding
game there, and on our way back to the post camped two days on the head
of Flat Willow creek, near the foot of the mountains, to hunt antelopes.
As night approached several small bands of them came toward the creek,
but none came within range of our camp during daylight, and we did not
go after them that night, but were up and at them betimes the next
morning.

I preferred to hunt alone, as I always do when after big game, and went
out across a level flat to some low hills north of camp. When I ascended
the first of these I saw a handsome buck antelope on the prairie half a
mile away. I made a long detour to get to leeward of him, and meantime
had great difficulty in keeping him from seeing me. But by careful
maneuvering I finally got into a draw below him, and found the wind
blowing directly from him to me. In his neighborhood were some large,
ragged volcanic rocks, and getting in line with one of these I started
to stalk him. He was feeding, and as I moved cautiously forward I could
frequently see his nose or rump show up at one side or the other of the
rock. I would accordingly glide to right or left, as necessary, and move
on. Finally, I succeeded in reaching the rock, crawled carefully up to
where I could see over it, and there, sure enough, stood the handsome
old fellow not more than fifty yards away, still complacently nipping
the bunch-grass.

"Ah, my fine laddie," I said to myself, "you'll never know what hurt
you;" and resting the muzzle of the rifle on the rock, I took a fine,
steady aim for his heart and turned the bullet loose. There was a
terrific roar; the lead tore up a cloud of dust and went screaming away
over the hills, while, to my utter astonishment, the antelope went
sailing across the prairie with the speed of a greyhound. I sprang to my
feet, pumped lead after him at a lively rate, and, though I tore the
ground up all around him, never touched a hair. And what annoyed me most
was that, owing to some peculiar condition of the atmosphere, the smoke
of each shot hung in front of me long enough to prevent me from seeing
just where my bullets struck, and, for the life of me, I could not tell
whether I was shooting over or under the game!

I went back over the hill to my horse, with my heart full of
disappointment and my magazine only half full of cartridges. I loaded
up, however, mounted, and, as I rode away in search of more game, I
could occasionally hear the almost whispered "puff, puff" of Fishel's
and Thomas's rifles away to the south and west, which brought me the
cheering assurance that they were also having fun, and also assured me
that we should not be without meat for supper and breakfast.

I soon sighted a band of about thirty antelopes, and riding into a
coulee dismounted, picketed my horse, and began another crawl. In due
time I reached the desired "stand," within about eighty yards of them,
and, picking out the finest buck in the bunch, again took a careful,
deliberate aim and fired, scoring another clear miss. The band, instead
of running away, turned and ran directly toward me, and, circling,
slightly, passed within thirty yards of me, drawn out in single file. It
was a golden opportunity and I felt sure I should kill half a dozen of
them at least; but, alas! for fleeting hopes. I knew not the frailty of
the support on which I built my expectations. I fanned them as long as
there was a cartridge in my magazine, and had to endure the intense
chagrin of seeing the last one of them go over a ridge a mile away safe
and sound.

I was dumb. If there had been anyone there to talk to, I don't think I
could have found a word in the language to express my feelings. As
before, the smoke prevented me from seeing just where my bullets struck
the ground, but I felt sure they must be striking very close to the
game. I sat down, pondered, and examined my rifle. I could see nothing
wrong with it, and felt sure it must be perfect, for within the past
week I had killed a deer with it at 170 yards and had shaved the heads
off a dozen grouse at short range. I was, therefore, forced to the
conclusion that I had merely failed to exercise proper care in holding.
I returned to my horse, mounted, and once more set out in search of
game, determined to kill the next animal I shot at or leave the country.

I rode away to the west about two miles, and from the top of a high hill
saw another band of forty or fifty antelopes on a table-land. I rode
around till I got within about two hundred yards of them, when I left my
horse under cover of a hill and again began to sneak on the unsuspecting
little creatures. They were near the edge of the table, and from just
beyond them the formation fell abruptly away into the valley some fifty
feet. I crawled up this bluff until within about forty yards of the
nearest antelope, and then, lying flat upon the ground, I placed my
rifle in position for firing, and, inch by inch, edged up over the apex
of the bluff until within fair view of the game. Again selecting the
best buck--for I wanted a good head for mounting--I drew down on his
brown side until I felt sure that if there had been a silver dollar hung
on it I could have driven it through him. Confidently expecting to see
him drop in his tracks, I touched the trigger. But, alas! I was doomed
to still further disgrace. When the smoke lifted, my coveted prize was
speeding away with the rest of the herd.

I simply stood, with my lower jaw hanging down, and looked after them
till they were out of sight. Then I went and got my horse and went to
camp. Sam and Dick were there with the saddles of three antelopes. When
I told them what I had been doing, they tried to console me, but I
wouldn't be consoled. After dinner, Sam picked up my rifle and looked it
over carefully.

"Why, look here, you blooming idiot," said he. "No wonder you couldn't
kill at short range. The wedge has slipped up under your rear sight two
notches. She's elevated for 350 yards, and at that rate would shoot
about a foot high at a hundred yards." I looked and found it even so.
Then I offered him and Dick a dollar each if they would kick me, but
they wouldn't.

Sam said good-naturedly: "Come, go with me and get the head of the buck
I killed. It's a very handsome one, and only two miles from camp."

I said I didn't want any heads for my own use unless I could kill their
owners myself, but would take this one home for a friend, so we saddled
our horses and started.

As we reached the top of a hill about a mile from camp a large buck that
was grazing ahead of us jumped and ran away to what he seemed to
consider a safe distance, and stopped to look at us. Sam generously
offered me the shot, and springing out of my saddle I threw down my
rifle, took careful aim and fired. At the crack the buck turned just
half way round, but was unable to make a single jump and sank dead in
his tracks.

Sam is ordinarily a quiet man, but he fairly shouted at the result of my
shot. I paced the distance carefully to where the carcass lay, and it
was exactly 290 steps. The buck was standing broadside to me and I had
shot him through the heart. Of course, it was a scratch. I could not do
it again perhaps in twenty shots, and yet when I considered that I shot
for one single animal and got him I could not help feeling a little
proud of it. As we approached the animal, not knowing just where I had
hit him, I held my rifle in readiness, but Sam said:

"Oh, you needn't be afraid of his getting up. One of those Winchester
express bullets is all an antelope needs, no matter what part of the
body you hit him in."

This old fellow had a fine head, and we took it off, and now as I write
it gazes down upon me with those large, lustrous black eyes, from its
place on the wall, as proudly and curiously as it did there on the
prairie when I looked at it through the sights of my Winchester. His
portrait adorns page 199 of this book, and though the artist has treated
it with a master's hand, it does not possess the lordly beaming, the
fascinating grace, the timid beauty that distinguished the living
animal.

It was so late when we got this one dressed that we decided to return to
camp at once.

The curiosity which is so prominent a feature in the antelope's nature
costs many a one of them his life, and is taken advantage of by the
hunter in various ways. When we reached camp that afternoon Dick told us
how he had taken advantage of it. He had seen a small band on a level
stretch of prairie where there was no possible way of getting within
range of them, and having heard that if a man would lie down on his
back, elevate his feet as high as possible, and swing them back and
forth through the air, that it would attract antelopes, decided to try
it. But the antelopes of this section had evidently never seen soap
boxes or bales of hay floating through the air, and had no desire to
cultivate a closer acquaintance with such frightful looking objects as
he exhibited to their astonished gaze. And Dick said that when he turned
to see if they had yet come within shooting distance they were about a
mile away, and judging from the cloud of dust they were leaving behind
them seemed to be running a race to see which could get out of the
country first.

The next morning Sam and I went together and Dick alone in another
direction. During the forenoon I shot a buck through both fore legs,
cutting one off clean and paralyzing the other. Sam said not to shoot
him again and he would catch him, and putting spurs to his horse was
soon galloping alongside of the quarry. He caught him by one horn and
held him until I came up. The little fellow pranced wildly about, and
bleated pitifully, but a stroke of the hunting knife across his throat
soon relieved his suffering.

We then got the head from the buck Sam had killed the day before, and
returned to camp about 11 o'clock a. m.

In the afternoon we rode out together again, and had not gone far when
we saw five of the bright little animals we were hunting on a hill-side.
They were too far away for anything like a sure shot, but were in such a
position that we could get no nearer to them. They stood looking at us,
and Sam told me to try them. I had little hope of making a hit, but
dismounting took a shot off hand, holding for the shoulder of a good
sized buck. When the gun cracked there was a circus. I had missed my aim
so far as to cut both his hind legs off just below the knee. The buck
commenced bucking. First he stood on his fore feet, got his hind legs up
in the air and shook the stumps. Then he tried to stand on them and paw
the air with his fore feet, but lost his balance and fell over backward.
He got up, jumped first to one side, then to the other, then forward.
Meantime Sam rode toward him, and he tried to run. In this his motions
were more like those of a rocking horse than of a living animal. The
race was a short one. Sam soon rode up to him, caught him by a horn and
held him till I came up and cut the little fellow's throat. Then Sam
said that was a very long shot, and he would like to know just what the
distance was. He went back to where I stood when I shot, stepped the
distance to where the antelope stood, and found it to be 362 paces.

We rode on a mile further and saw a young antelope lying down in some
tall rye-grass. We could just see his horns and ears, and though he
appeared to be looking at us he seemed to think himself securely hidden,
for he made no movement toward getting up. I told Sam to shoot this
time, but he said, "No, you shoot. I live in this country and can get
all the shooting I want any time. You have come a long way out here to
have some fun. Turn loose on him." And slipping off my horse I knelt
down to get a knee rest, but found that from that position I could not
see the game at all, and was compelled to shoot off hand again. Raising
up I drew a bead on one of the horns, and then lowering the muzzle to
where I thought the body should be, pressed the trigger. There was a
lively commotion in the grass, but the buck never got out of his bed.
The ball went in at one shoulder and out at the opposite hip. On
stepping the distance we found it to be only 125 yards.

And now, having in a measure wiped out the disgrace of the previous
day's work and secured all the meat, skins, and heads that our
pack-mules could carry, we returned to camp and the next day went back
to Fort Maginnis.

These bright little creatures, though naturally timid, sometimes show
great courage in defense of their young. I once saw a coyote sneak from
behind a hill toward a herd of antelope. Instantly there was a grand
rush of all the adult members of the band, male and female, toward the
intruder, and when they had gotten in front of the kids they stopped,
with bristles erect, ears thrown forward, and heads lowered, presenting
a most warlike and belligerent appearance. The coyote, when he saw
himself confronted with this solid phalanx, suddenly stopped, eyed his
opponents for a few moments, and then, apparently overawed at the
superiority of numbers and warlike attitude of his intended prey, slunk
reluctantly away in search of some weaker victim. When he was well out
of sight, the older members of the band turned to their young, caressed
them, and resumed their grazing.

The speed of the antelope is probably not excelled by that of any other
animal in this country, wild or domestic, except the greyhound, and, in
fact, it is only the finest and fleetest of these that can pull down an
antelope in a fair race.

In the little village of Garfield, Kansas, there lived a man some years
ago--the proprietor of a hotel--who had two pet antelopes. The village
dogs had several times chased them, but had always been distanced. One
day a Mexican came to town who had with him two large, handsome
greyhounds. Immediately on riding up to the hotel he saw the antelopes
in the yard, and told the proprietor gruffly that he had better put
"them critters" in the corral, or his dogs would kill them. The
proprietor said he guessed the "critters" were able to take care of
themselves, especially if the dogs did not spring upon them unawares.
This aroused the Mexican's ire, and he promptly offered to wager a
goodly sum that his dogs would pull down one or both of the antelopes
within a mile. The challenge was accepted, the stakes deposited, the
antelopes turned into the street, and the "greaser" told his dogs to
"take'em."

The dogs sprang at the antelopes, but the latter had by this time
reached a vacant lot across the street. They started off down the river.
For a distance of four miles the river bottom was an open prairie, and
as level as a floor. As the quartette sped over this grand natural
race-course, the whole populace of the town turned out _en masse_ to see
the race. Men and boys shouted, and ladies waved their handkerchiefs.
Betting was rife, the natives offering two to one on the antelopes, the
Mexican and the few other strangers in town being eager takers. It was
nip and tuck, neither animals gaining nor losing perceptibly, and when
at last the four went round a bend in the river four miles away, and
were hidden by a bluff, the game was, as nearly as could be seen by the
aid of good field-glasses, just about the same distance ahead of the
dogs as when they left town.

Some hours later the dogs returned, so tired they could scarcely walk.
The Mexican eagerly looked for hair on their teeth, and although he
could find none, was confident that his dogs had killed the antelopes. A
mounted expedition to search for the carcasses and settle the question
was agreed upon, but as it was too near night to start when the dogs
returned, it was arranged to go in the morning. But when the parties
got up the next morning they found the antelopes quietly grazing in the
hotel yard. The Mexican left town in disgust followed by his lame,
sore-footed dogs, and muttering that he "never seed no varmints run like
them things did."

The antelope, one of the brightest and most graceful and beautiful of
all our Western game animals, is fast disappearing from our broad
plains, owing to the ceaseless slaughter of it that is carried on by
"skin hunters," Indians, "foreign noblemen," and others who come to this
country year after year and spend the entire summer in hunting. Hundreds
of them are killed every summer by this latter class, and left to rot
where they fall, not a pound of meat, a skin, or even a head being taken
from them. I have seen with my own eyes this butchery carried on for
years past, and know whereof I speak.

Nearly all the Territories have stringent laws intended to prohibit this
class of slaughter, but in these sparsely settled countries the
provisions for enforcing them are so meagre that these men violate them
day after day and year after year with impunity. This is one of the
instances in which prohibition does not prohibit. And what I have said
of the antelope is true of all the large game of the great West. The
elk, deer, mountain sheep, etc., are being slaughtered by the hundreds
every year--tenfold faster than the natural increase. And the time is
near, _very_ near, when all these noble species will be extinct. The
sportsman or naturalist who desires to preserve a skin or head of any of
them must procure it very soon or he will not be able to get it at all.



CHAPTER XXIV.

BUFFALO HUNTING ON THE TEXAS PLAINS.


The "Texas boom" was at its height in 1876, and there was a grand rush
of emigrants of all nationalities and conditions of people to the then
New Eldorado. Thousands of men went down there to make money. Many of
them had not the remotest idea how this was to be done, but from the
glowing stories afloat regarding the resources of that wonderful
country, they felt sure it could be done in some way. The little town of
Fort Worth was then on the frontier--that is, it was one of the most
westerly towns having railroad communication, and was therefore one of
the important outfitting points for parties going into the wilds. A
great many were going further west, on all kinds of expeditions, some in
search of minerals, some in search of choice lands, some to hunt the
large game which was then abundant.

The village consisted of a public square, around and fronting on which
were a row of cheap, one-story, log and frame buildings, most of which
were occupied as saloons and gambling houses. But there were a few
respectable general stores, half a dozen so-called hotels, shops, etc.
The town was full to overflowing with gamblers, rustlers, hunters,
cowboys, Mexican rancheros, northern sight-seers, adventurers,
commercial travelers, etc.

[Illustration: AT BAY.]

All day and all night could be heard the call of the _croupier_ at the
gambling-table as he announced the numbers and combinations that the
wheel or cards produced in the course of the manipulations to which his
deft fingers subjected them.

Hot words often came from fortunate and unfortunate gamesters, and the
short, sharp report of the six-shooter, the shouts of combatants, the
groans of wounded or dying men, the clatter of heavy boots or spurs on
the feet of stampeded spectators were sounds that, nearly every night,
greeted the ears of the populace.

Mob law reigned supreme, and there was little effort on the part of the
village authorities to punish offenders. Sometimes Judge Lynch's court
was convened on short notice, and someone who had committed an unusually
flagrant violation of the "law of honor" and had killed a man without
due provocation, was hurriedly tried and strung up to the nearest tree.

One evening in the month of November, the excitement was varied by the
arrival of a "bull-train"[1] of ten wagons loaded with buffalo skins.
They drove to the warehouse of the largest trader in the place to
unload, and were quickly surrounded by a crowd of eager inquirers who
sought for news from the front.

[1] What is known on the frontier as a "bull-train" is a number
of ponderous wagons, drawn by from six to ten yoke of oxen each, used
for hauling heavy freight across the plains.

Some inquired as to the nature of the country, some as to the progress
of settlements, some as to friends who were at the front, and many as to
the buffalo herd from which the five thousand skins brought in by this
train had been taken.

"The main herd," said the wagon boss, "is two hundred miles west on the
headwaters of the Brazos river."

"How large a herd is it?"

"Nobody knows that, for none of 'em has took time to ride to the west
end of it."

"Are there many hunters there?" inquired a young St. Louis lawyer.

"Wall, you'd reckon," said the boss. "Tha's 'bout a hundred and fifty
white hunters, and more'n a thousand red-skins."

"When do you start back?"

"To-morrow mornin', if I can keep my bull punchers from gettin' full of
pizen."

The crowd gradually scattered, while a little knot of the more
respectable element repaired to the hotel to discuss the question of
organizing a hunting party to go to the buffalo range. In an hour they
agreed to go, the time for the start being fixed for the morning of the
second day following.

And then the busy notes of preparation were heard throughout the town.
But few of the men who decided to go were prepared for such a trip, and
it was necessary for most of them to buy or hire complete outfits.
Horses were the first and most important requisite. The corral (the
frontier livery stable) was first visited, and spirited bidding was
indulged in for the choicest animals. The stock here was soon exhausted,
and the demand was not yet supplied. Then all the horses and ponies
standing tied to the railing around the public square were inspected,
and any that were for sale were tested. Word having been circulated that
a hunting party was outfitting, a large number of ponies were brought in
from neighboring camps and ranches. The party was soon creditably
mounted, though the number had increased to double that originally
planned.

Next, teams must be employed. A number of these were also found, and
five were engaged, their owners agreeing to work for seven dollars a day
"and found."

Guns and ammunition were also in demand, and enough were offered to arm
a regiment. A number of hunters had recently come in from the front and
were selling off their outfits. Every store and hotel had from one to
half a dozen guns in pawn, and one dealer had a number of new ones.
Anything in the shape of a rifle could be had. Old Kentucky
muzzle-loaders, "five feet long in the barrel;" condemned army carbines
of Spencer, Sharps, and other patterns; Springfield muskets; Henry and
Winchester rifles; and a few of the old reliable Sharps "buffalo guns"
of 45 and 50 calibre, and using 100 to 120 grains of powder. These
latter were taken at good figures by the more knowing ones, and the best
of the others selected by the less intelligent buyers until all were
fairly well armed.

Then a guide was needed, and a Chicago newspaper correspondent, who was
to be a member of the expedition, was deputed to employ one. As usual in
frontier towns, there were plenty of them, each one of whom, in his own
estimation, was the best in the whole country. Each claimed to know
every foot of the ground in question, to be able to speak the language
of every Indian tribe on the frontier, to be a crack shot and intrepid
horseman, afraid of nothing, and ready for any undertaking, no matter
how hazardous.

Inquiry among the more reliable citizens of the town as to who was best
suited for the uses of the present enterprise resulted in the choice of
a rather quiet and attractive-looking young man bearing the euphonious
pseudonym of "Red River Frank." He was clad in the conventional buckskin
suit, and his long glossy black hair hung in heavy curls down to his
shoulders. He was six feet two inches in height, straight as an arrow,
and had a deep, clear gray eye; rode a good sized spirited mustang, and
sat in his saddle like a life-trained trooper.

At the time appointed for the departure, the party, which had now
swelled to thirty-two men all told, assembled in the public square. The
wagons were loaded with the tents, bedding, food, and other necessary
provisions for the trip, which, it was arranged, should occupy about six
weeks. At ten o'clock the party rode out of town on the road leading
west, taking with them the hearty good wishes of the assembled throng.
They crossed a narrow belt of timber and emerged upon a stretch of
gently undulating prairie, which was densely covered with a luxuriant
growth of gramma grass, and over which they traveled at a lively gait
until after sundown before again reaching timber and water. Then they
camped on a small creek where food, fuel, and good water were abundant.
The tents were pitched, supper prepared and eaten, and then the party
assembled around a large camp fire.

The lawyer arose, and requesting the attention of the men, said that, as
they were going on a long journey into a wild country, which was
infested with hostile Indians and lawless white men, where it might be
necessary for this party to defend themselves and their property by
force of arms, it was thought best to effect a permanent and binding
organization, which would insure unity of action throughout the trip,
and especially in the event of any such trouble as he had intimated
might arise. He therefore nominated as chief executive officer of the
expedition, Captain W. H. Enders, who, he said, had done good and
faithful service during the late war; who, since the war, had traveled
extensively in the West, and who was now engaged in cattle raising in
Kansas. Several men seconded the nomination, and Captain Enders was
unanimously chosen by acclamation.

He arose and thanked his friends, modestly and gracefully, for this mark
of their esteem and confidence, stating that he had no desire to
exercise any arbitrary or unnecessary authority over them, but should
only order them in so far as safety and success in their undertaking
seemed necessary. He asked that all who were willing to stand by him and
obey his orders to this extent should so pledge themselves by rising to
their feet. The entire party arose. Then their leader thanked them
again, and their informal deliberation ended.

The captain detailed four men to act as a guard over the camp and stock
during the night, each watching two hours and then calling up the one
who was to relieve him, and this precaution was followed up throughout
the expedition.

The men were tired from their long ride, and sought the comfort of their
blankets at an early hour. As they had a ten days' journey before them
to reach the buffalo range, it was agreed that they should start early
each morning, and the camp fires were therefore ordered to be lit at
four o'clock.

The journey was uneventful for several days. The road upon which the
party had first traveled bearing off to the southwest, and the course of
our party being due west, they left it. "Red River Frank" now sustained
his good reputation as a guide by selecting with excellent skill and
judgment the best portion of the country to travel in, avoiding the
numerous swamps and sandy plains, finding safe and easy fords across the
streams, and selecting good camp sites for each night.

They were now in a country where deer and turkeys were abundant, and
their tables were bountifully supplied with fresh meat. They camped on
the night of November 12 in a clump of tall cottonwood trees that
skirted a small creek. Just at dusk a great rush of wings was heard in
the air, and, looking in the direction from whence the sound came, a
large flock of wild turkeys was seen sailing directly toward their camp,
and, a moment later, they lit in the trees amongst which our party was
camped. Instantly every rifle was brought forth, and the whole camp was
ablaze with burning powder. The smoke floated up amongst the dazed and
panic-stricken birds, who fluttered wildly and aimlessly from tree to
tree, knocking their wings against each other and the dead limbs, and
making a most frightful noise.

The hunters scattered and tongues of flame shot up from every quarter.
Volley after volley was fired. The roar of the rifles interspersed with
the "thud" and "crash" of falling birds, the shouts of the excited
throng, the neighing of terrified horses, the barking of dogs, turned
the quiet camp of a few moments ago into a veritable pandemonium. The
slaughter went on for, perhaps, twenty minutes, when the more humane
became ashamed of themselves and quit. Finally they prevailed upon their
friends to desist, and the dead game was gathered up. Sixty-three of
these noble birds had met their death, and the survivors were allowed to
sit quietly and watch the camp fires till morning, when they sailed away
toward the east.

In the afternoon of that day, Frank and the journalist were riding in
advance of the column across a level, monotonous stretch of country,
where there was little to attract attention or excite remark. They had
already become warm friends and talked confidentially on many subjects,
but Frank had said nothing of his past history, yet his strange demeanor
at times had excited in the mind of the newspaper man an anxiety to know
what had moved this refined, generous, scholarly young man to adopt a
life so uncivilized as the one he was living.

"Frank," he finally said, "I have no wish to question you on a subject
that you may not wish to speak on, yet I have observed many traits in
you that are not found in other men of your calling. I am of the opinion
that you have been bred in a very different sphere of life from this in
which you now live. If you have no objection, I should like to know what
motive prompted you to adopt this wild life."

He bit his lip and hesitated. Finally, after some moments, he said:

"Well, I'll tell you how it came about, and I'll make the story brief.
It is similar to that of many another scout, in general, but different
in detail, perhaps, from any of them. I was born and bred in an Eastern
city, and was being educated for the ministry. My father failed in
business and I was compelled to leave school. He gathered what little
was left of his shattered fortune, and with his family emigrated to the
far West. There he engaged in farming on what was then the frontier, but
before we had been there six months we were awakened one morning at
daylight by the yells of savage Indians, and, looking out, beheld them
all around us. They were Comanches.

"Our house was burned. My father was tomahawked and scalped before our
eyes, and my mother, my sister (who was older than I), and myself were
carried into captivity. I was fortunate enough to escape. I returned and
organized a pursuing party, but our efforts were fruitless, and a few
months later I learned from a half-breed that death had relieved the
sufferings of my mother and sister. That was twenty years ago. I was
fifteen years old then, and from that day to this I have been on the
trail of that tribe. I boast of nothing, but each year I feel better
satisfied with my work. I hope that, in time, I may feel content to
return East and engage in some lawful and more congenial pursuit."

At that instant a deer bounded up out of the tall grass a hundred yards
ahead and went prancing away to the left. Frank caught his rifle from
the sling at his saddle bow and sent a bullet through its head.

Early the next morning the hunters came upon fresh buffalo signs, and in
the afternoon a few stragglers were seen. One was killed in the evening,
and on the creek where they camped that night fresh Indian camp signs
were found. A small herd of buffalo came to the creek to drink, a mile
below, just after sundown, and various facts indicated that they were
near the main herd. All through the next day they were in sight of small
bands, and several hunting parties were sighted, some white and some
red. The feed was getting scarce, owing to its having been eaten down by
the game, and at two o'clock the party camped on Willow creek, a small
tributary of the Brazos river. The main herd was yet about ten miles
away, but the hunters could not consistently go any nearer for a
permanent camp, and decided to make it here. Two white hunters visited
them in the evening, and told them that a party of ten Comanches were
camped on Turtle creek seven miles further west. At this intelligence
Frank's face darkened and his eye gleamed, but he said nothing. Soon
after dark, however, he was missing, and did not turn up again till near
noon the next day. He had a different horse from the one he rode away;
not so good a one, it is true, and there were two bullet holes in his
coat. He was reticent and uncommunicative as to where he had been, but
wore a very pleased expression on his countenance, and was occasionally
seen to smile when not talking with anyone.

[Illustration: NATIVE BUFFALO HUNTERS.]

The majority of the hunters mounted and rode southwest early in the
morning. Seven men in one party sighted a herd of buffaloes numbering
about 200, and dismounting, when within a mile, cached their horses in a
coulee, and began a cautious advance.

They found a deep and crooked ravine into which they crawled, and in
which they were able to approach to within about 400 yards of the
nearest animals. A gentle breeze blew from the game toward the hunters,
and taking advantage of the most favorable point, they crawled up the
steep bank to where they could command a good view of the game. The
"tenderfeet" in the party were in favor of firing a volley, but an old
hunter who had led them advised them to fire singly, and at intervals of
a minute or two, this plan being much less likely to frighten the game.
He cautioned them to take very careful aim, to make every shot count,
and to wound as few animals as possible. One slightly wounded animal, he
said, would create more uneasiness among the herd than ten dead or
fatally wounded ones.

Several of this party were good marksmen, and had good strong-shooting,
long-range rifles. Though, they shot heavy charges, yet, the wind in
their favor, at this long distance, the animals would scarcely hear the
reports. The leader advised them to shoot only at animals broadside, and
gave them careful directions as to elevation and where to aim. Evans
opened the fire with a sixteen-pound 50-calibre Sharp's. Immediately
after the report the emphatic "thud" of the bullet came back and a large
cow was seen to drop on her knees, get up again, stagger away a few rods
and lie down.

"Good," said the old hunter. "Now, Pete, you go."

"Pete fired, and an old bull whisked his tail, walked sullenly away,
turned around a few times, and fell dead. Another complimentary remark
from the old hunter, and then he said:

"Now I guess I'll try one."

He fired, but to his great chagrin did just what he had cautioned the
others not to do, broke a fore leg below the knee. This cow commenced to
bellow and "buck," and in an instant the whole herd was in commotion.

"Stop her, somebody, stop her, or she'll stampede the hull bizness!" he
said, as he pushed another bullet into his muzzle loader. By this time
she had stopped broadside, for a moment, at the edge of the herd, and
the journalist, at the order of the boss, drew a bead on her. The "spat"
of the heavy bullet told of a palpable "hit". She no longer felt like
running, but was not yet down and it took two more bullets to lay her
out. The next shot was a clean miss, so far as it concerned the animal
shot at, but it wounded one somewhere in the herd. Then there was more
commotion and it was evident the "stand" was at an end.

"Give it to 'em, everybody," the old hunter now said, and a fusillade
followed that soon put them under full speed.

The hunters now mounted their horses and made a "run" on the band that
resulted in some very exciting sport and the death of three more
buffaloes. This over, they returned to the scene of the first firing and
gralloched the seven animals killed "on the stand." Then they mounted
their tired beasts again and were on the point of starting for camp when
they heard strange noises, and looking toward the west beheld a great
black surging mass, waving and rolling up across the prairie, half
hidden by great clouds of dust which were only occasionally blown away
by the brisk autumn wind. It was the great herd of buffalo, and they had
been stampeded by the Indian hunters. The roar of the hoofs upon the dry
earth was like the low and sullen thunder. The vanguard of the herd was
yet more than a mile away, but the dark line stretched to right and left
almost as far as the eye could reach, and our hunters saw that instant
and precipitate flight was necessary in order to save their lives. They
specially chose the northward as offering the shortest and best
direction by which to escape the coming avalanche, and sinking the spurs
deep into their terror-stricken beasts, they flew with the velocity of
an arrow across the wild prairie. A mile was covered in a few seconds,
and yet they were not past the herd, which was rapidly closing in upon
them.

[Illustration: THE FIRST RUN.]

They turned their horses' heads partly in the direction the buffaloes
were going and, urging them to their utmost speed, finally passed the
outer line of the herd just as the leaders passed by. Then, having
reached a place of safety, they dismounted, and throwing their bridle
reins over their arms commenced to load and fire into the herd with all
possible rapidity, nearly every shot killing or disabling an animal. It
took nearly half an hour for the rolling, surging, angry horde to pass
the point where our hunters stood, and as the rear guard came in sight
there came a new and still more terrible scene in the great tragedy.

More than a hundred Indians were in hot pursuit of the savage beasts.
They were mounted on wild and almost ungovernable bronchos, who were
frothing at the mouth, charging and cavorting amongst the fleeing game.
The white foam dropped in flakes and bubbles from all parts of their
bodies. Their nostrils were distended, their eyes flashed fire, and they
seemed as eager as their wild masters to deal death to the buffaloes.
The savage riders seemed beside themselves with mad, ungovernable
passion.

Their faces were painted in the most glaring colors, their bright and
many-colored blankets fluttered in the wind secured to the saddle only
by an end or a corner, their long black hair streaming back like the
pennant at the mast head of a ship, and their deep black eyes gleamed
like coals of fire in a dungeon. Arrow after arrow flew from deep-strung
bows and sunk to the feathered tip in the quivering flesh of the shaggy
monsters.

Ponderous spears were hurled with the power and precision of giants and
struck down the defenceless victims as a sturdy woodman strikes down the
frail sapling in his path.

"Crack!" "crack!" came from rifles, and "ping!" "ping!" from carbines
and revolvers. Hundreds of shots were fired by those who carried
firearms, and before these murderous weapons, the poor bison sank like
ripened grain before the reaper's blade.

One young warrior, more ardent and fearless than the rest, had forced
his high-strung steed far into the midst of the solid phalanx, where the
horse was finally impaled upon the horns of a monster bull. He and his
rider were tossed like sheaves of wheat into the air; then both sank to
earth, and were instantly trodden into the dust.

At last the great storm had passed, and our friends watched until it
faded away in the distance and finally disappeared from their view.

Then came the squaws, the boys, and the old men, to dispatch the wounded
and to skin and cut up the dead. These were strewn all over the prairie,
and not a tithe of them were, or could be, saved by all the people,
white and red, assembled there.

Our hunters returned to camp at sunset, where they met those of their
companions who had been out during the afternoon, and over the evening
camp fire, each related the thrilling incidents which he had witnessed,
or in which he had participated during the day.

On the following morning they again started out in several parties of
five or six each and going in various directions. Frank and the
newspaper man started with three others, but soon separated from them to
go after a small band which they had sighted about two miles south of
camp.

When within a proper distance, they dismounted, picketed their horses in
a swale, and stalking to within about a hundred yards opened fire. A
young cow dropped at the first shot, to all appearances dead, and the
remainder of the band scurried away, one old bull being badly wounded.
The hunters started to run to the top of a ridge, over which the game
had gone, to get another shot. As they passed the cow the guide called
to his companion to look out for her, as she was only "creased" and
liable to get up again and charge them. They had gone but a few rods,
when, sure enough, she did spring to her feet and make a dash at Frank.
He turned to shoot her, but his gun missed fire, and as he attempted to
throw out the cartridge, the action failed to work, and his gun was, for
the moment, disabled. By this time she was almost on him, and as his
only means of escape, he sprang into a "washout" (a ditch that had been
cut by the water, some ten feet deep), the sides of which were
perpendicular.

He called loudly for help, but his friend had not seen the charge, and
was by this time a hundred yards away. He turned and saw the cow, almost
blind with rage, rapidly jumping back and forth across the washout, in a
mad effort to get at the guide, but she seemed unwilling to jump down
into it. She was shot through the throat, and the blood, flowing from
her in torrents, had deluged poor Frank, until he looked as if he had
been at work in a slaughter-house. The scribe ran back, killed the cow,
and drew his friend from his sanguinary retreat.

The guide then repaired his gun, and mounting their horses they pursued
the wounded bull. They soon found him at bay, and riding up close to
him, commenced firing at him with their revolvers. Quick as a flash of
lightning he made a frightful charge at the journalist, who, taken by
surprise, was unable to avoid the rush. Both horse and rider were dashed
to the earth. The horse was so badly injured as to be unable to rise,
and as the burly antagonist made another rush at him, the man was
enabled to seek safety in flight, and before the bull again turned his
attention to the fugitive, the rapid and well-directed fire of the scout
had brought the shaggy beast to the earth.

The horse was fatally injured and had to be shot, so our friends, with
one horse between them, took turns riding and walking to camp.

This day's killing by the party was large, and supplied all their wants
as to meat, skins, and sport. The next few days were devoted to jerking
meat, dressing and drying skins, and preparing for the return journey,
and in ten days from the date of their arrival on the hunting ground,
the teams were all loaded up, camp was broken, and the homeward march
was begun, which progressed uneventfully from day to day, and was made
in safety in about the same time occupied in going out.

Twice during the hunt the party were alarmed by the discovery of Indians
lurking about their camp, late in the night. The guards discovered them
in both instances, and fired on them, when they beat a hasty retreat and
disappeared in the darkness. It was not known that their object was
anything worse than pilfering, and yet there was little doubt that had
they found the party all off guard and asleep, a massacre would have
resulted. But, true to their aboriginal instincts, they did not wish to
engage in a fight with a formidable foe, whom they found ever ready for
such an emergency.

[Illustration: PROWLERS.]

Such scenes and such sport as this party enjoyed were common almost
anywhere on the great plains west of the Missouri river up to a few
years ago. Herds of buffalo extending over a tract of land, as large as
one of the New England States, and numbering hundreds of thousands of
heads, might be found any day in what was then "buffalo country." An
army officer told me that, when crossing the plains in 1867 with a
company of cavalry, he encountered a herd that it took his command three
days to ride through, marching about thirty miles a day.

When two of our transcontinental railways were first built it was no
uncommon thing for herds of buffalo to delay trains for several hours in
crossing the tracks, the animals being packed in so close together that
the train could not force a passage through them.

But, alas, those days are passed forever. This noble creature, provided
to feed the human multitude who should people the prairies, is to-day
practically extinct; slaughtered and annihilated by that jackal of the
plains, that coyote in human shape, the "skin hunter." Hundreds of
thousands of buffaloes were annually killed, their skins sold at from
seventy-five cents to a dollar and a half each, and the meat which, when
properly taken care of, is equal, if not superior, to the finest
domestic beef, was left to rot on the ground.

There are scarcely a hundred buffaloes left on the continent to day in
their wild state. A very few stragglers are known to be in the Panhandle
of Texas, a small bunch in the Yellowstone National Park, and a few in
the British Northwest, but they are being remorselessly pursued by large
numbers of hunters, and it is safe to say that a year hence not one will
be left in the whole broad West unless it be those in the park, and they
will escape only in case they stay within the park limits where they are
protected by United States soldiers. Should they ever stray beyond the
bounds of the park they will all be killed in less than a week.

Several small bunches have been domesticated by Western cattlemen, and
it is hoped the species may, by this means, be saved from total
extinction. They are being successfully cross-bred with domestic
cattle, and an excellent strain of stock is thus produced, but the grand
herds that for ages roamed at will over the great plains are a thing of
the past.



CHAPTER XXV.

HUNTING THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN GOAT.


There is, perhaps, no large mammal in this country of which the
scientific world and the reading public in general knows so little as of
the Rocky Mountain goat (_Aplocerus Montanus_). There are several
reasons for this. First, its limited range. It is confined to a small
area of the Rocky Mountains, principally west of the main divide; to
Western Montana, Eastern Idaho, the Cascade Range in Washington
Territory, a small portion of British Columbia, and to Alaska. Secondly,
its habitat is the tops or near the tops of the highest and most rugged
peaks and cliffs, where none but the hardiest and most daring hunter may
venture in pursuit of it, and so comparatively very few are ever killed
and brought into the settlements. Third, it can not be successfully
domesticated. Its favorite food is so different from that generally
growing in or near any settlement, the atmosphere it breathes, the mean
temperature in which it lives, and the ground, or rather rocks, on which
it is accustomed to walk, so widely different from those surrounding any
human habitation, that the few young that have been captured and
brought down to the settlements have soon died. So that none of them are
found in parks and zoological gardens, as are specimens of nearly all
other large wild animals.

There are fewer mounted skins of this animal in Eastern museums than of
any other species indigenous to this country, and hence the public and
naturalists have had fewer opportunities to study and become familiar
with it than with other wild mammals. Yet it is one of the most
beautiful and interesting of all our American quadrupeds, and probably
no sportsman or naturalist has ever yet mustered courage and hardihood
enough to go where he could kill a Rocky Mountain goat without feeling
amply repaid for all the labor and hardship encountered by being able to
behold this mystic creature in his lofty mountain home. In view of the
limited facilities people have had for studying this animal a somewhat
minute description of it may not be amiss here.

In size it is but a trifle larger than the Merino sheep, which, in fact,
it closely resembles in many respects. The form of its body is robust,
fore parts rather thicker than hinder parts, with a slight hump over
shoulders, similar to that of the American bison. Its color is entirely
white, or, in some instances, of a light creamy shade. Hair long and
pendant. A beard-like tuft of hair on the chin. Long coarse hair, more
abundant, on shoulders, neck, and back. Under and intermixed with this
long hair there is a close coat of fine, silky, white wool, equal in
fineness to that of the Cashmere goat. Hair on face and legs short and
without wool. Horns (which are present in both sexes) jet black, small,
conical, nearly erect, polished, and curving slightly backward; ringed
or wrinkled at the base, much like those of the chamois. Muzzle and
hoofs also black. False or accessory hoofs present. Dentition: Incisors,
8 lower; canines, none; molars, 12 upper, 12 lower; total 32. The
mountain goat brings forth two or three young at a time, usually late in
May or early in June. Slightly gregarious, being frequently found in
small bands in winter, but in summer season not more than a single
family is usually seen together, and in summer and fall the older males
may frequently be found entirely alone. The nose is nearly straight,
ears rather long, pointed, and lined with long hair. Tail six to eight
inches long, clothed with long hair. Legs thick and short. Hoofs grooved
on sole and provided with a thick spongy mass of cartilage in centre,
projecting below the outer edges of hoof, enabling the animal to cling
firmly to steep or smooth rocks. The dimensions of one adult male
specimen measured are as follows: Length from tip of nose to root of
tail, 3 feet 7 inches; length of tail, 7 inches; length of head, 11-3/4
inches; length of horns, 8-1/2 inches; diameter of horns at base, 1
inch. Its estimated gross weight is 130 pounds.

The food of the mountain goat consists principally, in summer, of the
leaves of the alder and of various mountain shrubs, and in winter of
mosses and lichens that grow on the rocks.

_Aplocerus Montanus_ is much more closely allied to the antelope than to
the domestic goat, and has few characteristics in common with the
latter genus. He is an agile, fearless climber, and appears to delight
in scaling the tallest, grandest, and most rugged crags and cliffs to be
found in the ranges which he inhabits, not so much in quest of his
favorite food, for this grows abundantly lower down, but apparently from
a mere spirit of daring; from a desire to breathe the rarest and purest
atmosphere obtainable, and to view the grandest scenery under the sun
without having his vision in the least obstructed by intervening
objects. These forbidding and almost inaccessible crags are the
favorite, and nearly the exclusive, haunts of this strange creature, and
the hunter who follows it thither must indeed be a daring mountaineer.
The goat is frequently found at altitudes of 10,000 to 14,000 feet,
where the atmosphere is so rare as to render it difficult indeed for man
to climb, yet this fearless creature nimbly leaps from crag to crag,
over deep yawning chasms, with no more fear than the domestic lamb feels
when bounding over the greensward in an Eastern farmyard.

The hunter literally takes his life in his hand when pursuing the goat,
for he must pass over many places where a misstep or a slip of a few
inches would plunge him over a precipice, where he would fall thousands
of feet, or be hurled into some narrow and deep fissure in the rocks
whence escape would be impossible.

Over such rugged and perilous ground he may climb, hour after hour,
until he has passed the highest ranges of the elk, the mountain sheep,
and all the other game, for the mountain goat, "the American chamois,"
as he has been aptly termed, ranges higher than any of them. He may
toil on until he is far above timber line, and is working his way over
and around vast drifts and beds of perpetual snow and ice. Finally he
sights his game--a fine handsome specimen--standing fearlessly on some
jutting crag, deliberately feeding on some tender lichens or, perhaps,
peering proudly out over the lower world. The hunter now changes his
course until he can conceal himself behind some neighboring rock, and
then crawls stealthily and cautiously up to within rifle range of the
game. Then, peering cautiously from behind his cover, he takes careful
aim and fires. He is a dead shot and the rifle ball pierces the heart of
the quarry, but to his dismay it makes a convulsive bound and down it
goes over the precipice, rebounding from crag to crag, until it finally
reaches a resting place hundreds of feet below. It may go to where he
can never reach it, or may land where he can recover it on his return
down the mountain side; but if the latter, it may be torn to fragments
and scattered here and there until the hide is useless, the horns are
broken off, the skull crushed so that the head is unfit to mount, and
the flesh so bruised and mangled that he can scarcely save enough of it
to make him a dinner.

A few years ago an officer of the United States army and a party of
friends were hunting goats in the Bitter Root Mountains, near Missoula,
Mont. They followed two--a male and female--to the top of a rough and
dangerous peak, when the game, before they could get a shot at it,
started down the opposite side and took refuge from the hunters under a
shelving rock. Here it was, owing to the nature of the rocks and ice,
absolutely impossible for the hunters to follow them on foot, but the
intrepid officer, not to be baffled in the pursuit, tied a long rope
securely around his body, just under his arms, laid down, and grasping
his rifle slid quietly down, on a bed of ice, some sixty or seventy
feet, while his companions held on to the other end of the rope and
controlled his perilous descent. Finally, when he had gone far enough to
be able to see the game, he signaled his friends, who stopped him, and
raising on his elbows he fired and killed both goats, and was then drawn
up again in safety. Such, however, was the nature of the rocks between
him and the carcasses that it was utterly impossible to reach them after
he had killed them, and he was compelled reluctantly to abandon them.
Several members of the party tried to reach them from other points, but
were unable to do so, and they were all obliged to return empty-handed
to camp.

In another instance this same officer, upon crawling out on the edge of
a shelving rock and looking down over a precipice hundreds of feet
below, saw two goats near the base, but they were actually inside of a
perpendicular line running down from the edge of the rock he occupied,
and he was therefore unable to bring his rifle to bear upon them without
projecting his body out over the edge of the rock further than was safe.
After discussing the matter for some minutes, one of his friends offered
to hold his feet and thus enable him to extend his head and shoulders
far enough out to get his aim. By this means both of the goats were
killed, but a party had to go around and ascend the mountain from the
other side in order to secure them.

The same party, while climbing the rugged and almost perpendicular face
of Little Mountain to bring down some goats they had already killed,
came suddenly upon a large buck in a narrow V-shaped fissure in the
rock, from which there was no escape but by the opening at which they
had entered, and across this they formed a skirmish line. The goat
climbed upon a narrow projection on one of the walls of the fissure just
out of reach of the tallest man in the party, and as they had no rifles
with them (having left them below to lighten the labor of the ascent),
they tried to dislodge him by throwing rocks at him, but their footing
was so insecure and there was such great danger of their falling that
they could not hurl these with sufficient force to bring him down though
several of them hit him. If they had had a rope they could easily have
lassoed him, but there was no such thing at hand. They finally decided
to leave one of the men to guard their prisoner, and on their return to
camp another man took a rifle, went back, killed the goat, and the two
bore him triumphantly down to camp. The gentleman says: "Had I not been
an eye witness, and had I subsequently been shown the place where the
goat stood thus at bay, I could scarcely have believed it possible for
anything larger than a fly to have found footing there."

Fortunately, however, the successful hunting of the goat is not always
thus perilous, for though he habitually selects for his home the
roughest and most inaccessible peaks to be found in the mountains, yet
he sometimes ranges on more favorable ground, and if the sportsman be so
fortunate as to find him there he may be killed and saved. They range
somewhat lower in winter than in summer, but never even then venture
down into the cañons or valleys, as do all the other large mountain
animals. They only come down upon the lower peaks and ridges, and remain
about the rocky walls, which are so precipitous that the snow can not
lie on them to any considerable depth. Their power of climbing over and
walking on these almost perpendicular rock walls is utterly astounding.
They will walk along the side of an upright projecting ledge that towers
hundreds of feet above and below them where a shelf projects not more
than four or five inches wide. They will climb straight up an almost
perpendicular wall, if only slightly rough and irregular, so that they
can get a chance to hold on with their spongy hoofs here and there. And
they seem to select these difficult passes in many instances when a
good, easy passage could be had to the place to which they are bound by
going a little further around. They seem to delight in scaling a
dangerous cliff as a courageous boy does in climbing the tallest tree. I
once saw where a goat had walked straight up over a smooth flat slab of
granite ten feet wide, that laid at an angle of about fifty degrees, and
that was covered with about two inches of wet snow and slush. I could
not climb up it with moccasins on my feet, and no dog could have
followed him there. This faculty is accounted for by the peculiar shape
and quality of their hoofs before described.

The skin of the Rocky Mountain goat has never had any regular commercial
value. The stiff, coarse, brittle hair that is mixed with the wool
renders them unsuitable for robes or rugs, and this hair can not readily
be plucked out. The only demand for them is for mounting. Very few white
hunters and none of the Indians understand how to skin and preserve them
properly for this purpose, and this fact, taken in connection with that
of the rough and dangerous nature of the ground they inhabit, makes it
difficult to secure good skins, or even heads for mounting.

The flesh of the goat is edible, but in the adult animal is dry and
tasteless. When kids of less than a year old can be obtained, their
flesh is tender and toothsome. They are not hunted, therefore, for meat,
for in the ranges where they are found, deer, mountain sheep, or elks
can be obtained much lower down and are much more desirable for the
table.

During a sojourn of a month in the Bitter Root Mountains, near Missoula,
Mont., last fall I had some very exciting, not to say dangerous,
experiences in hunting this animal. We were camped in Lost Horse Cañon,
through which flows a typical mountain stream. The walls on both sides
are very abrupt and from three to four thousand feet in height. That on
the north is covered from bottom to top with great masses of granite
that have been broken loose from the cliffs at the top by earthquakes,
the action of frost, or other agency, and have tumbled down, breaking
into irregular-shaped fragments, of all sizes, lodging and piling on top
of each other in such a manner as to form a gigantic sort of pavement
from the top of the mountain to the foot. There were narrow strips of
the mountain side that had escaped these fallen masses. Here the
outcropping granite remained in its natural shape--irregular ledges with
small patches of earth intervening. Pines, hemlocks, cedars, and various
kinds of shrubs grew in these places as far up the mountain side as the
timber line.

I ascended this north wall one morning and after a weary and toilsome
climb of about two miles, and when in snow about six inches deep, I came
upon the track of a very large goat. It was some hours old, but he had
been feeding deliberately along the mountain side, and as they are not
rapid travelers in any case, I knew he was not a great distance away. I
took up the trail and followed it. It led over a succession of these
vast rock piles, which, owing to their being covered with snow, made the
traveling doubly dangerous. A slight misstep at any point, or an
unfortunate slip would be liable to let my foot drop in between two of
these rocks and throw me in such a way as to break a leg, an arm, or
possibly my head. The greatest care was therefore necessary in picking
my way over this dangerous country, and I was frequently struck with the
wise provisions which Nature makes for fulfilling her ends when I saw
where the animal I was pursuing had bounded lightly from rock to rock
over chasms many feet in width; or where he had walked up the sharp edge
of some slab of granite not more than three or four inches wide and
lying at a high angle; or where he had walked up over a flat slab of it,
tilted so steep that no other large animal in the mountains could have
followed him. There were many of his passages in which I could not
follow, but I had to make slow and tortuous detours, coming upon his
trail again beyond these most dangerous points.

Had he traveled straight ahead I could never have overtaken him, but the
time he consumed in frequently stopping to nip the tender leaves of the
mountain alder or the juicy lichens that grow upon the rocks proved
fatal to him, and finally, after a chase of probably two miles and when
near the top of the peak close to timber line, I came in sight of him.
He was truly a beautiful creature. There he stood, unconscious of
approaching danger, looking calmly out across a neighboring cañon as if
enjoying the grand scenery about him. Occasionally he turned to take a
mouthful of some delicate mountain herb that stood near him. The pale
creamy white of his fleece contrasted delicately and beautifully with
the green of the cedars, the golden autumn-colored leaves of the shrubs,
the dull gray of the granite rocks, and the pure white of the early
autumn snow. The sunlight glistened upon the polished black of his
proudly curved and beautifully rounded horns, and his large black eyes
gleamed as with conscious innocence and pride. I contemplated his
majestic mien for several minutes before I could nerve myself to the
task of taking his life, but finally the hunter's instinct conquered my
more delicate feelings. I put my rifle to my shoulder, pressed the
gently yielding trigger, and in an instant more his life blood crimsoned
the driven snow.

After making temporary disposition of his remains, I returned as rapidly
as possible to camp to get my photographic outfit and some help to
carry him in, for we were short of meat at the time. It was three
o'clock in the afternoon when I reached camp, and, eating a hasty lunch,
I started back up the mountain with three of my friends.

When we again reached the carcass it was five o'clock, and our work must
be done hastily in order to get down the mountain as far as possible
before dark. To add to the discomfort of our undertaking a drizzling
rain set in just as I was ready to make the views. I exposed a couple of
plates, however, which fortunately turned out fairly. We then set to
work to skin him as rapidly as possible, and as soon as this was
accomplished we started on our return to camp, two of the men taking the
two hind quarters of the animal, another my camera, and I the skin and
head. With these loads, weighing from twenty-five to thirty-five pounds
each, besides our rifles, and considering the difficult and dangerous
nature of the ground we had to travel over and the fact that it was
already beginning to grow dark, we had, indeed, a perilous journey
before us. Climbing over these rock piles when covered with snow was
difficult enough work in daylight, but to attempt it in the darkness and
now that it was raining heavily, the snow having become wet and slushy
and the rocks more slippery than before, it was doubly perilous.

Our course lay diagonally down and along the side of the mountain, and
as long as the light was sufficient to at all see where we were stepping
we made fair progress. Frequently, however, someone would slip and fall,
but fortunately without receiving any serious injury. We were often
compelled to hold to some shrub or tree and let ourselves down over
projecting rocks several feet, where we could not possibly have stood up
without such aid.

Finally, when we were yet less than half way down the mountain side, it
became pitch dark. Here we sat down to rest. The rain was falling in
torrents, and but for the snow on the ground we could not now have seen
a step ahead of us. We had entered one of those more favored strips of
land where the falling rocks had not covered the ground entirely, and
where there was a considerable growth of timber, both large trees and
underbrush. I was in favor of going straight down through this into the
creek bottom where we could at least walk in safety, even if our
progress should be slower. One of my friends--Mr. Overturf--agreed with
me, but the other two--Mr. McWhirk and Mr. Hinchman--preferred to
continue over the rocks in a direct line to camp. We therefore decided
to separate, Frank and I going straight down through this strip of
timber and over the smoother ground, and the other two following the
more direct course.

We two reached the foot of the mountain in about an hour more; not,
however, without encountering serious difficulties in grasping and
finding our way down over precipitous rocks and earth, hanging on to one
limb or shrub until we came in reach of another, and thus letting
ourselves down safely. We were then about a mile and a half from camp.
The creek bottom was densely timbered. There was a dim game trail
leading through it up to our camp, but it was impossible to follow it in
the darkness, and, in fact, it required the closest attention of
experienced woodsmen and hunters to follow it in daylight. We were
therefore utterly at sea. We were safe, however, and we heaved a sigh of
relief when we found ourselves on level ground, for none of us had
relished the idea of having a bone broken in that country, so far from
medical aid and home comforts.

Great snow slides had for ages been coming down these mountain sides
bringing their débris, such as rocks, and logs, and whole trees with
them. These had frequently gone some distance into the creek bottom,
breaking and felling all the trees in their path. Tornadoes had raged
through the cañon, also, breaking and lopping trees in various
directions, so that we now encountered a body of woods through which the
most expert woodsman could not possibly travel more than a mile an hour
in daylight. Add to this the cimmerian darkness in which we were now
groping (for there was no snow here in the bottom of the cañon) and the
reader may well imagine that our progress was slow and tedious in the
extreme.

We sat down and held another consultation. I favored building a fire and
staying there till morning, but Frank preferred pushing on to camp, so I
acquiesced. We soon found, however, that it was utterly impossible for
us to get through these windfalls in the darkness and with our heavy
loads, and decided as a last resort to get into the bed of the creek and
wade up it. We were already wet to the skin from head to foot, and this
wading could be no worse than clambering over logs and through jungles
of wet underbrush. We soon reached the creek and our hearts sank within
us as we listened to its tumultuous roar and looked upon its angry
bosom, for here we were enabled to see slightly, owing to the faint
light admitted through the narrow opening in the trees overhead, how
rough and boisterous it was! Its bed was a succession of bowlders from
the size of a man's head to that of a small house, and its waters,
coming direct from the snow, were ice cold. Yet to camp here was to
suffer all night from wet and cold, and we preferred to push on.

By keeping near the shore we could nearly all the time have brush to
hang to and steady ourselves, but where there were none of these in
reach our rubber boots slipped on the smooth wet rocks, and several
times we fell into the icy flood up to our chins. Once, in particular, I
fell in water nearly three feet deep, dropped my gun and it went to the
bottom. I fished it out, however, staggered to my feet, and struggled
on.

After nearly two hours of this terrible trudging, wading, and
staggering, we at last reached camp at eleven o'clock at night and
triumphantly deposited our burdens within the tent.

Our two friends, from whom we had separated _en route_, had arrived only
half an hour ahead of us, and notwithstanding the rain, which still fell
heavily, Dr. Hale, who had remained in camp, had a great log-heap fire
blazing in front of the tent. A pot of coffee steamed by the fire, and a
sumptuous supper of broiled bear steaks, baked potatoes, and hot
biscuits awaited us, but I was too tired to eat. I drank a pint of hot
coffee, put on dry flannels, crawled into my blankets, and slept soundly
till morning.

As further illustrating the habits of the mountain goat and the perils
attending its capture, I may be permitted to narrate the experience of
Mr. Westlake, a ranchman in Eastern Idaho, who attempted to procure a
pair of skins for a friend in the East a few years ago. He employed a
Flathead Indian as guide and assistant, who claimed to know the country
thoroughly in which they purposed hunting, and to have had considerable
experience in hunting goats. Mr. Westlake provided himself with a good
saddle-horse and one pack-horse, a rifle, camp outfit, including a small
tent, and provisions for himself and the Indian for twenty days. The
Indian was fairly mounted on a small but tough Indian pony and well
armed. They set out on September 2, and traveled across the country to
the Clearwater river, up which they rode several days, over a very
difficult and tedious trail, and when well up toward the head of the
stream they reached the mouth of one of its tributaries which debouches
from a deep and rugged cañon. Up this they decided to go, for it was
their intention to reach the Bitter Root Mountains, one of the best
known ranges for the goat.

This cañon proved, like many others in that region, almost impassable
for man or beast, and it was with the utmost difficulty and by the
endurance of untold and incredible hardships that they were able to make
seven or eight miles a day. They encountered plenty of game in the
cañon, however, among which were elks, bears, and mule-deer, and the
creek which ran through the cañon yielded them an abundance of trout, so
that they fared sumptuously so far as food was concerned.

Finally, after several days in this cañon, they reached the head of it
and came out on a high plateau which was covered with heavy pine timber
interspersed with beautiful parks or meadows and thickets of aspen and
alder. Numerous springs boiling up here coursed down into the cañon from
which they had just emerged, and fed the creek which ran through it.
Pressing forward across this formation for a distance of about ten
miles, they reached the base of one of the great snow-capped peaks, near
the top of which they expected to find the particular game of which they
were in search. But this mountain was so precipitous and so rough that
it was impossible for them to get their horses up it in any way. They
discussed various plans of accomplishing their object. It was highly
dangerous to leave their horses here alone, lest the bears or mountain
lions, which were so numerous in the vicinity, should stampede and run
them off. It was impossible for either man to go alone and bring down
two of the skins and heads suitably prepared for mounting, as they, with
the other load which it was necessary to take along, would be more than
any one man could carry. It would take two days to make the ascent, have
a few hours for hunting, and return to where they then were, and in
order to pass the night at all comfortably in that high altitude a
liberal supply of blankets must be carried.

They therefore decided, as the only feasible plan, to make camp where
they were and start up early the next morning, leaving their horses
behind. They made all possible preparations that night, and the next
morning arose at four o'clock. By sunrise they had breakfasted, and
with their packs, consisting of two pairs of blankets each and a two
days' supply of cooked food, they started. They did not dare picket or
hobble their horses, as either would give the wild beasts a chance to
attack and kill them, and could only trust to luck, an abundant supply
of good grass and water, and the well-known attachment which nearly all
Western horses feel for a camp, to keep them there until their return.

After a hard day's climb they came upon abundant signs of goats about
the middle of the afternoon, and, preparing a temporary bivouac under a
shelving rock, they deposited their loads, made a pot of coffee, ate a
hearty dinner, and started out to look for the game. They had not gone
far when Mr. Westlake sighted a large, handsome male goat standing on
the top of a cliff, and approaching within easy rifle range he fired and
killed it. It fell some twenty or thirty feet, and lodged behind a
projecting slab of granite. It was secured after considerable hard work,
hastily skinned, and the skin and some of the best cuts of the meat
carried to their temporary camp. Night was now approaching, and the
hunters set about preparing a supply of wood. There were numerous dead
pine and cedar trees, of stunted growth and peculiar shapes, standing
and lying among the rocks, and a generous supply was soon provided.
Next, a large quantity of cedar boughs were cut, brought in and spread
under the overhanging rock, to a depth of a foot or more. On these the
blankets were spread, and the hunters had a bed which many a tired
lodger in Eastern city hotels might well envy them. By building a
rousing fire in front, which was reflected against the rock wall behind
them, and by occasionally replenishing it during the night, they slept
comfortably, though the temperature ran several degrees below zero.

Early the next morning both men started out in search of a female goat
to complete their undertaking. Nearly two hours had been spent in
hunting, when the Indian found a fresh track in the snow some distance
above their temporary camp. He followed it until it led in among a
forest of rent and jagged cliffs of granite, and Westlake, who was some
distance away, seeing by the Indian's motions that he was on a trail,
started toward him. When within a few feet of where he had last seen the
Indian he heard the report of his rifle, and a shout announced that his
shot had been successful. Mr. Westlake followed on into the chasm from
whence the report came and saw the Indian attempting to scale the side
of a nearly perpendicular wall of rock, stepping cautiously from niche
to niche and shelf to shelf; holding on with his hands to every
projecting point that afforded him any assistance. He finally reached
the top of the ledge, and reaching over caught hold of the now lifeless
body of the goat that he had killed, and drew it toward him. But when it
swung off from the top of the ledge its weight and the consequent strain
on his muscular power was greater than the Indian had anticipated, and
before he had time to let go of the carcass and save himself his slight
hold on the rock was torn loose, and uttering a wild shriek he fell a
distance of nearly sixty feet, striking on a heap of broken rocks! He
was instantly killed.

Here was a sad blow to poor Westlake. His only companion, his faithful
guide, and the only human being within fifty miles of him, lay a corpse
at his feet. He had no means whatever of getting the body back to their
camp, much less of returning it to the unfortunate red man's friends. He
had not even a tool of any kind to dig a grave with, and the only thing
he could do in that direction was to build a wall of rocks around the
body, lay some flat slabs across the top, and then carry and lay on top
of these a number of the largest and heaviest rocks he could handle, to
protect it from the ravages of wild beasts. When this sad duty was
completed he returned with a heavy heart to their temporary camp, and
with as much of their luggage as he was able to carry started down the
mountain. Arriving about noon at the tent, he was horrified to find the
tracks of a large bear in and about it, the greater portion of his
supplies eaten up or destroyed, and his horses nowhere in sight. A hasty
examination showed that the bear had passed through the little park in
which they had last been grazing--evidently early that morning--that
they had taken flight and fled in the direction of the head of the cañon
up which they had come. Westlake followed them several miles until
convinced that they had really started on their back trail, and then he
returned to camp. By this time night was again approaching and it was
with a heavy heart that he prepared to pass it there, all alone, and
still further depressed with the thought that he had now a journey of a
hundred miles or more before him, to the nearest settlement, which he
must undoubtedly make on foot. He ate his supper alone and in sadness,
and as the camp fire blazed in front of his tent it cast fitful shadows
into the gloom, which was unbroken by any sound save the occasional
soughing of the wind through the pine trees or the cry of some wild
animal. He finally retired to rest, but his sleep was broken by troubled
dreams. As the sun arose he prepared a hasty meal, which was eaten in
silence, and with a pair of blankets, a few pounds of flour, salt, and
coffee, and his rifle, he started, leaving his tent standing and all
else in it as a monument to the memory of his friend and a landmark to
future hunters and mountaineers to locate the scene of his great
misfortune. He traveled seven days before seeing the face of a human
being or sleeping under a shelter of any kind, when he finally reached a
ranch where his horses had preceded him and had been corraled to await
an owner.

It is fortunate that all goat hunters do not meet with such disasters as
did poor Westlake and his young friend, or the noble sport would have
still fewer votaries than it now has.



CHAPTER XXVI.

TROUTING IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.


In September, 1884, I joined a party of genial sportsmen at Fort
Missoula, Mont., for a month's outing in the Bitter Root Mountains. Our
special mission was to hunt large game; but while perfecting
arrangements for the trip, which occupied two days, and during the
mornings and evenings of the several days occupied in traveling up and
down the river to and from the hunting grounds, those of us who had our
fishing tackle with us turned what would otherwise have been long hours
of impatient waiting into merrily-fleeing moments, by luring the grand
mountain trout (_Salmo purpuratus_) with which this river abounds from
their crystalline retreats and transferring them to our creels and our
camp table.

The Bitter Root is a typical mountain stream, rising among the snow-clad
peaks in the vicinity of the Big Hole basin and flowing with the mighty
rush imparted to it by a fall of 200 to 300 feet per mile, fed by the
scores of ice-cold brooks that tumble out of the high ranges on either
side from its source to its mouth. After traversing a distance of
perhaps 200 miles, it empties its pure waters into the Hellgate river,
just west of Missoula.

[Illustration: THE RISE.]

Its valley is two to four miles wide, and the lower portion of this is
occupied by numerous ranches. The soil is tilled by well-to-do farmers
or "ranchmen," to speak in the vernacular of the country, so that the
angler, while within a mile or two of rugged mountain peaks, is still in
the midst of civilization, where his larder may daily be replenished
with nearly all the varieties of good things that grow on any New
England farm. The banks of the stream are fringed with stately pines and
cottonwoods, and in places with thickets of underbrush.

From a tiny brook at its source the stream grows rapidly to a veritable
river of thirty to fifty yards in width as it passes on toward its
destination. It sweeps and whirls in its course, here running straight
and placidly for a hundred yards, then turning abruptly to right or left
and returning almost parallel to itself, forming "horse-shoe bends,"
"ox-bow bends," compound S's, right angles, etc.

In many cases it tumbles down over a long, steep pavement of granite
bowlders, working itself into a very agony of bubbles and foam, and when
the foot of this fall is reached it whirls and eddies in a great pool
ten or twenty feet deep and covering half an acre of ground, almost
surrounded by high-cut banks, and seeming to have lost its way. It
eventually finds an exit, however, through an opening in the willows and
masses of driftwood, and again speeds on.

In many of these large, deep pools whole trees, of giant size, brought
down by the spring freshets, have found lodgment beyond the power of
the mighty current to drive them further, and underneath these drifts
the angler is liable to hook a lusty trout that will make short work of
his tackle if he be not very gentle and expert in manipulating it.

[Illustration: SOLID COMFORT.]

This river may be fished from a canoe or boat, if it be manned by a
master of the art of fresh-water cruising; but no amateur oarsman or
canoeist should ever attempt it or he will surely come to grief. It may
also be fished from the bank or by wading; and I have even known it to
be fished from the hurricane-deck of a cayuse, so that all lovers of the
gentle art may be accommodated.

A large bump of caution would also be a good thing for the man to take
along who essays to wade it, for he will find places--slippery
places--where even the wicked can not stand; for over the surface
thereof flows such a mighty torrent of waters that his pride will surely
have a fall, even if he do not; and if he get out with a dry thread on
his back he will regard it as a miracle and not owing to any skill or
strength of his. I think a day on that stream will take the conceit out
of any living man and show him what a poor, weak worm he is, _if_ he get
into some of the places I have been in. He will find himself in
positions from whence he would give half his worldly possessions to be
delivered; where he would forgive his bitterest enemy the meanest thing
he ever did if he were only there and would cast him a friendly line.
The bed of the stream is composed of glacial drift, all the rapids being
paved with bowlders varying in size from an inch to two or three feet in
diameter. These are worn smooth by the action of the water and coated
with a light growth of fungus, so that they furnish a very precarious
footing at best, and when the power of the raging torrent is brought to
bear against one's nether limbs, he is, indeed, fortunate who is not
swept into the pool below.

On the riffles or more placid portions of the stream wading is not
attended with so much danger or difficulty. And while the angler
beguiles the hours in dalliance with these beauties of the river, gazing
into its crystalline depths and toying with its poetic denizens, a
glance to east or west reveals to him scenes of even grander and more
inspiring loveliness; for there, so close as to reveal their every rock
and shrub, tower the shapely peaks, the shattered crags and beetling
cliffs which constitute the Bitter Root range of mountains. And even in
midsummer the fresh, pure breezes sweeping down from these snow-clad
summits fan his parched brow and render existence, under such
circumstances, the realization of a poet's dream.

[Illustration: MID RUSHING WATERS.]

On a bright, cheery September morning, Private Westbrook, of the Third
Infantry, and myself left camp as soon as the sun had expelled the
frost from the vegetation. On the way down we caught a number of
grasshoppers--the orthodox bait in this region--to fall back on in case
of necessity; for there are days when the mountain trout, as well as his
cousin, the brook trout of the East, declines the most seductive fly on
the bill of fare, and will have nothing but his favorite every-day diet.

Arriving at the river, Westbrook skirmished through the brush until he
found an alder about an inch and a quarter in diameter at the ground and
ten or twelve feet high. This he cut, trimmed up, and attached his line,
a number two Sproat hook and a split shot, put on a "hopper," and was
ready for business. I remonstrated gently with him on the heathenish
character of his tackle, but he said, pleasantly and politely, that it
was the kind that generally got to the front when trout-fishing was the
business in hand. He said the fancy rods and reels and flies were all
well enough for those who wanted to use them, but he preferred something
with which he could round up his fish and corral them without losing any
time. He said it was all right for any gentlemen to spend half an hour
monkeying a trout after he had hooked it, if he wanted to, but for his
part, he never could see much fun in that sort of fishing. He thought it
was decidedly more interesting to yank a fish in out of the wet the
instant he bit, and then lay for another.

He walked boldly out into the stream, waded down a little way below the
ford, on a riffle, till he reached a point where the water was about
two feet deep and where it rolled sullenly and gloomily over a series
of large bowlders.

Here he made a cast, and his bait had barely touched the water when
there was a vicious rush, a swirl and a dash downstream, but the cruel
pole was brought to bear in the opposite direction. Then there was a
flop, a splash, a hop, skip and a jump, and a three-pound trout took a
header and went down into the soldier's haversack.

The bait was renewed, another cast made, and the act was repeated on a
half-pounder. Then another weighing one-and-a-half pounds and a couple
of about a pound each followed in rapid succession, when this portion of
the stream failed to yield, and Westbrook moved on down. I followed
along the bank and watched him for half an hour before attempting to rig
my tackle at all. To watch the play of the various emotions on his hard,
brown, honest face; to study the effect of the intense enthusiasm which
possessed him; to note the utter disregard of personal safety and
comfort with which he would plunge into the surging rapids and eddies up
to his waist, or even to his arm-pits, wherever he thought he could
catch a trout by so doing, was a genuine treat.

Finally I went back to the ford, jointed up my rod, put on a gray
professor, and walking down the bank to a sudden bend in the river where
the current had cut a deep hole near the bank, I made a cast. The fly
dropped on the riffle just above the eddy, and as it floated gracefully
on the little wavelets down and out upon the bosom of the deep-blue
miniature ocean, it turned hither and thither with the capricious
currents that played there, for perhaps five minutes. I was just in the
act of reeling up for another cast, when a gleam of silvery light
flashed upon my vision, flecked with settings of jet and gold. There was
a mighty commotion upon the surface and a monster trout leaped full into
the air as he seized the feathered bait and then shot down, down into
the crystal fluid, leaving the water in the vicinity of his exploit
bubbling, effervescing, and sparkling like the rarest old champagne. For
the nonce I was paralyzed with the suddenness and viciousness of his
coming and going, and my reel was singing merrily when I awoke to a
realization of what it all meant.

Then I thumbed the cylinder and checked him in his wild flight, but he
continued to fight his way clear down to the lower end of the pool, a
distance of twenty yards. Then he turned and came toward me with the
speed of an arrow, but the automatic reel took up the slack as rapidly
as he gave it. When within twenty feet of me he turned out into the
stream, and as I checked him he again vaulted into the air and the
sun-light glistened on his beautifully-colored sides and fins as he
struggled to free himself. Finding this impossible he started for the
bank, where brush and roots projected into the water; but by a vigorous
and fortunate sweep of the rod I was enabled to check him again. Again
he sounded and again rushed up, down, and out into the river, but the
steel was securely set, and he was compelled at last to succumb.
Gradually I reeled him in, and as I brought him up to the bank he turned
on his side exhausted. He weighed two and three-quarter pounds and
measured seventeen inches in length.

[Illustration: AN ANXIOUS MOMENT]

I took two others, nearly as large, out of the same hole, and then
proceeding down fifty yards, I saw a large cottonwood tree lying in the
middle of the stream where it had lodged and been securely anchored,
probably a year or two before. The current had scooped out a great
cavity about its roots and I felt sure there must be a giant old trout
lying amongst them, but I could not reach it with a cast from the shore.
To attempt to wade to it I saw would be hazardous, for the channel
between me and it was waist deep and ran with all the velocity of a mill
tail. But what danger will not an enthusiastic angler brave when in
pursuit of a trout? I started in, and when half way to the trunk, would
gladly have retreated, but was actually afraid to attempt to turn in the
midst of this current, so I pressed forward, finally reached the trunk
of the tree and climbed upon it. I made a cast up near the root and
hooked a handsome fellow, but after playing him until I had him
completely under control and almost ready to land, the hook, which had
been but slightly caught, tore out and he drifted down the river on his
side.

Another effort secured a two-pounder, and failing to get any further
encouragement, I climbed into the icy torrent and with great difficulty
again reached the shore.

A little further down I saw another very deep pool, into which a small,
green cottonwood tree had lately fallen and hung by its roots to the
bank. I felt sure of making a good catch here, for the hole was ten or
twelve feet deep, and the driftwood that had lodged about this tree
afforded excellent cover for the wary old fellows that always seek such
secluded and impregnable strongholds. The fly settled gracefully on the
surface at the upper end of the pool, and as it floated listlessly down
toward the drift, Westbrook, who had come down and was fishing from the
bank opposite, said:

"You'll get a good one there, sir. That's a splendid hole for a big old
fellow."

"I think so; but he seems backward about coming forward."

"Maybe that blasted bird has scared him," said he, referring to a coot
that floated unconcernedly and even impudently about the pool, eyeing us
without a symptom of fear, but evincing the liveliest curiosity as to
who and what we were.

I reeled up and made another cast farther out on the pool. As the fly
fell, Mrs. Coot swam up to it as if inclined to pick it up. I almost
hoped she would, for I should really have enjoyed yanking her a few
times. But she thought better of it, and turned away. After exhausting
all my ingenuity on this pool, and finding it impossible to induce a
rise, I laid down my rod, picked up a rock, and threw it at the
ill-omened bird, whom I blamed for my lack of success.

Westbrook took his cue from this and also sent a rock after her. Both
made close calls for her, but she only scurried about the livelier,
making no effort to get away. She, however, swam behind a projection in
the bank, so that I could not see her, and I told Westbrook to continue
the attack and drive her out.

He picked up another bowlder as large as a league baseball and hurled it
at her, when the dullest and most "thudful" sound I ever heard,
accompanied by a faint squawk, came from behind the bank.

"Well, bleach my bones if I haven't killed her!" said Westbrook, as he
threw down his hat and jumped on it.

Sure enough, he had made a bull's-eye, and a mass of feathers floated
off downstream, followed by the mortal remains of the deceased. And now
the trout were jumping at these stray feathers, and returning to the
siege, we each caught a good one at the lower end of the pool.

We had now about as many fish as we cared to carry to camp, and started
back up river. On our way we met Lieutenant Thompson, of the Third
Infantry--also a member of our party--who had left camp about the same
time we did, and we stopped and watched him fish awhile. The lieutenant
is a veteran fly-fisherman, and it is a pleasure to see him wield his
graceful little split bamboo rod, and handle the large vigorous trout
found in this stream. I had my camera with me and exposed a plate on him
in the act of playing a two-pounder while holding a string of six others
in his left hand, and though I did not give it quite enough time, it
turned out fairly well. He had also filled his creel, and on our return
to camp we hung our total catch, with several others that General Marcy
had taken, on a pair of elk horns and got a good negative of the whole
outfit.

Trout grow to prodigious sizes in the Bitter Root, as well as in several
other streams in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Washington Territory. The
Indians frequently spear them through the ice, or take them in nets,
some of these weighing ten to twelve pounds each. But these large ones
rarely rise to the fly. However, Colonel Gibson, of the U. S. A.,
commanding at Fort Missoula, took one on a fly that weighed nine pounds
and two ounces, and other instances have been recorded in which they
have been taken by this method nearly as large. They have frequently
been taken on live bait, and have been known to attack a small trout
that had been hooked on a fly, before he could be landed.

While I was hunting in the Bitter Root Mountains in the fall of '83, a
carpenter, who was building a bridge across the Bitter Root, near
Corvallis, conceived the idea of fishing for trout with a set hook. He
rigged a heavy hook and line, baiting with a live minnow, tied it to a
willow that overhung one of the deep pools, and left it over night. By
this means he secured three of these monster trout in a week, that
weighed from nine to eleven and a half pounds each.

The supply of trout in the Bitter Root seems to be almost unlimited, for
it has been fished extensively for ten years past, and yet a man may
catch twenty-five to fifty pounds a day any time during the season, and
is almost sure to do so if he is at all skillful or "lucky." I know a
native Bitter Rooter who, during the summer and fall of '84, fished for
the market, and averaged thirty pounds a day all through the season,
which he sold in Missoula at twenty-five cents a pound. Of course, the
majority of the ranchmen along the stream do little or no fishing, but
the officers and men at Fort Missoula do an immense amount of it, as do
the residents of the town of Missoula; and visiting sportsmen from the
East take out hundreds of pounds every season. But the stream is so
large and long, and its net-work of tributaries so vast, and furnish
such fine spawning and breeding grounds, that it is safe to say there
will be trout here a century hence. The heathen Chinee has never been
permitted to ply his infamous dynamite cartridge here, or in any of the
streams of this vicinity, as he has long been doing in Colorado, Nevada,
and elsewhere, and this fact alone would account for the unimpaired
supply in these streams.

The reproductive power of the mountain trout is equal to all the tax
likely to be levied against it here by legitimate sportsmen, and if
dynamiting and netting are prohibited hereafter as heretofore, no fear
need be felt as to the future supply.

The market fisherman of whom I spoke was a faithful devotee to the fly,
and never would use any other lure. A white or gray hackle was his
favorite. He used a stiff, heavy pole, however, about ten feet long, cut
from the jungles that grow on the river bottom, and a heavy line, a foot
shorter, with double gut for attaching the fly. He fished from the shore
or waded, as was necessary to reach the best water. He cast with both
hands, and the instant the fly touched the water he would raise the tip
so that the line would just clear, and then trail or skitter the fly
gently, but rapidly, toward him. Thus, the line being taut, when the
fish arose to the fly he would simply hook himself. Then he was
ignominiously "yanked," and either landed high and dry on mother earth
or in the ranchman's gunny-sack.

Although devoid of sport and requiring little skill, it was the most
effective method of filling a "bag" that I have ever seen practiced. I
have seen him take ten to twenty-five trout in an hour's fishing and not
miss a single rise. I had this man with me on a hunting trip, and
whenever we came within two miles of a trout stream our table was sure
to be supplied with an abundance of fish.

I visited Fort Maginnis in September, 1883, and during my stay, Capt. F.
H. Hathaway kindly invited me to spend a day trouting with him on Big
Spring creek, a beautiful stream that flows out of the Snowy Mountains
about twenty-five miles from the post. We left the captain's quarters at
noon, comfortably seated on his buckboard, while Sam, Fishel, and Dick
Thomas rode their horses and drove a pack-mule, which carried a part of
our provisions, the remainder being carried on the buckboard.

We covered the twenty-five miles by six o'clock, camping at the base of
the Snowies, within two miles of the source of the creek, which source
is a cluster of large cold springs. We pitched our tent on the bank of
the creek, where it murmured sweet music in its course over the rugged
bottom and lulled us into quiet and refreshing sleep with its rhythmical
sounds. When we awoke the next morning the foot-hills all about us
glistened with frost, and the high peaks, three or four miles away, were
draped in a mantle of spotless white, which the storm-king had spread
upon them a few days ago.

Notwithstanding the lateness of the season, a few musquitoes began to
sing about our ears as soon as the sun came up. Fishel, who was full of
droll good nature, observed them.

"Well, look here," he said, as he broke the ice in the water pail and
dipped out a basinful to wash in, "I'll be doggoned if here aint a lot
of these measley musquitoes buzzing around here with buffalo overcoats
on."

The keen mountain air at this low temperature, and the grand scenery
with which we were surrounded, combined to sharpen our appetites, and
our breakfast beside a rousing camp-fire was enjoyed as only a meal can
be enjoyed amid such surroundings. As soon as the sun had risen high
enough to banish the frost and warm the air slightly, the grass all
about us was set in motion by thousands of grasshoppers who gamboled
playfully, in order, apparently, to warm up their benumbed limbs and get
an appetite for breakfast. All hands then turned out and harvested a
goodly supply of them, for we had been advised that the trout in that
stream would not take a fly so late in the season.

Then we proceeded to business; the captain and Dick fishing up the
stream and I down, while Sam took his rifle and went across the hills in
search of game. The stream, where we started in, was not more than three
to four feet wide and two feet deep in the deepest holes, yet at the
first cast I hooked a trout that after a few vigorous plunges took the
barb off my hook and departed. I put on a new one and had better luck
next time, for in another hole a few rods farther down I took one that
weighed a pound and a half.

In the meantime the captain shouted to me, and looking up the stream I
saw him displaying one of about the same size. We each followed our
courses, and did not meet again for some hours, when the captain came
down to see how I was getting on. He had eight and I had six, the
average weight of which was over a pound each. He relieved me of my load
and returned to camp, and from that time on did but little fishing
himself, preferring, in the fullness of his generous nature, to devote
the most of his time to accompanying me, showing me the most favorable
points, exulting in my success, and in every way possible promoting my
comfort. Whenever he left me for a short time he would send one of his
men to take my fish to camp, dress them, and do anything and everything
else possible for me.

I fished down the creek nearly two miles during the day, going over
parts of the stream two or three times, not ceasing from the fascinating
sport long enough to even eat a lunch that I carried in my pocket. Nor
did I turn my steps toward camp until it became so dark that the fish
would no longer rise. Then, when I started campward, I met Dick coming
with an extra saddle horse which the captain had kindly sent for me to
ride.

After supper came the always charming social intercourse around the
camp-fire, the exchange of personal notes of the day's sport--the
experience meeting, so to speak. No one had misgivings to record so far
as the fishing was concerned. Each had enjoyed his full measure of the
grand sport, as was evidenced by the display of the several strings of
salmon-colored beauties which hung around the camp-fire. There was not a
fingerling in the entire catch. No one had caught a trout during the day
of less than four ounces in weight, and very few of that size had been
taken. The majority of them ranged between half a pound and two pounds,
and the numbers were only limited by the amount of work each had done.
My friends, being residents and accustomed to this kind of sport
whenever they choose to enjoy it, had not cared to fish all day, and
consequently had not taken so many as I, but had taken all they wanted.

The only man in the party who had anything to regret in the day's
experience was Sam. He had started a large bull elk early in the morning
and had followed him several miles, but had not been able to get a
favorable shot, though he had twice caught sight of him. We all
sympathized deeply with him in his misfortune, for Sam is an expert shot
with the rifle, and if he had ever drawn a bead on the game we should
have had elk steak on our table at the next meal, sure.

We broke camp early the next morning and prepared to start for home, but
decided to fish down the creek till near noon before leaving it. We
drove down about a mile, when I alighted and started in, the others
distributing themselves at other points along the stream. The trout rose
as rapidly and gamily as on the previous day, and I soon had a load in
my creel that pulled down uncomfortably. Among them was one old
nine-spot which turned the scales at two and a quarter pounds after
having been out of the water over two hours. He measured seventeen and a
half inches in length.

The captain told me of a certain deep hole where he said an old pioneer
made his headquarters, who had taken off two hooks and leaders for him
on two different days during the summer. When I reached the hole I
recognized it in a moment by the captain's description. It was in a
short bend or angle of the creek. On the opposite side from where I
stood, and on the lower angle of the square, the channel had cut a deep
hole under an overhanging bank, which was covered with willows. These
drooped over the water and shaded it nicely. There was a slight eddy
there and the surface of the water was flecked with bits of white foam
which came from the rapids just above. What a paradise for a wary old
trout!

I stopped about forty feet above the hole and put on one of the largest
hoppers in my box; then I reeled out ten or fifteen feet of line and
cast into the foot of the rapid. As the current straightened out my line
I reeled off more of it and still more until it floated gently and
gracefully down into the dark eddy, and when within two feet of the edge
of the bank there was a whirl, a surge, a break in the water, as if a
full-grown beaver had been suddenly frightened from his sun bath on the
surface and had started for the bottom. I saw a long, broad gleam of
silvery white, my line cut through the water, and the old-timer started
for his bed under the bank.

I struck at the proper instant, and, bending my little split bamboo
almost double, brought him up with a short turn. He darted up the
stream a few feet, and again turning square about started for his den. I
snubbed him again. This time he shot down the creek, and, turning, made
another dive for his hiding place. Again I gave him the butt, but this
time he was determined to free himself, and with a frantic plunge he
tore the hook from his mouth and disappeared in his dark retreat.

My heart sank within me, when I realized that he was gone. He was truly
a monster, fully two feet long, and I think would have weighed four
pounds or over. I reeled up and made two or three more casts in the same
hole. His mate, a comely-looking fellow, but not nearly so large, came
out once and smelt of the bait but declined to take it. He had evidently
seen enough to convince him that it was not the kind of a dinner he was
looking for. I fished down the creek for an hour and then returned and
tried the old fellow again, but he had not yet forgotten his recent
set-to with me, and refused to come out. I presume he is still there,
and will probably reign for some years to come, the terror of tackle
owners, unless someone gets a hook firmly fastened in his jaw, and has
tackle sufficiently derrick-like to land him; and whoever that lucky
individual may be, I congratulate him in advance. My tackle would have
held him if I had been fortunate enough to get the proper _cinch_ on
him, and the only thing I have to regret in thinking of the trip, is
that I was not so fortunate.

We had enough, however, without him. We took home forty-eight trout that
weighed, when dressed, sixty pounds, and of all the many days I have
spent fishing in the many years long gone, I never enjoyed any more
intensely, never had grander sport than in these two days on Big Spring
creek.

It has been stated that the mountain trout lacks the game qualities of
our Eastern brook trout. I have not found it so. They are quite as gamy,
as vicious in their fighting, and as destructive to fine tackle as the
brook trout, the only perceptible difference being that they do not
fight so long. They yield, however, only after a stubborn resistance,
sufficiently prolonged to challenge the admiration of any angler. I have
caught a number of two and three pounders that required very careful and
patient handling for twenty to thirty minutes before they could be
brought to the landing net.

There are various other streams along the line of the Northern Pacific
Railroad which afford almost equally as fine sport as the Bitter Root,
and some of them that are even more picturesque and beautiful. In fact,
nearly every stream reached by the road, between Billings and Puget
Sound, teems with these graceful beauties. By leaving the road at almost
any point on the Rocky Mountain or Pend d'Orielle Divisions and pushing
back into the mountains twenty to one hundred miles, the enterprising
angler may find streams whose banks have seldom been profaned by the
foot of a white man; where an artificial fly has seldom or never fallen
upon the sparkling blue waters, and yet where millions of these
beautiful creatures swarm, ready to rush upon anything that reaches the
surface of their element bearing the least resemblance to their natural
food, with all the fearless enthusiasm of untainted and unrestrained
nature. In these wilder regions the tourist will also find frequent use
for his rifle, for elk, bear, deer, mountain sheep, and other large game
may yet be found in reasonable quantities in all such undisturbed
fastnesses.



CHAPTER XXVII.

DEER HUNTING IN WISCONSIN.


Northern Wisconsin is one vast and almost unbroken deer range. It is
penetrated by several railroads, along the immediate lines of which are
a few small farms and some fair-sized towns and villages; but on going a
few miles back from these roads, in almost any direction, one passes the
confines of civilization and enters a wilderness that is broken only by
the numerous logging camps, and these as a rule are occupied only in
winter. Thousands of acres of these pine lands have been chopped over,
and the old slashings, having grown up to brush, brambles, and briars of
various kinds, furnish excellent cover and feeding grounds for _Cervus
Virginianus_.

True, it is difficult to see the game at any great distance in these
thickets, unless the hunter take his stand on a high stump or log and
wait until the deer come in sight. This is a favorite and very
successful method of hunting with many who know how to choose location
and time of day. But adjacent to these slashings are usually large
tracts of open woods, frequently hardwood ridges, through which the
game passes at intervals while moving from one feeding ground to
another. In such localities a deer may be seen at a considerable
distance, and shots are often taken at 150 to 200 yards.

I remember one of my first trips to these hunting grounds, many years
ago, before I knew how to sneak on the game, and before I had gained
sufficient control of my nerves to be able to stop a deer while vaulting
over a fallen tree trunk, turning suddenly from left to right and _vice
versa_, as a wary old buck will frequently do when fleeing from a
hunter. I stopped at a hotel in Merrill, on the Wisconsin Valley
Division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, and, having
learned something of the nature of the surrounding country by a hasty
tramp in the afternoon, I got up the next morning and started at four
o'clock to what seemed to be a favorable piece of ground. By daylight I
was on the margin of a large slash that, since being chopped off, had
burned over and then grown up to brush and weeds. There were many
blackened trunks of trees lying everywhere, and some still standing that
had been scorched and roasted in the great conflagration that had swept
over the country, but had not been entirely consumed. These latter,
stripped of bark and limbs, looked like gloomy monuments placed there to
mark the resting places of their hapless fellows, and the whole aspect
of the landscape in the gray of dawn was weird and chilly in the
extreme. There was scarcely a breath of air stirring, and by listening
intently I could hear the rustling of dry leaves and the occasional
snapping of twigs in various directions, that indicated the near
presence of the game and set my blood tingling and my nerves twitching.

So soon as there was sufficient light to show the front sight of my
rifle against a gray stump fifty yards away, I started to move, as
cautiously as I knew how, toward a clump of wild-cherry bushes that I
had seen moving and from which came slight but suspicious sounds. When
within thirty yards of it I stepped on a stick that snapped, and
simultaneously with the sound a monster buck leaped high in the air, and
landing twenty feet away, uttered a shrill whistle and stopped, with his
head thrown up, to try and locate the danger. I brought my rifle to my
shoulder with a convulsive jerk, pointed it at him and fired without
thinking of the sights, and of course scored an ignominious miss.

Well, I wish every friend I have on earth could have been there at that
moment. That whole tract of country, as far as I could see, seemed alive
with deer. Thrash! Crash! Bumpety-bump! Phew! Phew!

There was jumping, thrashing through the brush, whistling, flipping and
flapping of white flags, and the air seemed full of glistening gray
coats. The buck I had shot at sailed away, and was soon followed in his
flight by a doe and two fawns. A doe and fawn went in another direction,
three fawns in another, two does and a buck in another, and so on _ad
infinitum_.

I stood there; like a mile-post by the roadside, until they had all
vanished, forgetting that I had other cartridges in my belt. Finally I
recovered consciousness and began to wonder where some of those deer
would stop. If I could only get another chance such as I had on that
buck, wouldn't I down him in fine style? I would plant a bullet in the
center of his shoulder next time sure. No dime-novel scout was ever more
unerring in his aim than I would be if I could only get another aim. I
started on toward the top of a ridge, over which one of the large bucks
had disappeared, and on reaching it I saw him, or some other one, just
behind an oak grub on the opposite side-hill. I raised my rifle and took
careful aim this time, but was so nervous that I could not hold the bead
on him, and when I pulled he made another series of those daring leaps
that soon carried him out of sight. I fired a second shot at him as he
went, but with no better result than the first.

I now crossed over to the farther edge of the slash, and, seeing no more
game, started through a body of large pines to an old burn that I had
been told lay a mile to the east. I was walking hurriedly through this
green timber, not expecting to see game, and stepped upon a large log,
when a doe and two fawns, that had been lying down in the top of a
fallen tree, jumped and ran across in front of me, offering an excellent
opportunity for a good shot to have killed all three of them. I slung
lead after them at a lively rate, firing five or six shots before they
got out of sight, but did no further harm than to accidentally clip an
ear off one of the fawns close down to its head.

After they were gone I went and picked up this trophy and stopped to
meditate on my ill-luck, or want of skill. I then remembered that though
I had striven to hold the front sight on one or the other of the deer
at each shot after the first, I had entirely forgotten to look through
the notch in the rear sight. Chagrined and mortified beyond all power to
describe, I trudged along and finally reached the burn I was in search
of. The sun was now high in the heavens and shining brightly, so that
the game was no longer on foot, but had sought the seclusion of various
bits of dense cover and lain down. My only chance for a shot was,
therefore, in walking them up, which I proceeded to do. The brush was
dense all over this burn, so that I could rarely see twenty yards in any
direction, yet I hoped against hope for another chance. I was desperate
over the disgraceful failures I had made, and yet I knew I could shoot.
I had killed quantities of small game with the same rifle I was then
using and had killed one deer years ago with an old muzzle loader. I
could always depend upon making a good fair score at the target at 200
yards, or even longer ranges, and yet I had shot away a dozen cartridges
this morning at deer, some of which were standing within a few yards of
me, and had not stopped one of them. I was furious, and determined that
the next shot should tell.

I walked down an old logging-road several hundred yards, hoping that
some belated traveler might be found crossing or walking in it, but,
failing in this, I turned out and walked along the crest of a ridge,
looking down both sides of it. Struggling through briers and brush,
making a good deal of noise, unavoidably, I still failed to jump a deer
until I left the ridge and started toward a "draw" in which was a
small meadow or slough. When half way down the hill I came to a large
stump, about four feet high, from which a tree had been cut when the
snow was deep. I climbed upon this to take a look at the surrounding
country. As I did so, a large buck that had been been lying just below
it, sprang from his bed and bounded away through the brush, showing here
and there a flash of his white flag and a gleam of his majestic antlers,
but not enough of his body to shoot at. I was perfectly cool now. My
nervousness had all disappeared. In short, I was mad. I stood watching
his course and awaiting developments with all the confidence and
coolness of a veteran, instead of the novice I really was. He ran down
the long hill, across the swale, and up the hill on the opposite side,
and, on reaching the top of it and coming out upon open ground, turned
broadside and stopped to look at me, doubtless deeming himself perfectly
safe at that great distance. Standing erect on that high stump I was
clear above the surrounding underbrush and had a fine view of the
magnificent quarry. His head was thrown high up and well back; his ears
erect, nostrils distended, and even at that distance I imagined I could
see the defiant gleam of his jet black eye. His glossy coat glistened in
the brilliant autumn sunlight, and his spreading antlers and powerful
muscular development characterized him as a giant among his kind. As I
raised my rifle slowly to my shoulder, I felt that at last I had perfect
control of my nerves and that I was in some measure to redeem myself
from the ignominy of past failures. I had elevated my rear sight for 250
yards, and as I looked through the delicate notch in it and saw the
little golden front bead glimmer on the buck's shoulder, the muzzle of
the rifle was as steady and immovable as if screwed in a vice. There was
no tremor, no vibration now; and holding well up to the spine and
showing the full size of the bead, to allow for the distance, I pressed
the trigger.

At the report the deer bounded into the air as if a dynamite cartridge
had exploded under him, and, lowering his head to a line with his body,
started to run. There was none of those lofty, airy leaps now, no
defiant waving to and fro of the white flag. That emblem was closely
furled. His pride was broken and his sole object in life seemed to be to
get out of the country as soon as possible. The course he had taken lay
along the top of the ridge and I had a fine view of the run from start
to finish. He at once began to waver in his course, turning slightly
from left to right and from right to left. He stumbled and staggered
like a blind horse. He ran crashing and smashing into the dead top of a
fallen tree, breaking the dry limbs, some of them three or four inches
in diameter, as if they had been rye straws. When he had gone as far
into this labyrinth of branches as he could get, he sank to the ground
as if exhausted, but suddenly rose again, extricated himself by a few
desperate struggles to the right, and sped on. He ran squarely against a
good-sized sapling with such force as to throw him prostrate upon his
side. Still, his great vitality was not spent, and, struggling to his
feet, he dashed on again. Next he ran against a log that lay up from the
ground some three feet and was set back upon his haunches. He quickly
recovered, took it in good shape, and now dashed into a clump of oak
grubs that still held their dry leaves. Tearing and forcing his way
through these, he forged ahead with all his remaining strength and
plunged headlong into another fallen tree-top. In this he struggled,
trying to force his way out until he sank upon the ground from sheer
loss of blood and expired. From where he stood when I shot, to where he
finally fell was about 300 yards.

I stepped the distance from where I stood to where the deer was when I
fired and found it to be 267 yards. Taking up his trail, I found the
ground copiously sprinkled with blood where he came down at the end of
his first jump, and the leaves and brush were crimsoned with it from
there to where he gave up the struggle. On coming up to him I found that
my bullet had drifted slightly to the left, owing to the force of a
strong wind which was blowing at the time, and cut his throat almost as
neatly as I could have done it with my hunting-knife. The oesophagus was
entirely severed and the thorax nearly so. His body was sadly bruised
and lacerated by the terrible ordeal through which he had passed, and I
concluded that he must have gone stone blind when the bullet struck him.
In no other way can I account for his strange conduct. I saved his head
and had it mounted as a memento of one of the most remarkable scratch
shots I ever made.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

THREE OF A KIND.


Early autumn's frosts had tinged the foliage of the birch, maple, oak,
and elm trees, that intermingle in the great pine forests, with a
thousand rich colors and shades of gold, brown, olive, pink, and
crimson, while the pines, the hemlocks, the firs, and the cedars still
wore their dark mantels of perennial green, and all Nature was clad in
her sweetest smiles. A solitary woodpecker, perched on the topmost
branch of a dead giant of the forest, reaching out far above the
surrounding network of leafy branches, from which he might survey the
surrounding country, sounded his morning reveille and awaited the coming
of his mate. The dry leaves with which mother earth was carpeted,
rustled now and again to the bound of the saucy red squirrel, the
darting hither and thither of the shy wood-mouse, or the tread of the
stupid, half-witted porcupine. The chill October wind soughed through
the swaying tree-tops, laden with the rich ozone that gives life,
health, and happiness to all animate beings that are permitted to inhale
it.

On such a morning, and amid such a scene of natural loveliness, I left
the train at Junction City, on the Wisconsin Central Railway, started
on a three-mile jaunt to a logging camp, for a day or two on a deer
roundup. I reached my destination at nine o'clock. The men had long
since gone to their work, but the "boss" had returned to camp to attend
to some business in hand, and, welcoming me with the generous
hospitality that is always shown by these sturdy sons of the forest to
strangers, bade me make myself at home as long as I cared to stay. To my
inquiry as to the presence of game in the vicinity, he said there was
plenty of it, and that the men saw one or more deer nearly every day
while going to or returning from their work, which was only a mile away.

I lost no time in getting out and entering an old slashing to the east
of the camp where the foreman said signs were plentiful. I had not gone
more than half a mile, when, turning to the left, on an old logging
road, I saw several fresh tracks of deer that had been feeding there
that morning. It was now eleven o'clock in the forenoon and I had no
hope of finding the game on foot at that late hour, but depended
entirely upon jumping a deer from its bed and upon having to risk, in
all probability, a running shot. I moved very cautiously, however, and
was on the _qui vive_ for any straggler that might perchance be moving.
Every foot of ground that came within the scope of my vision was
carefully scanned and every sound or movement of leaf or shrub, no
matter how slight, received the most careful attention, during long and
frequent pauses, before proceeding on my way.

I followed the road through various turns, along the bed of a slight
ravine, and as I rounded one of its abrupt bends that gave me a view of
a considerable expanse of hill-side, I stopped again to reconnoitre. The
ground was covered with a dense growth of weeds, raspberry briers, and
wild-cherry bushes that had sprung up since the timber had been cut off,
all of which had been stricken by recent frosts, and dried by subsequent
sun and wind. In these dry weeds I saw a slight movement, and on careful
examination was able to distinguish a faint outline of a doe, standing
partially behind a large stump, a hundred yards away. Her head and
shoulders were entirely hidden by the stump, and I had to step back some
distance before I could get sight of a vital part to shoot at. As her
shoulder came in view I knelt on my right knee, rested my left elbow on
my left knee, and, drawing a fine bead on her shoulder, fired. She
dropped in her tracks. My aim was a little higher than I intended, and
the bullet, passing through her shoulder blades high up, severed the
spine between them on its way, killing her as suddenly as if it had
entered the brain. At the report of the rifle a young buck bounded out
of the brush near by and waved me a vaunting farewell as he disappeared
over the ridge, not giving me even a fair running shot. I dressed the
doe and went back to camp for dinner, the welcome notes of the huge old
tin horn, floating in musical cadence through the forest, summoning me
at that moment to that much needed repast.

After dinner I went out on another old unused logging road, leading to
the south, and, following it a few hundred yards, branched off to
another which led to the southwest. A number of fallen trees, lying
across these, gave me frequent opportunities to mount their prostrate
trunks and look over large tracts of surrounding country. In thus
sauntering and looking I had spent an hour or more when, on passing an
unusually dense clump of tall dry weeds that stood near the road, I was
startled by a sudden crashing and rattling among them, and an instant
later two large does broke cover at the farther side and started across
a narrow open space. But before they reached the farther side of it the
voice of my Winchester express was reverberating among the lofty pines,
and a cloud of smoke hung between me and where I had last seen them. I
sprang to one side to avoid this, but they had both disappeared in the
thicket, and I could still hear one of them crashing away toward the
green woods. I felt sure that I had hit the other, and, going to where I
had last seen her, I found blood, hair, and several small bits of flesh
on the ground and the neighboring weeds. Following the trail a distance
of fifty feet, I found her lying dead with her throat cut, and, in fact,
a considerable portion of it shot away. The express bullet, driven by a
heavy charge of powder, has such a high velocity that when it strikes
flesh it invariably makes a big hole in it. One hind leg was also broken
squarely off at the knee and the bone protruded through the skin.

I stood pondering and puzzling over this strange phenomenon. How in the
name of wonder could one bullet break her hind leg and cut her throat? I
stooped down and examined the wound. To my surprise, I found that it had
not been made with a bullet at all. The joint was dislocated and the
skin torn away until the disjointed member hung only by a narrow
segment. Then the mystery was deeper than ever. What could possibly have
caused this violent and terrible wound? It had been made after I shot,
for at that time the agile creature was bounding over logs and through
clumps of brush with all the grace and airiness of her sylph-like
nature. I turned, took up her back track, and, following it thirty or
forty feet, came to a fallen tamarack sapling about six inches in
diameter, that laid up about a foot from the ground. The track showed
that the poor creature, in one of her frantic leaps, just after being
hit, came down with her fore feet on one side of this pole and her hind
feet on the other; that one hind foot had slipped on the soft earth and
slid under the pole to her knee, and that the next bound had brought it
up against the pole in the form of a lever--much as a logger would place
his handspike under it in attempting to throw it out of his way--and the
pole, being far too long and heavy to yield to her strength, the leg had
been snapped short off.

I describe this incident merely as one of the many strange and
mysterious ones that come under the observation of woodsmen, and not
with any desire to give pain to sensitive and sympathetic readers.

The beautiful animal did not suffer long from this hurt, however, for
she was dead when I reached her, within perhaps three or four minutes
after I fired the fatal shot. I saved her head and had it mounted and it
hangs beside that of the buck whose taking off has been described and
whose throat was also neatly severed by the bullet. They were two
remarkable shots.

After dressing this deer I returned to the old burn in which I had
killed the doe in the morning, and took a stand on a high, flat-top
stump, which commanded a good view of a large tract of surrounding
country. I felt certain that the young buck that was with her when I
killed her would come back toward night to look up his companion, for he
probably did not realize that she was dead. I stood within thirty yards
of her carcass and for an hour kept a close watch in every direction,
turning slowly from one position to another, so that any game that came
in sight could not detect the movement and would, if seeing me at all,
consider me one of the numerous old high stumps with which the landscape
was marked. Toward sundown a large, handsome buck came out of the green
woods half a mile away, walking deliberately toward me. I could see only
a proud head and spreading antlers, and an occasional glimpse of his
silvery-gray back as he marched with stately but cautious tread through
the dry weeds. He stopped frequently to look and listen for danger, or
the coy maidens of his kind, of whom he was in search. Oh, how I longed
for a shot at him! With bated breath and throbbing heart I watched his
slow progress across the open country. But, alas! the wind (what little
there was) was wrong. When within about 200 yards of me he scented me
and bounded squarely sidewise as though a rattlesnake had bitten him,
uttering at the same time one of those peculiarly thrilling whistles
that might have been heard in the stillness of the evening a mile or
more. He struck a picturesque attitude and scanned the country in every
direction, trying to locate the danger but could not. After a few
seconds he made another high bound, stopped, and whistled again. I stood
perfectly still, and he could make nothing animate out of the inanimate
objects about him. He leaped hither and thither, snorted, whistled, and
sniffed the air as we have seen a wild colt do when liberated in a
pasture field after long confinement in his stall.

Although still unable to satisfy himself as to the whereabouts of his
foe, he finally seemed to decide that that was not a healthy
neighborhood for him, and, taking his back trail, started to get out of
it by a series of twenty-foot leaps. I was tempted to hazard a shot at
him, but could see such a small portion of his body when standing that
the chances were against making a hit. Besides, as already stated, I
felt sure of a shot at shorter range by keeping still. I watched and
listened closely in every direction. The sun had gone down. Night was
silently wrapping her somber mantle over the vast wilderness, and the
only sounds that broke the oppressive stillness were the occasional
croakings of the raven as he winged his stately flight to his rookery,
and the low, solemn sighing of the autumn breezes through the pine tops.
I was benumbed with cold, and was tempted to desert my post and make a
run for camp. I raised my rifle to my shoulder to see if I could yet see
the sights, for stars were beginning to sparkle in the firmament. Yes;
the little gold bead at the muzzle still gleamed in the twilight, with
all the brilliancy of one of the lamps of heaven. I turned to take a
last look in the direction of the carcass of my morning's kill,
and--imagine my astonishment if you can--there stood the young buck,
licking the body of his fallen mate! How he ever got there through all
those brush and weeds without my hearing or seeing him will always
remain a profound mystery to me. But a ball from my express entering his
shoulder and passing out at his flank laid him dead by the side of his
companion, and completed the best score I ever made on deer--three in
one day--and I had fired but three shots in all.



CHAPTER XXIX.


Mr. George T. Pease lives in a log shanty, in the heart of the great
Wisconsin pine woods, five miles west of Wausaukee station, on the
Milwaukee & Northern Railroad. A beautiful little lake stretches out in
front of his door, in which numerous black bass make their home, and
several brooks meander through the wilderness not far away, all of which
abound in the sprightly, sparkling brook trout. Deer roam over the hills
far and near, and when the first "tracking snow" comes, in the van of
icy winter, their hoof-prints may be found within a hundred yards of the
cabin any morning. Pease is a genial, kind-hearted old man, in whose
humble quarters the true sportsman is always welcome. Reared in these
woods, and bred in the pure atmosphere that abounds here, a hunter by
trade and from necessity, he is a simple, honest child of nature. With
the exception of four or five years spent in the service of his country,
during the war of the Rebellion, he has lived and hunted in this region
since the days of his boyhood, and his gray hairs bespeak for him the
respect men always feel for the honest old woodsman.

I spent several days hunting with him in November, 1885, and the
intervening nights--or a large portion of each--in talking with him. I
learned in that short time to esteem and value him as one of the best
guides and hunters I ever knew, and one of the truest friends I have.
Although he has been hunting so many years and has always been a close
observer of the habits of game; although thoroughly posted on woodcraft
in all its details, he is not egotistical as are so many old woodsmen.
He never intrudes his opinions on any subject unless asked for them;
never dictates what anyone under his guidance shall do. He modestly
suggests, and if you do not agree with him, defers cheerfully to your
judgment.

He is intelligent, well-informed generally, full of interesting
reminiscences of his life in the wilderness, and relates many thrilling
episodes in his experience in hunting deer, bear, wolves, etc. He told
me that once, when hunting on the Menominee river, he saw a doe lying
down, and raised his rifle to shoot her. But before firing he noticed
that she had seen him and was struggling to get up. As she did not
succeed in this, he concluded that she must have been wounded, and
started toward her. She kept struggling, but was unable to rise, and on
going to her he found that she had lain down near a large hemlock root,
that had curved out of the ground, forming an arch or loop three or four
inches high. One of her hind legs had slipped under this root to the
knee, and when she had attempted to get up she had probably been thrown
violently on her side, dislocating the hip joint and thus rendering it
utterly impossible for her to draw the imprisoned leg from under the
root. He said the poor creature had apparently been in this pitiable
plight several days; that she was starved and emaciated almost to a
shadow, and had tramped and pawed a hole in the earth more than a foot
deep, over the entire space reached by her fore feet. Had she not been
discovered, the poor creature must soon have died from starvation. As it
was, she was so weak that when he released her leg from this strange
trap she was unable to stand, and he reluctantly killed her, as the
speediest, most humane, and, in fact, the only means of ending her
misery.

       *       *       *       *       *

I reached the old man's cabin at about noon. We hunted diligently all
the afternoon, and though we saw plenty of fresh tracks everywhere in
the newly-fallen snow, neither of us could get sight of a deer, and when
we met at the shanty at dark and exchanged notes, Pease was sorely
disappointed. The next forenoon was a repetition of this experience, and
when we met again at the cabin for dinner, both empty-handed, his
disappointment was intensified into despondency. We separated after the
noon meal, and when we came in at night, I looked even more dejected and
disgusted than ever, and asserted, with a good deal of emphasis, that I
did not believe the "blasted" country was any good for game; that I
thought he or someone had hunted the deer and shot at them until they
were so wild that no man could get within 500 yards of one. He insisted
that such was not the case; that he had been killing plenty of deer that
fall, and that others had killed a few in the neighborhood, but not
enough to spoil the hunting, as I claimed. He said our want of success
utterly astonished him; that he was truly sorry; that he could not
account for it, and that we should surely make a killing on the morrow.

"Have you seen any fresh tracks to-day?" I asked.

"Oh, yes, plenty of them; haven't you?"

"Well, yes, two or three; but I think the deer that made them were ten
miles away when I got there."

"Why," said he, "when I started out this afternoon I skirted along that
big swamp, where you hunted in the morning, and I saw where four deer
had crossed your track since you went along. One of them was an awful
big buck. I took up his trail and followed it in hopes of overtaking him
and getting a shot. He roamed and circled around among the hills and
through the swamps for, I reckon, more than five miles. I walked just as
still as I possibly could, for I knew we were mighty nigh out of meat,
and I am gettin' mighty tired of bacon anyhow. But somehow that buck
heard me or smelt me, or something, and the first and last I saw of him
was just one flip of his tail as he went over a ridge about three
hundred yards away. I sat down on a log and waited and studied a long
time what to do or where to go next; and finally I concluded I'd just
come in and get supper ready by the time you got here. Set up, sir, and
have a cup of coffee and some of these baked potatoes and some of this
bacon. It ain't much of a supper, but maybe we'll feel a little better
after we eat it, anyway."

I surrounded one side of the rough pine table suddenly, and when I got
my mouth so full I couldn't talk plain, I said, in a careless,
uninterested sort of a way:

"I saw where you sat down on that log."

"Did you?"

"Yes; I sat down and rested there, too. I was just about as tired and as
disgusted and as mad as I am now; but after sitting there ten or fifteen
minutes, I trudged along through that maple thicket just below there,
and when I got through it I saw a big buck smelling along on a doe's
track, up on the side-hill, and I killed him and then started on after
the doe, and----"

Pease had dropped his knife and fork and was looking at me with his
mouth half open and his eyes half shut.

"What did you say?" he inquired in a dazed, half-whispered tone.

"I say I killed the buck and then started----"

"You killed a buck?"

"Yes."

"When?" he gasped, with his mouth and eyes a little wider open.

"This afternoon," said I, calmly and complacently.

"Where?"

"Why just below that thicket; just below where you sat down on the log."

The old man sat and gazed at me for two or three minutes while I
continued to eat as if nothing unusual had happened.

"Are you joking?" he said at last.

"No; I'm telling you the straight truth. The liver and heart are hanging
out there on the corner of the cabin; go out and look at them."

"Well, I'll be dad blasted!" shouted the old man, as he jumped up and
grasped me by the hand. "Why on earth didn't you say so when you first
came in? What did you want to deceive me for? Why did you want to do all
that kicking about the hunting being so poor?"

"Oh, I just wanted to have a little fun with you."

Throughout that evening Pease was one of the happiest men I ever saw. He
seemed, and, in fact, said he was, twice as proud to have me, his guest,
kill a deer as he would have been to have killed it himself.

He chatted cheerfully until eleven o'clock before showing any signs of
sleepiness. This was about all the game I cared to kill, so I asked
Pease to go into the station and get a team to come out and take my meat
in. In order to pass the forenoon pleasantly, I took my rifle and
started into the woods again. I went at once to the buck I had killed,
reaching the carcass shortly after sunrise. I cut down a jack pine, and,
trimming off the boughs, made a bed. Then I laid down, took out a book
and commenced to read, while waiting for the team and for any deer that
might happen along.

But I had not read half a dozen lines when I heard a slight rustling and
cracking in the frozen snow, and, looking in the direction of the noise,
I saw a young spike buck walking slowly and deliberately down the hill
not a hundred yards away. I caught up my express and made a snap shot at
him, but in my haste and surprise missed him clear. At the report he
stopped, threw up his head and presented a beautiful picture, as well
as a fair, easy target.

"Now, my lad," I said to myself, "you are my meat sure."

I was so confident of success this time that I scarcely took any aim at
all. Again I scored an inglorious miss and the deer started away on a
series of long, high bounds. I threw in another cartridge, held ahead of
him, and as he struck the ground the second time I pulled for the third
time. Then there was a circus of a kind that a hunter rarely sees. The
buck fell to bucking, bleating, and kicking. His hind feet would go into
the air like a couple of arrows and with such force that they would snap
like a whip cracker. Then he would rear on his hind feet and paw the
air; then jump sidewise and backward. He threw himself twice in his
gyrations, and each time was on his feet again almost before I could
realize that he had gone down. This gymnastic exhibition lasted perhaps
two or three minutes, during which time I was so paralyzed with laughter
that I could not have shot within six feet of him if I had tried.
Besides, I wanted to see the performance out. Finally the bucker
recovered his wits and skipped out. I followed and found that he was
discharging blood at such a rate that he could not go far. He went into
a large thicket. I jumped him three times before I could get a fair shot
at him, and could hear him wheeze every time I came near him. Finally I
saw him lying a few yards away, but his head was still up and I sent a
bullet through his neck. On examination I found that my first shot had
cut the point of his breastbone off and had ruptured both his
oesophagus and trachea. I dragged him out and laid him by the side of
the big buck, and when Pease came in with the team an hour later he
said:

"Well, I'll be dad blasted if he hain't got another one."

I shall always remember that hunt as one of the pleasantest of my life,
considering the length of time it occupied.



CHAPTER XXX.

COWBOY LIFE.


The workings of the law of evolution are plainly discernible in the
development of the "cowboy," a certain prominent and now well-defined
character of the far West--one that was made necessary by, and has grown
out of, the vast cattle interests which have, in the past two or three
decades, spread over that mystic region. His counterpart is scarcely to
be found anywhere else in the civilized world, for the very good reason
that such a species of manhood is not required anywhere else. True,
cattle-raising is carried on extensively in many States of our Union and
in various other countries, but nowhere under the same conditions and on
the same plan as in the West; hence, though herders, drovers, and the
like are employed elsewhere, there is no locality in which a class of
men endowed with such characteristics and requiring such peculiar tastes
and faculties are to be found as are combined in the cowboy of our
Western plains. The life he leads and the services he is required to
perform call into the business young men possessing tastes and traits
different from those of average human nature, and such as are not found
in men following any other vocation, as a class. It is an occupation
that entails, generally speaking, a life of isolation from society, and
in many cases from civilization. It is one in which home comforts must
be dispensed with; it is one requiring its devotees to live on plain
food, in log huts, and to sleep in blankets at best; it is one in which
there is often intense hardship and suffering, and which exposes its
disciples to dangers of various kinds.

When all these facts and peculiarities of the calling are considered we
must readily perceive that men of ordinary tastes and inclinations would
not seek to engage in it. Cowboys are not "native and to the manor
born." They do not follow in the footsteps of their fathers as do young
men on Eastern farms. The business is yet too young in our Western
Territories to have brought about this state of affairs, though it will
come to exist in future. But at present cowboys are all exotics,
transplanted from Eastern soil. Let us consider, then, what manner of
boy or young man would adopt such a calling. Certainly not he who
considers a well-spread table, a cozy, cheerful room, a good soft bed,
and neat, tasty clothing essential to his health and happiness; nor he
who is unwilling to sever his connection with the social circle or the
family group; nor he who must have his daily paper, his comfortable
office chair and desk; his telegraph and other commercial facilities and
comforts; nor yet he who, when he travels, must needs ride in a
comfortable carriage on the highway, or a Pullman coach on the railway.
But the young man who is willing to engage in the occupation of
"rustling cattle" on the plains, who is willing to assume the title of
"cowboy," must be he who, although he may love all these luxuries, and
may perhaps have been accustomed to enjoy them, has in his nature enough
of romance, enough love for outdoor life, enough love of sport,
excitement, and adventure, enough enthusiasm for the wild freedom of the
frontier, to be willing to deny himself all these luxuries and to allow
such pleasures as the ranch and range can afford, to compensate for
them.

The love of money can not enter largely into the consideration of the
question, for while the work is often of the hardest kind a man can
endure and the hours of labor only limited by the men's power of
endurance, the wages usually paid are low. From $25 to $35 a month is
the average rate of wages for all good men on the range except the
foreman, who commands from $60 to $75 a month, according to his ability,
the number of men he is to have charge of, and the responsibility of his
position generally. Ambition to succeed to this dignity, or a desire to
learn the cattle-growing business with a view of engaging in it on their
own account, may induce some boys to engage as herders, but the young
man who deliberately chooses this occupation is usually one with a
superabundance of vim, energy, and enthusiasm; one who chafes under the
restraints of society, who is bored and annoyed by the quiet humdrum
life of the Eastern village, city, or farm house; one who longs to go
where he can breathe fresh air, exercise his arms, legs, and lungs, if
need be, without disturbing the peace; one who, in short, requires more
room to live in than his birthplace affords.

Many a cowboy of to-day was, in his childhood or youth, the street
gamin, the newsboy, the "hard nut" at school; the dare-devil of the
rural districts; the hero of daring exploits; the boy who did not fear
to climb to the top of the highest tree to punch a squirrel out of his
hole; who led the raid on an orchard or watermelon patch on a dark
night; who at college was at the head of all wild, reckless frolics, and
was also well up in his classes; who led the village marshal or the city
policeman many a wild-goose chase and caused them many a sleepless night
by his innocent though mischievous pranks. He is the boy who was always
ready for a lark of any kind that could produce excitement, fun, or
adventure without bringing serious harm to anyone. He was not the
vicious, thieving, lying, sneaking boy, but the irrepressible,
uncontrollable, wild, harum-scarum chap who led the gang; the champion
of the weak; the boy who would fight "at the drop of the hat" in defense
of a friend of his own sex or of even a stranger of the opposite sex.
These are the boys of ten, twenty, or thirty years ago whom to-day you
may find riding wild cayuses on the cattle ranges of the boundless
plains.

As a class, they have been shamefully maligned. That there are bad,
vicious characters amongst them can not be denied, but that many of the
murders, thefts, arsons, and other depredations which are committed in
the frontier towns and charged to cowboys, are really committed by
Indians, bummers, superannuated buffalo hunters, and other hangers on,
who never do an honest day's work of any kind, but who eke out a
miserable, half-starved existence by gambling, stealing, poisoning
wolves, etc., is a fact well known to every close student of frontier
life. And yet, crimes and misdemeanors are occasionally committed by men
who are, for the time being at least, regularly employed in riding the
range. Fugitives from justice, thieves, cut-throats, and hoodlums of all
classes from the large cities have drifted West, and have sought
employment on the ranges because nothing better or more congenial
offered; but such are seldom employed, and if employed at all, are
generally discharged as soon as their true character is learned and
their places can be filled by worthier men.

[Illustration: THE "WOOLLY COWBOY."]

Neither do I wish to defend the "fresh" young man from the East who goes
West to "paralyze" the natives, who gets a job on the ranch, makes a
break for "loud togs," arms, and knives, large nickel-plated spurs,
raises a crop of long hair and "catches on" to all the bad language of
the country, fills up on bad whisky at every opportunity and then
asserts that "he's a wolf, it's his night to howl."

Nor do I wish to defend the swarthy, loud-oathed, heavily-armed
"greaser" of Mexico and the Texan ranges, who accounts himself a
"cowboy" _par excellence_, but who much prefers the filthy atmosphere of
the gambling den, or the variety dive of frontier towns, to the pure air
of the prairies. These are the exceptions, and fortunately are in a
"distinguished minority," and it is but just that all such swaggering
humbugs should be loaded with the obloquy they deserve, and should be
appropriately branded, even as their master's beasts are branded, that
all the world might know them, wherever found, for the infamous humbugs
that they are. My purpose here is to champion the frank, honest,
energetic, industrious young fellows who engage in this calling from
pure motives, most of whom have fair educations, and some of whom are
graduates of Eastern colleges--who are brimful of pure horse-sense, and
who are ambitious to earn an honest living, and to make themselves
useful to their employers in every possible way, aside from their
ability to snare a bullock. Many of these are Nature's noblemen, and
their good qualities shine through their rough garb, as the sunlight of
heaven shines through a rift in a dark cloud. Their hearts, though
encased in blue flannel or water-proof canvas, are as light as the air
they breathe; their minds as pure and clear as the mountain brooks from
which they love to drink; their whole natures as generous and liberal as
the boundless meadows upon which their herds graze, and their
hospitality only limited by the supply of food and other comforts they
have with which to entertain a visitor. Strangers are always welcome at
their shacks, and no matter at what time of day or night you arrive, you
and your horses are promptly taken care of, you are invited to stay and
eat, to sleep if you will, and are promptly given to understand that the
best the ranch affords is at your command. I have known many of these
men intimately, and have never known one who would not cheerfully share
his last ounce of food, his last dollar, or his only blanket with a
needy stranger; or who would not walk and allow an unfortunately
dismounted traveler to ride his horse half way to camp, or the ranch,
even though that might be a hundred miles away. They invariably refuse
all remuneration for services or accommodations of such nature, and if
it be pressed upon them, the stranger is liable to be told in language
more expressive than elegant they don't make their living by taking care
of tenderfeet.

As a class, they are brimful and running over with wit, merriment, and
good humor. They are always ready for any bit of innocent fun, but are
not perpetually spoiling for a fight, as has so often been said of them.
They are at peace with all men, and would not be otherwise from choice.
As a rule, if a man quarrel with one of them, he forces the war and is
himself to blame. Their love of fun often leads to trouble, though
generally because the victim of it does not know how, or is not willing,
to either "chip in" or excuse himself. They are fond of "piping off"
anything that is particularly conspicuous, or _vice versa_, no matter to
whom it belongs, and they dislike to see snobbish airs assumed in their
country, though such might pass current in any Eastern city.

I once saw a dude step out of a hotel in Cheyenne, wearing a silk hat,
cut-away coat, lavender pants, high pressure collar, scarlet velvet
scarf, patent leather shoes, etc. Several cowboys were riding through
the street and spied him.

"Say, Dick," said one of them, "what de ye s'pose it is?"

"Let's tackle it and see," said Dick; "it looks alive."

"Pard, hadn't you better put them togs on ice?" queried another of the
party. "They're liable to spile in this climate."

The youth was highly offended, gave them a haughty, withering look, and
without deigning a reply of any kind turned to walk back into the hotel.

"Let's brand it," said Dick, and as quick as a flash a lariat fell about
the dude, closed round his slender waist, and he was a prisoner. The
boys gathered round him, chaffed him good-naturedly, took his hat and
rubbed the nap the wrong way, put some alkali mud on his shoes, and then
released him, bidding him "go in and put on some clothes." A little
good-natured repartee on his part, or an invitation to drink or smoke,
or a pleasant reply of any kind, would have let him out without any
unpleasant treatment; but he scorned them, and they considered it a duty
to society to post him on how to act when away from home.

A friend relates having seen an eccentric individual, with a long plaid
ulster, walking along the principal street in Miles City, and as the sun
came out from behind a cloud and commenced to beam down with a good deal
of force, he raised a green umbrella. A "cow puncher" rode up and,
pointing at the umbrella, asked:

"What is she pard? Fetch her in and put a drink in 'er."

The man was both scared and mad. He thought he had been insulted by one
of those "notorious, ruffianly cowboys." He called "police." But the
police was not at hand, and in the disturbance that followed his
umbrella was spirited away, he knew not whither or by whom, and his
plaid ulster was somewhat damaged by contact with mother earth. All he
would have had to do to preserve the peace and his self-respect, would
have been to answer the fellow good-naturedly in the first place, either
declining or accepting his invitation, and he could have gone on his way
unmolested; but he brought a small-sized riot on himself by assuming a
dignity that was out of place in that country and under such
circumstances.

In common with all other human beings, the cowboy requires and must have
amusement of some kind, and his isolated condition, depriving him of the
privileges of theatres, parties, billiards, and other varieties of
amusement that young men in the States usually indulge in; of the
refining and restraining influences of the female sex, it is but natural
that his exuberance of spirit should find sport of other kinds. His only
sources of amusement on the ranch are his rifle, revolver, bronco,
lariat, and cards, and in course of time he tires of these and seeks a
change. He goes to town and meets there some of his comrades or
acquaintances, and they indulge in some wild pranks, which to Eastern
people, and especially those who happen to fall victims to their
practical jokes, appear ruffianly. Their love of excitement and
adventure sometimes gets the better of their judgment, and they carry
their fun to excess. They corral the crew of a train which has stopped
at the station, and amuse themselves and the passengers by making the
conductor, brakeman, baggageman, engineer, and fireman dance a jig to
the music of six-shooters. In one instance they boarded the train and
made the Theo. Thomas orchestra (which happened to be aboard) give them
an extemporaneous concert. They have even been known to carry their
revels to a still worse stage than this, and to resort to acts of real
abuse and injury against defenseless people. But such acts on the part
of genuine cowboys are rare. They are usually perpetrated by the class,
already mentioned, of "fresh" young chaps or objectional characters who
drift into the business from other than pure motives, and frequently by
pretended cowboys who are not such in any sense of the term. But by
whomsoever perpetrated, such acts are highly offensive to and vigorously
condemned by the respectable element in the business, both employers
and employés. Much odium has attached to the fraternity by such conduct,
and much more by reason of crimes committed by others and charged to
this class, so that the cowboy is in much worse repute among Eastern
people than he would be if better known by them. And notwithstanding all
the hard things with which these men have been charged, I had much
rather take my chances, as to safety of life and personal property, in a
country inhabited only by them than in any Eastern town or city with all
their police "protection." When sojourning in cattle countries, I have
left my camp day after day and night after night, with valuable property
of various kinds lying in and about it, without any attempt at
concealment. I have left my horses and mules to graze, wholly unguarded,
several days and nights together, and though on my return I may have
seen that my camp had been visited, probably by several men, not a thing
had been disturbed, except that perchance some of them had been hungry
and had eaten a meal at my expense. It is the custom of the country to
leave camps and cabins at any time, and for as long a time as necessary,
without locking up or concealment of any kind, and instances of stealing
under such circumstances are almost unheard of, while he who would leave
personal property similarly exposed within the bounds of civilization
would scarcely hope to find it on his return.

[Illustration: ON THE TRAIL.]

An incident may serve to illustrate how suddenly Eastern people change
their opinions of cowboys on close acquaintance. I was going west a few
years since on the Northern Pacific Railroad, and stepping off the train
at Dickinson, Dak., met Howard Eaton, an old-time friend and fellow
hunter, a typical cowboy, who has charge of a ranch and a large herd of
cattle in the "Bad Lands" on the Little Missouri river. He was dressed
in the regulation costume of the craft--canvas pants and jacket, leather
_chaparejos_, blue flannel shirt, and broad-brimmed white felt hat. His
loins were girt about with a well-filled cartridge-belt, from which hung
the six-shooter, which may almost be termed a badge of the order. Large
Mexican spurs rattled at his heels as he walked. He had ridden
thirty-five miles under the spur, arriving at the station just in time
to catch the train, and having no time to change his apparel, even if he
had wished to do so. He was going some distance on the same train, and I
invited him into the sleeper. As he entered and walked down the aisle
the passengers became suddenly alarmed at the apparition--imagining that
the train had been corraled by a party of the terrible cowboys of whom
they had heard such blood-curdling tales, and that this was a committee
of one sent in to order them to throw up their hands. They looked
anxiously and timidly from the windows for the rest of the gang and
listened for the popping of revolvers, but when I conducted him to our
section and introduced him to my wife they began to feel easier. He
remarked casually that he was hungry. We had a well-filled lunch-basket
with us, and, ordering a table placed in position, my wife hastily
spread its contents before him. He ate as only a cowboy can eat,
especially after having lately ridden thirty-five miles in three hours.
Our fellow passengers became interested spectators, and after our friend
had finished his repast we introduced him to several of them. They were
agreeably surprised to discover in conversation his polished manners,
his fluent and well-chosen language. His handsome though sunburned face,
and his kind, genial nature revealed the fact that his rough garb
encased the form of an educated and cultured gentleman; and before we
had been an hour together they had learned to respect and admire the
wild, picturesque character whom at first they had feared.

The skill which some of these men attain in their profession challenges
the admiration of everyone who is permitted to witness exhibitions of
it. As riders they can not be excelled in the world, and I have seen
some of them perform feats of horsemanship that were simply marvelous. A
cowboy is required to ride anything that is given him and ask no
questions. A wild young bronco that has never been touched by the hand
of man is sometimes roped out of a herd and handed over to one of the
boys with instructions to "ride him." With the aid of a companion or two
he saddles and mounts him, and the scene that ensues baffles
description. A bucking cayuse must be seen under the saddle, under a
limber cowboy, and on his native heath, in order to be appreciated at
his true worth. His movements are not always the same--in fact, are
extremely varied, and are doubtless intended to be a series of surprises
even to an old hand at the business. The bronco is ingenious--he is a
strategist. Sometimes the first break a "fresh" one makes is to try to
get out of the country as fast as possible. If so, the rider allows him
to go as far and as fast as he likes, for nothing will tame him quicker
than plenty of hard work. But he soon finds that he can not get out from
under his load in this way, and generally reverses his tactics before
going far. Sometimes he stops suddenly--so suddenly as to throw an
inexperienced rider a long ways in front of him. But a good cowboy, or
"bronco buster," as he would be termed while engaged in this branch of
the business, is a good stayer and keeps his seat. The horse may then
try to jump out from under his rider--first forward then backward, or
_vice versa_. Then he may spring suddenly sidewise, either to right or
left, or both. Then he may do some lofty tumbling acts, alighting most
always stiff-legged; sometimes with his front end the highest and
sometimes about level, but usually with his hinder parts much the
highest and with his back arched like that of a mad cat. He keeps his
nose as close to the ground as he can get it. Sometimes he will utter an
unearthly squeal that makes one's blood run cold, and will actually eat
a few mouthfuls of the earth when he gets mad enough. Sometimes he will
throw himself in his struggles, and again as a last resort he will lie
down and roll. This must free him for a moment, but the daring and agile
rider is in the saddle again as soon as the beast is on his feet. Then
the horse is likely to wheel suddenly from side to side and to spin
round and round on his hind feet like a top; to snort and bound hither
and thither like a rubber ball. During all this time the valiant rider
sits in his saddle, loose-jointed and limp as a piece of buckskin, his
body swaying to and fro with the motions of his struggling steed like a
leaf that is fanned by the summer breeze. He holds a tight rein, keeping
his horse's head as high as possible, and plunges the rowels into his
flanks, first on one side and then on the other, until frequently the
ground is copiously sprinkled with the blood of the fiery steed. The
duration of this scene is limited simply by the powers of endurance of
the horse, for in nearly every instance he will keep up his struggles
until he sinks upon the ground exhausted, and, for the time being at
least, is subdued. Then he is forced upon his feet again and may
generally be ridden the remainder of that day without further trouble.

He is awkward, of course, but rapidly learns the use of bit and spur,
and soon becomes useful. Many of these ponies, however, are never
permanently subdued, and will "buck" every time they are mounted. Others
will, all through life, start off quietly when first mounted, but
suddenly take a notion to buck any time in the day. This class is the
most dangerous, for the best rider is liable to be caught at a
disadvantage when off his guard and thrown, and many a poor cowboy has
been crippled for life, and many killed outright by these vicious
brutes.

I have seen "pilgrims" inveigled into riding "bucking cayuses," either
for the sake of novelty, or because they wanted a mount and there was no
other to be had; but in every instance the trial of skill between the
man and the pony was of short duration. For an instant there would be a
confused mass of horse, hat, coat-tails, boots, and man, flying through
the air. The horse, on his second upward trip would meet the man coming
down on his first; the man would see whole constellations--whole
milkyways of stars; the horse would meander off over the prairie free
and untrameled, and as we would gather up the deformed and disfigured
remains of the pilgrim and dig the alkali dirt out of his mouth, ears,
and eyes, he would tell us, as soon as he recovered sufficiently to be
able to speak, that in future he "had rather walk than ride."

But, fortunately for the poor cowboys, there are many of these ponies
who are not vicious, and let us do full honor to the genuine, noble
cow-horse who is so sure and fleet of foot that he will speedily put his
rider within roping distance of the wildest, swiftest, longest-horned
Texan on the range. Such a horse always knows when the _riata_ falls
right for head or heels, and if it does not will never slacken his
speed, but keep right on until his rider can recover and throw again.
But when it does fall fair, he puts it taut, wheels to right or left as
directed by a gentle pressure of his rider's knee, takes a turn on it
or gives it slack as may be required to down the beef, and, when this is
accomplished, stands stiff-legged, firm, and immovable as a rock,
holding him down by the strain on the rope, and watching, with eyes
bulged out and ears set forward like those of a jack rabbit, every
struggle of the captive bullock, and stands pat even when his rider
dismounts and leaves him to brand the steer. When this is done, and his
rider remounts he is ready to repeat the operation on another animal.

[Illustration: "SNARED."]

I have frequently known a cowboy to rope a wild cow, throw her and milk
her while his horse held her down at the other end of a forty foot rope.
Such a horse is worth his weight in gold to a cattleman, and his
kind-hearted and appreciative rider would go supperless to bed any
night, if necessary, in order that his faithful steed should be well fed
and made comfortable in every possible way.

The skill that some of these men attain in the use the lariat is also
most marvelous. An expert will catch a steer by the horns, the neck, the
right or left fore foot or hind foot, whichever he may choose--and
while running at full speed--with almost unerring certainty. I have even
seen them rope jack rabbits and coyotes after a long run, and there are
well authenticated instances on record of even bears being choked to
death by the fatal noose when wielded by a daring "knight of the
plains."

At a "tournament" in a Black Hills town some months ago, a cowboy
caught, threw, and securely tied a wild steer in fourteen minutes from
the time he was let out of the corral. A similar exhibition of skill,
but on a bronco instead of a steer, which lately took place in a New
Mexico town, is thus described by an eye witness.

"After an hour of discussion and pleasant wrangling, the judge, himself
a fine rider, called out the name of an Arizona cowboy, a champion
puncher and rustler from Apache County; at the same moment, a wild-eyed
bronco was released from the pen and went bounding and bucking over the
miniature plain. According to the rule, the Apache County man had to
saddle his own bronco, rope the fleeing horse, and tie him for branding
in a certain time. Being a "rustler", he rustled around so lively that
before the bronco was two hundred feet away, he had saddled and bridled
his own animal, swung himself onto it, and was off, gathering up his
lariat as he went. The other bronco, seeing the coming enemy, doubled
his pace, dodging here and there, but at every turn he was met by his
pursuer, who was evidently directed by his rider's legs, and in an
incredibly short space of time the fugitive was overhauled; the rope
whistled through the air, and dropped quickly over the bronco's head,
notwithstanding the toss he had made. The instant it fell, the pursuing
bronco rushed and headed off the other, winding the rope about his legs;
then suddenly sitting back upon his haunches he waited, with ears back,
for the shock. It came with a rush, and the little horse at the other
end of the rope, as was the intention, went headlong onto the field, the
cowboy's bronco holding him down by the continual strain that he kept
up. The moment the horse went down the cowboy vaulted from the saddle,
untying a rope from his waist as he ran, and was soon over the prostrate
animal, lashing the hoofs with dextrous fingers, so that it could have
been branded then and there. This accomplished, up went his hands as a
signal to the judges, who now came galloping over the field, a roar of
cheers and yells greeting the Apache County man, who had done the entire
work in twelve minutes, thereby securing the prize of sundry dollars."

These men use large, heavy, strongly-built saddles, and by setting the
cinch up tight and taking a turn or two of the rope around the saddle
horn they will snake a large animal, either dead or alive, any desired
distance. I once got one of them to drag a large bear that we had killed
out of a thicket into an open space, so that we could photograph him.

Few men take more chances or endure more hardships than cowboys. In
addition to the dangers they have to contend with from riding vicious
horses and from riding into stampeding herds of wild cattle, in both of
which lines of duty many of them are crippled and some killed outright,
it is frequently necessary for them to lay out on the open prairie for
several days and nights together, perhaps in cold, rough weather, with
no other food or bedding than they can carry on their saddle.

The slang of the fraternity is highly amusing to a stranger. It is
decidedly crisp, racy, and expressive. Words are coined or adopted into
their vernacular that will convey their meaning with the greatest
possible force and precision. In addition to the few illustrations
already given in this sketch there are many others that would be utterly
unintelligible to an Eastern man unless translated. For instance, when
they brand an animal they put the "jimption" to him; when they want a
hot drink they say "put some jimption in it"; when they warm up a horse
with the spurs or quirt they "fan" him; when they throw lead from a
six-shooter or a Winchester after a flying coyote they "fan" him. And
"goose hair"--ever sleep on goose hair? This is a favorite term for any
kind of a "soft snap." When they want to ridicule a tenderfoot, and
especially one who is fond of good living, they say "he wants a
goose-hair bed to sleep on"; when a cowboy is in luck he is described as
having "a goose-hair pillar," or as "sleepin' with the boss," or as
"ridin' ten horses," etc. Altogether, cowboys are a whole-souled,
large-hearted, generous class of fellows, whom it is a genuine pleasure
to ride, eat, and associate with, and it is safe to say that nine-tenths
of the hard things that have been said of them have come from men who
never knew, intimately, a single one of them.

I contend that a year spent on the hurricane deck of a cow-pony is one
of the most useful and valuable pieces of experience a young man can
possibly have in fitting himself for business of almost any kind, and if
I were educating a boy to fight the battles of life, I should secure him
such a situation as soon as through with his studies at school. A term
of service on a frontier cattle-ranch will take the conceit out of any
boy. It will, at the same time, teach him self-reliance; it will teach
him to endure hardships and suffering; it will give him nerve and pluck;
it will develop the latent energy in him to a degree that could not be
accomplished by any other apprenticeship or experience. I know of many
of the most substantial and successful business men in the Western towns
and cities of to-day who served their first years on the frontier as
"cow punchers," and to that school they owe the firmness of character
and the ability to surmount great obstacles that have made their success
in life possible.

I claim that the constant communion with Nature, the study of her broad,
pure domains, the days and nights of lonely cruising and camping on the
prairie, the uninterrupted communion with and study of self which this
occupation affords, tends to make young men honest and noble--much more
so than the same men would be if deprived of these opportunities,
confined to the limits of our boasted "civilization," and compelled to
constantly breathe the air of adroitness, of strategy, of competition,
of suspicion and crime. I claim that in many instances a man who is
already dishonest and immoral may be, and I know that many have been
made good and honest by freeing themselves from the evil influences of
city life, and betaking themselves to a life on the plains; by living
alone, or nearly so, and habitually communing with themselves, with
Nature, and with Nature's God. If every young man raised in town or city
could have the advantages of a year or two of constant study of Nature,
untrammeled by any air of vice, and at the proper time in life, we
should have more honest men, and fewer defaulters, thieves, and
criminals of every class.

[Illustration: A BEEF-GATHERING SOIREE.]



CHAPTER XXXI.

A MONTANA ROUNDUP.


Descriptions of cattle roundups in the far West have been written, and
yet many of the characteristic scenes that the spectator at one of these
semi-annual "beef-gathering parties" will observe have not been
described. There is so much to interest and excite the denizen of the
States who first attends a roundup on the great plains that I am tempted
to speak of some of the more prominent points in this "greatest show on
earth," for the benefit of such as have not had the pleasure of
witnessing it.

The interests of cattlemen in general are so closely linked, and there
is such urgent need of a concert of action among them, that in all
Western cattle-growing districts they have organized into local or
general associations, in which the most perfect harmony and good
fellowship exists, and in which the interests of every individual member
are closely guarded and fostered by the organization as a whole. These
associations meet in the spring and fall of each year and fix the dates
for holding the roundups, usually prescribing the general boundaries in
which each local outfit shall work. The spring roundup, which is the one
now under consideration, is held in the latter part of April or early
part of May in Wyoming and Montana, and earlier or later in other States
and Territories, according to the nature of the climate, weather, etc. A
roundup district is usually limited to the valley of some large stream,
or its boundaries are designated by other prominent and well-known
landmarks.

From five to fifteen miles, or even more, each way from the ranch, are
claimed by each owner or company as a range, though no effort is made
usually to keep the stock within these boundaries. They are allowed the
freedom of the hills and table-lands in every direction, the foreman
merely being required to know about where to find them when wanted, and
to prevent them from going, for instance, west of the Tongue and north
of the Yellowstone rivers or south into Wyoming.

As a typical spring roundup, let us observe the one recently conducted
on the Powder river in Montana, for it furnished, perhaps, as many
interesting episodes and incidents as are usually seen at one of these
entertainments. This stream rises in the Big Horn Mountains in Northern
Wyoming and flows northeast through Southern Montana to the Yellowstone,
into which it empties its wealth of crystal fluid just east of Miles
City. Up to a few years ago its valley and adjacent table-lands were
peopled only by roving bands of Sioux, Cheyenne, Pegan, or Crow Indians,
while vast herds of buffaloes and antelopes grazed upon its nutritious
grasses. The lordly elk and the timid, agile deer roamed at will through
the groves of cottonwood and box-elder that fringe its banks, and the
howl of the coyote made night musical to the ear of the savage in his
wigwam. But how changed the scene of to-day! An iron railroad bridge,
that of the great Northern Pacific, spans the stream near its mouth,
over which roll trains of palace coaches at short intervals, while
commercial freights _en route_ from the Atlantic to the Pacific, or
_vice versa_, pass over it almost every hour. From the mouth of the
stream to the foot-hills of the mountain range, amid whose snow-capped
peaks it rises, is now a well-beaten road over which supplies for the
various ranches in the valley are carried, and over which the gallant
knights of the plains--the cowboys--dash to and fro in the performance
of their various duties.

At intervals of ten to fifteen miles along the valley, the traveler
passes ranches, the headquarters of the wealthy cattlemen whose herds
roam all over the valleys, the hills, and table-lands for many miles in
every direction, designating the companies or individual owners merely
by the brands their herds bear (which is the custom of the country). We
shall encounter on our way the "MC" outfit, whose herd numbers fourteen
thousand head; the "WL" brand, six thousand head; "7OL," one thousand
head; "S-I," twenty-five thousand head; "_N_," twenty-five thousand
head; "[3-rail]," five thousand head; and many other smaller and some
larger herds. The buildings and improvements consist generally of
substantial, roomy log houses, stables for the horses, corrals or strong
yards in which large herds of cattle may be confined for branding, etc.
The Montana Stock Growers' Association has also built public
branding-pens at intervals of four to six miles along the river. The
owners of the stock seldom live on the ranches themselves, many of them
being residents of Eastern cities, and others having their homes in the
railroad towns within convenient distance of the ranches. The occupants
of the "shack," as the ranch house is called, are the foreman, the cook,
and a sufficient number of cowboys or herders to look after and handle
the stock properly. Some of the choice bits of natural meadow are fenced
and hay cut on them, and each ranch has more or less hay land about the
heads of creeks on its range, for it is necessary to make hay enough
each season to feed at least the calves and some of the weaker cattle
through the severe blizzards that so frequently occur in winter. The
cattle belonging to each of these ranches are allowed to range almost at
will over the adjacent hills and table-lands, though the limits proper
of each range are supposed to extend ten to fifteen miles in each
direction from the ranch house.

The Montana Stock Growers' Association, at its meeting in March,
designated the seventh day of May as the day for beginning the roundup
in the Powder river district this year, and selected a foreman to take
charge of it who had seen many years of service in the saddle, who has a
happy faculty of controlling the men under his charge perfectly, and yet
of putting himself on free and friendly terms with them all. He can
throw a _riata_ with such precision as to take a steer by the head or by
either foot he wishes in almost every instance, and beasts as well as
men soon learn to obey his wishes.

Anyone who has only seen the great plains late in summer or in the
autumn, after the grass has become sere and yellow and the foliage along
the streams has faded, can have little idea of the pristine beauty
presented by such a valley as that of the Powder river in early
springtime, when the earth is carpeted with verdure, the river banks
lined with newly-clothed trees and shrubs, and the meadows blooming with
flowers, the beauty and brilliancy of which can not be excelled
anywhere. The winter snows have melted; the spring rains have come and
gone, leaving the earth fresh and moist; the climate is mild and
delightful. Under all these charming conditions who would not enjoy the
scene unfolding before our eyes as we mount our spirited broncos and
ride out to the place of rendezvous which has been appointed near the
mouth of the river, and where the clans are already gathering. Temporary
camps have been established by those who have arrived in advance of us,
around which groups of cowboys are lounging. A band of horses and ponies
which they have liberated is contentedly grazing on the river bank, and
several small bands of cattle may be seen in various directions, most of
them at considerable distances away, for they are wild and avoid the
presence of human beings. A cloud of dust is faintly visible on top of
the divide nearly three miles to the south, and on examining it
carefully with our glasses we find it is being raised by a jolly band of
five cowboys, who are riding like mad, each leading four or five horses.
Looking away to the north we see a mess-wagon, or "chuck outfit,"
approaching, drawn by four horses, and from the slow and labored gait at
which they toil along they doubtless bring abundant store of good
things. Behind this, two riders are driving ten head of loose horses.
And these small detachments continue to come in from every point of the
compass all the forenoon, until, when all the ranches in this roundup
district have furnished their levies, the force numbers one hundred and
thirty-five men and about twelve hundred horses. Each rider has his
"string" of horses, numbering from five to seven, and changes two or
three times a day, riding one horse twenty to forty miles, and sixty to
seventy-five miles a day is considered a fair day's work for a man. The
reserve herd is placed in charge of a herder or "wrangler," who is
required to keep them under perfect control, and to be able to produce
such of them as are wanted on short notice, the _riata_ being frequently
used in taking them out of the herd. The foreman has arrived and takes
charge of the entire outfit, placing it on a thoroughly effective and
working basis for the morrow.

At 3.30 o'clock in the morning the men are called. They are out of their
blankets and dressed in less time than it takes an Eastern man to rub
his eyes and yawn; each catches and saddles his horse; breakfast is
hastily eaten, and at the first dawn of day, they ride out in twos or
fours in every direction. These men present a decidedly picturesque, not
to say brigandish, appearance as they dash out across the prairie; their
red, blue, and gray flannel shirts, canvas pants, leather _chaparejos_,
broad sombreros, colored silk handkerchiefs knotted around their necks;
well-filled cartridge-belts, from which hang their six-shooters; their
high-top cowhide boots and large Mexican spurs, making up a _tout
ensemble_ that a band of Texan rangers might envy. Their work, their
fun, their excitement now begin, for small bunches of cattle are sighted
in every direction, which are to be rounded up and driven along, and
there is no time to lose. As they dash hither and thither after the
fleeing, scurrying creatures, the proverbial good nature, high spirits,
and enthusiasm of these "knights of the plains" find vent in a series of
hoots, yells, jokes, "ki-yis," bits of song, and grotesque slang
expressions, many of which are strikingly expressive when understood,
but which would be utterly unintelligible to a fresh tenderfoot. The
majority of these Western cattle are almost as wild as the native
buffaloes whose place they have usurped, having never been subjected to
the dominion of man, and rarely, in fact, have they ever come face to
face with him. At the first approach of the riders, therefore, they
throw up their heads and tails, look wild, sniff the air, and then turn
and run like a herd of antelopes. But by fast riding and skillful
maneuvering they are soon rounded up and herded. It is a bit of the true
spice of life for these dare-devil riders to find a vicious, rebellious,
"alecky" young critter who concludes that he won't be rounded up; and no
sooner has the belligerent shaken his burly head, pawed the earth a few
times, turned tail to his pursuers, broken through the skirmish line and
sailed away across the prairie, than three, four, or perhaps half a
dozen cayuses, who are also now in their elements, are headed for him.
Lariats are loosened from the saddle horn, spurs rattle as they pierce
the flanks of the already willing and eager steeds, and there ensues a
wild, headlong, reckless race that can have but one result. The steer
may be fleet of foot, and may lead, through a half-mile dash, but sooner
or later is headed off and turned. He may make a fresh break in another
direction, but his pursuers are down on him again like a pack of hungry
wolves on a stray sheep. And now, as the riders close in on him, they
belabor him unmercifully with their heavy coils of rope, or with rawhide
"quirts" carried for this purpose. If particularly wild, obstinate, or
obstreperous, he still keeps breaking away, and refusing to come into
camp. A _riata_ glistens in the sunlight, whistles through the air and
falls over his head. Another follows and puts a foot in the stocks.
Taking two or three turns of the lariat around the horn of the saddle,
the men ride in opposite directions till the ropes come taut, the steer
is fairly lifted from the earth and falls with a dull and thudful sound
that may be heard a hundred yards. Then another rope is thrown over his
head, the spurs are put to the faithful ponies, they are transposed for
the time into draft horses, and the luckless victim is ignominiously
"snaked" toward the herd, while the other boys "bang" him with coils of
rope from behind. A few yards of this mode of travel is usually
sufficient to tame the wildest long-horn Texan on the range, and a few
vigorous bellows soon announce an unconditional surrender. The ropes are
then taken off, he is let up, and it is short work to put him in the
herd.

The valiant riders scour the country hither and thither, far and near,
"gathering beef" from east, west, north, and south. Every hoof found,
regardless of the brand it bears, or whether it bears any, is picked up
by this human cyclone and carried along. Toward noon the herds already
gathered are driven into the branding pens, where they are corraled. The
calves are snatched out and the "jimption is socked to 'em," as the boys
express it. So with any yearlings or older stock that have escaped the
branding-iron in former seasons. One or more irons for each owner are
kept hot, and when a roper has "downed" an animal he or the foreman
calls for the iron wanted, and setting his foot upon the victim's neck
places the red-hot device on its ribs, and throws his weight upon it,
leaving a deep, indelible, and time-enduring trade-mark which even he
who runs may read. Its ears, dew lap, or the loose skin on its jaw are
then slit and it is turned loose again.

When a band is branded it is turned out; the party who brought it in
change horses, and away they go for another run. No special branders are
now provided, every man in the outfit, the cook and wrangler excepted,
being required to "swaller dust" and "wrestle calves" in the pens. Near
the middle of the day each squad comes in after finishing their catch,
make a run on the mess-wagons and devour the substantial provender with
which they are loaded, with appetites born only of the labor and
excitement in which they are engaged.

The afternoon is usually devoted to branding the last bunches brought
in, and to "cutting out," returning or throwing over such stock as does
not belong to any of the ranchmen in this district. Strays are
frequently picked up whose brands show them to be a hundred miles or
more from home. When a number of these are collected they are cut out
and a squad of men drive them onto their proper ranges. This process is
called "throwing over."

The cooks, teamsters, and wranglers usually move camp up the river every
morning to the next branding pen, or to some other spot designated by
the foreman, to which rounders bring their cattle during the day. A
portion of the stock collected, called the "cavoy," is carried along
with the camp all the time and herded by the "holders," but large
numbers after being branded are bunched and again thrown off onto the
range each day. Thus the outfit moves slowly up the stream, making a
clean sweep of everything to the middle of the divides on the east and
west, until the Wyoming roundup on the same stream is met coming down.
And now, having completed the work in hand, the outfit breaks up, and
the men return to the respective ranches on which they are employed or
go to other roundups where their services are needed.

The object of the fall roundup is to gather in and cut out the fat
steers and drive them to the railroad stations for shipment to Eastern
markets. The work being almost entirely on adult animals is even more
laborious and hazardous than that of the spring, where the majority of
animals actually handled are calves. Hard riding, vigorous "cutting,"
and daring dashes into headstrong, panic-stricken, stampeding herds are
necessary here, and roping and dragging out by main strength are hourly
occurrences. Branding-irons are also carried along, and any calves
missed on the spring roundup, or dropped after it, are subjected to the
fiery ordeal, just as their brothers and sisters were at the Mayday
party.

Stray cattle, either calves or adults, bearing no brand and found alone
or herded with others already branded, but whose parentage can not be
definitely determined, are called "Mavericks," and in some districts are
sold at auction and the proceeds given to the school fund. In others,
they become the property of the man or company upon whose range they are
found. This privilege, however, is seriously abused by dishonest
ranchmen and cattle thieves, who infest every Western cattle-growing
district. These men ride out over the ranges at times when they are not
likely to be observed, carrying their branding-irons along, and rope and
brand every animal they can find that does not already bear a brand. In
some cases these are allowed to remain where found, for the time being,
but are usually driven onto the range claimed by the pirate who does the
work. In other instances, these men first drive the unbranded stock onto
their own ranges, and then, under cover of the Maverick law, openly
claim and brand it as their own. Many large herds have been accumulated
almost wholly by this system of thievery, and there are wealthy
cattlemen in the West to-day who never bought or honestly owned a dozen
head of the thousands that bear their brand. A certain cowboy, when
asked by an Eastern man what constitutes a Maverick, replied: "It's a
calf that you find and get your brand on before the owner finds it and
gets his on."

But it is risky business, this cattle stealing, and many a man who has
been caught at it has been left on the prairies as food for the
coyotes, or has ornamented the nearest cottonwood tree until the magpies
and butcher birds have polished his bones.

Branding is a decidedly cruel proceeding, and would doubtless come under
the bane of Mr. Bergh's displeasure were he here to witness it. Yet it
seems a necessary evil, there being no other known means of marking
cattle so effectually and indelibly.

Parties of ladies frequently go out from the towns or cities to see the
roundup, not knowing or thinking of the painful features of it. They
enjoy the ride across the prairies and through the valleys. The
beautiful scenery, the grotesque "Bad Lands," the red, scoria-capped
hills, the beautiful green meadows, and the fringes of green trees that
mark the meanderings of the streams, all delight and interest them; they
enjoy the displays of horsemanship given by the valorous cowboys as they
wheel and cavort hither and thither in pursuit of scurrying bands of
cattle; they enjoy the stampeding and wild flight, the "knotting" and
"holding" of the large herds, all so skillfully and cleverly performed;
they enjoy the sight of the thousand and more loose horses, grazing and
scampering over the plains; they enjoy the fresh, pure air, the
wholesome noon repast in the shade of the great cottonwood trees, and
many other pleasant phases of the affair. But when the fire is lit and
the murderous irons inserted in it; when the captive creatures are
dragged forth lowing, murmuring, and bellowing; when the red-hot iron is
pressed into their quivering, smoking sides until the air is laden with
the odor of burning hair and roasting flesh, and the poor creature
writhes and struggles in its agony, the roundup is robbed of its
romance, and the ladies are ready to start for home at once.



Transcriber's Notes:


Italics indicated _like this_.

Small caps indicated LIKE THIS.

Minor punctuation errors corrected without note.

Words with multiple and archaic spellings left as in original.

p. 329 [3-rail] used to represent a branding symbol with three parallel
bars.


Spelling changes:

Table of Contents Chapter 1. "Enchance" changed to "Enhance".

p. 63 "barrrier" changed to "barrier".

p. 67 "ordinarly" changed to "ordinarily".

p. 123 "fuanace" changed to "furnace".

p. 167 "playad" changed to "played".

p. 171 "catchng" changed to "catching".

p. 201 "conspicious" changed to "conspicuous".

p. 204 "intstead" changed to "instead".

p. 237 "similiar" changed to "similar".

p. 294 "firmanent" changed to "firmament".

p. 296 "Novemver" changed to "November".





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