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Title: Sport in Vancouver and Newfoundland
Author: Rogers, John
Language: English
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SPORT IN VANCOUVER AND NEWFOUNDLAND

[Illustration: THE MOUTH OF THE CAMPBELL RIVER.
[_Frontispiece._]



  SPORT IN VANCOUVER
  AND NEWFOUNDLAND


  BY
  SIR JOHN ROGERS
  K.C.M.G., D.S.O., F.R.G.S.


  _WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS BY THE AUTHOR
  AND REPRODUCTIONS OF PHOTOGRAPHS_


  LONDON
  CHAPMAN AND HALL, LTD.
  1912



  RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED,
  BRUNSWICK STREET, STAMFORD STREET, S.E.,
  AND BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.



  TO
  MY WIFE
  THE COMPANION OF MANY WANDERINGS
  IN STRANGE LANDS



PREFACE


The following pages are simply a transcription of my rough diary of
two autumn holidays in Vancouver Island and Newfoundland in search
of sport--should they prove of any use to those who may follow in my
steps, I shall feel amply rewarded.

  J. G. R.



CONTENTS


  BOOK I

  CHAP.                                                     PAGE
  I TO VANCOUVER ISLAND                                        1
  II VANCOUVER TO THE CAMPBELL RIVER                          15
  III THE FISH AT THE CAMPBELL RIVER                          29
  IV SPORT AT CAMPBELL RIVER                                  39
  V FISHING-TACKLE                                            61
  VI TO ALERT BAY                                             75
  VII IN THE FOREST                                           87
  VIII IN THE WAPITI COUNTRY                                 107
  IX OUT OF THE FOREST                                       119
  X AFTER GOAT ON THE MAINLAND                               131

  BOOK II

  I TO NEWFOUNDLAND                                          157
  II TO LONG HARBOUR                                         173
  III TO THE HUNTING GROUNDS                                 187
  IV HUNGRY GROVE POND TO SANDY POND                         195
  V TO KOSK[=A]CODDE                                         215
  VI SPORT ON KEPSKAIG                                       233
  VII TO THE SHOE HILL COUNTRY                               245
  VIII HOMEWARD BOUND                                        257



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  VANCOUVER

  ORIGINAL DRAWINGS
                                                     _To face page_

  THE MOUTH OF THE CAMPBELL RIVER                    _Frontispiece_
  MORNING MISTS, MT. KINGCOME                                   138
  CAMP ON MT. KINGCOME                                          140


  PHOTOS

  THE INDIAN CEMETERY, CAMPBELL RIVER                            41
  A MORNING'S CATCH                                              41
  TWO GOOD FISH                                                  50
  A 60 LB. FISH                                                  50
  "DICK"                                                         80
  TOTEM POLES, ALERT BAY                                         80
  THE HEAD OF NIMQUISH LAKE                                      92
  DRIFTWOOD ON THE BEACH OF LAKE NIMQUISH, "DICK" IN
    THE FOREGROUND                                               92
  THE VANCOUVER FOREST, SHOWING UNDERGROWTH THROUGH
    WHICH WE HAD TO MAKE OUR WAY                                110
  LAKE NO. 1                                                    110
  PACKING OUT                                                   121
  THE WAPITI, 13 POINTS                                         126
  THE SHORE OF LAKE NIMQUISH                                    126
  A ROCKY MOUNTAIN GOAT                                         141
  THE GOAT COUNTRY                                              141


  NEWFOUNDLAND

  ORIGINAL DRAWINGS
                                                     _To face page_

  NOT GOOD ENOUGH                                               159
  STEVE JOE DRIES HIMSELF                                       226
  STEVE BERNARD IN CAMP                                         226
  THE CLEARING OF THE STORM, SHOE HILL RIDGE                    247
  A VIEW IN LONG HARBOUR                                        263


  PHOTOS

  JOHN DENNY AND STEVE BERNARD                                  197
  A NEWFOUNDLAND POND                                           197
  STEVE SPYING, SANDY POND                                      217
  CAMP, WEST END SANDY POND                                     217
  THE THREE-HORNED STAG                                         225
  "BAD WATER"                                                   225
  A THIRTY-FOUR POINT CARIBOU                                   238
  STEVE SKINNING THE HEAD OF THE THIRTY-FOUR POINTER            238
  LUNCH ON THE BAIE DU NORD RIVER                               256
  MY CAMP, SHOE HILL DROKE                                      256
  UP THE TWO-MILE BROOK, HOMEWARD BOUND                         261
  A BROOK IN FLOOD                                              261


  MAPS

  SKETCH MAP OF VANCOUVER ISLAND                                  3
  SKETCH MAP OF NEWFOUNDLAND                                    159



TO VANCOUVER ISLAND



[Illustration: VANCOUVER
SKETCH-MAP OF VANCOUVER ISLAND
[_To face page 3._]



CHAPTER I

TO VANCOUVER ISLAND


From the day I read in the _Field_ Sir Richard Musgrave's article, "A
seventy-pound salmon with rod and line," and located the river as the
Campbell River, I determined that should the opportunity arise, I, too,
would try my luck in those waters.

Subsequent articles in the _Field_, which appeared from time to time,
only increased my desire, and the summer of 1908 found me in a position
to start on the trip to which I had so long looked forward.

Living in Egypt, the land of eternal glare and sunshine, I counted the
days till I could rest my eyes on the ever-green forests of Vancouver
Island.

My intention was to arrive in Vancouver about the end of July, spend
the month of August, when the great tyee salmon run, at the Campbell
River, and pass September, when the shooting season begins, in hunting
for wapiti in the primeval forests which clothe the north of Vancouver
Island.

I also hoped, should time permit, to have a try for a Rocky Mountain
goat, and possibly a bear on the Mainland.

I sailed from Southampton on July 10, on the _Deutschland_, the
magnificent steamer of the Hamburg-American Line, and never did I
travel in greater luxury.

The voyage across the Atlantic is always dull and monotonous; it was
therefore with great relief that, having passed Sandy Hook in the early
morning, I found myself approaching New York on the 16th.

Here I was to have a new experience.

I am, I hope, a modest man, and never dreamt that I was worthy of
becoming the prey of the American interviewer.

The fact of being a Pasha in Egypt, a rank which I attained when
serving in the Egyptian Army, was my undoing.

A kind German friend who had used his good offices on my behalf with
the Board of the Hamburg-American Line, gave the show away, for I found
myself on the printed passenger list figuring as Sir John Rogers Pasha.

To the American interviewer, a Pasha was, I presume, a novelty, and the
opportunity of torturing one not to be forgone, for as soon as we came
alongside the quay at Hoboken, a pleasant and well-spoken individual
came up to me and, raising his hat, remarked, "The Pasha I believe.
Welcome to America." I then realized what I was in for.

Had I been a witness in the box, I could not have undergone a more
merciless cross-examination. It was almost on a par with a declaration
I had to make for the Immigration Authorities--giving my age, where I
was born, who were my father and mother, when did they die, what was
the colour of my hair and eyes, and lastly, had I ever been in prison,
and if so, for what offence?

I really think New York might spare its visitors this ordeal.

Wriggle as I could, my interviewer was determined to obtain copy,
and though I insisted that the title of "Pasha" had been entered on
the passenger list by mistake, and that it was one not intended for
exportation, he was not to be satisfied.

Giving as few details as possible as to how I had obtained my exalted
title, I eventually shook off my persecutor. No sooner had I moved a
few steps away, than if possible a more plausible person expressed the
great pleasure it gave him to welcome me to New York, and endeavoured
to impress on me that it was a duty I owed to myself and to the
American nation, not only to explain what a "Pasha" was and how I
became a Pasha, but also to allow my photograph to be taken, which he
guaranteed would appear the following day in his paper--naturally the
leading journal of New York.

On my point-blank refusal to accord any more interviewers an audience
or to be immortalized in his paper, he sadly expressed his astonishment
that I should refuse the celebrity he wished to confer on me.

Had not Mr. Kingdon Gould allowed himself to be photographed?--then why
not I?

Other interviewers gave me up as a bad job, but just before landing I
was leaning over the side of the steamer when some one shouted, "I have
got you!" and I saw that one of my persecutors had taken a snapshot,
which I am glad to say must have been a failure, for I did not appear
in the New York papers the next day.

I acknowledge that one of my interviewers to whom I had refused any
information heaped coals of fire on my head, by rendering me valuable
assistance in getting my luggage through the Customs.

I had often heard of the difficulties of the New York Customs, but I
must say I never met with greater civility, and there was no delay
in passing all my baggage, fishing-rods, guns, rifles, no duty being
charged.

New York possessed few attractions for me, and the call of the Campbell
River was strong--so July 17th found me starting for Montreal, where I
arrived the same night and put up at the excellent Windsor Hotel.

Only a top sleeping berth on the Trans-Continental Express was
available for the following night, and, as I desired a section--that is
two berths, upper and lower--I had to wait till the evening of Sunday,
the 19th, before I could start for Vancouver.

Leaving Montreal at 10.15 p.m., I arrived at Vancouver about noon on
the 24th, having travelled straight through.

The Canadian Pacific Railway is probably the most extensively
advertised line in the world. I cannot say it complied with modern
requirements as regards convenience and comfort.

Every one knows the much-vaunted Pullman Car system of America--men and
women in the same carriage, the only privacy being offered by drawing
the curtains across the berths which are arranged in two long rows on
either side of the car.

If you have a section of two berths, which is essential to comfort, you
can stand upright in the lower berth to dress and undress, and put
away your clothes where you can.

If you have only a single berth, you have to dress and undress as best
you can, sitting in your berth.

On my first trip to Canada, I was only going as far as Mattawa, one
night in the train, so contented myself with a single lower berth.

The upper berth was occupied by a very stout lady, who in descending in
the morning, gave me an exhibition of understandings as unexpected by
me as it was unintentional on her part.

The real advantage of a section, in taking the long Trans-Continental
journey, is that when the berths are put up in the day-time, one has
a nice compartment to oneself; that is, if the black porter does not
condescend sometimes to occupy one of the seats, and only to move, on
being politely requested to do so.

The sporting pamphlets of the Canadian Pacific Railway make
a sportsman's mouth water. Here we have the paradise of the
fisherman--there the Mecca of the sportsman.

It was certainly then disappointing, to say the least of it, to find
in the Restaurant Car, that though passing through the paradise of the
fisherman, two days out from Montreal, we were eating stale mackerel,
and on the return journey when the sporting season was in full swing
and duck and prairie hens were being brought in abundance to the car
for sale--they were only purchased by the black porters for re-sale at
Montreal at a handsome profit. None of them appeared at our table.

The food was indifferent and dear. Everything was "à la carte," and to
dine moderately cost 1½ to 2 dollars, while a tiny glass of whisky,
served in a specially constructed bottle of infinitesimal proportions,
was charged at an exorbitant price.

Food in the car, without wine, beer or spirits, may be put down at 5 to
6 dollars a day, and I would recommend any one making the trip to stow
away a bottle of good whisky in his suit-case, from which to fill his
own flask for meals.

Travelling for six days and five nights continuously, one would have
thought that some simple bathing arrangements would have been provided.
A douche even would have been welcome. The lavatory and smoking-room
were one and the same--five to six persons could find sitting
accommodation, and four basins had to meet the washing requirements of
the entire car.

I do not wish to be over critical, but I am glad to say I have met many
Canadians who agree with me that the arrangements for the comfort
of the passengers on the Canadian Pacific Railway are capable of
improvement.

Very different, I was told, was the comfort to be found on the American
Trans-Continental Line from Seattle via Chicago to New York. The train
is provided with a bathroom, library and a barber's shop, while an
American friend who recommended me to return by the American Express,
assured me that the food left nothing to be desired.

When competition arises between the two Trans-Continental lines in
Canada, the second of which is now being constructed, some improvements
may be hoped for.

The scenery of the Rocky Mountains has so often been described, that
I will not inflict my impressions at any length on my readers. It is
certainly fine, but no part of it can in my opinion compare with that
of the line from Lucerne to Milan via the St. Gothard, and what a
difference in the engineering of the line and the speed of the trains.
Accidents by derailing of ballast trains seemed fairly common. We saw
one on our way across, and two engines which had toppled over the
embankment marked the site of at least one other.

As regards the Rockies, it must be admitted that the effect of their
real height is taken away by the gradual rise in level as one crosses
the plains.

Calgary, where the mountains are first approached, stands at 3,428 feet
above sea-level.

All things come to an end, and the morning of July 24th found us
steaming into the city of Vancouver, glad that the weary journey was at
last over.

The town of Vancouver is beautifully situated on the Mainland
overlooking the Straits of Georgia.

I am glad, after my criticisms of the Canadian Pacific Railway, to
testify to the comfort and moderate charges of the Canadian Pacific
Railway Hotel at Vancouver.

A charming bedroom with bathroom attached cost only 5 dollars, all
meals included. Excellent beer, locally brewed, was cheap, and a bottle
of Californian Chianti, quite a drinkable wine, cost only a dollar, so
there was nothing to complain of.

My waiter happened to be an Irishman, and he took quite a personal
interest in my comfort, whispering into my ear in the most confidential
manner the dishes of the day that he recommended as the best.

On a day's acquaintance, claiming me as a countryman, he confided to me
his story. His father had been manager of a bank in Ireland, and he
was sent abroad to settle in Canada.

Starting on a farm, and, according to his own story, doing well, a
fire destroyed his house and farm implements. Drifting through various
stages, he arrived at his present position, with which he seemed quite
content. He was married, and lived outside the hotel. Fishing was his
passion, and every spare moment was devoted to it.

He was really a most entertaining companion, with a keen sense of
humour, and he made the meal-time pass very pleasantly, for he never
ceased chatting.

A run by steamer to Seattle to see some friends, gave me a glimpse
of Victoria and the exquisite scenery of the trip from Vancouver to
Seattle.

At Vancouver I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Mr. Bryan
Williams, the Provincial Game Warden of British Columbia, with whom I
had been already in correspondence, and to whom I was indebted for much
valuable assistance and advice.

A true sportsman, his heart is in his job, and if he only be given
a free hand and adequate funds, the preservation of game in British
Columbia will be in safe hands.

The licence, 100 dollars, is not a heavy one, but I think it might
with justice be graduated, fixing one sum, say 50 dollars, for
Vancouver Island, where only wapiti, an occasional bear and deer are
found, and imposing the higher licence for the Mainland, to include
moose, mountain sheep, goat, caribou and grizzly bear.

One would have thought that in the city of Vancouver, the centre of a
great angling country, every requirement of the fisherman would have
been found. The contrary was the case.

Fortunately I had brought my own fishing-tackle, for in the best
sporting shop in the town I could not obtain a suitable spare
fishing-line.

Rods, reels, lines, flies and baits were inferior in workmanship as
compared to what one is accustomed at home.

I therefore strongly recommend any fisherman to bring all his tackle
from home. In the case of rods, reels and lines, New York may have
better, as I shall show when I come to discuss the question of tackle
later on.

From the manager of the Bank of Montreal, to whom I had a letter
of introduction, I met with great courtesy financially as well as
socially, and I became free of the excellent Vancouver Club, so
charmingly situated, and only regretted that my short stay prevented my
availing myself more of its hospitality.



VANCOUVER TO THE CAMPBELL RIVER



CHAPTER II

VANCOUVER TO THE CAMPBELL RIVER


The morning of July 29th found me on board the _Queen City_, the small
but most comfortable steamer of the Canadian Pacific Railway running
north to the Campbell River and beyond.

The Captain was a delightful companion, patriotic to a degree, and
regretting what he considered the neglect shown by the Old Country to
the Dominion of Canada, when American and Canadian interests were at
issue.

The steamer was well found and well managed, while the Captain's skill
in approaching our various stopping-places, often dangerous coves with
no lights, at any time of the night and in any weather, was to me a
continual source of admiration. I travelled with him three times, and
never wish for a more charming host or a Captain that inspired more
confidence as a navigator.

We arrived at the Campbell River Pier at the unearthly hour of 1 a.m.
The proprietor, however, was on the pier waiting with lanterns to show
us the way up to the Willows Hotel, where I was to spend a happy month.

The Willows Hotel, beautifully situated on the Valdez Straits within
a few yards of the sea, is all that a sportsman could desire. Clean,
well-furnished bedrooms, a bathroom and quite a decent table, all for
the moderate sum of 2 dollars a day.

The proprietor did not quite realize the fact that the majority of the
guests came for the fishing, and not for the food.

The lady who directed the establishment seemed to think the latter the
more important.

The breakfast bell rang at 6 a.m., and breakfast was served from 6 to 8
a.m. Lunch or dinner from 12 to 2 p.m., and supper from 6 to 8 p.m.

Woe betide the guest who broke the rules of the house as regards the
hours, for he was expected to lose his meal.

In those glorious autumn evenings when it was light up to 10 o'clock,
the manageress forgot that a keen fisherman might stay out till 9 or
even 10, if the fish were taking.

Dinner he could not expect, but a cold supper, if ordered beforehand,
might have been laid out in the dining-room. Nor could attendance be
looked for; servants were few and overworked, and it was but natural
they should like to go to bed at 10 o'clock, or be free to wander in
the woods or along the foreshore with the special young man of the
moment.

By making love to the manageress and the Chinese cook, I generally
succeeded in finding something to eat if I was late, but I often had to
forage for myself in the kitchen, and on one occasion came back to find
a plate of very indifferent sandwiches laid out for supper.

Morning tea in one's bedroom was prohibited. I should therefore advise
any one addicted to the habit of early morning tea, to provide himself
with a "Thermos" bottle, and fill it overnight--besides which, if very
enthusiastic, a start might sometimes be made at 4 a.m., when a cup
of hot tea and a biscuit make all the difference to one's feelings of
comfort.

The hotel was a strange mixture of civilization and discomfort.

We had written menus of which I give a specimen below, but I had to
grease my own boots and wash my own clothes, until I found an Indian
squaw in the adjoining village who for an exorbitant charge relieved me
of my washing, though I greased my boots till the end of my stay.

  THE WILLOWS HOTEL.

  MENU. DINNER.

  _Soup._
  Purée of Split Pea.

  _Fish._
  Baked Salmon (Spanish).
  Boiled Cod. Lobster Sauce.

  _Entrées._
  Beef Hot Pot.
  Pig's Head à la Printanière.
  Macaroni au Gratin.

  _Boiled._
  Boiled Ox Tongue. Kipper Sauce.
  Boiled Ham.

  _Roast._
  Roast Beef. Horse-radish.
  Roast Pork. Apple Sauce.
  Roast Mutton. Jelly.

  _Salad._
  Sliced Beets.
  Fish Salad.

  _Vegetables._
  Boiled Mashed Potatoes.
  Green Peas.

  _Dessert._
  Snow Pudding.   Peach Pie.
  Apple Pie.      Stewed Rhubarb.

The drawback to the hotel was the logging camp in the neighbourhood.

The bar of the hotel was about fifty yards from the hotel itself, in
a separate building, and on Saturday night many of the loggers came
dropping in to waste the earnings of the week. Drunkenness on these
occasions was far too common, and till the small hours of the morning
the sound of revelry from the bar was not conducive to a good night's
rest.

Some of the characters who frequented the bar were weird in the
extreme, and when fairly "full"--as the local expression was--the hotel
was not inviolate to them. One who particularly interested me might
have been taken out of one of Fenimore Cooper's novels. My acquaintance
with him was made on the hotel verandah. With a friendly feeling born
of much whisky, he placed his arm on my shoulder, and assured me that
although if he had his rights he would be a Lord, he did not disdain
the acquaintanceship of a commoner like myself; in fact, that he had
seldom seen a man to whom he had taken such a fancy, or with whom he
would more willingly tramp the woods, if I would only give him the
pleasure of my company in his trapper's hut some few miles inland. His
suggestion that our friendship should be cemented by an adjournment
to the bar did not meet with the ready acceptance he expected, which
evidently disappointed him, for he could not grasp the fact that any
one living could refuse a drink.

Poor "Lord B.," as he was called, was only his own enemy. As I always
addressed him "My Lord," which he took quite seriously, we became quite
pals.

A trapper and prospector by profession, he had a fair education, and
when sober was a shrewd man of the local world, which confined itself
to prospecting for minerals and cruising timber claims.

Persistently drunk for two or three days at a time, he would suddenly
sober down, put a pack on his back which few men could carry, and
disappear into the woods to his lonely log cabin, only to return in a
few days ready for a fresh spree. At least, this was his life while I
stayed at the hotel, for in one month he appeared three times.

No doubt during the winter, when occupied with his traps, he could
neither afford the time nor the money for an hotel visit.

He was wizened in appearance and lightly built, but as hard as nails.
Dishevelled to look at when on the spree, as soon as it was all over
he became a different character, appearing in neat, clean clothes, and
full of reminiscences of backwoods life. He was always a subject of
interest to me, and, poor fellow, like many others on the west coast,
only his own enemy.

Another frequenter of the bar had been on the Variety stage in London,
and his step-dancing when fairly primed with whisky was something to
see and remember.

We were a pleasant party at the hotel. Some came only for the fishing,
some _en route_ for Alaska or elsewhere on the Mainland for the coming
shooting season, others returning from sporting expeditions in far
lands.

We had J. G. Millais, the well-known naturalist and author of the most
charming book ever written on Newfoundland, bound for Alaska in search
of record moose and caribou.

Colonel Atherton, who, starting from India, had recently crossed
Central Asia and obtained some splendid trophies, the photographs of
which made us all envious.

F. Grey Griswold from New York, of tarpon fame, come to try his luck
with the tyee salmon, and good luck it was, which such a good sportsman
deserved.

Mr. Daggett, an enthusiastic angler from Salt Lake City, who took
plaster casts of his fish, and was apparently an old habitué of the
hotel.

Powell and a young undergraduate friend Stern, also bound for
Alaska, just starting on the glorious life of sport, with little
experience--that was to come--but who with the tyee salmon were as good
as any of us, and whose keenness spoke well for the future.

It was curious that in such a small community three of us, the Colonel,
Millais and I, had fished in Iceland, and many interesting chats we had
about the sport in that fascinating island.

As the sun went down, the boats began to come in, and all interest was
concentrated on the beach, where the fish were brought to be weighed
on the very inaccurate steelyard set up on a shaky tripod by the hotel
proprietor.

Any one reading Sir Richard Musgrave's article in the _Field_, would be
led to believe that the fishing was in the Campbell River itself.

Whatever it may have been in his time, the river is now practically
useless from the fisherman's point of view. This is due to the logging
camp in the vicinity, for the river for about a mile from its mouth is
practically blocked with great rafts of enormous logs. The logs are
discharged into the river with a roar and a crash, enough to frighten
every fish out of the water; the rafts when formed are towed down to
Vancouver.

The river no doubt was a fine one till the logging business was
established, and it is possible that late in the autumn fish may run up
to spawn--but during the entire month of August, I personally never saw
a salmon of any kind in the river itself.

Flowing out of the Campbell lake a few miles away, its course is very
rapid, and it falls into the sea about one and a half miles north of
the hotel.

The falls, impassable for fish, can be visited in a long day's walk
from the hotel. The distance is not great, but the impenetrable
character of the Vancouver forest makes the walk a very fatiguing one.
It is most regrettable that no track has been cleared along the banks,
to enable the water to be fished and to give access to the falls, which
I am told are very beautiful.

I endeavoured to reach them by the river, but spent most of the day up
to my waist in water, hauling my boat through the rapids, and then only
got half-way and saw no fish.

Below the falls, there is a fine deep pool in which Mr. Layard, who
described his trip in the _Field_, states he saw the great tyee salmon
"in droves." He does not say at what time of the year he visited the
falls or whether the logging camp then existed. It must have been late
in the season, for he describes the swarms of duck and wild geese, the
seals that were a perfect plague, the sea-lions that were seen several
times, and the bear, panther (cougar), deer and willow grouse in the
immediate vicinity of the hotel.

I can only give my personal experiences during the month of August.

Forgetting that the shooting season did not begin till September 1st,
I took with me 300 cartridges and never fired a shot, nor did I see
anything to shoot at. A few duck were occasionally seen flying down the
Straits between Vancouver and Valdez Island, but the seals, sea-lions
and other game described by Mr. Layard were conspicuous by their
absence in the month of August. No doubt later on, in September and
October, different conditions may prevail, but August is the month _par
excellence_ for the fisherman and he may leave his gun behind.

The tide runs up the river for about 800 yards from the mouth, where
there was some water free from logs and rafts. Some good sport with the
cut-throat trout was to be had, more especially at spring tides.

My best catch was fourteen weighing 16½ lb.

The water was intensely clear; careful wading, long casting and very
fine tackle were necessary to obtain any sport.

The cut-throat trout appeared to me to resemble the sea trout in its
habits, hanging about the mouth of the river and running up with the
tide, many falling back on the turn of the tide, but a certain number
running up and remaining in the upper reaches.

The largest I killed, 5 lb., was immediately in front of the hotel,
in the sea itself, one and a half miles from the river, and he took a
spoon intended for a tyee salmon.

They were most sporting fish and were excellent eating, differing in
this respect from the salmon. I only regretted I did not give more time
to them, but we all suffered from the same disease, that desire to get
the 70 lb. fish, or at least something bigger than any yet brought to
the gaff.

I started with the best intentions, and talked over with Mr. Williams
at Vancouver the possibility of inducing the tyee salmon to take
the fly, denouncing, as all true fishermen must do, the monotony of
trolling for big fish with a colossal spoon and a six-ounce lead, which
takes away half the pleasure of the sport.

All the same I found myself sacrificing my principles to the hope of
the monster fish which never came, but was always a possibility.

The Straits between Vancouver Island and Valdez Island are about two
miles broad, and through them runs a tide against which it is almost
impossible to row a boat.

The favourite fishing-ground was about 300 yards north and south of the
mouth of the river, and tides had to be seriously considered in getting
on to the water.

Another good spot neglected by most of us, except the Salt Lake City
angler, was just opposite the Indian Cemetery about a mile from the
hotel.

Here, in one morning, I killed three large fish on my way back to the
hotel from the more favourite ground which I had fished all the morning
in vain.

South of the hotel and down to the Cape Mudge Lighthouse, about four
miles away, a few tyee salmon were to be met with, but in the water all
along Valdez Island and near the lighthouse, the cohoe salmon were in
abundance, and it was the favourite spot for the Indian fishermen who
were fishing for the salmon cannery at Quatiaski.



THE FISH AT THE CAMPBELL RIVER



CHAPTER III

THE FISH AT THE CAMPBELL RIVER


Different names have been given by different sportsmen to the salmon
found on the Pacific Coast.

Sir R. Musgrave talks of spring salmon of 53 lb. and silver salmon of
16 and 8 lb.

I inquired carefully from the manager of the Cannery Factory
in Quatiaski Cove, and believe the following to be the correct
nomenclature.

The tyee or King salmon, running from 28 lb. to 60 and upwards.

The spring salmon, which appeared to me to be the young tyee, having
the same relation to the big tyee as the grilse has to the salmon, from
15 to 20 lb.

The cohoe, which run from 7 to 12 lb.; and lastly the blue back,
generally termed cohoe, averaging about 6 lb.

These latter most of us called cohoe, and were the fish being caught on
my arrival at the hotel.

The run of tyee had not regularly set in, though a few odd ones were
being caught.

Later on, when making a trip on the Cannery steamer which collects fish
daily from various stations up and down the coast, the manager of the
factory, who was on board, pointed out to me amongst the hundreds of
fish we collected, the difference between the blue back and the real
cohoe.

The former runs much earlier than the latter, and is seldom over 6 lb.
in weight; the latter were, he stated, just beginning to run--then the
middle of August--and the largest on board weighed 14 lb.

It was not, however, till my return from Vancouver that I came across
the volume on _Salmon and Trout_ of the American Sportsman's Library,
edited by Caspar Whitman, and there found recorded all that is known
about the salmon and trout of the Pacific Coast.

To begin with, the Pacific salmon does not belong to the genus "Salmo,"
but to the genus "Oncorhynchus," which, according to Messrs. C. H.
Townsend and H. W. Smith, the authors of the most interesting chapters
on the Pacific salmon in the above-mentioned book, is peculiar to the
Pacific Coast.

One peculiarity of the Pacific salmon seems to be that they invariably
die after spawning, and never return to the sea.

In the case of the humpback, I saw this for myself later on in the
season, when every stream was literally a mass of moving fish all
pushing up to the head-waters, and there dying in vast numbers.

The tyee salmon, "Oncorhynchus tschawytscha," has many names. It is
known to the Indians as "Chinook," "tyee" and "quinnat," to others as
the Columbia salmon, the Sacramento and King salmon.

It appears to range from Monterey Bay, California, as far north as
Alaska.

Messrs. Townsend and Smith state that in the Yukon and Norton Sounds it
attains a weight of 110 lb., and in the Columbia 80 lb.

The largest I saw caught at Campbell River weighed close on 70 lb. The
largest fish brought to the hotel by any of us was about 60 lb.

The blue back salmon, "Oncorhynchus Nerka," is stated by the same
authorities to run up to 15 lb., and the average to be under 5 lb.

This would appear from its description to correspond with the fish
pointed out to me by the Cannery manager as blue back--though I cannot
quite reconcile its other names: red fish, red salmon, Fraser River
salmon and Sockeye--for the fishermen at Campbell River spoke of the
Sockeye as quite a different fish, running at a different season of the
year.

No doubt, however, the scientists are right. I only wish I had known
of this valuable book before instead of after my visit.

Another of the "Oncorhynchi" is the humpback, "Oncorhynchus Gorbuscha,"
averaging about 5 lb.

I only saw one caught on the rod at Campbell River.

At the mouth of the Oyster River, some miles south, I saw them one
evening in incredible numbers, and though right in the middle of
immense shoals, I could not get them to look at fly or spoon. A few
yards up the river they were said sometimes to take the fly.

The silver salmon, "Oncorhynchus Kisutch," known also as "Kisutch,"
"Skowitz," Hoopid and lastly Cohoe, is stated to attain a weight of 30
lb.--the average weight being about 8 lb. As stated before, the largest
I saw was 14 lb. and the largest I caught 12 lb.

The above being the fish I met with at Campbell River, I need not
enter into the other varieties. One interesting fact mentioned in the
book to which I am indebted for all the above information is that the
steel-head salmon is one of the "Salmonidæ." "Salmo Gairdnerii" differs
from all other Pacific salmon, in that it alone returns to the sea
after spawning, thus following the habits of the true "Salmonidæ."

The only trout I came across at Campbell River or throughout my trip
was that known as the cut-throat, so called from the red slash on the
throat.

On turning to Mr. Wilson's article on "The Trout of America," I was
surprised to find that there were thirteen varieties of this fish, but
so far as I could identify those I caught, they must come under the
heading of "Salmo Clarkii," the cut-throat or Columbia River trout.

After many inquiries and after having visited the aquarium at New York,
I was led to believe that my fish was the "Salmo Clarkii Pleuriticus,"
but as those I caught had no lateral red band they must have been the
"Salmo Clarkii."

The largest I caught weighed 5 lb., and, as I have mentioned before, it
was caught in the sea on a large spoon one and a half miles from the
river, when trolling for tyee.

The number of fish which frequent the Campbell River waters is almost
incredible. When it is realized that between one and two thousand
salmon of the various kinds are collected daily by the Cannery launch,
and that all these have been caught with rod and hand-line--the great
majority with hand-line--some idea may be formed of their numbers.

No one fishing at the Campbell River should miss the trip, which
through the courtesy of the manager at Quatiaski Cove is always
possible, of going with the Cannery steam-launch on its daily round
collecting fish at the various stations, north and south.

Starting from Quatiaski early in the morning, the run is down to Cape
Mudge, where perhaps thirty or forty boats, mostly Indian, have been
working their hand-lines the evening before. From Cape Mudge up to the
Seymour Narrows, about seven miles, many calls are made.

Picturesque Indian camps are numerous all along the shore, and at each
of these a stop is made. The canoes come crowding alongside, and the
fish are checked as they are thrown into the deep well in the centre of
the launch.

Each Indian has a book in which is entered to his credit the number of
his fish, and the launch passes on to the next collecting station, to
which single canoes from all sides are gathering. On the return the
boats of the successful hotel fishermen stop the launch and hand over
their catch, for the fish caught are the perquisites of the men who row
the boats.

On the day I made the trip we collected about 1,500 salmon.

The business of the Cannery must be a profitable one. So far as I could
gather there were but two prices: 50 cents for a tyee, no matter what
his weight was, and 10 cents for each smaller fish.

Associated with the Cannery is a general store kept by the Cannery
owners, and payment is partly made in goods, so the Cannery has the
double profit, first on the fish and then on the goods bartered in
exchange.



SPORT AT CAMPBELL RIVER



[Illustration: THE INDIAN CEMETERY, CAMPBELL RIVER]

[Illustration: A MORNING'S CATCH. 10 lb., 46 lb., 47 lb., 58 lb.
[_To face page 41._]



CHAPTER IV

SPORT AT CAMPBELL RIVER


July 30th I looked forward to as a red-letter day in my life, for was
I not to have my first chance for that 70 lb. fish, about which I had
dreamt for so many years?

The early morning (we were all up at 6 a.m.) was spent in getting my
tackle ship-shape, and, most important of all, in engaging the services
of a good boatman--for on his strength and willingness to "buck the
tide," as they happily term rowing against the strong tidal currents,
depends largely the chance of success.

The man I selected was a fine boatman. Keen on getting fish--jealous of
all others of his craft, and with a capacity for bucking about himself,
and what he had done and could do, which I have seldom seen equalled.

His command of strong and even highly flavoured language was
remarkable, but a little of it went a long way. When I asked his name,
he replied, "Every one calls me Billy." No one on the West coast seems
to have a surname, so "Billy" he was to me for all my fishing days.

Billy was, I should say, about twenty-three years of age, slightly
built, but extraordinarily strong with an oar. His temper was not of
the best, and when I lost a fish he always considered that I was to
blame, and resented the unfortunate fact as if it were a personal
insult to his own powers as a boatman.

I don't believe he ever thought of the Cannery or of the sum which
under happier auspices would have stood to his credit. His pay was
three dollars a day (12_s._) plus the value of the fish. His appetite
corresponded with his pay, which was large.

He was willing to row all day long with suitable intervals for his
meals--but any attempt to keep him on the water at meal-time was
somewhat sulkily resented.

We fished together for some thirty days, more or less harmoniously,
and there was only one great explosion which threatened to sever our
connection.

Through his gross stupidity my boat, which was being towed behind the
Cannery launch, was upset, and I had the pleasure of seeing all my
fishing-tackle, fly-books, the companions of years--all my pet flies,
spoons, spring balance--sunk in sixty feet of water--£20 worth of
tackle gone in a moment.

Fortunately I had taken my rod and camera on board the launch, or
they, too, would have been lost.

It was _infra dig._ that he should express any regret, and very
unreasonable from his point of view that I should show any annoyance,
which I did in what I considered very moderate terms, considering the
provocation.

On landing, he suggested that I did not seem satisfied with him, which
was quite true, and that "Joe," a hated rival, was disengaged and
available.

I very nearly took him at his word and "fired him out"--but we made it
up somehow, and he remained my boatman, though I never quite forgave
the loss of so much valuable tackle.

Fortunately I had only a few more fishing days left and had some spare
tackle to replace what was gone.

Our opening day was simply glorious, a bright sun and a crispness in
the air which made one feel that it was good to be alive.

The scenery was exquisite. The sea calm as a mill-pond, only broken by
the oily swirls of the rushing tide, and then there was the possibility
of that long-hoped-for big fish, who did not come that day, though
every pull from a cohoe might have been him.

Billy was positively polite, as it was his first day. Why many of
these West coast men should imagine that politeness means servility,
while roughness and rudeness only show equality and independence of
character, I never could understand.

It was not long before I was in a fish, but as he was only a 5½ lb.
cohoe, he was hauled in with scant ceremony and was soon in the net.

As I shall have something to say about tackle later on, I would only
now mention that I was fishing with a fourteen-foot Deeside spinning
rod, made by Blacklaw of Kincardine.

I had a large Nottingham reel with 200 yards of tarpon line, purchased
in England, not, alas! in New York; a heavy gut trace with large brass
swivels which would have frightened any but a Vancouver salmon; a 4
oz. lead, I afterwards came to a 6 oz., and one of Farlow's spoons
specially made for the tastes of Vancouver salmon.

My bag that day, fishing morning and evening, was only six cohoe,
weighing 3O½ lb. and one cod about 5 lb. I never had a pull from a tyee.

The row home that evening compensated for everything. The sun was
setting behind the snow-covered peaks of the Vancouver Mountains, bare
and cold below the snow-line, but gradually clothed with foliage
down the slopes till the dense pine forest of the plain between the
mountains and the sea was reached, from which the evening mists were
beginning to rise. In the foreground, the sea, like molten glass,
reflected the exquisite colouring of the northern sunset, its surface
broken by the eddies of the making tide, or the occasional splash of
a leaping salmon. Across the Straits on the Mainland, the tops of the
great mountains clothed with eternal snow were lit up a rose-pink by
the rays of the setting sun.

I have seldom seen a more beautiful scene, or one which gave such a
deep sense of peace. There was a grandeur and immensity about it which
satisfied one's very soul, it amply justified the realization of the
call of the wild which had brought me so many thousand miles to those
distant shores.

The morning of the 31st found me late in starting, as I had to
interview Cecil Smith, who was to be my guide, companion and friend on
my hunting trip in September.

On that morning, I got only two cohoes of 5½ and 4½ lb., one spring
salmon of 9 lb., and as there was evidently no take on, I went up the
river for a short time. I saw no salmon, but landed three cut-throat
trout weighing 3½ lb., one a good fish of 2 lb.

On the way home to luncheon I killed a 20 lb. fish--a small tyee, and
going out for half-an-hour in the evening after dinner lost a heavy
fish.

Bad luck as regards the big fish still pursued me. It was true the big
run of tyee had not yet begun, but a few were being taken from day to
day.

On the morning of August 1st I hooked a heavy fish, but in his second
big race, the line slipped over the drum of the Nottingham reel and the
inevitable break came.

My catch that day was only three cohoes and three cut-throat trout.

A very high north wind blowing against the tide raised a heavy swell,
and fishing was impossible in the afternoon.

August 2nd, I fished all the morning without getting a pull, so decided
to try to go up the river to the falls, which attempt, as previously
described, was not a success.

Returning to the sea in the afternoon I found Griswold with three fine
fish, of 59, 45 and 40 lb. I landed a small tyee of 30½ lb. and four
cohoe weighing 20 lb.

On August 3rd, I got my first good fish of 53 lb. and another of 42
lb. The tide was running strong and the 53 lb. fish took out about 120
yards of line, but eventually I got him in hand, when he made two wild
runs--threw himself clean out of the water each time and then went to
the bottom like a stone and sulked.

It took me just under an hour to kill that fish, and I found that he
was foul hooked on the side of the head.

The 42 lb. fish was a lively one and tired himself out by repeated
runs--he never got to the bottom and in about fifteen minutes he came
to the gaff.

In addition to the two tyee, I had seven cohoe weighing 46½ lb., so
luck was beginning to turn.

August 4th was a great day. Four tyee, 45, 44½, 42½ and 35 lb.; one
cohoe, 6 lb.; one cut-throat trout, 5 lb., a picture of a fish; one sea
trout, 2 lb., and one cod, 5 lb.; all before two o'clock.

There was a big take in the evening, and I missed it by getting out too
late.

Griswold had five tyee, the largest 47 lb.; I came in for the tail end
of the take and only picked up eight cohoe, weighing 43½ lb., and one
spring salmon, 13 lb. Total weight for the day: 240½ lb.

August 5th. I had two tyee, 45 and 37 lb., and sixteen cohoe averaging
about 6 lb., and so on day after day, with varying luck and always
hoping for that 70 lb. fish which never came.

On August 10th, I got my second biggest fish. The spring tides were
racing up and down the Straits and it was impossible to hold a boat,
much less row it against the tide.

By this time from a study of the bottom, at low water, I had a fair
idea of how the fish ran up and down with the tide. I accordingly
anchored my boat off a point I knew the fish were bound to pass. The
anchor was fixed on to a log of wood to which the boat was moored by
a running knot. It was Billy's duty to cast off the moment I was in a
fish.

The greatest race of the tide was at about half flood, and the current
was so strong that the heavy spoon and 6 oz. lead were swept away
like a cork. Letting out about thirty yards of line and giving Billy
the rod to hold, I began casting with the fly, using a fourteen-foot
Castleconnell rod, fine tackle and a two-inch silver doctor. I soon had
a sea trout, 2½ lb., and two cohoe, besides many rises, and grand sport
these fish gave in the racing tide on a light rod.

I had just killed my last fish when the scream of the reel on the rod
which Billy was holding told me we were in a big fish. Taking the rod
from Billy, I told him to cast off. The fish was racing up with the
tide some 150 yards away, but the rope was fouled, or Billy bungled,
and the result was a smash.

Hardly had I got out another spoon when I was in another fish. I was
evidently lying in their track. This time we got away, and how that
fish raced! Before I knew where I was we were up about a mile, being
literally towed by him on the flowing tide before I could get him in
hand. I eventually killed him, almost opposite the hotel, one and a
half miles from where I had hooked him: weight, 59 lb.

In the evening I got two tyee of 47 and 46 lb. The big fish's
measurements were: length, 47½ inches; greatest girth, 31½ inches, and
girth round the anal fin, 22 inches.

The well-known formula for estimating the weight of a fish from
measurement is as follows--

  girth^2 × length = weight.
  ________________
  800

Applying this formula, the weight worked out just 59 lb., which the
scales corroborated. The weighing machine, an old rusty steelyard, set
up on the beach in front of the hotel, left a good deal to be desired;
but I had a spring balance weighing up to 60 lb., which I tested at the
local store and found to be quite accurate.

On August 24th heavy clouds were piling up, and a break in the glorious
weather we had enjoyed from the beginning of August seemed imminent.

On August 26th, my last day at the hotel, I started to fish in a heavy
gale from the south-east, the worst wind one could have in these waters.

Though leaving that night and having all my packing to do, I determined
to have one last try for the big fish which had so far evaded me.

There was a heavy sea on and it was almost impossible to hold the boat,
but Billy was on his mettle for the last day's fishing and really did
wonders.

On the way down to the mouth of the river, I got a 10 lb. cohoe, and
on arriving at the best ground I put on a big brass spoon, which Mr.
Daggett had kindly lent me, about twice as long as the Farlow spoon. I
was letting out the spoon when I got a tremendous pull and a very short
run, which apparently took the fish to the bottom or into some kelp.
There he remained and simply sulked without taking out a yard of line.

The rod was bent double and I put on all the strain possible, but it
was a full three-quarters of an hour before I could see my lead coming
up to the surface, and my arms and back were aching. How the rod did
not break I cannot understand, for the fish came up gradually from
straight under the boat; but at last I had the gaff in the biggest but
least sporting fish I had killed during the month. He weighed 59½ lb.
at the hotel, having lost a good deal of blood, and must have been over
60 lb. when he came out of the water. The brass spoon was either bitten
or broken in half.

[Illustration: TWO GOOD FISH. 53 lb., 42 lb.]

[Illustration: A 60 lb. FISH
[_To face page 50._]

Having killed forty-one tyee, fished steadily for a month, and seen
most of the fish that were caught, I do not think many fish over 60 lb.
are killed. One fish caught by a hand-line and small spoon by a young
settler named Pidcock, I weighed, and he must have been close on 70 lb.
My spring balance went down with a rush to its limit of 60 lb., and I
heard afterwards that when weighed at the Cannery it scaled 68 lb., so
when fresh must have been close on 70 lb. This was the biggest fish I
saw on the coast.

Farther north there are other fishing grounds well worth a visit, where
the fish are said to run up to 100 lb.--such are the Kitimaat River and
McCallister's Bay at the entrance to Gardner Canal, about four hundred
miles north of Campbell River.

A steamer runs direct to Kitimaat and Hartley Bay once a month.
Accommodation can be had at Kitimaat, but a camp is necessary at
McCallister's Bay. Fish run as early as May. Campbell River is getting
too well known, and there are too many boats on the water.

The following amusing description of an evening's fishing is from the
clever pen of J. G. Millais, and was published in _Country Life_. I
venture to reproduce it--

    "Amidst gorgeous sunset hues we went to fish the usual beat
    opposite the Indian village on August 11th. The sun had already
    set, when of a sudden a suppressed excitement ran through the
    boats. A fresh run of tyee were in and had begun to take. Three or
    four Indians were 'fast' at once, and yells for help came down the
    line. In a moment, while close to the beacon stake at the mouth of
    the river, Mr. Powell, Sir John Rogers and I were 'into' fish at
    the same moment.

    "Then the circus began. 'Look out there; don't you see I'm fast?'
    'Confound you; get up your line, or I'll be over you.' 'Gangway,
    gangway,' 'Where the devil are you coming to!' 'Mind your oars,'
    'He's off to the tide. Hurry' (Mac or Bill, as the case might
    be); 'row like blazes,' were a few of the cries that broke from
    excited anglers, while even phlegmatic Indians grinned or yelled
    'tyee, tyee' in sympathetic encouragement. We all cleared each
    other somehow. I do not quite know how. Sir John was whisked
    straight out to sea, and was a quarter of a mile off in no time.
    Mr. Powell broke, while my fish, to my horror, went straight for
    the beacon. I lugged at him to steer clear, and he took the hint
    so forcibly that he burnt my finger on the line with the rush he
    made for the deep water. It was like poor Dan Leno's hunting song,
    'Away, away and away. I don't know where we're going to, but away
    and away and away.' We could hear men laughing and joking in the
    darkness behind, and then in a moment we were out of it all in the
    silence of the boiling tide. Mac was a good boatman, and the way
    he followed that tyee in the eight-knot current did him credit.
    This was the strongest fish I have ever hooked. He seemed to do
    with us just what he chose, and we, like sheep, had to follow.
    If he had carried out his first laudable intention of a visit to
    Queen Charlotte Islands he might have defeated us, but seemingly he
    altered his plan and made a fierce hundred yards' run for the curl
    of the current at the mouth of the Campbell River. Here there were
    nasty lumps of floating kelp, and the two anglers fishing there
    received our return landwards with shouts of warning. In the gloom
    I could see by their attitudes that they were intensely interested
    in our welfare, for the next best thing to playing a fish
    yourself is to watch another at the game. Then began a series of
    'magnificent cruises.' It is part of the interest in salmon-fishing
    that the fish you have 'on' is infinitely larger than anything
    previously hooked. Generally it is a pleasant delusion; but
    sometimes it is true, and then the conflicting emotions of the play
    and the thrill of subsequent capture are something to live for.

    "My fish was, I knew, the biggest I had ever hooked, so one had to
    follow the same old ways of playing him, coupled with such extra
    force as that stout tackle warranted. After every great circuit
    of the boat I resorted to all sorts of devices for tiring my
    antagonist, but he refused to give in or to allow me to shorten the
    line. But my fish was as gallant a fighter as ever was hatched, and
    the better the fighter the quicker he kills himself. Half-an-hour
    has elapsed and I see the lead six feet up the line for the first
    time. Soon we shall see back and tail. Yes, there they are, and
    what a monster. He must be 60 lb. at least. At last he shows side,
    and that is the beginning of the end. Mac, an indifferent gaffer
    under the most favourable circumstances, now surpasses himself in
    the fields of incompetence. He makes one or two feeble shots, and
    then, getting the gaff well home, attempts to lift the fish as I
    throw my weight on to the reverse side of the light boat to prevent
    an upset. He heaves with both hands, and a great head appears,
    when crack goes the steel, and Mac sits down heavily in the boat,
    looking supremely foolish. I was not distressed, however, as that
    brief view of the fish's head had shown me the hook well placed;
    moreover, I knew that somewhere under the thwarts we possessed
    a goodly club. Mac, after a few moments' search, produced the
    truncheon, and, at the first attempt, stunned the salmon with a
    well-directed blow, and lifting it with his hand drew it into the
    boat. Ha! this is a fish indeed; one of the best of the season,
    we flatter ourselves, and 60 lb. for certain. But no; those cruel
    scales blast our hopes by 3 lb. Still, a fifty-seven-pounder is
    something to be proud of, and we rowed home that night at peace
    with the world. This, then, is Campbell River fishing for the
    great tyee salmon. If you wish to collect records you can do so by
    sitting all day in your boat for a month and using a tarpon-rod,
    which kills the biggest fish in two minutes, and a Vom Hofe reel,
    which carries a drag that would stop a buffalo."

If there are many Indians out the rod has not much chance, for their
canoes cross and recross in every direction, and as they fish with a
short hand-line, a long line let out from the rod is apt to get fouled.

Fortunately, their favourite ground is by Cape Mudge Lighthouse, where
the cohoe abound. I only tried this water once, and was so jostled by
Indian canoes that I determined to stick to the tyee and the mouth of
the Campbell River.

The large majority of the salmon were really sporting fish. The cohoe
had no chance with the strong tackle necessary for the tyee, but still
were wonderfully lively, and when caught with light tackle on the fly,
gave great sport.

In one respect they were all a hopeless failure--they were quite unfit
to eat. Why it should be so I cannot say. Perfect to look at, as good
as any Atlantic fish, the flesh was like cotton wool, dry and devoid
of all flavour. On the other hand, the cut-throat trout were excellent
eating.

During the entire month of August we had little or no rain. The climate
was absolutely ideal and the eye never tired of the exquisite scenery,
varying in colouring and effect every day.

The row of one and a half miles from the hotel to the best fishing
ground, if the tide was not favourable, was a drawback, and personally
I should prefer to pitch a camp on one of the many excellent sites at
the mouth of the Campbell River, so one would be independent of the
hotel hours and meals. When the tide is not favourable, a good plan is
to leave the boat at the mouth of the river and walk home along the
shore to the hotel for meals.

The fish generally took best at the turn of the tide, and about half
water. Many enthusiasts were out at 3 and 4 a.m. and in some cases
struck a good rise, but these early mornings without a cup of tea, I
fear, did not often appeal to me.

The following table shows my bag day by day--

  --------+-----------+--------+-----------+-----------+----------------
          |           | Spring |           |           |  Sea
  Date.   |  Tyee.    | Salmon.|  Cohoe.   |Cut-throat.|  Trout.
  --------+-----------+--------+-----------+-----------+----------------
          | No.  W.   | No.  W.| No. W.    | No.  W.   | No.  W.
  July  30| --  --    | --  -- |  6  30    | --  --    | --  --
    "   31|  1  20    |  1   9 |  2  10    |  3   2    | --  --
  Aug.  1 | --  --    | --  -- |  3  15    | --  --    | --  --
    "   2 |  1  31½   | --  -- |  4  20    |  3   2    | --  --
    "   3 |  2  53    | --  -- |  7  47½   | --  --    | --  --
          | --  42    | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --  --
    "   4 |  4  45    |  1  13 |  9  47½   |  1   5    |  1   2
          | --  44½   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --  --
          | --  42½   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --  --
          | --  35    | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --  --
    "   5 |  2  45    | --  -- | 16  98    | --  --    | --  --
          | --  37    | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --  --
    "   6 |  3  45    |  1  10 |  5  36    | --  --    | --  --
          | --  42½   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --  --
          | --  40    | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --  --
  Aug. 8  |  3   42   | --  -- |  1   6    | --  --    | --   --
          | --   41   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
          | --   32   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
   "   9  | --   --   |  1   8 |  4  24    | --  --    | --   --
   "  10  |  3   58   |  1  10 |  2   1    | --  --    |  1   2½
          | --   46   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
          | --   47   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
   "  11  |  2   47   | --  -- |  3  16    | --  --    | --   --
   "  12  |  1   45   |  3  34 |  2  10    | --  --    | --   --
   "  13  |  1   35   | --  -- |  4  20    | 14 16½    | --   --
   "  14  | --   --   |  1   9 |  1   6    | 12  8½    | --   --
   "  15  |  1   32   | --  -- |  1   7    |  1   1    | --   --
   "  16  |  2   37   | --  -- |  9  56    | --  --    | --   --
          | --   30   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
   "  17  |  2   46   | --  -- |  1   7    | --  --    | --   --
          | --   44   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
   "  18  |  3   49   |  2  21 |  4  25    | --  --    | --   --
          | --   48   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
          | --   40   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
   "  19  |  2   40   |  1  21 |  6  48    | --  --    | --   --
          | --   32   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
   "  20  | --   --   | --  -- |  4  24    | --  --    | --   --
   "  21  |  2   45   |  1   8 |  5  38    | --  --    | --   --
          | --   43   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
   "  22  |  2   45   | --  -- |  8  49    | --  --    | --   --
          | --   35   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
   "  23  |  2   56   | --  -- | 16  98    | --  --    | --   --
          | --   37   | --  -- | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
   "  24  |  1   26   | --  -- |  3  24    | --  --    | --   --
   "  25  | --   --   |  1  21 | --  --    | --  --    | --   --
   "  26  |  1   60   | --  -- |  1  10    | --  --    | --   --
  --------+-----------+--------+-----------+-----------+----------------
            41 1738   15 274    126 772      37  38       2   4½

So the last day had come and the fishing was to be a memory of
the past. Our pleasant party was broken up--Millais and his young
undergraduate friends, Powell and Stern, had gone north to Wrangel to
start on their hunting trip in Alaska; Griswold back to New York,
planning the construction of a special boat and the adding of the great
tuna to his many trophies of big sea fish. Daggett alone remained,
seated daily in the comfortable armchair he had rigged up in his boat,
still intent on that 70 lb. fish we had all hoped for, but failed to
secure.

The pleasant days of friendly intercourse had come to an end. No more
the quiet row home in the gloaming after a successful or moderately
successful day. No more the nightly gathering on the beach and the
weighing of the great fish. The weather itself looked despondent, and
was making up its mind to break. The certainty of the past was over,
the uncertainty of the future before me, and it was with a sad heart I
bade farewell to the Willows Hotel, and to the fishing days that were
now no more.

The depressing hour of 1 a.m. found me sitting on the end of the pier
waiting for the arrival of the _Queen City_, which was only an hour
late, and once more I was bound for the unknown.



FISHING-TACKLE



CHAPTER V

FISHING-TACKLE


As regards tackle, one rule only must be followed: everything must be
of the best, and the best is to be obtained either in England or New
York.

The choice of a rod is a difficult matter, and depends altogether on
the individual idea of what constitutes sport.

If by sport is meant the taking of the greatest number of fish in the
shortest possible time, in fact the making of a record--no rod is
necessary. Follow the Indian method of fishing with a strong hand-line
and no trace, the spoon being fastened on to the line direct. The
moment the fish is on, if a small one, he is hauled hand over hand up
to the canoe and jerked in--if a tyee, he is played by hand. I have
never seen one allowed to make a race, and when fairly done he is
hauled alongside the canoe, the line held short with the left hand,
while a sharp blow on the head is administered with a wooden club, and
he is then done for and lifted into the boat--no gaff being used.

It is astonishing how quick the Indians are in killing even a large
tyee by this method. The hand playing apparently takes all the life out
of the fish, and the strong tackle does the rest.

I have seen many white men follow this system--but they were all
fishing for business and the Cannery. Only one white man from the
hotel fished in this way, and I don't think any of us envied him his
so-called sport.

The take comes on quite unexpectedly--boats will be rowing backwards
and forwards without a pull. Suddenly the take comes on and nearly
every boat may be in a fish. He, therefore, who can kill his fish
quickest will make the biggest bag, if record breaking be his object.

I have seen one Indian canoe bring in over one hundred fish in a day's
fishing--but is this sport? I think all true fishermen will say it is
not.

After the hand-line comes the rod, and again, if the object be to catch
as many fish as possible while the take is on, a small tarpon rod with
a Vom Hofe multiplying reel and an 18-thread tarpon line, practically
unbreakable, may be used.

One American tarpon fisher, Mr. Griswold, a true sportsman too,
followed this method and naturally defended it. I do not in any way
criticize his methods, I only felt they did not appeal to me. It is
true I have seen him kill three fish while I was killing one, but I did
not feel at all envious.

Generous to a degree, he more than once offered to fit me out and
instruct me in the art of "pumping" fish, but though much tempted, I
did not fall. Had I succumbed, I much fear I should have become an
ardent advocate of tarpon methods applied to tyee salmon.

On the other hand, to fish for tyee with a highly finished 18-foot
split cane, or other make of rod, seemed to me out of place. There were
some who did it and gloried in the fact that they had caught a great
tyee on an ordinary home salmon rod.

It seemed to me a waste of good material, for the rod was likely to be
broken or permanently strained in the process of lifting a great fish
from the depths of the sea--for after one or two rushes taking out
100 to 150 yards of line, the tyee will often go straight down to the
bottom, stand on his head and sulk, and then you want that power to
bring him up which only a very stiff rod possesses.

One of our number who had killed many a salmon at home, fished with an
ordinary 18-foot rod. The fish seemed to do what it liked with him, and
it generally ended in the rod being lowered till the tip touched the
water, and the boat disappearing in tow of the fish, up or down the
Straits with the racing tide.

In fact the fish was being played on the line from the reel without
the power of a hand-line. To give him the butt would have inevitably
resulted in breaking the rod. Yet this good sportsman sometimes got his
fish and came back triumphant, having had him on for a couple of hours.

The local rods, whether those to be obtained in Vancouver or at the
store on the pier at Campbell River, seemed to me most inferior in
quality and workmanship, and the same applies to all other tackle,
except possibly the leads, which are too heavy to carry about and which
can be purchased locally.

As stated before, I used a three-piece Deeside spinning rod, twelve
feet long, built by Blacklaw of Kincardine--but I must confess that
twice my tip was broken by the strain of the weight of a big fish which
had to be brought up to the gaff from the bottom of the sea.

Many a time was this little rod bent double, till I wondered how it
ever bore the strain. On it I had killed all my tyee and most of my
cohoe, but it suffered in the process, and the middle and top joints
had to be replaced on my return home. If I were going again, I should
feel inclined to take a 10-foot rod built on the same lines and of the
very best material and workmanship. Such a rod would give more power
and stiffness than the 12-foot rod.

Besides the 12-foot rod, I had a 14-foot three-piece Castleconnell
rod, an old friend. This I used for fishing for cohoe with the fly,
and grand sport they gave in the racing tide on a rod which played its
fish right down to the reel. An ordinary 12-foot trout rod for the
cut-throat trout completed my rod equipment.

_Reels and Lines._--I started with a large Nottingham reel, but soon
gave it up. It had the advantage, of course, of not rusting, but the
workmanship could not stand the rush of a heavy fish. I lost big fish
by the line slipping over the drum and jamming, though I had fixed up
the usual guard improvised out of the brass wire handle of a tin can
purchased locally. I then came to my largest bronze salmon reel, after
which I had no more trouble--though the salt water caused rusting of
the screws.

The reel should take 200 yards of tarpon line and be of the very
best and strongest make. The Vom Hofe multiplying reels are perfect
specimens of workmanship, and the attached leather drag worked by
pressure with the thumb is an excellent device. In fact, for the big
fish, from tyee to tarpon, I think the American tackle makers beat us
as regards reels and lines.

I purchased two tarpon lines in London; who the maker was I cannot say.
One did good service, the other seemed of inferior quality, for it
broke without any special reason.

I should recommend 200 yards of 18 or 21 Vom Hofe tarpon line, which
now can be purchased in England at Messrs. Farlow & Son's, or in New
York.

One great advantage of this line is that it need neither be washed in
fresh water after use in the sea nor dried. It can remain on the reel
wet without rotting.

_Gaff._--Farlow makes a specially strong gaff lashed into a long ash
or hazel handle. I found this quite satisfactory. On the other hand,
the American fishermen use quite a short gaff, but fishing with a six
or seven foot tarpon rod they can bring the fish much closer up to the
side of the boat.

A good strong landing net capable of taking a fish up of eight or ten
pounds is most useful, and saves gaffing the smaller salmon.

_Flies._--I started with the idea that the ordinary trout fly on No. 11
or 13 hook should be as good in Vancouver as it was in Scotland. I had
very soon to acknowledge my mistake--the trout preferred a small salmon
fly on No. 8 hook; silver grey, silver doctor, Wilkinson and Jock
Scott, I found the best patterns.

The cohoe took a 2-inch silver doctor and rose steadily to the fly.

_Spoons and Minnows._--Spoons can be obtained locally, either in
Vancouver or in the Campbell River Store, but I should recommend their
being purchased in England. The spoon specially made by Farlow is three
inches long, silver on both sides, with a hook attached to the end of
the spoon by a strong wire loop.

Local tastes varied, and in the local store there were many varieties
of spoons. One year dull lead spoons were supposed to be most
killing--another year it would be brass. Each fisherman had his special
fancy.

Mr. Griswold had a silver spoon invented by a friend of his, or
himself, for which a patent was about to be applied. He naturally,
therefore, did not wish to give away the secret. It certainly was a
most killing bait, and Mr. Griswold, between his special spoon and
his tarpon methods, killed more fish than any of us for the time he
remained at the Campbell River.

He most generously lent me one of his pet spoons on a day he was
hauling in fish and I was getting nothing. I was promptly in a big fish
which broke me, owing to the line jamming round the Nottingham reel,
and away went the patent spoon. I did not feel justified in examining
the spoon too closely or taking a drawing of it. It seemed longer than
the Farlow spoon. The hook was suspended by a chain and the bait seemed
to wobble rather than spin. The material was metal with bright silver
plating.

An ordinary large-sized silver Devon Minnow spun from the boat, or
at Cape Mudge from the shore, will take cohoe, and good sport can be
obtained in this way.

A Tacomah spoon is deadly for cut-throat trout, but I preferred the fly.

_Traces._--I took out some specially strong gut spinning traces made
by Farlow, but I do not think any traces are necessary. The line is
quite as invisible as the trace, and a few feet can be made into a
trace by fixing two or three swivels--bronze, if possible, instead of
bright brass--about two feet apart.

For fly fishing, good stout loch casting lines which will land a
five or seven pound fish are sufficient. Very fine trout casts are
unnecessary, except for trout in the river.

_Leads._--These can be purchased locally, and one is saved the trouble
of adding to the weight of baggage.

The method of fastening the lead on to the line all depends on whether
it is decided to lose the lead when the fish is hooked or to fix it
permanently on the line. A six-ounce lead when the fish is being played
takes away considerably from the pleasure, owing to the dead weight on
the rod. On the other hand, if it be decided to lose the lead each time
a fish is hooked, a couple of hundred leads may be required.

In the former case, two methods can be adopted: loop up the line about
twenty feet from the spoon with a piece of thread, on which is hung the
lead; when the strike comes the thread is broken and the lead slips
off--or, as described by Mr. Whitney: Tie two swivels on the line,
nine inches apart; a small ring is soldered to one end of the lead,
join the two swivels by a piece of weak cotton, thread the cotton
through the ring of the lead and shorten it to four inches, which loops
up the line, and when the strike comes the lead is released.

In the latter case, which I adopted, I found the simplest way was to
cut the line about ten feet from the spoon and fasten the lead by two
split rings and two swivels. Starting with a four-ounce lead I soon
came to a six ounce, which I believe to be the most suitable, certainly
in spring tides.

_Odds and Ends._--One must carry out all one's own repairs, therefore
an ample supply of repairing material and spare tackle must be taken.

Strong silk for splicing breakages, cobbler's wax, seccotine or liquid
glue, rod varnish, spare hooks, split rings, bronze single and double
swivels, fine copper wire, snake rod rings, and screws for reels.

A small portable case of tools, such as the "Bonsa," is invaluable, and
with this and a sharp clasp knife most current repairs can be made.

Two good spring balances are advisable, one weighing up to seventy or
eighty pounds, and one up to fifteen pounds. Both should be tested,
which avoids any dispute afterwards as to their accuracy.



TO ALERT BAY



CHAPTER VI

TO ALERT BAY


The morning of the 27th fulfilled the promise of the previous day. The
weather had at last broken, and it was in a dense wetting mist that
we crept north, bound for Alert Bay. We had no delay at the Seymour
Narrows, which can only be navigated at a certain state of the tide.
The whole force of the Pacific runs through these narrows--not more
than half-a-mile broad--and the eddies and whirlpools that are formed
are terrifying. There is one great rock in the middle of the passage--a
special source of danger.

I had visited these narrows in a steam launch from the hotel, and had
there seen the water at its worst--a wonderful sight; but the tide was
now suitable, and as the _Queen City_ passed through there was only a
strong current.

The best guides and hunters are always snapped up early in the season,
and before I left England, Mr. Bryan Williams had secured for me the
services of Cecil Smith--better known in the local sporting world as
"Cougar" Smith, from the number of cougars he had shot. As he lived
at Quatiaski Cove, immediately opposite the Willows Hotel, I had
frequently met him and discussed our plans together.

We had arranged to go from Alert Bay up the Nimquish River to the
Nimquish Lake, from which we were to strike in north-west to some
valleys in the interior where wapiti were reported as fairly plentiful.
Cecil Smith did not know the ground personally, but his brother
Eustace, who had been in that part of the country several times, was to
meet us at Alert Bay and act as head guide. Unfortunately for us, at
the last moment he was unable to come, and we had to find our way as
best we could in an unknown and unmapped country. I had to find a man
to replace Eustace Smith, and was fortunate in picking up Joe Thomson
at Campbell River, and two better men than Smith and Thomson I could
not have had.

Smith was to act as head hunter and guide and Thomson more particularly
look after the cooking and camp generally. Thomson came on board with
me and we picked up Smith at Quitiaski Cove at about 4 a.m.

Two other members of the party were even of more interest to me than
the men. They were "Dick" and "Nigger," the latter generally known as
"Satan." "Dick," who belonged to Smith, was a most adorable dog and
celebrated throughout Vancouver for treeing cougars; indeed, as Smith
himself acknowledged, he owed his reputation as a cougar hunter to
Dick, who did everything except the actual shooting. It was difficult
to say what Dick's breed was. He looked like a cross between a spaniel
and a retriever. He was one of the most fascinating dog characters I
have ever met. He adored his master, who returned his worship, but
ingratiated himself with every one; soon discovering that I had a warm
corner in my heart for all dogs, we at once became fast friends.

"Nigger," the property of Thomson, was a powerful, black, evil-looking
bull terrier, but like many of his kind his character belied his looks,
for he really was a soft-hearted, affectionate beast with a special
ability for making himself comfortable under any circumstances. Thomson
asserted that if there was no food, "Nigger" subsisted on berries, and
he was an adept at catching fish for himself in the river. He had had
some trouble with the authorities at Comox in a matter of sheep, and so
a temporary absence from his native town was desirable, and he became,
to his great joy, one of our party.

At 2 p.m. on the 27th we arrived at Alert Bay, which is situated on an
island opposite where the Nimquish River discharges itself into the
sea. Alert Bay is an important settlement of the Siwash Indians, and
the village possesses one of the most remarkable collections of Totem
Poles on the coast.

The question was, where to put up--hotels there were none. Mr.
Chambers, the local merchant, had in the most generous manner built
an annexe to his charming house, containing several bedrooms, but
they were all occupied. Fortunately, I had been introduced to Mr.
Halliday, the Alert Bay Indian Agent, at Campbell River, and he most
kindly offered me a shakedown on a sofa in his drawing-room, which I
gratefully accepted. I found Mr. Halliday was devoted to music, but
seldom could find an accompanist--while to accompany was a pleasure to
me, and we passed the evening going through many songs I had not heard
for years, which recalled the Old Country and days long gone by.

Eustace Smith met us here and gave a rough sketch map to his brother
Cecil, and indeed pointed out to us the peak on Vancouver Island under
which we were to camp, and which only looked about fifteen miles off as
the crow flies, and yet what difficulty we had afterwards to find our
way through the impenetrable forest!

[Illustration: "DICK"]

[Illustration: TOTEM POLES, ALERT BAY
[_To face page 80._]

The morning of the 28th was spent in sorting out the kit we could
take with us, which, as packing was our only means of transport, had
to be cut down to nothing. Mine consisted of two flannel shirts, one
change of underclothing, two pairs of socks, one sweater, one spare
pair of boots, a few handkerchiefs, sponge, soap and towel. One Hudson
Bay blanket, for it was not yet cold in the woods, and one waterproof
ground sheet in which the pack was made up, completed my outfit. The
men had a single fly to sleep under. My tent, which Mr. Williams had
kindly ordered for me in Vancouver, was of the lean-to pattern, made
with a flap which let down in front in bad weather, completely closing
the tent. Being made of so-called silk, it weighed only five pounds.
It measured 7 feet × 6 feet, was about 7 feet high in front and sloped
back to about 2 feet high behind. It was most comfortable so long as
one slept on the ground, but was not high enough behind to take even a
small camp bedstead. It was quite waterproof, but should a spark from
the fire fall on it, a hole was burnt rapidly. I understand that the
following renders the silk almost fire-proof--

Dissolve half-a-pound of powdered alum in a bucket of soft boiling
water. In another bucket half-a-pound sugar of lead; when dissolved
and clear, pour first the alum solution, then the sugar of lead, into
another vessel; after several hours pour off the water, letting any
thick sediment remain, and soak the tent, kneading it well: wring out
and hang up to dry.

Camp furniture I had none. A tin plate, knife, fork and spoon for each
man; a nest of cooking pots which Thomson provided, a small tin basin
in which we washed and which also served to mix our bread, and lastly
the invaluable portable tin baker which will roast or bake anything.
It was strange that the Hudson Bay Stores at Vancouver could not
provide light cooking utensils suitable for packing. They had excellent
blankets, waterproof sheets and the larger articles of camp equipment,
but light cooking utensils there were none. Mr. Williams took infinite
trouble to get a nest of cooking pots made for me, but on their arrival
at Campbell River they were found impossible owing to their weight, so
I made them a present to Smith.

We fitted out as regards provisions at Mr. Chambers' Store: the usual
articles of food--bacon, pork, beans, tea, sugar, flour, baking
powder, oatmeal, dried apples and peaches, a couple of tins of meat,
a couple of tins of jam--one of which only sufficed for a meal--some
butter as a great treat, and a few potatoes and onions on which I
insisted.

No liquor could be purchased in Alert Bay; the sale was prohibited
on account of the Indian Settlement. Fortunately, I had secured two
bottles of rum from the _Queen City_, or otherwise I should have fared
badly--as it was, I had to be content with about a dessertspoonful of
rum each night before turning in. It is said that the Indians will
do anything for liquor, and once they get hold of any, drink without
any self-restraint. At Campbell River I had more than once seen an
Indian lying on the side of the road hopelessly drunk and insensible.
It is therefore a wise provision that the sale of liquor should be
prohibited at Alert Bay. The settlement was full of Indians and their
squaws, and a very unattractive lot the squaws were. Once having seen
them, it was difficult to believe in the immorality with which they are
credited. These Siwashes seemed a degraded race, and one heard of men
who deliberately took their wives to logging camps to live on their
earnings.

The provisions we laid in were supposed to last three men for twenty
days, and I was assured we would be helped out with game, an occasional
deer, ruffled grouse and plenty of fish once we got into the forest.

A man cannot carry a pack weighing more than eighty pounds in the
country we had to traverse, and, having cut down everything to the
absolute necessaries of life, we still had to make double trips to get
our stuff into camp, wasting a day each time.

We got away in the afternoon and crossed the Straits to the mouth of
the Nimquish River in an Indian canoe. About a mile up the river was
the comfortable log house of B. Lansdown, a settler. We were lucky
enough to find him at home and he agreed to be the third man of our
party. At first the idea was that he should help to pack in about three
marches to where we proposed to make a permanent camp, and then return;
but subsequent events compelled us to keep him the whole time. He was a
fourth mouth to feed and at all times had a most excellent appetite.

Having arranged with two Siwash Indians to take us up to the lake,
a distance of about seven miles, the following morning, we accepted
Lansdown's invitation to put up at his house, where we were most
hospitably entertained.

After some food at 5 o'clock I had my first experience of a
Vancouver forest. A cougar had been killing cattle in the immediate
neighbourhood, and Smith's and Dick's services were requisitioned to
bring him to book.

Crossing the river, we were soon in the densest and most impenetrable
undergrowth I ever attempted to crawl through. We were shown the
spot where the last kill had taken place, and though we spent till
dusk scrambling over and under fallen trees and through a tangle of
undergrowth, unable to see five yards ahead, Dick could find no trace
of the cougar. It had been raining in the morning, so we were all
wet to the skin, as forcing our way through the undergrowth was like
taking a shower bath. Hunting the cougar is, in my opinion, unworthy
of the name of sport. Success depends on having a good dog to follow
up the cougar by scent and to drive him up a tree, when the hunter
comes up and pots him. Why such a powerful animal--for he is as big as
a panther--should be such a coward, I cannot understand. I never heard
while on the coast of a single case where the cougar attacked a man.
The dog he sometimes goes for, and Dick had been once severely mauled.

I confess my first attempt at hunting in the Vancouver forest was most
disappointing, as I had formed no idea of the nature of the forest we
were to hunt in. Several people at the Campbell River Hotel had asked
me if I knew what I was "up against" in deciding to try for a wapiti.
Some, including my men, took a brighter view, and assured me that the
dense undergrowth was only on the coast, and that as one got inland the
forest became more open. Had I known what I was really "up against,"
I think I would have turned back, for never have I endured greater
discomfort.



IN THE FOREST



CHAPTER VII

IN THE FOREST


The morning of the 29th was fine and the river was looking lovely in
the brilliant sunshine.

Just before the Indians with their canoes arrived, a doe deer came down
on to the shingle across the river. As we required meat, neither sex
nor season was taken into consideration. My rifle was not ready, so
Smith had a shot at about 120 yards and missed. I then had a try and
missed the deer, which stood without moving, but with a second shot I
brought her down. In a moment "Nigger" was into the river and across
worrying the carcass--what for I could not understand, for the poor
beast was stone dead. It was lucky we secured this meat, for it was the
last we saw for many days; but we afterwards regretted our generosity
in leaving half the carcass behind as a present to our host's family.

On the arrival of the big Siwash canoe, with two Indians to pole, we
loaded up our kit and at last were off on our trip. Smith went on
through the forest on the chance of seeing any game, when he was to
communicate with me. Lansdown and Thomson went up in Lansdown's canoe,
but spent most of their time in the water hauling it over the many
rapids. My Indians were splendid boatmen and poled up all but one of
the rapids. The river has a considerable fall from the lake, and heavy
rapids and miniature cataracts alternate with deep pools--an ideal
fishing water.

Without stopping to fish, I trailed a small Tacomah spoon behind the
canoe and got twelve cut-throat trout, weighing 9 lb., by the time we
entered the lake.

The scenery, as pure river scenery, was superb the whole way, the banks
being clothed with dense forest through which the river rushed and
tumbled on its short course to the sea. It reminded me very much of the
scenery on the Kippewa River in Eastern Canada. The river opened out as
we approached the lake, and the scenery as we entered the lake was, if
possible, more beautiful than that we had passed through.

To the south extended the Nimquish Lake as far as the eye could see.
The perennial snow of the Vancouver Mountains formed an impressive
background, while a dense forest clothed the sides of the steep hills,
which in some places fell almost perpendicularly down to the lake.
The evening was lovely, the lake without a ripple, mountain and forest
reflected as in a mirror. The whole scene gave a feeling of peace which
can only be found in communion with nature.

Camp and dinner took our thoughts away in a more practical direction,
and leaving Smith and Thomson to pitch camp, Lansdown and I started for
the lake end of the river to secure a few more trout for the pot.

There was the most extraordinary collection of driftwood on the
beach--colossal trees lying packed across one another, showing how
high the lake must rise when the torrents descend from the precipitous
mountains.

On our return, we found Smith and Thomson had pitched camp in the
forest near the lake, but the ground was sodden and covered with a
thick moss. No drier spot could be found, so we had to make the best of
it. The mosquitoes were troublesome till sunset, when they disappeared.
I had the same experience during the entire trip. Very often unbearable
the hour before sunset, they disappeared as night closed in, and I
never had occasion to use a mosquito curtain. The nights were cold,
which perhaps accounted for it.

I could not help contrasting the camp and its arrangements with my
camping experience in Eastern Canada, some seven years before. There
we had ideal camping grounds, on the bank of some river or lake, dry
sandy soil, a fairly open forest with undergrowth only in parts, and
lovely views from the tent door over rushing river or placid lake. I
had French Canadians for companions and guides and they have a perfect
genius for making comfortable and even luxurious camps; unlimited
supplies, for we travelled with two canoes, and most of our way was
over lakes or rivers with short portages; a comfortable tent, and if we
were to camp for two or three days, my men soon ran up a dining-table
and bench under a birch bark shelter. The table was always laid with a
clean napkin, and an excellent dinner of soup, fish, stuffed ruffled
grouse, deliciously cooked, was served. We had plenty of knives, forks,
plates and drinking cups--in fact, all the comfort which two canoes
allow.

Here, we had only once a decent camp, and that was on Lake Keogh. The
edges of the lake were generally swamps and piled up with driftwood.
Our camps had to be pitched in the forest, a short distance from the
shore of the lake, or on the bank of the river on the most level bit of
land we could find. The ground was always sodden, and a few branches of
damp hemlock with a waterproof sheet spread over them was my bed. We
each had a tin plate, cup, knife, fork and spoon. We all ate together,
sitting on the damp ground in front of the camp fire. Lastly, the
comforting tot of whisky at or after dinner had to be abandoned, for we
had only two bottles of rum in case of illness.

[Illustration: THE HEAD OF NIMQUISH LAKE]

[Illustration: DRIFTWOOD ON THE BEACH OF LAKE NIMQUISH, "DICK" IN THE
FOREGROUND
[_To face page 92._]

At the first camp we fared quite luxuriously, for we had the venison we
had brought along and the trout I had caught _en route_--but later on,
the daily fare of bacon and beans became, to say the least, monotonous.
In one thing we were lucky: Thomson baked the most delicious bread; so
we were certain of good bread and tea.

The morning of the 30th broke fine and we got away about 8.30 a.m., but
before long the rain came down and we plodded along through the forest
for some seven hours, during which we did not cover much more than
three miles.

The undergrowth was nearly everywhere dense, consisting of wine-berries
and that curse of the forest, the thorny devil-club. The trees rose
from one to two hundred feet in height over our heads. Windfalls of
timber were numerous, adding to the difficulty of the march.

Of animal life we could see nothing. Deer marks were plentiful, and in
the early morning before starting we heard the melancholy howling of
two wolves. Game might have been in abundance, but what was the good
when it was impossible to see more than a few yards ahead. I began to
have serious misgivings as to what stalking a wapiti would be like in
such a country. The wapiti country was, however, far away and we had
still to get there.

About 4 o'clock we pitched camp, if possible on a worse ground than
that of the day before.

Packs for two men had been left behind to be brought on next day, which
meant that I had to remain in camp on the 31st with nothing to do, for
there was neither game nor fish in the neighbourhood. Smith went on to
find the way for next day's march, and the other two men went back to
bring up the loads left behind. They turned up about 7 p.m. Smith got
back in the afternoon, having found Kitsewa River, which was to be our
objective the next day.

About 5 p.m. the rain came down in torrents and continued all night.
Fortunately my little tent was quite waterproof. One great advantage of
a camp in the forest is that there is no wind to drive the rain through
the tent. I doubt whether my tent would have kept out such rain if the
camp had been in the open.

September 1st. The rain stopped about 5 a.m. but the trees and
undergrowth were dripping and a bad wet march was before us.

Getting away about 8.30 a.m.--it was always difficult to get the men to
make an earlier start--we were soon wet to the skin. Smith, having got
the compass bearings of the river, tried to find a better route than
that he had taken the day before; but towards the end of the march we
hit on a very bad windfall on the slope of a steep hill. Giant trees
lay in a dense tangle, over, under and across which we had to make our
way. It was timber crawling at its worst, and the trunks of the trees
being covered with damp, slippery moss made the going really dangerous
at times. Unfortunately I was wearing a pair of strong shooting boots
with Scafe's patent rubber studs instead of nails. They had no hold on
the slippery trunks of the trees we had to cross; the result was a bad
fall and a sprained knee which caused me great pain and discomfort for
the rest of the trip. I shall never forget the end of that march, for
my knee kept giving way, and I stumbled and tumbled about till I was
covered with bruises.

We made the Kitsewa River after six hours' march, and as the rain
again set in, we camped at a disused trapper's hut on a high bank
overlooking the river. The river here was about thirty yards broad and
full of humpbacked salmon, but apparently no trout. We had seen many
tracks of deer, wolves and one cougar on the march, but the undergrowth
was so dense that shooting was impossible.

September 2nd. The men had again to go back to bring up the packs left
behind. These double journeys were most annoying, and yet I do not
see how they could have been avoided. We certainly only had the bare
necessaries of life--more packers would have meant more mouths to feed
and more provisions to carry--yet each double journey meant a lost day.

My knee was so swollen and painful I could not move from the tent, so
Smith decided to go on and hunt for the Keogh Lake--where his brother
Eustace had on a previous trip left the material for a rough raft;
where the Keogh Lake was, he was not quite certain, but it had to be
found.

Left alone in camp I could not help thinking what would have happened
had I broken my leg. Putting the question to the men they said, "Oh!
it would have been all right--we would have packed in food to you." In
fact I would have had to lie in my tent till I recovered or died, for
it is impossible to move a sick or injured man through the Vancouver
forest. With nothing to read and obliged to lie on my back, the day
was long in passing, and I find the following entry in my diary: "Knee
very painful, am quite unable to walk and miserable at the idea that
my entire trip may be spoiled and that I may have to turn back. Am
black and blue with bruises from the many falls I had yesterday after I
injured my knee."

Smith had succeeded in getting one willow grouse, shooting it with a
pistol, but he missed two others close to the camp. The men returned
about 4 o'clock, having made good time, as we had blazed our track of
yesterday. Smith got in about 7 p.m., utterly exhausted, and having
failed to find Lake Keogh.

Here was a man, certainly one of the best woodsmen in the island,
defeated by the difficulties of the Vancouver forest. It must be
remembered the northern portions of the Island are unsurveyed, so
marching was all compass work. There had probably been some slight
error in the bearings given him by his brother, but the fact remained,
that Keogh Lake had still to be hunted for.

Dick had found a cougar and Smith shot him--a fine specimen of a male.
Smith's appearance with the skin fastened over his shoulder was
certainly dramatic, rendered more so by his throwing himself on the
ground in a state of utter exhaustion. Here the rum came in useful, and
after a good tot and some food, he was quite himself again. I think he
felt bitterly that he had failed to find the lake, but he had done his
best, and no man can do more.

September 3rd. My knee was still painful and I was quite unfit to
march. It was useless to start without knowing where we were going, so
after consultation we decided that Smith and Thomson should go ahead
and try to find the lake. As it turned out Smith had gone too far east
the previous day.

Lansdown and "Nigger" remained in camp, but Dick, who must have been
pretty tired after yesterday's work, refused to leave his master.

Cutting a strong stick--my daily companion for the rest of the trip--I
hobbled down to the river to try and get some fish for ourselves and
the dogs.

There were shoals of humpbacked salmon in the pools, but they were
hideous to look at, as the spawning season was coming on. They would
not look at a fly or minnow, so I had resort to the worst form of
poaching: "sniggering." I soon had five on the bank and could as
easily have had fifty. To us the fish were quite uneatable, but the
dogs thoroughly enjoyed them. I could see no sign of trout of any size
or in any number. I only caught one tiny cut-throat. Dead humpbacks
were lying in all the pools, and along the banks of the river; there
were tracks of a big bear close to camp and many deer tracks, but the
dense undergrowth destroyed any chance of a shot.

Returning to camp about 6 p.m. I set out for a grassy hollow, fairly
open and close to the river where Lansdown said deer were certain to
come out to feed in the evening. I stood the mosquitoes for about five
minutes when I had to retire ignominiously, as they were simply in
clouds.

Night fell and there was no sign of Smith or Thomson. Fortunately the
weather had been quite perfect and a bivouac in the woods would be no
great hardship.

"Nigger" was a source of continual amusement to me that day. He was a
dog of great character and had become much attached to me. He liked the
camp fire and never was so happy as when sitting on his haunches as
close as he could get to it and blinking with intense joy. His master,
I fear, often drove him away, but he always crept back a few minutes
after. He loved, too, to crawl under the fly of my tent and curl up
for the night at the foot of my blanket.

I spent a portion of the day cleaning and skinning the paws of the
cougar, and as I finished each paw, threw it away some distance from
the camp. "Nigger" carefully watched my proceedings, and when he
thought I was not looking, slunk away and had soon retrieved each
paw, and carefully buried it for future use. Poor beast! I expect he
had experienced many a hungry day and instinct had taught him to make
provision for the future.

September 4th. Smith and Thomson had not returned, which meant another
wasted day. Here we were the sixth day out from the lake, but we
had only made two marches and were not yet in our hunting ground.
Eustace Smith had said it was only a two or three days' march at the
outside--but he probably travelled alone, very light, and knew his way.
The two men turned up about 3 p.m., pretty well tired out, as they had
been walking all the day before and from 6 o'clock in the morning. They
reported the country ahead very bad going, but they had found a river
which must have had its source in the Keogh Lake; the lake itself they
had not reached. I had caught about a dozen salmon parr, so had a poor
fry as an addition to the never varying menu of bacon and beans.

September 5th. We did not yet get away till 9.30, as the men were
tired after their two days' tramp. We followed the bed of the Kitsewa
River, crossing and recrossing the stream several times, which was very
tiring. Fortunately the water was only above our knees, but a slip with
his pack gave Lansdown a real ducking. Though the going was bad over
rough boulders, still it was a relief after the struggle through the
undergrowth of the forest. The packs were heavy, as we were now packing
everything, so our progress was somewhat slow. We had cachéd some
provisions in the trapper's hut and had got through six days' supplies,
still the packs were as heavy as the men could well manage and a rest
every fifteen minutes was necessary.

Leaving the river after about two miles, we again struck some bad
country, and at 4 p.m. arrived at the stream supposed to flow out of
Lake Keogh. The men were pretty well done from the extra heavy packs,
so a halt was decided on and we pitched camp as best as could on the
side of a precipitous hill. My knee was very painful; marching was
anything but a pleasure and I was glad of an early rest.

Smith went ahead and came back reporting the lake only half-a-mile
away, so it was a pity we had not gone on a little further. He had also
seen the track of a big bull wapiti and a fresh bear track, which news
cheered us all up.

September 6th. Starting early we were soon on the shore of the lake--a
lovely sheet of water about two miles long, surrounded by steep
forest-clad hills a few hundred feet high. The growth round the shore
was so thick, and the rocks in parts so precipitous, we decided it
would save time to build a raft to get to the end of the lake. We found
some logs with which Eustace Smith had made a raft and soon put them
together, and had a rough raft on which we paddled slowly to the north
end of the lake.

We pitched camp on the first decent camping ground we had found. The
men were in shelter under an enormous cedar-tree, of great age and
quite hollow in the middle. My tent was pitched on an open bit of
ground running out to the lake, over which I had a beautiful view.

Misfortune was still to pursue us--Smith had had a bad fall two days
before, but did not attach much importance to it. He now felt very ill
and complained of great pain and tenderness in his side. On examining
him, it appeared to me that one of his ribs was cracked if not broken.
He was not a very strong man physically, though as hard as nails. All
we could do was to foment his side with one of our flannel shirts and
let him lie in his blankets near the fire, which had been lit at the
base of the cedar-tree.

There were some open glades at the end of the lake and the country
looked more gamelike. I went out in the afternoon to have a look round.
The country was more open and I found a two-day-old track of a big
bull, so game was in the neighbourhood--there were also fresh bear
tracks and bear droppings close to camp.

I returned to try for a dish of trout while Thomson went out to lie in
wait for deer coming out to feed at sunset--a form of sport I did not
appreciate.

The question of food was now becoming serious, as the men had
calculated on plenty of deer and grouse, and we had had no fresh meat
since the deer I shot the day we started up the Nimquish River. Fishing
from the shore and from our raft I caught six cut-throat trout, the
largest about half-a-pound, with the fly. The lake was very deep and
peaty--no doubt there were bigger fish in it, but they would not rise
freely; it was late in the season and possibly my flies were not big
enough.

Thomson returned, having wounded a deer--I don't think he was a crack
shot, but like all the men I met on the coast, very fond of loosing
off. He also reported having met a bear which he missed clean, but
doubt was expressed in camp as to the bear.

September 7th. The rain was coming down in torrents and the camp
most uncomfortable, while to move on was impossible, as Smith was
feverish and in considerable pain, quite unfit to carry a pack. I had,
therefore, most reluctantly to decide to remain where we were.

Thomson took "Nigger" out to find the wounded deer and returned in the
evening successful. The deer was a young doe. There was great joy in
camp at the prospect of a meat meal at last, for we had had no fresh
meat since August 29th.

During the night we had an alarm. The men had pitched their fly under a
very old cedar-tree and the camp fire was lit against the tree, which
was hollow. About midnight there was a sound of an explosion and a roar
of flames. Jumping out of bed, a most extraordinary sight presented
itself; the entire tree was in flames from the base to the summit. The
fire had evidently crept up the hollow trunk till the whole tree was
ablaze.

Pulling down the fly, the men saved everything from being burnt, but
morning found the tree still a roaring pillar of fire.

In Eastern Canada in the fall of the year such an occurrence might have
set the whole country ablaze and resulted in one of those tracts of
burnt country called "brulés" so common through that country. While on
the Campbell River we heard of great forest fires taking place on the
Mainland, but in the north of Vancouver Island I saw no sign of a burnt
forest, for it was too saturated to burn.



IN THE WAPITI COUNTRY



CHAPTER VIII

IN THE WAPITI COUNTRY


September 8th. We got away in fine weather through the most open
country we had yet met. Our objective was a lake about three miles
away, for having found Keogh Lake, Eustace Smith's rough-sketch map now
came in useful.

The country looked more promising for game, for we came across many
well-beaten wapiti tracks and at least two fresh tracks of good bulls.

We got into camp fairly early and selected the most level piece of
ground to be found some twenty yards from the lake; the edge of the
lake itself was swampy.

The lake was about a mile long by a quarter of a mile broad. It was the
first of a chain of lakes connected by a narrow stream with a rough
rocky bed running to the west. The sides were clothed with dense forest
and the tops of the surrounding hills were even now covered with snow.

The view in the morning was most beautiful --the mist floating up
the forest-clad ravines to the distant hill-tops all reflected in the
glassy surface of the lake. At sunset it was equally lovely.

This lake we called No. 1, as we understood the chain consisted of
three lakes extending westward down the valley which was to be our
future hunting ground.

Smith suggested he should go out, look quietly round, examine the
country and search for fresh tracks, so that we could begin our regular
hunting the next day.

Being now in the game country I had given strict orders that no one was
to shoot at anything, but to come back and report what he had seen--I
was therefore somewhat astounded to hear a single shot at no great
distance as I was catching a dish of trout for dinner.

Smith soon came back looking very dejected. He said he had come on
fresh tracks of a good bull, and in following them up saw something
brown in the undergrowth which he thought was a small deer, and as we
wanted meat in camp he took a snapshot at it, and then found it was the
bull and he feared he had wounded it.

I had to accept this story, improbable as it was, for there was no
mistaking a great bull wapiti for a small deer.

[Illustration: THE VANCOUVER FOREST, SHOWING UNDERGROWTH THROUGH WHICH
WE HAD TO MAKE OUR WAY]

[Illustration: LAKE NO. 1
[_To face page 110._]

What was done was done, and there was no use making a fuss. If I were
making such a trip again, I would ask the men to leave their rifles
behind, for they cannot resist shooting at anything that comes their
way.

He had come back at once to tell me, and begged of me to go out with
him and take up the track, which was only about a mile away.

The rain was again falling and we had only a couple of hours of
daylight, but still I decided to see for myself the tracks and
ascertain, if possible, whether the bull had been wounded and where.
Taking Thomson with us, we started and were soon as usual wet through.

We found the spot where Smith had come on the bull and fired. There
were a few traces of blood, but they were all high up on the bushes,
and from the pace the wapiti was travelling, it was evident he was none
the worse for the light bullet of Smith's Winchester rifle.

We followed the track till dusk and had a weary tramp back to camp in
the dark.

I had again ricked my knee and was in considerable pain. Everything
seemed to have gone wrong, first my accident, then Smith's, and now a
wounded wapiti that we might never find.

The prospect of the morrow's work with a swollen and painful knee was
not very cheering, and I think we were all rather sad when we turned
in that night.

September 9th. It had rained all night and was still pelting when we
started. I had to walk with a stick and was unable to carry my own
rifle.

In a couple of hours we came to the spot where we had left the track
the previous evening.

Smith was a fine tracker, I have seldom seen a better.

The bull was going strong and well. We soon came to where he had
rested for the night, but there was no pool of blood, so the wound was
evidently not serious. In the early morning he had fed down the valley.
After about three hours' tracking we came on to the shore of another
lake (Lake No. 2), and thought the bull had taken to the water--to the
edge of which he had gone down through heavy swampy ground covered
with coarse grass. Taking a cast round, we found, however, that he had
turned right back and gone up the valley we had just come down, but on
the other side of the river connecting the two lakes.

Following up the track we suddenly heard a crash right ahead, but I
could see nothing. Smith dashed on and I heard a shout at the top of
his voice, "Come on, Sir John. Quick!" It was all very well "come on
quick," but with a bad knee, getting through a mass of fallen timber up
a fairly steep though fortunately short hill was no easy matter. How
I did it I cannot even now understand, but the pain in the knee was
forgotten, my stick thrown away, the rifle, which was of course loaded,
snatched out of Thomson's hand, and I found myself on the crest of
the hill looking down into a valley overgrown with dense salmon-berry
through which some great beast was crashing his way.

I am quite blind without a telescope sight and there was no time to
fix it. I could just make out the tips of the bull's horns moving
quickly through the undergrowth. I could only guess where the body was,
but fortunately the body of a wapiti is a pretty big mark. Taking a
snapshot as I would at a snipe I heard the welcome thud of the bullet.
The bull stood for a moment, which gave me time for a second shot, on
which I saw the great antlers sink out of sight in the undergrowth and
I knew that the trophy I had come so far to obtain was mine.

I confess to an anxious moment as to what the head would turn out to
be. The tracks were those of a big bull, but I had only seen the tips
of the horn; the spread looked good, but whether he was a six or a
sixteen points I could not say.

Going down to where he lay we found him stone dead, a good
thirteen-pointer, which the men naturally declared to be above the
average. Somehow, I was disappointed, as I expected a bigger head,
but after all getting him at all was a pure chance, and having now
experienced what hunting the wapiti in these dense forests meant, I
was, I think, on the whole very lucky. He looked an enormous beast as
he lay. What his weight was I could not guess, but he must have stood
about sixteen hands at the shoulder. It took the three of us all we
could do to turn him over to examine the wounds.

Both of my shots were fatal. We found that Smith's bullet had inflicted
a flesh wound high up in the rump, and would have done no harm.

Wet to the skin, but happy, I got under a giant cedar which gave
shelter from the heavy rain, and lighting a big fire, stripped to the
skin to dry my soaking clothes, while the men were removing the head
and getting some meat. We soon had wapiti steaks frizzling on the fire,
and a brew of hot tea made us all comfortable and happy.

The worst of the whole business was the waste of meat and the
impossibility of taking away the splendid skin. The head alone was one
man's load and to carry out a green skin was quite impossible.

Packing as much of the meat as we could carry, we made for the camp.

The creek flowing down the valley was coming down in heavy spate and we
had to cross and recross it many times--no easy matter--before we got
home.

September 10th. It was still raining. Smith was feeling pretty bad,
his side causing him much pain, and he was, I think, beginning to feel
anxious about himself. My knee was anything but comfortable. Neither
of us were up to another day in the forest, so I spent my day fishing
and caught about forty small cut-throat trout, the biggest about 3 oz.
I saw one fish about 2 lb. throw himself in the lake, but he would
not rise when I put a fly over him; it was possibly too late in the
season. This lake had practically never been fished, and I was much
disappointed to find that the sport was so poor.

Lansdown had gone back to bring up a small pack left at Keogh Lake. He
returned in the evening, reporting that he had come face to face with a
ten-pointer bull who simply looked at him and walked away.

Such is luck. Happily he had not a rifle, or most certainly he would
have loosed off.

September 11th. Our future plans had now to be discussed and decided on.

Instead of two or three days' march, we had owing to a chapter of
accidents taken ten days to get into the wapiti country. Provisions
were running short. Smith was practically _hors de combat_ and feeling
worse every day, and yet viewing the fact that we were now in the
wapiti country, and by spending another few days we might reasonably
expect to get another bull, I was extremely unwilling to turn back.

On the other hand, further exposure in the vile weather we were
experiencing might have resulted in Smith's serious illness. Not liking
to assume the responsibility, I left it to him. He reluctantly decided
for home. I feel sure he was even more disappointed than I was, for
he was a keen sportsman, but in his present condition he was quite
unfit to carry a pack, while serious illness might have resulted from
exposure to pouring rain. The decision was the only one that could be
come to, so there was no use in repining.

We accordingly sent Thomson and Lansdown back to Keogh Lake with the
wapiti head and one pack. Smith and I started out on our last chance
of finding another wapiti.

It was for a wonder a lovely morning, and I felt bitterly the hard luck
which had pursued us all the way, and which now compelled us to turn
back just as we had reached a game country. We went up a fine valley
running from the east of the lake--the most open forest we had yet
come to. It was timbered with magnificent spruce-trees, some of which
I should say were at least 180 feet in height. There was but little
undergrowth, it was the first ideal hunting ground we had struck. We
worked all the morning without finding anything but two-day-old tracks.
After lunch we suddenly came on quite fresh tracks of a good bull,
possibly the one Lansdown had seen the day before.

Taking up the tracks, we followed steadily on and must have come close
enough to disturb him, though we neither heard nor saw anything. We
came, however, on the spot where he had been lying down and had jumped
up and gone off at a gallop.

We tracked that bull till dusk and never came up with him. Fortunately
he took us down the valley to the lake where we were camped, and we got
home at nightfall.



OUT OF THE FOREST



[Illustration: PACKING OUT
[_To face page 121._]



CHAPTER IX

OUT OF THE FOREST


September 12th was a lovely crisp morning with a touch of frost in the
air. The lake was looking perfect as we turned our backs on it, leaving
the game country and all the chances of another wapiti behind. It was
hard luck and I think we were all more or less depressed.

We made a good march down the Spruce valley till we struck Keogh Lake
in the early afternoon. This was the route by which we should have come
in, as it was fairly open, more so than any other portion of the forest
we had gone through. The timber was very fine. A small creek ran down
the valley, and along it there were many beaver dams.

Beavers are still protected by law throughout the island. We saw a
large one swimming across Keogh Lake when in camp on our way in, and at
night more than once heard the curious noise the beaver makes striking
the water with his tail as he dives when frightened. Needless to say,
regardless of all game laws, the men had several shots at the beaver
without doing him any harm.

Arriving at our old camp at Keogh Lake we found the cedar still
smouldering. Having made a new raft we reached camp at the south end of
the lake, just as the sky clouded up, evidently preparing for another
downpour.

The shores of the Lake were swampy and it was with difficulty we found
a place to camp. It rained that night as if it had never rained before.

Lansdown now jacked up and I find the following note in my diary:--

"Smith still ill and Lansdown now sick and very sorry for
himself--query, too much wapiti meat--we are a sorry crew, but my knee
is free from pain for the first time since the accident occurred."

In all the discomforts I was to be "up against," none of my friends had
mentioned the possibility of bad weather in September.

August at the Campbell River had been simply an ideal climate, but from
August 30th to September 26th, it had rained fifteen days out of the
twenty-eight, and by rain I don't mean showers, which were common and
did not count, but a steady downpour which lasted all day, and made
marching through the undergrowth, alike on fine or wet days, like
going under a continual shower bath.

September 13th. It was still raining heavily and the men were not very
keen on starting. Carrying a pack in wet weather is hard work and apt
to chafe the back. On the other hand, I had no prospect of more sport
and did not care to pay my men 13½ dollars a day that they should rest
in camp till the weather cleared. I determined, therefore, to move on,
but it was noon before I could get a move on the men, and it required
some determination to effect this. It was certainly a miserable march,
steady rain the whole time. About 3 o'clock the men gave up and said
they could pack no further in such weather.

We had struck the Kitsewa, which was rushing down in heavy flood, so
camped on its bank.

Thomson was now feeling seedy, and every one was out of sorts and a bit
out of temper at the vile weather.

September 14th. The river was down about a foot but still very full.
After crossing and recrossing it about ten times and getting wet
through, we arrived at our old camp at the trapper's hut about 1
p.m.; a short but fatiguing march owing to the state of the river. We
had intended pushing on further after our midday meal, but once more
torrential rains had set in and we decided to remain where we were for
the day.

The river was now simply alive with humpbacked salmon and dozens
were lying dead on the banks. Bear marks were numerous, but the
dense undergrowth rendered any chance of seeing one remote. "Nigger"
was revelling in his pursuit of fish and repeatedly dashed into the
shallows which were boiling with salmon struggling up stream, bringing
out a fish each time, one must have been about six pounds. On the
march "Dick" had come on the fresh track of two wolves and promptly
started after them. He gave us some anxiety for the half-hour he was
away, for with all his pluck, he would have had a poor chance if he had
come up with them. I suppose it was the deserted hut which recalled to
Lansdown's mind a grim tale of a trapper's fate.

The man had started out from civilization on his usual winter
expedition. Spring came and he failed to return, but this did not cause
any anxiety as trappers lead a nomadic life, and it was thought he
might have pushed further than he intended or found some specially good
hunting ground. Two years passed and his existence had been practically
forgotten, when a party cruising the woods for timber came on a log hut
in a lonely part of the forest. Inside they found a man's skeleton
lying on the little shelf which constituted the bed. By the side was a
rifle and the bony hand still grasped a twig attached to the trigger, a
shattered skull told the rest of the tale.

On a bench beside the bed were the tin plates, a cup and the mouldy
remains of what once had been food.

What a tragedy! One could picture illness coming on and the struggle
against it. Too weak to pack out, he eventually had to take to bed--at
first possibly able to get up and cook a little food while provisions
lasted--then his strength gradually declined, the lonely nights
thinking of the inevitable end, and then the final decision possibly
hastened by hearing the howling of wolves round the log cabin.

After all, his best friend was his rifle and that was close to hand.
Who can blame him for the decision he had the courage to carry out?

Lansdown was one of the men sent out to bury the remains.

September 15th. The morning was fine and we got away about 8.30.
Thomson announced that the provisions had practically run out--no more
flour or sugar and we were two days from the lake. We had actually
left some flour and other provisions behind in order to lighten the
packs.

Improvidence seems to characterize these men of the west. So long as
provisions are plentiful there is no thought of the future.

Three spoonfuls of sugar will be put in a cup of tea and a two-pound
tin of jam will disappear at a meal--treated as if it were stewed
fruit, but the future is forgotten.

To-day the poor dogs had no food at all. We ourselves did not fare
brilliantly, but a short march on the morrow should bring us to the
Nimquish Lake. We might indeed with an effort have made it in the day.

September 16th. A two hours' march took us to the lake and our last
meal was taken on its shores. It was neither luxurious nor plentiful--a
few crusts of yesterday's bread fried in some bacon fat which remained
on the pan, and a cup of weak tea, for tea too had run out.

I hunted for and found a portion of the skin of the deer I had shot on
the first day in and which I had thrown into the lake.

"Dick" and "Nigger" devoured it ravenously. Poor doggies, they had been
two days without a meal. More faithful or longsuffering companions a
man never had. They seemed to understand we could not give them what we
had not, and while they looked at us eating with anxious eyes, when no
scraps were thrown they resigned themselves to hunger and curled up to
sleep.

[Illustration: THE WAPITI. 13 POINTS]

[Illustration: THE SHORE OF LAKE NIMQUISH
[_To face page 126._]

I reserve for ever a warm corner in my heart for "Dick" and "Nigger."

How "Dick" found his way in the forest was always a mystery to me. Of
the keenest sporting instinct, he considered it his duty to pursue any
track he came across. Wolf, bear or deer were all the same to him.
I fear even a wapiti would not have been sacred, but in the wapiti
country, we always tied him up in camp.

Over and over again he went away giving tongue loudly till distance
drowned his barks. He had no idea in what direction we were marching.
Sometimes he would be away for an hour and we began to fear something
had happened to him but he invariably turned up wagging his tail,
having found our tracks and followed them. I have seldom met a more
intelligent dog.

Coming out of the dense forest and suddenly striking the open lake
bathed in brilliant sunshine, the effect was dazzling and our eyes were
almost blinded. Fortunately we saw a Siwash canoe across the lake, and
were lucky enough to find that Mr. Dickenson, one of the Directors of a
timber company, was up on a tour of inspection.

He most kindly offered to take me down the river in his canoe, and we
decided to fish a little on the way down. In the first pool where the
river left the lake I got a couple of nice cut-throat trout, one about
2 lb., on the fly.

The pool was simply alive with cohoe salmon, which could be seen on all
sides swimming about in the clear water. Mr. Dickenson trolling with a
spoon was soon in a nice fish of about 7 lb., which gave really good
sport on a light trout rod before it was landed.

Shooting the rapids in great form we were very soon opposite Lansdown's
house, where I landed.

And so ended my hunting trip in the Vancouver forests.

I cannot say much in its favour. It was timber crawling pure and
simple from beginning to end--no real stalking, only a snapshot which
fortunately got me my wapiti. The weather had been all against us--the
camping grounds, with the exception of that on Keogh Lake, most
uncomfortable. Food was indifferent owing to difficulty of finding any
game; deer there were in numbers, judging by the tracks, but one seldom
saw them. There were ruffled grouse, but Smith was not very successful
with his pistol, and we only got two or three the whole trip.

With the fishing I was very much disappointed. The trout in the lakes
in the interior were tiny things, hardly worth catching or eating.

So long as one has to pack, I do not see how a really comfortable trip
can be made. Discomfort to a certain extent I don't mind, but we had
a little too much of it. I had added one more experience to a life
of varied sport, but I mentally resolved that I never again would be
tempted to hunt the wapiti in the Vancouver forest, or indeed, to go
on any hunting trip which depended on packing for transport. Who knows
whether I shall keep that resolve?

That night we put up at Lansdown's, and never in the best restaurants
of Paris or London have I enjoyed a meal more than that which Mrs.
Lansdown with true hospitality placed before us, abundance of
food--mutton, potatoes, and other fresh vegetables, eggs, milk and
cream. I fear we all ate far too much.



AFTER GOAT ON THE MAINLAND



CHAPTER X

AFTER GOAT ON THE MAINLAND


Having still a few days to spare, I decided to try for a Rocky Mountain
goat on the Mainland.

Lansdown had lived for some years at the head of Kingcome Inlet, one of
the great inlets running in to the Mainland, just behind the island on
which the town of Alert Bay is situated.

He stated that goats were plentiful but that one would have to climb
up to the tops of the mountains at this season of the year. He also
pretended to an intimate knowledge of every turn and bend of the
inlet, and the best campgrounds. I accordingly engaged him and his
sixteen-feet rowing and sailing boat for the trip.

September 17th. We started early for Alert Bay and were fortunate
in getting a tow across from the timber company's steam launch, and
arrived at Alert Bay in the early forenoon. We laid in ample supplies
of provisions at Mr. Chambers' store and with some difficulty I got
the men to start at 3 p.m.

My two bottles of rum had long since been exhausted though only taken
in homoeopathic doses. The difficulty was to get more. No spirits were
allowed to be sold in Alert Bay, a passing steamer was the only chance,
and fortunately one was due before we started.

My friend Mr. Halliday saved the situation. He as a magistrate gave me
a certificate that the rum was required on medical grounds, without
which the Captain of the steamer would have refused to part with any.
I was the envy of the entire Indian population as I left the steamer's
side with a bottle of rum sticking out of each of my coat pockets.

It was a lovely evening and though Mr. Chambers had offered us a tow
with his steam launch, which runs to the head of the inlet once a
fortnight, if we would wait two days, I preferred to get away rather
than kick my heels about Alert Bay.

Rowing up to the mouth of the inlet with a flowing tide we made about
seven miles, and camped at 6 o'clock on a rocky islet where we found
an ideal camping ground, near which some Siwash Indians had settled
for the summer fishing. The scenery was superb. A background of the
snow-covered mountains of the Mainland, in the middle distance many
islands clad with wood down to the foreshore, a sea like glass in which
mountains, islands and forests were reflected and the surface only
broken by the eddies of the flowing tide. The sunset was glorious and
the colouring indescribable.

That evening, we saw a remarkable sight. Pilot whales in schools were
common at the Campbell River, but here came a great whale all alone
ploughing his way up the inlet and coming up every few minutes to
blow--once he threw his entire body many feet out of the water and came
down with a crash which echoed through the surrounding islands.

September 18th. After a hearty breakfast we got away about 9 a.m., but
by 12.45 the appetites of the men called for a halt. Noon never passed
without a spell for food being proposed.

Trolling with a spoon and a hand line, for I had left my rod at Alert
Bay, I got a nice cohoe of about ten pounds, and strange to say quite
good eating.

At 4 o'clock a halt for the night was suggested, but I would not have
it, and as Lansdown said there was a good camping ground some four
miles away, we pushed on.

The sides of the inlet were so steep that it was only in certain places
that ground where a tent could be pitched was to be found.

Lansdown had lived twelve years on the inlet, but his bump of locality
was sadly deficient, for it took us three and a half hours to cover
that four miles which must have been nearer nine, and I had to take the
oar for the last two hours.

At last we reached the cove with a shelving sandy beach, but it was
pitch dark and the rain was coming down, so I fear I was rather short
with poor Lansdown, who had kept promising the camping ground a few
yards round every point we passed.

September 19th. The camping ground as seen in the daylight was an ideal
one. There was no undergrowth, and a grassy glade in the shelter of
the great trees was a perfect site for the tents. A head wind had got
up and the rain was still pouring down, so the prospects were not very
encouraging, but still by tacking and rowing we made about seven miles
when we were picked up by Mr. Chambers' launch and taken on to the
head of the inlet where the Kingcome River falls into the sea. The
scenery all up the inlet was very fine. The hills got more and more
perpendicular as the head of the inlet was approached, and were clothed
with dense forest down to the water's edge. Down the ravines from the
hill-tops 3,000 feet high poured great waterfalls, and rain-clouds
and mist swept over the tops of the hills, giving from time to time a
glimpse of distant snow-covered peaks some 6,000 feet high.

The evening was fine and by 6 o'clock we were anchored in the river
opposite a few settlers' houses.

We found Lansdown's old house, somewhat dilapidated but habitable.
There was abundance of sweet hay and it was a luxury to spread my
blanket on a hay-strewn dry wooden floor with a rainproof roof over my
head.

Most of the settlers, including Lansdown's strapping brother, came
round to have a chat and to hear the news from the outside world. They
seem to have a fairly easy time chiefly raising cattle, for the delta
formed by the washed-down detritus from the hills was a rich white soil
on which a fine crop of grass was raised. There were a good number of
wild duck about, and the settlers were a sporting lot, so they amused
themselves with the evening flighting and with occasional trips up
Mount Kingcome, which overshadowed the valley, after goat, deer and
bear.

September 20th. It was a fine morning and the snow-covered peaks of
Mount Kingcome about 6,000 feet above us, where we hoped to find our
goats, were glistening in the morning sun.

Smith was _hors de combat_--I had offered to send him home from Alert
Bay, but he said he was quite fit to go on. I think he was a bit
nervous when he saw the climb before him, for carrying a pack up the
steep mountain was no joke.

I was fortunate enough to secure the services of Harry Kirby, one of
the settlers who knew the country well and he was willing to take
Smith's place; a better man after goat I could not wish to have. He was
very deaf and somewhat outspoken. Looking me over he said, "You are
too stout for goat," which I rather felt to be true, though the trip
after wapiti had fined me down considerably. I was, however, in hard
condition by this time, and half-way up when we stopped for a midday
meal, he quietly remarked, "I think after all you will do," and so my
character as a prospective goat-hunter was restored.

[Illustration: MORNING MISTS ON MOUNT KINGCOME
[_To face page 138._]

Quite a good track was blazed and cleared for about half-way up the
hill, and the path though very steep was not bad, only hard on the men
carrying the packs, so spells for rest were fairly frequent. The last
half where the track had not been cleared was real bad going. A great
torrent swept down the bottom of the steep ravine we were ascending,
and it had to be crossed many times, which meant a wetting.

The undergrowth was a dense tangle, fallen trees blocked the path and
never had we met the accursed devil-club in such abundance.

All things must come to an end, and by 5 o'clock we were clear of the
forest and entered a fairly open valley, shut in on all sides by steep
cliffs. At the end of the valley rose the snow-covered summit of Mount
Kingcome about three miles away.

We had been marching since 9.30 and had ascended about 4,000 feet. We
pitched camp in the last clump of wood in the valley, and on the side
of the hill.

Though the forest ceased, there were dense masses of impenetrable
cover, consisting of salmon-berry, wine-berry and devil-club, for about
a mile up the valley, after which the ground was quite open.

Large patches of snow were lying on the bare hills just above the
cover--and while selecting our camping ground, I suddenly saw a black
object moving across a snow patch about half-a-mile across the valley.

Leaving Kirby and Lansdown to pitch the camp I took Thomson with me,
and getting within about 500 yards of the snow patch, saw what looked
like a small bear, but as Thomson said, "I never saw a bear with a long
tail." The animal was moving quickly over the snow and getting closer
every minute to a patch of dense cover. No doubt it was a wolverine. I
had a long shot at about 400 yards and knocked up the snow under his
belly. In a moment he was in the cover and we never saw him again.

Further up towards the head of the valley we saw a bear moving across a
patch of snow, but he, too, disappeared in the cover. Evening was now
closing in, so we turned towards camp. About a mile away, just opposite
the camp and on some almost precipitous rocks a goat suddenly came into
view round a corner of the rock. He must have been lying down all the
time out of sight, and it was bad luck not having seen him before, for
though to climb the face of the cliff was impossible, we might have got
a long shot from below; as it was, by the time we had got up to the
foot of the cliff, it was too dark to shoot, so we decide to leave him
till next day.

[Illustration: CAMP ON MOUNT KINGCOME.
[_To face page 140._]

[Illustration: A ROCKY MOUNTAIN GOAT]

[Illustration: THE GOAT COUNTRY
[_To face page 141._]

At last I had reached a game country, having seen a wolverine, a bear
and goat in one afternoon.

September 21st. It had rained all night but cleared up in the morning.
Before I had turned out, Kirby reported the wolverine crossing the same
patch of snow opposite the camp about half-a-mile away. Slipping on a
pair of boots, I rushed out in my sleeping clothes. Getting the glass
on to the beast, I found that this time it was a bear making tracks for
the valley we had come up, and no doubt after the salmon which were
rotting in thousands on the bank of the river below.

He was into the cover before anything could be done in the way of a
stalk, and did not appear again.

Examining the ground, I found the valley extended up to the base
of Mount Kingcome for about one and a half miles. The sides were
precipitous cliffs quite impossible to climb. The slope up to their
base was clothed with dense undergrowth, while a creek fed by the
melting snow and the rain from the surrounding hills was tumbling
noisily down below our camp.

The head of the valley narrowed rapidly until completely shut in by the
mountains, the tops of which were covered with snow. Large patches of
snow lay in the hollows of the hills all round, never melting even in
the summer months.

The air was cold, but bracing, just the day for a stalk. Spying the
valley carefully, I soon found a goat high up on the cliff to the
right. I think it must have been our friend of last evening, who had
fed along the side of the hill to his present position up in the
valley. The ground did not look impossible, but Kirby pronounced
against it as too dangerous.

Higher up on a hill-top at the far end and just on the edge of the
snow, I picked up with the glass two more goats and we decided to go
for them. It was easy going to the foot of the hill where the valley
ended, but a really stiff climb of about one and a half hours to get up
to the patch of snow close to which we had seen them, above the line of
cover; the hill-side was covered with a sort of heather growing between
the rocks and it was very slippery going.

As we arrived at the spot and were looking everywhere for the goats, I
saw two goats, a nanny and a kid, moving away about 400 yards off and
climbing steadily up the face of the cliff. We both thought they were
the two we were after, who had seen us or got our wind.

We were now 6,000 feet up and it was quite cold enough without a
blizzard which suddenly set in with a bitter wind, which drove the snow
and sleet almost through one.

We were huddled under a sloping rock, trying to get a little shelter,
when it struck me to send Kirby up and see if by any chance the goats
were still where we had seen them first, as possibly the two we saw
moving away were another lot. It was lucky I did so, for he was back in
a few minutes with the good news that our goats were feeding quietly in
a hollow behind a ridge not a hundred yards above us.

I never was so cold in my life, but leaving Kirby behind, I crawled
up to the top of the ridge, and looking over saw to my delight a good
billy and two nannies feeding a hundred yards away.

Getting into position for a careful shot, I proceeded to remove the
caps of my telescope sight, which I had kept on up to the last moment
on account of the rain and the snow.

At the critical moment the front cap jammed, and with my half-frozen
hands it took me a couple of minutes, which seemed hours, to get it
off. Peering over I saw the goats moving off, they may have got our
wind, for heavy gales were eddying round the top of the hill.

The two nannies fortunately went first, the billy was moving on pretty
quickly behind. I had just time to get a shot, another moment and he
would have disappeared behind some rocks, and I heard the welcome thud
of the bullet; he stood for a moment, and as the extraordinary vitality
of the mountain goat had been impressed on me by Kirby, I gave him a
second shot, and he came rolling down the hill like a rabbit, stone
dead.

Had it not been for the jamming of the cap I would certainly have got
one of the nannies as well. He was a fine beast, much heavier and
bigger than I had expected.

The snow was still falling and we were both shivering with cold. While
still undecided what to do a momentary break showed us two more goats,
one a fine billy right across the valley and a little higher up, and as
the day was young we decided to have a try for them. Climbing about 500
feet up, we arrived practically at the summit and were spying as to the
best way to try a stalk, for the valley was now disturbed and the goats
were on the alert and looking about in every direction.

Unfortunately, the snow set in worse than ever and blotted out any
view of the hill. To attempt a stalk on such dangerous ground would
have been madness, so we turned back and went down to where we had left
the dead goat. The cold was now so intense we could not remain to skin
the goat, so made straight for camp. The going on the way down was as
bad as it could be. The newly-fallen snow lying on the heather had made
it very slippery and almost dangerous. I had many a slip but generally
landed sitting down, and arrived at the foot of the hill bruised but
thankful, for after all I had got my goat. This was real sport: to find
your game, mark him down and then an honest stalk, ending in a kill;
but it was stiff work and a little too much for a man of my age.

We had come down about 2,000 feet, and the snow had turned into
rain, which felt quite warm and comforting after the blizzard on the
hill-top. Kirby was so cold, he asked leave to go ahead, and I soon saw
him running down the valley and skipping like a goat from rock to rock.
Taking it easier, I got to camp about 5 o'clock, fairly tired out.

September 22nd. It rained and snowed all night, and for the first time
the little tent was not waterproof. The weather cleared about 8 a.m.,
and the morning sun broke through the rain clouds and mists which were
sweeping away from the hill-tops; the effect was most beautiful.

The hills where we had been stalking yesterday were entirely covered
with snow, and patches were lying far down in the valley. I sent Kirby
and Lansdown up to skin the goat and bring in the head and skin, while
I made preparations for striking the camp and going down the mountain
on their return.

They returned about noon, and we were just preparing to start when I
saw a bear--probably the same one we had seen before, moving rapidly
up the valley at the foot of the cliff and across one of the numerous
patches of snow. Seizing the rifle I dashed down, followed by Thomson,
to try and get a shot. I left my coat, in which I always carried spare
cartridges, behind.

By the time I had crossed the creek, the bear was well ahead and looked
about 300 yards away. Putting up the 300 yards sight, I knelt down,
rather breathless and shaky from my run, and fired. The bullet knocked
up the snow in a good line but short. This started him off at a run
and he was getting farther and farther away as I fired two more shots,
which also struck low. My last chance was another shot before he
reached the thick cover, and, aiming right over his back, I hit him,
where I could not say. He must have been 400 yards away when I fired.
On being hit, he stumbled forward and turned right down hill into some
dense undergrowth which extended right down to the creek.

Having only one cartridge left, I sent Thomson back to camp for
cartridges, and sat down behind the rock from which I had fired to
await events. My impression was that he was badly hit and that we would
have to follow him up in the cover. To my surprise, I suddenly saw him
come out of the cover and come down to the creek. He was not more than
150 yards away and passing between a lot of big boulders, and it looked
as if he were heading up the valley.

Thinking it was my last chance, I fired and saw the bullet hit a rock
just over his back. To my horror, I then realized I had left the
telescope sight screwed up to 300 yards. Worse luck was to follow, for
the shot turned him and he came down the creek towards me, very slowly
and looking very sick. There was I without a cartridge and a wounded
bear apparently walking on top of me. I lay quite quietly behind my
rock, and had the pleasure of seeing him come within thirty yards, when
he turned slowly and, crossing the creek, entered the dense undergrowth
on the other side just as Thomson came up with the cartridges. It was
as bad a moment as I have ever experienced in my sporting life. At
first we could trace his movements by the shaking of the bushes, and at
one time, this ceasing, he apparently lay down.

I knew it was hopeless following him in such undergrowth, for not only
was there the danger of being charged, but if even I could have made my
way through the tangle, it would have been impossible to put the rifle
to my shoulder. Thomson would not give him up, but begged I would lend
him my rifle and he would follow him up.

I returned to camp utterly disgusted, and in about one hour Thomson
returned, saying he had crawled through the cover, found lots of blood,
saw the bear once in the distance, but could not get a shot. The worst
of it was, it was now too late to start, and to make matters more
depressing, rain and sleet fell all the afternoon and night.

September 23rd. The rain had now turned to snow, which was lying as low
down as the level of the camp. Everything was sodden, and a wet march
was before us.

We got away by 9 o'clock, and had a hard march as the creek was now a
roaring torrent, which we had to cross and recross several times. Going
on the rough boulders, over and round which the flood was pouring, was
as bad as it well could be, and we were all wet through by the time
we reached the cleared track. Our last view of the valley, before we
entered the forest, was superb. The rain had cleared away, a bright sun
was breaking through the heavy clouds, which were being swept away from
the summits of the snow-clad hills and from the slopes of the valley,
now dazzling white in the morning sun, while looking back through the
forest we were just entering the trees stood out in black silhouette
against a background of snow. It was with deep regret I turned my back
on the Goat Valley, where I had seen more game in two days than in all
the rest of my trip.

By 3 o'clock we reached the Kingcome River, but it was too late to make
a start that night.

September 24th. We got away at 8.15. The morning was fine, and the
inlet and snow-covered peaks behind looked very beautiful. The current
always runs down this inlet irrespective of the tide, though it is, of
course, stronger with the ebb. We made only one halt for lunch, and
by 7.15 p.m. reached Quiesden--a deserted Indian village thirty miles
from the head of the inlet; not a bad performance, as we had to row the
whole way.

Here we found an empty mission house, and Lansdown somewhat
burglariously effected an entrance through a window and opened the
door from inside. We soon had a fire going in the dilapidated stove,
and settled down comfortably for the night on the bare boards. They
were at least dry and we had a roof over our heads. The walls of
the sitting-room were mostly decorated with texts, but a coloured
illustration representing a young naval officer making violent love to
an extremely pretty girl showed that even missionaries have a human
side to their nature.

The village was entirely deserted, all the inhabitants being away
fishing. There were some fine totem poles, and the woods all round
were the cemetery of the neighbourhood--the bodies of many departed
Siwashes, packed in boxes or bundles, being slung up in the forks of
the trees--the Siwash method of burial.

September 25th. Leaving Quiesden at 8.15, we had a fine sailing breeze
which before night had increased to half a gale, and on arrival
at Alert Bay, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Chambers most
hospitably put me up till my old friend the _Queen City_, due at 1
a.m., should arrive.

September 26th. The _Queen City_ did not arrive till noon, and bidding
good-bye to my kind friends at Alert Bay and to Lansdown, who was
returning to his farm on the Nimquish, we were soon on our way to
Vancouver.

Accounts had to be made up and good-bye said to Smith and Thomson and
my dear friends "Dick" and "Nigger," for they were all to be landed at
some unearthly hour in the morning at Quatiaski Cove. All the roughing
was over, and the comforts of civilization were before me, yet it was
with sincere regret that I saw the last of my friends and companions.
The discomforts were forgotten, the sodden forest, the rain, the
indifferent food, and the poor sport, but the impressive scenery of
the vast Vancouver forest, the still lakes and rushing creeks, and
the beauty of the Kingcome inlet, with its setting of snow-covered
mountains, will remain indelibly impressed on my memory, and as the
prospect of future trips becomes more remote, the recollections of
those days will always be with me. The call of the wild may be as
strong as ever, but the capacity to respond to it must diminish as
years roll on. The man who has not a love for the solitudes of nature
and the simple life in camp, misses experiences which to me at least
have been amongst the keenest enjoyments of my life.

September 27th. We arrived at Vancouver about 5 p.m. That day I saw
Mr. Williams, just returned from inspection and sport in the Kootenay
district. He reported game plentiful and brought back two fine sheep
heads which he had secured after hard work and stiff climbing.

I left Vancouver on the 29th and, changing trains at Winnipeg, arrived
at Toronto on October 3rd--four hours late from Winnipeg.

Leaving Toronto the next morning, I spent that evening and the
following day at Niagara Falls, arriving in New York in the early
morning of the 6th. Through the kindness of Mr. Griswold, I had been
made an honorary member of the Knickerbocker and Union Clubs. More
luxurious and better-managed clubs could not be found in any capital of
Europe.

At 10 a.m. I was once more steaming out of New York on the _Blücher_,
one of the slower steamers of the Hamburg-Amerika Line, and after a
most comfortable voyage, with charming fellow-passengers, I disembarked
at Southampton on the 17th--just three months and seven days from
leaving England.



NEWFOUNDLAND, 1910



TO NEWFOUNDLAND



[Illustration: NEWFOUNDLAND]

[Illustration: SKETCH-MAP OF NEWFOUNDLAND
[_To face page 159._]

[Illustration: NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
[_To face page 159._]



CHAPTER I

TO NEWFOUNDLAND


Notwithstanding my resolve that the Vancouver trip should be my last
one, the call of the wild was once more too strong, and the summer of
1910 found me planning an expedition to Newfoundland.

I think J. G. Millais' charming book _Newfoundland and its Untrodden
Ways_, as well as the description he personally gave me of the country,
were largely responsible for my decision.

I sailed from Southampton on August 5th by the _Cincinnati_, of the
Hamburg-Amerika Line, bound for St. John's, Newfoundland, via New York.

The ship was crowded and the voyage as monotonous as all Atlantic
voyages are, while being a slow boat we only arrived at New York on
the morning of the 14th. The heat of New York was intense, and I was
not sorry to leave it at midnight for Boston, and straight on via St.
John's, New Brunswick, to Sydney, where I took the _Bruce_, which runs
between Sydney and Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, a distance of a
hundred miles.

I would recommend any one who is taking this route, and is not a total
abstainer, to provide himself with a bottle of whisky, for Maine,
through which a good portion of the journey lies, is a teetotal state,
and even on board the _Bruce_ not a drop of any form of liquor, even
beer, was allowed to be served until the steamer was under way.

Getting away at eleven o'clock, and after a rather rough passage, for
the _Bruce_ is only about 800 tons, we arrived at Port aux Basques at 7
a.m. on the 17th.

It was a lovely morning, and the rocky shores of Newfoundland looked
particularly wild and attractive in the bright sunshine. Port aux
Basques is a small settlement, and so far as I could ascertain does
not contain an hotel, but no doubt some form of lodging-house exists,
where, as throughout the island, the visitor would be given a warm
welcome and whatever was going, be it little or much.

The train was waiting for the steamer. The line is a narrow-gauge one,
but the cars were quite comfortable, and the prospect of seeing a new
country is always attractive. But how we did bump over that line;
whether it was the fault of the laying of the permanent way or the
driving I cannot say, but in a long experience of railway travelling
I never have been so jolted, the driver seeming to take a special
pleasure in pulling up with a jerk sufficient to knock over any one
standing up, and then to start, if possible, in a rougher manner.
However, no one seemed to mind, and after all passengers should be
grateful for having a line at all. My mouth watered at accounts I
heard of sea trout fishing, about three hours by launch from Port aux
Basques. I was told that a few days previously three rods got 110 sea
trout, averaging three pounds, in the Garia River, in a few hours.

Getting away at 8.15 we passed all along the west coast, through a most
beautiful country, teeming with salmon rivers, most of them I fear much
over-fished, for the west coast rivers are the favourite haunts of the
American angler, being easily reached from New York and Boston.

Thompson's Hotel, prettily situated on the Little Codroy River, looked
particularly attractive, and two American anglers got off there. I was
told there was a late run of big fish in August, an exception, for as a
rule all the Newfoundland rivers are early ones.

At Crabbes a local guide, on the look-out for a job, deeply deplored
the fact that Crabbes should be neglected for the better-known Little
and Big Codroy Rivers. He assured me there were two rivers, the one ten
minutes, the other about two minutes, from the station, "crawling" of
course with fish, and that a thirty-five pound salmon had been caught
by a local angler a few days before. No doubt he was crying up his own
wares. There was neither hotel nor boarding-house at Crabbes--camping
out was necessary, but the country is a lovely one, and what could be
more enjoyable than a comfortable camp on the banks of the river if
only the fish were there and the water in fishing trim. Black flies and
mosquitoes must not, however, be lightly put aside, for they are the
curse of the island in the summer months.

As we slowly bumped our way north, the scenery became more and more
beautiful, until it culminated in the views as the train skirted
the Humber River, then along Deer Lake, gradually rising towards
the barrens of the centre of the island. All along the sides of the
railway the ground was carpeted with wild flowers, a perfect blaze of
colour. Nightfall found us at the north end of the Grand Lake, where is
situated "The Bungalow," a sporting hotel recently established, which
from the train looked most comfortable.

The food in the dining-car was quite good, but by no means cheap. Why
one should pay 40 cents, about 1_s._ 8_d._, for a slice of fried cod in
the very home of the cod, when a whole fish can be purchased for half
the money, I could not understand, and although Newfoundland abounds in
fish neither trout nor salmon were once served in the restaurant car.

On Thursday the 18th I arrived at St. John's at 12.30, having travelled
without a stop from the previous Sunday at midnight. It is much to be
regretted that the direct Allan Line from Liverpool to St. John's,
which only takes seven days, should not have larger and more up-to-date
steamers. The largest boat is under 5,000 tons; not very comfortable
for crossing the Atlantic. As the Allan Line run excellent boats to
Quebec, there must be some good reason for the local service to St.
John's not being better served.

Leaving England on August 5th, and travelling continuously, I did not
reach St. John's till the 18th. It is true I took a slow boat and
came by New York. A better route would have been by one of the larger
steamers to Quebec or Rimouski, and then back by rail to Sydney, and so
on to Port aux Basques.

If the large steamers which pass so close to Newfoundland would only
make a call at St. John's, to disembark passengers, I feel sure many
more tourists would be tempted to visit the island.

I was met at the station by Mr. Blair, Jr., whose firm were to provide
all my outfit except camp equipment, which I had sent ahead from
England. I was much indebted to him for valuable information and advice.

I was, I must confess, very disappointed with St. John's, which is not
worthy to be the capital of England's oldest colony, and the less said
about hotel accommodation the better. The best hotel was really only an
indifferent boarding-house, and could not compare in comfort with the
hotel of any small provincial town at home.

St. John's possessing few attractions for me, I decided to get away
as soon as possible. When I left England the steamer _Glencoe_, which
sails from Placentia to Port aux Basques, all along the south coast,
was timed to leave every Saturday, but the sailing had been altered to
Wednesday, leaving me with some idle days, which I could not face in
St. John's.

I had heard of sea trout fishing and possible salmon in the south-east
arm of Placentia, where good accommodation was to be had at a fishing
inn, known as Fulford's. Wiring to Mr. Fulford to know if the sea trout
were running, the answer came back that they were all in the ponds,
which I did not quite understand at the time, but anything was better
than five days in St. John's, so on Saturday, August 20th, I started by
the morning train for Placentia and Fulford's.

The rain came down in torrents as we left St. John's at 8.45 a.m. and
lasted till we arrived at Placentia at 1.45--eighty miles in five
hours. These Newfoundland trains are certainly not flyers.

Placentia is very beautifully situated at the junction of the two arms
of the sea, known as the south-east and the north-east arms. The main
town is on a spit of land which extends out into the sea, making the
one entrance to either arm a very narrow channel, and through this
the full force of the tide races, causing whirlpools and eddies which
looked anything but safe. The foreshore was composed of large round
stones, not pebbles, and the roar of these as they washed up and down
the beach by the waves is one of the characteristics of Placentia. They
say the people of Placentia talk louder than any one else in the island
on account of this.

I was met at the station by George Kelly from Fulford's, who told me
he had a buggy waiting for me across the ferry; but food was first
necessary, and I got a mess of meat at the local hotel for 35 cents. On
asking for a glass of beer or a whisky-and-soda, I was told they only
kept "sober drinks," an expression which I heard for the first time.

The traveller in Newfoundland must reconcile himself to teetotalism
and tea, unless he can carry his own liquor along. Even at the hotel
in St. John's only very indifferent beer was obtainable with meals;
for anything else one had to go round the corner to a second-rate
public-house. Now all this seems very unnecessary, for it would appear
to me that there is much greater chance of a man getting drunk if he
finds himself set down in a public-house after dinner than if he could
obtain what he reasonably required in his hotel. But all Newfoundland
drinks tea, and the sensible traveller will adapt himself to the local
customs, as well as to the midday dinner and the light early tea or
supper.

The ferry was only a couple of hundred yards across, and George and I
were soon on our way to Fulford's.

The drive was a lovely one, the road winding high up over the
south-east arm. The weather had cleared up, the sun was shining
brightly, the hills were glistening in the sunshine after the heavy
rain, and every little stream had become a roaring torrent, which
George said promised well for the fishing.

After a five-mile drive we arrived at Fulford's and I was warmly
welcomed by Mr. Fulford and his wife, really charming people. The house
was scrupulously clean. Fortunately for me, I was the only guest, and I
can only say Mrs. Fulford gave me the best food I had in Newfoundland,
while her terms were even more than moderate. The situation of the
house was very beautiful, overlooking the mouth of the river, which was
about a mile away.

I naturally inquired first about the fishing.

It seemed I was too late for the sea trout in the river itself, at
least in its lower reaches. The sea trout run about July 14th, in great
numbers, but only for a short time. The salmon run earlier.

In the season Fulford's is crammed, anglers sleeping anywhere all over
the house, and struggling with each other for the best water.

The river, after a run of about four miles, falls out of what are
locally termed ponds--what we would call lochs--and at this season of
the year all the fish were in these lochs. At certain distances they
are connected one with the other by short runs of a few yards, and here
the fish lie. These are known as the four-mile, five-mile, six-mile and
seven-mile pools.

Starting off about 4 o'clock, I drove up to the four-mile pool. The
road was fairly good, winding along above the river through the wood,
and the drive was most enjoyable. As we gradually ascended, the view,
looking back over the south-east arm, was very beautiful, reminding me
very much of Scotch scenery in Sutherland.

The entire country was saturated from the morning rain, and we started
in our waders, as George said we had swampy ground to pass through
before reaching the pool. Hitching up the horse where a pathway
branched off, we plunged through a very wet swamp for a few hundred
yards down to the pool.

The water was pouring down from the upper loch, the pool was full of
fish all on the move for the run up to the higher waters, the evening
was closing in--the black flies and mosquitoes were troublesome. Though
I cast over many fish I never got a rise. Getting home at dusk I found
an excellent dinner of roast fowl and wild raspberries and cream
awaiting me.

The next morning we started early for the seven-mile pool. The going
was pretty rough but the scenery very beautiful. We gradually emerged
from the woods on to the higher and more open ground. A half-mile walk
through a very wet marsh brought us to the bank of the stream between
the two lochs, which was in perfect order. It was only a few yards
wide and I could cover the entire fishable water with my fourteen-foot
Castleconnell rod. I rose several fish, killed three who gave good
sport, and lost a fly in another. As the water was about fished out we
went down to the six-mile pool, where I killed one and lost another,
but the fish were all small, 5½, 4½, 4, 3½ lb.

The following day we again tried the seven-mile pool, but the water
had run down and there was little or no stream between the two lochs.
I got one fish of 4 lb., and never saw another. As there was little
chance of more salmon I asked my host if there were any trout in the
neighbourhood. He strongly advised me trying a loch nine miles up the
road, where he and a friend had got twenty-seven dozen mud trout (?
char) in one day's fishing the previous year. After a rough drive over
a very bad road for the last three miles we found the loch, but it was
so overgrown with water-lilies that there was not a square yard of
water on which to cast a fly. Whether they had grown up since his visit
and whether they died down later on in the season I cannot say, but we
had wasted our day. I could not understand the river; thousands of sea
trout run up but I never saw or rose one. It was hardly a river, but
a series of lochs with connecting streams. There were no boats on the
lochs, but I had hoped to find sea trout in the tail of the streams.
Not one, however, did I even see rise. There are a number of lochs
about nine miles up. Whether they contained fish or not I cannot say.
I think it would well repay Mr. Fulford, who is the fish warden of the
district, to investigate the habits of the sea trout and find out where
they eventually lie, presumably in the upper lochs, and put boats on.
The salmon I got were in good condition and excellent eating. Driving
home in the evening about sunset, we generally saw quite a number of
Nova Scotia hares, locally called rabbits, sitting out on the road.
I saw no other game of any description, though there are plenty of
partridges (ruffled grouse) in the neighbourhood.

The steamer was due to sail from Placentia on the 24th inst., at 3
p.m., so I left Fulford's with much regret at 10.30 a.m. and drove into
Placentia, where I found she would not sail till midnight owing to the
amount of cargo.

Going into the Post Office to inquire for letters, I was told I must
see the Communion Plate of the Protestant Church, which was kept in
the Post Office. It was a very handsome service of plate presented by
Prince William Henry, who as a young naval officer passed a winter in
Placentia, then I believe the capital of the island. It was weary work
getting through the day till the steamer sailed. Every berth was taken,
so I had a shakedown in the corridor, which was much more airy than any
cabin.



TO LONG HARBOUR



CHAPTER II

TO LONG HARBOUR


In planning my trip I had the benefit of J. G. Millais' advice. He
first recommended me to try the country at the head of the La Poile
River on the south coast near Port aux Basques. On inquiry I found out
that canoes could not be used. Everything would have to be packed, and
it would take six men to pack to the hunting grounds. With the memory
of my Vancouver trip before me, I decided against the La Poile country
and packing, and chose the ground Millais had hunted with such success
in 1906. He had gone in by the Long Harbour River, struck off to the
north-west to Kesoquit and Shoe Hill Ridge and the Mount Sylvester
region. But the Long Harbour River was very rough, and his canoes
being at Hungry Grove Pond, where a series of ponds led up to Sandy
Pond or Jubilee Lake, its more modern name, I finally decided on this
route, which would bring me quite close to Shoe Hill Ridge and Mount
Sylvester.

Millais himself had not travelled over this ground, so the map
published in his book only gave an approximate idea of the country and
its waterways. I had secured the services of Steve Bernard, Millais'
head man, and he was to meet me with two other Indians at the head of
Long Harbour when I would send a wire.

My route was to be Placentia to Belleoram by the _Glencoe_. At
Belleoram Mr. Ryan, who is in charge of the telegraph station at the
head of Long Harbour, was to meet me in his sailing schooner the
_Caribou_, and from Long Harbour we were to pack in to Hungry Grove
Pond, where the canoes were to be ready.

We did not get away from Placentia till 1 a.m., and crossing Placentia
Bay arrived at Burin the following morning in a thick fog, which
occasionally lifted, showing a fine, wild coast with rocky headlands on
all sides. Burin was a pretty spot, and I saw it better on my return
when there was no fog. We arrived at Grand Bank, a big fishing town, in
the evening, but the fog outside was so thick that the Captain decided
to anchor till 2 a.m. and then cross Fortune Bay to Belleoram.

Grand Bank was responsible for the change in the sailing date of the
_Glencoe_. Leaving Placentia on Saturday she was due at Grand Bank on
Sunday. The inhabitants being very religious objected to loading and
unloading on Sunday, so the sailing was changed to Wednesday, and their
consciences were satisfied. They forgot, however, that they made some
smaller port of call further west break the Sabbath, but being one of
the most important shipping centres in the cod season their views had
to be met.

We arrived at Belleoram at 6 a.m. on the 26th, feeling our way along
the coast with our foghorn.

I and my belongings were turned out on the pier and I felt my trip had
at last begun.

The _Caribou_ was in harbour and a boat put off with Steve Bernard, who
had come down to meet me and help Mr. Ryan, who was laid up on board
with a bad leg. I at once went out to call on Mr. Ryan, as I wanted to
get away as soon as possible. I found a sturdy Irishman of about sixty,
full of go and energy, and in the cheeriest spirits, only extremely
annoyed at the bad leg, which made him pretend to lie up, for lie up he
never did, his restless nature would not allow it, and he was always on
the move.

His illness began with a boil, but he _would_ go off into the woods
after caribou and so irritated it, that the boil had developed into a
large sloughing ulcer with considerable inflammation. He did not seem
to mind it much and insisted on hobbling about the deck.

There was only one place at which I was recommended to put up in case
I had to stay in Belleoram, so I went up to call on Mrs. Cluett and
incidentally forage for breakfast. I received a courteous welcome and
had plenty of eggs, bread and butter, and tea. Getting back to the
_Caribou_ I persuaded Ryan to make a start. There was a thick fog and
it was blowing hard; however, away we went in grand style, steering for
the different points which loomed through the fog. As soon as we got
into the open and had to cross some twelve or fourteen miles of open
sea, an ancient and dilapidated compass was produced from the confusion
of below, for the _Caribou_ was not altogether a tidy boat; the compass
gave a certain moral support, but the needle refused to point in any
direction steadily for more than five minutes. Ryan would give it a
smack, "Sure I think she's only about five points out now," and in a
few minutes, "She's gone all wrong again."

I was entrusted with the steering, which may account for our sighting
land about four miles north of the entrance to Long Harbour. It was
a pretty rough crossing, but the old _Caribou_ was a seaworthy and
dry boat. The weather was what one expects of Newfoundland, wild and
foggy, and the mountains looming up out of the fog looked bigger and
grander than they really were.

We had a rattling following breeze, and notwithstanding Ryan's
assertion that there would be no fog at his house, we ran up the
fourteen miles of Long Harbour and arrived there about 4 o'clock in
the afternoon in a dense fog, having left Belleoram at 10 a.m. Here I
found waiting my two other Indians, John Denny Jeddore and Steve Joe.
My party consisted then of Steve Bernard, head man and hunter, John
Denny Jeddore, generally known as John Denny, and Steve Joe, who had to
become Joe.

John Denny at once told me he had signed on as cook, but added
quaintly: "I have never cooked for gentles." All the same he was an
excellent plain cook, ready to learn anything, scrupulously clean in
all his cooking, and a first-rate fellow. Joe was general utility
man and always cheery. Steve Bernard was a pure bred Micmac, his
father having been chief of the Micmac tribe, and the other two were
half-breeds. John Denny's mother was a Frenchwoman, which perhaps
accounted for his extraordinarily nice manners. My men were somewhat
shy and reserved at first, but we soon became great friends, and I
can only say I never wish for better men or comrades on a hunting
expedition. We never had a word of difference. They were always bright
and willing, and under the most uncomfortable circumstances never
uttered a word of complaint. I think I may say we parted with mutual
regret. They all spoke English, but Steve Bernard was the most fluent.
Amongst themselves they chattered in their own soft Micmac language,
and they never seemed to stop talking. All Newfoundlanders have a
specially charming accent, which is neither Irish nor Canadian, and
certainly not American. It is very soft and mellifluous. "All right,"
pronounced as if it were "aal," is the most common expression, and
seems to be used on every possible occasion.

All my men, instead of dropping their "h's" in the Cockney fashion,
seemed to aspirate almost every word beginning with a vowel, for
instance they always spoke of h'oil, h'oar, h'eat, and h'arm, and so
with many other words.

The Micmacs are Catholics, and their headquarters in Canada are at
Restigouche. Their settlement in Newfoundland is on the Conne River.
A priest from Restigouche visits Conne River from time to time and
preaches in Micmac. At Restigouche are published the Bible, Catechism
and other books in Micmac, which has the same character as English but
only sixteen letters. A Micmac paper is also published at Restigouche
and received once a month at Conne River. Steve was very amusing over
the raising of funds for the construction of a new church at Conne
River. Apparently a sort of bazaar was held at which the chief feature
was a "Wheel of Fortune." Steve felt rather sore that he had gambled
fifteen dollars and won nothing. All the Micmac colony, however, seemed
to have enjoyed themselves hugely, gambling, dancing, and eating; they
provided the food and afterwards paid for each meal--good for the
church!

Ryan's niece kept house for him at Long Harbour--a lonely spot with
only one other settler within twelve miles, and I received from uncle
and niece the warm welcome which every traveller in Newfoundland is
sure to meet with. The morning of the 27th was exquisite, the fog had
cleared away, the sun was shining brightly, and the placid head-waters
of Long Harbour lay without a ripple at our feet. The hills were not
high but beautiful in colour and outline, and I might easily have
imagined myself in a Scotch deer forest. Cases of stores had to be
unpacked, tent and camp equipment looked out, and the morning was spent
in making up the loads.

I had brought an 11-feet square fly for the three men, two tents for
myself, both of the lean-to pattern, one heavier and stronger tent of
green canvas 7 feet × 7 feet, the other the 6 feet × 7 feet silk tent
I had used in Vancouver, and which weighed only 5 lb, my idea being
to use it for short trips from the main camp. One pair of Hudson Bay
blankets made into a sleeping bag, a pillow, the usual cooking tins in
nests, and the folding baker completed my outfit. This latter is simply
invaluable; I purchased one locally in St. John's.

Camp furniture I had none, but as experience had taught me that the
comfort of a bed of balsam on the ground was somewhat overrated, I
had brought a sheet of strong canvas 7 feet × 2 feet 9 inches, with
gussets on either side, and eyelet holes at the top and bottom. Into
the gussets were slipped strong poles and these laid on two logs at the
head and foot in which notches were cut to receive them, and then the
poles were nailed down with one 3-inch nail at each end, and the canvas
at the head and foot laced round the logs.

A more comfortable camp bed it was impossible to have and it took about
ten minutes to construct. With men such as I had, skilful with their
axes, to bring camp furniture was unnecessary: tables, benches, poles
for hanging clothes, rifle and gun rests, can easily be made, and one
day in a permanent camp is sufficient to have all a hunter can want. My
men were as good as, if not better than the French Canadians I employed
when hunting moose in Canada some nine years before. They introduced me
to a bench or camp seat I had never seen before. A suitable tree with
outstanding branches is cut down, a short section chosen, on which, on
one side at least, there are four branches to form the legs; this is
split in two and an excellent camp stool is the result.

I found we had eight loads, which meant double journeys as far as
Hungry Grove Pond, so I started off Joe and John Denny with two packs,
while Steve and I took a light camp up to Mitchell's Point, where
the river ran into the head of the Long Harbour and from which I was
assured I could get some good sea trout fishing. We had camp pitched
and our midday meal over by 3 o'clock, so started up the river for
the sea trout on which we depended for dinner. It was a rough journey
along the river bank or in its bed, and although all the water looked
tempting it was 5 o'clock before we reached the pool in which the fish
were supposed to be.

Long Harbour River is one of the biggest rivers in the south and in
the early summer a large number of salmon and sea trout run up, but
like most Newfoundland rivers that I saw, the pools alternated with
long shallow runs, where no fish would lie. There were certainly some
beautiful pools, so it was a disappointment, more especially as regards
dinner, that I only rose one fish and hooked another which broke away.
Steve unfortunately cut his foot with the small axe in making camp. It
looked nothing, but on his way up the river the wound opened and bled
rather freely. I fixed him up with a pad and a bandage, and dressed it
on our return to camp with 1/1000 corrosive sublimate solution made
from tabloids, without which I never travel.

We had only about half-an-hour to fish if we would get back to camp,
some four miles away, before dark, so we really did not give the
water a fair chance. We did not get into camp till about 8.30. Steve
declared he was first-rate at slapjacks, so while I prepared a square
of Lazenby's soup he set to work on the slapjacks. After using half a
tin of butter he produced a sodden mass of dough, on which and the soup
we made a poor meal.

The flies and mosquitoes were very troublesome, but Farlow's "dope" was
fairly successful.

Our camping ground was too near the river and on rather low ground. A
very heavy dew fell during the night and everything was soaking in the
morning. As the fishing was not likely to prove a success we decided
to return to Ryan's and push on after our men. Getting away about 12
o'clock, for I had sent Steve back to Ryan's on foot to borrow their
dory which brought our camp up, we stopped to boil the kettle and have
lunch near a settler's place just beyond the mouth of the river. He
was a hardy old man, by name Joe Riggs, and though he had recently
undergone several operations in the hospital at St. John's to remove
some diseased ribs, he was working away all alone getting in his hay.
He was very lonely and sad for he had only recently lost his wife, and
the way he spoke about her was very touching. In winter, however, he
went down to Anderson's Cove, a small settlement at the mouth of Long
Harbour, where a married daughter lived. Among the solitary settlers
I met, of whom Joe Riggs was a type, it was remarkable how the spot
they had selected for settling on was the very finest to be found, and
to poor old Joe, Long Harbour was a sort of earthly Paradise which he
would not exchange for any other part of Newfoundland.

On reaching Ryan's, where I was ashamed to trespass once more on his
hospitality for the night, I found John Denny and Joe had taken two
packs on about eleven miles, to a spot about three miles from Hungry
Grove Pond and returned for more loads.

I took another Indian, Micky John by name, to help and the three men
started off about 3 o'clock. Two were to return the next day, while
John Denny was to make a double trip down to Hungry Grove Pond.



TO THE HUNTING GROUNDS



CHAPTER III

TO THE HUNTING GROUNDS


The following day, the 29th, I had to wait for the men to come back,
so did not start till 10.30. The track led up the steep hill behind
Ryan's house. It was rough going, but nothing in daylight, and the
air that morning made one feel glad to be alive. After a steady rise
of about two miles we came on to a great wild plateau with hardly a
tree to be seen, and I had my first experience of the great barrens
of Newfoundland. The colouring was exquisite, and though desolate in
the extreme the scenery had a great charm of its own, chiefly due to
effects of light and shade.

Deep shadows thrown by the fleecy clouds overhead fell on ridges far
away and gave an idea of immensity and distance without which the view
might have been monotonous. The air was extraordinarily clear: a ridge
which looked a couple of miles away was pointed out to me as six-mile
ridge, the head of the divide, from which the ground sloped away to our
destination, Hungry Grove Pond. It took us till 3 o'clock to reach
the top of the ridge, which at first sight looked so near. The rise
the whole way was very gradual, in fact hardly perceptible. The whole
country was undulating, low ridges alternating with little valleys, and
in each bottom was a small pond from which issued a noisy stream. Dwarf
balsam was scattered in patches. A bright yellow grass showed where
the marshes, locally called "mishes," which we had to cross, lay, and
though there had been a spell of dry weather, very wet and boggy some
of these "mishes" were.

When we reached the six-mile ridge we caught our first glimpse of the
top of Mount Sylvester, just showing a pale blue on the sky-line, while
far down below in a valley lay Hungry Grove Pond.

I calculated we had come eight miles, for the six-mile ridge had been
measured from the old Telegraph Office instead of the new.

Dark clouds were now coming up from the coast, and it looked as if
we were in for a bad night. I asked Steve if he were certain he had
brought the pack with my blankets and waterproof sheet. On examining
the packs we found that this, the most important to me at least, had
been left behind. Here was a pleasant position. Heavy rain coming up
with a cold driving wind and no bedding for the night. But Steve was
equal to the occasion and showed me what a first-rate man he was. Our
camp was three miles ahead, Ryan's house eight miles behind, and it was
3 o'clock in the afternoon. Steve quietly said, "My fault, I go back
and fetch up the pack." None of the others offered to go in his place,
so laying down his own pack, for which I was to send back from camp,
away went Steve at a trot.

We pushed on to camp, which John had pitched in a small droke, and just
as we got in, down came the rain in torrents.

Getting a tent pitched in heavy rain is poor fun, but camp was soon
comfortable and a roaring fire going. I had shot three grouse with my
little rook rifle on the march, out of season I may say, but when it is
a question of food I fear game laws are apt to be disregarded in the
wilds. I soon had a good stew of grouse, potatoes and onions cooking,
which was pronounced excellent later on. John was shy of showing
his own abilities as a chef and sat humbly at my feet as a learner.
After dinner we were talking of poor Steve's bad luck and how wet and
uncomfortable he must be, and discussing when we should send one of
the men back with a lantern to meet him. It was then quite dark, about
7.30 p.m., when Steve walked quietly into the camp with his pack and
simply remarked: "Don't think I made bad time." I should think not. He
had covered nineteen miles, eleven of them carrying a pack, in four and
a half hours--a fine performance. He well deserved the tot of rum which
I served out to him. I heard afterwards that in June he had left Ryan's
house at 4 a.m. with a light pack and arrived at Conne River, his home,
a distance of forty-eight miles, at 8 o'clock the same evening.

I had gathered from Millais' book that Steve was rather addicted to
rum, which was confirmed by a letter from him to Mr. Blair, saying,
"Don't forget some rum, for you know how fond I am of it." I rather
chaffed him about this letter and he assured me that it was a
mistake--he could not write himself and some girl in his settlement had
written for him and put the passage in without his knowledge. I can
only say that I had no difficulty with Steve or any of the others over
the question of liquor. I kept the whisky and rum locked up in a box,
but I think I might have left it open. I had only six bottles of whisky
and three of rum, and on opening the box one of the latter was found
broken. I spread this amount over our entire trip till I got back to
St. John's. John told me he did not care for rum. Joe acknowledged he
liked it, but Steve more than once refused a tot, even after a hard day.

It was a cold camp that night, the ground was saturated, the balsam
bedding dripping, and the cold and damp struck up through the thick
waterproof sheet and two blankets.

The following morning was perfect, a bright sun shining and a cold nip
in the air.

John had packed two loads down to the Pond the previous day, so we
started together carrying four loads. Track down to the Pond there was
none, and the ground after last night's rain was soaking. The swamps
were full of water and the going very hard, but we had only three
miles to cover. On the way I stalked a lot of geese, but only got a
shot with the rook rifle at about 150 yards and the bullet fell short.
Once at the lake all troubles were over and I had to look forward
to a comfortable trip in the two Peterborough canoes lying ready.
Micky John was sent home. We had seen a doe caribou on the way and
he announced his intention of having a try for venison. Joe was sent
back to Ryan's for the last light load, and Steve and John to bring up
the two remaining loads from last night's camp. I pitched my tent and
made things generally shipshape till the men came back. The camp was
an ideal one, situated on a wooded spit of land which separated the
main pond from the smaller arm. The ground was sandy and dry, firewood
abundant, and a brilliant sun was shining over the glassy lake, the
shores of which were densely wooded. Packing was done with for the
time, two canoes, which enabled us to travel in comfort, were lying
pulled up on the sandy beach, and the caribou grounds were a couple of
days ahead. What more could a hunter's heart desire. No more letters
would be received, no news from the outside world for at least a month,
only the joy of solitude in communion with nature, a joy which once
experienced can never be forgotten. In the rush and turmoil of life
which was to come, when my holiday was over, I could at least have the
memories of the happy time now before me to look back on.

The men all turned up in good time in the afternoon, so I tried the
lake and got three trout about half-a-pound each on the minnow. After
an excellent dinner we were soon sleeping the sleep of the just, with
roaring fires in front of my tent and the men's fly.



HUNGRY GROVE POND TO SANDY POND



[Illustration: JOHN DENNY AND STEVE BERNARD]

[Illustration: A NEWFOUNDLAND POND
[_To face page 197._]



CHAPTER IV

HUNGRY GROVE POND TO SANDY POND


The morning of the 31st was bright and cold, though rain had fallen in
the night, and we got away about 9 o'clock. One hour's steady paddling
and rowing, for the larger canoe had oars, took us to the north end of
Hungry Grove Pond, about three miles I should say, from which issued a
brook communicating with Red Hill Pond. The water was very low and the
men spent most of their time in the water dragging the canoes over the
rocky shallows. I strolled along the bank and saw many old tracks of
caribou, but nothing fresh. We had one portage of about half-a-mile, to
pass some bad rapids. The brook was about two miles long and owing to
the bad water and portage it took us some two hours to get down to Red
Hill Pond. We named the brook the Two Mile Brook. Millais had shown a
communication between Hungry Grove Pond and Red Hill Pond in his map of
the district, but never having travelled over the line we were taking
he could not show details.

Red Hill Pond takes its name from a rocky reddish bluff, which rises
a couple of hundred feet on the east side of the pond. The country is
said to be a good one for bear, but we did not even see fresh tracks.

The pond is only about a mile long, and we got to the end about
lunch-time.

I had brought rod rings with me, and had rigged up a rough trolling rod
at our first camp, to which I lashed a spare reel. I made it a rule
to have this primitive rod and my twelve-foot trout rod trolling over
every lake and pond we crossed. I generally put a Devon minnow on one
rod, and a blue phantom on the other. I used the fly exclusively when
we came to any streams. I got one trout, a lively fish of 1½ lb., in
crossing Red Hill Pond and two in Hungry Grove Pond. There was a rapid
and a nice pool at the north end of the pond where we halted for lunch,
and putting on a small silver doctor in a few minutes I had six nice
trout, some of 1½ lb., ready for lunch. John Denny said they were all
onannaniche or landlocked salmon. I had never seen them before; they
were just like sea trout, and played in the same way, jumping out of
the water even more frequently than sea trout. They were strong, game
fish, and better still, excellent eating. Here I got my first mud
trout, which I take to be char. They were more flabby and not in such
good condition as the onannaniche; their flesh was a bright red, and
they were good eating.

From Red Hill Pond, after a portage over the short rapid where I had
fished, we entered a long weedy pond where fishing was impossible; then
came shallow streams with just a perceptible current and three more
large ponds, till we reached our camping ground at 4.30 at the head
of a rough brook, over which we had to portage next day. I calculated
we had come about fourteen miles. The steadies required careful
navigation, for there were masses of sharp rocks, some just submerged,
others showing well above the water. The bow paddler had to keep a
sharp look-out, for very little will knock a hole in a Peterborough
canoe. We were now getting rather anxious for meat, for it is simply
impossible to carry tinned provisions in sufficient quantity to satisfy
the appetites of four hungry men.

The wind had been north-east all day, and fell to a dead calm as Steve
and I quietly paddled out, skirting the lake shore, with the hope of
seeing game. We went about a mile and landed on a sandy beach where
there were one or two fresh tracks, and then on about half-a-mile
inland to a rocky knoll from which we could spy the surrounding
country, which was mostly marsh with patches of dense wood scattered
all over the plain and becoming thicker down by the lake's edge.

At this season of the year all the stags spend their days in the woods,
and only come out morning and evening to feed. There was not a breath
of air and the mosquitoes and black fly were out in force; towards
sunset we saw a small stag with a poor head come out of a wood about a
mile away, and feed down towards us. We had visions of caribou steak
and liver and bacon before us, when suddenly the wind veered right
round; at the same time a fox on the shore of the lake, who had seen
us, kept barking persistently. Whether it was the wind or the fox I
can't say, but the stag put up his head, turned right round and walked
straight away--alas, the hopes of meat were gone. It was getting dusk,
so we made for the canoe. On the way we saw a very small doe, but the
wind was again wrong and she was off in a moment. We got back to camp
in the dark.

Steve swore we must have meat and asked for my Rigby Mauser that he
might go out at daybreak and shoot anything eatable. I offered him the
little rook rifle, so it was decided he would be out before daybreak
for meat. I was only hunting heads, but all the Indians had strong
opinions on the subject of meat.

On September 1st Steve was out at daybreak with the small rifle and
came back about seven o'clock triumphant, having shot a young stag in
good condition. He had crawled within about fifty yards and killed the
beast with one shot. I was simply astonished, for I never could have
believed that the little rifle, one of Rigby's rook rifles, could have
killed an animal bigger than an ordinary red deer. Steve had brought in
the liver and kidneys and left the meat to be picked up on our march,
for fortunately it was close to a pond we had to pass through. How we
all revelled in a good breakfast of kidneys and liver and bacon. Every
one was in good humour, for we now had ample meat.

The brook was about three-quarters of a mile long and everything had to
be portaged.

It looked ideal fishing water, and while the men were portaging I
fished every pool. I got two onannaniche and two mud trout above the
first pool, and then never a rise, though the pools looked perfect.

Where the brook fell into the next lake looked the best water, but I
could move nothing. Why, I could not understand, unless it was that the
season was late for these waters.

When the portage was over Steve and John went across the pond for the
meat, and Joe and I pushed on in the big canoe about a mile across the
pond to another rapid, fortunately only about thirty yards long, where
we again had to portage. The day had turned bitterly cold and heavy
rain clouds were coming up. I had got very warm walking and fishing
along the brook, and though I put on a thick jersey the wind seemed
to cut like a knife and I got a bad cold which gave me some trouble
for days after. Poor old Joe had spent most of the day up to his waist
in water getting the empty canoes down the creek and was looking very
miserable. The men wore nothing but their cotton shirts and coats,
cotton trousers and moccasins--they were never dry, but never seemed to
catch cold.

It was just the occasion for a tot of rum. Whether it went to Joe's
head or not I cannot say--he certainly became extra cheerful, and when
the other men returned and all the men were carrying the loads across
the rapid, Joe tumbled twice right into the water and got a thorough
ducking. I only made a gesture of taking a tot, when I thought these
simple folk would never stop laughing. It was a joke which lasted
them the rest of the trip, and in Indian circles no doubt I have the
reputation of being a great wit. Joe laughed if possible more heartily
than the others, and though soaked to the skin was quite happy for the
rest of the day.

Just as we were loading up the canoes John pointed to the sky-line
about half-a-mile away and quietly said, "That good stag, I think."
Sure enough there was a heavy beast, the first big stag I had seen,
quietly feeding along the crest of the ridge. The wind was right, so
we decided to cross the pond, land, and have a closer look at him. His
head looked massive, but I could not make out the points.

I certainly never had an easier stalk, as the ground was perfect for
stalking, and this holds good all over the island. We walked quietly
up in perfect shelter to within about 150 yards of where we had last
seen the stag, and presently saw the tops of his horns sticking up
from behind a low bush. Leaving Steve behind, I crawled up to within
about seventy yards and got my telescope on to count the points. The
horns were in velvet, but just stripping--and as the frontal tines were
interlocked it was difficult to count the exact number. Beckoning Steve
up we spent some time counting the points, for the poor beast was lying
sound asleep with his head nodding. Steve could make out thirty points,
but said we would get many better heads. We had almost determined to
leave him, when I thought after all here was a certainty, so resting my
rifle in the branch of a tree in front of me, I shot him through the
neck. It was rather murder, for no skill either in the stalk or shot
was necessary. However, he knew nothing, but rolled over stone dead.
When we got up to him we could only make out twenty-nine points, but
the head was quite a pretty one. The body was very big, but not in good
condition.

Calling up the men, we soon had the head and meat down to the canoes
and boiled the kettle before starting on. We now had enough meat
for some days, though it is astonishing what a quantity of meat an
Indian can get through; so we could afford to look for that extra good
head--which as it happened we never came across.

We went on through some shallow and very rocky steadies, and after
about a mile came to the last portage into Sandy Pond or Jubilee Lake.
We had to carry the canoes over this and were soon crossing to the
north shore of Sandy Pond, where we were to make our permanent camp.
There was a fine following wind which helped us along, and by sunset
we had covered the four miles of lake and arrived at one of Steve's
trapping camps, which was to be our headquarters.

Sandy Pond is a lovely sheet of water studded with innumerable
islands, some densely wooded, some quite bare. In the early mornings
and evenings in fair weather the view was exquisite, and I was never
tired of the changing effects on the lake. One day there would not be a
ripple, another day would come a gale and driving rain, and such a sea
that the canoes could not be launched, but as a rule for three weeks we
had perfect weather.

In crossing Sandy Pond I caught four nice trout, the two largest
about 1½ lb. each, so the day's bag was two deer and eight trout. The
licence only allows the shooting of three stags, but to shoot meat for
food is, I think, an unwritten law of the island, and I feel sure the
authorities themselves would not insist on a too strict application
of the licence. It is simply impossible to carry enough tinned meat
to keep four men going, and with meat at the door when it is urgently
needed it is not human nature to resist the temptation. On the entire
trip we shot only what was absolutely necessary for food, but with no
meat in camp I used to send Steve out with the small rifle to shoot a
barren doe for the pot, and not a pound of meat was wasted.

Our camp was pitched in a dense wood, for after the great forests of
Vancouver the Newfoundland timber looks insignificant and only worthy
of the name of wood. A good clearing had already been made by Steve on
his trapping expeditions, and poles for pitching the fly were lying
ready. We soon had a most comfortable camp pitched, and with plenty of
food and a tot of rum to mark the occasion of arriving in our permanent
camp, we passed a happy evening, smoking our pipes in front of a
glorious camp fire and discussing the plans and the prospects for the
future.

We decided to make this our main camp, leaving here most of our stores,
and to make flying trips, at first west into the thickly wooded country
where the stags were most likely to be found at this time of year, and
later north-east up to the barrens and Shoe Hill Ridge.

This was Steve's advice and I naturally decided to follow it. I had
originally thought of working north by Mount Sylvester, striking the
higher waters of the Terra Nova River and so down to the railway at
Terra Nova, which would have been a shorter way back to St. John's; but
Steve told me that last season he had been with a party of Americans
who came in from Terra Nova, and that the country had been shot out,
as they never saw a decent stag till they came on to the barrens hear
Shoe Hill Ridge, where they could only stay for two days, during which
they secured two good stags.

The morning of September 2nd was exquisite, all the clouds of yesterday
had cleared away and a bright sun was shining in a cloudless sky. I had
passed rather a bad night coughing, owing to the chill caught the day
before, but in the climate of Newfoundland one never felt ill.

After an early breakfast we started off in the big canoe to explore
the shores of the lake and look for signs. Stags we could not expect
to see, for they were bound to be in the woods, and the whole of the
northern shore of Sandy Pond is densely wooded. About a mile west of
the camp was the brook connecting Sandy Pond with the large lake of
Kaegudeck to the north. Here, I thought, must be the ideal spot for
trout, but though I fished for an hour I never got a rise. The brook is
only about ten yards wide and quite unnavigable for canoes.

We found plenty of fresh marks of deer on the sandy beaches of the
lake, but saw nothing.

Returning to camp we pottered around getting the camp
shipshape--including the making of my patent bed, which was a
tremendous success. Poles for hanging clothes, rests for rifles and
fishing-rods, shelves in my tent, and even tables were run up by the
men, and the camp was soon all that could be desired in the way of
comfort.

About 4 o'clock we took the canoe and went east about a mile, passing
another brook quite as big as that running from Kaegudeck and which
takes its rise in Shoe Hill Lake. Landing, we went up to a look-out
hill about half-a-mile away, from which we had a splendid view of the
country to the east.

The ground, rugged and intersected with small watercourses, rose
gradually to a ridge about three miles away, beyond which, Steve said,
lay an open plain leading on to Shoe Hill Ridge. The hills looked about
400 feet high and from our look-out we could spy the entire face for
some miles; to the south-east lay Square Box Hill crowning the ridge.
There were many clumps of timber lining the sides of the watercourses
and numerous small ponds lay in the hollows.

It looked an ideal caribou country, over which later on in the season
all the caribou from the south and west cross to gain the barrens.

Many well-worn caribou tracks led upwards. It was a lovely evening.
We could look over Sandy Pond with its wooded islands and its
forest-clothed shores standing out dark against the setting sun and
reflected in the placid waters of the lake. Just as the sun went down
in a blaze of colour we saw five deer come out of different patches of
wood, but only one was a stag, and the head being poor we left him,
though to get a shot would have been a very easy stalk.

In the short row home I picked up five trout, two being over a pound. I
found that just half-an-hour before and half-an-hour after sunset was
the best time for trolling, and I could always pick up enough fish for
the camp coming home in the canoe after a day's stalking.

Next morning, September 3rd, we were up for an early breakfast and
got away at 7 a.m. Here I first used the rucksack, which was most
convenient, as in it we carried our midday meal, an oilskin, if it
looked like rain, and a kettle for tea. The lake was dead calm and the
morning mists were clearing away as we started. Our plan was to work up
to the top of the ridge we had seen the evening before, hunt the face
of the hill and see if there were any signs of stags on the barrens.

Unfortunately our chances of deer on the way up were spoiled by a
south-west wind which got up about eight o'clock, and blew steadily
from behind us the whole way up. We saw four does on one of the islands
in the lake, but the whole face of the ridge was devoid of stags.

It was only about three miles to the crest of the ridge, and the
country being dry the going was good. There were many small swamps and
ponds along the side of the hill with small drokes in the hollows,
altogether ideal ground for stags. There were not many fresh tracks,
though the deep ruts cut by the hoofs of innumerable herds of deer
showed what numbers must pass later on in the season.

On reaching the top of the ridge we looked over a vast undulating tract
of country, the true barrens. There were only three drokes in sight.
One about four miles away, which Steve pointed out to me as Shoe Hill
Droke, where Millais camped and from which he got such fine heads in
October; nearer still another droke where Captain Legge had camped two
years before and from which he got a forty-pointer; in fact, I was
looking over historic ground from a sporting point of view, and there
seemed no reasons why I should not be as successful as those who had
gone before me.

There were neither stags nor does in sight, and no fresh tracks. Steve
said they would not move up to the barrens before the 15th or 20th of
September. It made me bitterly regret I was so cramped for time, and
that I had to be back to catch the _Glencoe_ at Belleoram on September
26th. It is the greatest mistake being tied down to time on any
hunting trip; a week extra might have made all the difference in my
sport, but steamers did not fit in, and I was bound to be in New York
to sail for home on October 8th.

We had a splendid view of the entire country from the look-out hill
on the top of the ridge. To the north lay Mount Sylvester about four
hours' march away; to the north-west Lake Kaegudeck, buried in dense
woods; behind Kaegudeck lay the hills over the Gander. To the east
the view was bounded by Shoe Hill Ridge with its droke standing up
against the clear sky. To the west was the country we had just come
through sloping down to Sandy Pond, while far behind to the west lay
Kepskaig Hill, which we were to visit later on. After spending some
time spying the entire country, we boiled the kettle, had lunch and
strolled leisurely down to the lake. Meanwhile the placid lake of the
morning had changed and the south-west wind, now blowing half a gale,
was rolling up big breakers on the shore. We had sent the canoe home in
the morning and it was too rough for Joe to fetch us, so we went back
to the look-out of the first evening and spied the whole country till
dark. We saw two stags up on the sky-line near Square Box Hill, but it
was too late to go after them; one looked a heavy beast. The wind went
down with the setting sun and Joe was able to come across for us, but
the lake was still too rough for fishing.

On September 4th the glass had fallen badly, a gale was blowing and
heavy rain clouds were coming up from the south-west. Notwithstanding
the prospect of bad weather we decided to go up to Square Box Hill and
have a look for the stag we had seen the previous evening. It was a
five miles' walk, up hill the whole way, but the ascent was gradual.
We had just reached the top of the ridge within about half-a-mile of
the hill when the rain came down in sheets. Spying was impossible, so
we took shelter in a droke, lit a good fire, boiled the kettle and
had lunch. We waited till about two o'clock, but there was no sign of
clearing, so we plodded back to camp, getting well soaked through. Just
as we got to camp the rain cleared off, and after a change of clothing
we started to fish about five o'clock. We picked up five nice fish,
all on the minnow--one about 2 lb. Just at dusk a doe came swimming
out from one of the islands as if to have a look at us. Meat was not
over abundant in camp, so I gave Steve permission to shoot her with the
rook rifle. Steve rather prided himself on being a good shot, but he
was shooting from a wobbly canoe and missed clean with the first shot,
but hit her with the second, and landing, killed her stone dead. By the
time the doe was gralloched and in the canoe a heavy fog had come up
and it was dark before we reached camp.

On this trip I was introduced to two great delicacies. One roast doe's
head, and the other roast breast-bone of stag. John was an adept at
these dishes, and anything more delicious and tender I have never
tasted. The head was only skinned, put in the baker and roasted whole
for about six hours, the great advantage of the baker being that the
heat can be regulated by the distance it is kept from the fire.

In the evening we had a long discussion as to what we had better do.
There were no stags to speak of in the country we were in. So a move
was necessary, and Steve decided we would take all the outfit to the
west end of Sandy Pond, there make our main camp, and with a small camp
work down to Kepskaig, all through a wooded country where he maintained
the stags were now to be found. So we decided to make a start the
following morning.

Our camp was simply infested with grey jays, generally known as
robber-birds; there were at least a dozen who made the camp their home.
No sooner was a bit of meat hung up in the open than they descended on
it and began picking it to pieces.

It was very interesting watching them, for they were so tame that Joe
caught one with his hand. They appeared to be ravenous, and stuffed
themselves with meat and then flew away, but Steve explained they only
went a short distance to store the meat for the bad winter days to
come, hiding it in crevices in the bark of the surrounding trees. They
worked hard from morning to night and must have laid by a good store,
for I left a good lump of venison hanging in the open for their special
benefit, the rest of the meat being protected from the flies and the
jays by my mosquito net, which I had turned into a meat safe.



TO KOSK[=A]CODDE



[Illustration: STEVE SPYING, SANDY POND]

[Illustration: CAMP, WEST END SANDY POND
[_To face page 217._]



CHAPTER V

TO KOSK[=A]CODDE


September 5th was a lovely morning, not a breath of wind and a
cloudless sky, so different from yesterday. Getting away at 9.30 we
made a good four miles an hour, reaching our camping ground at the
west end of the lake at 11.30. Steve, Joe and I were in the big canoe
and John, a fine boatman, in the small canoe which skirted the shores
of the lake. We disturbed a small stag which was feeding along the
shore and which at once disappeared in the woods. The camp was simply
perfect, fairly open yet with sufficient shelter from the surrounding
woods. Behind it rose a hill about 100 feet high, a fine look-out over
the entire country. The tents were pitched on a spur of land just where
the Baie du Nord River, or rather its head-waters, left the lake in a
tumbling torrent with intervening deep pools, an ideal salmon river to
look at, but unfortunately no salmon can pass Smoky Falls, many miles
away to the south of Lake Meddonagonax.

I had caught two trout crossing the lake, but could not resist the
first really good fly-fishing water I had come to, so a few minutes
after arrival I was on the bank of the river fishing an ideal pool.
There was about a quarter of a mile of fishing water, after which was a
small lake and then more rapids below. In an hour I had landed twelve
trout and char, weighing 10½ lb. The trout were all onannaniche and
played like sea trout--more often out of the water than in. The largest
was 2¼ lb., and the two largest char weighed 2¾ lb. In the heavy rapid
water they gave grand sport. What an ideal camp it was! The best of
fishing at the door of the tent, a glorious view over the lake, with
its many wood-clad islands to the south, while across the lake the
ground was open and sloped gradually upwards, and here Steve said he
had more than once seen good stags. The whole ground could be spied
from the rocky hill behind the camp, from which, too, we could look
over all the woodland marshes to north and west and could see the river
winding away to distant Kosk[=a]codde, and in the further distance
Kepskaig Hill and the country we were to hunt later on.

After lunch, about 3 o'clock, Steve and I started for the look-outs.
There were three in all, behind and to the north of our camp. We
decided to go straight to the one farthest north, a mile away, and
from which we could command all the open ground near the lake and the
numerous glades and marshes lying around us. Our only chance was to see
a stag coming out to feed about sunset.

The country was undulating, and on the north side of the lake gradually
rose to hills about 200 feet high. Dense woods clothed the ravines
running up to the higher ground, while between the woods and the
surrounding numerous small ponds were fairly open glades interspersed
with marshes. The track worn by the feet of many caribou and cleared
in parts by Steve, who trapped this country in the winter, was quite
good going and we were on the top of our hill long before sunset. The
view was a fine one; as we looked right over the entire lake and away
to the south we could see the river winding down through the woods
to Lake Kosk[=a]codde, only about four miles away as the crow flies.
Kosk[=a]codde is the Indian for the Mackle bird, or Little Gull Pond.

On our way up we saw the first sign of a stag cleaning his antlers, and
the fresh rubbing showed that he had been on the ground quite recently.

Having spied the entire country on both sides and nothing being in
sight, we decided to return to camp. About half-a-mile from camp we
suddenly saw a big stag come out of the woods and feed along a ridge
just above the shores of the lake. He was not more than 400 yards
away and was walking rapidly as he fed up wind and towards the camp.
Waiting until he had crossed the ridge and was out of sight, we pushed
on across a small dip between us and the ridge, and so to the top of
the ridge where he had disappeared. It could hardly be dignified by
the name of a stalk, for on looking over there he was standing about
a hundred yards away, feeding quietly. On the side towards me the
frontals and middles were good, the tops poor, but stags were scarce,
and hoping for the best I dropped him with one shot. It was the usual
story, the two sides were not alike and the horn next to me was the
best one. This is one of the great difficulties of judging heads; on
one side may be a fine frontal of seven or eight points concealing the
other frontal, which may be a single spike. He was a very heavy stag,
in good condition and quite clean, but I should say the head was going
back. In one respect it was remarkable--there were three distinct
horns, the third with two points growing out of the orbital ridge and
completely separated from the horn on the same side. Steve said he had
never seen one like it.

The next morning I sent Steve out early to spy the country. He came
back having seen only one very small stag and three does. Joe was
dispatched to cut up yesterday's stag, and bring in the head and meat,
while I decided to fish the river down and go out again in the evening
on the chance of another stag.

Taking Steve with me, I fished down for about two miles. There was some
lovely water, but all the fish were lying in the pools and none in the
streams.

In the lowest pool I reached I got a fine fish of 3 lb. and five other
good ones. By lunch I had twenty-one trout and five char, weighing
19 lb.; a number of small ones I had put back. The trout were all
onannaniche and as game a fish for its size as I ever want to catch;
in the heavy water they gave grand sport. Coming back to camp we saw
two old geese and a fine lot of young ones feeding in a marsh across a
small lake. Seeing us they kept cackling and moving higher up into the
reeds. We both went back to camp to fetch the rook rifle, so making a
great mistake, for had one of us remained where we were we certainly
would have got a shot, for they would not have left the marsh so long
as some one was in sight, guarding the narrow mouth of the river by
which they were bound to pass. When we got back with the rifle they had
disappeared.

In the afternoon we went out to the second look-out, and waited till
sunset. It was a wonderful evening, not a breath of wind, and the
mosquitoes and flies were out in force even on the top of our little
hill. In a small pond below us half-a-dozen black duck were swimming
about through the reeds, while the hundreds of rings on the water
showed that the pond was well stocked with trout, but Steve said they
were all very small and not worth catching; the pond must have been
simply alive with them judging from the number of rises.

Presently we saw a barren doe come out of the woods and feed towards
where we had shot yesterday's stag. The sound of chopping wood in camp
was quite distinct in the still air, and whether it was hearing this or
whether she had winded where the dead stag had lain, she turned back
and swam straight out into the lake for about 300 yards, then turned
north and swam at least a mile to a jutting out wooded point where she
landed, shook herself like a dog and disappeared in the woods. She
swam very high in the water with her scut straight up. It was a pretty
sight, as I could watch her all the way with my glasses.

I was not very satisfied with the system of hunting we were obliged
to follow. Sitting waiting on the top of a look-out on the chance of
something turning up did not appeal to me, but Steve assured me it was
much too early to go up to the barrens and that our only chance was in
the woods, and I have no doubt he was right. The stags do not move up
to the high ground much before September 20th, though I believe the
Shoe Hill country and right away east holds stags permanently, but the
big stags who have summered in the woods do not begin to move much
before the 20th. The season closing on October 1st, there is not much
time for good stags. The close time is from October 1st to 20th, when
shooting is again allowed. I have a shrewd suspicion that men who go in
about October 5th, to be in time for the second season, are not very
particular about dates. I feel I should be sadly tempted myself were
I to see a forty-five pointer, say October 16th. But when the rutting
season is on, between October 1st and 20th, the stags are easily
approachable and the sport cannot be good.

We discussed our plans at length--there were not many big stags
about, and though the camp was an ideal one I decided, on Steve's
recommendation, to move down south to Lake Kosk[=a]codde and Kepskaig,
where, though the country was fairly wooded, Steve said we should have
a chance of a good stag.

On September 7th the weather looked like breaking. Steve was out at
daybreak and spied two stags down the river where we proposed to go. We
decided to leave Joe in camp and take a light camp and provisions for
a week in the big canoe and explore the country to the south. Joe was
rather sad at being left behind, but though he had a good tent, lots of
meat and provisions, the enforced solitude did not appeal to him.

While Steve and John were packing the canoe I went down to the river
and soon had ten trout and char, 8½ lb., the two biggest being over
2 lb. each. The canoe was let down the rapids with a rope, the kit
being portaged to the bottom of the rapids, only about 400 yards,
where the river fell into a small lake or Podopsk, a generic term for
all the small ponds in the course of a river. After crossing this
we had a navigable stream with occasional rapids, all of which we
were able to negotiate without unloading. Having started at 9 a.m.
we reached a rapid at the entrance to Kosk[=a]codde about 1.15. Here
we had to portage about fifty yards. I slipped on the rocks and took
an involuntary bath, which was rather annoying. However, a change of
clothes was at hand and I was none the worse for my dip. Just as we got
into the new lake I saw a deer make off on the far side, having seen
us. I could not make out whether it was a stag or a hind, as I only
saw its rump disappearing in the trees. At the same moment John saw a
stag feeding quietly away on our side of the lake. We soon got close
enough to see that the head was a poor one. I tried to take a snapshot
with the camera, but when I got within fifty yards he saw me and was
off. He was a fine big-bodied beast, and may have been one of the stags
Steve had seen in the morning. We pushed on about one mile, and camped
on a promontory stretching out into the lake. There was a nice sandy
shelving beach and a perfect camping ground all ready, as it had been
cleared by some other party the previous year, and only the undergrowth
had to be cut away.

[Illustration: THE THREE-HORNED STAG]

[Illustration: "BAD WATER"
[_To face page 225._]

In the afternoon, taking the canoe, we paddled quietly along the shore,
and after about two miles landed on a sandy beach to look for signs.
A fringe of wood clothed the south shore of the lake, beyond which
was a fairly open country. There were plenty of signs, and we were
strolling quietly along the beach when Steve seized me by the arm and
whispered, "Deer coming through wood." I confess I could hear nothing,
but Steve's hearing was marvellously acute. Sitting down on a big rock,
I got the rifle ready and laid it across my knees. Presently I heard a
crackling and breaking of branches quite close by, when a noble-looking
stag walked out into the open and without looking round or ahead
crossed the sandy beach down to the edge of the lake not thirty yards
away. We were both in full view, but alas, though his body looked
enormous his head was a very poor one, not more than twenty points. He
never saw me but bent his head, had a long drink, then looked round for
a couple of minutes and walked quietly back into the wood. What would
I not have given for my camera!--a more perfect picture could not be
imagined. Though a gentle breeze was blowing, fortunately in the right
direction, there was not a ripple on the waters of the sandy bay, which
was sheltered by the wood, and as he stood with his head up and every
line of his body reflected in the water below, it was a noble sight,
such as one could but rarely hope to see.

[Illustration: STEVE JOE DRIES HIMSELF.]

[Illustration: STEVE BERNARD IN CAMP.
[_To face page 226._]

Allowing some ten minutes to elapse we followed him through the wood,
more out of curiosity than anything else. Coming out on to an open
grassy plain, there he was feeding quietly about 200 yards away.
Looking round to my left I suddenly saw a second stag not 150 yards
away. The horns of the first stag were clean. The second stag had a
better head, but the velvet was peeling off and the frontal tines, and
indeed most of the horn, were crimson with blood. It was difficult to
determine the points, owing to the bits of velvet hanging all about,
but getting the glass on to him I saw that though the frontals were
good the rest of the head was very indifferent, so he had too to be
passed.

We whistled to move the second stag but he took not the slightest
notice of us, and it was not until we gave him, and incidentally the
first stag, our wind that they both went away over the plain at a
slinging trot.

Coming home in the gloaming we saw another stag come out of the wood
and walk along the shore. We got within fifty yards of him, but the
head was, if possible, inferior to the other two. This was bad luck! We
had seen four stags in one day and not one worth shooting.

September 8th. We got away at 6 a.m., crossed the lake in the canoe and
made for the top of a small hill about a mile away. The country was
undulating. Numerous ponds lay in the hollows. Clumps of wood (drokes),
in which the stags rested during the day, were scattered over the
plain; altogether a likely looking ground. We soon saw a big stag about
two miles away feeding across a swamp. The head looked a good one but
it was impossible to make out the points at such a distance, so we
decided to get nearer. As we moved on we saw another stag coming out of
a hollow on our left, but the head was a poor one. Within four minutes
we saw a third stag on our right, but the glass soon showed that he
too was not of the right sort. All these were big-bodied animals, but
carrying poor heads. Following on after the first stag, we saw him
enter a small wood. As soon as we got close outside the wood I decided
to send Steve round and give the stag his wind. I took a position
commanding both sides of the wood, on one of which, if Steve's drive
were successful, the stag must come out. After about half-an-hour's
wait a crash in the wood just in front of me told me that our plan had
succeeded, and out burst a fine stag and stood looking back into the
wood and within twenty yards of me. Alas, his horns were in velvet, and
although the tops were good he had only one indifferent frontal and a
spike for the other. So he too had to go unharmed. Again I reproached
myself for not having brought the camera. I had missed yesterday and
to-day two chances of snapshots such as seldom occur. On getting back
to camp John reported having seen a small stag crossing the end of the
lake, so at least there were plenty of caribou in the country, though
unfortunately no big heads.

In the afternoon the light breeze dropped to a dead calm, so starting
at 2.30 we made for the far west end of the lake, about five miles
away, where a long steady ran up for about three miles, and which
Steve said was a good country for deer. Landing a few hundred yards
up the steady, we made for the top of a ridge about a hundred feet
high, up which led one of the deepest deer tracks I had yet seen. It
was at least two feet deep, cut right into the side of the hill, and
there were fresh signs everywhere. Unfortunately it was one of those
dead calm evenings when the stags come out very late, and as we were
a good way from camp we could only wait till just after sunset, and
saw nothing. On our way home just at the mouth of the steady we saw
a barren hind standing in the water. As we wanted meat I sent Steve
ashore with the rook rifle to get her, which he did after bungling one
or two shots. As we were getting the carcass into the canoe, out came
another hind, and just behind her a small stag, on the point we had
just left, but the head was no good. We got to camp well after dark,
but it was a lovely, calm night without a ripple on the lake.

September 9th. We were up at daybreak and across the lake to spy the
ground where we had seen the three stags yesterday. Nothing was in
sight, but we saw for a moment one stag behind our camp on the high
open ground; he was just disappearing into a small droke, so we could
not make out the head. However, we went after him, but when we had
crossed the pond and got up to where he had disappeared, there was
nothing in sight, so we decided to get back to camp and move on if
possible. Just as we reached the camp, looking back for a moment I saw
him on the sky-line about a quarter of a mile away, but, getting the
glass on, I found the head was no good. As we were making for camp we
saw another stag on the shore where we had landed in the morning, but
he was like all the rest, unshootable. He both got our wind and saw us
and went off at a real gallop instead of the ordinary long slinging
trot.

We certainly had seen plenty of stags, but as luck would have it not
one good head. All the country round Kosk[=a]codde was very good for
deer. We had been extraordinarily lucky so far in our weather, the
"mishes" were all dry but rather fatiguing going, just like walking
over a thick bed of dry sponges. The fine weather could not be expected
to last for ever, and the chances were that when we most wanted it, on
the Shoe Hill Ridge, it would break.



SPORT ON KEPSKAIG



CHAPTER VI

SPORT ON KEPSKAIG


Though the wind was almost blowing a gale against us we decided to
start, and crept along under the shelter of the shore. Heavy seas were
breaking over the numerous sunken rocks and we shipped a good deal of
water. I was not sorry to reach a point about three miles off, where
the lake turned round to the north and where we had a following wind,
and though the waves were still high they were behind us, and we soon
reached a short rapid leading into Kepskaig Lake. We had covered the
distance from our last camp in three and a half hours.

Unloading the canoe, we got her over the rapid and camped immediately
below. In front of the camp, at the bottom of the short rapid, was a
nice pool, and while the men were pitching camp and cooking dinner I
fished the pool, and in one and a half hours I got twenty-one trout and
char; the biggest about 1½ lb.

Although the gale was a strong one the rain had so far kept off, but
the clouds were now piling up for heavy rain, and the glass was
falling rapidly. We were lucky to have got across, for the wind was
now too high to have attempted the lake. We were in a good, dry camp,
plenty of fish assured, and we could afford to ignore the weather.

Kepskaig was a short and somewhat narrow lake, not more than one and a
half miles long; from it two steadies led out into Meddonagonax Lake.
The shores were thickly wooded, but at the far end were some fairly
open marshes with two good look-out hills, from which we could spy the
entire country.

We started about 4.30 for the far end of the lake, but landed half-way
to spy the shores for any feeding stag that might come out. We soon
saw a stag with a good-looking head feeding on the shore opposite to
us, and were just about to start after him when Steve saw another stag
feeding across one of the marshes at the far end of the lake. The tops
of the horns looked very good, so we decided to go after him first.
Pushing on in the canoe to the end of the lake, we were soon on the top
of one of the small hills, and could see him feeding on towards us and
moving very quickly. The glass showed that though he had good tops,
both middles and frontals were very poor, so we decided to leave him
and go back to the first stag. It was nearly dark when we got to the
place we had last seen him, but fortunately he was there still feeding
amongst some big boulders on the shore of the lake. A high wind was
blowing and he was not more than eighty yards away, so hidden by the
rocks and long grass I could not make out his frontals, but tops and
middles were good, and waiting, what seemed an indefinite time, to get
a broadside shot, at last he began feeding away with his rump straight
on to me. I could now hardly see the telescope sight, but fortunately
he gave a half turn and as I fired I heard the bullet go home. He
galloped madly right into the lake, and stood some 150 yards away
among some big rocks from which I could hardly distinguish him. Taking
the best sight I could I fired again and he dropped stone dead in the
water. Getting him ashore, we found he was a nice thirty-four pointer,
the best head we had yet seen, and as it happened the best head we saw
the whole trip. He was in poor condition, having been badly wounded in
the body at some time. Abscesses had formed round the wounds and Steve
pronounced his flesh uneatable. It was too dark to do more than pull
him out of the water and gralloch him, and we had a hard paddle back to
camp in the dark. The rain was now falling heavily and a roaring fire
and cosy camp were more than welcome.

The following morning it was still raining, but more like a thick
Scotch mist. We went over to fetch the head, and found that the first
bullet had gone in just behind the ribs and raked him through lungs
and heart, so the second shot was unnecessary. We saw a hind and calf
swimming in the lake, and tried to overtake them to get a snapshot, but
hard as we both paddled I only succeeded in getting within about thirty
yards, too far for a good photo--the light too was bad, and the result
was not a success. I spent the morning sketching and photoing the head,
and then Steve set to work to skin and clean it. After breakfast there
was great excitement, as four otters came swimming up to the rapid,
possibly with the idea of going up into the lake above. Regardless of
season and game laws, Steve had a shot with the small rifle and missed,
but turned them back. Going out to fish I could not get a rise, the
otters had evidently scared all the fish out of the pool.

The clouds now cleared away and a brilliant sun came out, while hardly
a ripple stirred the surface of the lake. In the afternoon we went down
again to the end of the lake, climbed the highest look-out hill and
stayed there till sunset. The views on all sides were very beautiful
and we looked right over Meddonagonax with its numerous wooded islands,
but saw no stags. We paddled down one of the steadies leading into
Meddonagonax and so into the lake, hoping to see some feeding stag on
its shores, but without success.

[Illustration: A THIRTY-FOUR POINT CARIBOU]

[Illustration: STEVE SKINNING THE HEAD OF THE THIRTY-FOUR POINTER
[_To face page 238._]

It was a wonderful night, the moonlight made it almost as bright as day.

The following morning was bright and cold and the mists hanging over
the lake were soon dispelled by the morning sun. We got away about
6.30 a.m. and went down to the far end of the lake, but only saw one
unshootable stag. Coming back for breakfast we decided to take a trip
to the far end of Meddonagonax, where Steve said there was good fishing
just where the river left the lake. It only took us one and a half
hours of a steady row and paddle to get to the end of the lake where
the Baie du Nord River leaves it. We ran down a few hundred yards of
rapids and hauled up the canoe, leaving John to prepare lunch. It
was an ideal-looking river and Steve said he had caught many large
trout in it. The pools were perfect to look at, but somehow fish were
comparatively few and not in very good condition. I fished down about
a mile to where the river fell into a small lake, and caught eighteen
trout weighing about nine pounds. Steve said it was only a good day's
march from where we were to where the river runs into the sea. About
half-way down there is a big fall called Smoky Falls, above which
salmon cannot run, but he said salmon were numerous below the falls.
In the water we had fished he had caught many big trout in July, so
possibly we were too late.

Leaving at 5 o'clock I trolled all the way home but never got a pull
nor did we see a stag.

As we had apparently exhausted the ground, we decided to start back
in the morning of the 12th and camp in a steady at the west end of
Kosk[=a]codde. While John was packing up we had an early morning prowl
round the shores in the canoe, but saw nothing. While the packing was
being finished I fished the pool at the camp and got thirteen trout
weighing 7½ lb.--the largest about 1½ lb. It was a blazing hot day, we
got to our new camping ground shortly after midday, and only caught one
trout on the way.

Going out in the evening we crossed some ideal-looking caribou ground,
but saw only one stag with a poor head and a couple of hinds.

All our hopes were now centred on the Shoe Hill Ridge country, for
though we had seen many stags we were most unfortunate as regards
heads. This was the seventh day away from the main camp, and we had
seen fourteen stags. I cannot help thinking it was a bad year for
heads, or surely we should have seen something better.

I sent Steve out early on the morning of the 13th to spy, but he came
back and reported nothing in sight.

We got away about 9.30, and with a favourable wind were soon passing
our old camp on Kosk[=a]codde.

Joe had been uneasy about us, or lonely, and we met him tramping down
the river, and, incidentally, disturbing the whole country. He reported
a stag (of course a colossal one) which had passed quite close to our
old camp. It was lucky no gun was left behind, for he most certainly
would have had a shot.

About dinner-time we reached a small lake from which the river ran out
in a sluggish stream. Steve said it was a favourite spot for trout and
suggested I should try it while lunch was being got ready. There was
a deep hole just above the stream and a light wind was rippling the
water. The trout was there in numbers and greedy for the fly. At every
cast I rose one or two, and in an hour and a half I had forty trout
weighing 19½ lb., the biggest about 2 lb. I lost one which must have
been at least 3 lb., and put back at least a dozen small ones. I never
saw trout in such numbers or so eager to take the fly.

It was nice to get back to the cheery camp on Sandy Grove Pond, and
to my comfortable camp bed, but Joe had spoiled all chance of stags.
We saw a good covey of grouse close to the camp, but they were very
wild. I thought Joe would never go to sleep he had so much to say to
his pals, and his stag grew bigger and bigger as the evening wore on,
perhaps due to a tot of rum which was served out to celebrate our
meeting.

The morning of the 14th broke grey with a light rain, and the glass was
falling, but there was no wind. I went down to fish the river for the
last time while the men were packing up. In my favourite pool I took
eleven fine trout, weighing 14 lb., four others in the smaller streams,
2 lb., and seven in crossing the lake, 5 lb.--a total for the day of
twenty-two trout, 21 lb. I lost a fly in a good trout in the big pool.
I fished the streams down till Steve came to say that all was ready
for a start. As we passed the pool I chaffingly said, "I must get that
trout which broke me." At the first cast I hooked a 2-lb. fish, and on
landing him Steve quietly remarked, "Quite right, here is your fly,"
and sure enough there it was! Crossing the lake we saw two stags and
landed to look at them, but again the heads were no good. The wind was
rising and the rain coming down ere we reached our main camp on Sandy
Grove Pond about 2.30 p.m. Time was now getting short, so we decided
to push on to the Shoe Hill Ridge and there hope for a big stag as the
deer began moving out of the woods. The evening was wild and wet, so we
stayed in camp making arrangements for the morrow's march inland.



TO THE SHOE HILL COUNTRY



[Illustration: THE CLEARING OF THE STORM, SHOE HILL RIDGE
[_To face page 247._]



CHAPTER VII

TO THE SHOE HILL COUNTRY


The morning of the 15th was grey, and though the glass was falling,
the weather looked like clearing. The men dawdled about and it was 11
before we all got away. Our plans were to take three good packs up to
Shoe Hill Ridge and then send Joe back for what we wanted from time to
time.

We had kippered all the big trout and very excellent they were later
on, for no fish were to be had on the barrens.

We reached the top of the ridge about 1 o'clock, when heavy rain set
in. As I could not walk in an oilskin, there was nothing for it but
to get wet through, and very soon I was literally wet to the skin. We
were all shivering with cold as a bitter wind was blowing over the open
barrens, so at 2 o'clock we halted to boil the kettle under the shelter
of a big rock. Though wet through, the men were as cheery as ever, and
Steve challenged Joe to race him to the top of a small hill which was
Millais' look-out when he was camped in the Shoe Hill Droke. They
came back having seen nothing. We plodded along, a sorry crew, in the
pouring rain, but somewhat refreshed by the hot tea.

As we came in sight of a big lake lying south of the Shoe Hill Droke
for which we were bound, we saw a good stag lying on the far side of
the lake. The head certainly looked the biggest I had seen, but it was
hard to use the telescope in the rain and I could not make out the
points. However, both Steve and I saw that he had very big frontals,
though I could only make out two points on the tops.

The wind was all wrong and to get a stalk meant going right round the
lake, about three miles. The other two men would have had to wait in
the rain, and as we were all feeling pretty wretched, we decided to
leave him and push on to camp. The decision was mine and I shall always
regret it, for I believe he carried the best head we saw on the trip,
but I thought as we were to hunt for a week on the Shoe Hill Ridge we
had a fair chance of coming on him again, so we passed on to camp. He
got our wind at least a mile away and cleared out over a ridge and
never was seen again. We got to camp about 5 o'clock and were soon
warming and drying ourselves before a roaring fire.

We were now in the Shoe Hill Droke, and in the centre of what Millais
described as the finest caribou country he had seen in Newfoundland.
There was, however, one great difference. He had been there the end
of October, when all the stags had moved up. It was now only the 15th
September, and it remained to be seen what our luck would be.

While getting everything shipshape I found my telescope sight was
missing. Steve always carried it slung over his shoulder and must have
left it behind at one of our halts. He assured me it would be "all
right" and that he would go out at daybreak and bring it in, which he
did. This was the first really uncomfortable day we had had--but our
troubles were soon forgotten, and over a roaring camp fire and with a
tot of rum each, we looked forward hopefully to our prospects for the
next few days. The morning of the 16th was fine, the sun was shining
brightly, the glass was rising, a fresh north-east wind was blowing,
altogether a perfect stalking day.

The Shoe Hill Droke lay on a slight rise above the Shoe Hill Lake. The
droke was a general camping ground for shooting and trapping parties,
and the remains of many camps were scattered through the wood. To the
north lay Mount Sylvester, some seven miles away, with a fine open
country between; to the south the view was bounded by a ridge about
three miles away. A similar ridge lay about the same distance to the
east, while to the west lay the country we had crossed the day before.
The whole country was undulating and there were scattered clumps of
wood affording nice shelter for stags. We could hunt in every direction
and could not possibly have been in a better centre. The ground was
hard and dry, and it was certainly the best walking in the island.

We started north about 9 a.m., and covered a lot of ground, walking
continuously until 6 p.m., with an hour's rest for a midday meal. We
saw four stags that day, and though two looked shootable, yet after a
long tramp in each case we found the horns no good, which was a great
disappointment, for we had worked really hard.

We also saw for the first time two bands of hinds, one of six with
two small very young stags and one of four. We came on the spot where
Millais had shot his forty-nine pointer and Steve pointed with pride
to the bones still lying about, also to the scene of Captain Lumsden's
thirty-seven pointer, but it was a poor satisfaction to me to know my
predecessors on the ground had got such fine trophies if I could not
find a shootable beast.

Millais, Captain Lumsden, Captain Legge and Mr. Littledale had all
shot this country with Steve, who certainly knew every inch of it,
but October is the month for the Shoe Hill Ridge, when the sport must
be grand, for all the stags from the north as well as those from the
wooded country all round come up to these barrens in the late autumn.
The country was cut up with deep trails, showing where the stags passed
on their annual migration south.

For pleasure I should choose the early season, up to October 1st; the
weather is finer and some fishing is to be had, but for good heads the
late season is certainly the best, for all the stags are out in the
open during and after the rut. In the end of October the weather is
sometimes fine, but sometimes very broken, and Steve told me that he
had more than once hunted in heavy snow in that month.

On our return to camp everything was most comfortable--benches, tables,
shelves in the tent, rests for the rifles; only the big stag was wanted
to make the Shoe Hill Droke a hunter's earthly paradise.

On the morning of the 17th we struck east and crossed two ridges till
we got to a valley between Shoe Hill Ridge and the hill on which was
the Kesoquit Droke, where Millais had camped on his way up from the
Long Harbour River.

Looking down into the valley, we saw a good stag as regards body and
two smaller ones. The head was a pretty open one, but the middles and
frontals were poor, so we left him alone. I picked up a single horn
with eighteen good points close by. We saw two more stags a long way
off and went after them, but the distance was much greater than I
thought. On our way we saw another small stag come out of a droke and
walk quietly up a slight rise, where he was joined by a still smaller
one from the far side of the ridge. Neither had shootable heads. They
both went in for what Steve called their "standing sleep," stuck their
legs out and remained perfectly motionless with the head drooping till
it almost touched the ground; occasionally they woke up with a start,
but were soon sound asleep again. It was a most comical sight and
lasted for about a quarter of an hour. I crawled up within about sixty
yards without any difficulty and could easily have shot them both. The
little stag woke up first, but it was not till we showed ourselves that
the bigger stag moved away in a most dignified manner, giving two or
three most beautiful chances before he went out of sight.

While Steve was boiling the kettle I went on to a little hillock to spy
the ground, and saw the two stags we were first after, but again the
heads were no good.

I heard a rustle behind me and, thinking it was Steve coming up to call
me to dinner, turned round and saw a hind feeding beside me, not five
yards away. She started when she saw me, but moved away quite quietly.
While eating our midday meal two more hinds fed quietly up to within a
few yards and passed by without showing any signs of fear. This country
was certainly full of deer, but none of the right sort. When we stopped
for dinner we were within one and a half miles of the Kesoquit Droke,
which is only about four miles from the head-waters of the Long Harbour
River. From a small hillock we could see the entire country and the
hills over Long Harbour, while away to the east was the conical hill
known as the "Tolt." The ground looked very much the same as far as
the eye could reach and should be a grand hunting country in October.
We could also see the waters of the Maelpeg Lake, about three miles
away. Returning to camp, we saw a black fox in the distance, which
made Steve's mouth water, as he said he could sell a good skin for two
hundred and forty dollars.

Altogether the day had been a very interesting one. We had seen seven
stags and a number of does, but unfortunately no good heads.

On the 18th the weather broke badly, the glass fell 7/10ths, a gale of
wind and heavy driving rain made stalking impossible and kept us in
camp all day. Towards evening the wind went round and the rain stopped,
and then we saw a wonderful sunset, the heavy rain clouds drifting away
across a golden red setting sun. We saw a stag on the sky-line about
two miles away, but too late to go after him.

On the 19th the wind had come round to the north, and it was a bright,
lovely morning. We took the ground to the north-west, working round by
where we had seen the stag the previous evening. We covered a lot of
ground and altogether stalked four separate stags, only to find, on
getting up to them, that the heads were no good. We must have walked
over fifteen miles, but in the bracing air of the barrens fatigue was
unknown. We saw another black fox to-day a long way off, and Steve said
he would be back trapping in three weeks and hoped to get the two black
foxes. I picked up a single horn with twenty-two points, very short and
thick. There were eight points on the top just like a frontal tine.

The morning of the 20th was very cold and grey, but we hoped it
would clear up, so started away over the ridge to the south-west.
On topping the ridge, we looked down on a great marshy plain with a
few scattered drokes. Nothing was in sight, so we walked quietly on
towards one of the drokes, from behind which suddenly burst out five
hinds pursued by what looked like a good stag, who was grunting as he
followed the hinds--the first rutting stag we had seen. They paid so
little attention to us that they were almost on top of us before they
saw us. Unfortunately, the head was poor, as he gave an easy shot.
Almost immediately after two herds of hinds passed us, while in the
distance two more stags were seen feeding about three miles away. We
went on towards them, when the rain set in and we had to find shelter
for lunch. There was no sign of the weather clearing and stalking was
impossible in the heavy rain and mist, so we plodded wearily back to
camp, which we reached after dark, wet to the skin. This valley was
full of grouse; we saw seven good coveys and I shot three birds for the
pot with the small rifle.

The rain continued all night, but stopped about 7 a.m. on the morning
of the 21st.

We had come up to Shoe Hill Ridge on the 15th in heavy rain. It had
rained on the 18th and again on the 20th, so three days out of six
were spoiled. The whole country was now soaked with the rain, little
rivulets had become torrents, and the marshes were knee deep in water.
It seemed useless to remain on, as it meant my missing my steamer in
New York, so we decided to pack up and get out.

Looking back, I think this was a mistake. I might have spent another
week in this grand country and taken a later boat home. Some big stags
might have come up from the woods. On the other hand, the weather was
broken and even Steve was in favour of moving. All along he regretted
that I had not come in for the October shooting, when, he said, I was
bound to have got good heads. He was just as keen as I was and sorry to
leave.

[Illustration: LUNCH ON THE BAIE DU NORD RIVER]

[Illustration: MY CAMP, SHOE HILL DROKE
[_To face page 256._]



HOMEWARD BOUND



CHAPTER VIII

HOMEWARD BOUND


Just as we had packed up a fearful thunderstorm came on which lasted
over an hour, and we did not get away till 11.45, arriving at Sandy
Pond at 3 o'clock, wet through. The water was pouring down the hill
sides, every deep deer track was a torrent, and it was heavy going
through the marshes. We had a meal and a change of clothes, and,
packing the canoes, reached the portage into Sandy Pond at dusk. The
evening was fine; we pitched camp in a nice droke and over a good hot
supper at 9 o'clock the discomforts of the day were soon forgotten. By
the aneroid the Shoe Hill Droke was 370 feet above the level of Sandy
Grove Pond. There was just a last chance of a stag, as Steve said
there was some good ground in the direction of where I had shot the
first stag. I sent him out at daybreak on the 22nd, and he came back
reporting three stags about half-a-mile away, one of which he thought
was a good one.

We started away and found them feeding in an open marsh without any
cover but three great boulders about 800 yards from where they were.
The biggest stag had a very pretty head, but careful examination
with the glass decided me to let him go. Steve said, "Pity that not
forty-pointer." The position looked so impossible that I told Steve
we never could have got a stalk or a shot. "I drive him," said Steve.
Wishing to see how he would manage it I told him to go ahead, while I
lay behind the big boulder; meanwhile the stags lay down. He took a
tremendous round and presently I saw him about a mile on the other side
of the stags, who at the moment got his wind, rose and began to trot
away, but not towards me. Suddenly I saw Steve trotting along to turn
them, which he did most successfully, for the three stags came along at
a swinging trot, the big one behind, and passed in the open about 150
yards from me. The shot was such a sporting one I could not resist it,
and as the thud of the bullet came back to me the stag dashed forward
at a gallop and rolled over stone dead, shot through the heart. My last
stalk and shot of the trip. I cannot pretend that stalking caribou is
a high form of sport. If the wind is right and there are not too many
hinds about one can take any liberties. Of all the animals I have shot
the caribou seems to me the most stupid and the easiest to bag under
ordinary circumstances.

[Illustration: UP THE TWO-MILE BROOK, HOMEWARD BOUND]

[Illustration: A BROOK IN FLOOD
[_To face page 261._]

I had a special permit to shoot five stags, but only shot four, not
counting the deer we had to shoot for meat, generally hinds.

We soon had the meat in the canoes. The brooks and shallow steadies
were now full up from the heavy rains, so we poled where we had to
portage coming in. The rain was falling in torrents. We saw our last
stag as we came up to Red Hill Pond, but he had no head to speak of. By
4.30 we reached Red Hill Pond, which was up over two feet. The rain was
so bad we decided to camp, and soon had a fire as big as a house going,
before which we dried ourselves; the men just as cheerful as if it had
been bright sunshine. It was an awful night, a gale tearing through
the tops of the trees, and the rain coming down in sheets; but the
morning of the 23rd was fine, as the wind had come round to the north,
and we made an early start as we hoped to reach Ryan's by nightfall. I
had had bad luck; I had seen and stalked forty-two stags and never saw
one really good head. I think it must have been a bad year for heads,
or Millais, Lumsden, Legge and Littledale had cleared the best stags
off the ground. A party of Americans had come over from the east the
previous year, but spent only two days on the Shoe Hill Ridge and got
two good stags.

Steve now regretted that we had not gone back by the Terra Nova river
and lake. He said we could have shot every rapid without unloading
and would have reached St. John's much quicker than by going back to
Belleoram. With a gale of wind behind us, but no rain, we made good
time. The two-mile brook was in heavy flood and we poled the canoe up
and reached the old camp on Hungry Grove Pond by 11.

Here I left all the provisions that were left over, the fly for the
men and the kit I was giving them as a present, and we started for a
fifteen-mile tramp to Ryan's at 11.45.

The ground was saturated and we only reached the top of the hill above
Ryan's at dark. It was awful going down the hill in the dark, and the
men fell with their packs more than once. We simply waded and stumbled
along till we saw the welcome lights of the house at 7.30 p.m.--a real
hard day's work. I shot five grouse on the way. By the aneroid the top
of the six-mile hill was 800 feet above the sea-level at Ryan's.

Ryan was away, but I received a hearty welcome from his niece. The
question now was what was to be done? There was no schooner or sailing
boat of any kind; however, as usual, Steve and John were not to be
defeated, but said they would row me down to Anderson's Cove in the
fishing dory.

[Illustration: A VIEW IN LONG HARBOUR.
[_To face page 263._]

The morning of the 24th was lovely and calm, but a wind sprang up just
as we got away and it was soon blowing a gale in our teeth and we were
shipping heavy seas. Steve and John struggled gallantly on, but at 2
o'clock we had to halt, as we could make no way. After about two hours,
when we were considering how we could pass the night, the wind dropped
as suddenly as it rose and we reached John Saunders' house just at
dark. Anderson's Cove was two miles farther on. Saunders was a fine
specimen of the old settler, and his house was a picture of cleanliness
and neatness. The sails of his schooner were unbent, so we decided to
go on to the Cove where the leading trader, Mr. Thornhill, lived, and
Steve said he had a sailing boat and could put us across next morning.
There was a slight difficulty about this, as one of the hands wanted a
guarantee of so many dollars a day should he be detained in Belleoram.
I cut matters short by sending a wire to Saunders to bend his sails and
come over as early as he could in the morning. I think my friends at
Anderson's Cove were a bit disappointed when Saunders and his smart
boat came across with a spanking breeze and picked us up about 9 a.m.
We had all slept on the floor at Thornhill's, but had an excellent
supper of a whole cod boiled with potatoes.

We had a lovely sail across to Belleoram--Saunders and a fine strapping
son being the crew. The boat was as smart and clean as a yacht, and
the two Saunders were the best type I had yet met of the Newfoundland
settlers.

Steve and John came for the trip as cheery as ever, though their
badly blistered hands showed the work of yesterday. By 12.30 I was at
Belleoram, and by 1 o'clock the men were on their way back to Long
Harbour. As Steve said good-bye it was really quite touching. "You
treat us very well, you very good man. Come again, and God bless you."
I certainly never parted with men with such regret and never want
better friends or hunting comrades.

Being Sunday, Belleoram was very quiet. Mrs. Cluett gave me an
excellent dinner and a delightful bedroom, for I had to stay the night,
as my steamer was not due till next day. In the evening I went to the
service in the big church on the hill. The congregation were mostly
men who "go down to the sea in ships and occupy their business in
great waters," while the special prayer for their protection against
the perils of cod fishing struck a note that was new to me. There was
quite a nice little organ and the whole congregation joined devoutly in
the hymns; altogether the service was most impressive.

The _Glencoe_ turned up at 1 o'clock on the 26th and the next afternoon
we reached Placentia, where the train was waiting. We got away about
5.30, but did not reach St. John's (80 miles) till 2 a.m. the following
morning, a very poor performance. The engine could not pull us up the
inclines. We made a rush and each time stuck half-way and had to run
back a couple of miles to make a fresh try. However, it seemed a usual
occurrence, for every one on board took it quite philosophically, many
recounting their reminiscences of when they had to stop all night in
the train.

In the train was Mr. Job, just returning from a good grouse shoot. He
told me he had in his office a sixty-four pointer caribou stag shot by
an Indian and bought by his brother. He very kindly allowed me to see
it the next day, and a very remarkable head it was; I could make out at
least sixty points.

I left St. John's at 6 p.m. on the 29th and as we reached Gaff
Topsails, about the highest point of the railway, sleet and light snow
were falling and a bitter wind was blowing across the open barrens.
Descending to the Humber Valley the climate became milder and the
autumn tints made the scenery, if possible, more beautiful than when I
had passed it before. I had to spend Saturday night in Halifax, Nova
Scotia, but got away by the Sunday night express and reached New York
early on Tuesday morning. It was still hot and muggy and I was glad
to leave on the _Deutschland_ on Saturday, October 8th, arriving in
Plymouth early on October 14th.

The route I had chosen involved great loss of time, the weekly sailing
of the _Glencoe_ on the south coast being a great drawback. If one
steamer be missed a week is lost.

I might just as well have gone from Port aux Basques to Belleoram by
steamer and returned from Belleoram to Port aux Basques, thus avoiding
the tiresome railway journey of twenty-nine hours, but I had to outfit
at St. John's and wished also to see the scenery of the island.

The heads I got did not make up for a somewhat expensive trip, but, on
the other hand, I had seen a great deal of very beautiful country in
fair comfort and enjoyed some excellent trout fishing which I would
not have got had I gone in from the railway. I had the Mount Sylvester
country all to myself and it was simply bad luck that I saw no good
heads. I can honestly say, however, that I never enjoyed a hunting
trip more, and only wish I could look forward to another visit to the
island, when with my present experiences I could, I think, make better
arrangements to avoid loss of time in reaching the hunting grounds.

The game laws of Newfoundland are sufficiently liberal. A licence of
$50 (£10) gives the visitor the right to shoot three caribou stags. The
true sportsman should be content with this limit and will carefully
pick his heads.

The Newfoundlander, whether white man or Indian, is not charged the
$50. The Indian certainly shoots what he wants and is not particular
about a close time. Accustomed as he has been from time immemorial to
range the island and shoot for food and clothing, it is difficult to
get him to understand the principle underlying game laws, and to accept
a game limit to which he has never been accustomed and the necessity
for which he does not understand.

When the fishing laws come to be considered there seems to me great
room for improvement. The Newfoundland Government prides itself on all
the rivers being open to every one. For the first time, in 1910, a
fishing licence of $10 was imposed on the visitor, and this gave him
the right to fish any river in the island. The practical result is,
that many of the best-known rivers, such as the Codroy and Harry's
Brook, are overfished.

All the rivers on the west coast are very accessible to the angler from
the United States, and suffer most from overcrowding. I met an English
angler who had been fishing the Codroy; he said it was one continual
struggle as to who would get on to the water first. I heard the same
story at the south-east arm, Placentia. The Government absolutely
refuses to lease a river or even to limit the number of rods, and I
think this policy is entirely wrong.

In practice one may decide on a season in Newfoundland. Having
carefully selected a somewhat inaccessible river and made all one's
arrangements for camping out, it would certainly be disappointing on
arrival to find two or three other parties settled on the river and
one's trip spoiled, yet this is quite possible. I was told in St.
John's, no Government would dare to change the existing law and the
policy of the open door in fishing. This I cannot understand, for what
has been done in Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia can surely be
done in Newfoundland.

The application of the law is carried to the extreme. An official
of the Fishery Board told me of a case where an American offered a
liberal rent for a remote river on the Labrador Coast. There was but
one settler on the river and the American guaranteed that he would take
him into his service. He proposed to build a fishing lodge and so put
capital into the country. His application was refused.

The Government professes to be most anxious to encourage the tourist
and sportsman to visit the island, but I venture to think they are not
going the right way about it, at least as regards the angler.

They do not seem to recognize the advantage to the country of leasing
any of the many rivers. First the lessee would see that the river
was carefully preserved, he would give employment to watchers, he
would probably build a house and in any case would spend money in the
country, while at the same time his rent goes to increase the revenue.

A double object is thus attained--the preservation of fish and game,
and an increase in revenue.

If, however, such a policy be impossible the least the Government can
do is to limit the number of rods on each river and to have some means
of knowing which rivers are being fished and by how many rods. In this
way the angler contemplating a trip to Newfoundland could apply for
all information to the existing Fishery Board, who would advise him
where to go with the least chance of being crowded out.

Given some such organization, Newfoundland should become the favourite
resort of the British angler.

A hunting trip may be cheap or expensive, chiefly depending on the
route selected, the number of Indians employed and the means of
transport in the island. The cheapest route is by the direct steamers
to St. John's. Two Indians are sufficient, but a third adds greatly
to one's comfort. Their pay is--Headman, 2½ to 3 dollars a day; other
men, 2 dollars. If a waterway into the interior be selected, two canoes
are a luxury, one large one a necessity; with two canoes all the
necessaries and many of the luxuries of life can be enjoyed; the same
cannot be said of packing, as my Vancouver experiences have shown. It
is to say the least a nuisance to have the necessaries cut down; the
luxuries, by which I mean preserved milk, butter, jam, oatmeal, and
a small amount of whisky or rum, one can do without, but why not be
comfortable, if comfort can be found, by the better mode of transport
which canoes afford.

They can be ordered from Canada through Mr. Blair and sold on leaving
the island.

I give in an appendix my list of stores, but I had far too much. One
and a half stone of flour is ample for four men for one week, the
amount taken will then depend on the length of the trip. The cost
as paid in St. John's is given. I had many stores over, for we had
abundance of venison and fish.

Fish need never be wasted; the trout split, salted and hung up over or
near the camp fire make excellent kippers, and when up on the Shoe Hill
Ridge, where no fresh fish were obtainable, I thoroughly enjoyed the
kippered trout from Sandy Grove Pond.



NEWFOUNDLAND

LIST OF STORES TAKEN

APPENDIX I


                                     cents.        $
  7 stones Flour                      65          4.55
  50 lb. Bacon                        35         17.50
  2 3-lb. tins Lard                   70          1.40
  7 lb. Tea                           60          4.20
  2 lb. Coffee                        48           .96
  40 lb. Sugar                         8          3.20
  15 tins St. Charles Cream           15          2.25
  8 gals. Potatoes                    25          2.00
  7 lb. Patna Rice                     8           .56
  15 lb. Lima Beans                    8          1.20
  6 bags Salt                          3           .18
  3 lb. Dried Apples                  20           .60
  4 lb. Peaches                       25          1.00
  3 lb. Apricots                      25           .75
  16 ¼-lb. tins Baking Powder       16          2.56
  3 1-lb. tins Marmalade              24           .72
  3 1-lb. tins Apricot Jam            28           .84
  3 lb. Cooking Butter                38          1.14
  9 lb. Eating Butter                 48          4.05
  15 lb. Onions                        6           .90
  2 tins White Pepper                  8           .16
  6 tins Corned Beef                  22          1.32
  1 5-lb. tin Alum                    15           .75
  7 yards Grey Calico                 12           .84
  1 Nest tin boxes for Stores                      .90
  4 lb. Scotch Oatmeal                 8           .32
  2 bottles Worcester Sauce           25           .50
  1 bottle Vinegar                                 .25
  2 tins Mustard                      10           .20
  6 tins Potted Meat                  15           .90
  1 Dutch Oven                                    4.00
  2 tins Dubbin                       15           .30
  1 Frying Pan made to order                      1.20
  2 American Axes                   1.10          2.20
  1 Hatchet                                        .75
  1 ball Twine                                     .18
  6 fathom Bank Line                               .25
  3 Sail Needles                       2           .06
  1 slip Sail Twine                                .25
  6 yards 12-oz. Duck                 25          1.50
  ½ lb. ½" Copper Tacks               50           .25
  1 2-lb. tin Grey Paint                           .80
  2 doz. ½" Brass Screws               6           .12
  1 lb. 3" Iron Nails                              .06
  6 lb. Smoking Tobacco               80          4.80
  3 bottles Rum                       90          2.70
  8 bottles Whisky                  1.30         10.40
  1 packet Toilet Paper                            .10
  6 cakes Soap                         8           .48
  1 doz. Sea Dog Matches                           .10
  2 doz. Wax Matches                  20           .40
  1 packet Sulphur Matches                         .20
  3 lb. Price's Candles               20           .60
  1 Candle Lantern                                 .75
  1 Oil Stove                                      .35
  1 small bottle Oil                               .25
  2 tin Basins                        15           .30
  1 iron Spoon                                     .15
  1 tin Flash                                      .20
  2 tins Sardines                     20           .40
  2 1-lb. tins Lunch Tongue           45           .90
  1 tin Apricots                                   .30
  1 tin Cocoa and Milk                             .25
  3 sets Knives and Forks             17           .51
  14 lb. Hard Bread                    6           .84
  1 Can Opener                                     .20
  3 tin Camp Cups                     20           .60
  1 Enamel Mug                        20           .20
  4 tin Plates                         8           .32
  1 iron Fork                                      .20
  1 iron Spoon                                     .18
  5 Boxes and Packing                             4.00
  Freight to Belleoram                            2.71
  8 Grey Calico Bags                              2.00
  1 Gridiron                                       .30
  1 Lock for Box                                   .15
  1 set Hinges                                     .10
  1 Hasp and Staple                                .10
                                                -------
                               Total           $104.66
                                                =======



  RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED
  BRUNSWICK STREET, STAMFORD STREET, S.E.,
  AND BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.



Transcriber's Notes


Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

In "Kosk[=a]codde", the symbols "[=a]" represent an "a" with a macron
diacritic.

p. 220: the horn next me -> the horn next to me.

p. 266: Belleroram -> Belleoram.





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