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Title: The Book of Camp-Lore and Woodcraft
Author: Beard, Daniel Carter, 1850-1941
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    GARDEN CITY            NEW YORK






BOYS, if this foreword is too "highbrow" for your taste, skip it,
but the author don't believe you will, and even if he has used some
dictionary words he feels that you will forgive him after he tells you
that he did so only because of the lack of time to think up more simple
terms. What he wants to say is that....

_Boyhood_ is a wonderful and invaluable asset to the nation, for in the
breast of every boy there is a divine spark, materialists call it the
"urge of youth," others call it the "Christ in man," the Quakers call
it the "inner light," but all view it with interest and anxiety, the
ignorant with fear and the wise with understanding sympathy, but also
with a feeling akin to awe.

Those of us who think we know boys, feel that this "inner light"
illuminating their wonderful powers of imagination, is the compelling
force culminating in the vigorous accomplishments of manhood. It is
the force which sent Columbus voyaging over the unknown seas, which
sent Captain Cook on his voyage around the world, the same force which
carried Lindbergh in his frail airship across the Atlantic. Yes, it
is the sublime force which has inspired physicians and laymen to
cheerfully risk and sacrifice their lives in search of the cause of
Yellow Fever, Anthrax, Hydrophobia and other communicable diseases ...
no, _not_ for science but for


As a boy, the author dreamed of wonderful municipal playgrounds,
of organizations giving the boys opportunity to camp in the open,
of zoological and botanical gardens planned and adapted to the
understanding of youth. His busy life as a civil engineer, surveyor,
and work in the open gave him no opportunity to develop his dreams, but
at the end of a five year tour of the United States and Canada, made
over fifty years ago, he drifted into New York City and was shocked
beyond expression by the almost total lack of breathing spaces for our
boys, in the greatest of American cities. True, it then had Central
Park; but fifty years ago Central Park was out among the goats, only to
be reached by a long and tiresome horse car journey.

This lamentable state of affairs caused the writer so much real pain
and concern that he then and there inaugurated a personal crusade for
the benefit of the boys, a crusade with the avowed object of winning
for them the peoples' interest in the big outdoors.

The most difficult part of his task was to convince the men of the
swivel chairs that boys' leisure should be spent in the open; that the
blue sky is the only proper roof for a normal boy's playground; also
that the open spaces are the places where God intended young people to
live, work and play.

No great crusade, no great movement of any kind is one man's work,
nevertheless, every successful movement must have _one enthusiast_ in
the front rank, one who knows the trail and comprehensively envisions
the objective--_objectum quod complexum_. Others may and will join him,
and occasionally spurt ahead of the leader, like the hare in the fable,
but the enthusiast keeps right on just the same.

Pray do not understand by this that the writer claims that he alone is
responsible for this bloodless revolution. No, no, his propaganda work
did however win for him the moral support of the editorial staff of
_St. Nicholas_, _Youth's Companion_ and _Harpers_. Later he was openly
backed and encouraged by such distinguished sportsmen as President
Roosevelt, his chief forester Governor Pinchot, and his Chief of Staff
Major General Bell. While the stalwart men of the Camp Fire Club of
America worked hand and glove with him, all similar organizations
failed not in voicing their approval. Furthermore he was always helped
by his loyal friends of the daily press. Many famous writers lent their
influence, all working consciously or unconsciously to help the great
cause of boyhood.

The author only claims that, in all these fifty long years, he has
never ceased to work for the boys, never wavered in his purpose, and
now?--well, when he marched at the head of fifty thousand Scouts in the
great muddy outdoor Scout camp at Birkenhead, England, he realized that
his ephemeral air castles had settled down to a firm foundation upon
Mother Earth.

Yes, boys we have won a great victory for _boyhood_! We have won it
by iteration and reiteration, in other words, by shouting _outdoors_,
talking _outdoors_, picturing _outdoors_, singing _outdoors_ and above
all by writing about the _outdoors_, and constantly hammering on one
subject and keeping one purpose always in view. By such means we have
at last, not only interested the people of the United States in the
open, but stampeded the whole world to the forests and the fields. So
let us all join in singing the old Methodist hymn:--

    "Shout, shout, we are gaining ground,
     Glory, Hallelujah!
     The Devil's kingdom we'll put down,
     Glory, Hallelujah!"

The Devil's kingdom in this case is the ill-ventilated school rooms,
offices and courts.

It is well to note that the work in this book was not done in the
library, but either in the open itself or from notes and sketches made
in the open. When telling how to build a cooking fire, for instance,
the author preferred to make his diagrams from the fires built by
himself or by his wilderness friends, than to trust to information
derived from some other man's books. It is much easier to make pictures
of impractical fires than to build them. The paste pot and scissors
occupy no place of honor in our woodcraft series.

So, Boys of the Open, throw aside your new rackets, your croquet
mallets, and your boiled shirts--pull on your buckskin leggings, give
a war whoop and be what God intended you should be; healthy wholesome
boys. This great Republic belongs to you and so does this


                                                       DAN BEARD

    Suffern, New York,
    December first,


HIDDEN in a drawer in the antique highboy, back of the moose head in
my studio, there are specimens of Indian bead work, bits of buckskin,
necklaces made of the teeth of animals, a stone calumet, my old hunting
knife with its rawhide sheath and--carefully folded in oiled paper--is
the jerked tenderloin of a grizzly bear!

But that is not all; for more important still is a mysterious wooden
flask containing the castor or the scentgland of a beaver, which is
carefully rolled up in a bit of buckskin embroidered with mystic Indian

The flask was given to me as "big medicine" by Bow-arrow, the Chief of
the Montinais Indians. Bow-arrow said--and I believe him--that when one
inhales the odor of the castor from this medicine flask one's soul and
body are then and forever afterwards permeated with a great and abiding
love of the big outdoors. Also, when one eats of the mystic grizzly
bear's flesh, one's body acquires the strength and courage of this
great animal.

During the initiation of the members of a Spartan band of my boys,
known as the Buckskin Men, each candidate is given a thin slice of the
grizzly bear meat and a whiff of the beaver castor.

Of course, we know that people with unromantic and unimaginative minds
will call this sentimentalism. We people of the outdoor tribes plead
guilty to being sentimentalists; but we _know_ from experience that old
Bow-arrow was right, because we have ourselves eaten of the grizzly
bear and smelled the castor of the beaver!

While the writer cannot give each of his readers a taste of this
coveted bear meat in material form, or a whiff of the beaver medicine,
direct from the wooden flask made by the late Bow-arrow's own hands,
still the author hopes that the magical qualities of this great
medicine will enter into and form a part of the subject matter of this
book, and through that medium inoculate the souls and bodies of his
readers, purify them and rejuvenate them with a love of the WORLD AS

                                                     DAN BEARD

June, 1920







    III. HOW TO BUILD A FIRE      33




    V. CAMP KITCHENS      79


    VI. CAMP FOOD      101








    X. SADDLES      183




    XII. AXE AND SAW      217












WHEN the "what-is-its" of Pithecantropus erectus age and other like
hob-goblin men were moping around the rough sketch of an earth, there
were no camp-fires; the only fire that these creatures knew was that
which struck terror to their hearts when it was vomited forth from
volcanic craters, or came crashing among them in the form of lightning.
No wonder that the primitive men looked upon fire as a deity, no doubt
an evil deity at first but one who later became good.

When the vast fields of ice covered Europe during the glacier period
and forced men to think or die, necessity developed a prehistoric
Edison among the Neanderthal men, who discovered how to build and
control a fire, thus saving his race from being frozen in the ice and
kept on cold storage, like the hairy rhinoceros and elephant of Siberia.

The fire of this forgotten and unknown glacier savage was the
forerunner of our steam-heaters and kitchen ranges; in fact, without
it we could have made no progress whatever, for not only the humble
kitchen range, but the great factories and power-plants are all
depending upon the discovery made by the shivering, teeth-chattering
savage who was hopping around and trying to keep himself warm among the
European glaciers.

But we people of the camp-fires are more interested in primitive fires
just as the Neanderthal men built them, than we are in the roaring
furnaces of the steel works, the volcano blast furnaces, or any of the
scientific, commercialized fires of factory and commerce.


What we love is the genial, old-fashioned camp-fire in the open, on
the broad prairie, on the mountainside, or in the dark and mysterious
forests, where, as our good friend Dr. Hornaday says,

    We will pile on pine and spruce,
    Mesquite roots and sagebrush loose,
    Dead bamboo and smelly teak,
    And with fagots blazing bright
    Burn a hole into the night--

Not long ago the author was up North in the unmapped lake country of
Canada, and while camping on the portage between two wild and lonely
lakes, Scout Joe Van Vleck made himself a fire outfit consisting of
Fig. 1, a thimble made of a burl, with which to hold Fig. 2, the
spindle made of balsam. Fig. 3 is a bow cut from a standing bush; not
an elastic bow, such as one uses with which to shoot arrows, but a bow
with a permanent bend to it. Fig. 4 is the fire-pan which is placed
under the fire-board to catch the charcoal dust as it falls through the
slot when the spindle is twirled.

Fig. 5 is the fire-board, made of a dead balsam tree which was standing
within three yards of the camp-fire.

In order to make his fire it was necessary for our Scout to have some
tinder, and this he secured from the bark of cedar trees, also within a
few yards of our camp. This indeed was a novel experience, for seldom
is material so convenient. The fire was built in a few seconds, much
to the wonderment of our Indian guide, and the delight of some moose
hunters who chanced to be crossing the portage on which our camp was

It was an American, Dr. Walter Hough of the U. S. National Museum of
Washington, who first proved that a modern up-to-date civilized white
man can make a fire with rubbing-sticks, as well as the primitive man.
But it was an Englishman who popularized this method of making fire,
introduced it among the Boy Scouts of England and America, and the
sister organizations among the girls.

According to the American Indian legend the animal people who inhabited
the earth before the Redmen lived in darkness in California. There was
the coyote man, the vulture man, the white-footed mouse man, and a lot
of other fabled creatures. Away over East somewhere there was light
because the sun was over there, and the humming-bird man among the
animal people of our Indians is the one, according to Dr. Merriman, who
stole the fire from the East and carried it under his chin. The mark
of it is still there. The next time you see a humming-bird note the
brilliant spot of red fire under his chin.

Now you understand why the king-pin in fire making at your camp
deserves the title of Le-ché-ché (the humming-bird).

If one gets the fire from a fire-board, spindle and bow in record time,
then the title of Le-ché-ché is all the more appropriate because it
was the humming-bird man who hid the fire in the oo-noo tree, and to
this day, when the Indian wants fire, he goes to the oo-noo (buckeye)
tree to get it; that is, provided he has no matches in the pockets of
his store clothes and that some white boy, like the Scout previously
mentioned, has taught him how to make fire as did the Indian's own
ancestors. But even then the oo-noo[A] wood must be dead and dry.

Austin Norton of Ypsilanti, Michigan, April, 1912, made fire in
thirty-nine and one-fifth seconds; Frederick C. Reed of Washington, in
December, 1912, made fire in thirty-one seconds; Mr. Ernest Miller of
St. Paul made fire in thirty seconds, but it was Mr. Arthur Forbush,
one of the author's Scouts of the Sons of Daniel Boone (the scout
organization which preceded both the English Boy Scouts and the Boy
Scouts of America) who broke the record time in making fire with
"rubbing-sticks" by doing it in twenty-nine seconds at the Sportsman's
Show at Madison Square Garden, New York. Mr. Forbush made this record
in the presence of the author and many witnesses. Since then the same
gentleman reduced his own world-record to twenty-six and one-fifth
seconds; by this time even that record[B] may have been broken.

The "rubbing-stick" is a picturesque, sensational and interesting
method of building a fire, but to-day it is of little practical use
outside of the fact that it teaches one to overcome obstacles, to
do things with the tools at hand, to think and act with the vigor,
precision and self-confidence of a primitive man.

[Illustration: "RUBBING-STICK" OUTFIT]

Ever since the writer was a small boy he has read about making fire
by rubbing "two chips" or "two sticks" together, and he was under the
impression then, and is under the impression now, that no one can
build a fire in that manner. When we find reference to rubbing-sticks
it is probably a slovenly manner of describing the bow and drill and
the other similar friction fire implements. For the bow and drill one
requires first a


(Figs. 1, 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D). This is a half round stone or pebble, a
half round burl or knot of wood, or it may be made of soft wood with an
inlay of a piece of stone. In the bottom of the thimble there is always
a shallow hole or socket; see S on Figs. 1, 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1D. The
thimble is an invention of the Eskimos (Fig. 1C); they keep the spindle
upright by holding the pointed upper end of it in a hole (S) drilled
into a piece of serpentine, or soapstone.

The author has a thimble personally made for him by Major David
Abercrombie. This beautiful implement is made of hard fine-grained
wood carved into the form of a beetle (Fig. 1B). It is inlaid with
copper and semi-precious stones. The socket hole was drilled into a
piece of jade (B), using for the purpose some sand and the drill shown
in Fig. 23. There was a piece of steel pipe set into the end of the
wooden drill with which to bore a hole into the hard jade. The jade was
then inlaid or set into the middle of the bottom of the thimble, and
cemented there, Fig. 1B. The author also has a thimble made for him
by Edmund Seymour of the Camp-fire Club of America. This thimble is a
stone fossil with a hole drilled in it, Fig. 1A.

It is not necessary to tell the reader that when using the bow for
power, the twirling spindle cannot be held down with the bare hand,
consequently the use of the thimble for that purpose is necessary. Fig.
1C shows an Eskimo thimble so fashioned that it may be held in the
fire-maker's mouth.


Is a stick or branch of wood (Figs. 3, 3E, 3F and 3G) about a foot and
a half long and almost an inch in diameter, which has a permanent bend
in it--the bend may be natural or may have been made artificially. To
the bow is attached a slack thong, or durable string of some kind. The
Eskimos, more inventive than the Indians, made themselves beautiful
bows of ivory, carving them from walrus tusks, which they shaved down
and strung with a loose strip of walrus hide.


The objection to whang string or belt lacing is that it is apt to be
too greasy, so if one can secure a strip of buckskin, a buckskin thong
about two inches wide, and twist it into a string, it will probably
best serve the purpose (Fig. 6).


The spindle is the twirling stick (Figs. 2, 2A, 2B and 2C) which is
usually about a foot long and was used by our American Indians without
the bow (Fig. 7). The twirling stick or spindle may be three-quarters
of an inch in diameter at the middle; constant use and sharpening will
gradually shorten the spindle. When it becomes too short a new one
must be made. The end of the spindle should not be made sharp like a
lead pencil, but should have a dull or rounded end, with which to bore
into the fire-board, thus producing fine, hot charcoal, which in time
becomes a spark: that is, a growing ember.


The fire-board (Figs. 5 and 5A) should be made of spruce, cedar,
balsam, tamarack, cottonwood root, basswood, and even dry white pine,
maple and, probably, buckeye wood. It should not be made of black
walnut, oak or chestnut, or any wood which has a gummy or resinous
quality. The fire-board should be of dry material which will powder
easily. Dr. Hough recommends maple for the fire-board, or "hearth,"
as it is called in the Boy Scout Handbook. Make the fire-board about
eleven inches long, two inches wide and three-quarters of an inch thick.

Near the edge of the board, and two inches from the end, begin a row
of notches each three-quarter inch long and cut down through the
fire-board so as to be wider at the bottom. At the inside end of each
notch make an indenture only sufficiently deep to barely hold the end
of your spindle while you make the preliminary twirls which gradually
enlarge the socket to fit the end of your spindle.


The fire-pan is a chip, shingle or wooden dust-pan used to catch the
charred dust as it is pushed out by the twirling spindle (Fig. 4). The
use of the fire-pan is also an Eskimos idea, but they cut a step in
their driftwood fire-board itself (Fig. 8) to serve as a fire-pan.


When you can procure them, charred rags of cotton or linen make
excellent tinder, but the best fabric for that purpose is an old
Turkish towel.


Find a flat stone (Fig. 10), a broad piece of board, a smooth, hard,
bare piece of earth; set your cloth afire and after it begins to blaze
briskly, smother it out quickly by using a folded piece of paper
(Fig. 9), a square section of birch bark or another piece of board.
This flapped down quickly upon the flames will extinguish them without
disturbing the charred portion (Fig. 10). Or with your feet quickly
trample out the flames. Keep your punk or tinder in a water-tight box;
a tin tobacco box is good for that purpose, or do like our ancestors
did--keep it in a punk horn (Fig. 30).

[Illustration: 9, 10]

Very fine dry grass is good tinder, also the mushroom, known as the
puff-ball or Devil's snuff-box. The puff-balls, big ones, may be found
growing about the edges of the woods and they make very good punk or
tinder. They are prepared by hanging them on a string and drying them
out, after which they are cut into thin slices, laid on the board and
beaten until all the black dust ("snuff") is hammered out of them, when
they are in condition to use as punk or tinder (Fig. 11). In olden
times there was a mushroom, toadstool or fungus imported from Germany,
and used as punk, but woodcraft consists in supplying oneself with the
material at hand; therefore do not forget that flying squirrels (Figs.
12 and 13), white-footed mice (Fig. 14) and voles, or short-tailed
meadow mice, are all addicted to collecting good


with which to make their warm nests: So also do some of the birds--the
summer yellow bird, humming-bird and vireos. While abandoned
humming-birds' nests are too difficult to find, last year's vireos'
nests are more easily discovered suspended like cups between two
branches, usually within reach of the hand, and quite conspicuous in
the fall when the leaves are off the trees.

[Illustration: 11, 12, 13]

Cedar bark, both red (Fig. 15) and white, the dry inner bark of other
trees, dry birch bark, when shredded up very fine, make good tinder.
Whether you use the various forms of rubbing-sticks or the flint and
steel, it is necessary to catch the spark in punk or tinder in order to
develop the flame.


First find a level solid foundation on which to place your fire-board,
then make a half turn with the string of the bow around the spindle,
as in the diagram (Fig. 16); now grasp the thimble with the left hand,
put one end of the drill in the socket hole of the thimble, the other
end in the socket hole on the fire-board, with your left foot holding
the fire-board down. Press your left wrist firmly against your left
shin. Begin work by drawing the bow slowly and horizontally back and
forth until it works easily, work the bow as one does a fiddle bow when
playing on a bass viol, but draw the bow its whole length each time.
When it is running smoothly, speed it up.

[Illustration: 14]

[Illustration: 15]

Or when you feel that the drill is biting the wood, press harder on
the thimble, not too hard, but hard enough to hold the drill firmly,
so that it will not slip out of the socket but will continue to bite
the wood until the "sawdust" begins to appear. At first it will show a
brown color, later it will become black and begin to smoke until the
thickening smoke announces that you have developed the spark. At this
stage you gently fan the smoking embers with one hand. If you fan it
too briskly, as often happens, the powder will be blown away.

As soon as you are satisfied that you have secured a spark, lift the
powdered embers on the fire-pan and place carefully on top of it a
bunch of tinder, then blow till it bursts into flame (Fig. 8A). Or fold
the tinder over the spark gently, take it up in your hand and swing it
with a circular motion until the flame flares out.

[Illustration: 16, 17]

Even to this day peasantry throughout the Carpathian and Balkan
peninsulas build their fires with a "rubbing-stick." But these people
not being campers have a permanent fire machine made by erecting
two posts, one to represent the fire-stick and the other the socket
thimble. The spindle runs horizontally between these two posts and the
pressure is secured by a thong or cord tied around the two posts, which
tends to pull them toward each other. The spindle is worked by a bow
the same as the one already described and the fire is produced in the
same manner.


My pupils in the Woodcraft Camp built fires successfully by using
the rung of a chair for the spindle, a piece of packing case for a
fire-board, and another piece for the socket wood and the string from
their moccasins for a bow string. They used no bow, however, and two or
three boys were necessary to make a fire, one to hold the spindle and
two others to saw on the moccasin string (Fig. 17).

[Illustration: 18, 19, 20, 21, 22]


is made of two pieces of bamboo, or fish pole. This is the oldest
instrument for fire making used by the Bontoc Igorot and is now seldom
found among the men of the Philippines. Practically all Philippine
boys, however, know how to make and use it and so should our boys here,
and men, too. It is called "co-li-li" and is made of two pieces of
dry bamboo. A two-foot section of dead and dry bamboo is first split
lengthwise and in one piece, a small area of the stringy tissue lining
of the tube is splintered and picked until quite loose (Fig. 18). Just
over the picked fibres, but on the outside of the bamboo, a narrow
groove is cut across it (Fig. 18G). This piece of bamboo is now the
stationary lower part or "fire-board" of the machine. One edge of the
other half of the original tube is sharpened like a chisel blade's edge
(Fig. 19); it is then grasped with one hand at each end and is slowly
and heavily sawed backward and forward through the groove in the board,
and afterwards worked more rapidly, thus producing a conical pile of
dry dust on the wad of tinder picked from the inside of the bamboo or
previously placed there. (Figs. 20 and 21). Fig. 22 is the fire-pan.

"After a dozen strokes," says our authority, Mr. Albert Ernest Jenks,
"the sides of the groove and the edge of the piece are burned down;
presently a smell of smoke is plain and before three dozen strokes have
been made, smoke may be seen. Usually before a hundred strokes a larger
volume of smoke tells us that the dry dust constantly falling on the
pile has grown more and more charred until finally a tiny spark falls,
carrying combustion to the already heated dust cone."

The fire-board is then carefully lifted and if the pinch of dust is
smouldering it may now be gently fanned with the hand until the tinder
catches; then it may be blown into a flame.


[Illustration: 23]

Fig. 23 shows another form of drill. For this one it is necessary to
have a weight wheel attached to the lower part of the spindle. A hole
is made through its center and the drill fitted to this. The one in
Fig. 23 is fitted out with a rusty iron wheel which I found under the
barn. Fig. 23C shows a pottery weight wheel which I found many years
ago in a gravel-pit in Mills Creek bottoms at Cincinnati, Ohio. It was
brick-red in color and decorated with strange characters. For many,
many years I did not know for what use this unique instrument was
intended. I presented it to the Flushing High School (Long Island),
where I trust it still remains. The fire-drill is twirled by moving the
bow up and down instead of backward and forward.

THE TWIRLING STICK (American Indian)

Fig. 7 is practically the same as Figs. 16 and 17, with this
difference: the bow and thong are dispensed with and the spindle
twirled between the palm of the hands, as formerly practised by the
California Indians, the natives of Australia, Caroline Islands, China,
Africa and India.

Many of the American Indians made friction fire in this manner. They
spun the thin spindle by rolling it between the palms of their hands
and as pressure was exerted the hands gradually slid down to the thick
lower end of the spindle. To again get the hands to the top of the
drill requires practice and skill. Personally the writer cannot claim
any success with this method.

THE PLOW STICK (American Indian)

[Illustration: 24]

The simplest method of friction is that of the plow, which requires
only a fire-board with a gutter in it and a rubbing-stick to push up
and down the gutter (Fig. 24). Captain Belmore Browne of Mt. McKinley
fame made a fire by this last method when his matches were soaked with
water. It is, however, more difficult to produce the fire this way than
with the thong and bow. It is still used in the Malay Islands; the
natives place the fire-board on a stump or stone, straddle it and with
a pointed drill plow the board back and forth until they produce fire.
Time: Forty seconds.

Of course it is unnecessary to tell anyone that he can start a fire
with a sunglass (Fig. 25) or with the lens of a camera, or with the
lens made from two old-fashioned watch crystals held together. But as
the sun is not always visible, as lenses are not supposed to grow in
the wild woods and were not to be found in the camps and log cabins
of the pioneers, and as watch crystals have short lives in the woods,
we will pass this method of fire making without matches as one which
properly belongs in the classroom.

[Illustration: 25]


Before or about the time of the American Revolution some gentleman
invented a fire piston (Fig. 26) with which he ignited punk made of
fungus by the heat engendered by the sudden compression of the air.

The ancient gentleman describes his invention as follows: "The cylinder
is about nine inches long, and half an inch in diameter; it terminates
in a screw on which screws the magazine intended to hold a bougie, and
some fungus. A steel rod is attached to a solid piston, or plunger, not
shown in the figure, it being within the tube. This rod has a milled
head and there is a small hole in the tube to admit the air, when the
piston is drawn up to the top, where a piece unscrews, for the purpose
of applying oil or grease to the piston. I have found lard to answer
the end best."


"Take from the magazine a small piece of fungus, place it in the
chamber, screw the piece tight on and draw the piston up by the end,
till it stops. Hold the instrument with both hands in the manner
represented in Fig. 26, place the end on a table or against any firm
body, either in a perpendicular, horizontal or vertical direction, and
force the piston down with as much rapidity as possible. This rapid
compression of the air will cause the fungus to take fire. Instantly
after the stroke of the piston, unscrew the magazine, when the air
will rush in, and keep up the combustion till the fungus is consumed.
Observe, in lighting the tinder, the fungus must be lifted up a little
from the chamber, so as to allow the tinder to be introduced beneath
it, otherwise it will not kindle.

[Illustration: 26]

"Here it may be remarked that the instrument thus constructed has a
decided advantage over the fire-cane, where the fungus is inserted at
such a depth as not easily to be reached."

But in Burmah they had the same idea. There the coolies still light
their cigarettes with a fire-piston. The Philippinos also use the same
machine and ignite a wad of cotton stuck on the end of the piston by
suddenly forcing the piston into air-tight cylinders, and when the
piston is quickly withdrawn the cotton is found to be aflame, so it may
be that the Colonial gentleman had traveled to the Indies and borrowed
his idea from the Burmahs, or the Philippinos. At any rate we do not
use it to-day in the woods, but it finds place here because it belongs
to the friction fires and may be good as a suggestion for those among
my readers of experimental and inventive minds.


[A] It is not the buckeye of the Ohio and Mississippi Valley, but is
the nut buckeye of California, Æsculus Californica.

[B] The record is now eleven seconds.






THE preceding methods of producing fire by friction are not the white
man's methods, and are not the methods used by our pioneer ancestors.
The only case the writer can remember in which the pioneer white people
used rubbing-sticks to produce fire, is one where the refugees from an
Indian uprising and massacre in Oregon made fire from rubbing-sticks
made of the bits of the splintered wood of a lightning stricken tree.
On that occasion they evidently left home in a great hurry, without
their flints and steels.

But this one instance in itself is sufficient to show to all outdoor
people the great importance of the knowledge and ability to make
friction fires. Like our good friend, the artist, explorer and author,
Captain Belmore Browne, one may at any time get in a fix where one's
matches are soaked, destroyed or lost and be compelled either to eat
one's food raw or resort to rubbing-sticks to start a fire.

It is well, however, to remember that the flint and steel is


And notwithstanding the fire canes of our Colonial dudes, or the
Pyropneumatic apparatus of the forgotten Mr. Bank, fire by percussion,
that is, fire by friction of flint and steel, was universal here in
America up to a quite recent date, and it is still in common use among
many of my Camp-fire Club friends, and among many smokers.


In the age of flint and steel, the guns were all fired by this method.
Fig. 33 shows the gun-lock of an old musket; the hammer holds a piece
of flint, a small piece of buckskin is folded around the inside edge
of the flint and serves to give a grip to the top part of the hammer
which is screwed down. To fire the gun the hammer is pulled back at
full cock, the steel sets opposite the hammer and is joined to the
top of the powder-pan by a hinge. When the trigger is pulled the
hammer comes down, striking the flint against the steel, throwing it
back and exposing the powder at the same time to the sparks which
ignite the powder in the gun by means of the touch hole in the side
of the barrel of same. This is the sort of a hammer and lock used by
all of our ancestors up to the time of the Civil War, and it is the
sort of a hammer used by the Confederates as late as the battle of
Fort Donaldson. In the olden times some people had flint lock pistols
without barrels, which were used only to ignite punk for the purpose of
fire-building. But when one starts a fire by means of flint and steel
one's hands must act the part of the hammer, the back of one's knife
may be the steel, then a piece of flint or a gritty rock and a piece of
punk will produce the spark necessary to generate the flames.

In the good old pioneer days, when we all wore buckskin clothes and
did not bother about the price of wool, when we wore coonskin caps and
cared little for the price of felt hats, everybody, from Miles Standish
and George Washington to Abraham Lincoln, used flint and steel. Fig.
27 shows ten different forms of steel used by our grandsires and

[Illustration: 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 32½, 33, 34, 35]

Flint in its natural condition may be found in many states, but, as a
rule, any stone which was used by the Indians for arrowheads will
answer as a substitute for flint,[C] that is, any gritty or glassy
stone, like quartz, agate, jasper or iron pyrites. Soft stones,
limestones, slate or soapstones are not good for this purpose.


Most of the old steels were so made that one might grasp them while
thrusting one's fingers through the inside of the oval steel, Fig. 28
(left handed). Some of the Scoutmasters of the Boy Scouts of America
make their own steels of broken pieces of flat ten-cent files, but this
is unnecessary because every outdoor man, and woman, too, is supposed
to carry a good sized jack-knife and the back of the blade of the
jack-knife, or the back of the blade of one's hunting knife is good
enough steel for anyone who has acquired the art of using it as a steel.

But if you must have steels manufactured at the machine shop or make
them yourself, let them be an inch wide, a quarter of an inch thick,
and long enough to form an ellipse like one of those shown in Fig. 27.
Have the sharp edges rounded off. If you desire you may have your steel
twisted in any of the shapes shown in Fig. 27 to imitate the ones used
by your great granddaddies.


But the neatest thing in the way of flint and steel which has come to
the writer's attention is shown by Fig. 31. This is a small German
silver box which still contains some of the original fungus used for
punk and an ancient, well-battered piece of flint. Around the box is
fitted the steel in the form of a band, and the whole thing is so small
that it may be carried in one's vest pocket. This was once the property
of Phillip Hagner, Lieutenant, of the City of Philadelphia at the time
of the Revolution, that is, custodian of city property. He took the
Christ Church bells from Philadelphia to Bethlehem by ox-cart before
the city was occupied by the British. Phillip Hagner came from Saxony
about 1700 and settled in Germantown, Philadelphia. This silver box
was presented to the National Scout Commissioner by Mr. Isaac Sutton,
Scout Commissioner for Delaware and Montgomery Counties, Boy Scouts of


The cowhorn punk box is made by sawing off the small end and then the
point of a cow's horn (Fig. 30). A small hole is next bored through
the solid small end of the horn to connect with the natural open space
further down, a strip of rawhide or whang string larger than the hole
is forced through the small end and secured by a knot on the inside,
which prevents it from being pulled out. The large end of the horn
is closed by a piece of thick sole leather attached to the thong, by
tying a hard knot in the end and pulling the thong through a hole in
the center of the stopper until the knot is snug against the leather
disk; this should be done before the wet leather is allowed to dry. If
the thong and leather stopper are made to fit the horn tightly, the dry
baked rags, the charred cotton, or whatever substance you use for punk,
when placed in the horn will be perfectly protected from moisture or


These old sulphur "spunks" were nothing more than kindling wood or
tinder, because they would not ignite by rubbing but were lighted by
putting the sulphur end in the flame. According to our modern ideas
of convenience they appear very primitive. They were called "spunks"
in England and "matches" in America, and varied in length from three
to seven inches, were generally packed in bundles from a dozen to two
dozen and tied together with bits of straw. Some spunks made as late
as 1830 are considered rare enough to be carefully preserved in the
York Museum in England (Fig. 32½). The ones illustrated in Fig. 32 are
a Long Island product, and were given to the author by the late John
Halleran, the most noted antique collector on Long Island. These are
carefully preserved among the antiquities in the writer's studio. But
they are less than half the length of the ones formerly used on the
Western Reserve. With the ancient matches in the studio are also two
old pioneer tinder boxes with flints and steels. The tinder boxes are
made of tin and contain a lot of baked rags. The inside lid acts as an
extinguisher with which to cover up the punk or tinder in the box after
you have lighted the candle in the tin lid of the box (Fig. 32).

The matches we use today are evolved from these old sulphur spunks.
When the writer was a little fellow up in the Western Reserve on the
shores of Lake Erie, he was intensely interested in an old lady making
sulphur matches. Over the open fire she melted the sulphur in an iron
kettle in which she dipped the ends of some pine slivers. The sulphur
on the end of the sticks was then allowed to cool and harden. These
matches were about the length of a lead pencil and could only be
lighted by thrusting the sulphur into the flame. So, although having
been born in the age of Lucifer matches, the writer was yet fortunate
enough to see manufactured and to remember the contemporary ancestors
of our present-day "safety" match.


That is, the match which lights from friction, is the invention of
Isaac Holden, M. P. According to the _Pall Mall Gazette_, Mr. Holden
said, "In the morning I used to get up at 4 o'clock in order to pursue
my studies, and I used at that time the flint and steel, in the use of
which I found very great inconvenience. Of course, I knew, as other
chemists did, the explosive material that was necessary in order to
produce instantaneous light, but it was very difficult to obtain a
light on wood by that explosive material, and the idea occurred to me
to put sulphur under the explosive mixture. I did that and showed it in
my next lecture on chemistry, a course of which I was delivering at a
large academy."

Because every real woodsman is a student, as well as a sentimentalist,
a brief history is given of these fire implements to entertain him as
we jog along the "trace." All these things are blazes which mark the
trail to the button in our wall which now produces the electric light.
Some of them, like the clay cylinders found in the ruins of Babylon,
are only useful in a historical sense, but many of them are essentially
practical for woodcraft.


The slow match or punk rope to fit in the brass cylinder may be made of
candle wick or coach wick purchased at the hardware store; such wick
is about three-eighths of an inch in diameter. Scout Commissioner John
H. Chase of Youngstown, Ohio, suggests that the rope may be made from
the wastes of a machine shop or a garage; but one of the best woodsmen
I know is Mr. Frederick K. Vreeland, and he uses the apparatus shown
by Fig. 34, which is made of the yellow fuse rope, or punk rope, which
may be purchased at cigar stores. He fastens a cork in one end of the
rope by a wire, he pulls the other end of the rope through the end of
the brass cartridge shell which has been filed off for that purpose.
The end of the fuse rope must be charred, so as to catch the spark. To
get the spark he takes the back of the blade of his knife (Fig. 35),
and strikes the bit of flint as you would with flint and steel, holding
the charred end of the punk against the flint, as shown by the diagram
(Fig. 29). Loose cotton and various vegetable fibers twisted into a
rope soaked in water and gunpowder will make good punk when dry.


Place the charred end of the rope on the flint, the charred portion
about one thirty-second of an inch back of the edge of the flint where
the latter is to be struck by the steel; hold the punk in place with
the thumb of the left hand, as in the diagram (Fig. 29). Hold the knife
about six inches above at an angle of about forty-five degrees from
the flint, turn your knife so that the edge of the back of the blade
will strike, then come down at an angle about thirty-five degrees with
a sharp scraping blow. This should send the spark into the punk at the
first or second blow. Now blow the punk until it is all aglow and you
are ready to set your tinder afire. Push the punk into the middle of a
handful of tinder and blow it until it is aflame, and the deed is done!

All these pocket contrivances for striking fire were formerly known as
"striker-lights" or "chucknucks."


The Malays having neither flint nor steel ingeniously substitute for
the flint a piece of broken chinaware, and for the steel a bamboo
joint, and they produce a spark by striking the broken china against
the joint of the bamboo, just as we do with the flint and steel.


[C] Today flint may be obtained at Bannermans, 501 Broadway, New York
City, where they also have ancient steels which were used by the U. S.
soldiers. The flints may also be purchased from Wards Natural Science
Establishment at Rochester, New York, and the author found a plentiful
supply of flints at one of the Army and Navy stores in New York.






    "By thy camp-fire they shall know thee."

A PARTY of twenty or thirty men once called at the author's studio and
begged that he would go with them on a hike, stating that they intended
to cook their dinner out-of-doors. We went on the hike. The author
asked the gentlemen to collect the wood for the fire; they did so
enthusiastically and heaped up about a quarter of a cord of wood. There
was no stick in the pile less than the thickness of one's arm, and many
as thick as one's leg. A fine misty rain was falling and everything was
damp. While all the other hikers gathered around, one of them carefully
lighted a match and applied it to the heap of damp cord wood sticks.
Match after match he tried, then turned helplessly to the writer with
the remark, "It won't light, sir," and none there saw the humor of the

Had anyone told the writer that from twenty-five to thirty men could
be found, none of whom could build a fire, he would have considered
the statement as highly improbable, but if he had been told that any
intelligent man would try to light cord wood sticks, wet or dry, by
applying a match to them, he would have branded the story as utterly
beyond belief. It is, however, really astonishing how few people there
are who know how to build a fire even when supplied with plenty of fuel
and abundant matches.


It may be well to call the reader's attention to the fact that it takes
very little moisture to spoil the scratch patch on a box of safety
matches and prevent the match itself from igniting. The so-called
parlor match, which snaps when one lights it and often shoots the
burning head into one's face or on one's clothes, is too dangerous
a match to take into the woods. The bird's-eye match is exceedingly
unreliable on the trail, but the old-fashioned, ill-smelling Lucifer
match, sometimes called sulphur match, the kind one may secure at the
Hudson Bay Trading Post, the kind that comes in blocks and is often
packed in tin cans, is the best match for woodcrafters, hunters,
explorers, and hikers. Most of the outfitting stores in the big cities
either have these matches or can procure them for their customers. When
one of these matches is damp it may be dried by running it through
one's hair.

[Illustration: 36, 37, 38, 39]

Nowadays manual labor seems to be looked upon by everyone more in the
light of a disgrace or punishment than as a privilege; nevertheless,
it _is a privilege_ to be able to labor, it _is a privilege_ to have
the vim, the pep, the desire and the ability to do things. Labor is a
necessary attribute of the doer and those who live in the open; no one
need attempt so simple a thing as the building of a fire and expect to
succeed without labor.

One must use the axe industriously (Figs. 39, 42 and 43) in order to
procure fuel for the fire; one must plan the fire carefully with regard
to the wind and the inflammable material adjacent; one must collect and
select the fuel intelligently.

The shirk, the quitter, or the side-stepper has no place in the open;
his habitat is on the Great White Way among the Babylonians of the
big cities. He does not even know the joys of a fire; he never sees a
fire except when some building is burning. His body is heated by steam
radiators, his food is cooked in some mysterious place beyond his ken,
and brought to him by subservient waiters. He will be dead and flowers
growing on his grave when the real fire-makers are just attaining the
full vigor of their manhood.

Captain Belmore Browne says that the trails of the wilderness are its
arteries; we may add that all trails proceed from camp or lead to camp,
and that the camp-fire is the living, life-giving, palpitating heart of
the camp; without it all is dead and lifeless. That is the reason that
we of the outdoor brotherhood all love the fire; that is the reason
that the odor of burning wood is incense to our nostrils; that is the
reason that the writer cannot help talking about it when he should be


Do not forget that lighting a fire in hot, dry weather is child's play,
but that it takes a real camper to perform the same act in the damp,
soggy woods on a cold, raw, rainy day, or when the first damp snow is
covering all the branches of the trees and blanketing the moist ground
with a slushy mantle of white discomfort! Then it is that fire making
brings out all the skill and patience of the woodcrafter; nevertheless
when he takes proper care neither rain, snow nor hail can spell failure
for him.


In the mountains of Pennsylvania the old backwoodsmen, of which there
are very few left, invariably build their fires with dry pine, or pitch
pine sticks.

With their axe they split a pine log (Fig. 42), then cut it into sticks
about a foot long and about the thickness of their own knotted thumbs,
or maybe a trifle thicker (Fig. 40); after that they proceed to whittle
these sticks, cutting deep shavings (Fig. 37), but using care to leave
one end of the shavings adhering to the wood; they go round and round
the stick with their knife blade making curled shavings until the piece
of kindling looks like one of those toy wooden trees one used to find
in his Noah's Ark on Christmas morning (Fig. 37).

When a backwoodsman finishes three or more sticks he sets them up
wigwam form (Fig. 38). The three sticks having been cut from the centre
of a pine log, are dry and maybe resinous, so all that is necessary
to start the flame is to touch a match to the bottom of the curled
shavings (Fig. 38).

Before they do this, however, they are careful to have a supply of
small slivers of pitch pine, white pine or split pine knots handy (Fig.
36). These they set up around the shaved sticks, maybe adding some
hemlock bark, and by the time it is all ablaze they are already putting
on larger sticks of ash, black birch, yellow birch, sugar maple or oak.

[Illustration: 40, 41, 41½, 42, 43, 44]

For be it known that however handy pitch pine is for starting a fire,
it is not the material used as fuel in the fire itself, because the
heavy smoke from the pitch blackens up the cooking utensils, gives
a disagreeable taste to the food, spoils the coffee and is not a
pleasant accompaniment even for a bonfire.

In the North woods, in the land of the birch trees, green birch bark is
universally used as kindling with which to start a fire; green birch
bark burns like tar paper. But whether one starts the fire with birch
bark, shaved pine sticks or miscellaneous dry wood, one must remember


Burns much better than wood in its natural form, and that logs from
twelve to fourteen inches are best for splitting for fuel (Fig. 42);
also one must not forget that in starting a fire the smaller the
slivers of kindling wood are made, the easier it is to obtain a flame
by the use of a single match (Fig. 36), after which the adding of fuel
is a simple matter. A fire must have air to breathe in order to live,
that is a draught, consequently kindling piled in the little wigwam
shape is frequently used.


For an ordinary, unimportant fire the "turkey-lay" (Fig. 54) is handy,
but for camp-fires and cooking fires we use andirons on which to rest
the wood, but of course in the forests we do not call them andirons.
They are not made of iron; they are either logs of green wood or stones
and known to woodsmen by the name of "fire-dogs."

While we are on the subject of fire making it may be worth while to
call the reader's attention to the fact that every outdoor person
should know how to use a pocket knife, a jack-knife or a hunter's knife
with the greatest efficiency and the least danger.

To those of us who grew up in the whittling age, it may seem odd or
even funny that anyone should deem it necessary to tell how to open
a pocket knife. But today I fail to recall to my mind a single boy of
my acquaintance who knows how to properly handle a knife or who can
whittle a stick with any degree of skill, and yet there are few men in
this world with a larger acquaintance among the boys than myself. Not
only is this true, but I spend two months of each year in the field
with a camp full of boys, showing them how to do the very things with
their knives and their axes described in this book.


[Illustration: 45, 46, 47, 48, 49]

It is safe to say that when the old-timers were boys themselves, there
was not a lad among them who could not whittle with considerable skill
and many a twelve year old boy was an adept at the art. I remember with
the keenest pleasure the rings, charms and knick-knacks which I carved
with a pocket knife before I had reached the scout age of twelve.
Today, however, the boys handle their knives so awkwardly as to make
the chills run down the back of an onlooker.

In order to properly open a knife, hold it in your left hand, and with
the thumbnail of your right hand grasp the blade at the nail notch
(Fig. 45) in such a manner that the line of the nail makes a very
slight angle; that is, it is as near perpendicular as may be (Fig.
46), otherwise you will bend back your thumbnail until it hurts or
breaks. Pull the blade away from your body, at the same time drawing
the handle of the knife towards the body (Figs. 47 and 48). Continue
this movement until the blade is fully open and points directly from
your body (Fig. 49).

Practise this and make it a habit; you will then never be in danger
of stabbing yourself during the process of opening your knife--you
will open a knife properly and quickly by what is generally termed
intuition, but what is really the result of training and habit.


The age of whittling began with the invention of the pocket knife and
reached its climax about 1840 or '50, dying out some time after the
Civil War, probably about 1870. All the old whittlers of the whittling
age whittled _away_ from the body. If you practise whittling that way
it will become a habit.

Indians use a crooked knife and whittle towards the body, but the
queer shape of their knife does away with the danger of an accidental
stab or slash. Cobblers use a wicked sharp knife and cut towards their
person and often are severely slashed by it, and sometimes dangerously
wounded, because a big artery runs along the inside of one's leg (Fig.
41½) near where most of the scars on the cobbler's legs appear. When
you whittle do not whittle with a stick between your legs as in Fig.
41, and always whittle away from you as in Fig. 44.


Fig. 40 shows the proper way to use the knife in splitting a stick, so
that it will not strain the spring at the back of the handle of the
knife, and at the same time it will help you guide the knife blade and
tend to make a straight split. Do not try to pry the stick apart with
a knife or you will sooner or later break the blade, a serious thing
for a wilderness man to do, for it leaves him without one of the most
useful tools.

Remember that fine slivers of wood make a safer and more certain start
for a fire than paper. All tenderfeet first try dry leaves and dry
grass to start their fires. This they do because they are accustomed
to the use of paper and naturally seek leaves or hay as a substitute
for paper. But experience soon teaches them that leaves and grass make
a nasty smudge or a quick, unreliable flame which ofttimes fails to
ignite the wood, while, when proper care is used, small slivers of dry
wood never fail to give satisfactory results.

There are many sorts of fires used by campers and all are dependent
upon the local supply of fuel; in the deforested districts of Korea the
people use twisted grass for fuel, on our Western plains the hunters
formerly used buffalo chips and now they use cow chips, that is, the
dry manure of cattle, with which to build their fires for cooking
their meals and boiling their coffee. In the Zurn belt, in Tartary and
Central India cattle manure is collected, piled up like cord wood and
dried for fuel. A few years ago they used corn on the cob for firewood
in Kansas. It goes without saying that buffalo chips are not good for
bonfires or any fire where a big flame or illumination is an object.


Are usually much larger than camp-fires, and may be made by heaping the
wood up in conical form (Fig. 50) with the kindling all ready for the
torch in the center of the pile, or the wood may be piled up log cabin
style (Fig. 51) with the kindling underneath the first floor.

[Illustration: 50, 51, 52, 53, 54]

In both of these forms there are air spaces purposely left between the
sticks of wood, which insure a quick and ready draught the moment the
flames start to flicker in the kindling.

The best form of council fire is shown by Fig. 52, and known as the


Because it was from a somewhat similar device at a camp meeting in
Florida, that the author got the suggestion for his "torch fire." The
platform is made of anything handy and is covered with a thick flooring
of sod, sand or clay for the fire-place.

The tower is built exactly similar to the Boy Scout signal towers but
on a smaller scale (Fig. 52).


However tempting a smooth rock may look as a convenient spot on which a
fire may be built, do not fail to spread a few shovels of sand, earth
or clay on the stone as a fire bed, for the damp rock on becoming
heated may generate steam and either expand with some violence or
burst like a bomb-shell and scatter far and wide the fragments, even
endangering the lives of those gathered around the fire.


The natives of Australia take dry logs, 6 ft. or more in length, and
laying them down 3 ft. or 4 ft. apart, set them on fire in several
places. Letting shorter logs meet them from the outside, and placing
good-sized pebbles around them, they then stretch themselves on the
ground and sleep between the two lines of fire, and when the wood is
consumed the stones continue for some time to radiate the heat they
have previously absorbed. Many tribes of American Indians have their
own special fashion of fire building, so that a deserted camp fire will
not infrequently reveal the identity of the tribe by which it was made.


The camper's old method of making a slow fire was also used by
housekeepers for their open fire-places, and consisted of placing three
logs with their glowing ends together.

As the ends of the logs burned off the logs were pushed forward, this
being continued until the logs were entirely consumed. Three good
logs thus arranged will burn all day or all night, but someone must
occasionally push them so that their ends come together, when they send
their heat from one to the other, backwards and forwards, and thus keep
the embers hot (Fig. 53). But who wants to sit up all night watching a
fire? I prefer to use the modern method and sleep all night.

Sharpen the ends of two strong heavy stakes each about 5 ft. in length,
cut a notch in the rear of each near the top, for the support or back
to key into, drive the stakes into the ground about 6 ft. apart. Place
three logs one on the other, making a log wall for the back of your
fire-place. Next take two shorter logs and use them for fire-dogs, and
on these lay another log and the arrangement will be complete. A fire
of this kind will burn during the longest night and if skillfully made
will cause little trouble. The fire is fed by placing fuel between the
front log and the fire-back.


When the greatest elevations of land are selected the smoke signals
may be seen at a distance of from twenty to fifty miles. Signal fires
are usually made with dry leaves, grass and weeds or "wiry willows,"
balsam boughs, pine and cedar boughs, because such material produces
great volumes of smoke and may be seen at a long distance. The Apaches
have a simple code which might well be adopted by all outdoor people.
According to J. W. Powell, Director of U. S. Bureau of Ethnology, the
Indians use but three kinds of signals, each of which consists of
columns of smoke.


Three or more smoke columns reads impending danger from flood, fire or
foe. This signal may be communicated from one camp to another, so as
to alarm a large section of the country in remarkably quick time. The
greater the haste desired the greater the number of smokes used. These
fires are often so hastily made that they may resemble puffs of smoke
caused by throwing heaps of grass and leaves upon the embers again and


"This signal is generally made by producing one continuous column and
signifies attention for several purposes, viz., when a band had become
tired of one locality, or the grass may have been consumed by the
ponies, or some other cause necessitated removal, or should an enemy
be reported which would require further watching before a decision as
to future action would be made. The intention or knowledge of anything
unusual would be communicated to neighboring bands by causing one
column of smoke to ascend."


"When a removal of camp has been made, after the signal for ATTENTION
has been given, and the party have selected a place where they propose
to remain until there may be a necessity or desire for their removal,
two columns of smoke are made, to inform their friends that they
propose to remain at that place. Two columns are also made at other
times during a long continued residence, to inform the neighboring
bands that a camp still exists, and that all is favorable and quiet."

Therefore, THREE or more smokes in daylight, or THREE or more flames
at night, is a signal of alarm, ONE smoke a signal for attention, TWO
smokes tells us that all is well, peaceful and happy.


The usual way of signalling with smoke is to make a smudge fire of
browse or grass and use a blanket as an extinguisher. By covering the
fire with the blanket and suddenly removing it, a large globular puff
of smoke is made to suddenly appear, and is certain to attract the
attention of anyone who happens to be looking toward the site of the


If it is practical it is naturally better to shovel away the snow, but
personally I have never done this except in case of newly fallen snow.
Old snow which is more or less frozen to the ground may be tramped
down until it is hard and then covered with a corduroy of sticks for
a hearth (Figs. 55 and 56) or with bark (Fig. 57) and on top of this
flooring it is a simple matter to build a fire. Use the turkey-"lay" in
which one of the sticks acts the part of the fire-dog (Fig. 56).

Don't fail to collect a generous supply of small wood (Fig. 58) and
then start the fire as already directed (Fig. 58).

The reader will note that in all these illustrations (Figs. 55, 56
and 57), there is either a log or stone or a bank for a back to the
fire-place. When everything is covered with snow it is perfectly safe
to use a log for a back (Fig. 56) but on other occasions the log may
smoulder for a week and then start a forest fire.

No one but an arrant, thoughtless, selfish Cheechako will use a live
growing tree against which to build a fire. A real woodcraft knows
that a fire can ruin in a few minutes a mighty forest tree that God
himself cannot replace inside of from forty to one hundred years.

While we are talking of building fires in the snow, it may be well to
remark that an uninhabitable and inaccessible swamp in the summer is
often the best of camping places in the winter time. The water freezes
and falls lower and lower, leaving convenient shelves of ice (Fig. 57)
for one's larder. The dense woods and brush offer a splendid barrier to
the winter winds. Fig. 59 shows an arrangement for a winter camp-fire.


Spread a piece of bark on the ground to serve as a hearth on which
to start your fire. Seek dry wood by splitting the log and taking
the pieces from the center of the wood, keep the wood under cover
of your tent, poncho, coat or blanket. Also hold a blanket or some
similar thing over the fire while you are lighting it. After the blaze
begins to leap and the logs to burn freely, it will practically take a
cloud-burst to extinguish it.

[Illustration: 55, 56, 57, 58]

[Illustration: 59]



          CAMP STOVE



NO matter where the old camper may be, no matter how long a time may
have elapsed since last he slept in the open, no matter how high or
low a social or official position he may now occupy, it takes but one
whiff of the smoke of an open fire, or one whiff of the aroma of frying
bacon, to send him back again to the lone trail. In imagination he will
once more be hovering over his little camp-fire in the desert, under
the shade of the gloomy pines, mid the snows of Alaska, in the slide
rock of the Rockies or mid the pitch pines of the Alleghenies, as the
case may be.

That faint hint in the air of burning firewood or the delicious odor of
the bacon, for the moment, will not only wipe from his vision his desk,
his papers and his office furniture, but also all the artificialities
of life. Even the clicking of the typewriter will turn into the sound
of clicking hoofs, the streets will become canyons, and the noise of
traffic the roar of the mountain torrent!

There is no use talking about it, there is no use arguing about it,
there _is_ witchcraft in the smell of the open fire, and all the
mysteries and magic of the Arabian Nights dwell in the odor of frying

Some years ago Mr. Arthur Rice, the Secretary of the Camp-fire Club
of America, and Patrick Cleary, a half-breed Indian, with the author,
became temporarily separated from their party in the Northern wilds.
They found themselves on a lonely wilderness lake surrounded by picture
mountains, and dotted with tall rocky islands covered with Christmas
trees, giving the whole landscape the appearance of the scenery one
sometimes sees painted on drop-curtains for the theatre. Everything
in sight was grand, everything was beautiful, everything was built on
a generous scale, everything was big, not forgetting the voyagers'

Unfortunately the provisions were in the missing canoe; diligent
search, however, in the bottom of Patrick Cleary's ditty bag disclosed
three small, hard, rounded lumps, which weeks before might have been
bread; also a handful of tea mixed with smoking tobacco, and that was
all! There was no salt, no butter, no pepper, no sugar, no meat, no
knives, no forks, no spoons, no cups, no plates, no saucers and no
cooking utensils; the party had nothing but a few stone-like lumps of
bread and the weird mixture of tea and tobacco with which to appease
their big appetites. But in the lake the trout were jumping, and it was
not long before the hungry men had secured a fine string of spotted
beauties to add to their menu.

Under the roots of a big spruce tree, at the bottom of a cliff on the
edge of the lake, a fountain of cold crystal water spouted from the
mossy ground. Near this they built a fire while Mr. Rice fashioned a
little box of birch bark, filled it with water and placed it over the
hot embers by resting the ends of the box on fire-dogs of green wood.
Into the water in the birch bark vessel was dumped the tea (and--also

To the amazement and delight of the Indian half-breed, the tea was soon
boiling. Meanwhile the half-breed toasted some trout until the fish
were black, this being done so that the charcoal or burnt skins might
give a flavor to the fish, and in a measure compensate for the lack of
salt. The hunks of bread were burned until they were black, not for
flavor this time, but in order that the bread might be brittle enough
to allow a man to bite into it with no danger of breaking his teeth in
the attempt.

To-day it seems to the author that that banquet on that lonely lake,
miles from the nearest living human being, was more delicious and more
satisfying than any of the feasts of Belshazzar he has since attended
in the wonder city of New York.

Therefore, when taking up the subject of cooking fire and camp kitchen,
he naturally begins with


Consisting of two upright forked sticks and a waugan-stick to lay
across from fork to fork over the fire. Or maybe a speygelia-stick
thrust slantingly into the ground in front of the fire, or perhaps a
saster-pole on which to suspend or from which to dangle, in front of
the fire, a hunk of moose meat, venison, mountain sheep, mountain goat,
whale blubber, beaver, skunk, rabbit, muskrat, woodchuck, squirrel or
whatsoever fortune may send.


Are of various forms and designs, but they are not the S shaped things
formerly so familiar in the big open fire-places of the old homesteads,
neither are they the hated S shaped marks with which the boys of
yesterday were wont to struggle and disfigure the pages of their
writing books.

If any one of the camp pot-hooks had been drawn in the old-time writing
book or copybook, it would have brought down the wrath (with something
else) of the old-fashioned school-master, upon the devoted head of the
offending pupil. For these pot-hooks are not regular in form and the
shape and designs largely depend upon the available material from
which they are fashioned, and not a little upon the individual fancy of
the camper. For instance the one known as


Is not, as the name might imply, a human crook too intimately
associated with the gallows, but on the contrary it is a rustic and
useful bit of forked stick (Figs. 60, 61, 62 and 63) made of a sapling.
Fig. 60 shows how to select the sapling and where to cut it below a
good sturdy fork. Fig. 61 shows the bit of sapling trimmed down to the
proper length and with two forks, one at each end. On the upper fork
you will note that one prong is a slender elastic switch. Fig. 62 shows
how this switch may be bent down and bound with a string or tape made
of green bark, and so fastened to the main stem as to form a loop which
will easily slip over the waugan-stick as in Fig. 63. Fig. 62A shows a
handy hitch with which to make fast the bark binding.

When the waugan-stick has been thrust through the loop of the
gallow-crook, the former is replaced in the crotches of the two forked
sticks, as in Fig. 63, and the pot or kettle, pail or bucket, is hooked
on to the lower fork. You will note that the lower fork is upon the
opposite side of the main stick from that from which the switch prong
of the upper fork springs. This arrangement is not necessary to make
the pot balance properly over the fire; the same rule holds good for
all the other pot-hooks.[D]

[Illustration: 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 69A, 70, 71, 72,
73, 74]


Will be best understood by inspecting the diagrams (Figs. 64, 65 and
66), which show its evolution or gradual growth. By these diagrams you
will see the stick is so cut that the fork may be hooked over the
waugan-stick and the cooking utensils, pots or kettles may be hung over
the fire by slipping their handles into the notch cut in the stick on
the side opposite to the fork and near the lower end of the pot-claw.
This is a real honest-to-goodness Buckskin or Sourdough pot-hook; it
is one that requires little time to manufacture and one that is easily
made wherever sticks grow, or wherever "whim" sticks or driftwood may
be found heaped upon the shore.


Is easier to make than the pot-claw. It is a forked stick like the
pot-claw, but in place of the notch near the lower end a nail is driven
diagonally into the stick and the kettle hung on the nail (Figs. 67 and
68). The hake possesses the disadvantage of making it necessary for
the camper to carry a supply of nails in his kit. No Sourdough on a
long and perilous trip loads himself down with nails. A hake, however,
is a very good model for Boy Scouts, Girl Pioneers, and hikers of all
descriptions who may go camping in the more thickly settled parts of
the country.


Is possibly a corruption of gibbet, but it is a much more humane
implement. It requires a little more time and a little more skill to
make a gib (Fig. 69) than it does to fashion the preceding pot-hook.
It is a useful hook for stationary camps where one has time to develop
more or less intricate cooking equipment. Fig. 69A shows how the two
forked sticks are cut to fit together in a splice, and it also shows
how this splice is nailed together with a couple of wire nails, and
Fig. 70 shows how the wire nails are clinched.

In a book of this kind the details of all these designs are given not
because any one camper is expected to use them all, but because there
are times when any one of them may be just the thing required. It is
well, however, to say that the most practicable camp pot-hooks are the
pot-claw and the hake.

In making a pot-claw care should be taken to cut the notch on the
opposite side of the forked branch, and at the other end of the claw,
deep enough to hold the handle of the cooking utensils securely.

While the author was on an extended trip in the blustering North land
his party had a pot-claw as crooked as a yeggman, and as knotty as a
problem in higher mathematics. While there can be no doubt that one of
the party made this hoodoo affair it has never yet been decided to whom
the credit belongs--because of the innate modesty of the men no one
claims the honor. This misshapen pot-claw was responsible for spilling
the stew on several occasions, not to speak of losing the boiled rice.
Luckily one of the party was a stolid Indian, one a consistent member
of the Presbyterian church, one a Scout and one a member of the Society
of Friends, consequently the air _was not blue_ and the only remarks
made were, "Oh my!" "Bless my soul!" and "Gee willikens!"

The cook in despair put the wicked thing in the fire with muttered
hints that the fire might suggest the region where such pot-hooks
belong. While it burned and its evil spirit dissolved in smoke, the
Indian made a new pot-claw, a respectable pot-claw with a straight
character, and a more secure notch. This one by its benign presence
brought peace and good will to the camp and showed the necessity of
taking pains and using care in the manufacture of even so lowly a thing
as a pot-claw.

The camp pot-hooks should be of various lengths; long ones to bring
the vessels near the fire where the heat is more intense; short ones to
keep the vessels further from the fire so that their contents will not
cook but only keep warm; and medium ones for simmering or slow cooking.


Is not an Italian, but is a long name for a short implement. The
speygelia is a forked stick or a notched stick (Figs. 71, 72 and 73),
which is either propped up on a forked stick (Fig. 71) and the lower
end held down by a stone in such a manner that the fork at the upper
end offers a place to hang things over, or in front of the fire,
sometimes a notched stick is used in the same manner as Fig. 73.
Where the ground is soft to permit it, the stick is driven diagonally
into the earth, which may hold it in place without other support. The
speygelia is much used by cow-punchers and other people in places where
wood is scarce.


The saster is a long pole used in the same manner as the speygelia.
Meat is suspended from it in front of the fire to roast (Figs. 74½ and
75), or kettles are suspended from it over the fire to boil water (Fig.


Many campers are fond of making for themselves cooking utensils
improvised from ordinary telegraph wire. In the old time open
fire-places of our grandsires' kitchen there were trammels consisting
of chains hanging down the chimney on which things were hooked by
short pot-hooks to hang over the fire; there were also rakens made of
bands of iron with holes punched in them for the attachment of short
iron pot-hooks (Fig. 76). With these ancient implements in their
minds, some ingenious campers manufacture themselves rakens and short
pot-hooks from telegraph wire (Fig. 77). By twisting the wire in a
series of short loops, each loop can be made to serve as a place for
attaching the pot-hooks as did the holes in the old-fashioned rakens.
The advantages they claim for the telegraph wire raken are lightness
and its possibility of being readily packed.

[Illustration: 74½, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80]

On one of these rakens one may hook the pail as high or as low as one
chooses (Fig. 78); not only that but one may (Fig. 79) put a small pail
inside the larger one, where later it is full of water, for the purpose
of cooking cereal without danger of scorching it.

[Illustration: 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 88A, 88B, 89, 90]

The disadvantage of all these implements is that they must be toted
wherever one goes, and parts are sure to be lost sooner or later,
whereupon the camper must resort to things "with the bark on 'em," like
the gallow-crook, the pot-claw, the hake, the gib, the speygelia, or
the saster, or he may go back to the first principles and sharpen
the forks of a green wand and impale thereon the bacon, game or fish
that it may be thus toasted over the hot embers (Fig. 80). We do not
put meat _over_ the fire because it will burn on the outside before it
cooks and the fumes of the smoke will spoil its flavor.

According to Mr. Seton, away up in the barren lands they use the
saster with a fan made of a shingle-like piece of wood, fastened with
a hitch to a piece of wire and a bit of string; the wind--when it is
good-natured--will cause the cord to spin round and round. But the same
result is secured with a cord which has been soaked in water to prevent
it from burning, and which has also been twisted by spinning the meat
with one's hands (Fig. 75). Such a cord will unwind and wind more or
less slowly for considerable time, thus causing the meat to expose all
sides of its surface to the heat of the roasting fire in front of which
it hangs. You will note we say in front; again let us impress upon the
reader's mind that he must not hang his meat over the flame. In Fig. 75
the meat is so drawn that one might mistake its position and think it
was intended to hang over the fire, whereas the intention is to hang it
in _front_ of the fire as in Fig. 74. In the writer's boyhood days it
was his great delight to hang an apple by a wet string in front of the
open fire, and to watch it spin until the heat sent the juices bubbling
through the skin and the apple gradually became thoroughly roasted.


Campers have been known to be so fastidious as to demand a broiler
to go with their kit; at the same time there was enough of the real
camper in them to cause them to avoid carrying unwieldy broilers such
as are used in our kitchens. Consequently they compromise by packing a
handful of telegraph wires of even length with their duffel (Fig. 81),
each wire having its ends carefully bent in the form of a hook (Fig.
82), which may be adjusted over two green sticks resting upon two log
fire-dogs (Fig. 83), and upon the wires, so arranged, meat and fish may
be nicely broiled.

This is not a bad scheme, but the campers should have a little canvas
bag in which they may pack the wires, otherwise the camper will sooner
or later throw them away rather than be annoyed by losing one every now
and then. Figs. 84, 85, 86, 87 and 88 show a little


Ingeniously devised by a Boy Pioneer. Two pieces of telegraph wire
are bent into a triangular form (Figs. 84 and 85), and the ends of
the triangle at A are left open or unjoined, so that they may readily
be slipped through the loops in the upright wires, B and C (Fig. 87),
and thus form a take-a-part skeleton stove (Fig. 86). The young fellow
from whom this device was obtained was at the time using an old tin
kerosene-lamp (Fig. 88A) which he forced into the lower triangle of the
stove (Fig. 86), and which the spring of the wire of the triangle held
in position (Fig. 88B).

But if one is going to use the telegraph wire camp stove there is no
necessity of carrying a lamp. The stove is made so that it may be taken
apart and packed easily and the weight is trifling, but a lamp of any
kind, or even a lantern, is a nuisance to carry.

The telegraph wire camp stove, however, may be made by bending the
wires as shown in Fig. 90, but the only object in so doing is to
develop one's ingenuity, or for economy sake, otherwise one may
purchase at the outfitter's folding wire camp broilers for a trifle,
made on the same principle and with legs which may be thrust into the
ground surrounding the fire, as in Figs. 88 and 89, and, after the
broiler is folded in the middle, the legs may be folded back so that
it will all make a flat package. But leaving the artificialities of
telegraph wire let us go back to the real thing again and talk about
laying and lighting a genuine


The more carefully the fire is planned and built the more easily will
the cooking be accomplished. The first thing to be considered in laying
one of these fires is the


Which in camp are the same as andirons in the open fire-places of our
homes, and used for the same purpose. But domestic andirons are heavy
steel bars usually with ornamental brass uprights in front and they
would be most unhandy for one to carry upon a camping trip, while it
would be the height of absurdity to think of taking andirons on a real
hunting or exploring expedition. Therefore, we use green logs, sods or
stones for fire-dogs in the wilderness. Frequently we have a back-log
against which the fire-dog rests; this back-log is shown in Fig. 91.
In this particular case it acts both as a back-log and a fire-dog. In
the plan just above it (Fig. 92), there are two logs side by side which
serve the double purpose of fire-dogs and for sides of the kitchen
stove (Fig. 93). Fig. 94 shows


Sometimes called the round fire. The back is laid up log-cabin style
and the front is left open. In the open enclosure the fire is built by
sticks being laid up like those in Fig. 91. The logs on all three sides
radiate the heat and when the meat is hung in front of this, suspended
from the end of the saster (Fig. 74½), it is easily and thoroughly


Is built with an eye to two purposes: one is to reflect heat into the
open tent in front, and the other is to so construct it that it may
last a long time. When one builds a camp-fire one wants to be able to
roll up in one's blanket and sleep with the comforting conviction that
the fire will last until morning.

The camp-fire is made with two fire-dogs pushed back against a back
log (Fig. 95A and B), which form the foundation for the camp-fire. Two
upright green sticks C (Fig. 95) are placed in a slanting position and
supported by other sticks, D (Fig. 95), the top ends of which rest in
notches cut in C stick at E (Fig. 95), and the bottom ends of which are
thrust into the ground. Against the upright sticks C, and the logs F
are heaped to form the back of the fire. The fire is then built on the
two fire-dogs AA, and against the F logs, the latter will burn slowly
and at the same time reflect the heat into the open tent front. This
same fire is sometimes used for a baking fire, but the real fire for
this purpose is made by the


Figs. 96 and 97. The first sketch shows the plan and the second the
perspective view of the fire. The stove is made by two side logs or
fire-dogs over which the fire is built and after it has fallen in, a
mass of red hot embers, between the fire-dogs, two logs are laid across
the dogs and one log is placed atop, so that the flame then comes up
in front of them (Fig. 97) and sends the heat against the bread or

[Illustration: 93, 94, 95, 96, 97]

At a convenient distance in front of the fuel logs, a waugan-stick is
placed, reaching from one fire-dog to the other.

In wilderness work the frying pan is about the only domestic utensil
carried and is used as a toaster, a baker, a broiler, a fryer, and a
stew pan all combined. In it the Buckskin man and the Sourdough make
their bread, and after the bread has been baked over the coals on the
bottom, it is browned nicely on its top by tilting the pans in front
of the fire and resting their handles against the waugan-stick (Fig.
97). I have seen the baking fire used from British Columbia to Florida,
but it was the explorer, Captain Belmore Browne, who showed me the use
of the waugan-stick in connection with the baking fire, hence I have
called this the Belmore Lay.


Is built between two logs, two rows of stones, or sods (Figs. 98, 99
and 100); between these logs the fire is usually built, using the sides
as fire-dogs, or the sticks may be placed in the turkey-lay (Fig. 100),
so that the sticks themselves make a fire-dog and allow, for a time,
a draught until the fire is burning briskly, after which it settles
down to hot embers and is in the proper condition for frying. For be it
known that too hot a griddle will set the grease or bacon afire, which
may be funny under ordinary circumstances, but when one is shy of bacon
it is a serious thing. The


Is shown by Fig. 101. In this instance, the frying pans being used as
reflector ovens are propped up by running sticks through the holes in
their handles.


Is a rustic crane made exactly of the same form as are the cranes of
the old-fashioned open fire-places, but ingeniously fashioned from a
carefully selected green stick with two forks (Fig. 102). The long end
of the main branch is severed at A (Fig. 102), care being taken not to
cut through the green bark, B (Fig. 102). The bark of the latter, B, is
then bent over the stub, A (Fig. 102), forming a loop, C (Fig. 103),
which is lashed with green bark to the main stick and slipped over the
upright, D (Fig. 104). The fork at E braces the crane and holds it in
a horizontal position, resting on a stub left on D for that purpose.
How practicable this thing may be depends altogether upon the time and
skill one has at one's disposal. One would hardly use the Aures for a
single night camp, but if one were to spend a week in the same camp, it
would be well worth while and at the same time very interesting work
to manufacture a neat Aures crane for the camp kitchen. The next step
in camp kitchen fires will include what might be termed the pit fires,
which will be described in the following chapter.

You have been told how to select the firewood, make the kindling and
start a fire in the preceding chapter on how to build a fire; all you
have to remember now is that in certain particulars _all_ fires are
alike; they all must have _air_ to breathe and _food_ to eat or they
will not live.

In the case of the fire we do not call the air breath, but we give
it a free circulation and call it a draught. Wood is the food that
the fire eats and it must be digestible, a fire with indigestion is a
fire fed with punky, damp wood carelessly thrown together in place of
well-selected dry split wood which the fire can consume cleanly, digest
evenly, and at the same time give out the greatest amount of heat.

[Illustration: 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104]

To produce a draught the fire must, of course, be raised from the
ground, but do not build it in a careless manner like a pile of
jack-straws. Such a fire may start all right, but when the supporting
sticks have burned away it will fall in a heap and precipitate the
cooking utensils into the flames, upsetting the coffee or teapot, and
dumping the bacon "from the frying pan into the fire."

Be it man, woman, boy or girl, if he, she or it expects to be a
camper, he, or she or it must learn to be orderly and tidy around
camp. No matter how soiled one's clothes may be, no matter how grimy
one's face may look, the ground around the camp-fire must be clean,
and the cooking utensils and fire wood, pot-hooks and waugan-sticks,
all orderly and as carefully arranged as if the military officer was
expected the next minute to make an inspection.

All my readers must remember that BY THEIR CAMP-FIRE THEY WILL BE KNOWN
and "sized up" as the real thing or as chumps, duffers, tenderfeet and
cheechakos, by the first Sourdough or old-timer who cuts their trails.


[D] The pots will balance better if the notches are on the same side.






REAL camp kitchens are naught but well arranged fire-places with rustic
cranes and pot-hooks as already described, but in deforested countries,
or on the plains and prairies, pit-fires are much in vogue. The pit
itself shelters the fire on the windswept plain, which is doubly
necessary because of the unprotected nature of such camping places, and
because of the kind of fuel used. Buffalo-chips were formerly used on
the Western plains, but they are now superseded by cattle chips. The
buffalo-chip fire was the cooking fire of the Buckskin-clad long-haired
plainsmen and the equally picturesque cowboy; but the buffalo herds
have long since hit the trail over the Great Divide where all tracks
point one way, the sound of the thunder of their feet has died away
forever, as has also the whoop of the painted Indians. The romantic and
picturesque plainsmen and the wild and rollicking cowboys have followed
the herds of buffalo and the long lines of prairie schooners are a
thing of the past, but the pit-fires of the hunters are still in use.


Is a shallow trench dug in the ground, on each side of which two logs
are placed; in the pit between the logs a fire is built (Fig. 105), but
probably the most celebrated pit-fire is the fireless cooker of the
camp, known and loved by all under the name of


Fig. 106 shows a half section of a bean hole lined with stones. The
bean hole may, however, be lined with clay or simply the damp earth
left in its natural state. This pit-fire place is used differently from
the preceding one, for in the bean hole the fire is built and burns
until the sides are heated good and hot, then the fire is removed and
the bean pot put in place, after which the whole thing is covered up
with ashes and earth and allowed to cook at its leisure.


The cowboy pit-fire is simply a trench dug in the earth (Fig. 107),
with a basin-shaped hole at the beginning. When obtainable, sticks are
laid across the trench and sods laid upon the top of the sticks. Fig.
107 shows a section of view of the pit-fire and trench chimney, and
Fig. 108 shows the top view of the same.

In removing the sod one should be careful not to break them, then even
though there be no sticks one may be able to cover the draught chimney
with the sods themselves by allowing them to bridge the trench. At the
end of the trench the sods are built up, making a short smokestack.

[Illustration: 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113]


The chinook fire-pit is one which is used in the northwestern part of
the United States, and seems to be a combination of the ordinary camp
fire-dogs with cross logs and the cowboy fire-pit. Fig. 109 shows a
perspective view of this lay. Fig. 110 shows the top view of plan of
the lay. Fig. 111 shows a steeper perspective view than that of Fig.
109, and Fig. 112 shows a sectional view. By examining the sectional
view and also the deeper perspective view, as well as the plan, you
will note that the two logs are placed across the fire-dogs with space
between. The back-log is placed upon the top of another back-log A
and B (Fig. 112). The fire-dogs have their ends shoved against the
bottom back-logs B, the two back-logs are kept in place by the stakes
C, C. Between the two top logs D and A (Figs. 112 and 110), the smaller
fuel or split wood is placed.

As the fire burns the hot coals drop into the pit, and when sufficient
quantity of embers are there they may be raked forward and the frying
pan placed on top of them (Fig. 112). The chinook fire is good for
baking, frying, broiling, toasting, and is an excellent all-around
kitchen camp stove.


Is carelessly built, a fire-place usually surrounding a shallow pit,
the sides built up with sods or stones. The hobo answers for a hasty
fire over which to boil the kettle (Fig. 113).

At the old-fashioned barbecue where our ancestors roasted whole oxen,
the ox was placed on a huge spit, which was turned with a crank handle,
very similar to the old-fashioned well handle as used with a rope or
chain and bucket.


Is used at those feasts (Fig. 114), where they broil or roast a whole
sheep, deer or pig. At a late meet of the Camp-fire Club of America
they thus barbecued a pig.

The fire-pit is about four feet wide and four feet deep and is long
enough (Fig. 114) to allow a fire to be built at each end of the pit,
there being no fire under the meat itself for the very good reason that
the melted fat would drop into the fire, cause it to blaze up, smoke
and spoil the meat.

The late Homer Davenport (the old-time and famous cartoonist) some
years ago gave a barbecue at his wild animal farm in New Jersey. When
Davenport was not drawing cartoons he was raising wild animals. At the
Davenport barbecue there was a fire-pit dug in the side of the bank
(Fig. 115); such an arrangement is known as


In the diagram it will be seen that the carcass is fastened to a spit
of green wood, which runs thru a hole in a cross log and fits in the
socket D in the bottom log; the spit is turned by handles arranged like
A, B or C. The pit is lined with either stones or bricks, which are
heated by a roaring big fire until hot enough to bake the meat.

[Illustration: 114, 115, 116, 117]


Is another bank pit, and one that I have seen used in Montana by
Japanese railroad hands. It is made by digging a hole in the bank and
using shelves either made of stones or old pieces of iron. Fig. 116
shows the cross section of the Gold Digger with the stone door in
place. Fig. 117 shows a perspective view of the gold digger with the
stone door resting at one side.

[Illustration: 118, 119 THE FERGUSON CAMPSTOVE]

We next come to the ovens, the first of which is known as


It is made by building a rounded hut of stones or sod (Fig. 118), and
covering the same with branches over which sod, or clay, or dirt is
heaped (Fig. 119). The oven is heated by building the fire inside of
it, and when it is very hot and the fire has burned down, the food is
placed inside and the opening stopped up so as to retain the heat and
thus cook the food.


Is one that the soldiers in Civil War days taught the author to build.
The boys in blue generally used an old barrel with the two heads
knocked out (Fig. 121). This they either set in the bank or covered
with clay (Fig. 120), and in it they built their fires which consumed
the barrel but left the baked clay for the sides of the oven. The head
of the barrel (Fig. 121A) was saved and used to stop up the front of
the oven when baking was being done; a stone or sod was used to cover
up the chimney hole. Figs. 122, 123, 124 and 125 show how to make an
Adobe by braiding green sticks together and then covering the same with
clay, after which it is used in the same manner as the preceding barrel


Is a camp stove or fire-place, and a form of the so-called Altar
Fire-place, the object of which is to save one's back while cooking.
The matasiso is built up of stones or sods (Fig. 126) and used like any
other campfire.


Is a camp stove which the boys of the troop of Boone Scouts, who
frequented Bank Lick in old Kentucky, were wont to build and on it to
cook the big channel catfish, or little pond bass or other food. The
Bank Lick is made of flat stones and is one or two stories high (Figs.
127 and 128). The Boone Scouts flourished in Kenton County, Kentucky,
fifty odd years ago.

[Illustration: 120, 121, 121A, 122, 123, 124, 125]


Is built of logs (Fig. 132), of stones, of sod, or of logs filled with
sods or stone (Fig. 131), and topped with clay (Figs. 130 and 132). The
clay top being wider at one end than the other, on the plan of the
well-known campfire (Fig. 129), is made with stones and sometimes used
when clay is unobtainable.

[Illustration: 126, 127, 128]

[Illustration: 129, 130, 131, 132]


The advantage of the altar fire and the matasiso is that the cook does
not have to get the backache over the fire while he cooks. All of these
ovens and fire-places are suitable for more or less permanent camps,
but it is not worth while to build these ovens and altar fire-places
for quick and short camps.


It is proper and right in treating camp cooking that we should begin
with the most primitive methods. For when one has no cooking utensils
except those fashioned from the material at hand, he must, in order to
prepare appetizing food, display a real knowledge of woodcraft.

[Illustration: 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143,
144, 145, 146


Therefore, start by spearing the meat on a green twig of sweet birch,
or some similar wood, and toast it before the fire or pinch the meat
between the split ends of a twig (Fig. 133) or better still


In order to do this select a wand with a fork to it, trim off the
prongs of the forks, leaving them rather long (Fig. 134), then sharpen
the ends of the prongs and weave them in and out near the edges of the
meat (Fig. 135), which is done by drawing the prongs slightly together
before impaling the meat on the second prong. The natural spring and
elasticity of the branches will stretch the meat nice and flat (Fig.
135), ready to toast in front of the flames, _not over the flame_.

A very thick steak of moose meat or beef may be cooked in this manner.
Remember to have fire-dogs and a good back log; there will then be hot
coals under the front log and flame against the back log to furnish
heat for the meat in front. Turn the meat every few minutes and do not
salt it until it is about done. Any sort of meat can be thus cooked;
it is a favorite way of toasting bacon among the sportsmen, and I have
seen chickens beautifully broiled with no cooking implements but the
forked stick. This was done by splitting the chicken open and running
the forks through the legs and sides of the fowl.


Twist is a Boy Scout's name for this sort of bread. The twist is made
of dough and rolled between the palms of the hands until it becomes a
long thick rope (Fig. 138), then it is wrapped spirally around a dry
stick (Fig. 139), or one with bark on it (Fig. 137). The coils should
be close together but without touching each other. The stick is now
rested in the forks of two uprights, or on two stones in front of the
roasting fire (Figs. 140 and 141), or over the hot coals of a pit-fire.
The long end of the stick on which the twist is coiled is used for a
handle to turn the twist so that it may be nicely browned on all sides,
or it may be set upright in front of the flames (Fig. 142).


May be cooked in the same manner that one planks a shad: that is, by
plastering it on the flat face of a puncheon or board, split from the
trunk of a tree (Fig. 145), or flat clean stone, and propping it up
in front of the fire as one would when cooking in a reflecting oven
(Fig. 146). When the cake is cooked on one side it can be turned over
by using a hunting knife or a little paddle whittled out of a stick
for that purpose, and then cooked upon the opposite side. Or a flat
stone may be placed over the fire and used as a frying pan (Figs. 116
and 128). I have cooked a large channel catfish in this manner and
found that it was unnecessary to skin the fish because, there being no
grease, the skin adhered firmly to the hot stone, leaving the white
meat flaky and delicate, all ready to be picked out with a jack-knife
or with chopsticks, whittled out of twigs.


May be made of forked branches (Figs. 151, 152, 153, 154 and 155). Upon
this hook meat maybe suspended before the fire (Fig. 153) by a piece
of twine made from the twisted green bark of a milkweed or some other
fibrous plant stalk or tree bark, or a wet string will do if you have


Dressing in this case really means undressing, taking their coats off
and removing their insides. In order to prepare for broiling or baking
any of the small fur-bearing animals, make yourself a skinning stick,
using for the purpose a forked branch; the forks being about an inch
in diameter, make the length of the stick to suit your convenience,
that is, long enough to reach between the knees whether you are sitting
on a camp stool or squatting on the ground, sharpen the lower end of
the stick and thrust it into the ground, then take your coon, possum,
squirrel or muskrat, and punch the pointed ends of the forked stick
thru the thin place at the point which corresponds to your own heel,
just as the stick in Fig. 155 is punched through the thin place behind
the heels of the small animals there sketched. Thus hung the animal
may be dressed with comfort to the workmen. If one is squatting, the
nose of the animal should just clear the ground. First take off the
fur coat. To do this you split the skin with a sharp knife, beginning
at the center of the throat and cut to the base of the tail, being
careful not to cut deep enough to penetrate the inside skin or sack
which contains the intestines; when the base of the tail is reached,
use your fingers to roll back the skin. If skinning for the pelt,
follow directions given later, but do not destroy any skin as the hide
is useful for many purposes around camp. After the coat is removed and
all the internal organs taken out, remove the scent glands from such
animals as have them, and make a cut in the forearms and the meaty
parts of the thigh, and cut out the little white things which look like
nerves, to be found there. This will prevent the flesh from having a
strong or musky taste when it is cooked.


First dress the carcass and then stretch it on a framework of black
birch sticks, for this sweet wood imparts no disagreeable odor or taste
to the meat.

Next build a big fire at each end of the pit (Fig. 114), not right
under the body of the animal, but so arranged that when the melted fat
drops from the carcass it will not fall on the hot coals to blaze up
and spoil your barbecue. Build big fires with plenty of small sticks so
as to make good red hot coals before you put the meat on to cook.

First bake the inside of the barbecued beast, then turn it over and
bake the outside. To be well done, an animal the size of a sheep
should be cooking at least seven or eight hours over a charcoal fire.
Baste the meat with melted bacon fat mixed with any sauce you may have
or no sauce at all, for bacon fat itself is good enough for anyone, or
use hot salt water.

Of course, it is much better to use charcoal for this purpose, but
charcoal is not always handy. One can, however,


A day or two ahead of the barbecue day, by building big fires of wood
about the thickness of one's wrist. After the fire has been burning
briskly for a while, it should be covered up with ashes or dirt and
allowed to smoulder all night, and turn the wood into charcoal in place
of consuming it.


Roll the top of your flour bag back (Fig. 136), then build a cone of
flour in the middle of the bag and make a crater in the top of the
flour mountain.

In the crater dump a heaping teaspoon--or, to use Mr. Vreeland's
expression, put in "one and a half heaping teaspoonfuls of baking
powder," to which add a half spoonful of salt; mix these together with
the dry flour, and when this is thoroughly done begin to pour water
into the crater, a little at a time, mixing the dough as you work by
stirring it around inside your miniature volcano. Gradually the flour
will slide from the sides into the _lava_ of the center, as the water
is poured in and care taken to avoid lumps.

Make the dough as soft as may be, not batter but very soft dough, stiff
enough, however, to roll between your well-floured hands.


Put the potatoes with their skins on them on a bed of hot embers two or
three inches thick, then cover the potatoes with more hot coals. If
this is done properly the spuds will cook slowly, even with the fire
burning above them. Don't be a chump and throw the potatoes in the fire
where the outer rind will burn to charcoal while the inside remains raw.


In preparing a small and tender fish, where possible, the point under
the head, where the gills meet, is cut, fingers thrust in and the
entrails drawn through this opening; the fish is then washed, cleaned
and wrapped in a coating of paper or fallen leaves, before the clay
is applied. Place the fish upon a pancake of stiff clay (Fig. 147),
fold the clay over the fish (Fig. 148), press the edges together, thus
making a clay dumpling (Fig. 149); cook by burying the dumpling in the
embers of an ordinary surface fire, or in the embers in a pit-fire
(Fig. 150).

A brace of partridges may be beheaded, drawn, washed out thoroughly and
stuffed with fine scraps of chopped bacon or pork, mixed with bread
crumbs, generously seasoned with salt, pepper and sage, if you have any
of the latter. The birds with the feathers on them are then plastered
over with clean clay made soft enough to stick to the feathers, the
outside is wrapped with stiffer clay and the whole molded into a ball,
which is buried deep in the glowing cinders and allowed to remain
there for an hour, and at the end of that time the clay will often be
almost as hard as pottery and must be broken open with a stick. When
the outside clay comes off the feathers will come with it, leaving the
dainty white meat of the bird all ready to be devoured.

Woodchucks, raccoons, opossums, porcupines, rabbits had better be
barbecued (see Figs. 114, 115 and 155), but squirrels and small
creatures may be baked by first removing the insides of the creatures,
cleaning them, filling the hollow with bread crumbs, chopped bacon and
onions, then closing the opening and plastering the bodies over with
stiff clay and baking them in the embers. This seals the meat inside of
the mud wrapper and when it is cooked and the brick-like clay broken
off, the skin comes off with the broken clay, leaving the juicy meat
exposed to view.

[Illustration: 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157,
158, 159, 160]


Cut off the head of the fish and clean by splitting it through the
back, in place of the usual way of splitting up the belly. To salt
red meat before you cook it is to make it dry and tough, but the fish
should be salted while it is damp with its own juices.

Heat the plank in front of the fire and then spread your fish out flat
on the hot puncheon or plank, and with your hunting knife press upon
it, make slit holes through the fish (Fig. 145) with the grain of the
wood; tack your fish on with wooden pegs cut wedge shape and driven
in the slits made by your knife blade (Figs. 143 and 144). Prop the
puncheon up in front of a fire which has a good back-log and plenty of
hot coals to send out heat (Fig. 146).[E]


Water may be boiled in a birch bark vessel made by folding up a more or
less square piece of bark, bending in the corner (Fig. 157) folds and
holding them in place by thorns or slivers (Fig. 156). Or the stomach
of a large animal or piece of green hide may be filled with water and
the latter made hot by throwing in it hot stones (Fig. 158). Dig a hole
in the ground, fit the rawhide in the hole, bringing the edges up so
as to overlap the sod, weigh down the edges with stones, fill the hide
with water and heat with hot stones. Figs. 159 and 160 show how to make
tongs with which to handle the stones.


[E] The best plank is made from the oaks grown on the hammocks of
Southern Florida and the peculiar flavor this plank gives to shad has
made Planked Shad famous.







WHEN America gave Indian corn to the world she gave it a priceless gift
full of condensed pep. Corn in its various forms is a wonderful food
power; with a long, narrow buckskin bag of nocake, or rock-a-hominy,
as parched cracked corn was called, swung upon his back, an Indian or
a white man could traverse the continent independent of game and never
suffer hunger. George Washington, George Rodgers Clark, Boone, Kenton,
Crockett, and Carson all knew the sustaining value of parched corn.


The pioneer farmers in America and many of their descendants up to the
present time, dry their Indian corn by the methods the early Americans
learned from the Indians. The corn drying season naturally begins with
the harvesting of the corn, but it often continues until the first snow

Selecting a number of ears of corn, the husks are pulled back exposing
the grain, and then the husks of the several ears are braided together
(Fig. 165). These bunches of corn are hung over branches of trees or
horizontal poles and left for the winds to dry (Fig. 166).

On account of the danger from corn-eating birds and beasts, these
drying poles are usually placed near the kitchen door of the farmhouse,
and sometimes in the attic of the old farmhouse, the woodshed or the

Of course, the Indians owned no corn mills, but they used bowl-shaped
stones to hold the corn and stone pestles like crudely made potato
mashers with which to grind the corn. The writer lately saw numbers
of these stone corn-mills in the collection of Doctor Baldwin, of
Springfield, Mass.

[Illustration: 161, 162, 163, 164


In the southwest much grit from the stone used is unintentionally mixed
with the corn, and hence all the elderly Indians' teeth are worn down
as if they had been sandpapered.

But the reader can use a wooden bowl and a potato masher with a piece
of tin or sheet iron nailed to its bottom with which to crush the corn
and make meal without grit. Or he can make a pioneer mill like Figs.
163 or 164, from a log. The pestle or masher in Fig. 164 is of iron.


There is a way to preserve corn which a few white people still practice
just as they learned it from the Indians. First they dig long, shallow
trenches in the ground, fill them with dried roots and small twigs
with which they make a hot fire and thus cover the bottom of the ditch
with glowing embers. The outer husks of the fresh green corn are then
removed and the corn placed in rows side by side on the hot embers
(Fig. 167). This practice gave the name of Roasting Ear Season to July
and August.


As the husks become scorched the ears are turned over, and when browned
on all sides they are deftly tossed out of the ditch by means of a wand
or stick used for that purpose.

The burnt husks are now removed and the grains of corn are shelled from
the cob with the help of a sharp-edged, fresh water "clam" shell; these
shells I have often found in the old camping places of the Indians in
the half caves of Pennsylvania.

The corn is then spread out on a clean sheet or on pieces of paper and
allowed to dry in the sun. It is "mighty" good food, as any Southern
born person will tell you. One can keep a supply of it all winter.


When I was a little shaver in old Kentucky, the children were very
fond of the Southern field corn parched in a frying pan (Fig. 161),
and then buttered and salted while it was still hot; we parched field
corn, sugar corn and the regular pop corn, but none of us had ever seen
cracked corn or corn meal parched and used as food, and I am inclined
to think that the old pioneers themselves parched the corn as did their
direct descendants in Kentucky, and that said corn was crushed or
ground after it had been parched. Be this as it may, we know that our
bordermen traveled and fought on a parched corn diet and that Somoset,
Massasoit, Pocahontas, Okekankano, Powhatan, all ate corn cakes and
that it was either them or the squaws of their tribes who taught bold
Captain Smith's people on the southern coast, and the Pilgrims further
north, the value of corn as an article of diet. The knowledge of how to
make the various kinds of corn bread and the use of corn generally from
"roasting-ears" to corn puddings was gained from the American Indians.
It was from them we learned how to make the


This ancient American food dates back to the fable times which existed
before history, when the sun came out of a hole in the eastern sky,
climbed up overhead and then dove through a hole in the western sky
and disappeared. The sun no more plays such tricks, and although the
humming-bird, who once stole the sun, still carries the mark under his
chin, he is no longer a humming-birdman but only a little buzzing bird;
the ash cake, however, is still an ash cake and is made in almost as
primitive a manner now as it was then.

Mix half a teaspoonful of salt with a cup of corn meal, and add to it
boiling hot water until the swollen meal may be worked by one's hand
into a ball, bury the ball in a nice bed of hot ashes (glowing embers)
and leave it there to bake like a potato. Equalling the ash cake in
fame and simplicity is


Pone is made by mixing the meal as described for the ash cake, but
molding the mixture in the form of a cone and baking it in an oven.


Is mixed in the same way as the pone or ash cake, but it is not cooked
the same, nor is it the same shape; it is more in the form of a very
thick pancake. Pat the Johnny-cake into the form of a disk an inch
thick and four inches in diameter. Have the frying pan plentifully
supplied with _hot_ grease and drop the Johnny-cake carefully in the
sizzling grease. When the cake is well browned on one side turn it and
brown it on the other side. If cooked properly it should be a rich
dark brown color and with a crisp crust. Before it is eaten it may be
cut open and buttered like a biscuit, or eaten with maple syrup like
a hot buckwheat cake. This is the Johnny-cake of my youth, the famous
Johnny-cake of Kentucky fifty years ago. Up North I find that any old
thing made of corn meal is called a Johnny-cake and that they also call
ash-cakes "hoe-cakes," and corn bread "bannocks," at least they call
camp corn bread, a bannock. Now since bannocks were known before corn
was known, suppose we call it


In the North they also call this camp corn bread "Johnny-cake," but
whatever it is called it is wholesome and nourishing. Take some corn
meal and wheat flour and mix them fifty-fifty; in other words, a half
pint each; add a teaspoon level full and a teaspoon heaping full of
baking powder and about half a teaspoonful of salt; mix these all
together, _while dry_, in your pan, then add the water gradually. If
you have any milk go fifty-fifty with the water and milk, make the
flour as thin as batter, pour it into a reflector pan, or frying pan,
prop it up in front of a quick fire; it will be heavy if allowed to
cook slowly at the start, but after your cake has risen you may take
more time with the cooking. This is a fine corn bread to stick to the
ribs. I have eaten it every day for a month at a time and it certainly
has the food power in it. When made in form of biscuits it is called
"corn dodgers."


Take two cups full of flour and one level teaspoonful and one heaping
teaspoonful of baking powder and half a teaspoonful of salt, and mix
them together thoroughly while dry. To this you add milk and water, if
not milk straight water, mixing it as described for the flapjacks. Make
a dough soft but stiff enough to mold with well floured hands, make it
into biscuits about half an inch thick, put them into a greased pan,
bake them in any one of the ovens already described, or by propping
them up in front of the fire. If the biscuits have been well mixed and
well baked they will prove to be good biscuits.


Fred tells me that he makes this the same as he would biscuits and
bakes it in a frying pan. The frying pan is heated and greased before
the dough is dropped into it, making a cake about a half inch thick.
The frying pan is then placed over the slow fire to give the bannock a
chance to rise and harden enough to hold its shape, then the frying
pan is propped up with a stick and the bannock browned by reflected
heat, it must be cooked slowly and have "a nice brown crust." I have
never made bannocks but I have eaten some of Vreeland's, and they are


A fellow who cannot throw a flapjack is sadly lacking in the skill one
expects to find in a real woodcrafter. A heavy, greasy flapjack is an
abomination, but the real article is a joy to make and a joy to eat.

Put a large tin cupful of flour in the pan, add half a teaspoonful of
salt, also one heaping teaspoonful and one level teaspoonful of baking
powder; mix the salt and baking powder well with the flour while it
is dry. Then build your little mountain or volcano of flour with its
miniature crater in the middle, into which pour water little by little;
making the lava by mixing the dough as you go. Continue this process
until all the flour is batter; the batter should be thin enough to
spread out rapidly into the form of a pancake when it is poured into
the skillet or frying pan, but not watery.

Grease the frying pan with a greasy rag fastened to the end of a stick
or with a piece of bacon rind. Remember that the frying pan only needs
enough grease to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan; when one
fries potatoes the pan should be plentifully supplied with very hot
grease, but flapjacks are not potatoes and too much grease makes the
cakes unfit to eat. Do not put too much batter in the pan, either; I
tried it once and when I flapped the flapjack the hot batter splattered
all over my face, and that batter was even hotter than my remarks.

Pour enough batter into the pan to spread almost but not quite over
the bottom; when the bubbles come thickly in the middle and the
edges begin to smoke a bit, it is time to flap the flapjack. Do so by
loosening the edges with a knife blade, then dip the far side of the
pan downward and bring it up quickly, sending the cake somersaulting
in the air; catch the cake as it falls batter side down and proceed to
cook that side.

The penalty of dropping a flapjack in the fire is to be made to eat it
without wiping off the ashes.


First fry some bacon or boil it until it is soft, then chop up the
bacon into small pieces quite fine, like hash. Save the grease and set
the bacon to one side; now take a pint of flour and half a teaspoon
of salt, a spoonful of brown sugar and a heaping spoonful of baking
powder and mix them all while they are dry, after which stir in the
water as already described until it is in the form of batter; now add
the chopped bacon and then mix rapidly with a spoon; pour it into a
Dutch oven or a pan and bake; it should be done in thirty-five or forty
minutes, according to the condition of the fire.

When your campfire is built upon a hearth made of stones, if you brush
the ashes away from the hot stone and place your doughgod upon it, then
cover it with a frying pan or some similar vessel, and put the hot
cinders on top of the frying pan, you will find that it will bake very
nicely and satisfactorily on the hearthstone.

In the old-fashioned open fire-places where our grandparents did their
cooking, a Dutch oven was considered essential. The Dutch oven is still
used by the guides and cowboys and is of practically the same form as
that used by Abraham Lincoln's folks; it consists of a more or less
shallow dish of metal, copper, brass or iron, with four metal legs
that may be set in the hot cinders. Over that is a metal top which is
made so as to cover the bottom dish, and the edges of the cover are
turned up all around like a hat with its brim turned up. This is so
made to hold the hot cinders which are dumped on top of it, but a


From any combination of two metal dishes so made or selected that the
large one will fit over the top and snugly overlap the smaller dish,
so as not to admit dirt, dust or ashes to the food inside. In this
oven bread, biscuits, cakes, pies, stews, bakes, meat, fish, fowl and
vegetables may be cooked with delightful results. In camp two frying
pans are frequently made to act as a Dutch oven. A Dutch oven is
sometimes used in a bean hole (Fig. 106). First build a fire, using
sufficient small wood, chips and dry roots to make cinders enough with
which to fill your bean hole. While the fire is doing its work let the
cook prepare to cook


Slice bacon as thin as possible and place a layer over the bottom and
around the sides of the Dutch oven like a pie-crust. Slice venison,
moose meat or bear steak, or plain beef, medium thin and put in to the
depth of 2½ inches, salting each layer. Chop a large onion and sprinkle
it over the top, cover with another layer of bacon and one pint of
water and put on the lid. Fill the hole half full of hot embers,
place the Dutch oven in the center and fill the space surrounding the
oven full of embers. Cover all with about 6 inches of dirt, then roll
yourself up in your blanket and shut your eyes--your breakfast will
cook while you sleep and be piping hot when you dig for it in the

The bean hole is far from a modern invention and the dried droppings of
animals, like "buffalo chips," were used for fuel away back in Bible
times; in ancient Palestine they stewed their meat in a pot set in a
hole filled in with stones over which burned a fire of "chips" gathered
where the flocks pastured.

When the wood is of such a nature that it is difficult to obtain a bed
of live coals for toasting, meat may, in a pinch, be cooked upon a
clean flat stone (Figs. 116, 117 and 128). Be certain that the stone
is a dry one, otherwise the heat may burst it. If satisfied that it
is dry, heat it good and hot and spread your thick slice of venison,
moose, bear or sheep or even beef upon the very hot stone; leave it
there about twenty minutes and allow it to singe, sizzle and burn on
one side, then turn it over and burn the other side until the charred
part is one-quarter or even a half inch deep. Now remove the meat and
with your hunting knife scrape away all the charred meat, season it and
toast some bacon or pork on a forked stick and, after scoring the steak
deeply and putting the pork or bacon in the cuts, the meat is ready to
serve to your hungry self and camp mates.


If you want to know how real wild meat tastes, drop a sleek buck with a
shot just over the shoulder--no good sportsman will shoot a doe--dress
the deer and let it hang for several days; that is, if you wish tender
meat. Cut a steak two inches thick and fry some bacon, after which put
the steak in the frying pan with the bacon on top of it, and a cover
on the frying pan. When one side is cooked, turn the meat over and
again put the bacon on top, replace the cover and let that side cook.
Serve on a hot plate and give thanks that you are in the open, have a
good appetite and you are privileged to partake of a dish too good for
any old king. The gravy, oh my word! the recollection of it makes me
hungry! I have eaten moose meat three times a day for weeks at a time,
when it was cooked as described, without losing my desire for more.


Is a great dish in Canada; the bird is cooked this way: Chop cabbage
fine and highly spice it, then stuff the bird with the cabbage and
nicely cover the partridge or grouse with many thin slices of bacon,
and put bacon also in the baking pan. When this is well baked and well
basted a more delicious game dinner you will never eat. Try it; it is
an old French way of cooking the partridge or pheasant.

When you need a real warm fire for cooking, do not forget that dry
roots make an intensely hot fire with no smoke; look for them in
driftwood piles, as they are sure to be there; they are light as a cork
and porous as a sponge, and burn like coke.

No one with truth may say that he is a real woodcrafter unless he
is a good camp cook. At the same time it is an error to think that
the outdoor men live to eat like the trencher men of old England,
or the degenerate epicures of ancient Rome. Neither are the outdoor
men in sympathy with the Spartans or Lacedemonians and none of them
would willingly partake of the historic and disgusting black broth of
Lacedemonia. Woodcrafters are really more in sympathy with cultured
Athenians who strove to make their banquets attractive with interesting
talk, inspiring and patriotic odes and delightful recitations by poets
and philosophers. As a campfire man would say: "That's me all over,
Mable" and he might add that like all good things on this earth


Originated in the open. The word itself is from the French and Spanish
and means a small bench, a little seat, and when spelled banqueta,
means a three-legged stool. It has reference to sitting while eating
instead of taking refreshments in "stand up" fashion. The most
enjoyable banquets in the author's experience are those partaken in the
wilderness, and prominent among the wildwood dishes is the


Wash the beans first, then half fill a pail with them, put them over
the fire and parboil them until their skins are ready to come off; they
are now ready for the pot. But before putting them in there, peel an
onion and slice it, placing the slices in the bottom of the bean pot.
Now pour half of the beans over the onions and on top of them spread
the slices of another onion. Take some salt pork and cut it into square
pieces and place the hunks of pork over the onions, thus making a layer
of onions and pork on top of the beans. Over this pour the remainder
of the beans, cover the top of the beans with molasses, on the top of
the molasses put some more hunks of pork, put in enough water to barely
cover the beans. Over the top of all of it spread a piece of birch
bark, then force the cover down good and tight.

Meanwhile a fire should have been built in the bean hole (Fig. 105).
When the fire of birch has been burnt to hot cinders, the cinders must
be shoveled out and the bean pot put into the hole, after which pack
the cinders around the bean pot and cover the whole thing with the dead
ashes, or as the lumbermen call them, the black ashes.

If the beans are put into the bean hole late in the afternoon and
allowed to remain there all night, they will be done to a turn for
breakfast; the next morning they will be wholesome, juicy and sweet,
browned on top and delicious.

A bean hole is not absolutely necessary for a small pot of beans. I
have cooked them in the wilderness by placing the pot on the ground in
the middle of the place where the fire had been burning, then heaping
the hot ashes and cinders over the bean pot until it made a little hill
there, which I covered with the black ashes and left until morning. I
tried the same experiment on the open hearth to my studio and it was a
wonderful success.


Requires that when a porcupine has been killed it be immediately thrown
into the fire, there to remain until all the quills have been singed
off of the aggressive hide, after which it may be skinned with no
danger to the workmen and with no danger to the other campers from the
wicked barbed quills, which otherwise might be waiting for them just
where they wished to seat themselves.

This may sound funny, but I have experimented, unintentionally, by
seating myself upon a porcupine quill. I can assure the reader that
there is nothing humorous in the experience to the victim, however
funny it may appear to those who look on.

After thoroughly singeing the porcupine you roll it in the grass to
make certain that the burnt quills are rubbed off its skin, then with
a sharp knife slit him up the middle of the belly from the tail to the
throat, pull the skin carefully back and peel it off. When you come to
the feet cut them off. Broiled porcupine is the Thanksgiving turkey of
the Alaskan and British Columbia Indian, but unless it has been boiled
in two or three waters the taste does not suit white men.


After it has been parboiled, suspend the porcupine by its forelegs in
front of a good roasting fire, or over a bed of hot coals, and if well
seasoned it will be as good meat as can be found in the wilderness. The
tail particularly is very meaty and is most savory; like beef tongue it
is filled with fine bits of fat. Split the tail and take out the bone,
then roast the meaty part.

Porcupine stuffed with onions and roasted on a spit before the fire is
good, but to get the perfection of cooking it really should be cooked
in a Dutch oven, or a closed kettle or an improvised airtight oven of
some sort and baked in a bean hole, or baked by being buried deep under
a heap of cinders and covered with ashes. Two iron pans that will fit
together, that is, one that is a trifle larger than the other so that
the smaller one may be pushed down into it to some extent, will answer
all the purposes of the Dutch oven. Also two frying pans arranged in
the same manner.

Always remember that after the porcupine is skinned, dressed and
cleaned, it should be _put in a pot and parboiled_, changing the water
once or twice, after which it may be cooked in any way which appeals to
the camper. The


Is to place it in the Dutch oven with a few hunks of fat pork; let the
porcupine itself rest upon some hard-tack, hard biscuit or stale bread
of any kind, which has been slightly softened with water.

On top of the porcupine lay a nice slice or two of fat pork and place
another layer of soaked hard biscuit or hard-tack on the pork, put it
in a Dutch oven and place the Dutch oven on the hot coals, put a cover
on the Dutch oven and heap the living coals over the top of it and the
ashes atop of that; let it bake slowly until the flesh parts from the
bones. Thus cooked it will taste something like veal with a suggestion
of sucking pig. The tail of the porcupine, like the


Is considered a special delicacy. Many of the old wilderness men hang
the flat trowel-like tails of the beaver for a day or two in the
chimney of their shack to allow the oily matter to exude from it,
and thus take away the otherwise strong taste; others parboil it as
advocated for porcupine meat, after which the tail may be roasted or
baked and the rough skin removed before eating.


Is made by stewing the tails with what other ingredients one may have
in camp; all such dishes should be allowed to simmer for a long while
in place of boiling rapidly.

A man who was hunting in North Michigan said, "Although I am a
Marylander, and an Eastern Shore one at that, and consequently know
what good things to eat are, I want to tell you that I'll have to take
off my hat to the lumber camp cook as the discoverer, fabricator and
dispenser of a dish that knocks the Eastern Shore cuisine silly. And
that dish is beaver-tail soup. When the beaver was brought into camp
the camp cook went nearly wild, and so did the lumbermen when they
heard the news, and all because they were pining for beaver-tail soup.

"The cook took that broad appendage of the beaver, mailed like an
armadillo, took from it the underlying bone and meat and from it made
such a soup as never came from any other stock, at the beck of the most
expert and scientific chef that ever put a kettle on."


Is valuable also for his flesh. Its name and rat-like appearance have
created a prejudice against it as a food, but thousands of persons eat
it without compunction. For those to whom the name is a stumbling-block
the euphemism "marsh rabbit" has been invented, and under this name the
muskrat is sold even in the Wilmington market and served on the tables
of white country folk. In Delaware, especially, the muskrat is ranked
as a delicacy, and personally the author ranks this rodent with the
rabbit as an article of food.

At Dover the writer has had it served at the hotel under its own name;
the dish was "muskrats and toast." For the benefit of those who revolt
at the muskrat as food, it is well to state that it is one of the
cleanest of all creatures, that it carefully washes all its own food
and in every way conducts itself so as to recommend its flesh even to
the most fastidious. As a matter of fact the flesh of the muskrat,
though dark, is tender and exceedingly sweet. Stewed like rabbit it
looks and tastes like rabbit, save that it lacks a certain gamy flavor
that some uneducated persons find an unpleasant characteristic of the
latter. But to the writer's way of thinking, while the muskrat is good
to eat, there are many things much better; the point is, however, that
everything which tastes good and is not indigestible is good to eat no
matter what its name may be.


Of all the camp stews and hunters' stews of various names and flavors,
the Kentucky burgoo heads the list; not only is it distinguished
for its intrinsic qualities, its food value and delicious flavor,
its romance and picturesque accompaniment, but also because of the
illustrious people whose names are linked in Kentucky history with the
burgoo. One such feast, given some time between 1840 and 1850, was
attended by Governor Owlsley (old stone-hammer), Governor Metcalf,
Governor Bob Letcher, Governor Moorhead, General George Crittenton,
General John Crittenton, General Tom Crittenton, James H. Beard, and
other distinguished men.

All Kentuckians will vow they understand the true meaning of the word
"burgoo." But an article in the Insurance Field says, "It is derived
from the low Latin burgus, fortified (as a town) and goo-goo, very
good." Hence the word, "burgoo," something very good, fortified with
other good things, as will be found in "Carey's Dictionary of Double
Derivations": "Burgoo is literally a soup composed of many vegetables
and meats delectably fused together in an enormous caldron, over which,
at the exact moment, a rabbit's foot at the end of a yarn string is
properly waved by a colored preacher, whose salary has been paid to
date. These are the good omens by which the burgoo is fortified."


Anything from an ordinary pail to one or many big caldrons, according
to the number of guests expected at the camp, will serve as vessels
in which to serve the burgoo. The excellence of the burgoo depends
more upon the manner of cooking and seasoning it than it does on the
material used in its decoction.

To-day the burgoo is composed of meat from domestic beasts and barnyard
fowls with vegetables from the garden, but originally it was made from
the wild things in the woods, bear, buffalo, venison, wild turkey,
quails, squirrels and all the splendid game animals that once roamed
through Kentucky.

As this book is for woodcrafters we will take it for granted that
we are in the woods, that we have some venison, moose, bear meat,
rocky mountain goat, big horn, rabbit, ruffed grouse, or some good
substitutes. It would be a rare occasion indeed when we would really
have these things. If, for instance, we have a good string of grouse we
will take their legs and wings and necks for the burgoo and save their
breasts for a broil, and if we have not many grouse we will put in a
whole bird or two. We will treat the rabbits the same way, saving the
body with the tenderloin for broiling. When cleaned and dressed the
meat of a turtle or two adds a delicious flavor to the burgoo; frogs
legs are also good, with the other meat.

Cut all the meat up into pieces which will correspond, roughly
speaking, to inch cubes; do not throw away the bones; put them in also.
Now then, if you were wise enough when you were outfitting for the trip
to secure some of the ill-smelling but palatable dried vegetables, they
will add immensely to the flavor of your burgoo. Put all the material
in the kettle, that is, unless you are using beans and potatoes as
vegetables; if so, the meats had better be well cooked first, because
the beans and potatoes have a tendency to go to the bottom, and by
scorching spoil the broth.

Fill your kettle, caldron or pot half full of water and hang it
over the fire; while it is making ready to boil get busy with your
vegetables, preparing them for the stew. Peel the dry outer skin off
your onions and halve them, or quarter them, according to their size;
scrape your carrots and slice them into little disks, each about the
size of a quarter, peel your potatoes and cut them up into pieces
about the size of the meat, and when the caldron is boiling dump in
the vegetables. The vegetables will temporarily cool the water, which
should not be allowed to again boil, but should be put over a slow fire
and where it will simmer. When the stew is almost done add the salt
and other seasonings. There should always be enough water to cover the
vegetables. Canned tomatoes will add to the flavor of your broth. In a
real burgoo we put no thickening like meal, rice or other material of
similar nature, because the broth is strained and served clear. Also no
sweet vegetables like beets.

When the burgoo is done dip it out and drink it from tin cups. Of
course, if this is a picnic burgoo, you add olive juice to the stew,
while it is cooking, and then place a sliced lemon and an olive in each
cup and pour the hot strained liquid into the cups.

The burgoo and the barbecue belong to that era when food was plenty,
feasts were generous and appetites good. These historic feasts still
exist in what is left of the open country and rich farming districts,
particularly in Kentucky and Virginia. In Kentucky in the olden times
the gentlemen were wont to go out in the morning and do the hunting,
while the negroes were keeping the caldrons boiling with the pork and
other foundation material in them. After the gentlemen returned and
the game was put into the caldron, the guests began to arrive and the
stew was served late in the afternoon; each guest was supposed to come
supplied with a tin cup and a spoon, the latter made of a fresh water
mussel shell with a split stick for a handle. Thus provided they all
sat round and partook of as many helps as their hunger demanded.

Since we have given Kentucky's celebrated dish, we will add "Ole
Virginny's" favorite dish, which has been named after the county where
it originated.


"Take two large squirrels, one quart of tomatoes, peeled and sliced,
if fresh; one pint of lima beans or butter beans, two teaspoonfuls of
white sugar, one minced onion, six potatoes, six ears of corn scraped
from the cob, or a can of sweet corn, half a pound of butter, half a
pound of salt pork, one teaspoonful of salt, three level teaspoonfuls
of pepper and a gallon of water. Cut the squirrels up as for fricassee,
add salt and water and boil five minutes. Then put in the onion,
beans, corn, pork, potatoes and pepper, and when boiling again add the

"Cover closely and stew two hours, then add the tomato mixed with the
sugar and stew an hour longer. Ten minutes before removing from the
fire cut the butter into pieces the size of English walnuts, roll in
flour and add to the stew. Boil up again, adding more salt and pepper
if required."

The above is a receipt sent in to us, and I would give credit for it if
I knew from whence it came. I do know that it sounds good, and from my
experience with other similar dishes, it will taste good.

I am not writing a cook book but only attempting to start the novice on
his way as a camp chef, and if he succeeds in cooking in the open the
dishes here described, he need not fear to tackle any culinary problem
which conditions may make it necessary for him to solve.






IF one is going on a real camping excursion where one will need pack
horses, one should, by all means, familiarize oneself with the proper
method of packing a pack horse. This can be done in one's own cellar,
attic or woodshed and without hiring a horse or keeping one for the
purpose. The horse will be expensive enough when one needs it on the

The drill in packing a horse should be taught in all scout camps, and
all girl camps and all Y.M.C.A. camps, and all training camps; in
fact, everywhere where anybody goes outdoors at all, or where anybody
pretends to go outdoors; and after the tenderfeet have learned how to
pack then it is the proper time to learn what to pack; consequently we
put packing before outfitting, not the cart, but the pack before the
horse, so to speak.

When the Boy Scout Movement started in America it had the good
aggressive American motto, "BE SURE YOU'RE RIGHT, THEN GO AHEAD," which
was borrowed from that delightful old buckskin man, Davy Crockett.

A few years later, when the scout idea was taken up in England, the
English changed the American motto to "BE PREPARED;" because the
English Boy Scout promoter was a military man himself and saw the
necessity of preparedness by Great Britain, which has since become
apparent to us all.

And in order to be prepared to pack a horse, we must first be sure we
are right, then "go ahead" and practice packing at home.

One of the most useful things to the outdoor person is a


All of us do not own a horse, but there is not a reader of this book so
poor that he cannot own the horse shown by Fig. 174.

[Illustration: 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174]

There are but few people in the United States who cannot honestly
come into possession of a barrel with which to build a pack horse or
on which to practice throwing the diamond hitch. They can also find,
somewhere, some pieces of board with which to make the legs of the
horse, its neck and head.

Fig. 168 shows the neck-board, and the dotted lines show where to saw
the head to get the right angle for the head and ears, with which
the horse may hear. Fig. 169 shows the head-board, and the dotted
line shows how to saw off one corner to give the proper shape to this
Arabian steed's intelligent head-piece.

Fig. 170 shows how to nail the head on the neck. The nails may be
procured by knocking them out of old boards; at least that is the way
the writer supplied himself with nails. He does not remember ever
asking his parents for money with which to buy nails, but if it is
different nowadays, and if you do not feel economically inclined,
and have the money, go to the shop and buy them. Also, under such
circumstances, go to the lumber yard and purchase your boards.

Fig. 171 shows how to nail two cleats on the neck, and Fig. 172 shows
how to nail these cleats onto the head of the barrel. If you find the
barrel head so tough and elastic that a nail cannot be easily hammered
in, use a gimlet and bore holes into the cleats and into the barrel
head, and then fasten the cleats on with screws.

The tail of the nag is made out of an old piece of frayed rope (Fig.
173), with a knot tied in one end to prevent the tail from pulling
out when it is pulled through a hole in the other end of the barrel
(Fig. 173). The legs of the horse are made like those of a carpenter's
wooden horse, of bits of plank or boards braced under the barrel by
cross-pieces (Fig. 174).

Now you have a splendid horse! "One that will stand without hitching."
It is kind and warranted not to buck, bite or kick, but nevertheless,
when you are packing him remember that you are doing it in order to
drill yourself to pack a real live horse, a horse that may really buck,
bite and kick.

There are a lot of words in the English language not to be found in
the dictionary. I remember a few years ago when one could not find
"undershirt" or "catboat" in the dictionary. But in the dictionaries of
to-day you will even find "aparejo" and "latigo," although neither of
these words was in the dictionaries of yesterday.


Make your own aparejo of anything you can find. The real ones are made
of leather, but at the present time, 1920, leather is very expensive.
We can, however, no doubt secure some builders' paper, tar paper, stiff
wrapping paper, a piece of old oilcloth, which, by the way, would be
more like leather than anything else, and cover these things with a
piece of tent cloth, a piece of carpet, or even burlap. The oilcloth
inside will stiffen the aparejo. At the bottom edge of it we can
lash a couple of sticks (Fig. 175), or if we want to do it in a real
workmanlike manner, we can sew on a couple of leather shoes, made out
of old shoe leather or new leather if we can secure it, and then slip
a nice hickory stick through the shoes, as shown in the diagram (Fig.

The aparejo is to throw over the horse's back as in Fig. 178, but in
order to fasten it on the back we must have a latigo which is the real
wild and woolly name for the rope attached to a cincha strap (Fig.
177). But when you are talking about packing the pack horses call it
"cinch," and spell it "cincha." Make your cincha of a piece of canvas,
and in one end fasten a hook--a big strong picture hook will do; Fig.
177½ shows a cinch hook made of an oak elbow invented by Stewart Edward
White, and in the other end an iron ring; to the iron ring fasten the
lash rope (Fig. 177).

For the real horse and outfit one will need an aparejo, a pack
blanket, a lash rope with a cincha, a sling rope, a blind for the
horse, and a pack cover. But here again do not call it a pack cover,
for that will at once stamp you as a tenderfoot. Assume the superior
air of a real plainsman and speak of it as a "manta." The aparejo and
pack saddle are inventions of the Arabians away back in the eighth
century. When the Moors from Africa overran Spain, these picturesque
marauders brought with them pack mules, pack saddles, and aparejos.
When General Cortez and Pizarro carried the torch and sword through
Mexico in their search for gold, they brought with them pack animals,
pack saddles, aparejos, latigos, and all that sort of thing with which
to pack their loot.

When the forty-niners went to California in search of gold they found
that the Arabian Moorish-Spanish-Mexican method of packing animals was
perfectly adapted to their purposes and they used to pack animals, the
aparejos, the latigos, and all the other kinds of gos. The lash rope
for a real pack horse should be of the best Manila ½ inch or 5/8 inch,
and forty feet long; a much shorter one will answer for the wooden


Back in 1879, Captain A. B. Wood, United States Army, introduced a
knowledge of the proper use of the pack saddle and the mysteries of the
diamond hitch into the United States Army. The Fourth Cavalry, United
States Army, was the first to become expert with the diamond hitch and
taught it to the others; but recently a military magazine has asked
permission, and has used the author's diagrams, to explain to the
Cavalry men how this famous hitch is thrown.

It stands to reason that in order to pack one horse one must have some
packs. But these are the easiest things imaginable to secure. A couple
of old potato or flour bags, stuffed with anything that is handy--hay,
grass, leaves, rags or paper--but stuffed tight (Fig. 179), will do for
our load.

[Illustration: 178, 179]

[Illustration: 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185]

When packing a horse, except with such hitches as the "one man hitch,"
it requires two men or boys to "throw" the hitch. The first one is
known as the head packer, and the other as the second packer. Remember
that the left-hand side of the horse is the nigh side. The head packer
stands on the nigh side of the horse and he takes the coiled lash rope
in the left hand and lets the coils fall astern of the pack animal
(Fig. 180); with the right hand he takes hold of the rope about three
or four feet from the cincha (Fig. 180) and hands the hook end under
the animal to the second packer, who stands on the right-hand side
of the horse (Fig. 180). The right hand of the head packer, with the
palm upwards, so holds the rope that the loop will fall across his
forearm; the left hand with the palm downward holds the rope about
half way between the loop that goes over the forearm and the loop that
lies along the back of the pack animal (Fig. 181). The head packer now
throws the loop from his forearm across the pack on the back of the
animal, allowing the left hand to fall naturally on the neck of the
animal. The second packer now runs the rope through the hook and pulls
up the cincha end until the hook is near the lower edge of the off side
of the aparejo (Fig. 183).

The head packer next grasps the rope A (Fig. 185) and tucks a loop from
the rear to the front under the part marked B (Figs. 185 and 186), over
the inner side pack (Figs. 184 and 187). Next the second packer passes
the loose end of the rope under the part marked D (Fig. 187), and
throws it on the nigh (left) side of the pack animals.

The head packer now draws the tucked loop forward and tucks it under
the corners and the lower edge of the nigh side of the aparejo (Fig.
188), then holds it taut from the rear corner, and the second packer
takes hold of the rope at E (Fig. 189) with his left hand, and at F
(Fig. 187) with his right hand. He passes the rope under the corners
and lower edge of the off side of the aparejo (G, H, Fig. 189, and G,
H, Fig. 191). The second packer now takes the blind off his pack animal
and is supposed to lead it forward a few steps while the head packer
examines the load from the rear to see if it is properly adjusted.

Then the blind is again put upon the animal for the final tightening of
the rope. While the second packer is pulling the parts taut, the head
packer takes up the slack and keeps the pack steady. The tightening
should be done in such a manner as not to shake the pack out of balance
or position, (Figs. 188 and 190).

The second (or off side) packer grasps the lash rope above the hook,
and puts his knee against the stern corner of the aparejo, left-hand
group (Fig. 188). The head packer takes hold with his right hand of the
same part of the rope where it comes from the pack on the inner side,
and with the left hand at J (Fig. 189), and his right shoulder against
the cargo to steady it, he gives the command "PULL!" Without jerks, but
with steady pulls, the second packer now tightens the rope, taking care
not to let it slip back through the hook. He gives the loose part to
the head packer, who takes up the slack by steady pulls.

[Illustration: 186, 187, 188, 189]

When the second packer is satisfied that it is all right he cries,
"Enough!" The head packer then holds steady with his right hand and
slips the other hand down to where the rope passes over the front edge
of the aparejo. There he holds steady; his right hand then takes hold
of the continuation of the rope at the back corner of the pad and pulls
tight. Placing his right knee against the rear corner of the pad he
pulls hard with both hands until the rope is well home, left-hand group
(Fig. 188).

The second packer now takes up the slack by grasping the rope with both
hands, E (Fig. 189).

The head packer steps to the front to steady the pack. The second
packer pulls taut the parts on his side, taking up the slack. This
draws the part of the lash rope K, K (Fig. 189), well back at middle
of the pack, giving the center hitch the diamond shape from which the
name is derived, X (Fig. 191). He then, with the left hand at the
rear corner H, pulls taut and holds solid, while with the right hand
in front of G, he takes up slack. Next with both hands at the front
corner and with his knee against it (Fig. 188), the second packer pulls
taut, the head packer at the same time taking up the slack on his side
and then pulls steady, drawing the part L, L (Fig. 189), of the rope
leading from the hook well forward at the middle of the pack, finishing
off the diamond at X. He then carries the loose end under the corners
and ends of the aparejo, and draws that taut and ties the end fast by a
half hitch near the cincha end of the lash rope.

After passing under the corners, if the rope is long enough to reach
over the load, it can then be passed over and made fast on the off
side by tying around both parts of the lash rope above the hook and by
drawing them well together (Fig. 191).

Alongside of Fig. 190 are a series of sketches showing how to lash and
cinch two parcels or bags together; one bag is made black so that its
position can better be understood. In other words, it makes it easier
to follow the different hitches. Learn to pack at home and you will
not lose your packs on the trail.

In following these instructions, whenever in doubt forget the
perspective views and keep in mind Figures 181, 183, 185, 187, 180 and
191, which tell the whole story. The perspective views are principally
to show the relative position of the packers; the position of the rope
can best be seen by looking on top of the pack.

[Illustration: 190, 191]

In packing a live horse you will learn by practice not to pull in such
a way as to cause the horse to step on your feet; you will also learn
that a live horse will not stand as still as a wooden horse, but when
you have learned to pack a wooden horse quickly and well, it will only
take you a short time to become expert with a live horse.


These are useful when one has no one to help in packing the animal, and
when one has no pack saddle like Fig. 200. With this squaw hitch you
must throw your burden across the back of the horse, over the pad made
by a blanket (Fig. 192), then put a loop over the end M, see X (Fig.
192), and another one over the end N, see Y (Fig. 192). At the end of
the lash rope Z make a loop; now pass that loop down under the horse's
belly and through Y (Fig. 193), bring the end Z back again over the
horse's back, also pass the end T down through X, and bring it back
over the horse's back, also pass the end Z down through Y, and bring it
back over the horse's back, pass T through Z (Fig. 193), cinch tight
and fasten on top of pack (Fig. 194). Fig. 195 shows another throw in
another squaw hitch. Fig. 196 shows the next position. Fig. 197 shows
the thing made fast.

[Illustration: 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200


Anyone who travels with pack horses should know how to arrange the
lead rope in a manner so that it may be quickly and easily loosened,
and at the same time be out of the way, so that the horse will not get
his foot over it when climbing or descending steep places, which often
happens when the lead rope is fastened to the pack in the usual manner.
If you will take the rope and wind it loosely around the horse's neck,
behind his left ear and in front of his right ear (Figs. 198 and 199),
then tuck the end under the strands, as shown in Fig. 198, the thing
may be undone in an instant, and in the meantime the rope is out of the
way where it will not bother either the man or the horse.

Practise all this on the wooden horse, then it will come natural when
the time comes to handle a real horse. The manner of looping up the
lead rope, just described, I learned from the explorers of the Mt.
McKinley expedition, who had many occasions to test the best, as well
as the worst methods of packing and arranging their duffel. There
are a number of other hitches, some given by Stewart Edward White,
in _Outing_, called the Miner's Hitch, the Lone Packer's Hitch, but
possibly we have given the reader enough to start him on his way;
remember for the pack horse the necessary outfit is a horse blanket,
the cincha and lash rope, the sling rope, the lead rope, the manta,
which is a cover for the pack, sometimes called the tarp--short for
tarpaulin, and the blind, but as a rule a handkerchief is used for a
blinder. The aparejo is a sort of a leather mattress which goes over
the horse's back and on which the pack rests, but you will find all
about that when you hit the trail with a pack train. The alforjas is a
Spanish name for the saddle-bags used on a pack horse. When the reader
knows how to pack his horse, knows all the Spanish names for the pack
saddle and all that sort of thing, there may come a time when he will
have a horse which needs to be hitched at night, and it may happen he
must needs


On some trail where there are no trees, sticks, or even stones; but if
he is a good woodcrafter and plainsman, with his hunting knife he will
proceed to dig as narrow and deep a hole as possible in the earth,
then he will tie a knot in the end of the picket rope and drop the knot
to the bottom of the hole (Fig. 201) (the picket rope in reality should
be one-half inch rope, fifty feet long); the only way to get that knot
out of the hole is to stand directly over the opening and pull the knot
up perpendicularly. It will never occur to the horse to shorten the
line by taking hold of it with his teeth, so that it may stand over the
hole and pull up the knot, consequently the animal will be as securely
hitched as if tied to a post.

[Illustration: 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208]


For the front legs may be purchased at any outfitter's (Fig. 202), or
home-made from unravelled rope (Fig. 203). Make a loop from a strand
from a large rope and then fasten it round one leg, as in diagram;
after that twist the rope to make the connections between the two
loops, tie another knot to prevent the rope from untwisting, then tie
the two ends around the leg of the horse (Fig. 203); the unravelled
rope is soft and will not chafe the horse's leg.


Figs. 204 and 205 show the famous Indian mode of packing by travois.


General Miles once told the author that the handsomest man he had
ever seen came dashing into their camp in a cloud of alkali dust;
having ridden right through bands of hostile Indians which surrounded
the camp, he dismounted, took off his saddle and threw it on the
ground, put the bridle bit, girth, etc., inside the saddle, put the
saddle-cloth over it, then he calmly stretched himself out in front of
the campfire. "That man," said General Miles, "was Bill Cody, Buffalo

When Cody put the saddle on the ground he placed it on its side (Fig.
206); in placing the saddle in this position it preserves the curve of
the skirts, and thus the form of the saddle is not destroyed and the
reins and the stirrup straps are protected; at the same time the saddle
makes a good pillow, and if it should rain at night the saddle blanket
is the only thing, besides the rider, which gets a ducking, unless the
latter has a good waterproof sleeping-bag.


So manage the saddle that with one swing it will 'light on the horse's
back with the pummel towards the horse's head (Fig. 207). Grasp with
your right hand the horn of the saddle, and as you swing the saddle on
the horse with a graceful sweep, use your left hand to push the further
skirt outward and thus prevent it from doubling up on the horse's back.
Be careful to throw the girth far enough so that it will hang down so
as to be easily reached under the horse. I once had an English farm
hand who put a western saddle on a horse with the _pummel towards the
tail_, and was very indignant when I told him that a pummel should face
the bow of a craft; he told me he knew more about horses than I did,
which is possibly true, as I am not a horseman; he also said that in
the "hold country" he used to ride to "the 'ounds," all of which goes
to prove customs are different in different countries. Here we put the
pummel of the saddle towards the horse's head; we won't argue about it;
we may be wrong, but it is a matter of custom, and right or wrong is
the rule the reader must follow in America, even though the reader may
have ridden to the "'ounds" while abroad. Do not misunderstand me, some
of the best horsemen in the world are English, but this fellow was not
one of them.


Years ago when the rider was in Montana on Howard Eaton's Ranch, near
the celebrated ranch of Theodore Roosevelt, he had his first experience
with Western horses, and being sensitive and standing in great terror
of being called a tenderfoot, he shyly watched the others mount before
he attempted to do so himself. Each one of these plainsmen, he noticed,
took the reins in his left hand while standing on the left-hand side
of the horse; then holding the reins over the shoulders of the horse
he grasped the mane with the same hand, and put his left foot into the
stirrup; but to put the left foot in the stirrup he turned the stirrup
around so that he could mount while facing the horse's tail, then he
grabbed hold of the pummel with his right hand and swung into the
saddle as the horse started.

That looked easy; the writer also noticed that just before the others
struck the saddle they gave a whoop, so without showing any hesitation
the author walked up to his cayuse, took the reins confidently in his
left hand, using care to stand on the left-hand side of the horse; then
he placed the left hand with the reins between the shoulders of the
horse and grabbed the mane, then he turned the stirrup around, turned
his back to the horse's head, put his left foot in the stirrup and gave
a yell.

On sober afterthought he decided that he gave that yell too soon; the
horse almost went out from under him, or at least so it seemed to
him, or maybe the sensation would be better described to say that it
appeared to him as if he went a mile over the prairie with his right
leg waving in the air like a one-winged aeroplane, before he finally
settled down into the saddle.

But this could not have been really true, because everybody applauded
and the writer was at once accepted by the crowd without question as a
thoroughbred Sourdough. Possibly they may have thought he was feeling
good and just doing some stunts.

It may interest the reader to state that the author did his best
to live up to the first impression he had made, but _he did not go
riding the next day_, there were some books he thought necessary to
read; he discovered, however, that even lounging was not without some
discomfort; for instance, he could not cross his knees without helping
one leg over with both his hands; in fact, he could find no muscle in
his body that could be moved without considerable exertion and pain.

But this is the point of the story: Had the author tried to mount
that cayuse in any other way he would have been left sprawling on the
prairie. The truth is that if you mount properly when the horse starts,
even if he begins to buck and pitch, the action will tend to throw you
into the saddle, not out of it.


When you approach a horse _which has a brand_ on it, always approach
from the left-hand side, because practically all the Western horses
have brands on them, and you can, as a rule, count on a branded horse
being from the West, with the hale and hearty habits of the West, which
to be appreciated must be understood. If you want to make a real cayuse
out of your wooden horse, brand it and any cowboy who then sees it will
take off his hat.






THERE is no good reason why every hiker should not be accompanied by


For if there is anything a dog does love better than its own soul it
is to hike with its master, and every normal boy and girl, and every
normal man and woman, loves the company of a good dog. When they do not
love it the fault is not with the dog but with them; there is something
wrong with them that the outdoor world alone will cure.

But if a dog is going to enjoy the pleasure of a hike with you, if it
is a good square dog it should be willing to also share the hardships
of the hike with you, and to help carry the burdens on the trail. Any
sort of a dog can be trained as


But the sturdier and stronger the dog is, the greater burden he can
carry and the more useful he will be on the trail. The alforjas for a
dog, or saddle-bags, can be made by anyone who is handy with a needle
and thread. A dog pack consists primarily of two bags or pouches (Figs.
209 and 210), with a yoke piece attached to slide over the dog's head
and fit across the chest (Figs. 209, 210, 211 and 212). Also a cincha
to fasten around the waist or small part of the dog's body, back of its
ribs. The pouches (Fig. 210) should have a manta, or cover (Figs. 211,
213, and 214), to keep the rain, snow or dust out of the duffel. Simple
bags of strong light material on the pattern of Fig. 210 are best,
because the weight of anything unnecessary is to be avoided.


Is not as complicated an affair as the diamond hitch, and anyone who
knows how to do up an ordinary parcel can learn the dog hitch by one
glance at Figs. 213 and 214.

Slip the breast band over the dog's head, put the saddle-bags well
forward on the dog's shoulders, tie the cinch around its waist, after
which spread the cover or manta over the bag, and throw the hitch as
shown by Figs. 211 and 214. Fig. 213 shows a bundle with a breast band
made of the lash rope, in which case the lash rope is usually made of
cloth like that in Fig. 211; the whole thing is simplicity itself and a
good dog can carry quite a load packed in this manner.

[Illustration: 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217]


Can also be used at times with advantage, as it was used by our red
brothers of the wilderness. Fig. 217 shows a dog harnessed to a
travois, made of two shaft poles; the harness consists of a padded
collar similar to those used in Northern Quebec for sled dogs, and a
cincha of leather or canvas and traces of rope or thong. Figs. 215
and 216 show a rig made by one of my Boy Scouts; the material used
was the green saplings cut in the woods, the traces were made of rope
manufactured from the roots of the tamarack tree, so also was the cord
used to bind the parts of the frame together. The hooks to which the
traces were fastened were made of wire nails bent over, and the staples
to which the collar was fastened by thongs to the shaft were made of
wire nails, the heads of which were ground off by rubbing them on
stones; the nails were then bent into the proper curve and driven into
the shaft in the form of a staple. Fig. 216 shows the same rig with a
leather harness. The American Indian used the travois on dogs the
same as they did upon horses and the sudden appearance of game often
produced a stampede of dog travoises, scattering the duffel, including
papooses, loaded on the travois.

It is not expected that the reader will make every one of these
contrivances, but if he does he will learn How, and to be a good
woodsman he _should_ know how, so as to be prepared for any emergency.
It is possible to make the whole pack for the dog from birch bark, but
however it is made, if it serves the purpose of making the dog carry
part of the pack, when you put the bark on the dog's back, you will
teach the animal that there are two kinds of _barks_; one of which is
useful as a duffel bag, and the other as an alarm.

In Alaska and other parts of the far North, as well as in Holland and
other parts of Europe, the dog is generally used as a beast of burden;
it draws sleds in North America and milk carts and market wagons in
Holland, but it is not necessary for us to live in Holland or in the
far North in order to make use of the dog; a good dog will cheerfully
carry the packs on the trail, loyally guard the camp at night, and, if
necessary, die in defense of its master.

Any uncomfortable pack is an abomination; too heavy a pack is an
unhappy burden, no pack at all is fine--until you reach camp and hunt
around for something to answer for a toothbrush, comb and brush,
something on which to sit and sleep, something overhead to protect
you from the rains and dews of heaven, something to eat and something
to eat with besides your fingers, something from which to drink which
holds water better than the hollow of your hand or the brim of your
hat, and, in fact, all those necessary little comforts that a fellow
wants on an overnight hike. Without these useful articles one will wish
that he had subjected himself to the slight fatigue necessary to pack
a small pack on his back.

The word "pack" itself is a joy to the outdoor man, for it is only
outdoor men who use the word pack for carry, and who call a bundle
or load a pack. The reason for this is that the real wilderness man,
explorer, prospector, hunter, trapper or scout, packs all his duffel
into a bundle which he carries on his back, in two small saddle-bags
which are carried by his husky dogs, or a number of well-balanced
bundles which are lashed on the pack saddle with a diamond hitch over
the back of a pack horse.

You see we have pack dogs, pack horses and pack animals, pack saddles
and packers, as well as the packs themselves, which the packers pack
and these animals pack on their backs, or which the man himself packs
on his own back. Then we also have the pack rat, but the pack rat does
not carry things with our consent. The pack rat comes flippity-flop,
hopping over the ground from the old hermit, Bill Jones's, packing with
him Bill Jones's false teeth which he has abstracted from the tin cup
of water at the head of Bill Jones's bunk. The pack rat deposits the
teeth at the head of your cot, then deftly picking up your watch, the
rat packs it back to Bill Jones's cot and drops it in the tin cup of
water, where it soaks until morning.

It is easy to see that however funny the pack rat may be, and however
useful he might be to the Sunday comic paper, the rat's humor is not
appreciated by the campers in the Rocky Mountains, where it is called a
pack rat from its habit of carrying things. Thus it is that in a newly
settled country the word "carry" is almost forgotten; one "packs" a
letter to the post box, or packs a horse to water, or packs a box of
candy to his best girl, or a pail of water from the spring.


When you, my good reader, get the pack adjusted on your back and the
tump line across your forehead (Fig. 226), remember that you are
being initiated into the great fraternity of outdoor people. But no
matter how tough or rough you may appear to the casual observer, your
roughness is only apparent; a boy or man of refinement carries that
refinement inside of him wherever he goes; at the same time when one is
carrying a pack on one's back and a tump line on one's forehead (Fig.
226½), or a canoe on one's head, even though a lady should be met on
the trail it would not be necessary for one to take off one's hat, for
even a foolish society woman would not expect a man to doff the canoe
he might be carrying on his head. Under all circumstances use common
sense; that is the rule of the wilderness and also of real culture.

The most important thing that you must learn on the trail is not to
fret and fume over trifles, and even if your load is heavy and irksome,
even though the shoulder straps chafe and the tump line makes your neck


When we speak of "fighting the pack" we mean fighting the load; that
does not mean getting one's load up against a tree and punching it
with one's fists or "kicking the stuffings out of it," but it means
complaining and fretting because the load is uncomfortable.

There are two kinds of "packs"--the pack that you carry day after day
on a long hike, and the pack that you carry when on a canoe trip and
you are compelled to leave the water and carry your canoe and duffel
overland around some bad rapids or falls. The first-named pack should
be as light as possible, say between 30 and 40 pounds, for on a long
tramp every pound counts, because _you know that you must carry it_ as
long as you keep going, and there is no relief in sight except when you
stop for your meals or to camp at night. But the last-named pack, the


Figs. 218 and 223, the kind that you carry around bad pieces of water,
may be as heavy as you can, with safety, load upon your sturdy back,
because your mind is buoyed up by the fact that _you know_ you will
not have to carry that load _very far_, the work will end when you
reach the water again, and--strange to say--the mind has as much to do
with carrying the load as the muscles. If the mind gives up you will
fall helpless even under a small load; if the mind is strong you will
stagger along under a very heavy one.

When I asked a friend, who bears the scars of the pack straps on his
body, how it was that he managed to endure the torture of such a load,
he replied with a grin that as soon as he found that to "fight his
pack" meant to perish--meant death!--he made up his mind to forget the
blamed thing and so when the pack wearied him and the straps rubbed
the skin off his body, he forced himself to think of the good dinners
he had had at the Camp-fire Club of America, yum! yum! Also, of all
the jolly stories told by the toastmaster, and of the fun he had had
at some other entertainments. Often while thinking of these things he
caught himself laughing out loud as he trudged along the lone trail,
FORGETTING the hateful pack on his back. "In this way," said he, with
a winning smile upon his manly and weather-beaten face, "I learned how
_not to fight_ the pack but to FORGET IT!" Then he braced himself up,
looked at the snow-capped mountain range ahead, hummed a little cowboy
song and trudged on over the frozen snow at a scout's pace.

[Illustration: 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 226½


Now that you know what a pack is, and what "fighting a pack" means,
remember that if one's studies at school are hard, that is one's pack.
If the work one is doing is hard, difficult or tiresome, that is one's
pack. If one's boss is cross and exacting, that is one's pack. If one's
parents are worried and forget themselves in their worry and speak
sharply, that is one's pack. Don't fight your pack; remember that you
are a woodcrafter; straighten your shoulders, put on your scout smile
and hit the trail like a man!

If you find that you are tempted to break the Scout Law, that you are
tempted at times to forget the Scout Oath, that because your camp mates
use language unfit for a woodcrafter or a scout, and you are tempted
to do the same, if your playmates play craps and smoke cigarettes, and
laugh at you because you refuse to do so, so that you are tempted to
join them, these temptations form your pack; don't give in and fall
under your load and whimper like a "sissy," or a "mollycoddle," but
straighten up, look the world straight in the eye, and hit the trail
like a man!

Some of us are carrying portage packs which we can dump off our
shoulders at the end of the "carry," some of us are carrying hiking
packs which we must carry through life and can never dump from our
shoulders until we cross the Grand Portage from which no voyagers ever
return. All our packs vary in weight, but none of them is easy to carry
if we fret and fume and complain under the load.

We outdoor folks call our load "pack," but our Sunday School teachers
sometimes speak of the pack they bear as a "cross." Be it so, but don't
fight your pack.


The whole north country is sprinkled with the bones of the men who
fought their packs. Our own land is also sprinkled with men we call
"misfits" and failures, but who are really men who have fought their
packs. But every post of eminence in the United States is occupied by a
man who forgot his pack; this country was built by men who forgot their
packs. George Washington carried a portage pack in weight all through
his life, but it was a proud burden and he stood straight under it.
Good old Abe Lincoln had even a heavier pack to carry, but in spite of
the weight of it he always had a pleasant scout smile for everyone and
a merry story to send the visitor away smiling. If Daniel Boone and
Simon Kenton had fought their packs we would never have heard of them!

In the illustrations are shown many figures, and one should not forget
that these are sketches of real men in the real wilderness, and not
fancy pictures drawn from imagination. Figs. 230, 231 and 232 show many
different methods of carrying big game on one's shoulders or back. Fig.
232 also shows a couple of prospectors on the trail. One has the bag on
his back, held in place by shoulder straps; the other has a bag thrown
over his shoulder like a ragman.

The alpine rucksack will carry--or to speak more properly--with it one
can pack a camera, notebook, sketching material, lunch and all those
things which a fellow wants on an enjoyable hike. The alpine rucksack
is a many-gored poke about 18 inches wide and about 22 inches long
without the gores. These pokes can be made so that the gores fold in
and produce an ordinary-sized pack, or they may be pushed out like an
umbrella so as to make a bag in which one can carry a good-sized boy.

[Illustration: 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232D



Fig. 232D shows the broad band used by the men of the far north. The
reader will note that the broad canvas bands come over the shoulders
from the top of the pack; also that a broad breast band connects the
shoulder bands, while rope, whang strings or thongs run through eyelets
in the band and to the bottom of the pack. This is said to be the most
comfortable pack used and has an interesting history; it was evolved
from an old pair of overalls. There was a Hebrew peddler who followed
the gold seekers and he took a pair of canvas overalls and put them
across his breast, and to the legs he fastened the pack upon his back.
The overalls being wide and broad did not cut his chest, as do smaller
straps, thongs or whang strings.

But breast straps of any kind are not now recommended by all
authorities. It is claimed that they interfere with the breathing and
a fellow "mouching" along the trail needs to have his chest free to
expand, for not only his speed but his endurance depends upon the free
action of his lungs.


Figs. 226 and 226½ show the use of the celebrated tump strap. This tump
strap is used from Central America to the Arctic Circle. The Mexican
water carrier uses it to tote his burden; the Tete Bule Indian and the
Montenais Indian in the Northeast also carry their packs with a tump

Fig. 226½ shows how the tump line is made. It is a strap or lash rope
with a broad band to fit over the packer's head, and thus relieve the
weight which the shoulders have to bear.

Fig. 218 shows the well-known portage pack basket which is used by the
guides in the Adirondack regions. Fig. 219 shows the Nessmuk knapsack.
Fig. 222 shows a pack harness of straps by which two duffel bags are
borne on the back. Fig. 225 shows a duffel bag which is laced up at one
end with a thong; also the end of the bag open.


The duffel bag is the ideal poke in which to pack one's, belongings. It
is waterproof, it makes a good pillow, a far better pillow than an axe
and pair of boots on which I myself have rested my weary head many a
night, and it also makes a good cushion upon which to sit. The duffel
bag may be procured from any outfitting establishment. The ones I own
are now shiny with dirt and grease, gathered from the camps and forests
extending from Maine to the State of Washington, from Northern Quebec
to Florida. I love the old bags, for even though they be greasy and
shiny, and blackened with the charcoals of many campfires, they are
chuck full of delightful memories.

Fig. 220 is the old-time poke made of a bandanna handkerchief, with its
ends tied together and swung over a stick.

This is the pack, a cut of which may be found in all the old newspapers
antedating the Civil War, where runaway negroes are advertised. It is
the sort of pack respectable tramps used to carry, back in the times
when tramps were respectable. It is the kind of pack I find represented
in an old oil painting hanging on my dining-room wall, which was
painted by some European artist back in the seventeenth century. When
fellows carry the runaway pack they are "traveling light."

Fig. 229 shows how to construct a makeshift pack. A rope of cedar bark
is arranged with a loop C (Fig. 229), for the yoke the ends A and B are
brought up under the arms and tied to the yoke C, which then makes a
breast band.

For a long hike thirty pounds is enough for a big boy to carry, and
it will weigh three hundred and fifty pounds at the end of a hard
day's tramp. Heavy packs, big packs, like those shown in Fig. 223,
are only used on a portage, that is, for short distance. Of course,
you fellows know that in all canoe trips of any consequence one must
cross overland from one lake to another, or overland above a waterfall
to a safe place below it, or around quick water, or to put it in the
words of tenderfeet, water which is too quick for canoe travel, around
tumultuous rapids where one must carry his canoe and duffel. But these
carries or portages are seldom long. The longest I remember of making
was a trifle over five miles in length.

Remember that the weight of a load depends a great deal upon your
mind. Consequently for a long distance the load should be light; for a
short distance the only limit to the load is the limit of the packer's


People differ so in regard to how to carry a pack and what kind of a
pack to carry, that the author hesitates to recommend any particular
sort; personally he thinks that a pack harness hitched on to the duffel
bags (Figs. 221, 222 and 224), is the proper and practical thing.
Duffel bags, by the way, are water-proof canvas bags (Fig. 225), made
of different sizes, in which to pack one's clothes, food, or what not.
The portage basket (Fig. 218), is a favorite in the Adirondacks, but
it is not a favorite with the writer; the basket itself is heavy and
to his mind unnecessary, the knapsack (Fig. 219), is good for short
hikes when one does not have to carry much. The best way for the reader
to do is to experiment, see how much of a load he can carry; fifty
pounds is more than enough for a big strong man to carry all day long,
day in and day out, and forty pounds is more than he wants to carry,
but a good husky boy may be able to carry forty pounds on his back.
At the Army and Navy stores and at the outfitter's you can find all
sorts of duffel bags and knapsacks, and at any of the big outfitting
stores they will tell you just what kind of baggage you will need for
the particular trip, for someone in the stores has been over the very
ground that you are going over, for all the clerks and proprietors of
the outfitting stores are sportsmen. But--yes, there is a "but"--the
real genuine American boy will construct his own outfit duffel bags,
mess kit and tents.






MANY people are so accustomed to have other people wait upon them that
they are absolutely funny when you meet them in the woods; when their
canoe runs its prow up upon the sandy beach and there is a portage to
make, such people stand helplessly around waiting for some red-capped
porter to come and take their baggage, but the only red caps in the
woods are the red-headed woodpeckers and they will see you in Germany
before they will help tote your duffel across the portage.

When one gets into the real woods, even if it is only in Maine,
Wisconsin, the Adirondacks, or the Southern pine forests, one soon
discovers that there are no drug stores around the corner, the doctor
is a long way off, the butcher, the baker, the candle-stick maker,
trolley cars, telephone and taxi cabs are not within reach, sight or
hearing; then a fellow begins to realize that it is "up to" himself to
tote his own luggage, to build his own fires, to make his own shelters,
and even to help put up the other fellows' tents, or to cook the meals.
Yes, and to wash the dishes, too!

One reason we outdoor people love the woods is that it develops
self-reliance and increases our self-respect by increasing our ability
to do things; we love the work, we love the hardship, we like to get
out of sight of the becapped maids, the butler and the smirking waiters
waiting for a tip, and for the same reason the real honest-to-goodness
American boys love a camp. Why bless your soul!--every one of them in
his inmost heart regrets that he did not live away back in the time
when the long-haired Wetzel, Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton roved the
woods, or at least back when Colonel Bill Cody, Buffalo Jones and
Yellowstone Kelly were dashing over the plains with General Miles,
General Bell and the picturesque blond, long-haired General Custer.

Sometimes the author is himself guilty of such wishes, and he used to
dream of those days when he was a barefooted boy. But, honest now, is
it not really too bad that there are no longer any hostile Indians? And
what a pity that improved firearms have made the big game so very shy
that it is afraid of a man with a gun!

But cheer up, the joy of camping is not altogether ruined, because we
do not have to fight all day to save our scalps from being exported, or
even because the grizzly bears refuse to chase us up a tree, and the
mountain lions or "painters" decline to drop from an overhanging limb
on our backs.

Remember that all things come to him who will but wait: that is, if he
works for these things while he is doing the waiting. The Chief has
spent his time and energy for the last thirty odd years hammering away
at two ideas: the big outdoors for the boys, and Americanism for all
the people. Thank the Lord, he has lived long enough to see the boys
stampede for the open and the people for Americanism.

Because of the stampede for the open, in which people of all ages have
joined, there are so many kinds of camps nowadays: scout camps, soldier
camps, training camps, recreation camps, girls' camps and boys' camps,
that it is somewhat difficult for a writer to tell what to do in order
to "Be Prepared." There are freight car side-track camps, gypsy wagon
camps, houseboat camps, old-fashioned camp-meeting camps and picnic
camps; the latter dot the shores of New Jersey, the lake sides at
Seattle, and their tents are mingled with big black boulders around
Spokane; you will find them on the shores of Devil's Lake, North
Dakota, and in the few groves that are back of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

But such camps have little attraction for the real hard-boiled camper,
and have no better claim to being the real thing than the more or
less grand palaces built in the woods, camouflaged outside with logs
or bark, and called "camps" by their untruthful owners; such people
belittle the name of camp and if they want to be honest they should
stick to the bungling bungalow--but wait a minute--even that is
far-fetched; the bungalow belongs in East India and looks as much like
one of these American houses as a corn-crib does like a church.

When we talk of camping we mean living under bark, brush or canvas in
the "howling wilderness," or as near a howling wilderness as our money
and time will permit us to reach; in other words, we want a camp in the
wildest place we can find, except when we go to our own scout camp, and
even then we like it better if it is located in a wild, romantic spot.


There are some little personal things to which one should give one's
attention before starting on a long trip. If it is going to be a real
wild camping trip it is best to go to the barber shop and get a good
hair cut just before one starts. Also one should trim one's nails down
as close as comfort will allow. Long nails, if they are well manicured,
will do for the drawing room and for the office, but in camp they have
a habit of turning back (Fig. 232)--and gee willikens, how they hurt!
Or they will split down into the quick (Fig. 233) and that hurts some,
too! So trim them down snug and close; do it before you start packing
up your things, or you may hurt your fingers while packing. But even
before trimming your nails


And insist upon him making an examination of every tooth in your head;
a toothache is bad enough anywhere, goodness knows, but a toothache
away out in the woods with no help in sight will provoke a saint to
use expressions not allowed by the Scout Manual. The Chief knows what
he is talking about--he has been there! He once rode over Horse Plains
alongside of a friend who had a bad tooth, and the friend was a real
saint! His jaw was swelled out like a rubber balloon, but he did not
use one naughty word on the trip, notwithstanding every jolt of that
horse was like sticking a knife in him.

The writer could not help it; he was thoughtlessly cruel and he laughed
at his friend's lugubrious expression--Take heed, do not be as cruel as
was the writer, for sooner or later you will pay for such thoughtless
levity. It was only next season, away up in the mountains of the
British possessions on the Pacific Coast, that the friend's turn came
to laugh at the author as the latter nursed an ulcerated tooth. Wow!
Wow! Wow!

Well, never mind the details, they are too painful to talk about, but
remember the lesson that they teach--Go to the Dentist and get a clean
bill of health on the tooth question before you start for a lengthy

[Illustration: 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242,
243, 244




When we speak of his pocket that includes all of his clothes, because
on the inside of his coat, if he wears one, are stuck an array of
safety pins (Fig. 234), but usually the pins are fastened onto his
shirt. A safety pin is as useful to a man in camp as is a hairpin
to a woman, and a woman can camp with no other outfit but a box of
hairpins. One can use safety pins for clothespins when one's socks
are drying at night, one can use them to pin up the blankets and thus
make a sleeping-bag of them, or one can use them for the purpose
of temporarily mending rips and tears in one's clothes. These are
only a few of the uses of the safety pin on the trail. After one has
traveled with safety pins one comes to believe that they are almost

In one of the pockets there should be a lot of bachelor buttons, the
sort that you do not have to sew on to your clothes, but which fasten
with a snap, something like glove buttons. There should be a pocket
made in your shirt or vest to fit your notebook (Fig. 244), and a part
of it stitched up to hold a pencil and a toothbrush. Your mother can
do this at home for you before you leave. Then you should have a good
jack-knife; I always carry my jack-knife in my hip pocket. A pocket
compass, one that you have tested before starting on your trip, should
lodge comfortably in one of your pockets, and hitched in your belt
should be your noggin carved from a burl from a tree (Fig. 235); it
should be carried by slipping the toggle (Fig. 236) underneath the
belt. Also in the belt you should carry some whang strings (Fig. 237);
double the whang strings up so that the two ends come together, tuck
the loop through your belt until it comes out at the other side, then
put the two ends of the string through the loop and the whang strings
are fast but easily pulled out when needed; whang strings are the
same as belt lashings. A small whetstone (Fig. 238) can find a place
somewhere about your clothes, probably in the other hip pocket, and it
is most useful, not only with which to put an edge on your knife but
also on your axe.

Inside the sweat band of your hat, or around the crown on the outside
of your hat, carry a gut leader with medium-sized artificial flies
attached, and around your neck knot a big gaudy bandanna handkerchief
(Fig. 239); it is a most useful article; it can be used in which to
carry your game, food or duffel, or for warmth, or worn over the head
for protection from insects (Fig. 240). In the latter case put it on
your head under your hat and allow it to hang over your shoulders like
the havelock worn by the soldiers of '61.

Carry your belt axe thrust through your belt at your back (Fig. 241),
where it will be out of the way, not at your side as you do on parade.

No camper, be he hunter, fisherman, scout, naturalist, explorer,
prospector, soldier or lumberman, should go into the woods without a
notebook and hard lead pencil (Fig. 242). Remember that notes made
with a hard pencil will last longer than those made with ink, and be
readable as long as the paper lasts.

Every scientist and every surveyor knows this and it is only
tenderfeet, who use a soft pencil and fountain pen for making field
notes, because an upset canoe will blur all ink marks and the constant
rubbing of the pages of the book will smudge all soft pencil marks.

Therefore, have a pocket especially made (Fig. 244), so that your
notebook, pencil and fountain pen (Fig. 243), if you insist upon
including it--will fit snugly with no chance of dropping out; also
make a separate pocket for your toothbrush which should be kept in an
oil-skin bag (Fig. 243).

A piece of candle (Fig. 245) is not only a most convenient thing with
which to light a fire on a rainy day, but it has ofttimes proved a life
saver to Northern explorers benumbed with the cold.

It is a comparatively easy thing to light a candle under the shelter of
one's hat or coat, even in a driving rain. When one's fingers are numb
or even frosted, and with the candle flame one can start a life-saving
fire; so do not forget your candle stub as a part of your pocket outfit.

In the black fly belt it is wise to add a bottle of fly dope (Fig. 251)
to one's personal equipment. If you make your own fly dope have a slow
fire and allow to simmer over it

    3 oz. pine tar
    2 oz. castor oil
    1 oz. pennyroyal

or heat 3 oz. of pine tar with two oz. of olive oil and then stir in 1
oz. of pennyroyal, 1 oz. of citronella, 1 oz. of creosote and 1 oz. of

If you propose traveling where there are black flies and mosquitoes,
let your mother sew onto a pair of old kid gloves some chintz or calico
sleeves that will reach from your wrists to above your elbow (Fig.
246), cut the tips of the fingers off the gloves so that you may be
able to use your hands handily, and have an elastic in the top of the
sleeve to hold them onto your arm. Rigged thus, the black flies and
mosquitoes can only bite the ends of your fingers, and, sad to say,
they will soon find where the ends of the fingers are located.

A piece of cheese cloth, fitted over the hat to hang down over the
face, will protect that part of your anatomy from insects (Fig. 246),
but if they are not very bad use fly dope (Fig. 251), and add a bottle
of it to your pocket outfit. One doesn't look pretty when daubed up
with fly dope, but we are in the woods for sport and adventure and not
to look pretty. Our vanity case has no lip stick, rouge or face powder;
it only possesses a toothbrush and a bottle of fly dope.

Certain times of year, when one goes camping in the neighborhood of the
trout brooks, one needs to BE PREPARED, for one can catch more trout
and enjoy fishing better if protected against the attacks of the black
flies, mosquitoes, midges and "no-see-ums."

[Illustration: 245, 246, 246½, 247, 247A, 248, 249 (a, b), 250, 251]

Anything swung by a strap across one's shoulder will in time "cut" the
shoulders painfully unless they are protected by a pad (Fig. 246½). A
few yards of mosquito netting or cheese cloth occupies little space and
is of little weight, but is very useful as a protection at night. Bend
a wand (Fig. 247) into a hoop and bind the ends together (Fig. 247A),
with safety pins; pin this in the netting and suspend the net from its
center by a stick (Fig. 248).

The black fly, C (Fig. 249), is a very small hump-backed pest, the
young (larvæ) (Fig. 249a) live in cold, clear running water; Fig. 249b
is the cocoon.

There are many kinds of mosquitoes; all of them are Bolsheviks, and
with the black flies and other vermin they argue that since nature made
them with blood suckers and provided you with the sort of blood that
they like, they have an inherent right to suck your blood--and they do

But some mosquitoes are regular Huns and professional germ carriers,
and besides annoying one they skillfully insert the germs of malaria
and yellow fever into one's system. The malaria mosquitoes are known as
anopheles. The highbrow name for the United States malaria distributor
is "Anopheles quadrimaculatus" (Fig. 250F). It is only the females that
you need fear; drone bees do not sting and buck mosquitoes do not bite.

Fig. 250d shows lower and upper side of the anopheles's egg. Fig. 250e
is the wiggler or larvæ of the anopheles; the anopheles likes to let
the blood run to its head, and any careful observer will know him at a
glance from his pose while resting (Fig. 250g).

Of course, you will not need fly dope on the picnic grounds, and you
will not need your pocket compass on the turnpike hike, and you will
not need your jack-knife with which to eat at the boarding house or
hotel, but we Boy Scouts are the real thing; we go to hotels and
boarding houses and picnics when we must, but not when we can find real
adventure in wilder places. We shout:

    There is life in the roar of plunging streams,
    There is joy in the campfire's blaze at night.
    Hark! the elk bugles, the panther screams!
    And the shaggy bison roll and fight.
    Let your throbbing heart surge and bound,
    List to the whoop of the painted Reds;
    Pass the flapjacks merrily round
    As the gray wolf howls in the river beds.

    We weary of our cushions of rest;
    God of our Fathers, give back our West.
    What care we for luxury and ease?
    Darn the tall houses, give us tall trees!

However crude these verses may be, the sentiment is all right. But may
be it will express our idea better if we do not attempt rhyme. Suppose
we try it this way--

    Listen to the whistle of the marmots;
    The hooting of the barred owl, the bugling of the elk!
    The yap, yap, yap of the coyote, the wild laugh of the loon;
    The dismal howl of the timber wolf,
    The grunting of the bull moose, the roaring of the torrent,
    And the crashing thunder of the avalanche!

Ah, that's the talk; these are the words and sounds that make the blood
in one's veins tingle like ginger ale. Why do all red-blooded men and
real American boys like to hear

    The crunching of the dry snow;
    The flap, flap, flap of snowshoes;
    The clinking of the spurs and bits;
    The creaking of the saddle leather;
    The breathing of the bronco;
    The babbling of the rivulet;
    The whisper of the pines,
    The twitter of the birds.
    And the droning of bees.

Why? Because in these sounds we get the dampness of the moss, the
almond-like odor of twin flowers, the burning dryness of the sand, the
sting of the frost, the grit of the rocks and the tang of old mother
earth! They possess the magic power of suggestion. By simply repeating
these words we transport our souls to the wilderness, set our spirits
free, and we are once again what God made us; natural and normal boys,
listening to nature's great runes, odes, epics, lyrics, poems, ballads
and roundelays, as sung by God's own bards!


When packing, remember that a partly filled bag (Fig. 252) is easy to
pack, easy to carry on one's shoulders; but a tightly filled bag (Fig.
253) is a nuisance on the trail. When

[Illustration: 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262,
263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271



To ship as baggage, fold the blankets lengthwise (Fig. 254), place them
in the middle of your tarpaulin or floor cloth (Fig. 254); fold the
cover over (Fig. 255), then tuck in the ends and roll the package into
a bundle and cinch (Figs. 255 and 256). A


Can be improvised from one's blankets by the use of safety pins (Fig.
257). A section of the bag (Fig. 258) shows how the blankets are
doubled. To make a


Fold as in Fig. 259, then bend up the end as indicated by Figs. 260 and
261, fold again, Fig. 262, then fold in the two edges, Figs. 263 and
264, which show both sides of pack; bend over the top, Figs. 265 and
266, and strap ready to carry, Figs. 267 and 268. For a


Fold as in Fig. 269; bend in the ends and roll (Fig. 270). Strap or
lash the ends together (Fig. 271).






WE know that comparatively few of our boys take their hikes on
horseback, especially their camping hikes. But a lot of their daddies
and big brothers do take their horse, and the pack horse on their
hunting and fishing trips, and every boy wants to know how to do the
things his daddy knows how to do. Besides all that, the author is aware
of the fact that the daddies and the uncles and the big brothers are
reading all the stuff he puts out for the boys. They are constantly
quoting to the author things that he has said to the boys, so that now
in writing a book for the boys he must count them in.


Everyone knows the misery of an ill-fitting shoe, and no one in his
right mind would think of taking a prolonged hike in shoes that pinched
his feet, but everybody does not know that a saddle should fit the
rider; an ill-fitting saddle can cause almost as much discomfort as an
ill-fitting shoe. The best all-around sportsman's saddle in the world
is the cowboy saddle of the West. A writer in the _Saturday Evening
Post_, who has written a delightfully intelligent article on saddles,
in speaking of the Western cow-puncher's saddle, says:

"There are many good riders who have never thrown a leg over any other
sort of saddle, and for work on the plains or in the mountains no man
who has used one would ever care for any other type. It is as much a
distinct product of this continent as is the birch bark canoe or the
American axe or rifle."

Like the cowboy hat, the diamond hitch and the lariat, the cowboy
saddle is evolved from the Spanish adaptation of the Moorish saddle.
The old-fashioned Spanish saddle with the heavy wooden block stirrups,
not the bent wood stirrups, but the big stirrups made out of blocks
of wood (Fig. 273); such a saddle with stirrups often weighed over
sixty pounds. These saddles were garnished with silver and gold, and
the spurs that the rancheros wore had big wheels with "bells" on
them, and spikes long enough to goad the thick skin of an elephant.
I formerly possessed one of the picturesque old saddles on which all
the leather work was engraved by hand, by the use of some tool like a
graver, probably a sharpened nail; consequently none of the designs was

In the good old cow days there were two sorts of saddles: the
"California Center Fire" and the "Texas Double Chinch," and all those
that I remember seeing had rather a short horn at the bow with a very
broad top sometimes covered with a silver plate; the seat was also much
longer than it is to-day.

Fig. 272 shows a military saddle which is a modified cowboy saddle, and
Fig. 274 shows a comparatively modern cowboy saddle. The up-to-date
saddle of to-day has a bulge in front, not shown on the diagram.

In the olden days there were no societies for the prevention of cruelty
to animals, and on the ranges horses were plenty; therefore, when one
of the long-haired plainsmen, with his long rifle in front of him
on the long saddle, and the heavy Spanish-American trappings to the
horse, killed the horse by overwork, he simply took off his saddle and
trappings, caught another horse, mounted it and continued his journey;
there were plenty of horses--why should he worry?

Later when the cowboy age came in, the cowboys themselves on the
Southern ranges used the Spanish-American outfit; the only blessing
the poor horse had was the blanket under the saddle.

[Illustration: 272 (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K, L, P, S, T), 273, 274
(M, N, O), 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285


When the block wooden stirrups were abandoned and the thinner oval
stirrups adopted, the latter were protected by long caps of leather,
the dangling ends of which were silver tipped. The cowboys themselves
wore heavy leather breeches called chaps (an abbreviation of the
Spanish chaparejo). Thus with the feet and legs protected they could
ride through the cactus plants and dash through the mesquite country
without fear of being pricked by the thorns, no matter what happened to
the horse. Not only did this leather armor protect them from thorns and
branches, but it also prevented many a broken leg resulting from kicks
by burros, mules and horses.

The rolled coat or blanket, which the bronco busters on the lower
ranges in early times lashed across the horse in front of their seat,
is the thing from which the bucking roll was evolved, and the buckskin
bucking roll, we are told, is the daddy of the swell or bulged front
saddle now used.

The old-fashioned cowboy saddle has a narrow front, but about two
decades ago


Migrated slowly from California over the plains, and was the first
one to show the bulged front, and to change the narrow bow of the cow
saddle to the bluff bow of the saddle as used to-day. It is claimed
that while this protects the rider from injuries more or less, it has
a tendency not to give a fellow the opportunity of as firm a grip with
his legs as did the old narrow bowed cowboy seat. Later, in Oregon,
they began to manufacture "incurved saddles," so that the rider's legs
could fit better under the front, and the Wyoming saddle makers caught
the idea, so that to-day the vanishing race of cowboys are using
saddles, which it would have taken a brave man to straddle in the early
days, not because the saddle is dangerous but because it would have
looked funny to the old-time boys, and they would not have been slow in
giving expression to boisterous and discomforting merriment.

It is an odd thing, this law of growth or evolution, and it _is a law_,
and a fixed law, certain peculiarities go together; for instance, if
one goes systematically to work to produce fan-tail pigeons, one finds
that he is also producing pigeons with feathered legs. The breeders
have also discovered that in producing a chicken with silky white
feathers they unwillingly produce a fowl with black meat. What has
this got to do with saddles? Only that the same law holds good here:
the more the front bulges in the saddle the more the horns shrivel,
developing a tendency to rake forward and upward; the stirrups also
dwindle in size. The saddle, which the writer possessed, has stirrups
made of iron rings covered with leather and the caps were lined with
sheep's wool. We read that now the narrow half-round oval stirrup
is a favorite with the cow-punchers, which the cowboy uses with his
foot thrust all the way in so that the weight of the rider rests upon
the middle of the foot. This is as disturbing to the European idea
of "proper form" as was the Declaration of Independence, but the
Declaration of Independence has proved its efficiency by its results;
so also has it been proved that for those who ride all day long the
nearer they can come to standing on their feet, and at the same time
relieving the feet of the total weight of the body by resting it on
the saddle, the easier it is to stay in the saddle for long stretches
of time; in other words, the more comfortable the saddle, the longer
one can occupy it without discomfort, and that is the reason a saddle
should fit the rider.


One must use Western ways; remember the horses were educated in the
West if you were not, but it is not necessary to use the cruel, old
jaw-breaking Spanish bits with a ring on them. I have one, but it only
hangs on the studio wall as a souvenir and a curious object of torture.
But don't try a straight bit on a Western horse; he may spit it out and
laugh at you; use the modern Western bits, saddles, and cinch and you
will not go far wrong. Of course


Is another proposition, for here you will need a pack sawbuck saddle
(Figs. 276, 277, 278 and 279); over this saddle you can swing your two
saddle bags, called alforjas (Fig. 283). Fig. 284 is after Stewart
Edward White's diagram, and shows how the alforjas are lashed fast
to the horse's back with a latigo (Fig. 285). Fig. 280 is the lash
rope which the man above Fig. 284 is using. In Chapter VII we tell
how to throw the diamond hitch. Fig. 282 shows the cowboy favorite
cooking utensil, the old Dutch oven, and it is practically the same
model as the one once belonging to Abraham Lincoln. A glance at the
cross-section of the cover shows you how the edges are dented in to
hold the hot ashes heaped on top of it when the bake oven is being
used. Fig. 281 is a sketch of two essentials for any sort of a trip: an
axe and a frying pan.

Of course, one could write a whole book on horseback work, saddles and
pack saddles. The truth is that one could write a whole book on any
subject or any chapter in this book. But my aim is to start you off
right; I believe that the way to learn to do a thing IS TO DO IT, and
not depend upon your book knowledge. Therefore, when I write a book for
you boys, I do the best I know how to make you understand what I am
talking about, and to excite in your mind and heart a desire to do the
things talked of; you must remember, however, that no one ever could
learn to skate from a school of correspondence or a book, but one could
gain a great deal of useful knowledge about anything from a useful
book, knowledge that will be of great help when one is trying to do the
things treated of in the book.

I can tell you with the aid of diagrams how to pack a blanket, and you
can follow my diagrams and pack your blanket; but in order to ride,
skate, swim or dance, you must gain the skill by practice. A book,
however, can tell you the names of the part of the things.


For instance (Fig. 272), T is the saddle-tree; a good saddle-tree is
made of five stout pieces of cottonwood which are covered with rawhide;
when the rawhide shrinks it draws the pieces together more tightly
and perfectly than they could be fastened by tongue and groove, glue,
screws or nails; in fact, it makes one solid piece of the whole. The
horn is fastened on to the tree by its branched legs, and covered with
leather or braided rawhide. The shanks are covered first and then
attached to the tree and the thongs are tacked to the saddle-tree,
after which the bulged cover is fitted on. When a good saddle-tree is
finished it is as much one piece as is the pelvis of a skeleton.

P is the pummel, A is the cantle. S is the side bar of the saddle-tree,
C is a quarter strap side, B is the quarter strap cantle, E is the
stirrup buckle, F is the outer strap safe, G is the cincha ring, H is
the cincha cover; the cincha strap is unlettered but it connects the
cincha ring with the quarter strap ring D; J is the cap or leather
stirrup cover, L is the wooden stirrup, K is the horsehair cincha.
Fig. 275 is one of the saddle pads to fit under the saddle. On Fig.
274M is the horn, N the cantle, O the whang leather, which your saddler
will call tie strings.

You will note that in Fig. 274 there are two cinchas, and in Fig. 272
but one. You will also note that in Fig. 274 the skirt of your saddle
seems to be double, or even triple, and the stirrup rigging comes on
top of the skirt, and this is made up of the back jockey, front jockey,
and side jockey or seat. Now then, you know all about horseback; there
is nothing more I can tell you about the pack horse, but remember not
to swell up with pride because of your vast knowledge, and try to ride
an outlaw horse with an Eastern riding school bit. But acknowledge
yourself a tenderfoot, a short horn, a shavetail, a Cheechako, and ask
your Western friends to let you have a horse that knows all the tricks
of his trade, but who has a compassionate heart for a greenhorn. There
are lots of such good fellows among the Western horses, and they will
treat you kindly. I know it because I have tried them, and as I said
before, I make no boast of being a horseman myself. When I get astride
of a Western horse I lean over and whisper in his ear, and confess to
him just how green I am, and then put him on his honor to treat me
white, and so far he has always done so.






WHEN choosing a camp site, if possible, choose a forest or grove of
young trees. First, because of the shade they give you; secondly,
because they protect you from storms, and thirdly, because they protect
you from lightning.

Single trees, or small groups of trees in open pastures are exceedingly
dangerous during a thunder storm; tall trees on the shores of a river
or lake are particularly selected as targets for thunder bolts by the
storm king. But the safest place in a thunder storm, next to a house,
is a forest. The reason of this is that each wet tree is a lightning
rod silently conducting the electric fluid without causing explosions.
Do not camp at the foot of a very tall tree, or an old tree with dead
branches on it, for a high wind may break off the branches and drop
them on your head with disastrous results; the big tree itself may fall
even when there is no wind at all.

Once I pitched my camp near an immense tree on the Flathead Indian
Reservation. A few days later we returned to our old camp. As we
stopped and looked at the site where our tents had been pitched we
looked at each other solemnly, but said nothing, for there, prone upon
the ground, lay that giant veteran tree!

But young trees do not fall down, and if they did they could not create
the havoc caused by the immense bole of the patriarch of the forest
when it comes crashing to the earth. A good scout must "Be Prepared,"
and to do so must remember that safety comes first, and too close
neighborhood to a big tree is often unsafe.

Remember to choose the best camp site that can be found; do not travel
all day, and as night comes on stop at any old place; but in the
afternoon keep your eyes open for likely spots.

Halt early enough to give time to have everything snug and in order
before dark.

In selecting camping ground, look for a place where good water and wood
are handy. Choose a high spot with a gentle slope if possible; guard
your spring or water hole from animals, for if the day is hot your dog
will run ahead of the party and jump into the middle of the spring to
cool himself, and horses and cattle will befoul the water.

If camping in the Western states on the shores of a shallow stream
which lies along the trail, cross the stream before making camp or you
may not be able to cross it for days. A chinook wind suddenly melting
the snows in the distant mountains, or a cloud-burst miles and miles
up stream, may suddenly send down to you a dangerous flood even in the
dry season. I have known of parties being detained for days by one of
these sudden roaring floods of water, which came unannounced, the great
bole of mud, sticks and logs sweeping by their camp and taking with it
everything in its path.

A belt of dense timber between camp and a pond or swamp will act as a
protection from mosquitoes. As a rule, keep to windward of mosquito
holes; the little insects travel with the wind, not against it.
'Ware ant hills, rotten wood infested with ants, for they make poor
bedfellows and are a nuisance where the food is kept.

A bare spot on the earth, where there are no dry leaves, is a
wind-swept spot; where the dust-covered leaves lie in heaps the wind
does not blow. A windy place is generally free from mosquitoes, but it
is a poor place to build a fire; a small bank is a great protection
from high wind and twisters. During one tornado I had a camp under the
lee of a small elevation; we only lost the fly of one tent out of a
camp of fifty or more, while in more exposed places nearby great trees
were uprooted and houses unroofed.

It must not be supposed that the camping season is past because the
summer vacation is over. The real camping season begins in the Wild
Rice Moon, that is, September. Even if school or business takes
all our time during the week, we still have week-ends in which to
camp. Saturday has always been a boys' day. Camping is an American
institution, because America affords the greatest camping ground in the

The author is seated in his own log house, built by himself, on the
shores of Big Tink Pond. Back of him there is pitched a camp of
six rows of tents, which are filled with a joyful, noisy crowd of

It is here in the mountains of Pike County, Pennsylvania, where the
bluestone is stratified in horizontal layers, that one may study the
camp from its very birth to the latest and finished product of this

Everywhere in these mountains there are outcroppings of the bluestone,
and wherever the face of a ridge of this stone is exposed to the
elements, the rains or melting snows cause the water to drip from
the earth on top of the stone and trickle down over the face of the
cliff. Then, when a cold snap turns the moisture into ice in every
little crack in the rock, the expansion of the ice forces the sides
of the cracks apart at the seams in the rock until loose pieces from
the undersides slide off, leaving small spaces over which the rock
projects. The little caves thus made make retreats for white-footed
mice and other small mammals, chipmunks and cave rats. When these
become deeper they may become dens in which snakes sleep through the

The openings never grow smaller, and in course of time are large enough
for the coon, then the fox, and in olden times they made dens for
wolves and panthers, or a place where the bear would "hole" up for the

Time is not considered by Dame Nature; she has no trains to catch,
and as years and centuries roll by the little openings in the
bluestone become big enough to form a shelter for a crouching man,
and the crouching man used them as a place in which to camp when the
Norsemen in their dragon ships were braving the unknown ocean. When
Columbus, with his toy boats, was blundering around the West Indies,
the crouching man was camping under the bluestone ledges of old Pike
County, Pennsylvania. There he built his campfires and cooked his
beaver and bear and deer and elk, using dishes of pottery of his own
make and ornamented with crude designs traced in the clay before the
dishes were baked.

We know all this to be true history, because within a short walk of
the author's log house there are overhanging ledges of bluestone,
and underneath these ledges we, ourselves, have crouched and camped,
and with sharp sticks have dug up the ground from the layer of earth
covering the floor rock. And in this ground we have found bits of
pottery, the split bones of different wild animals--split so that
the savage camper might secure the rich marrow from the inside of
the bones--arrowheads, bone awls and needles, tomahawks, the skulls
of beaver and spearheads; all these things have been found under the
overhanging bluestone.

Wherever such a bluestone ledge exists, one may make a good camp by
closing up the front of the cave with sticks against the overhanging
cliff and thatching the sticks with browse or balsam boughs, thus
making the simplest form of a lean-to. The Indians used such shelters
before the advent of the white man; Daniel Boone used them when he
first visited Kentucky and, in spite of the great improvement in tents,
the overhanging ledge is still used in Pennsylvania by fishermen and
hunters for overnight camps.

But if one uses such a site for his overnight camp or his week's-end
camp, one should not desecrate the ancient abode by introducing under
its venerable roof, modern up-to-date cooking and camp material, but
should exercise ingenuity and manufacture, as far as possible, the
conveniences and furniture necessary for the camp.

Since the author is writing this in a camp in the woods, he will tell
the practical things that confront him, even though he must mention a
white man's shop broom.

In the first place, the most noticeable defect in the tenderfoot's work
is the manner in which he handles his broom and wears the broom out
of shape. A broom may be worn to a stub when properly used, but the
lopsided broom is no use at all because the chump who handled it always
used it one way until the broom became a useless, distorted, lopsided
affair, with a permanent list to starboard or port, as the case may be.

To sweep properly is an art, and every all-around outdoor boy and man
should learn to sweep and to handle the broom as skillfully as he does
his gun or axe. In the first place, turn the broom every time you
notice a tendency of the latter to become one-sided, then the broom
will wear to a stub and still be of use. In the next place, do not
swing the broom up in the air with each sweep and throw the dust up in
the clouds, but so sweep that the end of the stroke keeps the broom
near the floor or ground.

Now a word about making beds. In all books on woodcraft you are
directed to secure balsam boughs from which to make your beds, and
there is no better forest bedding than the fragrant balsam boughs, but
unfortunately the mountain goose, as the hunters call it, from which
you pluck the feathers to make your camp bed, is not to be found in all

A bag filled with dry leaves, dry grass, hay or straw will make a very
comfortable mattress; but we are not always in the hay and straw belt
and dry leaves are sometimes difficult to secure; a scout, however,
must learn to make a bed wherever he happens to be. If there happens
to be a swale nearby where brakes and ferns grow luxuriantly, one
can gather an armful of these, and with them make a mattress. The
Interrupted fern, the Cinnamon, the Royal fern, the Lady fern, the
Marsh fern and all the larger ferns are useful as material.

A camping party should have their work so divided that each one can
immediately start at his own particular job the moment a halt is made.
One chops up the firewood and sees that a plentiful supply of firewood
is always on hand; usually he carries the water. One makes camp, puts
up the tents, clears away the rubbish, fixes the beds, etc., while
a third attends strictly to kitchen work, preparing the meals, and
washing up the dishes.

With the labor divided in this manner, things run like clock work and
camp is always neat and tidy. Roughing it is making the best of it;
only a slob and a chump goes dirty and has a sloppy-looking camp. The
real old time veteran and sourdough is a model of neatness and order.
But a clean, orderly camp is much more important than a clean-faced
camper. Some men think so much of themselves and their own personal
cleanliness that they forget their duty to the others. One's duty is
about in this proportion: first to the animals if any, secondly to the
men, and lastly to oneself.

Before pitching your tent, clear out a space for it to occupy; pick
up the stones, rubbish and sticks, rake off the ground with a forked
stick. But do not be rude to your brother, the ground pine; apologize
for disturbing it; be gentle with the fronds of the fern; do not tear
the trailing arbutus vine up by its roots, or the plant of the almond
scented twin flowers; ask pardon of the thallus of the lichen which you
are trampling under your feet. Why? O! well--because they had first
right to the place, and because such little civilities to the natural
objects around you put your own mind in accord with nature, and make
camping a much more enjoyable affair.

When you feel you are sleeping on the breast of _your mother_, the
earth, while _your father_, the sky, with his millions of eyes is
watching over you, and that you are surrounded by your brother, the
plants, the wilderness is no longer lonesome even to the solitary

Another reason for taking this point of view is that it has a
humanizing effect and tends to prevent one from becoming a wilderness
Hun and vandal. It also not only makes one hesitate to hack the trees
unnecessarily, but encourages the camper to take pride in leaving a
clean trail. As my good friend, John Muir, said to me: "The camping
trip need not be the longest and most dangerous excursion up to the
highest mountain, through the deepest woods or across the wildest
torrents, glaciers or deserts, in order to be a happy one; but however
short or long, rough or smooth, calm or stormy, it should be one in
which the able, fearless camper sees the most, learns the most, loves
the most and leaves the cleanest track; whose camp grounds are never
marred by anything unsightly, scarred trees or blood spots or bones of

It is not the object of this book to advertise, or even advise the use
of any particular type of outfitting apparatus other than the plain,
everyday affairs with which all are familiar. What we want to do is to
start the reader right, then he may make his own choice, selecting an
outfit to suit his own taste. There are no two men, for instance, who
will sing the praise of the same sort of a tent, but there is perhaps
no camper who has not used, and been very comfortable in, the old style
wall tent. It has its disadvantages, and so has a house, a shack or a
shanty. As a rule, the old wall tent is too heavy to carry with comfort
and very difficult for one man to pitch alone--unless one knows how.


Are necessary for almost any kind of a tent; you can buy them at the
outfitter's and lose them on the way to camp; they even have iron and
steel tent pegs to help make camping expensive, and to scatter through
the woods. But if you are a real sourdough you will cut your own tent
pegs, shaped according to circumstances and individual taste. Fig. 286
shows the two principal kinds: the fork and the notched tent pegs. For
the wall tents one will need a ridge pole (Fig. 288), and two forked
sticks, or rods, to support the ridge pole; the forks on these should
be snubbed off close so that they will not thrust themselves up against
the canvas on the top of the tent and endanger the fabric; these poles
should be of a proper height; otherwise if the poles are too long, the
tent will not touch the ground at all, or if the poles are too short,
the tent will wrinkle all over the ground like a fellow's trousers when
his suspenders break.

[Illustration: 286, 287, 288, 289 (A, B), 290, 291, 292


See that the ground is comparatively level, but with a slant in one
direction or another so that water will drain off in case of rain.
Never, for instance, pitch your tent in a hollow or basin of ground,
unless you want to wake up some night slopping around in a pool of
water. Do not pitch your tent near a standing dead tree; it is liable
to fall over and crush you in the night. Avoid camping under green
trees with heavy dead branches on them. Remember the real camper always
has an eye to safety first, not because he is a coward, but because
the real camper is as brave a person as you will find anywhere, and
no real brave person believes in the carelessness which produces
accidents. Do not pitch your tent over protruding stones which will
make stumbling-blocks for you on which to stub your toes at night,
or torture you when you spread your blankets over them to sleep. Use
common sense, use gumption. Of course, we all know that _it hurts one's
head to think_, but we must all try it, nevertheless, if we are going
to live in the big outdoors.

At a famous military academy the splendid cavalrymen gave a brilliant
exhibition of putting up wall tents; it required four men to put
up each tent. Immediately following this some of the scouts took
the same tents, with one scout to each tent, and in less time than
the cavalrymen took for the same job, the twelve year old boys,
single-handed, put up the same tents.


Spread out your tent all ready to erect, put your ridge pole and your
two uprights in place, and then drive some tent stakes, using the flat
of your axe with which to drive them, so that you will not split the
tops of the stakes (Fig. 287); drive the two end stakes A and B (Fig.
289) at an angle to the ends of the tent. After the tent stakes are
arranged in a row, like the ones in Fig. 289, adjust the forks of the
uprights two inches from the ends of the ridge pole (Fig. 288), then
make fast the two extreme end guy ropes A and B to the tent pegs; the
others are unimportant for the present, after that is done, raise one
tent pole part of the way up (Fig. 290), then push the other part of
the way up (Fig. 291); gradually adjust these things until the strain
is even upon your guy ropes. You will now find that your tent will
stand alone, because the weight is pulling against your guy ropes (Fig.
292). This will hold your tent steady until you can make fast the guy
ropes to the pegs upon the other side, not too tightly, because you
need slack to straighten up your tent poles.

Next see that the back guy pole is perpendicular, after which it is a
very easy matter to straighten up the front pole and adjust the guy
rope so that it will stand stiff as in Fig. 293.

Remember, when you are cutting the ridge poles and the uprights, to
select fairly straight sticks, and they should be as free as possible
from rough projections, which might injure the canvas; also the poles
should be as stiff as possible so as not to sag or cause the roof to

[Illustration: 293, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303,
304, 305, 306, 307, 308




Just as soon as your tent is erected and you feel like resting, get
busy on ditching; no matter how dry the weather may be at the time,
put a ditch around the tent that will drain the water away from your
living place. There is no positive rule for digging this ditch; it
varies according to surface of ground, but the gutter should be so made
that the water will run away from the tents and not to it, or stand
around it (Fig. 294). Fig. 295 shows how to make a tent by folding a
floor cloth or piece of tarpaulin; of course it must have a tent pole
to support the top, and the floor pieces may be drawn together in the
center. Make one out of a piece of writing paper and you will learn how
to do it, because although the paper is small, the folds would be just
the same as if it was as large as a church.

In sandy or soft ground it often taxes one's ingenuity to supply
anchors for one's tent; an anchor is a weight of some sort to which the
guy ropes may be attached. Fig 296 shows a tent anchored by billets of
wood; these are all supposed to be buried in the ground as in Fig. 308,
and the ground trampled down over and above them to keep them safe in
their graves. Fig. 297 shows the first throw in the anchor hitch, Fig.
298 the second throw, and Fig. 299 the complete hitch for the anchor.
Fig. 303 shows the knot by which the anchor rope is tied to the main
line. Figs. 300, 301 and 302 show the detail of tying this knot, which
is simplicity itself, when you know how, like most knots. Fig. 303
shows the anchor hitch complete.

Stones, bundles of fagots; or bags of sand all make useful anchors;
Fig. 304 is a stone; Fig. 305 are half billets of wood, Fig. 306 shows
fagots of wood, Fig. 307 a bag of sand. All may be used to anchor your
tent in the sands or loose ground.


Are the names used for different forms of rustic supports for the
tents. Fig. 312 shows the ordinary shears, Fig. 313 shows the tent
supported by shears; you will also note that the guy ropes for the
tent (Fig. 313) are made fast to a rod instead of to the pegs in the
ground. This has many advantages, because of the tendency of the
rope to tighten or shrink whenever it becomes wet, which often makes
it necessary for a fellow to get up in the night to adjust the guy
ropes and redrive the pegs. When the rain is pouring down, the thunder
crashing and the lightning flashing, it is no fun to go poking around
on the wet ground in one's nightie in order that the tent pegs may
not be pulled out of the ground by the shrinking ropes, and the cold
mass of wet canvas allowed to fall upon one's head. It is always
necessary to loosen and tighten the guy ropes according to the weather;
naturally the longer the guy ropes are the more they will shrink and
the more they will stretch as the weather varies. To prevent this,
lay a rod over the ends of the guy rope between the pegs and the tent
(Fig. 316A) and it will be an automatic adjuster. When the ropes are
dry and stretch, the weight of this pole will hold them down and keep
them taut; when the guy ropes shrink they will lift the pole, but the
latter will keep the tension on the ropes and keep them adjusted. The
arrangement of Fig. 313 has the advantage of making a clothes rack for
your bed clothes when you wish to air them, while the weight of the
suspended log keeps the tension on the ropes equalized. Fig. 314 shows
the shears made by the use of forked sticks. Figs. 315 and 318 show
the ridge pole supported by shears, and the ridge poles supported by
forked sticks; the advantage of the shears in Fig. 315 is that it gives
a clear opening to the tent. Fig. 316 shows an exterior ridge pole
supported by shears to which the top of the tent is made fast. Fig. 317
is the same without the tent. Fig. 318 shows the famous Vreeland tent;
in this case the ridge pole is supported by a crotched upright stick,
but may be equally well supported by the shears as in Fig. 315. Fig.
319 shows the gin or tripod made by binding the three sticks together.
Fig. 320 shows the same effect made by the use of the forked sticks;
these are useful in pitching wigwams or tepees.


[Illustration: SOME POPULAR TENTS]

Fig. 309 shows some of the ordinary forms of tents, the wall tent,
the Baker tent and the canoe tent. Fig. 310 shows a tent with a fly
extending out in front, thus giving the piazza or front porch. In the
background is a tepee tent. Fig. 311 shows two small Baker tents in the
background, and the Dan Beard tent in the foreground. These comprise
the principal forms, but the open-front tents to-day are much in vogue
with the campers. A mosquito netting in front will keep out the insects
and allow the air to come in freely, whereas the old-fashioned way of
closing the tent flap stops circulation of air and makes conditions
as bad as that of a closed room in a big house, and the air becomes
as foul as it did in the little red school houses and does now in the
Courts of Justice, jails and other places of entertainment.






TO all good, loyal Americans, the axe is almost a sacred tool, for our
greatest American, Abraham Lincoln, was one of our greatest axemen.
When he was President of the United States he used to exercise by
chopping wood, then laughingly extended his arm holding the axe in a
horizontal position by the extreme end of the handle. This he would do
without a tremor of the muscle or movement of the axe--some stunt! Try
it and see if you can do it!

The American Indians, and practically all savages, used stone and bone
implements, and with such implements the Redmen were wont to build the
most beautiful of all crafts, the birch bark canoe. If an American
Indian produced such wonders with implements made of stones, flint and
bones, a good red-blooded American boy should be able to do the same
with a sharp axe; therefore it should not only be his pleasure but his
duty to learn to be a skillful axeman.

Brother Jonathan, the imaginary character who represented the American
people, was almost invariably pictured with a jack-knife whittling a
stick, because all early Americans were skillful in the use of the
jack-knife, but they were also skilled in the use of the axe, and every
boy of twelve years of age knew how to handle an axe.


While lecturing at the Teachers' College, Columbia University, I was
asked to give a demonstration of the use of the axe. It then and there
suddenly occurred to me that if these grown men needed and asked for
instructions in the use of this typical American tool, a talk on the
same subject would be welcomed by the American boys.

The axe is the one necessary tool of the woodsmen; the axe occupies the
same position to the wilderness man that the chest of tools does to the
carpenter; with the axe the woodsman cuts his firewood; with the axe he
makes his traps; with the axe he splits the shakes, clapboards, slabs
and shingles from the balsam tree, or other wood which splits readily,
and with the shakes, clapboards, or slabs he shingles the roof of his
hogan, his barabara, or makes the framework to his sod shack or his
dugout, or with them builds the foundation of a bogken. With his axe he
cuts the birch for his birch bark pontiac, for his lean-to or his log
cabin. Without an axe it is most difficult for one to even build a raft
or to fell a tree to get the birch bark for one's canoe, or to "fall"
the tree to make a dugout canoe. A tree may be felled by fire, as the
Indians of old used to "fall" them, but this takes a wearisome time.


When bound for a real camp, take along with you a real axe. Never take
an axe which is too large and heavy for you to swing with comfort. It
is also best to avoid an axe which is too light, as with such a tool
you must use too much labor to cut the wood. You should select your own
axe according to your strength. Pick up the axe, go through the motions
of chopping and see if it feels right, if its balance suits you; hold
up the axe and sight along the top of the handle as you would along the
barrel of a gun to see that your handle is not warped.

[Illustration: 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329


Axes may be had of weight and size to suit one's taste. In New England
they use short-handled axes which are not popular in the woods. The axe
handles should be well seasoned, second growth hickory; a ¼ axe has a
19-inch handle and weighs two pounds. A ½ axe has a 24-inch handle and
weighs two and a half pounds. A ¾ axe has a 28-inch handle and weighs
three pounds. A full axe has a 36-inch handle and weighs five pounds.

Probably the best axe for camp work, when you must carry the axe on
your back, is one with a 30-inch second growth hickory handle, weight
about two and three-quarter pounds, or somewhere between two and three
pounds. A light axe of this kind will cut readily and effectively
provided it has a slender bit; that is, that it does not sheer off too
bluntly towards the cutting edge. When you look at the top of such an
axe and it appears slender and not bulky, it will cut well and can be
wielded by a boy and is not too light for a man (Fig. 322).

Fig. 321 shows the long-handled Hudson Bay axe used much in the North
country. It is made after the tomahawk form to save weight, but the
blade is broad, you notice, to give a wide cutting edge. The trouble
with this axe is that it is too light for satisfactory work. Fig. 323
shows a belt axe of a modified tomahawk shape, only three of which are
in existence; one was in the possession of the late Colonel Roosevelt,
one in the possession of a famous English author, and one in the
possession of the writer. These axes were made for the gentlemen to
whom they were presented by the President of a great tool works; they
are made of the best gray steel and are beautiful tools. Fig. 324 is
an ordinary belt axe practically the same as those used by the Boy
Scouts. When it was proposed to arm the Boy Scouts with guns, the
writer put in strenuous objections and suggested belt axes in place of
guns; the matter of costume and arms was finally referred to him as a
committee of one. The uniform was planned after that of the Scouts of
the Boy Pioneers of America, and the belt axe adopted is the same as
that carried by the Scouts of the Sons of Daniel Boone, which axes are
modelled after Daniel Boone's own tomahawk. Fig. 325 is a very heavy


Grasp the axe with the left hand, close to the end of the handle, even
closer than is shown in the diagram (Fig. 326); with the right hand
grasp the handle close to the head of the axe, then bring the axe up
over your shoulder and as you strike the blow, allow the right hand
to slide down naturally (Fig. 327), close to the left hand; learn to
reverse, that is, learn to grasp the lower end of the handle with the
right hand and the left hand near the top, so as to swing the axe from
the left shoulder down, as easily as from the right shoulder.

To be a real axeman, a genuine dyed-in-the-wool, blown-in-the-glass
type, each time you make a stroke with the axe you must emit the breath
from your lungs with a noise like Huh! That, you know, sounds very
professional and will duly impress the other boys when they watch you
chop, besides which it always seems to really help the force of the


It was from a colored rail splitter from Virginia, who worked for the
writer, that the latter learned how to burn out the broken end of the
handle from the axe head. Bury the blade of your axe in the moist earth
and build a fire over the protruding butt (Fig. 328); the moist earth
will prevent the heat from spoiling the temper of your axe blade while
the heat from the fire will char and burn the wood so that it can
easily be removed.

If you are using a double-bitted axe, that is, one of those very useful
but villainous tools with two cutting edges, and the handle breaks off,
make a shallow trench in the dirt, put the moist soil over each blade,
leaving a hollow in the middle where the axe handle comes and build
your fire over this hollow (Fig. 329).


If your axe handle is dry and the head loosens, soak it over night and
the wood will swell and tighten the head. Scoutmaster Fitzgerald of New
York says, "Quite a number of scouts have trouble with the axe slipping
off the helve and the first thing they do is to drive a nail which only
tends to split the helve and make matters worse. I have discovered
a practical way of fixing this. You will note that a wire passes
over the head of the axe in the helve in the side view. Then in the
cross-section in the copper wire is twisted and a little staple driven
in to hold it in place." This may answer for a belt axe but the hole in
the handle will weaken it and would not be advisable for a large axe
(Fig. 330).


We have said that the axe is a chest of tools, but it is a dangerous
chest of tools. While aboard a train coming from one of the big lumber
camps, the writer was astonished to find that although there were but
few sick men aboard, there were many, many wounded men in the car and
none, that he could find, wounded by falling trees; all were wounded
by the axe itself or by fragments of knots and sticks flying from blows
of the axe and striking the axeman in the eyes or other tender places.


I have often warned my young friends to use great care with firearms,
because firearms are made for the express purpose of killing. A gun,
having no brains of its own, will kill its owner, his friends, his
brother or sister, mother or father, just as quickly and as surely as
it will kill a moose, a bear or a panther. Therefore it is necessary
for the gunner to supply the brains for his gun.

The same is true with the axeman. Edged tools are made for the express
purpose of cutting, and they will cut flesh and bone as quickly and
neatly as they will cut wood, unless the user is skillful in the use
of his tool; that is, unless he supplies the brains which the tools
themselves lack.

So you see that it is "up to you" boys to supply the brains for your
axes, and when you do that, that is, when you acquire the skill in the
use, and judgment in the handling, you will avoid painful and may be
dangerous or fatal accidents, and at the same time you will experience
great joy in the handling of your axe. Not only this but you will
acquire muscle and health in this most vigorous and manly exercise.

We are not telling all this to frighten the reader but to instil into
his mind a proper respect for edged tools, especially the axe.


1. An axe to be respected must be sharp and no one who has any ambition
to be a pioneer, a sportsman or a scout, should carry a dull axe, or an
axe with the edge nicked like a saw blade. It may interest the reader
to know that the pencil I am using with which to make these notes was
sharpened with my camp axe.

2. No one but a duffer and a chump will use another man's axe without
that other man's willing permission.

3. It is as bad form to ask for the loan of a favorite axe as it is
to ask for the loan of a sportsman's best gun or pet fishing rod or

[Illustration: 330, 331, 332, 333, 334, 335


4. To turn the edge or to nick another man's axe is a very grave

5. Keep your own axe sharp and clean, do not use it to cut any object
lying on the ground where there is danger of the blade of the axe going
through the object and striking a stone; do not use it to cut roots of
trees or bushes for the same reason. Beware of knots in hemlock wood
and in cold weather beware of knots of any kind.

When not in use an axe should have its blade sheathed in leather (Figs.
331, 332, 333 and 334), or it should be struck into a log or stump
(Fig. 335). It should never be left upon the ground or set up against a
tree to endanger the legs and feet of the camper. Fig. 341 shows how a
firewood hod is made and used.


On the trail we have no grindstones, and often have recourse to a file
with which to sharpen our axe; sometimes we use a whetstone for the
purpose. New axes are not always as sharp as one would wish; in that
case if we use a grindstone to put on an edge we must be sure to keep
the grindstone wet in the first place, and in the second place we must
be careful not to throw the edge of the blade out of line. When this
occurs it will cause a "binding strain" on the blade which tends to
stop the force of the blow. If the edges are at all out of line, the
probabilities are one will knock a half moon out of the blade in the
first attempt to cut frozen timber. The best axe in the world, with
an edge badly out of line, cannot stand the strain of a blow on hard
frozen wood. While grinding the axe take a sight along the edge every
once in a while to see if it is true.


Is when the sap is dormant, which I will explain for my younger readers
is that time of year when the tree is not full of juice. The reason
for this is that when the sap or juice is in the wood when cut, it
will ferment, bubble and fizzle the same as sweet cider or grape juice
will ferment, and the fermentation will take all the "life" out of
the lumber and give it a tendency to decay; again to translate for my
younger readers, such wood will rot quicker than wood cut at the proper
season of the year.

[Illustration: 336, 337, 338, 339, 340, 341


With pine trees, however, this is not always the case, because the
pitchy nature of the sap of the pine prevents it from fermenting like
beech sap; in fact, the pitch acts as a preservative and mummifies, so
to speak, the wood. Pine knots will last for a hundred years lying in
the soft, moist ground and for aught I know, longer, because they are
fat with pitch and the pitch prevents decay.

Beech when cut in June is unfit for firewood the following winter, but
authorities say that the same trees cut in August and left with the
branches still on them for twenty or thirty days, will make firmer and
"livelier" timber than that cut under any other conditions.

An expert lumberman in ten minutes' time will cut down a hardwood tree
one foot in diameter, and it will not take him over four minutes to cut
down a softwood tree of the same size.


Before attempting to chop down a tree; in fact, before attempting
to chop anything, be careful to see that there are no clothes lines
overhead, if you are chopping in your backyard, or if you are chopping
in the forests see that there are no vines, twigs, or branches within
swing of your axe. By carefully removing all such things you will
remove one of the greatest causes of accidents in the wilderness, for
as slight a thing as a little twig can deflect, that is, turn, the
blade of your axe from its course and cause the loss of a toe, a foot,
or even a leg. This is the reason that swamping is the most dangerous
part of the lumberman's work.


If the tree, in falling, must pass between two other trees where there
is danger of its "hanging," so cut your kerf that the tree in falling
will strike the ground nearest the smallest of the trees, or nearest
the one furthest away. Then, as the tree falls, and brushes the side of
the smallest tree or the one furthest away, it will bounce away, thus
giving the fallen tree an opportunity to bump its way down to the place
on the ground selected for it, in place of hanging by its bough in the
boughs of other trees.

Do not try to "fall" a tree between two others that are standing close
together; it cannot be successfully done, for the tops of the three
trees will become interlaced, and you will find it very difficult
and hazardous work to attempt to free your fallen tree from its
entanglement; probably it cannot be done without cutting one or both
of the other trees down. The truth is, one must mix brains with every
stroke of the axe or one will get into trouble.

Where possible select a tree that may be made to fall in an open space
where the prostrate trunk can be easily handled. Cut your kerf on the
side toward the landing place, let the notch go half-way or a trifle
more through the trunk. Make the notch or kerf as wide as the radius,
that is, half the diameter of the tree trunk (Fig. 344), otherwise you
will have your axe pinched or wedged before you have the kerf done and
will find it necessary to enlarge your notch or kerf. Score first at
the top part of the proposed notch, then at the bottom, making as big
chips as possible, and hew out the space between, cutting the top parts
of the notch at an angle but the bottom part nearly horizontal. When
this notch or kerf is cut to half or a little more than half of the
diameter of the tree, cut another notch upon the opposite side of the
tree at a point a few inches higher than the notch already cut; when
this notch is cut far enough the tree will begin to tremble and crack
to warn you to step to one side. Don't get behind the tree; it may
kick and kill you; step to one side and watch the tree as it falls;
there are many things that may deflect it in falling, and one's safety
lies in being alert and watching it fall. Also keep your eye aloft to
watch for limbs which may break off and come down with sufficient force
to disable you; accidents of this kind frequently happen, but seldom or
never happen where the axeman uses common sense or due caution.


After a tree is felled, the swampers take charge of it and cut away all
the branches, leaving the clean log for the teamsters to "snake." They
do the swamping by striking the lower side of the branch with the blade
of the axe, the side towards the root of the tree, what might be called
the underside, and chopping upwards towards the top of the tree. Small
branches will come off with a single blow of the axe.

When the tree has been swamped and the long trunk lies naked on the
turf, it will, in all probability, be necessary to cut it into logs of
required lengths. If the trunk is a thick one it is best to cut it by
standing on the tree trunk with legs apart (Fig. 336), and chopping
between one's feet, making the kerf equal to the diameter of the log.
Do this for two reasons: it is much easier to stand on a log and cut
it in two that way than to cut it part the way through the top side,
and then laboriously roll it over and cut from the underside; also when
you make the notch wide enough you can cut all the way through the log
without wedging your axe. To split up the log you should have


A thing usually to be found among the tools in the backwoodsman's hut
and permanent camps; of course we do not take the time to make them
for an overnight camp or a temporary camping place, but they are very
handy at a stationary camp. To make one select a hardwood tree, which,
when stripped of its bark will measure about five inches in diameter.
The tree selected should not be one that would split easily but may
be a young oak, beech or hickory, which with the bark on is six or
seven inches in diameter at the butt. In chopping this tree down leave
a stump tall enough from which to fashion your beetle, and while the
stump is still standing hew the top part until you have a handle scant
two feet in length, leaving for the hammer head, so to speak, a butt
of ten inches, counting from the part where the roots join the trunk.
Before cutting the stump off above the ground, dig all around the
roots, carefully scraping away all stones and pebbles, then cut the
roots off close up to the stump, for this is the hardest part of the
wood and makes the best mall head (Fig. 337).


Farmers claim that the best wedges are made of applewood, or locust
wood; never use green wedges if seasoned ones may be obtained, for
one seasoned wedge is worth many green ones. In the north woods, or,
in fact, in any woods, applewood cannot be obtained, but dogwood and
ironwood make good substitutes even when used green (Figs. 338 and 357).


Many of the Southern Indians in the early history of America tipped
their arrows with bits of cane; these green arrow points they hardened
by slightly charring them with the hot ashes of the fire. Gluts may be
hardened in the same manner; do not burn them; try to heat them just
sufficiently to force the sap out and harden the surface. Where
dogwood, ironwood and applewood are not to be obtained, make your gluts
of what is at hand; that is true woodcraft (Fig. 337).

[Illustration: 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 350, 351, 352,
353, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358, 359, 361]

A year or two ago, while trailing a moose, we ran across the ruins of
a lumber camp that had been wiped out by fire, and here we picked up
half a dozen axe heads among the moose tracks. These axe heads we used
as gluts to split our wood as long as we remained in that camp, and by
their aid we built a shack of board rived from balsam logs.

Fig. 341 shows how to make and how to use firewood hods on farms or at
permanent camps.


After you have cut the crotch and trimmed it down into the form of Fig.
339, you may find it convenient to flatten the thing on one side. This
you do by hewing and scoring; that is, by cutting a series of notches
all of the same depth, and then splitting off the wood between the
notches, as one would in making a puncheon (Fig. 342). (A puncheon is
a log flattened on one or both sides.) With this flattened crotch one
may, by sinking another flattened log in the earth and placing the
chopping block on top, have a chopping block like that shown in Fig.
343. Or one may take the crotch, spike a piece of board across as in
Fig. 339 and use that, and the best chopping block or crotch block is
the one shown in Fig. 339, with the puncheon or slab spiked onto the
ends of the crotch. In this case the two ends of the crotch should be
cut off with a saw, if you have one, so as to give the proper flat
surface to which to nail the slab. Then the kindling wood may be split
without danger to yourself or the edge of the hatchet.


If you are using an ordinary stick of wood for a chopping block, and
the stick you are about to chop rests solidly on top of the block
_where the axe strikes_ it will cut all right, but if you strike where
the stick does not touch the chopping block the blow will stun the hand
holding the stick in a very disagreeable manner. If you hold your stick
against the chopping block with your foot, there is always danger of
cutting off your toe; if you hold the stick with your hand and strike
it with the axe, there is danger of cutting off your fingers. When I
say there is danger I mean it. One of our scouts cut his thumb off,
another cut off one finger, and one of my friends in the North woods
of Canada cut off his great toe. In hunting for Indian relics in an
old camping cave in Pennsylvania, my companion, Mr. Elmer Gregor,
made the gruesome find of a dried human finger near the embers of an
ancient campfire, telling the story of a camping accident ages ago, but
evidently after white man's edged tools were introduced.

If you have no chopping block and wish to cut your firewood into
smaller pieces, you can hold the stick safely with the hand if you
use the axe as shown in Fig. 345. This will give you as a result two
sticks, and the upper one will have some great splinters.


When splitting wood for the fire or kindling, make the first blow as in
Fig. 346, and the second blow in the same place, but a trifle slanting
as in Fig. 347; the slanting blow wedges the wood apart and splits it.
If the wood is small and splits readily, the slanting blow may be made
first. These things can only be indicated to the readers because there
are so many circumstances which govern the case. If there is a knot in
the wood, strike the axe right over the knot as in Figs. 348 and 349.

If you are chopping across the grain do not strike perpendicularly as
in Fig. 350, because if the wood is hard the axe will simply bounce
back, but strike a slanting blow as in Fig. 351, and the axe blade
will bite deeply into the wood; again let us caution you that if you
put too much of a slant on your axe in striking the wood, it will cut
out a shallow chip without materially impeding the force of the blow,
and your axe will swing around to the peril of yourself or anyone else
within reach; again this is a thing which you must learn to practice.

In using the chopping block be very careful not to put a log in front
of the crotch as in Fig. 340, and then strike a heavy blow with the
axe, for the reason that if you split the wood with the first blow your
axe handle will come down heavily and suddenly upon the front log, and
no matter how good a handle it may be, it will break into fragments, as
the writer has discovered by sad experience. A lost axe handle in the
woods is a severe loss, and one to be avoided, for although a makeshift
handle may be fashioned at camp, it never answers the purpose as well
as the skillfully and artistically made handle which comes with the axe.


Select two saplings about five inches in diameter at the butts, bore
holes near the butts about six inches from the end for legs, make a
couple of stout legs about the size of an old-fashioned drey pin, and
about twenty inches long, split the ends carefully, sufficiently to
insert wedges therein, then drive the wedge and ends into the hole
bored for the purpose. When the sticks are driven home the wedge will
hold them in place. You now have a couple of "straddle bugs," that is,
poles, the small ends of which rest upon the ground and the butt ends
supported by two legs. In the top of the poles bore a number of holes
for pins, make your pins a little longer than the diameter of the log
you intend to saw; the pins are used exactly like the old-fashioned
drey pins, that is, you roll the log up the incline to the two straddle
bugs and hold the logs in place by putting pins in the nearest holes.
Of course, the pins should work easily in and out of the holes (Fig.

With such an arrangement one man can unaided easily roll a log two feet
in diameter up upon the buck; the log is then in a position to be cut
up with a cross-cut saw (Fig. 357). Another form of sawbuck may be made
of a puncheon stool (Fig. 358), with holes bored diagonally in the top
for the insertion of pins with which to hold the log in place while it
is being sawed. But with this sawbuck one cannot use as heavy logs as
with the first one because of the difficulty in handling them.

I have just returned from a trip up into the woods where they still use
the primitive pioneer methods of handling and cutting timber, and I
note up there in Pike County, Pennsylvania, they make the sawbuck for
logs by using a log of wood about a foot in diameter and boring holes
diagonally through the log near each end (Fig. 359); through these
holes they drive the legs so that the ends of them protrude at the top
and form a crotch to hold the wood to be sawed. The sawbuck is about
ten or twelve feet long; consequently, in order to provide for shorter
logs there are two sets of pegs driven in holes bored for the purpose
between the ends of the buck.


When one person is handling a heavy log it is sometimes difficult, even
with the lumberman's canthook, to roll it, but if a loop is made in a
rope and placed over a stump or a heavy stone (Fig. 360), and the ends
run under the log, even a boy can roll quite a heavy piece of timber by
pulling on the ends of the rope (Fig. 360).


The method used by all woodsmen in splitting a log is the same as
used by quarrymen in splitting bluestone, with this difference: the
quarryman hunts for a natural seam in the stone and drives the wedge in
the seam, while the lumberman makes a seam in the form of a crack in
the log by a blow from his axe. In the crack he drives the wedge (Figs.
352 and 353). But if the log is a long one he must lengthen the crack
or seam by driving other wedges or gluts (Fig. 353), or he may do it by
using two or more axes (Fig. 352).

If he wishes to split the logs up into shakes, clapboards or splits, he
first halves the log, that is, splitting it across from A to B (Fig.
356), and then quarters it by splitting from C to D, and so on until he
has the splits of the required size.


In the olden times, the good old times, when people did things with
their own hands, and thus acquired great skill with the use of their
hands, boards were sawed out from the logs by placing the log on a
scaffolding over a sawpit (Fig. 361).

In the good old times, the slow old times, the safe old times, a house
was not built in a week or a month; the timber was well seasoned,
well selected, and in many cases such houses are standing to-day! On
the next block where I live and from where I am writing, and across
the street, there stands a house still occupied which was built in
1661. It is the house that Fox, the Quaker, was quartered in when he
was preaching under the spreading oaks on Long Island. The timbers of
this house are still sound and strong, although the woodwork in nearby
modern houses is decaying.

In the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee they still use the sawpit,
and the logs are held in place by jacks (Fig. 355), which are branches
of trees hooked over the log and the longest fork of the branch is then
sprung under the supporting cross-piece (Fig. 361).

Of course, the boy readers of this book are not going to be top sawyers
or make use of a sawpit; that is a real man's work, a big HE man's
work, but the boys of to-day should know all these things; it is part
of history and they can better understand the history of our own
country when they know how laboriously, cheerily and cheerfully their
ancestors worked to build their own homesteads, and in the building of
their own homesteads they unconsciously built that character of which
their descendants are so proud; also they built up a physique that was
healthy, and a sturdy body for which their descendants are particularly
thankful, because good health and good physique are hereditary,
that is, boys, if your parents, your grandparents and your great
grandparents were all healthy, wholesome people, you started your life
as a healthy, wholesome child.

In this chapter the writer has emphasized the danger of edged tools
for beginners, but he did that to make them careful in the use of
the axe, not to discourage them in acquiring skill with it. We must
remember that there is nothing in life that is not dangerous, and the
greatest danger of all is not firearms, is not edged tools, is not
wild beasts, is not tornadoes or earthquakes, avalanches or floods, but
it is LUXURY; expressed in boy language, it is ice cream, soda water,
candy, servants and automobiles; it is everything which tends to make a
boy dependent upon others and soft in mind and muscle and to make him
a sissy. But hardship, in the sense of undergoing privation and doing
hard work like chopping trees and sawing logs, makes a rugged body, a
clean, healthy mind, and gives long life. So, boys, don't be afraid to
build your own little shack, shanty or shelter, to chop the kindling
wood for your mother, to split up logs for the fun of doing it, or just
to show that you know how. Don't be afraid to be a real pioneer so that
you may grow up to be a real Abe Lincoln!

If I am talking to men, they need no detailed definition of luxury;
they know all about it, its cause and its effect; they also know that
luxury kills a race and hardship preserves a race. The American boy
should be taught to love hardship for hardship's sake, and then the
Americans as a race will be a success, and a lasting one.






NOW that we have learned about the serious part of camping, hiking and
woodcraft, about fire-building, cooking and axe work, we will leave the
long trail and the hard trail and dump our duffel bag in a recreation
camp, a Boy Scout camp, a Y.M.C.A. camp, or a school camp, and after we
have pitched our tent and arranged our cot to suit our own convenience
and everything is ship-shape for the night, it is time for us to get
busy on our "good turn" and do something for the crowd.

Like the great Boy Scout Movement, the council fire is also a product
of America. The council fires were burning all over this land when
Columbus discovered America. It was around the council fires that the
Indians gathered in solemn conclave to consult and discuss the affairs
of their tribes.

Originally the council ground was surrounded by a palisade; that is,
the fire was in the center of a circular fort. Around this fire the old
men of the tribe made their eloquent addresses; also around this fire
the warriors danced the scalp dance, the corn dance, the buffalo dance,
and all their various religious dances.

Later the Cherokee Indians changed the council fire into a barbecue,
where they roasted whole beefs in pits of glowing coals. This custom
was adopted by the politicians in Kentucky, and the Kentucky barbecues
became very famous; they were what might be called a by-product of the
old Indian council fires and a European feast combined. But in 1799 the
old Indian council fires became camp meetings, and around the blazing
fagots the pioneers gathered to engage in religious revivals. It was at
one of these meetings that Daniel Boone's great friend, Simon Kenton,
was converted and became a Methodist.

The camp meetings were originated by two brothers by the name of McGee.
Bill McGee was a Presbyterian, and John McGee a Methodist minister.
They came to Kentucky from West Tennessee. John McGee was such a great
backwoods preacher (a pioneer Billy Sunday) that he drew immense crowds
of buckskin-clad men, each of whom carried a cow's horn powder flask
and a long barreled rifle.

The small buildings used for churches in the pioneer settlements could
not hold the crowd, so they gathered around blazing council fires, and
from this beginning came the great religious revival which swept the
border with a wave of religious enthusiasm.

It is a far call back to the old Indian council fire, and the blazing
council fires of the pioneer camp meetings, but to-day all over this
land we are holding similar council fires, many of them conducted with
much ceremony, and not a few with religious fervor. The summer hotels
have their council fires; the great Camp Fire Club of America, composed
of all the famous big game hunters, have lately bought a tract of land
for the purpose of holding their council fires in the open, and the
writer interrupted the writing of this chapter to attend one of the
club's council fires. The military schools are holding council fires,
and everywhere the Boy Scouts have their council fires blazing; even
the girls have fallen in line, and this is as it should be. Therefore
it is time that some regular plan was made for these assemblies, and
some suggestion of ceremony and some meaning given to the council


We have searched the legends of the Red Man for suggestions, and from
various sources have learned that the Indian had a general belief that
at the north there is a yellow or black mountain, at the east there is
a white mountain of light, at the south there is a red mountain, and at
the west there is a blue mountain. At the east and west there are also
holes in the sky, through which the sun comes to light us by day, and
through which the sun disappears so that we may sleep by night. That is
news to most of my readers, but not to the Red Men.

In the "Dawn of the World," Dr. C. Hart Merriam gives a collection of
"The Myths and Weird Tales told by the Mewan Indians of California,"
which are full of poetry and suggestions useful for the council fire

It seems that when the white-footed mouse man, and some other of the
animal people, were trying to steal the sun, or the fire from which the
sun was made, the robin man, Wit-tab-bah, suspected these visitors to
be sort of German spies, and so he hovered over the fire, spreading his
wings and tail to protect it. Now if you don't believe this you look at
the robin's breast and you will see that he still carries the red marks
of the fire, which is proof enough for anyone; hence we will give the
fire-keeper for our council the name of Wit-tab-bah, the robin.

Since the north is presided over by the totem of the mountain lion, or
panther, we will give the officer occupying that court the Indian name
of the mountain lion, He-le-jah. The totem of the east is the white
timber wolf, Too-le-ze; the color of that court is white, representing
light. The totem of the south court is the badger; the color is red and
the Indian name is Too-winks. The color of the west court is blue and
the totem is the bear; Kor-le is the Indian name of the bear, and the
title of the officer presiding over the blue totem.

The golden or yellow court is the throne of the presiding officer, the
scoutmaster of the troop, the headmaster of the school, the gangmaster
of your gang, the campmaster of your camp, or the captain of your team.
The second in command occupies the white court, the third the red
court, and the fourth the blue court. If your council is a military
school the commandant occupies the yellow court, the lieutenant-colonel
the white court, the major the red court and the first captain the blue
court. Now that you have that straight in your heads we will proceed to
lay out the court.

The author is aware of the fact that the general reader may be more
interested in scout camping, summer camping, and recreation camps than
in real wilderness work, but he has tried to impress upon the boys
and girls, too, for that matter, the fact that the knowledge of real
wilderness work will make even the near-at-home camping easier for
them, and very much more interesting; it will also cause them to enjoy
the council fire better and have a greater appreciation for everything
pertaining to outdoor life. The wilderness campfire over which the
solitary explorer or hunter hovers, or around which a group of hunters
assemble and spin their yarns, magnified and enlarged to a big blazing
fire becomes the council fire around which gather all the members of
a recreation camp, the pupils of an outdoor school, a troop or many
troops of Boy Scouts; therefore we have given the council fire serious
study, because the most inconvenient as well as the most romantic place
to talk is at

[Illustration: 367, 368, 370, 373, 382, 389]


[Illustration: 362, 363, 364, 365, 366



There could be no more impractical plan for a place to speak than a
circle with a big fire in the middle of it, and that is the plan of all
the council grounds. The audience must be seated on the circumference
of the circle, and the Master of Ceremonies must stand necessarily
with his face to the fire and his back to part of his audience, or his
back to the fire and consequently also to the part of the audience on
the other side of the fire. Having had occasion over and over again
to address the scouts at a council fire, the writer has had all the
discomforts impressed upon him many times. As a rule, the boys are
enthusiastic, and so are the men, and the enthusiasm is most often
displayed by the size of the fire; the bigger the fire the greater the
delight of the boys and the more difficult the position of the orator
or Master of Ceremonies. All this may be overcome, however, if in place
of a circle the council grounds are laid out in an oval or an ellipse,
and the fire-place located near one end of the ellipse (Fig. 371).


After you have decided upon the size of your council grounds, drive two
stakes A and B (Figs. 363 and 365) firmly into the ground; then take a
cord, clothesline, or some kind of twine (Fig. 362), and tie the ends
together, thus forming a loop (Fig. 363); put the loop over the two
stakes A and B; next make a marker stake C (Fig. 366), and with it draw
the slack of the line taut as in Fig. 364. The ellipse is marked out as
in Fig. 365. This is done by taking firm hold of the top of the stake
and using care to keep the line taut while the marker walks around the
ground scratching the earth with the point of the marking stick, and
allowing the cord to slip smoothly across the stick while the marking
is being done (Fig. 364).


An ellipse might be called a flattened circle. If you take a tin can
and press the two sides of the open end of it inwards, it will form
an ellipse. The dictionary says that an ellipse is a conic which
does not extend to infinity and whose intersections with the line of
infinity are imaginary. Now that is a very lucid explanation! I hope
you understand it, it is so simple, but it is just like a dictionary to
say such terrible things about a harmless ellipse. To tell the truth, I
thought I knew all about an ellipse until I read this explanation; but
never mind, we know what it looks like and if we do not know what it
is, we do know that there are a lot of things besides ellipses that do
not extend to infinity, and we also know that an ellipse is a practical
form for a council fire in spite of the hard names the dictionary calls
it. This oval is really shaped like the body of a theatre and it gives
the audience a chance to see what is doing on the stage, and the people
on the stage a chance to see and address the audience.


This infinity talk has suggested to us a good idea, so we must thank
our highbrow dictionary while we lay our council ground out with the
major axis (the longest diameter) extending due north and south, and
the minor axis (the shortest diameter) extending due east and west,
like any other well regulated council or lodge, and we will put the
fire-place near the southern end S (Fig. 371), while around the ellipse
we will arrange the seats, which may be of logs or stumps or sections
of logs set up on end, as I used in one of my camps, or the seats may
be rough plank benches, or they may be ponchos spread upon the ground
with the shiny side down to keep the dampness from the audience as it
squats tailor-fashion upon the ponchos.


Are composed of shacks, such as are shown by Fig. 367. He-le-jah
(Fig. 371), being the Court of Knowledge, is the only court having
an elevated platform, or pulpit, or speaker's stand (Fig. 368). On
each side of each court there should be a torch; Fig. 369 is what we
will call the camp meeting torch; Fig. 370 is what we will call the
steamboat torch; it must be made by a blacksmith. It is an iron basket
supported by iron chains, hung down from an iron band at the top of a
staff; the latter is shod with an iron point so that it may be thrust
into the ground. These fire baskets I have used with success in one
of my camps. But homemade torches are to be preferred (see Fig. 369).
A hand torch (Fig. 373) may be made of pine, spruce or cedar slivers
and used for processions entering the council grounds; this gives a
thrilling effect.

In the diagram (Fig. 370), the staff is short, but it should be long
enough to place the torch as high above the ground as a chandelier is
above the floor at home. Fig. 372 shows the method of piling up the
wood for the council fire. The kindling wood is first placed upon the
ground ready to light at a moment's notice; over that the heavy wood is
piled, as shown in the diagram. This fire should never be lighted with
a match; that is terrible bad form. The use of flint and steel or a
rubbing stick to make fire is the proper ceremony for such occasions.

Fig. 374 shows how to make a fire box of sticks. This is an aeroplane
view of a fire box, that is, a view from above, looking down upon it.
This box should be filled with sand, clay or dirt, upon which the fire
is built. Fig. 375 and Fig. 376 show you how to lash the framework
together. Fig. 377 shows how to put up the framework. Fig. 369 is the
finished torch.

The idea of this torch is to have the light above the heads of the
campers. The trouble with a fire upon the ground is that while the
flames give light they also hide part of the crowd, and the smoke is
always in someone's face. This elevated torch is a brand new idea for
this purpose. It will be adopted all over the country and credited to
all sorts of sources and people, but you must remember that it was
designed for the readers of this book.

If milled lumber is used in building the shacks for the four courts,
it should be camouflaged with paint or stain so as to look rustic. It
may be roofed with boards and the boards covered with tar paper, or any
of the modern roofing materials to be had, but in that case the roof
should be camouflaged by laying poles over the top of it, or, if poles
are not available, covering the top with sods.

You see the idea is this: we are having a COUNCIL FIRE--not something
else--and we want the thing to look wild and rustic because that is
part of the game, and if we are compelled to go to the lumberyard for
our material, which most of us will have to do, then we must conceal
this fact as far as possible by camouflage. In front of the South Court
on Fig. 371 is the fire-place made of flat stones set in the earth.


On entering the council grounds always enter from the east, salute
Too-le-ze, the white wolf, then go across the Ghost Walk with the
sun to the West Court, and salute Kor-le, the bear; about face and
march back to the South Court and salute Too-winks, the badger; then
about face and march up and salute He-le-jah, the panther; remain
standing at salute until He-le-jah who is the commanding officer, gives
you permission to retire, or gives you orders what to do; then go back,
always moving along these walks like a soldier, to your seat.

[Illustration: 374, 375, 376, 377


On Sundays the council ground is a splendid place for holding
religious services. On such occasions the minister sits in the Court
of Knowledge, the North Court on the right-hand side of the presiding
officer, and the two torches in the daytime are replaced by flags or
banners. The one on the right-hand side of the presiding officer must
be Old Glory, the one on the left the flag of the school, the troop or
the club to which the council fire belongs.

The center of the council fire may be occupied by a "Liberty Pole,"
which is the good old American name for the flag pole, from which Old
Glory flies. Never forget to respect the colors and greet them with
the greatest ceremonial deference, for those colors possess a magic
quality; they represent to you everything that is grand, noble and
inspiring, and if you have any other kind of thoughts, this country is
no place for you. Remember that the council fire is American, and we
are proud to be called Americans.

The walk, or path from the east to the west is the Ghost Walk, or the
Spirit's Walk; it is the path which Indians believe the spirit takes
after leaving the body, an idea which was consciously or unconsciously
adopted by our brave boys during the recent war and it explains what
they meant when, with bowed heads, they reported that their bunky, pal
or friend had "gone West."

The Western Court has the totem animal of the black bear; the color of
the court, however, is not black but blue, blue from the blue Pacific;
the totem object is a blue mountain.

The walk from the south to the north is the Path of Knowledge; anyone
traveling that trail is seeking further knowledge of the benefits of
woodcraft, nature and the big outdoors; the totem animal of the North
Court is the American panther, cougar or mountain lion; the color of
the North Court is yellow or black, the latter representing the long
arctic night.

The Southern Court has the badger for its totem animal, and the red
mountain for the totem object; red is its totem color.

Thus we have white for the totem color of the east, meaning light,
peace and purity; red for the south, meaning violence, disturbance,
auction, danger, revolution, love and life. This color is both
stimulating and disturbing to man, animal and plant.

Perhaps when we read of the turmoil that is constantly disturbing our
southern border, we may think that the Indians had a knowledge of
the real meaning of red when they made the totem of the south a red
mountain. Red is the ruling color, the king of color, the dominant
color, the strong color, and symbolizes the blossoming of plants and is
the color of berries and fruit. Red tints the spring leaves and stains
the fall leaf. In the spring the thickets and tree trunks are tinged
with red; they are blushing, so to speak, as Ruskin says, "in order to
show the waiting of love." Red is emphatically a masculine color, a

Blue is a feminine color; it stands for sentimental affections, blue
light has a depressing effect and creates nervousness.

Black is the ogre among colors; it devours every other color; sometimes
the North Court is black; black stands for war and death, and yet the
path to the north is the path of knowledge. It may be that some of
the Indians used black for the north because they may have noted that
climate affects the color of birds and animals. According to Frank
Chapman, the famous ornithologist at the Museum of Natural History
in New York, the animals of the humid climate of the northwest are
especially dark in color.

If you use yellow for the north color, yellow means laughter and mirth.
Notwithstanding the fact that we use yellow as a sign for contagious
disease, women suffragists and cowardice, a yellow light makes a
gathering cheerful and merry; so in approaching the North Court you may

The Indian names for the four courts are Too-le-ze, the east, for
the south Too-winks, for the west Kor-le, and for the north Kon-win.
He-le-jah is the Indian name for the panther or mountain lion that
guards the north mountain.

Now then you have the symbolism; in other words, know what these things
stand for, and that will give a meaning to your ceremony around the
council fire. Since red means life and black means death, possibly
the Indians have placed a deep significance on the path from the Red
Court to the Black Court, from life to death! when they call it the
Path of Knowledge. At any rate, we will take it as we find it and adapt
ourselves to the suggestions these meanings give us.

We will claim that colors are the spirits, fairies or what not who
govern the council fire. Wit-tab-bah is the name of the fire itself
or the fire-place. When the fire is built, placed near the Southern
or Red Court, it gives the chief, the captain, the superintendent, or
the scoutmaster, who occupies the North Court, a space in front of him
big enough to accommodate his audience. The real way to illuminate, or
light up, the council grounds is by having


Erected at each of the four courts. These fire torches at the four
courts, if kept replenished with dry wood, will light up the council
grounds and give a most picturesque and wild appearance, and at the
same time will not interfere with the ceremonies nor will they scorch
the back or face of the speaker. Wit-tab-bah may be used on occasions
when the crowd is not large.

No council fire anywhere within the borders of the United States should
open without the pledge to the American flag, and the reciting in
unison by all present of the American creed. (See page 268.)

The council should close with the singing of "America." Especially
should these ceremonies be gone through with when the assembly is
composed of many young people, because what George Washington said in
his farewell address is as true to-day as it was a hundred years ago.

"Against the insidious wiles of foreign influences I conjure you to
believe me, fellow citizens, the jealousy of a free people ought to
be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign
influence is one of the most powerful foes of republican government."

There is no reason why we should not have a lot of fun at the council
fires, and at times it may even be riotous fun, but always American
fun, and the patriotic spirit should never for a moment be forgotten,
nor yet the poetic spirit which links us up in bonds of sympathy with
all created things so that we may, with seriousness, recite the


    O Great Mystery, we beseech thee.
    That we may walk reverently
    Beneath Lah-pah our brothers, the trees.
    That we may step lightly
    On Kis-so our kinsmen, the grasses.
    That we may walk lovingly
    Over Loo-poo-oi-yes our brothers, the rocks.
    That we may rest trustfully
    Where the O-lel-le bird sings--
    Beside Ho-ha-oe, the talking waters.

or this,

    Weave for us, O Great Mystery,
    A bright blanket of wisdom;
    Make the warp the color of Father Sky,
    Let He-koo-las, the sun-woman.
    Lend her bright hair for the weft.
    And mingle with it the red and gold threads of evening.
    O Great Mystery; O Mother Earth! O Father Sky!
    We, your children, love the things you love;
    Therefore, let the border of our blanket
    Be bending Ku-yet-tah, the rainbow.
    And the fringe be glittering Nuk-kah, the slashing rain.

or with abandon we may sing, or chant the song of the elves,

    [F]Oh, we are the fays, oh, we are the elves.
    Who, laughing at everything, laugh at ourselves.
        If Fortune's wheel is broke.
        Why, we can put a spoke in it.
        Misfortune hits no stroke,
        But we can put a joke in it.
        The owl can do our thinking.
        As he sits awinking, blinking.
        We act from intuition,
        Fun and mischief is our mission;
        Solemn duty, we have none of it.
        What we do is for the fun of it;
        Fun is none too light to prize,
        Thought is naught but fancy's flight.
        Folly's jolly, wit is wise,
        Laughter after all is right.


[F] From unpublished verses by Captain Harry Beard.






THE ceremonies of the Council Fire may be conducted with the
accompaniment of pageantry to any extent desirable. At the Council
Fire of the Dan Beard Outdoor School, the officers dress in costume;
not masquerade costumes but the real ones. THE MAN OF THE NORTH, who
attends to the Northern Lights, is garbed in the blanket clothes of a
northern lumberman and carries an axe. THE MAN OF THE EAST, who attends
the fire where the sun maidens dwell, may be arrayed in the clothes of
one of our Pilgrim fathers. THE MAN OF THE WEST, who attends the fire
of the Blue Mountain, is decked in the fringed buckskin clothes of the
trapper, plainsman, or mountaineer. THE MAN OF THE SOUTH, who guards
the fire of the Red Mountain, is dressed in the picturesque costume
of a Mexican with a high-crowned sombrero. The seats of the different
courts are draped with the colors of the courts.


The guests enter and take their seats, then the Herald enters dressed
in the costume of a scout, a frontiersman, or a medicine man, according
to the plan of the particular Council Fire. The Herald faces the north
from his stand in the center of the council ground and blows assembly
call, or a blast on a cow's horn, then wheels about and faces the east,
then the south and then the west, and at each he blows assembly. With
the last notes and the last call the Scouts, Woodcrafters, Pioneers or
students enter the circle, marching single-file around until the circle
is complete, and they stand opposite where they are to sit. The Herald
now blows a fanfare and the officers march into the council ground
with the colors and the color guard. The officers group themselves
around their Chief, the Scout Executive, the Scout Commissioner, the
Headmaster or the man in authority at the North Court.


The Leader, or head officer, steps forward and throwing both hands up
in a gesture of appeal, in which he is imitated by the assembly, he

    Weave for us, O Great Mystery, etc. (as already given).

Then he cries:

    Four Winds of the Earth, we have saluted you!
    Wind of the North, from whence come our snow and ice,
    Wind of the East, from whence come our clouds and rains,
    Wind of the West, from whence comes our sunshine,
    Wind of the South, from whence comes our warmth,
    Send us your men to guard the mystic fires.

The Men of the North, East, West and South, now step in front of the
Chief, and he directs them to

    See that the mystic fires are blazing.

The fires, having already been carefully prepared, are now lighted by
the fire-keepers under the direction of the men of the Four Winds, and
the latter return and report to the Chief in the following manner:

    Chief.... Man of the North, you whose mighty axe bites to the
          heart of the pine,
    Are the mystic Northern Lights burning at Kon-win?
    Is He-le-jah, the Mountain-lion, on guard on the yellow mountain
          of the North?
    Man of the North.... Chief, the Medicine fire has been lighted,
          the Mountain-lion is guarding the yellow mountain of the
                                    All is well.

    Chief.... Man of the East, is the Medicine Fire at Too-le-ze
    Is the White Wolf on guard at the White Mountain, where the
          sun-maidens dwell?
    Man of the East.... Chief, Too-le-ze blazes in the East, the
          White Wolf is on guard. Wah-tab-bah, the robin, shields
          the fire,
                                    All is well.

    Chief.... Man of the West, man of the plains and mountains,
          does the mystic fire at Kor-le blaze?
    Is the Black Bear guarding the Blue Mountain, where the sun
    Man of the West.... Chief, Kor-le is ablaze, the Black Bear's
          growls may be heard in the torrent that guards the Blue
                                    All is well.

    Chief.... Man of the South, how blazes the fire at Too-winks?
    Has the Red Badger come from its burrow to stand guard on the
          Red Mountain?
    Man of the South.... Chief, Too-winks flames to the sky. The
          Red Badger is on guard.
                                    All is well.

The Color Guard now enters, marches up to in front of the officers and
all stand at salute. The Color Guard with colors about faces and the
guests and all present recite in unison:


"I believe in the people of the United States, I believe in the United
States form of government, I believe in the preamble of the Declaration
of Independence, I believe that all men are created equal, that they
are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among
which are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

"I believe in our Government of the People, by the People and for the
People, a government whose just powers are derived from the consent of
the governed, a Sovereign Nation of many Sovereign States, a Democracy
in a Republic, a perfect Union, one and inseparable.

"A Union which will live because of the vital principles of Freedom,
Equality, Justice, Humanity and Kindness which it contains, and for
which American Patriots have willingly sacrificed their lives and

"I therefore believe that in order to respect my own manhood I must
love my country, support its Constitution and obey its Laws; also that
I must respect its Flag, and defend it against all enemies."

After which may come the Scout oath, Pioneer oath or Camp-fire oath,
as the case may be. Then the command is given to "spread ponchos,"
followed by the command "squat!" when all the Scouts, Woodcrafters,
Pioneers, or students squat tailor-fashion upon their ponchos, and the
guests seat themselves on the benches which have been provided for them.

Following this comes the address by the speakers, the entertainments
and exhibitions of woodcraft, scoutcraft, or handicraft, the games, and
other entertainment; then follows the awarding of honors. After which
all stand to sing "America." Then the Chief or Leader steps forward and
repeats the following


O Great Mystery, we beseech thee (as previously given) and ends up with
the benediction, in which he uses the Indian phraseology:

"May the Great Mystery put sunshine in all your hearts. Good-night."

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired. The text sometimes had very narrow
spaces between words this was not retained. Varied hyphenation was

Page ii, "quad" changed to "quod" (objectum quod complexum)

Page 103, "Rodger" changed to "Rodgers" (Washington, George Rodgers

Page 137, an upside down 1 was present in the number "192". ((Fig.
192), then put a loop)

Page 189, illustration of a Pack Train Outfit is missing letters for Q
and R.

Page 202, "confortable" changed to "comfortable" (a very comfortable

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