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Title: The Cruise of a Schooner
Author: Harris, Albert W.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Digital Library.)



[Illustration: SUNSET ON THE MOJAVE DESERT]



                       THE CRUISE OF A SCHOONER

                                  By

                           Albert W. Harris


                 With Illustrations from Photographs

                          Privately Printed



                           Copyright, 1911,
                                  By
                           Albert W. Harris

                       Arranged and Printed by
                         Charles Daniel Frey
                               Chicago



                             To My Friend
                         Dr. H. W. Lancaster



                               PREFACE


Years ago, no matter how many, my head was filled with queer notions.
Probably there are still a few queer thoughts and notions left there.
I refer to them as queer from the point of view from which the reader
will look at them. Personally, I have considered them very sane and
serious, and quite worth working out.

To begin with, when a boy, I had a great yearning for a pony. I had
all sorts of notions about ponies, but when I didn’t get one as a boy,
I planned to have more ponies when I grew up, and better ones, than
any one ever had before. In fact, I built a “pony” castle in the air.

I had another notion that I wanted to be a farmer, and have a big
ranch with horses and cattle, but when I could not, as a boy, see any
chance to work this out at once, I proceeded in my mind to make it
come true, and pictured and planned it all out, and built such a fine
castle of a farm that I could see it almost as plainly in my mind’s
eye as though it were a reality.

The nearest I ever got to my castle for many years was when riding
over the plains on a cow pony, the cattle and the pony belonging to
some one else; the fun, however, was all mine. I still worked on my
castles and added another. I pictured myself some time riding or
driving overland to California, crossing the plains and mountains with
a party of congenial spirits, and following the old Santa Fe trail to
the Pacific Ocean.

When I talked seriously of these things to ordinary mortals, they
smiled, and said, “You think you will do these things some day, but
you never will; they are all air castles.” Similar expressions greeted
any reference to ponies, farms, or overland trips, as the years went
by, till they began to take some such place in my own mind, and I
found myself saying, “Air Castles, nothing but Air Castles.” Still, as
these castles began to crumble and grow mossy with years, I resolved
to repair them, and in so doing awoke to the fact that two of my
castles had materialized. They had come to earth, so to speak, and I
found myself actually possessed of the farm and the ponies; the
identical ponies, it seemed to me, I had seen in my mind’s eye when a
boy. It took me some time to actually realize that the farm and the
ponies were really mine, but, when I finally came to accept them as
realities, I knew my other castle could not be far off, and I began
again planning to take the overland trip.

I had planned this trip in my mind so many times and in so many ways
that the only new sensation was that now it would surely come true,
but I kept on planning it annually for five years before I actually
started on the trip itself, and then I started from the Pacific Ocean
and drove east.

The following account of this trip may be of sufficient interest to
make it worth reading, at least, and if any one who reads it feels
more hopeful of finishing the building of the castles he is now
engaged upon, it will have answered its purpose.



CONTENTS

    I. Getting Started
    II. We get a Taste of the Desert
    III. The Real Thing in Deserts
    IV. Kelso, California
    V. Off Again
    VI. The Dixie Country of Utah
    VII. Along the Rio Grande Western Railroad
    VIII. Salina Canyon
    IX. Castle Valley
    X. Green River to Grand Junction
    XI. Grand Junction, Colorado
    XII. The Mountains
    XIII. The Plains of Colorado
    XIV. Our Party Grows Smaller
    XV. Alone in a Prairie Schooner



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

    Sunset on the Mojave Desert
    Cacti Forest
    Provisioned for the Desert
    Entering the Mojave Canyon
    Emerging into the Desert
    A Desert Camp
    The Business Section of Kelso, California
    Joshua Palm, or Giant Cactus
    We Stop for Water
    Our First Camp East of Las Vegas
    A Sample of Mormon Architecture
    Mormon House and Irrigation Ditch
    A Ranch in Bear Valley
    Salina Canyon
    A Glimpse of Castle Valley
    The Clay Buttes near Green River
    We Abandon our Water Barrels
    A Camp on Black Mesa
    The Two Normans
    The Black Canyon of the Gunnison
    A Camp Site on the Gunnison
    Continental Divide
    Camp Below the Divide
    A Log Cabin on Bailey’s Mountain
    Nearing Civilization
    The Outfit Coming into Denver
    The Cook
    The Hostler
    Norman Bradley and Kate
    Norman Harris and Dixie
    Our Horses on the Open Range East of Denver
    A Mid-day Camp
    We Arrive at Kemah
    The Last Anchorage of the Prairie Schooner
    We turn Kate Out to Pasture
    Bess also is Turned Out: “Good Old Bess”



[Illustration]



                       THE CRUISE OF A SCHOONER



Chapter I

Getting Started


In planning an extended trip in this country, or Europe, the first
thing one usually does is to consult, if convenient, friends who have
been there before. After deciding when you will start, you look up
time-tables or the departure of boats, reserve accommodations for your
party, pack your grips or trunks, and you are ready to start. In
driving overland it is different; you may find some one to consult
with who has made the trip before you,--but the chances are that all
those who have done so are dead. You will have no time-tables to
consult and, if you go as we did, no reservations to make.

It all looked so easy, while I was only thinking about it, that it
seemed simplicity itself. Just get a team of horses and a wagon, and
start. Incidentally, I would have plenty of company,--so many folks
had said they would like to go. We would have a tent, cots, cook,
guide, and all the necessary outfit.

As a matter of fact, this is what really happened. When approached on
the subject, my friends, who had talked about going with me, were one
by one unexpectedly prevented from making the trip. They either had to
go to Europe or had such pressing business duties that they could not
possibly get away; every one of them, however, said something that
sounded as if they were very sorry they could not go, but which really
meant that they had drummed up this excuse on purpose.

As a result, I found I had only myself to consult, and so I set a date
on which I was sure I could start. It was only after this date was set
that I was sure I was going to get away. May 1, 1910, was the time
decided upon, but, as the roads in and around Chicago are not very
good at that season, I concluded that this would be the best time of
the year to cross the desert. After some planning I decided to tackle
the worst part of the trip first, while my enthusiasm lasted, and so,
I concluded, I would go to California, get my outfit together, and
start from there.

I had another reason besides the time of the year and the condition of
the roads for starting from California, which was that I would get
away where my friends could not talk me out of starting by telling me
how hard the trip was, how foolish I was, how tired I would be of it
all before I finished, and that I would sell the outfit and come back
before I had been gone a month. In view of the above practical as well
as precautionary reasons, I left Chicago for Los Angeles. All I took
with me was a few old clothes and my Chesapeake dog Tuck, planning to
outfit in full at Los Angeles, and start from there as soon as I could
possibly get ready. At the last moment I received word from my old
hunting partner, Dr. Lancaster, of Nevada, Missouri, that he and his
brother Robert would make the trip with me and would meet me at Los
Angeles on May the fifth. This was especially gratifying news, as I
had been rather afraid I might have to make the trip all alone.

Arriving at Los Angeles, May fifth, I met the Doctor and Bob, who had
come down from San Francisco, and we at once proceeded to get together
a suitable outfit for the trip. It took us ten days to do this, as we
had a wagon to buy and fit up with bows and overjets, together with a
platform for the water barrels; besides horses and provisions, a wagon
sheet, tarpaulin, stove, tent, and a lot of other things we thought we
needed.

While assembling the outfit we spent considerable time looking over a
line I had drawn on the map before leaving Chicago, and which we aimed
to follow as closely as possible in going east to Chicago.

This line was drawn without regard to roads, mountains, or desert, and
represented as short a line as I thought the lay of the land would
permit. It was so straight and looked so easy on the map that we
wondered why the Forty-niners went so far south, and the Mormons so
far north. We planned how many miles we could make in a day, and made
a schedule of where we would be on certain dates, so that our families
might communicate with us if necessary.

Although our maps showed towns here and there in the desert, we began
to consider our undertaking quite seriously when the old-timers, who
were familiar with the desert, began to ask concerning our route. On
looking at the line on our map they began to make predictions, such
as, “You will never get across the Mojave so late in the season
without mules,” “No wagon can follow the route you have mapped out,”
“If you get through to Las Vegas without leaving your outfit strung
along the trail, you will be lucky.” Such remarks set us to thinking a
little hard, but as the Doctor and I were not exactly “tenderfeet,”
having camped and hunted together under all sorts of conditions and in
nearly all parts of the United States, we resolved to stick to our
plans and go over the route as laid out, even if no one else had ever
gone that way. We would demonstrate that it could be done, but we
would prepare for any emergency and go as light as possible.

First, we decided to do without a guide (a good resolution, seeing
there was none to be had), and next, to do without a cook. This saved
provisions and water, and made it possible to travel with less
baggage. Having advised our families where we would be at various
times, and having collected our outfit at the barns of the Southern
California Edison Company, we were ready to start Saturday morning,
May the fourteenth.

In order that the reader may have in his mind’s eye a picture of the
outfit, including the members of the party, not omitting the dog, I
will try to paint a word-picture of it.

Imagine that you see coming out of a side street into Peco Street, a
team of medium-sized horses wearing a set of heavy tin-bespangled
harness, attached to a regulation wide-tread ranch wagon with canvas
top, with a water barrel on each side. A bale of alfalfa hay is seen
on the carrier behind, and a lantern swings from one of the bows.
Inside are two spring seats, the second being occupied by a large,
brown, yellow-eyed dog, and the front seat by two very
ordinary-looking individuals of uncertain age. Following the wagon is
a tall slim man on a bay mare. There you have a mental picture of our
outfit as seen by the inhabitants of Los Angeles that May morning as
we started on our long journey.

The two men on the front seat were Robert Lancaster and the writer;
the tall man on the bay mare was Doctor Lancaster. We had stored
inside the wagon our provisions, bedding, tools, tent, cots, horse
feed, etc. We also carried an extra single-tree and clevis, together
with a single harness for use in case it should become necessary to
use all three horses.

Our exit was anything but spectacular. We said good-bye to three or
four friends, feeling ourselves somewhat conspicuous on account of our
brand-new appearance, but were soon lost in the crowd of a large city,
and forgot we were on anything but a morning’s drive in a rather slow
coach through a busy town, until we found ourselves well out in the
country, with an appetite for dinner.

We were taking what is called the “Lower Road,” from Los Angeles to
San Bernardino, and had arrived at a grove of eucalyptus, affording
shade and a place to tie and feed the horses, so we pulled out to the
side of the road and made our first stop. Here we found a place to
water the horses, and after eating a cold lunch and giving the horses
plenty of time to eat, we interviewed our neighbors--a man and his
wife and boy--camped near us, who had come from the north by wagon and
were going down into Mexico. They had a team of horses and a saddle
pony. They were just seeing the country, and had camped here near Los
Angeles to rest up their stock and see the town. They seemed to have
done nothing else all their lives but drive about, always looking for
a good place to locate, but never finding one to their satisfaction;
so they only stopped here and there to earn enough money to carry them
to the next place.

Having satisfied our curiosity regarding our neighbors, and picked up
a few bits of valuable advice about camping in the desert country, we
started on, driving to within about nine miles of Pomona, where we
camped alongside of the road--which was also by the side of the
railroad track--having made about twenty-five miles the first day.

The Doctor and Bob had taken turns riding Dixie, and I had done the
driving. This was to be our regular procedure. During this, our first
day out, we had put into working operation our plans for the trip. Bob
was to do the cooking and I was to do the driving and take care of the
horses. We had also begun to get acquainted with the horses. It is a
good deal of a lottery to pick, out of a strange bunch, suitable
horses for such a trip, and as so much of the success of the journey
depended upon our motive power, and so much of my reputation as a
horseman on the horses themselves, I was especially interested in
learning their weak points as early as possible. So far they had
proved to be fearless, and as the night camp alongside of the railroad
track with trains passing under their very noses, so to speak, had
failed to arouse signs of nervousness in any of them, I began to feel
that they could be depended upon not to stampede. Whether they could
be relied upon in a pinch to pull us out of a bad place, and if they
had good tempers or not, we had yet to learn.

At this camp we tried for the first time our coal oil stove, and
pronounced it a decided success. Our bed was made upon the ground by
putting down our tarpaulin beside the wagon. Upon it we rolled
ourselves in our blankets, Tuck, the dog, sleeping at our feet and
watching the camp and horses, giving us notice if anything went wrong.

Our bill of fare was to consist principally, when we could get them,
of bacon and eggs, and bread and butter. Our staples were canned
beans, prunes, apricots, oatmeal, rice, and crackers, in addition to
which we carried, of course, salt, pepper, sugar, and condensed
cream--and honey also, when we could get it. We did not take any
coffee and confined ourselves to tea for a beverage, except when we
made lemonade. This first camp was rather impromptu, so to speak, as
we had not yet become accustomed to our outfit and had not arranged
our belongings so as to get at things quickly, but before many days we
had a place for everything and could find what we wanted in the dark.

Sunday morning, May fifteenth, our first morning in camp, was without
any special interest. It seemed better to go on than to stay in such a
bare spot beside the railroad track on the public highway, so we
packed up and moved on, driving through Pomona and Ontario, then going
north to what is called the “Upper Road,” through Highlands and
Cuycamonga, and about 6 P. M. camped among some pepper trees, opposite
a winery. The roads up to this point were good, but as we were going
up grade all the time we did not drive very fast; in fact, with the
load we had, the horses walked most of the time. We made about
twenty-five miles this day. Our stop was again near a camp wagon, but
this time we did not feel enough interest in our neighbors to visit
them, and after an early supper and seeing that the horses were
securely fastened for the night, we turned in, planning to get an
early start in the morning.

Monday morning, the sixteenth, found us up early, as planned. We
expected to drive to San Bernardino, which we figured was about twelve
miles, and buy a few provisions and then start north for Cajon Pass,
expecting to make our noon camp somewhere near the mountains. Usually
we were able to make our camps about as planned, but this morning we
were delayed.

Our start was made auspiciously, a beautiful morning with everybody,
including the dog, in good spirits. Our first four miles were through
vineyards just coming into full leaf, and we had been wondering how
grapes could be raised in sand, and how few years it had been since
this particular piece of ground was a veritable sandy desert, when a
puff of wind nearly capsized the wagon, and it seemed to be getting
foggy over the valley. Next I realized that the air was full of sand,
and to keep the wagon from blowing over we had to take the sheet off.
Before we had time to turn around and drive back to the protection of
the trees on the highland, which we had just left, a sand storm was
upon us, or what they call in that country a “Santa Anna.” The horses
insisted on turning their backs to the wind and Bob, who was only
fifty feet ahead on Dixie, could not be seen. He rode back alongside
the wagon and after a parley lasting about thirty seconds we decided
to push on, and, if possible, to reach the higher ground and the
protection of the trees on the other side rather than go back.

Having spent some time in this vicinity a few years before, I knew
there was no probability of the storm abating for hours, and that we
would have to drive only about four miles to get out of its path, for
it was coming out of the mouth of a canyon to the north of us. So we
pushed on, blinded and choked with sand, forcing the horses to keep
the road, and finally, after what seemed like hours, we drove up and
out of the storm, and could catch our breath and look around.

Not having a mirror handy we could not tell how sandy we looked, but
we knew how sandy we felt, and laughed at each other’s appearance
until we cried the sand out of our eyes, and then decided to stop at
the first convenient place and clean up before going into town. This
cleaning-up process took so long that it was noontime before we
reached San Bernardino, and we pitched camp that night about where we
had expected to stop for lunch. “If we are to encounter a sand storm
on the desert worse than this one,” we said, “we shall feel sorry for
ourselves.”

The country we have come through thus far, from Los Angeles to San
Bernardino, about sixty-two or sixty-three miles, is doubtless the
most thickly settled valley of California, and probably has the most
valuable improvements. Outside the towns and villages, the land is
completely taken up by orange, lemon, and walnut groves, besides
vineyards, interspersed with fields of alfalfa. Nearly every one has
electric light and telephone, and ample transportation is furnished by
three steam roads and many street railway and interurban lines.

From where we camped to-night we could look down over this valley,
from which, as it grew dark, the lights came out like so many stars,
and we realize that it will be many days before we will again be in
sight of green fields and civilization, for to-morrow we are to leave
all this behind and cross the San Bernardino range of mountains on our
way to Daggett in the Mojave Desert.



Chapter II

We Get a Taste of the Desert


Tuesday, May seventeenth, our first morning in a real camp “away from
anywhere,” as the Doctor said, was started in true camping style. We
were up at four-thirty, each busy at his particular work, Bob getting
breakfast, the Doctor packing the wagon, preparatory to starting, and
greasing the axles (this was done regularly every other day), and I
had the horses to look after. Then came breakfast, and after that,
while the dishes were being washed and odds and ends put into the
wagon, I harnessed the horses, hitched them to the wagon, put the lead
harness on Dixie, and we were ready to start.

We had been traveling east, but here we were to turn north across the
mountains, through Hesperia and Victor to Daggett. As yet we had not
had the harness on Dixie, although we had been assured that she was
broken to drive, but whether she would work in the lead and pull was a
question which was soon to be answered. Climbing into my seat and
picking up the lines, I let off a whoop and the brake at the same
time, while the Doctor let fly a handful of pebbles, and we were off.
We got into the road safely and by the time we had made a few miles up
the mountain trail we concluded our lead horse would do.

The road followed a mountain stream, winding ever upward, sometimes on
a level with the stream, but usually cut out of the side of the
mountain. Behind us we caught glimpses of mountains and valleys, and
realized we were climbing up rapidly, but finally we got so far into
the mountains that we could see very little, and our attention was
given up entirely to the road and the horses. Bob and the Doctor
walked ahead to lighten the load and signal back if any teams were
coming down, so that we could pick out a safe place to pass. Noon
brought us to a sandy place beside the stream, here only a rivulet,
where we stopped for lunch.

While smoking our pipes in the shade, an automobile went by, going up.
The ladies waved their handkerchiefs at us and, as they disappeared
around a bend in the road, some one remarked, “That looks easy; I
guess the road ahead must be good.” We promptly forgot the incident
until the Doctor said, “I can still hear that machine. I wonder why
they are not farther away by this time.” After listening a few minutes
we decided something was wrong with the machine, so we all went up the
road and soon found the party in the sand, where the auto had stuck in
crossing the stream, and they were unable to get it up the bank. As we
came up we found all four of the ladies pushing and the man working
with the engine, while a baby was peacefully asleep in the tonneau. We
went promptly to the rescue and after a few minutes had them out on
solid ground again. The man then asked us how much he owed us. The
Doctor told him in his dry way, “About a thousand dollars, but if you
do not happen to have anything as small as that about you, you can
settle the next time you see us.” The expression on the young man’s
face for a minute was quite laughable, but he seemed to sense the
situation finally, for a smile broke over his face, and with many
thanks and “Good luck!” from everybody they were off.

We went back to the wagon, and, the horses having had sufficient rest,
started on with all three of them in harness, and reached the summit
at 3:30 P. M. Here we had a magnificent view of the mountains, some of
which were snow-capped, and after a few minutes we started on again,
driving down to Hesperia, through a miniature forest composed of giant
cacti and juniper. On the way down we saw several pair of valley
quail, some doves, and a few rabbits, which was all the game we had
seen.

At Hesperia, which is on the railroad, we filled our water barrels and
camped alongside of the trail, about a mile from the station and eight
miles from Victor. As near as we could figure we had driven
twenty-five miles, which we considered a very good day’s work in view
of the long climb we had made.

[Illustration: CACTI FOREST]

The next morning we were up at four-thirty and off at six-forty-five,
arriving at Victorville at eight-thirty. The first person I saw as we
drove into the little railroad town was the young man who had driven
the auto we had helped out of the sand the day before. He hailed us
gayly and insisted on our climbing down and “going inside,” which we
promptly did. Later we repaired to the general store, where we
purchased a canteen, having accidentally run the wagon over ours the
evening before, and also some baled hay and grain. Then we mailed our
letters and half filled our water barrels before starting on to
Daggett, forty miles away over the desert.

As we understood there was a good water hole and camp site about half
way, we thought it unnecessary to take any more water. We reached the
water without difficulty by 6 P. M., although we met no one on the
trail and were in doubt once or twice as to which fork to take. We
found it a good place to camp on account of the water, but that was
all. There was just a small covered tank over a spring in a bare
little desert valley, without even a tree or a bush in sight. It had
one advantage over previous camps, however. Doves by the hundred came
here to drink and in a short time we shot all we wanted for breakfast.

The next morning we had a comparatively easy road down grade into
Daggett, twenty-two miles, where we arrived at 11:30 A. M.

There was nothing especially interesting about these towns through
which we had passed; Hesperia was merely a handful of people;
Victorville had a few more and seemed quite prosperous. It is on the
banks of the Mojave River, which at this point is fully a hundred
yards wide, but shallow and muddy, with a considerable fringe of trees
in places along the banks. At Daggett, however, the river had about
disappeared, and a few miles farther east was entirely lost in the
sand.

Here at Daggett we decided to rest our horses and take stock, so to
speak. We found among our luggage a tent and two cots which we
apparently would have no need of until we reached Grand Junction,
Colorado, where we expected to have an addition of four to our party,
so we decided to send them on to this point by freight and thus
lighten our load by seventy-five pounds.

Having put our horses and wagon in a corral, we began to make
inquiries regarding the road to Las Vegas, Nevada, but could get no
definite information. We were told we could not cross the desert
directly, but would have to go around the south end. This meant going
in a circle and, as the line we had drawn on the map went straight, we
declined to go around, and were conferring with some old prospectors
on the feasibility of crossing the desert when we heard of a man who
had just come in from Las Vegas. We did not bother to make any more
inquiries then and decided to interview the man from Las Vegas the
first thing in the morning. I slept in the wagon at night, but being
in town the Doctor and Bob thought it would be a good idea to try
beds, to see if they were softer than the sand, but the next morning
they pronounced them not much of an improvement.

We found the man we were looking for shortly after breakfast at the
corral, where we had left our horses. He told us his name was Knowles.
He certainly looked as if he had been through something strenuous. His
eyes were bloodshot and he was a nervous wreck. He said he had come
from Las Vegas and had driven across _en route_ to Los Angeles. He had
a good team, a light farm wagon, but nothing in it save a water
barrel, some bedding, and a dog. He seemed so mixed in his dates that
it was hard to get any reliable information from him. He said it was
just an accident he had got through. He had been lost and stuck in the
sand and forced to abandon his load, when by good luck he came to the
Salt Lake Railroad. Here the sand was so deep that his horses could
not pull the empty wagon, so he drove up to the railroad track, and,
as there were no trains running (the road having been washed out for
eighty miles above Las Vegas early in the Spring), he drove on the
track until he reached Daggett, a distance of about sixty miles. He
did not dare to leave the railroad for fear that he would get lost,
and he found water at the little deserted section houses he passed
every twenty or thirty miles. He said that with a big wagon and load
we could not get through, and advised us not to try.

We concluded that if he had got through alone we could go through,
even with a heavier load, and in return for the questionable
information he had given us we told him how to get to Los Angeles, and
assured him that his troubles were over. He gave as much heed to our
directions as we gave to his, as we afterwards found out, but we
parted without disclosing our incredulity to each other.

The Doctor and I rode a freight train down to Barstow to get our mail
and a few provisions that we could not get at Daggett, and while there
who should we see driving up the main street but Knowles, our desert
traveller! We hailed him and asked him why he had come to Barstow. He
seemed quite ashamed at being discovered, but reluctantly admitted
that he had intended heeding our instructions and had followed the
road along the railroad track as directed, until he came to the
left-hand fork which went south over the desert hills to Victor. He
could not, however, trust himself to leave the railroad track for fear
of getting lost again and perhaps running out of water. He said that
he knew the railroad went to Victor and he had decided finally to
follow it even if it was a longer route. We saw our word wouldn’t go
so we called some natives into the conference, and they assured him we
were right. They told him he could not follow the railroad as there
was no wagon bridge across the river except at Victor, and that even
if he could get across here at Barstow he would have a long weary
route ahead of him, and would not reach Victor for at least two days.
So he reluctantly turned about and went back to the south fork in the
road, and we presume he went that way as we never saw him again, but
it must have taken a great deal of fortitude on his part. Lose a man
in the desert and, I imagine, he won’t want to try another stretch of
desert in the same week, especially alone; so we did not blame him
very much for insisting on following the railroad track.

We got back to Daggett shortly after noon on a passenger train and
hunted up the old prospectors again. They were the sort who had always
been in the desert and knew all about it, to hear them tell it, but
for the past twenty years had probably sat around the corner store and
saloon and told stories to tenderfeet about its mysteries. When we
told them of Knowles’ experience and asked their advice they looked
very solemn, and each in turn took refuge behind the other by asking
him which of the many routes we ought to take, until they had gone the
rounds and got back to the first old party again, who in desperation
referred us to some one else who wasn’t there.

This was so amusing that we forgot we were wasting time and went
prospecting around town for the man who knew, and finally located him
and told our story. He assured us Knowles had taken the wrong road; he
should have stayed away from the railroad because it went through the
worst sand and had no feed anywhere along the line. He then drew a
diagram showing how we should go east through the Mojave Canyon, then
northeast and skirt the foot of the Soda Mountains to a spring on Soda
Lake, and then follow the old prospectors’ trail east to Good Springs,
from where we could follow the railroad to Las Vegas, Nevada. He said
we could not lose the trail and that it had several springs and water
holes, so that we could get through safely. He wound up, however, by
saying that he had not been over this trail for ten or fifteen years,
but that it was a good trail the last time he went over it.

This information, while not especially reassuring, we thought
sufficient to at least make a start, as we would no doubt find some
one on the trail who could put us right if we went wrong, so at 3:30
P. M. we hitched up and started on a leg of our journey that came near
being our Waterloo.



Chapter III

The Real Thing in Deserts


It is almost impossible to describe the country we found ourselves in
as we started out from Daggett on the afternoon of May twentieth,
because, to use a home-made expression, “it does not sound at all as
it looks.” We are to follow the Mojave River Valley until we get
through the Mojave Canyon, then go north around the base of the Soda
Mountains, etc., as per directions. Now the above sounds easy. It
makes one think of water running down hill, and with water the
mountains should have trees among the rocks, as a canyon suggests a
rocky country.

[Illustration: PROVISIONED FOR THE DESERT]

The real picture, however, which presented itself to us that afternoon
was a desolate, wind-swept country; the valley looked like a wide
rolling stretch of desert, flanked by bare hills, with no sign of a
river. It was so cold that even with our coats on we were none too
comfortable. The wind blew so hard we had to take the canvas off the
wagon, and after going about ten miles we made camp for the night at a
place where the trail took us close to a deserted railroad section
house, which had a well. These railroad wells are really cisterns, but
instead of being built to catch rain water, are designed to hold the
water that the Salt Lake R. R. hauls in tank cars and distributes
regularly to the section men. These section houses were located about
twenty or thirty miles apart and about every other one had a well. The
others had a few barrels, so, as we afterwards found out, if one came
to the railroad track he knew that by following it fifteen or twenty
miles he would probably find a deserted section house with a few pails
of water left in a barrel, or perhaps a well with a few barrels of
water, and possibly a section crew that had not been laid off. In the
latter case you could find out how far it was to the next water. The
water in the railroad wells was very good, but where the company found
enough water to fill the big tank cars they evidently sent over the
line when the road was running, no one seemed to know. We concluded,
however, that it came from Kelso, California, or Las Vegas, Nevada,
where we found out later they had water tanks and plenty of good
water. We had met no one since leaving Daggett who could tell us about
the trail ahead, but with plenty of water we felt cheerful enough and
expected to make a good many miles the next day, so turned in to get
an early start.

Saturday morning, May twenty-first, we found we had lost our canteen.
It was so cold and windy the afternoon before that we hadn’t needed
the canteen and in taking the sheet off the wagon we must have pulled
it off, but where and when we didn’t know. Having plenty of water to
start with we concluded we could pick up another canteen or improvise
one, so we did not go back far to look for it, but started out to get
over as much ground as possible.

There was no air stirring; it warmed up early and later got hot. The
sand made it hard pulling and finally, at 11 A. M., we reached another
deserted section house. There was a well and bucket, and, while there
was no shade and the heat was intense, we managed to keep fairly
comfortable by lying under the wagon and recalling how cool it had
been the day before. Our dog, Tuck, seemed to feel the heat more than
we did, or the horses, but it was principally because we had hard work
keeping him in the wagon. If he saw anything move, from a coyote to a
lizard, he would jump out of the wagon and undertake to catch it. The
lizards would disappear in the sand and the coyotes in the distance,
and Tuck would be hot for an hour or two afterward.

About 2 P. M. we started on again, this time driving spike, as the
sand was getting harder to pull through and it took all three horses
to do it. By evening we had reached what is called the canyon of the
Mojave River. Here we camped in the bed of the river, which at this
place was a mere rivulet. The river bed, however, was about two
hundred yards wide, full of gravel and stones, with occasionally a big
boulder. Willows grew in patches on the banks, and here and there a
cottonwood. On each side the bare mountains had edged up to the bank,
and we had a shut-in feeling. The river, however, small as it was at
this time, no doubt rushed through here at times, carrying a large
volume of water out into the desert beyond.

Having picked out a place to camp, where there were no rocks, we
proceeded to get supper, while Tuck raced up and down in what little
water there was in the river and had a glorious time. We were tired
with the heat and sand, and so were the horses, but after supper we
decided to take a swim; at least that is what we said, but the reader
can imagine we did not swim much in a stream four feet wide and three
inches deep. It was quite a grotesque sight to see three men trying to
take a bath in such a stream by the light of the moon. In fact we
laughed a great deal ourselves, but we were so long at it, and it grew
cold so fast, that we were shivering before we got back to the wagon.
Such is the difference in temperature between night and day in this
country.

[Illustration: ENTERING THE MOJAVE CANYON]

Sunday, the twenty-second, we started early so as to get through the
canyon and out into the open desert before it should get too hot. It
was a hard drive of six miles over rocks and through sand down the
river bed, which, very soon after starting, we found had lost even the
small stream of water which had been so welcome at our camp site. The
walls of the canyon became quite rocky and in spots sheer walls of
stone, and in the narrowest place we found the railroad track above us
passing through tunnels and over bridges, as this canyon through which
the river flows (when it does flow) is the only way the railroad could
get through these mountains at this point. We supposed they were part
of what is called the Soda Mountains.

At this point in the canyon we saw a section house and climbed up to
see if they had any water. We found a man and his wife and daughter.
They had only about half a barrel of water fit to drink, but allowed
us what we wanted for that purpose. They also had two canteens, and
after a parley sold us one. After our previous experience in losing
two canteens, we were careful not to lose this one and luckily brought
it all the way through. Besides being kind enough to let us have the
canteen, they told us that the Company was now running a train each
day between Las Vegas and Daggett, and that there was a tank car
containing a little water on a spur track in the desert about five
miles from there, so we started on much encouraged. We had a canteen
and were only five miles from a tank car with water in it!

Within a mile we emerged from the canyon, the mountains receded to the
north and south, and we surveyed a vast plain of sand. There was no
sign of a trail, however, so we pushed out into the sand, which seemed
to have no bottom. The wheels of the wagon, although having wide
tires, sank to such a depth that at times we were “four spokes in the
sand,” and a hundred yards was about as far as the horses could pull
the wagon at a time. The Doctor and Bob walked to lighten the load,
and it wasn’t very long before we began to realize that we were up
against it hard. The heat was intense, and the sun on the white sand
would have blinded us soon if we had not put on our smoked glasses.

[Illustration: EMERGING INTO THE DESERT]

After plodding along at a snail’s pace for an hour or two, the Doctor
said, “Well, I can see our finish unless we get out of this pretty
soon,” and Bob suggested that we turn back. To turn back, however,
meant miles to water, and we had just sighted the tank car. It lay off
south of us about a mile and, although we still had some water in our
barrels, we needed more if we were to go back or forward, either one.
It was cruel to ask the horses to pull the wagon even two miles
farther than necessary, through heat and sand, so the Doctor and I
volunteered to take two pails each and see if there really was any
water in the car. It seemed foolish to expect to find water in that
car out there in the burning sandy waste, and the nearer we came to it
the more unreasonable it appeared. We did find water in it, however,
and although it was hot, it was good water, and after filling our four
pails we managed to get back to the wagon and add this much to our
supply.

From here we were supposed to follow the trail north around the base
of the Soda Mountains, but as yet there was no trail, so we had to
decide on some plan at once. There seemed to be three things we might
do: The first was to go back. This we refused to do. The second was to
go south to the Salt Lake Railroad and follow it east. This was
Knowles’ advice to us and, as we had declined to take it before, we
stood pat. The third and only thing left for us to do was to go north,
which we did, looking for the trail the old prospector told us was
there somewhere, and which would take us around to a spring above Soda
Lake.

So slow was our progress through the sand that we soon grew nervous
over it. In fact, I think we all became somewhat alarmed over the
situation. It was very hot and we seemed getting farther from
anywhere, so that when we stopped for lunch and had not yet found any
signs of a trail, we decided to make a “B” line for the mountains with
the hope that we might at least find better going, if we didn’t find
the trail.

Before starting, however, I decided to go over and climb the nearest
foothill and see if I could see Soda Lake. It was probably only a
mile, but I had to stop several times and lie down to get my head in
the shade of a bush, of which there were quite a number growing in the
sand near the mountains. Arriving at a small sand hill, I climbed up
to where a bush was growing and lay down with my head under it, and
surveyed the mountains ahead and the desert at the south, but no sign
of a lake or trail did I see. Then I saw through a gap in the
mountains a valley, with a lake in the centre and two tents on the
bank. This, I concluded, was a mirage. I looked away and tried to
assure myself that when I should look again the valley would be gone;
but it was still there when I looked again, and I could see a trail
winding down to it. I went to examine the trail, which was real
enough, so I was sure I had seen Soda Lake, although it seemed to be
in the wrong place. I immediately returned to the wagon to find I had
been gone two hours and the boys were afraid I was overcome by the
heat and were coming to look me up.

Cheered with my report of water and camps in sight, we all felt
encouraged, and pushed the horses as fast as possible through the gap
and down to the lake, where we found a man, a few chickens, a dog, and
a mule. The man was raising vegetables. Just think of it, in a valley
in the Soda Mountains! The lake was not Soda Lake after all, but Lake
Crucero. He told us Soda Lake was dry, that it was seven miles east,
and that there was no way to get there except through the deep sand,
and that when we got there we would be nowhere.

When we asked him about the trail the prospector had told us of he
said that it had been abandoned years ago; the water holes had dried
up and, unless we were camels, we could never get through that way to
Las Vegas. We were not surprised at this; in fact, we had begun to
think that something was wrong with our old prospector’s directions,
as it did not seem possible any sane person would ever attempt such a
desert. This man was not very talkative, but on being pressed to
advise us how he would go to Las Vegas he answered that he wouldn’t
go, which reminded me very much of the old saying, “If you ever go to
Arkansas, don’t go.” We tried another more sensible question and asked
him how it would be possible to go by wagon, and in reply he said that
it would be possible, if our team held out, to drive southeast about
seven miles to the Salt Lake Railroad and follow it to Kelso, about
thirty miles. We could get water at the section houses and if we could
make thirty miles he thought we would be through the worst of the
sand. As there was nothing else to do, unless we went back, we took
his advice, and, after watering the horses and filling our barrels, we
retraced our trail about three miles and camped at 7 P. M. in the open
desert again, under a full moon. If we had not been so tired we could
have enjoyed the night, but we were worn out by the heat and sand,
and, thankful for the cool evening, we turned in and slept soundly.

Monday morning, May twenty-third. “Seven miles southeast over the sand
to a section house on the railroad,” were our last instructions of the
night before, and I am sure it was all of that, for although we
started early, it was noon before we got there. The horses were worn
out, our water was gone, and yet it was surprising how we cheered up
when we came in sight of the section house, and how soon we forgot all
our troubles after we had filled ourselves and animals with water and
eaten our lunch.

After filling our barrels with water and looking at the railroad track
and section house, we felt we were safe for the time being at least.
Then it was we thought of Knowles and his advice to stick by the
railroad track and if we could not pull through the sand to drive on
the railroad track. Should we try it? There seemed to be no other
alternative. It was about twenty-three miles to Kelso and our team was
tired out. The last day and a half had taken all the life out of them.
Our feed was running short and we couldn’t possibly get to the next
water station unless we did try it.

Up we went, and an odd sight we must have presented driving over the
ties, bumping along at a snail’s pace, but at that we managed to make
about five miles when we came to a few bunches of Grama grass growing
in the sand, and we promptly drove off the track. We had two reasons
for doing this. One was on account of the feed this afforded the
horses, and the other was that we figured the train we had been told
of was due about this time, as it went up to Las Vegas at night and
back in the morning, and we had to pick out a favorable place to get
off the track, which was more desirable than being pushed off by the
cars.

Here we turned our horses loose for the first time, thinking they were
too tired and hungry to leave the bunch grass, and we were right. They
didn’t leave that grass, and when it came time to turn in I just
hobbled Dixie to be on the safe side. After this we hardly ever tied
up our horses unless we were near a town or in a stock country where
they might be enticed away by other horses, but before our trip was
over even this was unnecessary, as we found they could not be driven
very far away from the wagon. In fact, any horse we were not using
would follow the wagon like a dog.

[Illustration: A DESERT CAMP]

Our camp was in sight of three immense sand hills in a section of the
desert called the Devil’s Playground. We were told these hills moved
about and that sand storms were of frequent occurrence here. After
supper, although it was nearly as light as day, the wind sprung up and
we were doubtful about the advisability of turning in, but finally did
so.

The heavens were a wonderful sight. The stars seemed to hang low and
were more brilliant than usual. A comet with a long tail was plainly
seen in the west, and the moon was rising over the sand hills. We
began to speculate on the comet and, as the moon got above the sand
hills and the wind freshened, the most remarkable thing happened--the
sand hill began to move toward us! It kept getting closer, obscuring
the moon, until it had moved up far enough to shut the moon from our
sight entirely. We jumped up and each one of us was about to take a
horse and ride for his life, when the Doctor laughed and said, “It is
an eclipse of the moon. Don’t you see it’s coming out on the lower
side again?” and we rolled over laughing at our fright, each claiming
that he had known it was an eclipse all the time.

Later we found the comet we had seen was the famous Halley’s Comet and
were sorry some of our astronomers had not been with us, as probably
very few of them had an opportunity of seeing both the eclipse of the
moon and the comet under such favorable circumstances.

We go to sleep looking at the heavens and in the morning, after the
train has gone by, we start east again. We come to a section house
about a mile down the track, at which we find a section foreman. He
tells us it is twenty miles to Kelso, and the sand is “just as deep as
you can stick down a cane.” This is not very encouraging, but we keep
on the track, and finally, near time to make camp for the night, we
reach Glasgow, another section house, where we find a water car.

We had to drive off the track here to get by the switches, and pulled
through the sand up to the water car in front of the section house. We
very nearly put the horses out of business, so to speak, pulling only
a hundred yards at a time, but got all the water we wanted.

The foreman told us we could not drive on the track any farther as we
were cutting up the ties and the oil which held the sand down. We told
him that suited us; we wanted to be boarded until he could get a car
and haul us out, and that we were about out of horse feed. He admitted
that we could not pull through the sand and if we could not drive on
the track we would have to stay there, but, as the railroad was not
open for regular business and he had no facilities for feeding us, he
changed the subject by asking us if we had got what water we wanted.
When we told him we had, he said, “Why don’t you fellows go on then?”
which we promptly did, after thanking him for the water.

We made only about two miles more before camping for the night, and
were still thirteen miles from Kelso. It did not seem possible that we
could have made only about eight miles that day, but as I looked back
over the road and remembered the number of times we had driven off the
track to get around trestle work, and how hard we had labored to get
back on again, and how slow we had to go to keep from jolting our
wagon to pieces, I concluded that there was sufficient excuse and only
hoped the horses’ shoulders would not get sore with the jerking before
we could get off the railroad for good. Besides, we must get to a town
soon as we are about out of feed for the horses. With a firm
determination to reach Kelso the next day we rolled up in our blankets
and went to sleep looking at the stars.

Wednesday, May twenty-fifth. We were ready to make an early start this
morning, but did not dare drive on the railroad track until after the
train had gone by, and so had to wait until 8 A. M. Then we started
out and luckily met a section foreman who gave us some good advice. He
told us we would soon come to a wash on the north side of the track
where we would probably find easier pulling than on the track, and he
told us just how to get to it. He also told us we were only three and
a half miles from his section house and that from there the going was
better, and we would be within five miles of Kelso.

Incidentally, he said the Superintendent had dropped him a note
telling him to get our names and to order us off the track. He said he
would do neither. He was glad to see we had come that far alive and
hoped we would get through O. K. He said the first chance he had to
get out himself he would go too, and if any one had been kind enough
to tell him about the country first, he never would have come.

Thanking him for his advice we drove along until we came to the
jumping-off-place he had indicated, and after a hard pull found
ourselves in the wash where it was possible for the horses to make
fairly good headway, and soon reached Flynn, the section house. Here,
after eating lunch and while the horses rested, Doc and I did some
prospecting to find the best way into Kelso.

To follow the railroad was impossible on account of the sand, and we
could not drive on the track on account of trestle work, so we went
north to a mesa and discovered a trail coming down from above, the
first trail we had seen in about sixty miles. Climbing up we found it
well-defined, leading off down grade to Kelso, with the town itself in
sight. A hard trail, and Kelso, for a minute, was enough to make us
forget our troubles, but I knew how tired the horses were and I said,
“Doc, we can never pull that wagon over here and up this hill.” Doc
didn’t agree with me. He thought we could do it. We did by slow stages
reach the foot of the hill and, with Doc and Bob pushing, got up and
on to the trail. Here we took Dixie out of harness, as all Kate and
Bess would have to do was to walk leisurely into town (about five
miles), mostly down grade.

“Well, Doc,” I said, “you won; we got up.”

“Yes,” said Doc, still a little out of breath, “but I am not making
any more bets on this mare”--holding Kate by the head--“she is
bleeding at the nose and I believe she is going blind. What are we
going to do?”

“Any danger of her bleeding to death?” I inquired.

Now Doc is not especially strong on horse diseases but he knows
symptoms, and when he looked up and said, “No, she is just naturally
done,” I felt relieved.

“What are we going to do,” I repeated, “going to Kelso, Doc? Better
climb up and ride for a change.”



Chapter IV

Kelso, California


The drive into Kelso the afternoon of May twenty-fifth was especially
fascinating. We were on a good hard trail and had only a few miles to
go, and cares seemed to have rolled away. We could look at the scenery
and talk intelligently about it; we became wildly enthusiastic over
the Granite Mountains to the south of us, and the big sand hills to
the southwest,--called “The Devil’s Playground,”--under which we had
camped a few nights before, and where we had seen the total eclipse of
the moon. Just beyond the Granite Peak was Old Dad Mountain. Our trail
lay down the middle of this wide valley, flanked by the Providence
Mountains on the south, and desert hills on the north. The colors were
changing all the time and the air was so clear that we could see as
far as--well, you could see as far as you could see. That is a safe
statement and saves mileage, which every traveling man will
appreciate. We had seen some wonderful views during the past few days,
but perspiration and scenery did not create enthusiasm; besides, we
were worried then. But I think as we rode quietly down upon this
little desert town, the spirit of the desert must have taken
possession of us, and things looked different to us from that time on.

I think we were all somewhat surprised not to see a delegation coming
out to meet us, but, after we got acquainted with the town, we found
the reason easy enough to explain. The little town had grown smaller
from the time we saw it, five miles away, until we got into it. If it
had been any farther away when we first saw it, I doubt if we could
have discovered it when we got there. This phenomenon may be of some
use in determining the causes of mirages.

There were apparently only two men in town; the hotel keeper and
saloon man, who greeted us from the shady end of the porch, advised us
that the storekeeper, who had a bale of alfalfa hay in the freight
house of the railroad, might be persuaded to let us have it if
properly interviewed. We interviewed him properly and procured it. He
was the second man. He was also the postmaster and sheriff and game
warden. He had married a Los Angeles girl and they had a bungalow next
to the store, some flowers and some fruit trees, and a shed and a
corral behind, making four buildings on the north side of the railroad
track. This was the town proper. The balance of the town on the other
side of the railroad track did not count for much in a desert scene.
There was, in addition to the railroad station, an eating house, a
repair shop, water tank, and a few railroad houses for the employees
to live in.

This was Kelso as we saw it, a desert water station at the foot of the
grade on the Salt Lake Railroad. There were eighty miles of sand and
desert west of it that we knew, and we concluded there could be
nothing worse east of it, so we were prepared to take things easy for
a day or two and rest up our horses before going on.

We patronized the railroad lunch counter and visited with Fred
Rickett, the postmaster, who gave us a great deal of interesting
information about the country. He told us about a spring of water he
had about six miles from town, up in the mountains, and how the
mountain sheep came there to drink, as it was the only water for
miles. He expects some time to pipe it down to town and irrigate a
tract of land. At present he raises his vegetables up there. He took
quite a fancy to Tuck, who never left the wagon all the time we were
in town. I find the following memo in my diary for the day spent in
Kelso, which shows how exciting the day really was:

[Illustration: THE BUSINESS SECTION OF KELSO, CALIFORNIA]

“Thursday, the twenty-sixth. Put in day here in Kelso talking to
Rickett, making a few repairs to wagon, tightening screws, etc. Have
no grain, but put all alfalfa we could inside the horses. Doctored
Kate’s shoulder, neck, and foot. Wrote a few letters and postals.
Rickett, who has prospected all over this part of the country, says
the best way to get here from Daggett is _via_ the Santa Fe Railroad
to Amboy and then up over the mountains between Granite and Old Dad,
on horseback. A light wagon could make it. It is not so very much
better than the way we came. A prospector came in with two burros from
twelve miles up in the mountains for mail and supplies. Rickett says
he has the only store for eighty miles west, forty miles south, thirty
miles north, and twenty miles east.

“He told us he had two brothers in the war and how one of them came
very near shooting the other; one was on the North and the other on
the South. The one under Lee was a sharpshooter and one night killed
four sentries at a single post, but got so hungry he could not wait
for the fifth to show himself so called out to him for something to
eat. The reply came back: ‘Can of lard and some corn meal,’ in a voice
he recognized as his brother’s. So he went back and got Lee to
transfer him. (You may have heard this story before, but you
appreciate the significance of it more when you hear it told by one of
the brothers.)

“Got all of our meals at the restaurant here at thirty-five cents per.
Turned in early, all ready for an early start. So far, since leaving
San Bernardino, we have met no one on the road. One auto passed us
going into Hesperia and we met one auto going out of Victorville. Not
a snake sighted, a very few small jacks, and a few very large land
tortoises. During the early spring or winter one can get through here
better, although, of course, the weather is not so good. Rickett said
last winter a young lad came through driving a buggy and a
two-year-old colt, with only a dog for company. He assumed he got
through, but he never had heard.”

This extract from my diary would seem to show that the only item of
news which a newspaper correspondent could have wired his home paper
as happening that day (supposing there had been any newspaper
correspondent), would have been about as follows:

“Kelso, May 26. We were interrupted to-day by Bill Baxter who came
down from his mine over in the Providence Mountains for mail and
supplies. Bill says it is mighty dry this year in the mountains.
Providence, Bill said, didn’t do as much this year as usual. ‘Come
again, Bill, we don’t mind being interrupted.’”



Chapter V

Off Again


We leave town early with a new arrangement of horses--Dixie beside
Bess, and Kate walking behind. Doctor questions how long Dixie, who is
so much smaller than Bess and not of the work-horse type, will be able
to pull her end, but we leave that question; in fact, we haven’t
decided it yet. We are off for Las Vegas, Nevada. We have a road to
follow among desert hills and valleys, up and down hill, but find no
water except at a railroad water car or cistern. The first day we pass
Cima, where we got a bale of wheat hay and water. We make about
twenty-two miles, which seems more like progress, especially after
using up six days to come eighty miles. Here there are more rocks in
the hills and more vegetation. Forests of Joshua Palms (giant cacti)
grow on the higher slopes on the north side. We never saw them growing
on land sloping to the south or at low altitude.

Our first camp was among the giant cacti, which we used as hitching
posts for the horses while feeding. That night we heard a mountain
lion squall, but Tuck evidently did not think he was near enough to
worry about. Tuck is getting to be an ideal camp dog. He can be
trusted to stay around camp and will not leave the wagon on any excuse
if we are not about, so we feel perfectly safe, no matter where we
are, in the belief that our tools, harness, and odds and ends (so
essential to us on this sort of a trip) will not be mislaid by
visitors or stolen.

The next morning we were at Leastalk, thirteen miles, by 9 A. M., and
Kate was feeling so good we let her pack the saddle and Bob rode her.
Here at Leastalk we got half a sack of grain (all they had) and
started up the Ivanpah Valley to Ivanpah, seven miles. We reached
there at noon. How any one can reach a place that isn’t, I can’t say,
but as I said before, we got to the place which, on the map, said
“Ivanpah,” but which there, said nothing.

On looking at the map I saw that a railroad track ran from here by
various crooks and turns to Bengal on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa
Fe Railroad. We finally discovered the track, and also a few work
cars, and met the foreman and his crew of Mexicans working on the
right-of-way.

[Illustration: JOSHUA PALM OR GIANT CACTUS]

“What are you going to do?” said I to the foreman, thinking he might
be the forerunner of a building gang who were to build a town here or
extend the railroad.

“I don’t know,” he said.

“Don’t know? Haven’t you any orders?” I asked, surprised.

“Won’t get any until they pull me back to-morrow. This is the end of
the road, isn’t it?” he asked.

I was about to remark, “It certainly is,” when it occurred to me that
I wasn’t supposed to know as much about a railroad as a real railroad
man like the foreman of a gang of Mexicans, so I replied cautiously,
“Well, I don’t know. I thought this might be the beginning of a
railroad; if this is the end of one, what was the use of building it?”

He looked at me curiously for a minute. It certainly was hot there in
the sun and he had no way of knowing we had just been to water, so he
said, “You had better take a drink. You can have what you want from my
tank car; and you had better fill your barrels too; no knowing when
you will get any more.”

After filling our barrels we ate lunch and tried to get a shot at a
coyote that had crossed the trail just below us, but we would have
been cooler if we had let him go without trying. From about noon to
four o’clock it is pretty hot in the sun, but we were now where we
could ride,--Doc and I and Tuck in the wagon under the canvas top, and
Bob on Kate. Sometimes during the middle of the day we would all ride
in the wagon, and at other times would take turns riding the saddle,
so as to make it easier on the team horses.

We had come twenty miles before lunch so did not start very early.
When we did, however, we headed right northeast for Dry Lake and got
nearly across before we decided to camp, Kate having lost a shoe. We
saw another coyote just before reaching the lake, but as usual our
30-30 wasn’t handy to the fellow who saw him first, and that is
sufficient explanation in that country where everything is the same
color as the coyote and little draws and gulches are handy.

This Dry Lake was just that and nothing more. At times during the
year, or some years, there must be water here, but I guess it is not
often. It was really a wonderful place to look at, flat as a floor,
almost as smooth as a tennis court, hard as a board, creamy white in
color, and I should say seven miles long and about two and a half
miles across at the widest part, surrounded by sage brush and
grease-wood. I should hate to cross it in the middle of the day--it
must be awfully hot; but at night it would make a racecourse for
horses or automobiles, if one could only scrape up an audience.

We camped at 6:30 P. M. that evening on the lake bed, where it was
smooth and cool. Our coal oil stove was proving a great success in a
land without wood, and even where there was any, it saved time, as did
our water barrels, and our fireless cooker saved coal oil, and gave us
better oatmeal, prunes, and rice than we could have had at home.

The next morning before starting we put a new shoe on Kate; that is,
Doc blacksmithed an old one we had on hand and I nailed it on, and the
surprising thing about it was that it stayed on.

We got off the lake bottom and on towards Jean, Sunday morning, May
twenty-ninth. We had made thirty miles Saturday, but that was an easy
day, which, with the level lake bed to walk over in the evening, was
like driving on Michigan Avenue. No such good fortune awaited us from
now on. It was up grade and hard pulling all the way to Jean, but here
we got grain and wheat hay, so, pulling out from the store about a
mile, we fed grain and hay, and then turned the horses loose to graze
until they were completely filled up before we started on.

Kate’s shoulder is better and her cracked heel is about well. The film
is going off her eye and I think very soon she will be able to take
her place with Bess again and let Dixie pack the saddle. Dixie has
pulled her end so far very well, although not being used to a collar
her neck is getting sore, and I can see Kate will not be well enough
to wear a collar any too soon.

At night we conclude we have made about twenty-two miles up grade, and
at a guess figure we are twenty-three miles from Las Vegas, mostly a
downhill pull, so we think it will be an easy trip for the morrow.

It had not been unbearably hot up to this time and the nights were
simply glorious--clear and cool--and we were congratulating ourselves
on having such fine traveling weather. My memorandum book notes a
change in the weather the next day, May 30, Decoration Day, and I give
my memorandum here _verbatim_:

“Started from camp at 5:45 A. M. for Las Vegas, the last lap of our
first real desert experience. We have been ten days in crossing from
Daggett, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada, probably one hundred and
fifty miles, so we have averaged fifteen miles, including stop of a
day at Kelso and going up to Lake Crucero by mistake, which put us
back two days, so we could have made it in seven days if we had not
got lost and pulled down the team in getting out. We drive up dry
rivers and down dry rivers, over sand and rocks, _mostly up hill_,
because the sand is usually so deep the wagon pulls on the team going
down grade. We have found no cows and believe, with the old pioneer,
that this country contains more rivers and less water, and you can see
farther and see less, than any other part of the United States.

“Coming into Las Vegas this morning we saw our first artesian well,
forty inches, and learned they were now going to have one on each
section of this desert slope. Some time we are going back to see if
they do and how much good it does them. The soil looked too full of
alkali to suit me. However, while this well made quite a stream, it
mostly evaporated or sunk into the ground, as it seemed to do very
little good.

“We reached the end of the down grade part of the trip at 11 A. M.,
stayed near this well for lunch, and then at 1:30 made a start on
the eight-mile pull up through the sand, arriving at Las Vegas at
4:45 P. M., after the hardest eight miles we ever made, on account
of heat. The wind was in our faces, but how hot it was we did not
know. It most blistered us--probably about 115 to 120 degrees, as we
found it 107 in the hotel after we arrived.

“It certainly was hot. We took a drink every fifteen minutes and
watered the horses every hour, besides putting water on Tuck’s head
and back to keep him from being overcome. We put team in shed of
livery, the only one in town, and went to a hotel.

“No mail, as Decoration Day was a holiday and postoffice closed.”

The above memorandum says nothing about scenery, nothing about Las
Vegas itself, and nothing even about the road, so I guess we were not
long on enthusiasm about that time. We slept in beds that night, but
hot ones, and we laid the heat to the town and the hotel. The next day
we got our mail, wrote home, and after getting off all the letters we
went over and, as Doc said, “patched up the horses.” We got a hose and
soaked their feet, and after a general clean-up I think they felt
better. It was no cooler, however.

In the afternoon I took all the horses around to be shod. The
blacksmith said if I would help him, he would shoe them, but not
otherwise, as it was too hot. I told him it was not very hot, but I
would help him just the same, so we went at it. Before long the
canteen ran dry, so I went and filled it and hung it in the shade in a
handy place. The blacksmith kept complaining about the heat. He said
it was just as hot every year there, but hotter when you had to work.
He wanted me to go into the next building and look at a _spirit_
thermometer and let him know how hot it really was. I did go, and
looked at the thermometer, but when I found it registered 126° over
there in the shade I concluded I best keep it to myself or the
blacksmith would quit work, so when I got back I said, “Well, it is
pretty hot; it is 120.”

He didn’t say anything for a few minutes, but finally as he held a
shoe in a tub of water to cool he looked over at me and said, “Guess
this country is getting me down. I didn’t use to mind 120 before. When
it gets up to 130 and 135 I just lay off. About 120,--well, I guess I
will take a drink and go look at that thermometer.”

I could see myself finishing that job alone and watched him narrowly
as he went over to take a look at the thermometer. On his way back I
could see he was not feeling as bad as I had expected he would, and
was surprised to hear him say, in a more cheerful tone than I had been
able to get out of him before, “Well, I thought it must be over 120;
why, it is 126--no wonder I was hot. Guess you can’t fool me on
weather in this country. Now let’s finish this job before it gets any
hotter. I bet I don’t work to-morrow.” And we kept at it until all the
horses were shod.

Doc came over for a few minutes to see how we were getting on. He
picked up a horseshoe from the floor with his bare hand, and dropped
it as if it were red hot. He seemed to think we were putting up a job
on him, and when I said it was a cold one he said I was joking, but
after testing a few more he said that a blacksmith shop was no place
to loaf in, and started back to the hotel. We finished the shoeing and
returning to the hotel talked over things, especially the heat, and
decided we had rather be out on the desert than in town. We concluded
it must be cooler at night out there and not so dusty during the day.

Las Vegas ordinarily would have about fifteen hundred people when the
railroad is running, but now, I should say, had only about eight
hundred. They have a nice railroad station, but that is about all. The
stores are not especially interesting and the whole town is on the
main street, facing the railroad station, and one other street running
at right angles to it.

Through the ownership of the old Stewart Ranch the railroad company
owns the water and all the irrigatable land about Las Vegas, except
what may be developed from a recent discovery of water, eight miles
below town, by sinking of wells. This, however, I don’t have much
faith in as being of sufficient flow to any more than raise garden
truck, but why anybody should want to live in a place that on
provocation can get as hot as 135 degrees in the shade (and no shade),
simply because they could possibly raise garden truck, I am unable to
see.

We have decided to start out again. We have our grub box filled, and
our oil can; also grain for the horses and some alfalfa hay. It did
not cool off much last night and is still hot to-day, a good stiff
breeze blowing, but in spite of the breeze, it is 105 in the shade
and, if you open your mouth, it dries out before you get a chance to
close it. We have faith that the desert is better than the town, and
not knowing the character of the country ahead (no one being able to
enlighten us), we take a chance and start, leaving town at 3 P. M.,
June 1, having spent practically two days here. We are bound for
Bunkerville by way of Moapa.

[Illustration: WE STOP FOR WATER]



Chapter VI

The Dixie Country of Utah


Leaving Las Vegas at 3 P. M., with a hot wind at our back, we drove
through the Stewart Ranch, which, with its cottonwood trees, patches
of alfalfa, and running water, looked awfully good to us. Leaving the
ranch we nearly drove over a bobcat, but we were too hot to take much
interest in any game at that time. Immediately after we had reached
the long valley running north from Las Vegas, it began to get cooler,
and that night we slept under blankets again.

We got an early start the next morning and by 8:30 A. M. had driven
the twelve miles to the top of the divide, and by noon reached a
railroad water well at Dry Lake. The accompanying picture shows the
spot. There is nothing here; in fact, if we had not had explicit
directions from a railroad man we wouldn’t have found the well. We
lunched, and then at 4 P. M., having found some bunch grass, we camped
and turned the horses loose.

We are glad we did not stay at Las Vegas any longer. It may be cooler
there now, but we know it is here, and we are happy. Dixie still holds
out, so have not tried Kate in harness yet. We are in a bare
mountainous country of the same desert variety which we have been
traveling through for so long, but in spots the trail is good and in
others it is bad. It seems strange not to meet a soul driving through
the country. Still, as there does not seem to be any people in the
country, I assume there is no one to travel.

We were computing to-day how much weight we have in our wagon,
including water barrels, half full, hay and grain and two people, and
set it down as fifteen hundred pounds, which, with the wagon, springs
and cover added, makes a good load for two ordinary horses, but we are
beginning to think that our horses are more than that.

[Illustration: OUR FIRST CAMP EAST OF LAS VEGAS]

The next morning we were off for Moapa. We had another divide to cross
and then down into California Wash for eight miles to the Big Muddy.
This California Wash was a terror. I can’t forget its heat and its
sand and rocks, and while we started in cheerfully enough, before we
got out the boys were both walking and I was driving the team fifty
yards only to a stop. We came out suddenly on to the banks of a clear
little stream running out of Meadow Valley, and forgot about our
troubles, or those other people had had at the time of the Meadow
Valley massacre, and turned everything loose.

We had a fine camp here, the first stream of water since leaving
Daggett on the Mojave three weeks ago. We boys washed up, including
our clothes, and shortly after lunch, while the wash was on the line,
I rode Kate up to Moapa, two miles, and got a sack of feed, as we
found we could save four miles by not going into Moapa.

We hit the stage road near our camp that evening and started east for
Bunkerville. Tuck never had so much fun as he seemed to have in that
little stream, and on his account, as well as our own, we hated to
leave, but at 5 P. M. we moved on to a ranch house at the foot of a
range of mountains we had to go over, and camped there for the night,
so as to be ready to make the climb in the morning before it should
get too hot. These mountains, I think, were the south end of a small
range called the Mormon Mountains, although everything in this country
seems to be either hills or mountains, but they haven’t been
discovered yet or else the folks who made up the maps were out of
names. They seem to be long on country and short on names.

At this ranch house, which was occupied by a new man, or tenderfoot,
we found an old man lying on a bed by the window and a young man
fanning him to keep away the flies. On inquiring as to whether he was
sick, we were informed he had been hurt in a runaway the night before,
so while Bob and I were unpacking, Doc took his bag and went up to see
what he could do for him, and we were left to speculate on the case
and get supper while he was gone. Doc has a way of making friends
whether they are sick or well, and we usually send him out for a
parley in any emergency. This, however, was his first case of personal
injury on the trip, so I knew he would not be back very soon.

It was late, as I expected, when he returned and we got the whole
story while eating supper. It seems the old fellow lived about eight
miles down the Muddy River, had been to Moapa with a load of stuff and
had stayed too long, so that he was a little the worse for whiskey. It
was dark when he started for home and he had a mean team, which, when
his brake guard came off and he fell on them, promptly kicked him into
insensibility and ran off, leaving him to come to during the night,
unable to see or tell where he was. He had wandered about until he
came to the ranch fence and was found about daylight by one of the
boys of this ranch, who took him in, and when they found out who he
was they sent for his son-in-law, the man we saw fanning him, and the
doctor who lived at Logan. They had come up and taken him in charge,
but the doctor evidently had come unprepared or else, as Doc said,
never was prepared, and he had done poorly by him and left, promising
to be back as soon as he could get some necessary medicine and
bandages. Doc said if we hadn’t just happened along the man would have
died of blood poisoning, sure. Doc had cleaned him up, dressed his
wounds, and left him asleep.

We filled our water barrels just half full that night and the next
morning were off up the mountain, driving spike team for Bunkerville,
thirty miles away, and twenty-seven miles to water. Before leaving Doc
made a call on his patient; refused any compensation for his services,
as usual, and tried to satisfy the son-in-law by telling him it was
against the rules of the profession for a doctor to collect from
another doctor’s patient. He would collect from the doctor himself. I
couldn’t hear exactly what the man said in reply and did not ask Doc,
but thought he said something like this: “Well, you fellows are a
queer bunch, but I sure am thankful and wish you luck.”

It was Saturday morning, June fourth, when we left the ranch camp on
the Muddy River, and we had a three-mile pull nearly straight up
before reaching the mesa. From here we had a grand view, which
reminded me somewhat of the view at the Grand Canyon in miniature. The
valley of the Muddy lay beneath us and had widened out in green spots
here and there, where the ranchers were raising alfalfa, but the spots
were so far below they didn’t look bigger than flower beds. Behind us
stretched the dry, hard mesa, over which our road led to Bunkerville,
a Mormon settlement on the Virgin River.

There was nothing of interest in going over this stretch of about
twenty-five miles except the stage which we met, carrying the mail to
Moapa. We could see the dust raised by the horses a long way off and
finally hailed the driver as he passed. Not that we had anything to
say to him, but as the Irishman would say, “just for conversation.” He
drove two horses and led one; had a two-seated, canopy-topped wagon,
no merchandise or passengers, just a mail bag and a bundle of alfalfa
hay. He said he came over one day and went back the next. Told us to
make the ford before dark and to make it quick, and then he drove on.
This was quite an event for us as it was the first vehicle we had met
on the desert highway, so I made a note of it.

After that nothing happened until we came to the edge of the mesa and
started down again. This took some careful driving to get down safely
with so heavy a wagon, but our brake, of which up to date we had had
little use, worked admirably, although I concluded I could adjust it a
little better, and did so later on.

We had sighted Bunkerville from the mesa, and Virgin Valley lay before
us, but it was green only in spots, very small spots, and it was
nearly dark when we reached the river. Here I remembered the stage
driver’s advice to get across quick, so we put Dixie on ahead and
started. Much to my surprise Dixie seemed to get frightened and
refused to pull and backed into the team, and we came very near
getting “set” right there; but between a few stones thrown at her by
Doc and a cussing from me she started up quickly enough and we got
across. This was her first real river-crossing and not being near
where I could reach her with the whip, she came near making a mess of
it, but after that first time she never refused to take a ford again.
We did not drive any farther that day, but camped on a grassy spot and
after feeding the horses grain turned them loose.

The next morning we drove through Bunkerville, a Mormon town, or
settlement, they would call it, of sixty families. We bought feed of
one man and groceries at the store. Miss Bunker waited on us, and when
Doc found out her grandmother was sick he went right over and paid a
professional call, and cheered the old lady up.

The houses are built mostly of adobe or clay bricks. The people raise
alfalfa and vegetables, small grains by irrigation, and some stock.
The store is a community affair and the houses are built fairly close
together, the real farming being done outside in small tracts, under
ditches taken from the Virgin River higher up. We stayed about an hour
and a half in this place and then moved on, our next objective point
being St. George, Utah.

We are still in Nevada. To-night we will be in the northwest corner of
Arizona and the next day in Utah. That sounds as if we are moving
fast.

Driving up the river we have some fine views, but very hard going, up
steep and rocky hills, fording the river half a dozen times, through
quicksand and long stretches of sand. We are appreciating our horses
more than ever; they are game to the core and never refuse to pull.
Dixie especially is a tough little beast, Bess a steady plodder, and
Kate a good wheel horse and saddler, but she hates to leave the other
horses.

Shortly after leaving Bunkerville we passed Mesquite, a small town on
the north side of the river, where the cowboys started from who passed
us near Moapa on their way to Los Angeles with the bunch of horses. At
five-thirty we reached the top of a mesa overlooking Littlefield, a
quaint Mormon settlement of five houses.

Here we drove down to the river again, through the town and under the
pomegranate and fig trees, and alongside of the alfalfa and grain
fields. We took note that they had some very good horses here and
everybody looked happy and prosperous. By this I mean they had just
what they needed and no more. This, I take to be prosperity; anything
more would be affluence, which makes trouble.

We went up the river as far as Beaver Creek, where we turned off and
camped. This was eighteen miles from our morning camp and it had been
a very interesting day indeed for us, although hard on the horses. The
Virgin River water is poor, but this Beaver Creek water is fine, so we
fill our barrels to-night, as we are told by the rancher here that it
is forty miles over the mountains to St. George and twenty-five miles
to water.

As each man drinks a gallon and a half of water, and each horse from
seven to eight pails a day, and besides that there are our needs for
cooking, we get to thinking nothing else but water, and carry it
sometimes unnecessarily; but we never take a chance and whenever we
come to any good water we fill up.

We made a good start at five-thirty the next morning for St. George,
which lay over on the other side of Beaver Dam Mountains, down on
Clara Creek. We had a stiff pull to get up on the mesa and then a
continual climb up over the rim. It grew cooler as we climbed, and
after about fourteen miles we stopped for noon. From here we had a
splendid view of the basin, saw where the Virgin River breaks through
the mountains and where the Beaver Dam and Virgin wash come together.
Then we drove on up and at 3 P. M. topped the crest and started down
into Clara Creek Valley. Our brake worked well and the horses were
glad of a chance to let out without pulling, and we made the first
three miles in fifteen minutes, probably. Then we ran into a wash and
slowed up, but soon got a good road again, although it was red clay.

While getting some beautiful views we dropped so fast that at
5:30 P. M. we reached the bottom, literally covered with red dust and
filled with excitement. We came to the creek at Shem, an Indian
settlement, eight miles from Clara and thirteen miles from St. George.
We saw quite a few Tepee Indians; we were not sure what tribe they
belonged to, but concluded they must be Utes as this is Utah. Night
before last we camped on the Virgin River, Nevada, and last night on
Beaver Dam Creek, Arizona, and to-night on Clara Creek, Utah. “I guess
that is going some,” as the little boy said.

Coming down the canyon this afternoon we saw painted on a rock “Isaac
Sprague 1908.” We were sorry he did not put down his address so we
could have looked him up, but assumed he was a Mormon and not a
Yankee.

We made about twenty-seven miles to-day, eighteen up and nine down
hill, which was quite a day’s work for the horses, as it was pretty
much up all day, and the down was pretty much down. We will hope for
an easier trail to-morrow.

[Illustration: A SAMPLE OF MORMON ARCHITECTURE]

We camped here on Clara Creek, which is the beginning of what is
called the “Dixie Country.” Most folks go “’way down South” to Dixie,
but we have come up from the bottom, so to speak, climbed over the
lower range of mountains, and are coming up north into Dixie. Why this
southern Utah country containing a few Mormon settlements is called
the “Dixie Country,” I never asked, but I simply assumed that it was
the Mormon’s “’way down South.”

The next morning, being in Dixie land, we get the habit immediately,
start late (eight-thirty), meet some prospectors going up to Bull
Creek, and stop to interview them. They tell us all sorts of stories
of ore and want us to help them to get some of it out, but we decline
to work and have no money to invest, so move leisurely on. We cross
the creek a dozen times. Tuck and the horses enjoy this and the
scenery is worth while stopping to admire.

Reaching Clara we take a few pictures of Mormon houses. It reminded me
of Switzerland, the way these people get little patches of green out
of the desert, much as the Swiss get a green patch on the mountains
where all else is rock. This country seems pretty much mountain and
also abounds in distances, but what it sadly lacks is the snow.

We went on to St. George, which we reached in time for dinner at the
hotel, quite a diversion. Here we met a young lady canvassing for a
magazine. I won’t mention her name or her paper, or her story, but she
took a subscription from everybody in the hotel, I guess, except
myself. The cowmen must have subscribed for all their uncles and aunts
by the number of subscriptions she said she had. I think we sized each
other up at the start and so could laugh at each other and forget the
magazine story. I never checked up to see, but, if I am not mistaken,
others did, but she had the money.

St. George is quite a city for these parts, probably eighteen hundred
people, a telephone system, several stores, and a big Mormon church
and school. We did some trading here and got some pointers regarding
the trail. We met one old fellow who had come to California in 1850.
He used to own part of the old Stewart Ranch at Las Vegas, but now
lives about eighteen miles from here at Leeds. Here we heard a funny
railroad story. It was so far from a railroad that nobody could see
the point, but any one accustomed to seeing Mexicans working on the
railroad,--who slowly get out of the way of a train when the fireman
rings the bell,--may appreciate it. This is the story the foreman
tells:

[Illustration: MORMON HOUSE AND IRRIGATION DITCH]

He said that he found one of his men standing at a switch close to a
rattlesnake that was just coiling up to strike him. He called to him
hurriedly, “Get off the track there, you damned fool! Quick, don’t you
see that rattler?” The Mexican moved very reluctantly and the foreman,
thinking the man didn’t sense the snake, said, “Don’t you know enough
to jump off the track when you see a rattler?” The Mexican only
shrugged his shoulders and said, “He no ringa da bell!”

Well, we thought often we had heard the “bell” of the rattler, but
never did see one, and the bell we heard we put down to a species of
locust.

About 4 P. M. we moved on, planning to go to Cedar City before resting
the team, and from there to Marysvale. We drove through Washington,
the roads here being fairly well travelled, and on to a water hole,
where we camped for the night. This water hole was down in a small
canyon and we had hard work getting at it and digging a basin from
which we could dip up a pail of water at a time, but finally we got
what we needed.

The next morning, Wednesday, June 8, Bob woke us up and said, “Tuck is
sick.” I was up immediately and wanted to know where he was. “He has
gone,” said Bob, “just wandered off sick.”

“But a sick dog does not wander off,” I said. “Tell us if you know
anything; he surely isn’t here.”

Then he told us that he had wakened up early and not seeing Tuck
curled up at my feet as usual, had thought something was wrong with
the camp, and jumped up and dressed. It was just getting light, and
looking around he saw all the horses and no sign of trouble, but no
dog. Then he thought the dog might have gone for a drink and so now
that he was up he would go and see. Looking down into the draw he saw
Tuck lying by the pool of water covered with mud which had dried in
his hair, and apparently asleep. He managed to coax him out and up to
him, but said the dog didn’t seem to know him, acted afraid, and
looked sick. He coaxed him along over to the wagon and then it
occurred to him that the dog might have had a fight with some animal
at the water hole, and so he went back and climbed down and looked the
ground over, but found no sign of anything except the dog. When he
came back to the wagon, the dog had disappeared. He found his tracks
where he had wandered off down the trail, but could not overtake him
or catch sight of him, and so he came back and awoke us. “He is scared
and sick, and hardly knew me,” he repeated, “and now he has wandered
off. He must be crazy.”

The doctor said “rabies,” and I threw the saddle on Kate, put my gun
in my belt and started down the trail. I soon found Tuck and as he
didn’t know me and looked so miserable, I pulled out my gun and left
him there. No one asked any questions when I returned, and we ate
breakfast in silence. Starting on, Bob went ahead, and the next time I
saw him I envied him his tears. I knew I should have felt better if I
could have cried. We were quite a solemn party for several days.

We had a very hard road to-day; it was hilly, rocky, and sandy, and we
made only fourteen miles. We drove through Leeds and camped about four
miles south of Belleville, in a gravel wash by the side of Ash Creek.
We met a couple of fellows who lived at Torqueville, going by our camp
on their way to Cedar City, about four miles from where we were
camped. They had a horse and mule hitched together and were leading a
black bronco colt which, when it saw me, promptly broke the rope, but
on a second look allowed me to catch him. They expected to go to
Belleville before dark.

Doc and I then concluded we would try Ash Creek for a bath, but the
water and night were so cold we made short work of it. Later it got
colder and the wind blew quite hard, and we needed all our bedding to
keep warm, and a few hitches to keep it from blowing away.

The next day the road grew worse,--it really was the poorest excuse
for a public road I ever saw, and I have seen some. The four miles to
Belleville was all up grade and full of rocks that had to be literally
climbed over.

Before reaching town we met a young man freighting. He had a fine big
team, and thirty-eight hundred pounds, he said, on the wagon. His off
mare had pounded her leg up so on the pole that he had changed her to
the nigh side. We fixed up her leg as best we could for him, while he
used all the words in the English language to describe the road and
what he thought of it. This helped us some and we started on, feeling
we were probably justified in some of the remarks we had been making.

We went through Belleville (you could scarcely notice it), and on up
to Kanarville, five thousand feet elevation. We had Kate in harness
this morning, but put Dixie back again this afternoon, as we don’t
want to give Kate too much work too soon. The day has been very cool.
The roads were bad and dusty, but we made twenty miles and camped not
far from Cedar City in Rush Lake Valley.

The next morning we were up a bit late; it was cold and we were
chilly, and on the mountain side were patches of snow, and we realized
we had gotten into a new climate. We rode with our coats on until the
sun was an hour high. We met two boys taking a bunch of cattle from
around Belleville to the Cedar Mountain Range for the summer. I
understand the cattle from all over this desert country are pastured
here in the summer, and this bunch was only one of many that are
driven up in the spring and down in the fall.

The roads were better to-day and at 9:30 A. M., on the morning of June
10, we reached Cedar City, as nearly as we could tell by our way of
figuring, 561 miles from Los Angeles. The first thing we did was to go
to the wagon shop and have a hub to one of our wheels filled. It had
dried out and our boxing was loose. Next we went over and put up at
the hotel, where we found a good place for the team.

We decided to stay here for a day or two, and, having our horses cared
for and nothing to do, we started out to see the town. We met two
Indians in the yard and after some small talk I asked one of them,
“You Piute?” He said, “Yes.” “Are the Indians on Clara Creek Piutes?”
He said, “No, they Mud Indians.” I intended to inquire the difference
between the Piutes and Mud Indians, but didn’t get any further. I
concluded they must be the “poor white trash” of the Ute tribe, living
as they did in the “Dixie country.”

Across the street from the hotel is the Co-Operative Store, founded in
1859; the cemetery lies across the creek, surrounded by a brown stone
wall. We did not go in, but noticed several tombstones of people who
had died in the years from 1854 to 1860. This surely must have been a
frontier town in 1854. It seemed hardly possible that in those days
people would come away out here in the desert to settle, but the town
is really the best we have seen since leaving San Bernardino, although
they have no railroad. In 1850 to 1860 lots of other good places were
not on a railroad.

They raise stock of all kinds; all the hay, grain, potatoes,
vegetables, etc., they need. They buy standard groceries, harness, and
clothes. It is thirty miles from here over the desert to Lund on the
Salt Lake Railroad. This town has probably twenty-five hundred people.
They seem a quiet lot of folks and hospitable. In such towns, as a
rule, the younger generation is going out into civilization, leaving
the older folks to the quiet of these desert places. Soon the old
folks will be gone and what will become of these Mormon settlements in
the wilderness?

The next morning we found a hose and pipe, which enabled us to wash
the wagon. This helped some as it was getting quite dry. We also put
all our little matters into shape and then looked the town over again.
We saw an English sparrow to-day, the first since leaving California.
Our most common birds have been the Western Jay, or Camp Robber. We
bought some groceries and then settled with our landlady and pulled
out. We had slept one night in a bed and had had four meals at a
hotel, and felt quite spruced up.

It is 3 P. M. as we start north on our way to Marysvale, which is
about one hundred miles from here. Marysvale is on the railroad and we
expect to get some mail there; our last was received at Las Vegas.

We make about fourteen miles before camping and pass quite a few
ranches, which seems a novelty after so much desert. We saw quite a
few robins also; the first we have seen. Bird life has been scarce in
the desert and only in the mountains have we seen any.

The next day we continue up the valley five miles to Parowan and four
miles farther to Paragonah, then, being close under the mountains, we
finally turn east again through Red Creek Canyon toward Bear Valley.
We climb up a few miles and camp for noon.

Bob and Doc are off their feed to-day. Doc says it was the water at
Cedar City and Bob says it was the cooking at the hotel, and I think
it was just sleeping in a bed. Anyway, they were all right the next
morning.

We followed the creek up this canyon to Bear Valley, seventy-five
hundred feet elevation. Here we found about three hundred head of
cattle and thousands of sheep. We drove down through this valley and
camped at the east end, where the trail goes out, and down into the
Sevier River Valley. There were several ranch houses in the valley,
but all deserted, and we did not see a soul. We sighted quite a few
sage hens about, but they all had young ones, so we did not shoot any.

Our camp site was at an elevation of at least seven thousand feet, and
that night the water in our canteen and in our wash basin froze. We
slept warm, however, as we know how cold it can get at night in these
mountains, and so put on all the blankets. We also know how hot and
dry and dusty it can get about noontime.

The next morning we strike the head of the creek and follow it down to
the Sevier River. On the way we pass more grouse, and see deer and cat
tracks, besides lots of prairie dogs and a variety of birds. The first
few miles the road was good, but after we reached the stage road down
in Sevier Valley, it was rough and dusty. We followed the valley down
and stopped for lunch at the mouth of the Sevier River Canyon. The
canyon is ten miles long and, while picturesque, is anything but
pleasant to drive through, with three inches of dust in the road and a
strong wind at your back. We camped for the night, before we got
through the canyon, right on the river’s edge.

We had passed several freighters on the road from Marysvale; some of
them had four horses and were pulling two wagons in regular freighter
style. We have seen nothing of importance in the Sevier Valley so far
but a ranch now and then, raising wild hay and cattle; not very much
of either.

The horses are still doing pretty well. Kate has not quite regained
her old form, but we work her half a day at a time. To-morrow we will
put her in for all day as Dixie’s neck has finally grown so bad it
must be rested.

[Illustration: A RANCH IN BEAR VALLEY]

While in camp here on the river we saw a right neat piece of
“cow-work” by a boy, not over fourteen years old, on an Indian pony.
He came riding up the trail bareback, astride a dark cream colored
pony, without halter or bridle, swinging his rope, and inquired if we
had seen any cows up the canyon. We couldn’t remember, so he went on
up, but presently he came back and, in reply to my inquiry as to
whether he had found them, he said, “Yes, they are on the other side
of the river,” and started down the bank of as swift and rocky a
mountain stream as I have ever seen, although it was not very
wide--probably two hundred feet. The pony slid over the rocks and into
the water, which was about three feet deep. The current nearly threw
her down, but she braced herself and started on, stepped into a hole
and the water came up even with her back. The boy seemed to jump
straight up and stand on her back, and as she clambered out into
shallow water over the rocks on the other side, he just spread out his
legs and dropped down again, and rode up a draw away from the river
and out of sight.

I had begun to wonder what had become of that boy when I heard him
coming back. He had found his cows, about six I suppose, besides three
or four steers and a few calves, fourteen or fifteen head all told,
and was bringing them down to the river. Now they did not want to
cross the cold, rocky river, and I thought they wouldn’t do it, but
the way that pony headed them off and pushed them in was a revelation;
and they swam and tumbled across, some of them getting out quite a
distance down stream; then the boy waded in with his pony and stood on
her back in the deepest places. She stumbled once and nearly threw
him, but he came down on her back instead of in the water, and as she
clambered out on our side again and leaped off with him, I noted again
that the pony had on neither bridle or saddle, and the boy was just
swinging a loose piece of rope.

The next morning we continue on down the river to Circleville. We get
out of the canyon and the valley widens from three to five miles and
we soon reach the town of Circleville, so called on account of the
circular valley. Here we buy oats, also some hay, and try to get
bread, but without success. The houses are not built close together as
usual, but scattered all over the valley.

We make a few inquiries here as to the shortest route to Green River,
and these are the directions we receive: “Go up Grass Valley by Loa to
Hanksville, then over Dirty Devil to San Rafael and on to Green
River.” This didn’t sound nearly so far as the way we had planned to
go so I asked, “Anything the matter with our going that way?”

Our informant laughed and said, “Well, that is the shortest way, but
there isn’t much water and there is plenty of sand and not many folks
or much trail.”

“How much sand?” I asked, and when he replied, “Well, I guess there is
thirty miles of it getting over Dirty Devil,” I said right then we
wouldn’t go. He then asked why we didn’t try going up through
Marysvale, then up Salida Canyon to Castledale, and out that way. He
said we might have a chance that way. We certainly would not the
shortest way, and as this latter was the way we had in our minds to
go, we told him so and he seemed quite relieved.

“It is just sure poison the other way,” he said, “unless you go
horseback and keep going.” We leave our friend still talking about
Green River and start on for Marysvale.

I think we must have left the Dixie Country when we came over into the
Sevier River Valley from Parowan and Paragonah. Although I am not sure
that there is any definite dividing line, we do feel a difference. The
people here on the Sevier are newer comers; the houses are built
differently, and as we get closer to Marysvale on the railroad there
seems to be more talk of new irrigation systems, litigation and
general cussedness, which to my mind is a sign of business progress
not in evidence below and not needed here.

Another cold dusty day’s drive brought us to Marysvale, between
mountains with patches of snow, and we tie up and make a raid on the
postoffice.



Chapter VII

Along the Rio Grande Western Railroad


We drove into Marysvale on the morning of June 15, but did not see the
town until we were directly over it, so to speak. It lays just under a
bluff and we were literally on top of it before we could see it. We
had expected to find a much larger place, as it is the terminal of the
Rio Grande Western Railroad, but it is a rather dilapidated looking
town of only three hundred population, set down in a basin. The
location is ideal. Swiss mountains with snow caps to the north and
east, a swift little river on the edge of the town, and high
tablelands to the south protect it from the winds. It could be made a
charming place and may be some day, but it held nothing of interest
for us except the postoffice, and so after getting our mail and some
provisions we started for Salina, which we understand is about
seventy-five miles north of here on the railroad.

The trail took us across the river and over the Sevier Range of
mountains into Poverty Flat, which we reached at 2 P. M. The pull over
the Sevier Range was short, but steep. It was only thirteen miles, but
the first eight seemed to be straight up. If the road had not been
very good, it would have been impossible for us to have made it even
with three horses, but having reached the top we had a magnificent
view, and we enjoyed looking down at the town and river and over the
mountains, while the horses were getting their lungs into working
order again, before dropping down to Poverty Flat.

At a ranch we obtained permission to put our horses in the corral and
give them a good feed of alfalfa, and, as they had done a day’s work,
we decided to stay here until the next day. We got a bit of family
history and some local traditions from the man at the ranch. His name
I have forgotten, but that is immaterial. He did not belong to the
Race Suicide Club. He had ten children; two were married. He and his
family live in the town of Monroe near here in the winter, and the
children go to school. They come out here and farm in the summer. We
understood Monroe was called “Monkeytown,” and it seems that both the
town and the mesa were nicknamed by an Irishman years ago, who
probably was quite a wit, and the names still stick. Two or three
different parties had tried to make a living on the mesa and had been
starved out, so he called it “Poverty Flat.” He evidently was a man
who had ideas of his own, and, believing most of the folks in town to
be only imitators, he conceived a great dislike for them, and when he
went away from home, which he did quite frequently, if any one asked
where he was from he would say, “From Monkeytown.” So, while it is
“Monroe” on the map, it is still “Monkeytown” to the surrounding
country.

The next morning we drove past Elsenor and on to Monroe, which we
found to be quite a good-sized town with telephone and electric light,
and it seemed quite up to date for a town away from the railroad. From
Monroe we went on ten miles farther to Richfield, a town of two
thousand population, on the railroad, where we mailed some letters,
leaving at 3:30 P. M. for Salina. We made twenty-five miles this day
and passed through three Mormon towns, all seeming prosperous, and the
country well irrigated. Just north of Richfield we saw a new
irrigation ditch which, when completed, will take care of about a
thousand acres. The Sevier Valley here reminded us of Southern
California, but the orange trees were lacking. The day was fine, but
the snow still lay in patches on the mountains and the air had a chill
in it.

We camped at night on the desert side of the valley, and just as we
were about to turn in the wind came up, the sky was overcast, and it
began to rain. So we put down our wagon cover and made the bed inside,
but just as we got inside, much to our disgust, the moon came out and
it was all over. We were inside, so we stayed, but did not sleep as
well as usual.

Friday morning, the seventeenth, we drove the twelve miles into
Salina, over a very dusty road. That short sentence seems an easy way
over twelve miles of horrible road, but it could not be helped. It was
the only road, and we had begun to find that in this country the roads
were all dusty that were travelled much, and those that were not
travelled much were practically impassable, because they were not
roads at all--just trails. This seemed to be the dryest year in the
history of this country and the farther along we went the more
complaints we heard. We had not seen any rain since starting and,
except for the false alarm of the night before, we were to travel a
good many miles more before getting rained on.

Reaching Salina, where we expected to leave the railroad and go east
to Green River, we made a few purchases in the provision line and then
inquired as to the trail over into Castle Valley. We were surprised
when told we couldn’t get up Salina Canyon into the valley, and that
if we were going to Green River we would have to go north about a
hundred miles, and that while it probably was one hundred and fifty
miles farther that way, we could make it easily enough, but with our
outfit we couldn’t possibly make the canyon trail because it was
washed out. As this was not the first time we had been told we would
have to depart from our straight line and go around, we decided not to
be easily discouraged, and so began to look about for some one who
knew absolutely the condition of the trail.

We were not long in finding a young fellow who had come over a few
days before, and he walked out and took a look at our outfit. He
looked quite a while at the wide tires and the wagon top and finally
said, “I believe I could make it with my team, but I would advise you
fellows not to try it.”

I said, “Do you mean that your team could take that wagon over, or do
you mean they could take your wagon?”

“I mean I could drive them over with that wagon, but they are used to
the mountains and rocks, and I don’t think that team can do it.”

“All right,” I said, “over we go. I think this team is as good as
yours, and if you can do it, I can.”

So we started, but I had occasion several times to think he was right
before we got there, as you will see, but I had begun to believe in
those horses and in my ability to drive them anywhere with that big
wagon, except up a tree.



Chapter VIII

Salina Canyon


Leaving town we drove about three miles to the mouth of Salina Canyon,
and put in about two and a half hours at noon so that the horses might
be in good shape for the climb. It was sixty miles, we were told, to
the town of Emery in Castle Valley, thirty miles of which was up grade
and very rocky. We had a sack of oats and a bale of hay, and expected
to make it in two days and a half.

There had been twenty miles of railroad built up this canyon, but it
had been all washed out and hung up among the scenery, before ever a
train was run over it; and that seemed to be the condition of the
trail also as we got higher up. All the afternoon we drove three
horses, and the trail kept getting worse. Finally we found a piece of
railroad grade we could drive on, and later drove through a railroad
tunnel. The water in places had washed trees and boulders weighing a
ton up on to the tracks, where it had not washed the grade away
entirely. I can laugh now, but I evidently did not laugh then as I
read the following extract from my diary:

“This is the most dangerous canyon yet, and driving a spike team on
the edge of perdition, with a road full of boulders as big as a bushel
basket, is not restful.”

We made only about six miles this first afternoon in the canyon, when
darkness overtook us, and after getting through the tunnel we found a
level spot and camped.

The next morning, June 18, was perfect, and our camp at the mouth of
the tunnel, in a circular basin, was so interesting we did not get
started until seven-thirty. Right at the start we had a long climb
that taxed the strength and patience of the horses, as well as our
own. In some places we could not drive spike, so Kate and Bess had to
do their best alone. The trail twisted and doubled, went straight up
and straight down, and so near the edge of the canyon there wasn’t six
inches between the outside wheels and nothing. It was in such places
that it was dangerous to drive three horses and awfully hard getting
up with two. Between watching the road and the horses it was a
sleight-of-hand performance not to have smashed the water barrel on
the inside next the rocks, but I bumped the rocks only once, and then
did no damage.

About ten o’clock we worked down into the bed of the stream, and
driving up through the water and over the rocks we met two teams. The
drivers apparently didn’t know whether they would be able to go any
farther or not and were off on foot looking over the country, leaving
the teams in the care of the women, right in midstream. We drove
alongside and asked how the trail was above, and one woman said it was
impassable, but that they had gotten that far and it seemed to be
getting worse. We told them if it was impassable above they could get
down very easily, and as people do not seem to want to talk much when
they think they may be doing something foolish, I avoided smiling and
drove on up stream, just as a colt of theirs jumped off the bank about
ten feet high, and fell into the creek behind us. Fortunately its legs
were not broken. It seemed under the impression that our outfit was
the one it belonged to, so it floundered up stream after us, but, soon
discovering its mistake, turned back.

When we stopped for lunch a lone horseman pulled up and inquired if we
had seen the Johnson outfit. We concluded that was as good an excuse
as any for his stopping and we let him have some tobacco, which was
evidently what he was looking for instead of the Johnson outfit. He
was a sheep herder, so we let him pass without much notice, as we
still had some of the cowpunchers’ antipathy for any one who herds
sheep, although many years had passed since we had “punched.”

Starting on again after lunch, the first three miles were worse than
any we had been over. Doc went ahead with Dixie and would wait for me
at an extra hard pull and put her on. Bob went ahead and mended the
road. Often I nearly fell out of the wagon at the bottom of a chuck
hole on a down grade, and by 4 P. M. we had done everything but break
the wagon to bits. At this time, however, we were encouraged by
finding that the canyon had widened out somewhat, which indicated we
were getting to the top. The trail got better in spots and then worse.

[Illustration: SALINA CANYON]

Reaching an open spot with some grass, we camped, not knowing how far
we had come or how much farther it was to the top. We made a guess it
was twelve miles and that about three more would take us to the top.
Climbing up the side of the canyon to a big rock, and looking down
over our camp and horses, we overlooked all their shortcomings and
gave them credit for keeping their heads and feet under the most
trying circumstances, and were quite enthusiastic over their ability
as mountain climbers, and their willingness to attempt any task we put
them at. We sat here until the moon came up and gazed long at the
valley and mountains without much, if any, conversation, and then
climbed slowly down and turned in.

The next morning, Sunday, the nineteenth, we started late and took
things easy. We stopped to watch some sheep men separating a bunch of
sheep. It was an interesting performance and quite a riddle to us for
a few minutes until we learned what they were doing; then it was easy
enough to follow the performance. It seems that the man who owned the
sheep had sold a certain number of yearling ewes to one man, who was
there to take and pay for them, and a certain number of two-year-old
wethers to another man. Now the manner of separating and counting was
as ingenious as it was exact, as the reader will readily see from the
following explanation and diagram:



A few hundred yards of fence crossing at right angles, with the flock
of sheep in corner “A,” is how the game started. They were all driven
through “B,” a chute just wide enough for the sheep to pass in single
file. Two men worked the chute, and when a yearling ewe entered, one
man would drop a gate behind her and the other man would open a gate
(1) in front of her, and she would walk into “D.” Then the gateman
closed the gate and made a pencil mark on it; the tally man tallied
one ewe on his sheet, and the chute was open for the balance of the
flock of rams, ewes, and lambs. But when a two-year-old wether got in
the chute, down would come the gate behind him, gate 2 would open, and
he would walk out into “E,” and the gateman would make a pencil mark
on this gate and the tally man would tally one two-year-old wether on
his sheet. So the performance went on until the required number of
yearling ewes were in corner “D,” the two-year-old wethers in corner
“E,” and what was left of the flock was over in “C.” The tally sheet
checked up with the pencil score on each gate, and settlement having
been made, the man with his yearling ewes went up the trail; the man
with the two-year-old wethers went down to the railroad, and the flock
went back up into the mountains, and all that was left was a few
hundred yards of wire mesh fence and a chute with closed gates, which
had helped to accomplish in an hour what would have been impossible
otherwise.

We were told by the sheepmen that it was about five miles to the top,
which we finally reached about 11:30 A. M. In the thirty miles from
Salina to the top we have not seen a sign of any habitation, which
accounts for the condition of the trail. If any one lived up here who
had to drive in and haul out provisions, he would have to make a road.

We have been just two days making this thirty-mile ascent and as it is
said to be thirty miles from here to Emery, our plan to make Emery in
two and a half days from Salina is knocked into bits, but we feel very
well satisfied to have got up whole, and are actually hilarious as we
apply the brakes on a fairly good trail and start to slide down into
Castle Valley.



Chapter IX

Castle Valley


Our first camp in this strange valley was made Sunday noon, June 19,
just as we had started to Emery from the top of the Divide. We found a
beautiful little grove of trees, mostly cottonwood, willows, and
quaking asp, which was filled with wild roses. The roses were
everywhere and we called it Rosedale Camp. We spent three hours here
and then drove about ten miles farther down into the valley, following
a small alkali stream, and camped some fifteen or seventeen miles from
Emery.

We met no one on the road, but just as we made camp a man came along
from Emery with a team and buggy, looking for a ranch house he said
was on a branch trail somewhere back of us. While he was evidently
lost he said he had lunch and horse feed, and if he didn’t find it in
the morning he would back track to Emery. I asked him why he started
alone, and he said he had been there once before and thought he could
find it, but that evidently it was farther than he had thought it was.
I guess he was a wool man and was buying from the sheepmen, although
he did not say so and we did not ask. It is surprising how much you
guess in this country and how few questions you ask. In making camp we
found we had only enough water in our barrels for camp use, so I took
the horses over to the alkali stream to drink.

We had by this time got down into the valley proper, which was really
a mesa surrounded by mountains, and about as weird-looking a place as
could be imagined. The mountains were sheer cliffs on the valley side,
and in the sunset their shapes and colors were fantastic. As I rode
over to the stream I began to think of fairy tales about hobgoblins
and giants, but was rudely brought out of my dreams by arriving
unexpectedly at the arroyo, where it was about two hundred yards wide,
with walls as perpendicular as those of a house, and about fifty to
seventy-five feet deep. The stream--well, it appeared along the middle
of the sandy bottom in spots and I despaired of getting a horse down
there or of getting enough water for three horses, even if I could
find a place to get down, as from where I stood the stream looked
about the size of a lead pencil and the little spots of water held
about a panful each.

It is surprising, however, what you really can do if you have to, and
I knew instinctively that I was going to find a way to get those
horses down that perpendicular wall, and water them somehow. I
dismounted and started along the edge looking for a way down, and
found it, over the roots of an old cottonwood tree and into a wash,
where I slid Kate down, and then scooped out a hole in the miniature
stream from which, when it filled, she drank. Then I got her to climb
up and slid another down after much persuasion, and so later the
third, but was careful not to let them drink too much, as the water
was pretty strong.

By the time I got back to camp it was nearly dark and Doc and Bob were
waiting supper for me. We find our fireless cooker and kerosene stove
to be real luxuries in this sort of a country. We really live high
(comparatively speaking); our appetites are always good and Bob rarely
gets up anything that doesn’t taste fine. Just now our larder contains
honey, beans, bread, eggs, oatmeal, tea, bacon, prunes, seeded
raisins, and crackers.

We turned in early as usual and were up before it was really light.
Doc missed getting a shot at a gray wolf right near camp. He said he
took it for a boulder at first and so paid no attention to it; when
too late, he saw it take shape and steal away.

[Illustration: A GLIMPSE OF CASTLE VALLEY]

We left camp at six-thirty. The trail was on the west side of the
valley and right under the mountains, which gave us a good opportunity
to study them. The scenery was really weird. The mountains took the
shape of castles, not imaginary castles, but real ones. A painter
could not paint anything more natural, and they were all different.
Each castle stood guard over its particular part of the valley, and
all day and for several days we had a never-ending source of
entertainment in this sort of scenery. It was on such an immense scale
and combined with the magic colors of the desert country, that we were
continually gazing at it and not at the desert underfoot, and so
missed a good many chances to shoot coyotes, wolves, and mountain
lions that were invariably dropping out of sight into a gulley or
behind the brush, about the time our attention was called to them.

One particularly exciting incident happened before we were really
started this morning. In crossing a wash the wagon had to make a
detour, but Bob on Dixie rode straight across, and after topping a
rise of ground he got off and sat down on a rock to wait for us to
catch up. As we came over the rise I saw Dixie, but could not see Bob
on account of the brush. She was browsing on the bushes. Just beyond
her I saw a mountain lion, right out in the open, quietly stealing
down toward her, evidently not seeing Bob and thinking there might be
a colt there it could kill.

The speed with which I threw on the brake and called to Doc to get his
Winchester sort of flustrated Doc and also flustrated the lion. It
started off on a trot at right angles down the mesa as Doc pulled out
his 30-30 and got ready for action. His first shot just grazed its
back at about three hundred yards, and then the fun began. Bob jumped
into view to see what had happened; the lion started for Colorado. Not
in any reasonable manner, however. It seemed to be shot out of a gun,
and Doc swung his Winchester and pumped three more shots after it. All
of them seemed to be in the general direction the lion was going, but
they only served to make him swerve and run faster, if that were
possible.

When at last he had disappeared from sight in the dim distance,--he
actually ran out of sight on bare ground,--and the smoke had blown
away, Bob called out, “What was it?”

Doc said, “Didn’t you see it?”

“Well,” said Bob, “I am not sure whether I did or not.”

I called over to Bob and said, “I saw it start anyway, and what you
saw must have been what I saw start.”

“Gosh all hemlock!”--or something like that--I think Doc remarked; “I
never saw anything with four legs run as fast before,”--and I am sure
he never did, nor any one else.

I could not help laughing, although Doc seemed quite chagrined to
think he had not killed the lion. I admitted he had missed the first
shot, but after that no bullet could have caught up to the beast, no
matter how well aimed.

After this episode nothing especially interesting happened, and we
soon reached Emery, not quite three days from Salina. We must have
made about thirty miles yesterday afternoon and this morning, so we
feel quite satisfied that we did not go a hundred miles to get around
that canyon, although I guess we were more lucky than wise.

The little Mormon settlement called Emery is scattered all over the
mesa, and has plenty of water to irrigate from five to eight hundred
acres, which is enough to support the town. We stopped at the hotel
for dinner, just to see what it was like, and, while we had plenty to
eat, we seemed to create quite a stir. We were the only guests, and
unexpected at that, so the two girls who had been left in charge while
the old folks were on a trip to some railroad town, were quite a bit
flustered. We stayed here until four-thirty in the afternoon, walking
about and looking the natives over, and incidentally waiting for the
postmaster to show up. In these little, out-of-the-way places the
postoffice is liable to be run by somebody who appears for duty only
when the mail comes in or goes out, unless he is sent for.

I put in part of the time trying to make a horse trade in the street
in front of the store. I didn’t want to trade horses, but I made the
other fellow think he had come very near trading me a bay mare, about
Dixie’s size, for Kate, and so I got a line on what I could buy her
for; but Doc thought her a trifle too small, so when the postman
arrived we disagreed on price, and parted.

After calling for our mail we started on. We had driven only about
five miles when we came to some grass, which we never pass without
taking toll of, and as it was about camping time anyway we turned the
horses loose to graze while we made camp.

Tuesday, June 21, was quite a day. In the first place, we met a big
gray wolf about one hour from camp and I shot him through the flanks
with Doc’s 30-30, but missed him with two more shots before he dropped
into a ravine. He was bleeding so badly that he did not go far, but as
we were in a hurry and he was working up toward the mountains we
concluded to let him die in peace, and so did not follow him far,
although his trail was painfully plain.

Next we came to a field of white poppies. From a gray wolf’s bloody
trail to white poppies does not seem odd in this desert country,
although now that I am writing it the change seems rather startling.
The California poppy we admired greatly, but this immense field of
white ones seemed, if anything, more beautiful.

In two or three miles more we came to the top of a hill overlooking
the town of Ferron. Here we had a splendid view of the mountains to
the west, with a Moorish castle looking down on us, gray buttes below
us, and in the distance the town of Ferron with its bright green
alfalfa field, Carolina poplars, and cottonwood trees. This was such a
grand color scheme that I took a picture of it, forgetting that color
does not show in a photograph and that immense distances are beyond
duplication by the ordinary lens, at least, and so got a very
unsatisfactory picture.

Passing through Ferron we made camp by an irrigation ditch, under a
cottonwood tree, and did some laundry work, which was put to dry while
we ate lunch, after which we drove on into Castledale, stopping at Jim
Jeff’s Camp House, making twenty miles for the day. Here we decided to
stay a day and rest the horses, so after feeding them all we turned
Bess and Kate into his pasture, keeping Dixie up so we could take
better care of her neck, which was quite sore.

Castledale we found to be the largest town in Castle Valley. There is
Emery on Muddy Creek, Ferron on Ferron Creek, and Castledale on
Cottonwood Creek, and beyond is a town called Huntington on Huntington
Creek. These creeks or brooks are all supposed to flow into the
Cottonwood farther down, but each little town takes most of the water
into its irrigation ditches as the water leaves the mountains, and so
very little of it ever gets far on its way to the valley below, except
in freshet times. Any one expecting to find water in these creeks
below the towns is usually a tenderfoot, and needs a water barrel, and
some good advice. We did not have the advice, but we had the water
barrel and so far have not suffered for good water.

Our camp was in Jim Jeff’s yard. He had a house for the accommodation
of freighters, but we preferred the ground. However, we did make away
with a great many of his eggs and some green stuff from the garden.

We put in the next day, Wednesday, cleaning up, writing, and making a
few purchases. I remembered that this was the day my sister was to
have been married, and here I was, fifty miles from the railroad in a
desert town, unable to telephone or telegraph, and I had expected to
be able to send her a message. Doc and I were walking down the road to
the store, when on the side porch of a house I saw the American
Telephone and Telegraph Company’s long distance sign nailed to a post.

“Hold on,” I said, “there is a familiar look to that sign; just you go
on and I will follow it up and see whether it is going to do me any
good or not.”

So into the house I went. Here I found a girl who was running all the
telephone business for the town and surrounding country. She said the
line ran to some town on the railroad, the name of which I didn’t
catch, but that didn’t interest me. What I wanted to know was if I
could talk to the station agent at this town, and when I found I
could, I said, “Well, you just call him up quick. I want to say
something to him real sudden.” In about an hour I got that message off
to my sister, which shows how suddenly things happen in that country.

When I came out of the house I found Doc had made the necessary
purchases at the store and was patiently waiting on the porch. We had
left Bob at Jeff’s place, cleaning up, and so went back and helped.

Our day here was not especially interesting. The town has about five
to six hundred people scattered about over quite a large area. During
the afternoon, however, things began to liven up. Young fellows from a
few miles out began riding in to Jeff’s and putting up their horses
and changing clothes. It seemed such a funny performance that I asked
Jeff what was up. “Just a dance,” he said, and walked off huffy-like.
I couldn’t see why that should bother him, but I found out afterward
that he was too much of a dyed-in-the-wool old Mormon to appreciate
the beneficial results to the young folks of indulging in a
free-for-all dance.

He had lived here thirty-one years and had ten children. Incidentally,
I might say one wife. We did not see anywhere any evidence of polygamy
and I guess that it is a dead issue. His house, one of the best in
town, was brick, and had running water in it. He had all kinds of fowl
around the yard, including peacocks and hens. Five miles east toward
Green River he had a ranch of several thousand acres; so on the whole
he was quite a substantial citizen, and was able to give us some good
advice about our trail between here and Green River.

Just as a sample of some of the instructions we had been getting from
the natives _en route_, it may be interesting to give Jim Jeff’s
instructions as to how we were to reach Green River. They were
something like this, but not _verbatim_: “It is about sixty miles over
there and not a house on the trail, and on account of the dry weather
(it hasn’t rained here in three months) probably all the water holes
are dry except Huntington Creek, which is alkali. Don’t drink any
yourself and don’t let your horses drink much. I guess, to be on the
safe side, you better plan not to find any water, so fill both your
barrels and be careful to get through on that, because, although there
_may be_ water the horses can drink thirty miles from here, you may
not find it as it is off the trail, and if you depend on it and miss
it you will be awfully dry before you get to Green River.”

Then he drew us a diagram of the trail, told us where the bad places
were, wished us good luck, and said good-bye. We turned in for an
early start in the morning. That start was so early we met the young
folks coming home from the dance.

It was Thursday morning, the twenty-third of June, that we filled our
barrels and started on our sixty-mile stretch to Green River. We
crossed Castle Valley to the east, climbed up on the mesa after
crossing Huntington Creek, and made about fourteen miles before we
stopped for lunch. From one of the benches we had a splendid view of
the whole of Castle Valley and could see sixty miles south, and forty
miles north, from this point. We picked out the pass over the
mountains to the south where we came into the valley, by the
snow-capped mountain above it, and could see the range of mountains
distinctly forty miles north, and our row of castles to the southwest.
To the southeast lay some barren-looking peaks called “Robbers’
Roost,” where Bassett and his gang held forth for so long. It was a
hard but fascinating country, but Bob brought me to earth as I stood
admiring the scene by saying, “Some society and a little water would
change this for the better a whole lot, wouldn’t it?” I didn’t say
anything, but thought the water would certainly help, but as for the
society I preferred the prospect without habitations, which would take
away the charm of it for me.

Starting on over a rolling country at about four thousand feet
elevation we met, fortunately, around 3:30 P. M., two men in a buggy,
driving one horse and leading another. They told us it was about
fifteen miles to the water hole, that there was still a barrel of
water there, that we could find it by watching the trail after we had
gone about fifteen miles, and that we would see where they had turned
out of the trail, if we looked sharp, They told us the water was not
where they had turned out, as they had missed the place, but that it
was a quarter of a mile farther on, as they had afterward discovered.
They told us also when we came to the forks of the trail to take the
right fork; that was all, but it was enough.

It would seem like a difficult problem to tell when you have gone
fifteen miles in such a country, but we could calculate that about as
easily as we could tell the time of day by the sun. Having lost my
watch in the early part of the trip I had discovered I didn’t need it
anyway, and was saved the trouble of winding it every night. In
calling off the time to Doc and Bob I found that I agreed with their
watches almost exactly, although once I missed it by fifteen minutes;
but I am not sure I was not right even then.

So it was on the trail. We knew how many hours we had been traveling
and could tell to almost a certainty how many miles we were making per
hour, and thus had no difficulty in telling how far we had gone.

When we had climbed to the top of another rise Doc said, “Well, it is
four o’clock and we are fifteen miles from water. We will make about
five miles more to-day, and then we can water the horses to-morrow
morning at that water hole, about 10 A. M., and just let them do
without water for breakfast.” That sounded about right to me, but I
wasn’t sure about the 10 A. M. schedule. I thought we could make ten
miles before 10 A. M., but we carried this programme out almost to the
letter. We drove on for about five miles and camped for the night,
having made about twenty-two miles of the sixty that day.

The next day, Friday, the twenty-fourth, was a long, hard day. The
horses all did well, but it was up hill and down over rocks and
through heavy sand, and several times we had to use all the horses at
once. About nine-thirty Doc rode Dixie on ahead, looking for the place
where the buggy had turned out, and when we saw him waiting for us by
the side of the trail we knew he had found the water; in fact, he had
gone right to it with the directions we had received, but without
those tell-tale wheel tracks a quarter of a mile from the water, I do
not believe we would have found it.

The water was down in a miniature canyon, in a bowl-shaped rock, where
stock could not get to it, or the sun’s rays reach it for any length
of time, and this rock bowl held, when full, probably twenty barrels
of water. The little stream had long ago gone dry, but here out of
sight were still a few barrels of water left. It took us quite a while
to get the horses down over the rocks close to the water, and it was a
case of bucket brigade to get it out to them. When we had them back at
the wagon again I noticed that it was ten o’clock; so we did find the
water before ten, but I didn’t think there was enough difference in
time to call Doc’s attention to it.

After lunch, about 4 P. M., we passed a wash that looked wet to me and
I asked Doc if he wouldn’t explore it, while the horses rested in the
shade of a cottonwood tree. He came back presently with the
information that there was good water about “half a quarter” above, so
we unhitched and all went up, and found water running in the bed of
the stream for about four feet in one place and about ten feet in
another. It was just a case of one of those underground,
bottom-side-up streams having a leak in the top, and the water had
come up through. The find made us feel safe on the water question. We
still had water in our barrels; had found water twice for the horses,
and just where Jeff had told us we _might_ find it; and felt quite
“sot up” over it.

[Illustration: THE CLAY BUTTES NEAR GREEN RIVER]

We camped at night in the dry bed of a stream, the bottom of which was
covered with a white alkali deposit, that looked like snow and was
nearly one-half inch thick. We concluded this must be Soda Creek and
that we had made only twenty miles during the day, so that we were
still about eighteen miles from Green River.

This is certainly a hard, rough country, a succession of canyons and
mountains, with a variety of colors in the sand and rocks. We have not
met a soul or seen a living thing, save some cattle this evening in
the creek bed. Not a thing lives here, it would seem, but a coyote,
now and then a skylark, and a few lizards and horned toads. There is
plenty of grass evidently earlier in the season, but the cattle are
now mostly moved out on account of lack of water. Those we saw this
evening were probably overlooked, or else have a few alkali holes
still available somewhere near. It is surprising how strong water the
cattle can stand when they are used to it, but if it doesn’t rain soon
in this country even the birds will have to leave.

We were up the next morning at four-thirty and were under way at six,
reaching Green River at 11 A. M., over a variety of roads and through
the most desolate stretch of country I have ever seen. The sandy
desert was cheerful in comparison. When we came down from among the
bare clay buttes the trail ran along a little stream and we began to
see signs of life,--a coyote first, then a queer bird, trying to find
water enough to swim in. It was some species of the duck family, but
we could not find a name for it. It looked like a cross between a mud
hen and a duck, was gray in color and had a short bill. It had
probably come up from Green River and was lost.

As we crossed the railroad track coming into Green River we passed a
big sign board on which was printed:

                        “FOR SALE 7,000 acres
                 of the best fruit land in the world
                           by a Dam Site.”

After we had spent two days and a half in that town we concluded the
printer had probably by mistake used the word _of_ when he should have
used _not_.

We found the river was not fordable here, but that there was a ferry
which would take us across if we wanted to go to-day; to-morrow it
would stop running. So we took the last chance and crossed, camping on
the other side on a bare bench about two hundred yards from the river.
There is one store and a corral here, and the place is called Elgin.
Obtaining permission to turn our horses into the corral we were free
to go over the railroad bridge to Green River, get our mail, inspect
the town, and buy a few provisions.

Our trip through Castle Valley was over, and we were once more in a
railroad town, so we decided to stay a couple of days and give the
horses the rest of which they were much in need.



Chapter X

Green River to Grand Junction


Sunday, June 26, we stayed in camp; that is, the horses did, but we
explored Green River and the surrounding country, took a bath in the
river, did our laundry work, and tried to catch some fish, but didn’t
get a bite.

On one of our rambles we crossed the river and went about a mile south
to a ranch house which we found deserted; the fruit trees were all
dead and the alfalfa had been overflowed and killed out in places. It
was an ideal place for a house here on the river bank with big
cottonwood trees all around, giving plenty of shade. The house was
made of cottonwood logs; in fact, almost all the ranch houses in this
country are made of logs; near the river they are of cottonwood, and
near the mountains of cedar or pine logs. We noticed a great number of
dead orchards which were being cut out.

At noon we went uptown to a restaurant for our dinner. It is not much
of a town, and most of it is new. They seem to be trying to raise
fruit here, but apparently with poor success. The successful people
evidently are the ones who can sell the land. The roads are very dusty
and the land seems burned up. They have had no rain here in months,
and we go back to our wagon feeling that it is the dryest looking
country we have ever seen, and that there must be something wrong with
the people. With a river flowing right by the town there should be
better use made of it, but probably they do not know how. The people
are not Mormons; they are newcomers and hence what might be called
“tenderfeet.” They will learn, and some day Green River will be a
beautiful little city, but to-day it lies bare and dusty and new,
baking in the sun.

Monday, Doc and I went on an exploring trip down the river and Bob
stayed about the camp. We climbed up on top of a bare, ragged mountain
to see what we could of the country and the river, but with not much
success. The river runs through a canyon and can not be seen, and the
country is much the same south of us,--hard, ragged desert buttes.
This is evidently the beginning of the formation which later, at the
Grand Canyon, is so wonderful a sight. Just below here is where the
Green and the Grand Rivers come together, forming the Colorado, and
from there on, I imagine, the canyon grows in depth and desolation,
until near Williams it is twelve miles wide and over a mile deep.

Returning from this trip on foot we look over the horses very
carefully to see what improvement they have made in the two days they
have had to rest. We find they have had all they could eat and drink,
and Bess seems to be in her usual good condition. Doc says she is the
most wonderful horse to work and keep it up without wearing out he
ever saw. She has so far been in harness every working day, against
Kate and Dixie in turn, and does not seem to be as tired or sore as
either of them. Dixie’s neck is still in bad shape and Kate, while
apparently looking good, is really “dead on her feet,” to use a slang
phrase. She has never had a chance to recuperate from that setback she
had in the Mojave Desert when she went blind and bled at the nose, and
so in looking them over Doc says, “Well, Kate will never get to Grand
Junction.” He had said before that she would not get to Green River,
but she was here, and apparently in pretty good shape, so I could
afford to laugh and tell Doc that Kate would go as far as either of
the others.

It is a hundred and twenty miles from here to Grand Junction and this
is the twenty-seventh of June. When I left home I made arrangements to
have Mr. Bradley and his son Norman, of Rockford, Illinois, and my
son, Norman, join us at Grand Junction, Colorado, on July fourth, and
go with us through Colorado. It had seemed a little foolish, sitting
comfortably at home in Chicago, to say, “I will meet you at Grand
Junction on July fourth.” There had been a good many times since when
I had thought it better to send word to them that we could not reach
Grand Junction at the time I had promised, but as we seemed somehow,
in spite of the many difficulties, to keep up to schedule, I had
refrained from changing the date. Now that we were within one hundred
and twenty miles of there, with six days in which to make it, I felt
so confident that we would have no trouble in getting through a day or
two ahead of time, that I sent them a telegram that we would be at
Grand Junction and ready to leave July fourth. When we returned to our
wagon after sending the telegram it looked like rain; in fact, we were
so sure it would rain that we put down the wagon sheet and slept in
the wagon. That night was the second time we had slept in the wagon
since starting, six weeks before, from Los Angeles.

When we awoke the next morning we found it had rained some during the
night and was still cold and cloudy. We were quite elated and as we
had not had any experience with rain since leaving Los Angeles, we
started off very joyously, thinking the dust would be laid and water
would be plenty, but we were hardly under way before we discovered our
mistake. The roads were sticky, the country was nothing but bare clay
hills, and it was hard on the horses. As they were in better condition
on account of their rest, we made twenty-five miles and thought we had
done wonders, although we did not get into camp until late because,
just before we reached the place we had picked out to camp, we stuck
in the bottom of a wash and had to unload most of our stuff, including
our water barrels. This was the first time I had been stalled and I
was quite chagrined to think I had got into a place I could not pull
out of. Doc said there had to be a first time, and that we couldn’t
expect to go through without getting stuck a few times, but I got some
experience here and never did it again. The boys thought I was too
much “sot up” over my driving and, I think, enjoyed seeing me stuck,
even if it did make us all do some hard work for a short time and
delayed us half an hour in getting into camp. This is the way it
happened:

We had come to a wash, down which the water was rushing over the
rocks, and the trail dropped nearly straight into it. Bob rode Dixie
down and then rode up stream looking for a way out on the other side.
A hundred yards above and around a bend the trail led up and out, and
without thinking to walk up on my side and take a look at it myself,
as soon as I saw Bob’s head coming up around the bend, I dropped right
down into the stream and drove up over the boulders and, when too
late, found I didn’t dare to stop on account of the sand, and brought
the team around at a hard angle to climb almost straight up a slippery
bank. They were winded and, with wet hoofs, had just managed to pull
the wagon up out of the sand and water when they both lost their feet,
but hung on until I put on the brake and let them get up and recover
their breath.

I knew they could not start the wagon again alone on that grade so I
told Bob I thought if we put Dixie on ahead, the three of them could
do it, but they didn’t. Dixie with her sore neck refused to pull after
she had tried it once, and so, admitting I was stuck and needed help,
we all went at it and lightened up the load. We carried it up the
hill, and then with Doc and Bob pushing, we got the wagon up and were
soon in camp at a water-tank.

The place was called Crescent; at least, a sign board on the railroad
near the tank had “Crescent” on it, but the sign and tank were all
there was to the place. We had a good place to camp here, getting a
supply of good water from the tank, and a couple of trees near by gave
us a place to tie the horses, as there was no grazing near and we did
not want them to stray off. We had some hay so we thought they were
better off tied up with that to eat.

It still looked like rain so we slept in the wagon again. When we woke
up it was raining hard. “At last we are being rained on proper,” Bob
said, and when I looked out I could hardly believe my eyes--everything
was soaked. The horses were standing up to their knees in a miniature
lake; the harness under the wagon was wet; and the rain was coming in
the end of the wagon on the Doctor’s head.

I put on my boots and rubber coat and got out and rescued the horses
from their predicament, moved the wagon around so the rain would not
beat into the front, and we stayed inside all the morning. We had a
cold breakfast, except for our oatmeal, which came hot out of the
fireless cooker, but at noon we got dinner in the wagon over our
kerosene stove, the heat from which dried us out, and at 2 P. M., the
rain having stopped, we started on.

The roads were very heavy and slippery and the little gullies we had
to cross were washed out, and we had great times getting over them.
One place we had to build a bridge, which we were able to do out of
railroad ties that had floated down from the track in a gully near at
hand. A mile or two farther on we came to a wash we could not cross
except by cutting down the bank, but we had nothing save an axe to do
it with.

We had needed a shovel badly all the afternoon, but here we must have
one. We could see the station of Thompson about two miles beyond and,
concluding there must be a shovel there, I crossed the wash on Dixie,
and made a run for it to Thompson so as to get there and back before
dark. Fortunately there was a shovel to be had. There were two in town
and I got back with one in time for us to get across the wash and into
Thompson by 7 P. M. Here we bought hay, bacon, and the shovel I had
borrowed, and drove on to the top of a hill where we camped and
prepared our supper by lantern light.

We were tired out, but had only six miles to show for the day, half of
which had been spent in the wagon during the rain, and the balance
mostly in digging and in building a bridge. It had been cloudy and
cold, and to-night we got out our overcoats to keep ourselves warm.
Two days of the six were gone and only thirty-one of the one hundred
and twenty miles were covered. It didn’t look as though we would have
much time to spare, but we expected better conditions from here on,
now the rain was over, and felt we could easily reach Grand Junction
some time on the third of July.

The next morning, June thirtieth, we were late in starting, having
been up late, for us, the night before, and it was eight-thirty before
we broke camp. The same clay ridges and washes were in store for us,
however. The trail was bad enough at best, running at right angles to
the clay ridges, but the rain had done the rest and, as no team had
been over the trail since then, we were in for a hard day’s work with
axe and shovel. That shovel was worth everything to us to-day.

By way of variety we saw several coyotes and had our first breakdown.
Again Doc tried to console me by asking, “You didn’t expect to get
through without a breakdown, did you?” But while I expected it some
time, it surprised me when it came, and also made me mad at myself, as
it was simply carelessness. I had been dropping down into washouts all
the morning and pulling out again without any trouble, after the boys
with the axe and shovel had made it possible. In fact, I was so used
to making the hard ones that I slid carelessly down into a little one,
let the brake loose just a fraction of a second too quick, hit the
opposite bank, and the front wheels rolled out from under the wagon,
and I walked out behind the horses and left Doc sitting on the seat
alone. The reach or coupling pole had snapped about eighteen inches
behind the front axle. An investigation showed we had pole enough left
and if we had a brace, and a three-quarter-inch bit, we could soon
make repairs. While our tool box contained almost everything else we
had needed heretofore, from horseshoe nails up, we did not have a
brace and bit, and we sat looking at the wreck and trying to devise
ways of getting the proper-sized holes made in the reach. Doc
suggested making a fire and heating a bolt and burning a hole, but
there was no wood and our kerosene stove would not answer for that
sort of a job.

We could see in the distance a section house on the railroad and Bob
thought the section men would surely have a brace and bit, and so, to
save time, the boys volunteered to unload the wagon, pull out the
reach, and have lunch ready by the time I had ridden over there and
back. We could return the tools as we drove by.

I had a good long horseback ride in a very short time, but I didn’t
get what I went after. Two Japs were all I found at the section house
and they had a few crowbars and shovels, but nothing else. I asked how
far it was to the next place where I could get a brace and bit and was
told it was twenty miles to Cisco, but the foreman would bring one
next week. I knew we could make those holes easier than by riding
twenty miles and back, and quicker than by having the foreman bring us
a brace and bit next week, so I thanked them for a drink and hurried
back.

I found dinner ready, the wagon unloaded, and the reach ready to be
repaired, and better yet, Bob had found a gimlet which we had
overlooked before. It was a delicate tool to use in hardwood, but
after lunch we managed to get the reach ready for use and were loaded
up and off again at 3 P. M. We soon found we had our front stanchions
on wrong and had to raise up the wagon and turn them, so that by the
time we had this done, and had stopped at the section house for water,
it was 4:20 P. M., and we were only ten miles from our morning camp.
This was discouraging enough, but from here on the washes were not so
frequent and, in between, the roads were good, so we made ten miles
more before we camped.

We had made fifty-one miles in three days and there remained only
three days in which to make sixty-nine miles, and we began to worry
about the kind of roads we would find from here on, but we had met no
one who could tell us. We camped near a section house called
Whitehouse, but the man there didn’t know anything about wagon roads
except that we were the first wagon outfit he had seen in some time,
so we just hoped for better things and turned in.

“It never rains, but it pours,” some one has said, and that evidently
was what happened between Whitehouse and Cisco, for we were until 11
A. M. getting there, only six miles. We filled washes, mended a
bridge, and were tired enough when we pulled into town. A store and
postoffice, the railroad station and corral, was every building there,
but it looked large to us and we were able to buy some provisions of
the canned order, get a bale of alfalfa, and the storekeeper gave me
one-half his supply of oats, which was just a pailful.

Still sixty-three miles to Grand Junction and we are told the trail
following the railroad is washed out and in the same condition as the
one we have just come over. We are advised to try getting to Grand
Junction over what they call the old narrow gauge route, or old grade.

On the theory that it cannot be any worse that way, we cross over the
railroad tracks and go north. The road is bad, however, and mostly
uphill this afternoon, and by 7 P. M. we figure we have made only
eight miles, or fourteen for the day. The horses are tired and
discouraged. We camp by a mud hole for water and turn the horses loose
to graze. The country is mountainous and of clay formation, and, aside
from a little bunch of grass here and there, is bare.

We began to be worried about getting to Grand Junction by the third
and concluded we wouldn’t try. We had not agreed to be there before
the fourth anyway, we said, and so after deciding not to get there
before the fourth (which decision was especially funny because we knew
we couldn’t possibly get there before and perhaps not then), we turned
in. We were not a very hilarious party and I think the horses had
begun to tire of life as well. They certainly looked dejected.

Saturday, July 2, was much like Friday, only, as some one remarked,
“more so.” Our shovel was continually in demand. We had one very long
hard pull after lunch which finished Kate up entirely, and at 5:30 P.
M. we camped near a patch of grass, after making about fourteen miles,
as near as we could guess, leaving us forty-one miles still to go. We
crossed Cottonwood Creek about nine-thirty this morning and Westwater
Creek at 4 P. M., and are probably about six miles from Bitter Creek.
Cottonwood and Westwater Creeks both had the sandy side up, and we do
not expect any better of Bitter Creek.

Kate is tired out and still I do not want to put Dixie into the collar
yet, as her neck is nearly well, and I want it to get entirely well
before I put her in to take Kate’s place. If Kate can only hold out
until we get to Grand Junction, we can rest her there, and Dixie’s
neck can then probably stand the collar again. Good old Bess, she
never complains, but works every day. Luckily she has not been laid up
at all as yet and apparently is made of iron. She goes on day after
day seemingly just as fresh as when she started.

We have two hours of daylight left, so, as Bob volunteers to make camp
and get supper, Doc and I take the rifle and climb up on a mesa, where
we find small pine trees and big rocks, and from which we get a
beautiful view of Mt. Wagg and Mt. Tomasaki. We have been in sight of
Mt. Wagg ever since we left Green River. We sat there for a full
half-hour and then returned to camp.

Just as we sat down to eat we saw a camp wagon coming up the trail
from the east. The wagon sheet was clean and it was a brand new
outfit; we could see that a mile away. The team was fresh, and a man
and woman sat on the front seat. Behind was a lead horse, and bringing
up the rear a make-believe cowboy and cowgirl. He was carrying a
rifle. While they passed us within a hundred yards, they never saw us
(apparently), and (apparently) we never saw them. We put them down as
a wedding party from Grand Junction--they looked so new and acted so
green.

This was the first camping outfit we have met on our trip since
reaching the desert and we are nearly across to the Rocky Mountains
now, so evidently they are not very numerous, and as to
sociability,--well, up to date we haven’t found any one to be sociable
with. If you mind your business, the other fellow minds his, and no
questions are asked.

We had about forgotten the camp wagon outfit when, in taking a look
about, we noticed their camp fire about two miles west at a water hole
we had watered at as we passed. They were still there when we pulled
out in the morning.

[Illustration: WE ABANDON OUR WATER BARRELS]

As I started to hitch up I found Kate was practically “all in,” so we
were put to it to devise some means to reach Grand Junction by
to-morrow, the fourth. We had given up getting there before and we
still had forty-one miles to go, but I was bound to be there to-morrow
if it took a horse, so we decided to lighten the ship, so to speak, by
throwing away everything we did not need. First came the water barrels
and platform. The barrels being empty were of no use to us to-day, and
by making a forced march we could get to Grand Junction without them,
and after that we would not need them. Then we threw overboard samples
of ore, rocks, and all extra bolts and spikes; also a bunch of hay we
had left, and figured we were about a hundred and fifty pounds the
lighter. Then we put Dixie on the pole with Bess, padded up her
collar, put a rope on the pole to take the weight off her neck, and
leaving Kate to take care of herself as best she might, we started
over the last few miles of desert which separated us from Grand
Junction and its orchards on the western slope of the Rockies. First
we took a picture of the barrels and wrote our names on them.

I did so hate to leave Kate, but I hated worse to miss being at Grand
Junction on the fourth, after having only so recently confirmed the
statement that we would be there. Besides, the Doctor had telegraphed
Mrs. Lancaster, who was on her way home from San Francisco, that he
would meet her there and for her to stop off and, as she was quite
sick, he was very anxious to be there to meet her.

We had not gone far, however, before I saw that Kate was following us
and I figured that if she would stay near the trail, some one would
pick her up and care for her, or else she might reach Mack, which we
figured could not be more than twenty miles away. We had a few very
hard places to cross, but as a rule the grade was down hill and the
wagon ran better without the barrels, and we pushed ahead so fast that
we made camp within four miles of Mack by twelve-thirty.

While we were eating our lunch we heard Kate nicker, back up the
trail, and very shortly she came up. We had lost sight of her long
before and when she came up greeted her as a long-lost cousin. We gave
her a feed of oats and then got her some water out of a water hole
near at hand, and concluded that if she wanted to come so bad we would
not discourage her; so when we started up again we thought she would
follow us in to Mack where, if necessary, we could leave her. When we
got nearly to town she was so far behind that Bob volunteered to wait
for her and ride her in, so we left Bob and went on.

Leaving the team in front of the store, we hunted up the man who ran
it and bought some hay and oats of him, also some groceries, as we
were short. When we came out to the wagon there was Kate, but no Bob.
He came shortly afterward, having walked in. He said he sat down by
the side of the trail to wait for Kate and he could hear her nickering
as she came along, just as though she were crying, and as she came
around a bend he got up to catch her, but, although she seemed hardly
able to walk, she must have mistaken him for a “holdup man” for she
ran by him and he never could catch up with her. So he walked in, much
to his disgust and our merriment.

We were now in Colorado, having crossed the State line and left Utah
behind. We found Mack a very neat little place, with about a dozen
houses, and at the end of a wagon road which led straight down along
the railroad track to Grand Junction, with a fence on both sides, and
irrigation ditches and ranches along the way for twenty miles. It
seemed like another country, sure enough. We had travelled so long in
the desert and without a real road that we were surprised when we saw
one, and the fences looked strange. Here were real people along the
road in buggies and wagons and on horseback. We just looked, and said
nothing.

We drove about four miles along this road and then made camp, fifteen
or sixteen miles from Grand Junction, feeling quite sure we could get
into town about noon the next day. We still had Kate with us and I
told Doc we ought to feel pretty good, as we were going to “make it,”
bringing all the horses through and on schedule time. He didn’t say
much, but that night as we lay on the tarpaulin trying to sleep and
dodging a few rain drops from a thunder shower, I asked him what he
was thinking about, and he said, “Nothing at all.” About an hour after
that he suddenly asked me what I was thinking about. I had supposed he
was asleep long ago and was too surprised to answer at first. I had
been thinking how much nicer it was camping out in the desert, and how
shut in I felt between fences, and how disgusted the horses must feel
to be tied to a fence post, and that if I were left to my own
inclinations I would turn around and go out into the desert again. I
did not want to admit this, however, as it seemed so foolish, so I
quickly said, “I asked you the same thing an hour ago; you answer
first.”

What do you suppose he said?

“That desert has got into my system. I don’t feel right; for fifty
cents I’d turn around and go back.”

I laughed a rather sheepish laugh and said, “Doc, you have answered
your own question. Let’s try to forget it and go to sleep.”



Chapter XI

Grand Junction, Colorado


Monday morning, July fourth, found us on our way into Grand Junction,
over good roads, and while we had to go a little slow on Kate’s
account, we had no special mishap. The country on both sides was taken
up by alfalfa and fruit ranches, and one or two small towns we passed
through seemed quite busy and prosperous. At Fruita, a little town
about ten miles out, we picked up an Indian and gave him a ride almost
to town, and, showing the Indian’s characteristic, he departed without
thinking it worth while to thank us.

We ate our lunch outside of town and as we drove slowly down the main
street, just at 1:30 P. M., looking for a place to put up, we were
hailed by Mr. Bradley and the boys, who had finished their lunch and
were out looking for us. They had arrived in town only an hour before.
It certainly was a hilarious meeting and, as they had located a
corral, we drove over there and put up the horses, backed our wagon
into the middle of the yard, and the race to be at Grand Junction on
July fourth was won, with 944 miles to our credit.

Just to feel at home we all repaired to the St. Regis Hotel to clean
up. This took some time, but when we finally got our store clothes on
we realized it was the fourth of July, hence, a holiday, and no mail
to be had and no stores open; so we took in the town and the newspaper
bulletins of the Jeffries-Johnson prize-fight, and also told the boys
how we had made and enjoyed the trip. The Doctor received a telegram
stating that Mrs. Lancaster would not arrive until the next evening.

That night we tried to lay out a plan for our trip to Denver. The
boys, Norman Bradley and Norman Harris, both wanted to ride horseback,
so we had to have an extra horse. Instead of three there would be six
in the party, so we must get our tent, which we had sent on from
Daggett, California, as we could not expect to sleep on the ground in
the mountains, and could not all sleep in the wagon. So we planned it
out that night after a fashion, although the Doctor was uncertain as
to just what condition his wife was in and, therefore, thought he
might have to go home with her.

This put quite a damper on the party, but we had decided to stay in
town a day or two longer to rest our horses and make our purchases,
and we hoped that Mrs. Lancaster would be well enough so the Doctor
could finish his trip with us.

We were up early the next day, shopping and getting ready for a new
start. The horses were shod and inquiry made for another one. The
question as to which route to take was discussed with various people
and we finally decided to go up the Gunnison River and over Marshall
Pass, instead of up the Grand River, through Glenwood Springs, and
over Tennessee Pass. It is a longer and harder route up the Gunnison
and I suppose we chose it on that account and also because we had
never been over that way by train.

In the afternoon while calling on Mr. Adams of the Delta County
National Bank, he asked me suddenly what hotel we were stopping at,
and when I said the St. Regis, he said, “Perhaps you had better go
over and get your things; it is on fire.” Notwithstanding his quiet
way of breaking the news to me I made a hasty exit and found, as I
reached the door of the hotel, that our whole party had arrived at the
same time from different directions. We found our rooms and had our
luggage out in short order, although, not having our keys, we had to
break in the doors. The fire, fortunately, did not do as much damage
as the water, but the guests were homeless, so to speak, and we
immediately sought out new quarters at the Navarre Hotel, and the
excitement was over.

I had not yet been able to find the horse I wanted. I had, however,
decided to let the boys ride Kate and Dixie. This would be easy work
for the horses. Dixie’s neck would get a chance to heal, and Kate
ought to be able to carry one of the boys and keep up with the wagon,
if she was not asked to do any fast traveling. Bess could pull her
share over the mountains, I was quite sure, with any horse, even a
fresh one, although she needed more rest than the two days she was
getting. Still, we expected our work would not be so hard from now on,
as we would have real roads and would rest oftener.

I located a big brown gelding that afternoon that was being worked
double on a transfer wagon. He was a tough one, I could see, but he
had so many faults I was advised not to take him. He would balk and
kick under certain conditions, and under others he would run away. He
was afraid of a gun and of automobiles, and was about as unsafe a
horse as one could pick out to take up in the mountains on a trip of
this kind; but I liked his looks and could not find another that I
thought could do the work, and so, after some reflection, I bought
him.

I knew that if he took a notion to run that we would probably be
wanting to go in that direction anyway, and if he got going too fast,
Bess and the brake could slow him up. If he refused to pull, I could
probably talk him out of it, and as a tired horse soon gets to be a
good horse, I was pretty sure that I could make a tired horse out of
him very shortly and, therefore, a good one. We would need him only
while our party was large anyway, and when the boys left I expected to
sell him, so we added him to our list as a liability, and the boys
having learned of his tricks, called him “Cyclone.”

We had nearly finished our preparations by evening and were quite
anxious to hear the Doctor’s report after Mrs. Lancaster arrived. He
seemed quite worried after he had met her and brought her up to the
hotel. We could not get him to say much that night, but the next
morning he told us he would have to go home with her, as he felt she
was too sick to go farther alone, and, although Bob offered to go with
her, the Doctor felt she needed a doctor’s care. So our party was
broken up, Bob deciding to go with the Doctor, and thus my two
partners of the desert were leaving.

I hated to have them go, but I could not ask the Doctor to stay under
the circumstances. Bob had made the trip on the spur of the moment, so
to speak, but Doc and I had planned to go through together. We had
followed many a trail before, sometimes on foot, often on horseback,
and again by wagon or boat, but always he was there at the end and we
would shake hands at parting and agree, when the frost came again, to
do it over. But we knew we would not make this trip over again and he
was not going through. I knew how he must feel, so tried to be
cheerful and talk about something else.

It was a very quiet party, therefore, which sat down to dinner
together. Mr. Bradley, the two boys, and I were to leave immediately
afterward. The Doctor and Mrs. Lancaster and Bob were going to stay
over and take the train the next morning. At one-thirty we had our new
team, Bess and Cyclone, hitched to the wagon. Norman Bradley was to
ride Kate, and Norman Harris was to have Dixie for his saddle horse.
Immediately afterward, having said good-bye to my old camping partners
and Mrs. Lancaster, we pulled out for Delta, Colorado.

Mr. Adams had given me letters of introduction to various people along
the route, so that I did not have that lonesome feeling in starting on
this second lap of the journey into the mountains that I did starting
on the first lap into the desert.



Chapter XII

The Mountains


We leave Grand Junction a new party, but with the same outfit, except
a new horse. We arrange our work practically the same way as before,
Mr. Bradley, or “Brad” as he is dubbed for convenience, doing the
cooking, Norman (Bradley) and Norman (Harris), dubbed “Pete” for
identification purposes, doing the packing, dishwashing, and scouting.
The horses fell to my lot as usual, as well as the driving, in which
Brad sometimes took a hand.

Our first objective point was Delta, about forty-five miles up the
Gunnison River, along which the Denver & Rio Grande narrow gauge runs.
Our road, however, was several miles away from the river and railroad,
and through a deserted country. We did not leave Grand Junction until
the afternoon of July sixth, and we drove about sixteen miles before
making camp, just beyond Kannah Creek, beside an irrigation ditch. Our
new horse Cyclone was a bit fast and flighty, but so far not harmful,
and we took special pains to see that he did not break loose and go
back home. The boys had to try out their small calibre rifles on the
prairie dogs and doves near camp. They had better success hitting
doves than dogs, so we had some doves for breakfast.

Our first night out we slept on the ground, although as there were
only four of us we could have slept in the wagon, which we did
afterward to be sure not to be rained on and also to avoid rocks,
which were usually too numerous for comfort, and it was too much of a
task to clear a large enough space for sleeping quarters.

The next morning we had everything working smoothly. Brad was an old
camper and good cook and had no trouble in holding up his end, so that
we were off at seven o’clock. At least we started to start, but
Cyclone, when the wagon did not start easy on account of a big boulder
under the wheel, decided to go backward. I got into an argument with
him at once, but concluded it policy to agree with him, so we went
backward. He soon tired of that way of going and we resumed our onward
way.

Our road had about five miles of rocks and two bad hills, but we
stayed right side up. By 2 P. M. we had come about twenty-five miles
and, having reached the Gunnison River, we decided to stop for the
day. We had been without water since morning, and our route had been a
dry and dusty one, so we hailed the river and grass with delight.

The boys went fishing while Brad and I sewed a flap on the wagon
sheet. They came back with a sucker and a bullhead, or rather they
brought back only two fish, one sucker and one bullhead, both caught
by Norman.

This camp with running water, shade, and grass was the best we had had
since starting from California. I expect now that we are getting close
to the mountains we will have plenty of wood and water and some very
beautiful places to camp.

We were troubled some with mosquitoes for the first time, so got out
our mosquito netting. We did not have much need for it afterward
except occasionally when camping by a stream in the woods.

Next morning, Friday, July eight, we drove into Delta. This is quite a
prosperous town and the country immediately surrounding it is well
irrigated, and the farmers along the river look as though they were
all doing well. We spent the best part of the day here. We had tires
set on two wheels and besides making a few purchases, we lightened our
load by sending home the tent and cots we had taken on again at Grand
Junction; also a box of clothes.

We intended to get our lunch at the hotel, but when we went over there
about noontime the proprietor, a woman, was evidently quite alarmed
for the safety of her guests and told us she was sorry, but we could
not register. We probably did look like desperate characters and so,
being refused admittance to the hotel, we went on down the street and
found a lunch counter where we got what we wanted. The boys were quite
elated to think that we had been refused admittance to the hotel
because we looked so much like desperadoes, but Brad and I concluded
the woman was a tenderfoot and her real reason for being fussed was
that we had no coats.

Our wagon was not to be ready until later, so we had time to look the
town over, and then came back and helped the blacksmith set the tires.
We were all ready at four-thirty, so started for the next place, a
town called Hotchkiss, where I had a letter to Mr. Simonds, president
of the North Fork Bank, and I expected to interview him regarding the
roads.

Leaving Delta we found the roads were good for eight or nine miles, or
as far as we went that afternoon. We crossed the Gunnison River again
just before we made camp. The river from here up apparently has no
banks, but runs through a canyon, with perpendicular walls in places,
which several miles farther up is several thousand feet deep. It is
called the “Black Canyon of the Gunnison,” and while we got several
glimpses of the river a few days later, it was nearly a week before we
got down to it again.

Our camp near the river was disagreeable on account of mosquitoes and
dead cattle, the latter being in evidence near all water holes. The
season has been so dry, and the water so scarce, and what there was so
bad, that I presume more cattle died this summer than usual.

We left early the next morning and by eleven-fourteen were at
Hotchkiss, sixteen miles, and up grade all the way. Here at the north
fork of the Gunnison we camped and I saw Mr. Simonds. He told us about
the road and I found we would have to travel seventy-five miles before
getting down to the river level again. We would go through Crawford
and Crystal Creek and up over the Black Mesa and then down again to
Sapinero, which was on the river and also the railroad. He thought we
could make the trip through O. K., although it was not easy, but when
I asked him if there was any easier way he laughed and said, “Not
unless you can fly”; and we often wished we could before we got to
Sapinero.

We reached Crawford, about fourteen miles from Hotchkiss, at 5 P. M.
It lies in a pretty valley and, while it is an old town, the
inhabitants were evidently quite prosperous, as they were mostly
putting up new houses or adding to the old ones. We stopped just
outside the town by a brook, and had a good camp. We had come thirty
miles that day and felt we were making good progress.

The next morning we drove twelve miles to Crystal Creek, reaching
there at ten-thirty. There was no town here--just the creek and a
ranch house and the remains of a sawmill. The telephone company is
putting a line through here and hauling poles down from the mountains.
We met some of the teamsters who told us about the road over the Black
Mesa, and as we had a good place to camp, we concluded to stay here
the balance of the day and rest up the team. We caught enough trout
here for supper, the first we had had, but the creek was so small, and
the brush so thick, it was nearly impossible to fish at all, although
there were plenty of fish. We did not turn in until 9 P. M. on account
of the mosquitoes, but by that time it had turned so cold they
disappeared, and we were left in peace.

[Illustration: A CAMP ON BLACK MESA]

The next morning we got an early start. Our road led straight up onto
the mesa, a five-mile climb, and here it was that our new horse showed
his poor qualities to advantage, or rather, our old horses showed
their good ones. We had climbed about four miles, most of the way
nearly straight up, when on a particularly steep turn Cyclone gave up.
I couldn’t induce him to try again, and not being in a place where I
could take any chance of getting backed off the road down the mountain
side, I took him out and told Pete to let me have Dixie. The boys
thought that if Cyclone couldn’t pull the wagon up with Bess’s help,
poor little Dixie surely couldn’t, but they didn’t know Dixie and I
did, and was not disappointed. She and Bess pulled that wagon up to
the top, much to the delight of the boys, who amused themselves by
making slighting remarks about Cyclone. We reached the top at ten
o’clock and there we put Cyclone back into the harness, and that was
the last time we ever had any real trouble with him.

Starting on we had a splendid drive for five miles through the most
wonderful of Nature’s parks; immense pines, a profusion of flowers of
all colors with the Indian Paint Brush scattered here and there among
them. One could imagine some landscape gardener had laid out the
grounds, except for the immensity of it. Snow-capped mountains in the
distance completed the scene, and when we camped at noon we felt we
would like to spend several days here. The grass was knee-high in the
little parks and our horses had not had such good feed since starting.
It certainly was worth climbing up just to be here, and we lingered
longer than usual for lunch, and then drove only five miles farther
before camping for the night on a little creek that runs down a canyon
into the Gunnison River below.

We dished one of our hind wheels again coming down a steep rocky piece
of road, and had to take it off and put it on the other side after
dishing it back; but we are getting used to little things like this,
and bad roads, so take them philosophically. We fished some in this
creek where we camped, but, while we saw a few trout, could not induce
any to bite. That night we had a fine camp fire and the horses a good
rest and good feed.

This is the Gunnison Forest Reserve and we were surprised to find
several hundred cattle up here, but later ascertained that the
Government allows a certain number to be pastured up here at twenty
cents per head a month for cattle, and thirty cents for horses. There
are no sheep up here; the cattle men killed them off, and while there
was quite a row over it, probably no one will try sheep for a while.
They can only pasture them here for three months, July, August, and
September. There is no grazing before July and too much snow after
September, so it makes a very short season.

[Illustration: THE TWO NORMANS]

We start Tuesday morning for Sapinero which we expect to find a town
where we can buy some grain for the horses and make a few other
purchases. We were disappointed in this, however. All we found was a
hotel and postoffice and two saloons. Couldn’t get much of anything,
and no feed. On our way down this morning the trail skirted the side
of the canyon and we could catch a glimpse now and then of the river,
looking like a tiny brook, far down below. We could look across to the
mesa on the other side, called “Blue Mesa,” and up and down the
canyon, so that we had some fine views. The land, however, was bare
and rocky and as we got lower down the vegetation assumed more of the
character of the desert. When we finally arrived at the river level
and left Sapinero, the road followed the river first along the bank,
and then back in the hills. The road along the bank would be green and
shady, but a hundred yards away behind a hill you could easily imagine
you were in the desert.

Finding a good camping spot near the river, we stopped at 3 P. M. for
the balance of the day and tried to catch some trout in the river, but
with poor success. Norman Bradley caught two, I believe, but for some
reason the Gunnison River did not yield us much fish, and we met
several fishing parties, all of them complaining about the fishing. As
the Gunnison is supposed to be a good trout stream I presume we, as
well as the other kickers, were poor fishermen.

The next morning we drove to Iola, fourteen miles, and here on the
banks of the Gunnison I found Mr. Stevens and his ranch of a thousand
acres. I had a letter to him from Mr. Adams and he let us camp on his
land and fish all we wanted to. Right here seems to be the trout
fisherman’s Mecca and we were supposed to catch rainbow trout galore,
but didn’t. The boys had more fun with a town of prairie dogs back of
camp then they did fishing. As the fish didn’t bite, they turned their
attention to the dogs and carried on a regular campaign against them,
but the casualties were not heavy. We were also entertained by a bull
fight right by our wagon, but as the bulls had been dehorned it was
not bloody, just exciting and noisy.

[Illustration: THE BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON]

Mr. Stevens has a fine ranch here, plenty of water, nice buildings,
and all the conveniences. He is one of Colorado’s best-known cattle
men, being a member of the State Commission. We said good-bye to him
the next morning and started for the Cochetopa Pass over the
Continental Divide. Mr. Stevens had told us that was about the only
way a wagon could get over.

It was twelve miles to Gunnison and the road followed the river
closely. It was a beautiful morning and we enjoyed this stretch of
road very much. We passed many campers’ cabins, all fishermen; also
hotels and tents. All the fishermen we interviewed said the fish were
not biting, so we felt better. One always feels less dissatisfied with
his own failures if other people are likewise unfortunate.

At ten-thirty we reached the town of Gunnison. Here we had a wagon
wheel set, one of the horses shod, and bought a few provisions, and on
making inquiry were told we would have to cross the Continental Divide
_via_ Cochetopa Pass to Salida. We figured this to be seventy-five
miles farther than Marshall or Monarch Pass, but were advised not to
try Monarch as it was impassable for a wagon. So having had plenty of
experience with bad roads we promised to go _via_ Cochetopa, and
started out again, leaving Gunnison at 3 P. M. We drove only about six
miles when we found a good place to camp and a brook that looked as
though there might be trout in it, so we stopped right there.

We were at the “parting of the ways.” To go south over Cochetopa was
our intention, but Brad thought we were not living up to the record we
had made up to date unless we went straight east over Monarch. He
thought we would not know whether we had been told the truth or not,
unless we tried to get over; and that seventy-five miles looked a long
distance out of the way to me, so we were glad of a chance to stop at
the “parting of the ways” to consider.

[Illustration: A CAMP SITE ON THE GUNNISON]

About this time a “schooner” came down the road from the direction of
Monarch, and we could not resist the temptation to hail them and
inquire if they had come over Monarch Pass, and were delighted to find
that they had come over that way from Salida. They had travelled from
Oklahoma and were going to Delta, one of the towns we had come
through, to take up some fruit land. We could not tell them much about
Delta, but they told us all we wanted to know about Monarch Pass. They
had come over, and that was enough for us. We could do anything
anybody else did, or we thought so. However, I did ask how the trail
was and if they thought we could get over. Claudie (as his wife called
him) said: “Well, we got over, and I only tipped the old lady and kids
over once, but I imagine it is harder getting up from this side.” The
“old lady,” a buxom young woman of about twenty-four, laughed and said
they were not hurt any and she thought we could get over if we had
come from California without a smashup.

So we settled it right there that we would go over the Continental
Divide at Monarch Pass, or break something, and so while the boys
fished we got supper. They came back without a fish, but after supper
caught three, two rainbow and one brook trout, about half a pound
each.

The next morning we started for Sargent, a little town at the foot of
Marshall Pass and just south of the trail over Monarch Pass. The roads
were good, and, although we were climbing up all day, we made about
twenty-four miles and camped one mile from Sargent. On the way the
boys tried to catch some fish in a brook, but without success.

We find the deer flies bother the horses a good deal during the day
and at night the mosquitoes are a pest, but by 9 P. M. the cold drives
them away. We have beautiful warm days, but up here in the mountains
the nights are cold.

The next morning, Saturday, the sixteenth of July, we were at Sargent
at seven, and following this same brook up we reached the forest
ranger’s house by ten, seven miles from Sargent and six miles from the
top. I went in to interview the ranger and he said we had better rest
our team until afternoon before going any farther, as the trail went
straight up for six miles from here and the farther up we got the
worse it was. We concluded we would keep on going, but take it easy
and give the team short pulls and frequent breathing spells. Before
going any farther, however, we took everything out of the wagon that
we could pack on the saddle horses, and Brad walked ahead and made
road, and the boys walked behind and led their horses with the packs.
This took out quite a good many pounds and I felt we could get up if
Cyclone would stick.

We started on this last lap at about ten-thirty and made about two
miles by noon. Then we had to change sides with our hind wheels on
account of the slope of the trail, and also soaked them in water to
keep them from dishing. With our high covered top and springs under
the box, we had to drive very carefully to keep from tipping over.
Starting up again I had to humor Cyclone occasionally, but we got up
finally at 5 P. M., but I am unable now to tell how.

Brad worked all the afternoon throwing rocks out of the trail and
filling up holes, and going ahead around a bend to tell me what
condition the trail was in so I could prepare the team for it. Finding
no suitable spot or water at the top, which was at an elevation of
11,500 feet, we went on down the other side to a park, about a mile
and a half, over a trail that was all a wagon like ours could stand
and not go to pieces; in fact, that mile and a half was the worst
piece of the whole 2400 miles I drove, and we all went into camp that
night at six-thirty tired and sore.

The next day, Sunday, we had a chance to study our surroundings, as we
did not move camp until afternoon. We were in a park by the side of a
small mountain stream, surrounded by pine and spruce trees, about a
thousand feet below the pass and snowdrifts. It was an ideal location
for a camp, and in looking about we saw that the surveyors we had met
on the other side, near the top, had their camp here, and below us
were two tents and a wagon with a team of mules and a saddle horse. On
inquiry we found the surveyors were working for the Bell Telephone
Company. The other folks were just out on a trip and had expected to
go over the Divide, but had got this far and did not dare try the last
mile and a half. They were sensible, as there were two ladies in the
party, one not very well, and they could not have walked or ridden in
the wagon up that trail without danger of heart disease, if nothing
else.

Having such a nice brook in front of our door, so to speak, Brad and I
had a house-cleaning while the boys went fishing. We also did up the
washing, so that our camp was quite a conspicuous object with all the
blankets, etc., hanging up around us. I took a picture here of the
Continental Divide, showing our camp as well. It was a beautiful spot
and we hated to leave it, but as we were not camping, but going
somewhere, we started on down toward Salida about 2 P. M.

[Illustration: CONTINENTAL DIVIDE]

We passed through a deserted mining camp. There was nothing left to
show there had been a camp here except the graveyard, and a few stone
fireplaces. The graveyard up there in the mountains, away from all
habitation, had a fascination for me, and I had to look it over and
soliloquize before proceeding. When we did start on again the trail
dropped down fast, although it was fairly good, and we soon passed
through Monarch, a typical mining town, and two other small places,
and by evening made camp within ten miles of Salida. The weather had
been threatening all day, but it did not rain.

We had been following the same stream down all the afternoon and while
the road was good “considering where it was,” as Brad said, we met
several buggies and wagons that had to be hung up on the scenery until
we could get past. The stream was on our right hand, and usually when
we met any one we had no place to turn out, and the other chap had to
climb up the side of the mountain. Brad had a lot of fun with these
fellows. They usually seemed helpless when they saw us in the road and
Brad would get out and tell them what to do, and half the time would
have to lead their horses up into the brush and rocks and lift the
buggy over a boulder or two, and then we would go on leaving them to
get back into the road the best way they could.

Our camp this evening was alongside the road, near a brook, where
there was some grass, and we got eggs from an old man who lived
nearby. It looked very much like rain and blew quite hard about
bedtime, but it did not rain enough to lay the dust.

The next morning on inquiry we found it was twelve miles to Salida and
that we were two miles off in our calculations, but as the road was
good and down grade we didn’t mind that. We reached town at
ten-thirty, “provisioned” up, bought two hats for the boys in place of
the old “strawstacks” they were wearing, and, after getting feed and
mailing our letters and postal cards, we pulled out for Denver. We
decided to go _via_ Nathrop and Fairplay and through South Park,
instead of _via_ Colorado Springs, and so started up the Arkansas
River, past the smelters, going about four miles before stopping for
lunch.

[Illustration: CAMP BELOW THE DIVIDE]

In the afternoon we drove about eight miles farther through a heavy
shower, but over a fine road, although up a heavy grade, and camped on
a mesa near a spring out in the open. We prepared for another shower
that night, but didn’t get it. We passed numerous ranches along the
road, well irrigated, where they raise grass, alfalfa and oats, and
some cattle. We also passed a camping party from Ponca Springs,
Oklahoma, a man and his wife and three girls. The woman had
tuberculosis, I think. They had intended going over the Divide into
the dry country on the other side, but had not been able to get over,
and were going back. I did not inquire how near the top they had been
before giving it up--probably about where we had camped the day we
crossed.

The next morning it was quite cold, but warmed up later in the day. We
drove on up the river, past Nathrop, and then at a brick school house,
as directed, we left the main road and the Arkansas Valley to drive
over the mountains into the Platte River Valley. The road was a good
one, but for ten miles it was a stiff pull and we met no one. After we
had climbed about a mile we got a good view of Buena Vista and the
Arkansas Valley. The scenery was rough and the country dry. As we
neared the top we had some more fine views, but aside from a few birds
the country seemed deserted. We found a good spring at noon and while
here the boys shot a few doves. We have doves and young rabbits
occasionally to eat, as we have had fish, but not so often that we get
tired of them.

After lunch we drove on over the Divide and down to a siding of the
railroad near a brook, through a thunder shower, mixed with hail, that
scared Cyclone into fits. He had evidently not been used to thunder
showers and up here in the mountains, if you are not struck, you very
often think you are, and when a bolt would seem to strike right at us,
he would jump and kick, while the other horses did not seem to mind
anything but the wetting.

The boys left their horses and brought their saddles inside to keep
dry, and when we got down we found Kate and Dixie had loitered behind
at a patch of grass, so Norman went back and brought them down. We
figure we are about thirty miles from Salida and the same distance
from Fairplay.

Wednesday morning, July 19, we have a fine road down hill past the
salt works, and over by Buffalo Springs. We drive through another
shower and camp about sixteen miles from our starting point. The boys
had quite a time shooting prairie dogs as they rode along this
morning. They can shoot from the saddle and many a dog never reached
his hole.

This afternoon we just miss another heavy shower by driving into a
rancher’s hay barn. There were showers all around. This is a low
valley with salt marshes and some alkali. The south branch of the
Platte starts above here.

Going up a mountain grade we had a chance to see how near being a good
horse Cyclone was. We were close to the railroad track (Colorado
Central), the grade was very heavy, and there were three engines
pulling the train, and he “stood for it,” passing within fifty feet.
He has quit balking; we shoot out of the wagon; he doesn’t mind autos;
and now a triple-header within fifty feet of him doesn’t cause him to
climb a tree, so we consider him a good horse from now on. He
certainly is a powerful brute and, if he had been properly handled
when he was broke, would have been a very valuable horse.

We camped at what might be called the Four Corners. We had come up
from Salida on the south; the left-hand road was the old freight road
west to Leadville; the north fork led to Denver; and the east fork to
Hartzel. We found a party of fishermen from Cripple Creek camped here.
The boys fished a short time and then, as it looked like rain, we made
things tight for the night. Some of the fishing party were old
freighters who had been over the road between Denver and Leadville
many times before the railroad was put through, and they told us about
the road to Denver. We will soon be in South Park.

It is mostly a hay country through here and they are not going to have
as much of a crop as usual. This is July twentieth, and the showers
they usually have around July first are just beginning now. It would
seem that they are trying to make up for lost time, but by the looks
of the hay crop it is evidently too late.

Pete saw a coyote about fifty feet from camp just at dark, but it was
so foggy there was no use trying to get a shot at him, as a run of a
few feet would take him out of sight.

The next morning we drove to Fairplay and in spite of the rain the
roads are fine. They are apparently made of crushed granite and are
the finest roads imaginable. Autoists would enjoy driving a car over
them, if they could but get in here. We went on to Como and camped
three miles beyond, making about twenty-three miles to-day. This
doesn’t seem so far considering the good roads, but the grades were
always with us and we were either going up or down, at neither of
which we could make very fast time.

We all took a turn at the prairie dogs to-day and I guess if we
claimed a bounty on each one, we would have made enough to pay for our
ammunition, as we certainly killed a lot of them. The ranchers were
glad to have us _try_ to kill them, but evidently were surprised that
we _did_, because ordinarily one gets tired shooting before he
actually kills one that he can go and pick up.

All along here the elevation is about ten thousand feet. The
mosquitoes did not bother us so much as the deer flies did the horses
during the middle of the day. Sometimes we all had to get out and
actually drive them away with switches, and, although we had nets over
the horses’ faces, they could not shake them fast enough to do any
good.

The next morning we drove over the Divide out of South Park through
Webster, and camped within two miles of Grant and about seventy miles
from Denver. Coming over the pass the deer flies nearly drove Cyclone
crazy, and we all had to fight them until we got up on top and into a
breeze. From that point down there did not seem to be any, and we were
exceedingly glad of it.

Our camp we called “Good Luck Camp” because when we had unhitched we
found a horseshoe under the wagon. It was rusty and full of nails, so
we hung it on behind. Here we had shade, grass for the horses, and a
fine brook from which we expected to catch some fish, so we stayed all
the afternoon and night, but caught only a few trout. The boys
improved their marksmanship by shooting at swinging stones and all
sorts of moving objects they had swinging from strings, and made some
remarkable shots.

The next morning we started late and drove down nearly to Bailey and
camped on the north branch of the Platte. The roads were fine and we
began to see signs of civilization, summer cottages, parasols, “boiled
shirts,” etc. We saw an occasional robin, but the magpies, ravens, and
dickey birds we seem to have left behind.

[Illustration: A LOG CABIN ON BAILEY’S MOUNTAIN]

This afternoon we expect to stop at Bailey for some provisions and
horse feed, and then make camp as near Denver as possible, so as to be
sure to reach there by Monday night. Bailey is at the foot of a
mountain by the same name, and we pulled in there about 2 P. M. After
stopping only a few minutes, we left the river and started up over
Bailey’s Mountain, going, as it seemed on paper, across lots to
Denver, but in reality across mountains. We found no water; all the
streams were dried up. We passed a number of summer “shacks,” all
vacant, and met no one for miles. Evidently the lack of water has kept
the people out this summer.

We camped for the night near a vacant summer house, that had a spring
in a log house by the road. It was getting late and we had been
looking for water, and probably would have missed this place but for a
lone horseman who came along and told us about it. He said he had
driven this road many times and this was the dryest time of all, and
we had no reason to doubt his word. Every little mountain stream we
had passed since leaving Bailey was dry as a bone. We made
twenty-seven miles to-day with a late start, and some long climbs, so
we think we are pretty sure to reach Denver Monday night. We were busy
until bedtime with the horses and supper, besides shooting a few
rabbits and doves.

The last thing we did was to take one of our hind wheels off, block up
the wagon, dish the wheel and take it down to a water hole we had
found, tie a rope to it and throw it in to soak all night.

We left in the morning, Sunday, at eight-thirty, drove through
Shaffer’s Crossing, on over another pass and down to Conover, about
ten miles. Here we found an old-fashioned well with two buckets, in
the middle of the road in front of a country hotel, where we watered
the horses. The office of the hotel contained a store and long
distance telephone exchange. The people here asked us a number of
questions regarding the rainfall back in the mountains. Every one is
talking about the drought. There has been no rain on this side of the
range and very little snow last Winter.

Leaving here we pass a number of empty houses, large roomy affairs,
formerly used as hostelries when the road was used by freighters from
Denver to Leadville. It is thirty-two miles, they tell us, to Denver,
and we drove on about three miles farther before stopping for lunch.

[Illustration: NEARING CIVILIZATION]

We made what we call a dry camp near a ranch house. We stopped our
wagon under a big tree beside the road. There was a splendid breeze,
but no water in sight. The boys took a pail and went over to the house
for water, but were gone so long we began to worry about them. When
they finally returned they said the well at the ranch was dry, and
they had gone about half a mile to a spring where the family had to go
since the brook went dry.

All the vehicles we have met so far to-day are three autos and two
teams. The other road along the North Platte, which we left at Bailey,
has the water, and the summer resorts, they tell us.

We are still twenty-five miles from Denver, and starting late we plan
to drive to Morrison, but are told we can save two miles and get a
good camping place by going down on a creek and leaving Morrison to
the north. This we did and got into camp at seven-thirty, just three
and a half hours after leaving our noon camp.

This three-and-a-half-hour drive was very interesting; in fact,
probably as picturesque a drive as we had anywhere. We began going
down grade rapidly and finally the road, which was especially good,
turned abruptly down into a canyon and turned and twisted among the
trees and bushes in a marvellous manner. We sent the boys on ahead to
warn any one coming up to pick out a place to pass, as in spots we
could see only a few yards ahead. The walls of the canyon towered up
nearly perpendicular on each side and, although the sun was still
three hours high, it was twilight where we were.

At last we arrived at the mouth of the canyon, or the gateway into the
mountains, and before us lay one-half of the world, so it seemed,
stretching away as level as a floor and as far as we could see. It was
really not so flat as it seemed, but coming out of the mountains where
we had been for weeks, it seemed absolutely level. Stretches of green
here and patches of grain there, the soil red, and the sun, dropping
behind the mountains back of us, reflected on the glass and roofs of
Denver, which lay about twenty miles away. I unconsciously pulled up
the team, and we all feasted our eyes on the scene. It seemed like an
enchanted land, more like a mirage, and we made several more stops
before we were reminded to hurry up and get to a place to camp before
dark.

[Illustration: THE OUTFIT COMING INTO DENVER]

Our last camp on the mountain trail was a very comfortable one. We
found water and grazing here, and a camp wagon from New Mexico, a man
and his wife and daughter. _From_ New Mexico, but _where to_ they
apparently didn’t know; they were just “on the way.”

We had reached Denver Monday morning, half a day before we expected,
and ahead of schedule, and as Brad did not have to leave for home
before the twenty-eighth, and it was only the twenty-fifth, he said he
would stay over and clean up with us, and start home the next day. We
got into town about ten o’clock, put our outfit up at Craig’s Sales
Stable, and went around the corner to the New Western Hotel. We
cleaned up first, put on our “store clothes,” and then got our mail.

I dropped into E. H. Rollins & Sons’ banking house for some currency,
and saw Mr. Reynolds. He started to talk business to me and I thought
he was speaking a different language. I didn’t seem to understand much
of what he was talking about, so got away as soon as I could. Didn’t
feel just right in an office anyway, although he was very kind and
offered to do anything for me I wished, but try as hard as I might I
couldn’t think of anything I wanted.

Going back to the hotel I seemed to keep repeating to myself, “Funny
you don’t want a thing; not even a cigar.” (I hadn’t been able to
smoke coming over the mountains on account of the altitude.) Finally
passing a cigar store I stopped and thought I would try a cigar
anyway, and see if that wasn’t what I wanted, and as I lighted it and
stepped out on the street, I knew it was. This also reminded me of the
fact that we were on level ground. The mountains had been passed.



Chapter XIII

The Plains of Colorado


Tuesday, July 26. Denver did not hold many attractions for us, so we
decided not to stay here very long, perhaps a couple of days. After we
had seen Mr. Bradley off for home and laid in a supply of groceries
and feed, I examined the horses carefully to see if they were doing as
well as they should, and was surprised to find that Kate was so lame
she could hardly walk. I had intended to sell Cyclone here, as we
could get along very well with three horses, now that Mr. Bradley had
left and there were only three of us. Besides, Pete was planning to
leave us when we got to North Platte.

Finding Kate helpless, I concluded to get a fresh horse, and, not
wishing to part with any of my old standbys, I traded Cyclone even up
for a dun mare to go with Bess. This mare we called Sally. Craig, the
man I traded with, said he would rest Cyclone up and get him in good
shape and use him for his buggy horse. I asked him if he did not want
to hitch him up and try him, but he was an old horse trader and said
he guessed not; if we had driven him across Colorado he was satisfied
he was broke and gentle enough for his use. I could see the boys’ eyes
snap and was afraid they might laugh outright, but they managed to
keep sober. I kept a string on my trade, however, by saying that I
would try the mare by driving her out of town, and if she didn’t suit
me I would come back for Cyclone. This being settled, I looked the
horses over again and concluded that they would be better out on the
road than in a barn. They were not eating well and the flies in the
barn worried them, so I told the boys we would pull out right away.

Hitching up Bess and our new mare Sally, Pete saddled up Dixie and,
leading Kate, we started out. Kate was so lame she could hardly walk
and Craig said, “You better leave that mare behind; I will give you
twenty-five dollars for her and take a chance on curing her.” I was
tempted to accept his offer as she seemed hopelessly lame, but somehow
I couldn’t bear to leave her behind so long as she could follow, and
as I remembered how we had given her up once before, and she had
followed us all day crying, I didn’t have the heart to sell her; so I
drove out of the yard and she hobbled after us.

Safely out of the yard, Norman rolled over in the wagon and looking
around to see what had happened to him I found he was convulsed with
laughter.

“What is the matter?” I said. “Sit up and tell me quick.”

And between breaths he was able to say in a rather disjointed manner,
“He’s going to feed and rest Cyclone up and drive him to a buggy. My!
but I would give a dollar to be there when he does it. The first auto
will put him through a street car and over a telephone pole. Say,
Mister, how could you do it?” And he was off again in another
convulsion.

By this time Pete had ridden Dixie alongside and with a smile asked,
“What sort of a buggy horse do you suppose Craig will have when he
gets Cyclone rested up?”

I could not help but join in the laugh and wished Brad were there to
join in also.

We really were in no position to crow over the trade until we knew the
sort of horse we had. Just then we passed a man driving a team and he
stopped and said, “Did you get that mare of Craig?” On being told that
we had, he said, “Well, she is O.K. I know the mare and the man who
owned her first, and she is a good honest mare and has no bad tricks.”
And he was right. We found her a satisfactory addition to our motive
power and just as safe and as good a puller as any we had, but she was
slow and kept me busy at times to keep her up to Bess.

Well, we were on the road again, with only a day’s stop at Denver,
and, after getting over our hilarity and finding we had a good horse,
we began to feel a bit lonesome. Brad had always been the life of the
party and would have enjoyed our horse trade immensely, but in lieu of
being able to talk it over, Norman was already planning to write him
all about it.

[Illustration: THE COOK]

We soon had another horse trade under way, however, which was quite a
ludicrous affair. It came about in this way. We were headed for Hudson
and that night we camped near the South Platte River, six miles from
Denver, at the State Fish Hatchery. It was late when we pulled in
there and when Norman, who was to be the cook, came to look for his
stove he couldn’t find it. Some one had stolen it out of the wagon at
Denver.

While the boys were getting supper under difficulties, I made the
acquaintance of two urchins and, as they lived near and had a
woodpile, I got them to bring us some wood. Later I met their father
and we got to talking horse. He said he had a cowpony that he had
bought of a “puncher” who was through there with a bunch of cattle,
and he was trying to make a farm horse of him. He had only a little
patch of land and light work, so I thought it would be a good place
for Kate and suggested he trade me the saddle pony for her.
Incidentally he could pay me twenty-five dollars “to boot.” We finally
compromised on fifteen dollars and were to look the animals over in
daylight before making the transfer.

Next morning, just as I was hitching up, he came over and said he
would take the mare, and asked me if the pony suited me. He told me he
had him fairly well broken to drive and thought I would have no
trouble working him if necessary, but that he had been a saddle pony
so long he did not take to harness willingly. “We won’t worry about
that,” I said, “I just want him for the boys to ride and I want Kate
to have good care. I’ll hitch him up and make him work if I need him.
First, however, I’ll have Pete go over and ride him.” So calling Pete,
I said, “Get your saddle and bridle and go over and catch that pony
and ride him over here. If you like him, we will trade.”

[Illustration: THE HOSTLER]

The man and I waited for some time for him to come back. Finally when
he did come he was on foot, and said he couldn’t catch the pony. So we
all went over and the man caught him. I thought the pony was a bit
“wild eyed,” but said nothing. It took two of us to put the saddle and
bridle on and then, just as Pete started to get on, I had a “hunch”
and took the bridle away from him and said, “I’ll ride him myself
first.” I threw the bridle over his head and put my foot in the
stirrup, but something I had learned years before prevented me from
getting on. I looked that pony in the face again and was sure I was
right, but just to prove it I put my foot in the stirrup again, took
hold of the pommel of the saddle, then put my weight on his back. That
was enough. He broke loose and did a stunt of high and lofty bucking
that would do credit to any bronco I had ever busted, with myself the
centre of operations, and when I could take my eyes off of him long
enough to look about I could see that both the boys were laughing, and
when the pony finally started jumping stiff-legged toward his owner,
with his head down and bawling, they rolled over in the grass and just
kicked. The man ran for his life and got behind a tree; the pony,
running into a barbed wire fence, stopped, and the circus was over.

Picking up my hat that had come off in my jumping about to keep out of
the pony’s way, I said, “If you will take off that saddle and bridle
we will be going.” And looking back as we drove away we saw the man
standing where we had left him, still looking at the pony. He had
never ridden a horse in his life probably and was as surprised as any
one at his antics.

We drove to Barr Lake and about four miles beyond for lunch. The
country was flat, the roads sandy, and we were tangled up a bit as to
direction, but finally arrived at Hudson about 6:30 P. M., and putting
the horses in the livery barn went to the hotel. It looked very much
like rain and here I thought we would rest a while.

The next morning, Thursday, the twenty-eighth, we remained in Hudson.
Norman had a stove made so he could do better work in the cooking
line. It was not much of a stove as stoves go, but for our purpose it
was fine. It was a flat piece of sheet iron with holes punched in it,
attached to six legs.

I made some inquiry regarding the roads and found they were quite
sandy along the railroad, but that if we were not afraid to cross the
open range we would have better traveling. The open range didn’t
scare us any. We had no fear of getting lost and decided at once to go
over the range to Fort Morgan. Our instructions were to go directly
east to the “D” ranch and then northeast to Fort Morgan, getting
directions from the “D” ranch. We got to Fort Morgan O. K., but
without any further directions.

Starting at 1 P. M. we were soon out on the range, driving over a
rolling country without a tree in sight, but plenty of good grazing,
and passed bunches of cattle now and then. Pete saw a badger he wanted
to shoot and, as he sat on the seat with me, he reached back for a
rifle, picked up a 22-calibre with short cartridges in it, and instead
of shooting the badger, shot Bess in the neck.

Pete was more surprised than Bess was. He seemed unable to move
afterward. Bess merely looked around and seemed to think a horse fly
had stung her. She still carries the bullet in her neck and seems none
the worse for it, but if Pete had picked up the other gun and the same
thing had happened, we would have lost a horse right there. Pete
learned something about guns right then that may be of value to him.

Shortly after this it began to rain, and it certainly was needed. We
drove on through the rain until we got near a ranch house where we
could get water. Here they had a windmill and were trying dry farming.
The rancher said it was dry all right and this was the first rain in
months.

The next morning it was still threatening rain when I got up, and a
couple of range horses were trying to get into the wagon. I drove them
away, but as it was wet and soggy I let the boys sleep, so that it was
eight-thirty before we started that morning. We had fortunately picked
up some dry wood in town the day before, which we kept in the wagon,
and so had no trouble in making a fire.

Starting off we found a fairly good trail which we could have used to
advantage, except for our wide-tread wagon and wide tires. We are just
beginning to find almost all the vehicles in this part of the country
are standard tread, and so plan to have our wagon cut down at the
first opportunity. We made about twelve miles by noon and camped on
the open range for lunch.

Most of the country we had just driven through was being fenced, but
like most newly settled communities in the West, the first settlers
seemed to have become discouraged or dried out, and had left. We found
hardly any one on the claims. We saw a good many cattle and the
buffalo grass was still fairly good grazing, and the rain of last
night will help. It was so cloudy and cool that we wore our coats or
sweaters all the morning. We saw plenty of dogs and hawks, but no
game.

[Illustration: NORMAN BRADLEY AND KATE]

We planned to drive to Wiggins this afternoon, which we made a guess
should be fifteen miles away, but did not get more than nine miles
before the threatening weather made us decide on an early camp to get
ready for a rain we were sure was coming. We had been driving across
country with no particular road and at a deserted ranch, where we
could get water, we camped. We tied down our wagon top and used our
wagon sheet for a lean-to kitchen, and got supper while the rain,
which had begun while we were getting ready, came down in torrents. It
rained nearly all night, but the ground was so dry it soaked up the
water like a sponge.

We had no more than unhitched the team when two kittens, veritable
skeletons, came into camp from the ranch house, and we were glad to
take them in out of the wet and feed them. Camp seemed more cheerful
with those kittens about. How they had managed to live we couldn’t
tell, but decided to take them along with us and leave them at the
first house.

The next morning, Saturday, the thirtieth, while hitching up the
horses, a man came along on a pony, and riding up to our wagon began
to talk about the rain, and what a blessing it was to the country,
etc. He had just got fairly launched on the subject when he saw the
kittens, and about that time they “sensed him,” and he got off his
pony and said, “Well, I didn’t forget you, but I was afraid you might
be dead.” It seems he was the owner of the claim we were on, and these
were his kittens. He had gone to town to get some work and was coming
out to see how things were, and had brought a bottle of milk in his
pocket for the kittens, in case they were still there and able to
drink it.

We visited with him for a while and then pulled out for Corona, or
Wiggins P. O., on the railroad, where we bought some oats for the
horses and oatmeal for ourselves, and then went on and made camp
alongside the railroad, about fifteen miles from Fort Morgan. Here
Kate kicked Dixie on the left hind leg, at the stifle-joint, cutting
quite a gash with the cork on her shoe, so that I sewed it up. Dixie
was so lame that we had to lead her. This delayed us so that we did
not get into Fort Morgan until 6:30 P. M. We ate our supper at a
restaurant and then drove out about a mile and camped.

[Illustration: NORMAN HARRIS AND DIXIE]

Fort Morgan is quite a prosperous little town of twenty-five hundred
population, and our camp that night was within sight and sound of the
lights and noises of a lively country town, made by the usual Saturday
night crowd. We began to feel cramped again. To camp between fences
near a railroad and a town gave me the feeling I imagine one must have
on moving from a big country home into a stuffy city flat.

Sunday, July 31. The rain we had two days ago was quite general over
this part of the country and, now that it is over, the weather is hot
and muggy. The roads are also sticky, and with a lame horse we do not
make very good progress. To begin with, we found after going about
three miles that we had forgotten our stove, so Pete rode Kate back
after it. Kate is picking up fast, but we had not intended working her
yet; still she deserved the six-mile extra ride for kicking Dixie.
After recovering our stove, we drove about a mile beyond Brush, which
was ten miles from Fort Morgan, for lunch, and then drove on to
Snyder, about five miles farther, on the South Platte River, and made
camp about 3 P. M. in a grove of cottonwood trees and turned the
horses loose to graze while we made a very comfortable camp.

The town of Snyder (six houses) was just across a long bridge on the
other side of the river and, as the water was not very good, we took
pails and went over and got a good supply from the town pump; also
purchased some eggs. The boys took a bath in the river while I
laundried the clothes. This was a specially good camping place as we
had plenty of wood and water, besides grass for the horses, and they
enjoyed the afternoon rest. We started our oatmeal and prunes cooking
in the fireless cooker as usual, and then turned in.

The next day we continued on down the valley through Hill Rose and on
toward Sterling. Ranchers looked prosperous, although the season had
been dry. Wheat and oats seemed to be the biggest part of the crop,
but beets were raised quite extensively, and some alfalfa, but it
looked poor.

Toward evening we were stopped by a woman who said her mare was cast
in a ditch and, as her husband was away, she and the children had been
trying for hours to get her up, but couldn’t,--and would we be good
enough to take one of our horses and pull her out? We stopped, of
course, and Norman Bradley and I walked over and had no difficulty in
rolling the animal over; and the mare ran off, followed by her colt,
none the worse for her experience.

When we got back to the wagon it was 6:30 P. M., so we decided to camp
right there. After we had our supper and were cleaning up by lantern
light, the woman’s husband, who had evidently just got home, came over
to thank us for getting his mare up, and by way of further showing his
appreciation, offered to give us a three-legged dog. We did want a
dog, but wanted a whole one, so declined his generous offer with
thanks. Just as we turned in, it began to rain again. The drought
seems to be broken and, while the rain does not improve the roads, it
is such a blessing to the country we are pleased also.

After getting already to start the next morning, we dressed up, that
is, we got out our “store clothes,” and our good shoes, and made
ourselves as presentable as possible, for we had heard that Sterling
was quite a good-sized town. We planned to go to the hotel for dinner
and stay and see the sights, as we had heard they had a street fair or
circus. We were disappointed in the town and the circus didn’t
interest us, but we had dinner at the hotel, which was the best in
town, and even the dinner disappointed us. We could get up a much
better one ourselves.

The only satisfaction we got out of the hotel was permission to go
into the dining-room without our coats. We remembered our last
experience at Delta, Colorado, just at the western end of the State,
where the landlady refused to let us into the hotel, and concluded
clothes did have something to do with our treatment here to-day.

Going over to the barn where we had left our horses, I found a rancher
with his wagon broken down, and he said he was twenty miles from home;
so I just got out our box of tools, bolts, washers, etc., and fixed
him up in short order. He wanted to pay me for the job, but I told him
I wasn’t a blacksmith; I was just a farmer, and being a farmer
himself, he knew we were not allowed by law to collect money for work
of that kind. He wasn’t long in seeing the point and, after telling me
he was convinced I had never belonged to any union and probably never
would, invited me to go home with him and stay a few days and rest up
my team. Being in a hurry, I had to decline.

I am just beginning to realize that I am never so much in a hurry as
when I am on a vacation. I always plan just a little more than can be
done during vacation time, and then usually do it all, which
necessitates one grand rush. Some time I am going to do as everybody
else does, and take it easy during my vacation and not be in any
hurry. Then I will not only have just as much fun, but come back to
work all rested up.

When we left Sterling at 4 P. M. the horses seemed in good spirits,
but the next morning Bess seemed tired out and Dixie seemed to have
lost her appetite. We were still leading Dixie on account of her
lameness, also Kate, and were driving Sally and Bess. We drove through
Iliff and eight miles to Proctor, then three miles toward Crook, when
we stopped for lunch.

It had been a fine cool morning with a nice breeze. The valley had
flattened out so that we could see for miles on each side. The high
rolling land in the distance on either side looked very much like a
desert and, while not a desert exactly, it really was of little value.
We heard that a new irrigation ditch was to be put through here from
the South Platte, by Canfield & Company, that would irrigate ten
thousand acres. Just the flood waters were to be used, taken out
between October and April, and a charge of thirty dollars per acre was
to be made, plus interest. I presume this water was to be stored in a
reservoir. Practically all the land on which any good crops are raised
between here and Denver we found was irrigated. The balance, on
account of the dry season, did not raise much of anything.

In the afternoon we drove through Crook and camped about four miles
east of there and about three miles west of Red Lion. Just before
making camp we met a party of horse traders who tried to work off
something on us in exchange for Sally, but as she was about the only
workable horse we had left, we knew better than to let her go, and
after an amusing half-hour we let them go without making any trade.
Bess seemed about “all in,” for the first time, and Dixie was not much
better, although not so lame.

The next morning, Thursday, August 4, Bess seemed so weak that we put
her behind with Dixie, and drove Sally and Kate, the first time Kate
had been in harness for a month. We drove by Red Lion, which we found
to be a sign on the railroad track, and on to Sedgwick, about thirteen
miles. Here Bess hung back so much that after lunch, this side of
Sedgwick, we put her in the harness again and to lighten the load the
boys rode Kate and Dixie, and I put the stay chain back on Sally, so
she pulled practically all the load. We then got along very well and
by 4:30 P. M. drove to Ovid, eight miles, and camped on Lodge Pole
Creek, making twenty-one miles, which we thought was doing wonders
with a tired lot of horses. We had a very good camp here on Lodge Pole
Creek, but it rained hard all night and the next morning.

We should have stayed there, as the roads were frightfully muddy, but
as we were only about seven and a half miles from Julesburg, we
concluded the sooner we got there the better. About 11:30 A. M.,
during a lull in the storm, I hitched up and we started, thinking the
horses would be better traveling in the direction of a barn, than
standing there shivering in the cold rain. Sally, with the stay chain
shortened up, pulled the wagon into Julesburg by 2:15 P. M., the boys
riding inside, as it rained all the time, and Kate and Dixie walking
behind. Reaching town we found a good barn, and, after taking care of
the horses, we repaired to a restaurant for lunch.

In the afternoon I had the blacksmith pull the shoes off of Kate and
Bess so they could rest up their feet while they were resting
themselves. This blacksmith, by the way, was quite a wonder in his
line and, when I learned of his ability, I got him to promise to cut
my wagon down the next day, which he did. He took the axles down (they
were steel), took four inches out of the middle of each, welded them
together again, and no one would know they had ever been touched. He
cut the wooden parts down, changed the brake, and we were ready to
start with a standard tread wagon, which we did the following Sunday
afternoon, after two days’ stop, which rested the horses, and the
change in the tread made it very much easier pulling.

Julesburg was not so large or so tough a town as I had expected to
find. It had quite a bad reputation some years ago, but, as with all
our frontier towns, time has remedied that.

Leaving Julesburg Sunday afternoon, the roads were not very good as it
had been raining more or less for several days. The wagon, however,
ran so much easier that we were soon five miles from town on the south
side of the river, and finding a good place to camp, with feed and
water (water in this country usually means an irrigation ditch), we
decided to go no farther. It was Sunday and we should not have started
except we wanted to get out of town. Two days in Julesburg made us
anxious to leave, so at this first good camp site we stopped.

Here we did some laundry work, took a bath, and cleaned up generally.
Talking with the farmers we find many who want to sell out. They have
had a very bad year. Even the irrigation or wet farmers seem to be in
bad shape, as water failed, dams went out, etc. I told them they were
no worse off than other people we had interviewed in the West and, if
they moved out, I would advise their going east, as it certainly was
dry west of here, where we had been, and everybody was complaining. I
think this sort of talk was good for them. It didn’t help except in
their minds. People are always more apt to feel better if they know
other people are worse off.

Moving on the next morning we passed Big Spring and about 4 P. M.
reached Brule. We were now, Monday, August 8, in Nebraska, and had
left Colorado, through which we had been traveling since the evening
of July 2. We had passed over all kinds of country in this State, from
the desert, over the Rocky Mountains, to the plains, and had navigated
the prairie schooner over all kinds of roads, so that now we felt we
were over the worst end of the trip from the point of traveling, but
so far as scenery was concerned, and good camping places, we didn’t
expect much from here on.

We had given up our kerosene stove at Denver and from here on wood for
fires was scarce. In fact, it had been ever since we left the stove
behind, and we were obliged to pick up wood along the road. Next time
we will know better than to part with a good stove, but I cannot say
that we missed any meals because we did not have it.

[Illustration: OUR HORSES ON THE OPEN RANGE NEAR DENVER]



Chapter XIV

Our Party Grows Smaller


Before getting to Brule we had crossed over to the north side of the
river, and arriving in town and a storm coming up, we drove into a
barn and went to the hotel for supper. We had come just fifteen miles
and had let the horses walk practically all the way. The storm soon
blew over, but we did not go on, preferring to let the roads dry up
some, so slept in the wagon in the barn.

Here we met a man by the name of Hoover, who was going to Hershey,
near North Platte. He was hauling household goods. He had been working
for some contractors on an irrigation job and was going home. Finding
the roads so muddy he wanted to unload his big stove and send it on by
freight, but we made a little fun of his doing so because he had a
fresh strong team, and I told him, as he was going our way, if he got
stuck we would pull him out. This allusion to his team needing any
help rather fussed him, and he said he guessed if we were going on in
the mud he could.

He had a wide-tired wagon also, which is about the worst thing to
handle in the mud, outside of an auto without chains, so we had our
troubles together. While his team was fresh and very good walkers we
travelled together and managed to keep up with him, much to his
surprise, without pushing our team very much. Starting out, we drove
down the valley on the north side of the river, or rather river bed;
there is not much water in the river this time of year. What would
ordinarily be there is in the irrigating ditches. The day was fine,
and outside of an occasional bad spot in the road we made fairly good
progress.

At noon we camped about twelve miles from Brule, going to the river to
water the horses. Near us was another party of campers; a large family
and three poor horses. We had lost track of Hoover. He started ahead
of us and evidently didn’t know a good camping place when he saw it,
or else decided not to stop at all. Toward evening we overhauled him
and we went into camp together.

After getting our camp into shape we invited Hoover to eat with us,
which he seemed glad to do, but insisted on paying for his share of
the grub. He seemed quite interested in our fireless cooker and camp
outfit, but couldn’t understand why he had not left us behind during
the day. I could have told him, but I didn’t. I noticed he did not
have a brake on his wagon, so that going down hill he had to go slow,
while I let our team trot down, holding the wagon with the brake. In
this way I made up all I lost on the level and up grades, and didn’t
worry the horses either.

The next morning, Wednesday, August 10, we drove on through Paxton and
Sutherland, and camped about ten miles from North Platte. We had been
making from twenty to twenty-five miles a day. When we reached
Sutherland Mr. Hoover left us, following a different road, eight miles
to his farm near Hershey. When we made camp, which was by the side of
an irrigation ditch as usual, the wind blew so hard we had to take the
cover off the wagon to keep it from being blown over.

As soon as the blow was over, the boys got supper while I measured out
the oats and fed the horses. As usual, they crowded about the wagon,
but Bess laid down before I got her nosebag ready, which was so
unusual that I remarked to the boys that she must have a touch of
colic. She would not eat and I was quite worried about her, but we had
supper and the boys turned in, leaving me sitting on the wagon tongue
with the lantern between my feet watching Bess. I had put a blanket on
her to keep her warm, as the night was chilly.

We had nothing in our commissary that would relieve colic, so picking
up the lantern I started down the road to a farm house I had seen in
the distance, when we were making camp. It was a long way to the
house, or it seemed so in the dark, and when I got there I couldn’t
make out whether any one was at home or not; at least I could not wake
up any one but the dog, so came back to camp.

My impression was that we were going to lose a horse. Colic is not
always fatal, but I felt that not having anything to give her to
relieve the condition, the chances were she might die.

[Illustration: A MID-DAY CAMP]

As I came near enough to the wagon to see it, the white canvas top
made it look twice as large as in the daylight, and Bess was standing
up between me and the wagon, throwing a shadow on the canvas that
startled me. She was eating grass and was apparently much better.

While walking about and adjusting her blanket I was astonished to find
a little colt. It was dead, but, as I buried it, I could not help
smiling at my diagnosis of the case, and wondering what the boys would
say in the morning when I told them. Just then Norman called out from
the wagon, “What are you doing over there anyway?”

Not thinking what I was saying, I replied, “Burying Bess’s colic.”

The next morning, Thursday, August 11, we drove slowly into North
Platte, and put our horses in a barn and went to a hotel to clean up.
Pete was to leave us and go home on the train, so we did some rapid
work in getting everything arranged. The two Normans had ridden
horseback across Colorado, about five hundred miles, had done the
cooking and packing since leaving Denver, and now that one was
leaving, our party was to be cut down to two, Norman Bradley and
myself. I am not sure but we were wishing we might board the train
also with Pete, but no one mentioned it, and as the train pulled out
we felt rather lonesome. We two walked back up town and, while Norman
was buying some groceries, I stopped in at the bank to get a check
cashed.

The last time I had been in North Platte was twenty years ago, when
traveling for N. W. Harris & Co., buying bonds. At that time I had
met a young man by the name of McNamara who was working in one of the
banks here, and as I had to spend Sunday in town, he came around to
the hotel and invited me to go and call on a young lady with him.

I may not get this story right as to details, but the facts I have not
forgotten, and when I found that the president of the bank in which I
went to get my check cashed was Mr. McNamara, I was immediately
reminded of the Sunday, many years ago, when this same Mr. McNamara,
then quite a young man, and I had gone to call on a young lady by the
name of Cody. He had evidently called there many times before, but at
this time there was another young man calling also, who had ridden up
on a bronco, and when this young man left, wishing to make the right
sort of impression on Miss Cody, who by the way was a daughter of Wm.
Cody, or “Buffalo Bill,” he allowed his horse to rear up and fall over
on him, breaking his leg. Of course, he made an impression right
there, and was taken into the house and cared for, and we left. I had
often wondered since how it came out, _viz._, which had made the more
favorable impression, and now that I had met Mr. McNamara again I
said, “Well, whom did Miss Cody marry?” And he replied laughingly,
“The fellow who broke his leg, of course; it always ends that way.” So
after many years my mind was finally set at rest regarding a matter
into which I had often thought to inquire.

I had a short visit with Mr. McNamara and the folks in the bank, and
then gave up the afternoon to getting things ready to start in the
morning.

The next morning we left town at 10 A. M., crossed to the south side
of the river and drove until 1 P. M. The roads were good and the
country looked better on this side of the valley; the hills were close
to us on the south, and to the north the valley was very wide, as the
north fork of the Platte comes down and joins the south fork just
below here. Shortly after noon we met a party moving into northern
Nebraska. They had come up from Kansas. They had twelve horses and two
wagons, and had just camped in a schoolhouse yard.

The odd thing about this country was that there were hardly any
fences; each schoolhouse, however, stood in the middle of an acre of
ground, with a fence all around, which made a good place to camp.
There was usually a pump, a wood shed, and grass. What more could a
party want? They could turn their horses loose to graze and be happy,
especially as it was vacation time, and no scholars or teacher to
interfere.

This party told us they had been having quite a time with their horses
and colts, as on this main road they had met so many autos, and
inquired if we had had much trouble that way. Needless to say we
didn’t and hadn’t. Our animals were all broken to everything,
including going without eating when necessary. The only special
comment these folks had to make regarding our trip, when we told them
how far we had come, was that our horses didn’t look it.

We were tempted to stop and camp with them, but as it was early we
concluded not to lose half a day, and so went on. A shower that blew
up shortly after we left came near soaking us before we could get the
sheet down. It rained so much that it made the roads muddy, and by
night we had made only eighteen miles.

We had reached the National Soldiers’ Cemetery, and on inquiring if
there was any objection to our camping there, were made to feel at
home by Mr. Ingle, the superintendent. He showed us a good place to
camp, offered to let us cook on his stove if we wanted to, and
suggested we put our horses in his pasture. We did not need to use his
stove as we had dry wood, but had to hurry to get our supper and make
things tight for the night, as it soon began to rain again and kept it
up all night. I guess we were tired, because I remember we turned in
early, and when I woke the next morning I found the lantern still
burning. I had gone to sleep so quickly that I forgot to blow it out,
and slept soundly all night with it lighted and hanging right over my
head.

The next day, August thirteenth, was fine and clear, and we decided
not to start on until the roads had dried up some, and so visited with
Mr. Ingle for a few hours. He showed us the cemetery where all the old
soldiers who were killed in the Indian fights were buried, and told us
about this country when he first came through here as a young man in
the army. Then they were having more or less trouble with the Indians.
Now the Indians are all gone and he is an old man, looking after the
graves of those who died or were killed at that time. There is just
one Indian buried here, Spotted Horse, a staunch friend of the whites.

Norman was quite interested in the process of moving the bodies of
some of the soldiers that had been placed in the wrong locations, and
busied himself helping the men move them while Mr. Ingle talked to me
about the days when this country still belonged to the Indians.

He had a desk in his office, made of cedar. It had been made by hand
many years ago out of cedar cut from the hill back of the cemetery.
Sawed out by hand and fastened with wooden pins, it was nevertheless a
fine piece of furniture. His office was full of Government records of
soldiers and correspondence, and would be a good place for any one to
pick up old army tales, which could be written up under the trees
beside the graves, with no one to disturb.

This cemetery, miles away from any town, surrounded by a brick wall
and filled with trees shading every corner, seemed a very appropriate
place for those old Indian fighters to rest, and we were glad we had
had the opportunity of seeing it, and talking with the superintendent,
who knew so much about the men who were buried there.

Mr. Ingle wanted us to spend Sunday with him and, if time had
permitted, we should have liked to do so, but with our usual haste we
left at twelve o’clock, after selling our old saddle to one of his men
for seven dollars. We got our pay by cashing a check from Mr. Ingle,
less seven dollars, and as it was a Government pension check we took
no risk. As he wanted a dollar more I cashed his personal check on the
First National Bank of North Platte. I just mention this to illustrate
how checks are used as currency in this country and no questions
asked. Later I stopped at a country store and offered ten dollars in
payment for some small article and was told they could not change it
unless I would take small checks. They had cashed so many they were
out of currency. We managed to scrape up the change and went on.

Later, passing through a small town, I went into the railroad station
to send a telegram, for which the charges were sixty cents, and handed
the ticket agent the ten dollars. He said he would have to go over
town and get it changed if I did not have anything smaller. Just then
I thought of the check for one dollar that Mr. Ingle had given me, and
so I said, “I have a check for one dollar, if that will go.” He
snapped me up with “Why didn’t you say so before?” and handed out
forty cents, waiting until I had produced the check and endorsed it,
when he put it in the cash drawer, hardly looking at it. I left,
wondering how easy it might be to put bogus checks through, if even
the railroad company took them that easy. Well, we didn’t have to try
to pass any bogus checks, but it did seem that the people were a bit
careless.

Leaving the cemetery we drove to Brady Island, where we crossed to the
north side of the river on a bridge that seemed a mile long, but in
only one small channel was there any water running. We drove on a few
miles over sandy roads and then camped, about eleven miles from
Gothenburg. The next morning, we drove through Gothenburg, not
expecting to go far, but looking for a good camping place, which we
didn’t find. It was a sandy, muddy road to Gothenburg, and then we
drove six miles to Willow Island and five more to Cozad, and found no
good camp site. Then we thought we might come to a creek about two
miles farther on, but after driving three miles and not finding one,
we camped alongside of the road, making about twenty-five or
twenty-six miles for the day.

We met several prairie schooners to-day. One party of young men, going
to Sutherland, stopped us to ask about the roads west and where to
cross the river. Just before starting up one of them asked me where we
were from, and when I told him California, he seemed speechless for a
minute, but finally came to and, as we started up, asked me this
question, which I didn’t get a chance to answer--and perhaps he did
not expect me to--_viz._, “Say, stranger, where are you going to, or
don’t you know?”

Some way that question seemed to strike me as especially funny, and
the more I thought about it the funnier it seemed, until I found
myself laughing heartily. Norman didn’t hear his question, and when I
told him what I was laughing at, he said, “I suppose that fellow
thought we had started out and didn’t know enough to stop,” which
remark set me to laughing again and, when I could answer, I said,
“Well, I think he was perfectly justified in asking the question.
After this if any one asks us where we are from we will tell them from
North Platte, and if they ask us where we are going we can tell them
Kearney. This will be enough for them to know and will save
conversation and may keep us out of the lunatic asylum.”

We had shot a young rabbit, which we had for breakfast, and Norman
kept the foot for luck. The next day was foggy and, as we drove along
slowly, Norman shot two jack rabbits with the rifle, making a double,
so to speak. He saw only one of the jacks, and as he shot it the other
jumped into sight and ran away, but didn’t get far when Norman’s
second shot knocked him over. This we considered an omen of good luck,
as well as marksmanship.

Later we pulled an automobile out of a mud hole with Sally, after
having some fun with the men who were trying to start it. I charged
them two dollars for doing it, which amused Norman greatly. We divided
the money, two silver dollars, and drove on.

Next, Norman spied a quail sitting on a nest close to the road, on a
perfectly bare patch of ground. How a quail had the nerve to make a
nest in such an exposed place was more than we could tell. Mr.
Roosevelt would probably say that we didn’t see it in any such place.
To be sure, however, we stopped, walked over to her, and she ran away,
which proved that she was alive; and we counted sixteen eggs, which
proved that she was setting on them. There wasn’t anything as big as a
match to hide it, and the public road was not more than ten feet away.

Without molesting the nest we drove on about half a mile to Buffalo
Creek and made our noon camp. Here there was plenty of grass, and we
stayed until 4 P. M., and then drove on six miles to Lexington, where
we stayed all night. Our horses are doing fairly well, except Sally.
She is lazy and needs to be prodded most of the time.

Leaving Lexington at seven-thirty the next morning we had fair roads,
with the exception of a mud hole now and then, until we reached
Overton. The country is sparsely settled, flat, and uninteresting. At
Overton we were stopped by a fellow who said he wanted to buy a horse,
and I offered to sell him Sally, and after dickering on the price for
a while he said he would give me a saddle horse for her. He brought
out the saddle horse which looked like a good one, but I didn’t want
to trade horses; I wanted to sell one. Having spent an hour doing a
lot of talking to the edification of most of the population in the
little town, we drove on without selling Sally. Norman thought we
should have traded, just to be doing something, as the going was
monotonous and a new horse would give us something new to play with;
but I concluded we were better off without a horse we would have to
watch, tie up at night, and possibly find harder work disposing of
than Sally.

During the afternoon we drove through Simmons and Elm Creek, over some
dirt roads that were fine. It looked like rain, but a strong wind came
up and we concluded it would blow the rain away, so we were in no
hurry to get our supper over. We had camped about eleven miles from
Kearney, turned our horses loose, and were just washing up the dishes
after supper by lantern light, when a hard thunder shower came up, and
by the time we had got things under cover it was raining hard. Before
turning in for the night I concluded, as there was a field of alfalfa
near by that was not fenced, that I had best get the horses up for
fear they might stray into it during the night and get foundered. So
putting on my rubber coat and boots, I went out and hunted them up
and, with the aid of the lightning flashes, brought them up and tied
them to the wagon, and then we turned in and listened to the rain on
our canvas cover for about a minute, and the next minute (so it
seemed) it was morning, and the rain was over.

As we turned out that morning the country looked as if it had been
literally soaked; water stood in the fields, and the dirt roads that
were so fine the night before were seas of mud. It was still cloudy,
but we concluded, if we delayed starting, the sun would soon come out
and dry things up a bit and make it easier going. By eleven o’clock it
was still cloudy and we decided not to wait any longer, so hitched up
and drove very slowly through the mud the eleven miles to Kearney,
where we arrived at about 3 P. M., having stopped near the midway sign
for lunch. This sign, supposed to be half-way across the continent,
says:

            “1,733 miles to Frisco, Boston 1,733.”

We wanted to change the sign so it would read

        “1,600 miles to Los Angeles, and 800 miles to Chicago”

but knew no one would see any sense in putting up such a sign. There
did seem some sense in putting up this midway sign, although I told
Norman it seemed as though we should have come to it sooner. It seemed
too far east considering the time we had been on the road,--now three
months,--as it appeared as though we had gone _more_ than half way to
the Atlantic Ocean. Norman, however, thought if we had been going west
instead of east we would have expected to find the sign farther east;
at least we would have about the same feelings regarding the distance,
hardships of travel, etc., whichever way we were headed.

This reminded me of the old story of the Catholic priest, who was
riding a mule into town over a very muddy road, and meeting one of his
flock he said: “Good-morning, Pat, is it very bad going this morning?”
“Yes, Your Reverence,” said Pat, “and it is just as bad coming.” And I
believe they were both right.

Here at Kearney we decided to stay three or four days and rest up the
team and see if we could not get away from the rain. We seem to have
been traveling in it most of the time since leaving Denver and
conclude, if we stay here a few days, it may get ahead of us.

The first thing we did after putting our horses up in the livery barn
was to get our mail. Here I found a note from Mr. Adair, Cashier of
the City National Bank, asking me to call at once on a very important
matter. I concluded he probably had something to sell and had heard
somewhere that I was liable to come through his town, so I put the
note in my pocket and we went to the Midway Hotel and cleaned up,
planning to see Mr. Adair the next day.

The next morning, Thursday, August 18, was still cloudy. After looking
around town to see if it had improved much since I was there last,
about fifteen years ago, I went around to the livery and looked the
horses over and told the proprietor, Mr. E. C. Duncan, I wanted him to
sell Sally for me, if he could, during the next day or two. Then
recalling the request of Mr. Adair to call and see him on an important
matter, I went around to the bank. Here I found them very much
exercised about me. They said my father had wired them that I was
traveling across country with a wagon, and was due at Kearney about
this time,--and would they hunt me up at once, spare no expense, and
deliver to me the very important message he had sent me in their care?
I asked impatiently for the message, feeling something very unusual
had happened. Perhaps some one was sick or dead, and when they told me
that they had given the message to one of their men with instructions
to phone up and down the line and, as soon as he had located me, to
start in his auto with the message and deliver it to me as soon as
possible, I was quite worried. Just then a messenger came in and
reported that I had not gone through town, and if I wasn’t at any of
the hotels, they were going to take the road back toward North Platte
and see if they could find me. When informed that I was in the bank he
started out to find the man in the auto and get the telegram, and when
told it would be an hour before he could be back, I inquired about the
trains for Chicago and found one left at twelve o’clock. It was just
10:30. I would have time to get ready to leave town and be back at the
bank to get the telegram by the time the messenger could return, if I
hurried.

I returned at once to the hotel. Norman was somewhere about town and I
knew I could find him before train time, so I packed up my belongings
and his, paid the hotel bill, went to see Mr. Duncan, and told him to
take care of my horses and wagon, sell Sally, and, if I didn’t ever
come back, I would write him what to do with them. Thus I got back to
the bank just as the man drove up in his auto and brought in the
telegram. I opened it rather hurriedly and, glancing at its contents,
heaved a sigh of relief. No one was dead; no one was seriously sick;
just a case of important business which needed my attention. I was
almost inclined to be provoked because no one was dead. I had fully
expected something as bad from all the fuss, and here I was ready to
leave in thirty minutes for Chicago just on account of business
matters, when I had forgotten I ever had any business.

By this time my momentum had carried me out into the street, and
running across Norman I said, “Come on, kid, we are going to catch
that twelve o’clock train for Chicago.”

“Why, what’s wrong?” he said, very much surprised.

“Everything and nothing,” I said. “Just come along or we will miss the
train. I have got everything fixed and if I knew when I was coming
back I would let you stay here until then, but I can’t tell, so you
had better come along.”

We caught the train and discussed it afterward and concluded business
had no place in an overland trip. Norman left me the next morning at
Davis Junction to go home to Rockford, and I came on to Chicago,
arriving Friday, August 19.

Whether this is the end of the trip or not, I cannot say, but my
impression is that as soon as I can get the business attended to, I
will return to Kearney and take up the trail where I left off, and
finish it if I have to go alone. In the meantime the horses are having
a much needed rest and the prairie schooner is left at anchor without
a soul on board. Let us hope her journey is not over.



Chapter XV

Alone in a Prairie Schooner


Kearney is about eight hundred miles from Chicago, and with fair wind
and weather I started on the trip alone. No, not exactly alone either.
There were five of us, including the dog, as we left Kearney at
3 P. M., Saturday, September 3. Sally had been disposed of, but Kate,
Dixie, and Bess were in good condition, having had two weeks’ rest,
and I had brought Cress to keep me company and watch the wagon. She
did the latter vigilantly, but was a very poor conversationalist. How
I managed to get back to Kearney in two weeks, and why I came alone,
is really not so important as the fact that I got back, and did start
alone; the why-for is merely incidental.

My aim was to get over that eight hundred miles as quickly as possible
and not hurt the horses. It looked easy, and as the horses were
rested, I thought I could make at least twenty-five miles per day,
which ought to land me at the farm at Williams Bay, Wisconsin, October
4 or 5. There were, however, a good many things I had not counted on,
which, while they added to the difficulties, did not expedite my
journey.

My first stop was at Gibbon, fourteen miles out of Kearney, where I
put up at Bill Smith’s livery, got supper at a restaurant, and slept
in the wagon. It rained nearly all night, which didn’t make the going
any better. Bill Smith was quite a horseman in his day, and had owned,
according to his story, Smuggler, Acton, and one or two more famous
race horses.

The next morning, Sunday, it was foggy, and I did not pull out till
nine-thirty, leaving Smith still talking about race horses. I drove
through Shelton and on about five miles farther, where I got my dinner
alongside of the road, and, as it had dried up and the sun came out, I
hung all the blankets out on the wagon to air, as I found things a bit
musty from the two weeks’ lay-over at Kearney, on account of having
been put away damp.

Putting everything away again I drove on through Wood River, which is
fourteen miles from Gibbon. I should have stopped there as a storm was
coming up, but as it was only 4 P. M. and the roads were getting
better, I kept on for about two miles, thinking I would find a better
camping place and get settled before it rained, but I lost out. Of a
sudden it turned loose, and, before I could get the wagon sheet down,
it was raining hard and the wind was blowing a gale. I turned into a
farm yard and got behind a barn to keep from being turned over, and
from this shelter I managed to get the sheet down, don my rubber coat
and boots, and help the farmer get his barns closed up. He allowed me
to bring my horses in out of the storm.

Here I spent another night sleeping and eating in the wagon during the
rain, and had only made sixteen miles, which was not up to my schedule
of twenty-five, and muddy roads in sight.

The next day, starting at 10 A. M. in the rain, I managed to reach
Grand Island, sixteen miles, by 4:30 P. M., where I stopped for the
night, and filled my grub box with eggs, bacon, oatmeal, etc. The
country about here looks fine, splendid crops, and land selling at one
hundred dollars per acre. The horses have only been walking thus far,
but they are walking fast; to-morrow, if possible, we will start to
drive in earnest, and I hope to make at least thirty miles, or at
least reach Central City, which is twenty-four miles.

Leaving Grand Island the roads were better, and I got to Chapman,
twelve miles, by ten-thirty; reached Central City at 2:30 P. M. and
kept on to Clark, eleven miles more, making thirty-five miles for the
day, which was the farthest we had ever driven in one day. Chapman is
a small place, but Central City is a fine little town and looked very
clean and prosperous. Clark is just a little hamlet.

The roads to-day were fine, except a mile or two of sand. The country
through which I passed was as fine a farming section as I had seen
anywhere. Incidentally I saw a few yellow blackbirds among a flock of
crow blackbirds, the first I had seen anywhere, except at Delevan
Lake, Wisconsin, several years ago.

It is thirty-one miles from my camp here to-night to Columbus and I am
going to try to drive that far to-morrow with Kate and Dixie. Bess
shows signs of a sore neck and so I decide to take her out of harness
for to-morrow and lead her.

Wednesday, September 7, starting at 7:15 A. M., I reached Duncan,
twenty-three miles, at twelve-thirty. Starting on again at two-thirty
I reached Columbus at 5 P. M., making from thirty to thirty-two miles
for the day, which made up for the first three or four days of slow
travel. The country all along here looks prosperous. I drove across
Crystal Creek between Duncan and the town of Crystal Creek, and over
the Loup River, just at the town of Columbus. As I turn in, it looks
like rain again. It certainly is not ideal camping weather.

The following morning, after the usual rain during the night, I was
late in getting started. Before leaving Columbus a bright thought had
come to me. It was to telegraph to an old chum of mine by the name of
Lewis, who was living in Omaha, to come out to Fremont and ride into
Omaha with me.

After getting this telegram off, I started on toward Fremont. There
was a cold north wind blowing, and what few people I met driving had
on overcoats, and were wrapped up in lap robes. I got as far as
Schuyler for dinner. This was only eighteen miles for the morning, but
far enough considering the roads which were bad again, on account of
the rain. I tried here to connect up with Lewis over the phone, but
couldn’t. Then I drove on to Rodger, eight miles farther, where I
managed to talk to Lewis over the phone. He says he will meet me
to-morrow night at the Ono Hotel at Fremont, at 6 P. M. It seemed good
to hear a familiar voice and I shall be truly glad to have some
company. Cress manages to relieve me of any care for the wagon when I
leave it temporarily, as she will not allow any one to look into it.
It is seventy-five miles from Rodger to Omaha and I have made
twenty-six miles to-day, in spite of bad roads, so feel encouraged.

I went over to a hotel for supper and when it was called, the men
(about twenty) filed into the dining-room, dropped into the chairs,
ate everything in sight, never said a word and, when through, got up
and filed out in the same way. It was a queer performance, but the
meal was not so bad. It consisted of scrambled eggs, cold meat, fried
potatoes, coffee, bread and butter, beans, preserves, and cake, and
water in beer bottles--all for twenty-five cents. It wasn’t as clean
as my kitchen, but I get tired eating alone, so like to drop into a
hotel occasionally and try some one else’s cooking and see different
kinds of human nature.

The next day I drove twenty-five miles to Fremont, passing through
Ames on the way. Ames was once quite a town. A sugar beet refinery was
located here; also large feeding barns for sheep, but the sugar beet
refinery, and sheep barns, are out of commission and the people have
moved away and the town site is for sale, including all the barns and
empty houses. Question: What is a town site and houses worth if there
are no people in the town to occupy the houses, or any excuse for
getting them to move in? I found one family of women folks who hadn’t
money enough to move, as they explained when I stopped to water the
horses, so I made a donation and moved on.

From here into Fremont the road was very good, so that I arrived at 4
P. M. I had seen a great many posters on the fences and telegraph
poles as I drove along and there seemed to be something familiar about
the picture. On closer examination I was surprised to find it was my
friend Lewis’ picture. He was running for the State Legislature.
Passing a livery stable in town I was hailed by the proprietor who
asked me if my name was Harris.

Quite astonished I pulled up and said, “Yes, who are you?”

He laughingly replied, “I’m only the livery man, but I was told by Mr.
Lewis to have you put up here and he would be back shortly.”

“Well, I like his nerve,” I said.

“Most people do,” said he.

“I believe you,” I replied, and came down.

Mr. Lewis soon appeared and we had a chance to talk over old times
while driving into Omaha the next day, Saturday. Sunday I spent with
him and his family. He has a country place of about ten or fifteen
acres, and while their house was large enough, I insisted on his
sleeping in the wagon with me, much to the disgust, I think, of Mrs.
Lewis, who thought I should be glad of a good bed. They have a very
interesting family and I enjoyed my Sunday with them very much.

Monday, Lewis offered to go with me across the river and through
Council Bluffs to Weston as guide. I had come all the way to Omaha
without a guide and without getting lost or off the trail, but I
accepted his offer gladly. Much to his disgust and my amusement he got
lost in the Bluffs, and we had to make several inquiries regarding the
road and did not reach Weston until after dark, and just in time for
him to catch a train back to Omaha.

Having “roasted” him considerably for getting lost, I concluded I had
had fun enough at his expense to call it even, but he evidently
thought differently, for he wrote up my trip for the Omaha
_World-Herald_, including several pictures, and then sent me a copy
with the remark, “Now will you be good?”--and I had to admit he had
got ahead. If he wasn’t a good guide, he was a good scribe. All over
that section of Iowa, where the _World-Herald_ was taken, the farmers
came out with a copy of the paper and stopped me and wanted to ask me
questions, and look me and the outfit over. I was thankful when I got
out of its territory.

The State of Iowa is familiar to the traveling public that travel in
trains, and it is considered one of the best farming States in the
Union. Admitting the many advantages possessed by the State, for me it
presented few attractions. It rained every other day on an average
while I was driving across it; when it did not rain every other day,
it rained two days in succession.

Passing from Council Bluffs through Weston, I followed what is called
the “River to River Road” as far as Newton, Iowa. This is a road the
citizens of Iowa are very proud of, and it runs across the State to
Davenport. While it is kept up as well as possible, it is nothing but
a dirt road after all, and rain does not help it any, as I discovered
on entering the State, and was never able to forget, as it was one
struggle with rain and mud all the way.

I imagine if a profile map of this cross section of the State were
made, it would look like a lot of old-fashioned beehives set closely
together, or a lot of eggs packed closely in sawdust, with the big
ends sticking out about one-third of the way. Driving through such a
country one is either going up, or going down, most of the time, and
what might have been an easy pull up, and a slide down, resolved
itself into a desperate struggle to get up, and a pull going down, on
account of the mud. This was, of course, such a drag on the horses
that I sometimes despaired of getting through with them anywhere near
as soon as I had planned, but there were many amusing incidents _en
route_ which helped break the monotony.

Near Guthrie Center I met a very large red-faced woman in the road.
She seemed much excited and out of breath. Stopping me she said her
husband was stuck in the mud at the foot of the hill,--and would I
pull him out?--she couldn’t. I hurried on to the bottom of the hill
much excited myself, only to find a wagon stuck in the mud, and the
man, an old soldier, bewailing his luck. I pulled up short and
laughingly said, “I thought you were stuck in the mud, but I see it is
your wagon.” I saw he was not in any mood to be laughed at, so I got
down, and without saying any more took Bess out and asked him to
unhitch his poorest horse, and I would pull him out.

He seemed quite disgusted and said, “Why don’t you take your team and
put them on ahead of mine? You can’t pull her out with one horse.”

Still, to make a long story short, I did, and he apologized for his
team and said they could have pulled the wagon out if they had been
fresh, but they had pulled that load all the way from Guthrie Center.
As I was putting Bess back to the wagon I could not help saying, “Yes,
I am sure if your team had been fresh they could have pulled you out,
but it is a long way to Guthrie Center, and this mare has only pulled
her share from Los Angeles, California, and is quite fresh, you see.”

Climbing up into the wagon and reaching over for the lines I could not
help but smile at the old man. He took his hat off and walking up
alongside of the wagon, as I released the brake, he said, “Good Lord,
stranger, I might have known you didn’t belong in these parts, or you
wouldn’t have put yourself out to help me. I have been here an hour
and a half, and lots of passers, and no one but you offered to help. I
wish you good luck and lots of it.” I promised Bess an extra feed of
oats that night on the old man’s account, and I hope he never gets
stuck again where his wife can’t pull him out.

I had expected to reach Des Moines, Sunday, the eighteenth, and meet
Mr. Lingle, who had offered to come out and spend a few days of his
vacation with me in the schooner. As I was behind my schedule and had
no way of telling when I would reach town, I telephoned into Des
Moines and got my friend, Mr. Hippee, to bring Mr. Lingle out in his
auto to meet me.

This arrangement resulted in my meeting Mr. Polk and Mr. Hippee,
together with Mr. Lingle, in their auto just east of Adel at 11 A. M.,
Monday morning, the nineteenth. I was just twenty-four hours behind my
schedule, but in view of the weather, and the going, I was much
farther along than I had expected to be.

After a few words of greeting the auto went back, and Mr. Lingle and I
continued on into Des Moines, which we reached at 6 P. M. Here we
deserted the wagon for the hotel and spent a very enjoyable evening
with friends.

[Illustration: WE ARRIVE AT KEMAH]

From here on we had two days without rain, and, with fairly good
roads, we drove through Colfax, Newton, Kellogg, Grinnell, Brooklyn,
and to Victor before it began again. From Victor into Ladora it rained
hard and continued raining all night and all the next day. We had made
very good progress, however, averaging about thirty miles per day for
four days and not driving very hard either. Mr. Lingle would ride the
lead horse several miles each day and, just as I was beginning to get
used to good roads, and he to a prairie schooner, it had to begin
raining again and Mr. Lingle had to return to “store clothes” and the
city. He left me at Ladora, where I remained all day, while the rain
played havoc with the roads.

Leaving here and going on through Marengo I arrived at Cedar Rapids,
Monday, September 26, having driven through three towns of the Amana
Colony along Bear Creek and the Iowa River, and through another rain
storm or two. By way of diversion I stopped long enough in Cedar
Rapids to call on some friends, who had compassion enough on me to
take me out for dinner.

I had another amusing experience at Marion, just after leaving Cedar
Rapids. I had left my wagon at the livery stable that night and
concluded to stay at the hotel. I was sorry afterward, but I concluded
to add this to my experience and stayed. The hotel was evidently full.
Court must have been in session by the conversation I overheard at the
table and in the office afterward. Wishing to retire, I had to hunt up
the landlady and find where I was to sleep. It seemed to be quite a
problem, but I was finally ushered into a closet off the main hall,
that contained two cots, a small table with a lamp on it, and nothing
else--not even a chair. I was told to leave the door open for fresh
air, and not to blow out the light as another man would occupy the
second cot.

My first thought was to go back to the schooner, but I had never slept
in a closet before and I might never get another chance; besides, I
wondered who else would be fool enough to sleep there, so I said
nothing and turned in. Before I went to sleep the other man came in.
He turned out to be a Dago junk dealer. We got quite well acquainted.
At least, I did with him. He told me where he lived, and all about his
business and family, and when he finally thought to ask me a question,
it was this: “What are you peddling?” He had blown out the lamp and
turned in, so he could not see the contortions I went through before I
could answer. When I thought it was safe to talk, I told him I was not
peddling anything, just taking some horses to Chicago. This seemed to
satisfy him and we let it go at that.

[Illustration: THE LAST ANCHORAGE OF THE PRAIRIE SCHOONER]

The next morning we left the stable about the same time. Starting out
in his express wagon, with a poor decrepit old horse hauling some old
iron, he took off his hat, and wished me good luck. I found him very
human; in fact, I think I should have liked that Dago. He seemed very
much like a white man. He didn’t grumble about sleeping in the closet,
or about the weather, so I followed his example the best I could and
have simply remembered that I made his acquaintance there.

Leaving Marion I drove through Springville, Martelle, and Brockton;
then to Anamosa and from there to Amber. At Amber I bought a
black-and-tan foxhound of a Mr. Weiss. I had Cress for a watch dog,
but things were so quiet about the wagon that I wanted a dog that
would make a noise, and also chase rabbits along the road, so as to
make a bit of a diversion. This dog’s name was Joe, and from here to
Williams Bay he and Cress made it very interesting for all the rabbits
that came in their way.

We now made quite a presentable appearance and Joe lent quite the
necessary touch to the outfit. A prairie schooner should have some
sort of a hound following it. Cress had ridden in the wagon and I had
overlooked the necessity of having a thin hound-like dog, trotting
along behind, to complete the outfit. Now, however, we were strictly
in style.

We go on through Monmouth and Maquoketa, and I made my last camp in
Iowa about two miles from Preston Junction, after passing through the
only real good piece of timber since leaving Denver. Just before going
into camp the road followed a long ridge from which I had a fine view
of the surrounding country, which is still rolling.

Getting an early breakfast, and catching up the horses, I was soon on
my way to Sabula, which I reached at 2:30 P. M. The valley of the
Mississippi looked good to me that morning as I drove down into it
from the hills and, as I drove the wagon onto a barge, to be ferried
over to Savanna from Sabula, I felt that I was nearly home.

Mr. Bradley, who had kept track of my progress, met me here at Savanna
and stayed with the schooner, taking his old place in the galley until
we got to Pecatonica. The weather in Illinois does not seem much
better than in Iowa, but it did not rain Saturday or Sunday, and in
these two days we drove through Mt. Carroll, Lanark, Shannon, and
Freeport.

[Illustration: WE TURN KATE OUT TO PASTURE]

Monday morning at Pecatonica Mr. Bradley took the train for Rockford
and I drove in alone. When I reached Rockford it was raining hard and
it was still raining when I left for Beloit, Wisconsin, the next
morning.

I had spent the night with Mr. Bradley and his family, and we planned
for him to come up to Beloit in the afternoon, on the train, and drive
with me over to the farm. It is only fifty miles from here to the end
of my journey, so I started out cheerfully through the rain and mud.

At Beloit, I met Bradley as planned, and we found a splendid place for
a camp that night in the woods, about seven miles east of town. While
we got supper the dogs put in the time running rabbits around a patch
of brush just back of us, and it was quite a temptation to leave
supper and go and shoot one, but we put it off until afterward, and
then it was dark, and too late.

We had a typical camp here, and when we had turned the horses loose
for the night and got everything in shape, we lighted our pipes and
spent the evening discussing the trip. It was our last camp.
To-morrow, if nothing unforeseen happened, we would reach our
destination and the trip would be over.

It had been an especially interesting as well as enjoyable one to all
concerned. The Doctor and Bob had enjoyed the desert end very much;
Mr. Bradley the trip over the mountains; and to the boys (the two
Normans), who had made the trip from Grand Junction to Nebraska, it
was a new as well as novel experience. The total distance travelled
had been 2,492 miles. Deducting the two weeks’ lay-off at Kearney, the
trip had been made in four months and four days, or an average of
twenty miles per day, which, considering we had the same horses all
the way, we thought was creditable.

I was reminded again of how near I had come to my schedule when
Bradley said, “To-morrow will be October fifth.” When I left Kearney I
had planned to be at the farm by the fifth of October, and here I was
almost certain to do it, in spite of all the setbacks I had
encountered, in the way of rain and roads. This was only another
instance of our good fortune during the whole trip. We had somehow
managed to be at given places when we planned to be. We were very
fortunate in not breaking down or getting lost, and in always having
enough to eat and drink.

[Illustration: BESS ALSO IS TURNED OUT: “GOOD OLD BESS”]

The one thing which seemed to stand out more prominently than any
other, however, as we discussed it that night, was the fact that no
one had been sick. In spite of all the bad water, and the canned
stuff, which might have made some one of us sick, we had got through
it all, including the intense heat, without any one being laid up.
This I attributed largely to the fact that we had the advice of a
doctor who did not want to be bothered with sick folks on the trip. At
home we might not have taken his advice, but on this trip we did take
it, and were not sick, and the Doctor wasn’t bothered. It was probably
very late when we finally turned in, but this is not surprising under
the circumstances.

The next day we drove the remaining twenty miles, arriving at the farm
at 4 P. M., and the thing was done. The horses were turned loose, our
luggage put away, and the overland trip of 1910 was a thing of the
past.

                        *    *    *    *    *

No more camp fires, and no more camping in the open places, with the
trail ahead. The city calls, and even here, before I get into my store
clothes, a gentleman is awaiting me with a request to take the first
train for New York. So quickly am I whisked from the gipsy life I have
been leading, to the whirlpool of a big city, that I am fairly dazed,
and I hardly recover before I find myself getting off a train in the
Grand Central Station, New York. Yes, it is surely over. The Castle is
built--even to the moat, and the draw-bridge is up. We cannot go back.

                              THE END





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