Part 1 out of 7
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TALES OF LONELY TRAILS
BY ZANE GREY
[Illustration: Zane Grey]
II. COLORADO TRAILS
III. ROPING LIONS IN THE GRAND CANYON
IV. TONTO BASIN
V. DEATH VALLEY
Z.G. AFTER TWO MONTHS IN THE WILDS
THERE WAS SOMETHING BEYOND THE WHITE PEAKED RANGES
WEIRD AND WONDERFUL MONUMENTS IN MONUMENT VALLEY
SUNSET ON THE DESERT
CAVE OF THE CLIFF DWELLERS
THIS IMMENSE CAVE WOULD HOLD TRINITY CHURCH. IN IT LIES THE RUINED
CLIFF DWELLING CALLED BETATAKIN
THE WIND-WORN TREACHEROUS SLOPES ON THE WAY TO NONNEZOSHE
FIRST SIGHT OF THE GREAT NATURAL BRIDGE
PACK HORSES ON A SAGE SLOPE IN COLORADO
THE GRASSY UPLANDS, WITH WHITELEY'S PEAK IN THE DISTANCE
A SPRUCE-SHADED, FLOWER-SKIRTED LAKE
LOOKING DOWN UPON CLOUD-FILLED VALLEYS
SEARCHING BURNED-OVER RANGES FOR GAME
A HUNTER'S CABIN ON A FROSTY MORNING
THE TROUBLESOME COUNTRY, NOTED FOR GRIZZLY BEARS
UNDER THE SHADOW OF THE FLATTOP MOUNTAINS
WHITE ASPEN TREE SHOWING MARKS OF BEAR CLAWS
A BLACK BEAR TREED
CROSSING THE COLORADO RIVER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE GRAND CANYON
WHERE ROLLS THE COLORADO
DOWN THE SHINUMO TRAIL OF THE NORTH RIVER
CAMP AT THE SADDLE
BUFFALO JONES WITH SOUNDER AND RANGER
JONES ABOUT TO LASSO A MOUNTAIN LION
REMAINS OF A DEER KILLED BY LIONS
A LION TIED
FIGHTING WEETAHS (BUFFALO BULLS) ON BUFFALO JONES'S DESERT RANCH
A DRINK OF COLD GRANITE WATER UNDER THE RIM
WHICH IS THE PIUTE
WILD HORSES DRINKING ON A PROMONTORY IN THE GRAND CANYON
JONES AND EMETT PACKING LION ON HORSE
JONES CLIMBING UP TO LASSO LION
TWO LIONS IN ONE TREE
JONES, EMETT, AND THE NAVAJO WITH THE LIONS
BILLY IN CAMP
LION LICKING SNOWBALL
SOME OF OUR MENAGERIE IN BUCKSKIN FOREST
WHITE MUSTANG STALLION WITH HIS BUNCH OF BLACKS IN SNAKE GULCH
ON THE WAY HOME
RIDING WITH A NAVAJO
THE AUTHOR AND HIS MEN
ROMER-BOY ON HIS FAVORITE STEED
THE TONTO BASIN
LISTENING FOR THE HOUNDS
ZANE GREY ON DON CARLOS
THE WHITE QUAKING ASPS
THE SKUNK, A FREQUENT AND RATHER DANGEROUS VISITOR IN CAMP
ON THE RIM
WHERE ELK, DEER, AND TURKEY DRINK
WHERE BEAR CROSS THE RIDGE FROM ONE CANYON TO ANOTHER
CLIMBING OVER THE TOUGH MANZANITA
BEAR IN SIGHT ACROSS CANYON
Z.G.'S CINNAMON BEAR
R.C.'S BIG BROWN BEAR
MEAT IN CAMP
BURROS PACKED FOR THE TRAIL
THE DEADLY CHOLLA, MOST POISONOUS AND PAIN INFLICTING OF THE CACTUS
THE COLORED CALICO MOUNTAINS
DOWN THE LONG WINDING WASH TO DEATH VALLEY
DESOLATION AND DECAY. LOOKING DOWN OVER THE DENUDED RIDGES TO THE
STARK VALLEY OF DEATH
THE GHASTLY SWEEP OF DEATH VALLEY
IN THE CENTER OF THE SALT-INCRUSTED FLOOR OF DEATH VALLEY, THREE
HUNDRED FEET BELOW SEA LEVEL
TALES OF LONELY TRAILS
John Wetherill, one of the famous Wetherill brothers and trader at
Kayenta, Arizona, is the man who discovered Nonnezoshe, which is
probably the most beautiful and wonderful natural phenomenon in
the world. Wetherill owes the credit to his wife, who, through her
influence with the Indians finally after years succeeded in getting
the secret of the great bridge.
After three trips to Marsh Pass and Kayenta with my old guide, Al
Doyle of Flagstaff, I finally succeeded in getting Wetherill to take
me in to Nonnezoshe. This was in the spring of 1913 and my party was
the second one, not scientific, to make the trip. Later this same
year Wetherill took in the Roosevelt party and after that the Kolb
brothers. It is a safe thing to say that this trip is one of the most
beautiful in the West. It is a hard one and not for everybody. There
is no guide except Wetherill, who knows how to get there. And after
Doyle and I came out we admitted that we would not care to try to
return over our back trail. We doubted if we could find the way. This
is the only place I have ever visited which I am not sure I could find
My trip to Nonnezoshe gave me the opportunity to see also Monument
Valley, and the mysterious and labyrinthine Canyon Segi with its great
The desert beyond Kayenta spread out impressively, bare red flats
and plains of sage leading to the rugged vividly-colored and
wind-sculptured sandstone heights typical of the Painted Desert of
Arizona. Laguna Creek, at that season, became flooded after every
thunderstorm; and it was a treacherous red-mired quicksand where I
convinced myself we would have stuck forever had it not been for
We rode all day, for the most part closed in by ridges and bluffs, so
that no extended view was possible. It was hot, too, and the sand blew
and the dust rose. Travel in northern Arizona is never easy, and this
grew harder and steeper. There was one long slope of heavy sand that
I made sure would prove too much for Wetherill's pack mules. But they
surmounted it apparently less breathless than I was. Toward sunset a
storm gathered ahead of us to the north with a promise of cooling and
At length we turned into a long canyon with straight rugged red
walls, and a sandy floor with quite a perceptible ascent. It appeared
endless. Far ahead I could see the black storm-clouds; and by and bye
began to hear the rumble of thunder. Darkness had overtaken us by the
time we had reached the head of this canyon; and my first sight of
Monument Valley came with a dazzling flash of lightning. It revealed
a vast valley, a strange world of colossal shafts and buttes of rock,
magnificently sculptored, standing isolated and aloof, dark, weird,
lonely. When the sheet lightning flared across the sky showing the
monuments silhouetted black against that strange horizon the effect
was marvelously beautiful. I watched until the storm died away.
[Illustration: Z. G. AFTER TWO MONTHS IN THE WILDS]
Dawn, with the desert sunrise, changed Monument Valley, bereft it of
its night gloom and weird shadow, and showed it in another aspect of
beauty. It was hard for me to realize that those monuments were not
the works of man. The great valley must once have been a plateau of
red rock from which the softer strata had eroded, leaving the gentle
league-long slopes marked here and there by upstanding pillars and
columns of singular shape and beauty. I rode down the sweet-scented
sage-slopes under the shadow of the lofty Mittens, and around and
across the valley, and back again to the height of land. And when I
had completed the ride a story had woven itself into my mind; and
the spot where I stood was to be the place where Lin Slone taught
Lucy Bostil to ride the great stallion Wildfire.
[Illustration: THERE WAS SOMETHING BEYOND THE WHITE-PEAKED RANGES]
Two days' ride took us across country to the Segi. With this wonderful
canyon I was familiar, that is, as familiar as several visits could
make a man with such a bewildering place. In fact I had named it
Deception Pass. The Segi had innumerable branches, all more or less
the same size, and sometimes it was difficult to tell the main canyon
from one of its tributaries. The walls were rugged and crumbling, of a
red or yellow hue, upward of a thousand feet in height, and indented
by spruce-sided notches.
There were a number of ruined cliff-dwellings, the most accessible of
which was Keet Seel. I could imagine no more picturesque spot. A
huge wind-worn cavern with a vast slanted stained wall held upon a
projecting ledge or shelf the long line of cliff-dwellings. These
silent little stone houses with their vacant black eye-like windows
had strange power to make me ponder, and then dream.
Next day, upon resuming our journey, it pleased me to try to find the
trail to Betatakin, the most noted, and surely the most wonderful and
beautiful ruin in all the West. In many places there was no trail at
all, and I encountered difficulties, but in the end without much loss
of time I entered the narrow rugged entrance of the canyon I had named
Surprise Valley. Sight of the great dark cave thrilled me as I thought
it might have thrilled Bess and Venters, who had lived for me their
imagined lives of loneliness here in this wild spot. With the sight
of those lofty walls and the scent of the dry sweet sage there rushed
over me a strange feeling that "Riders of the Purple Sage" was true.
My dream people of romance had really lived there once upon a time.
I climbed high upon the huge stones, and along the smooth red walls
where Pay Larkin once had glided with swift sure steps, and I entered
the musty cliff-dwellings, and called out to hear the weird and
sonorous echoes, and I wandered through the thickets and upon the
grassy spruce-shaded benches, never for a moment free of the story I
had conceived there. Something of awe and sadness abided with me. I
could not enter into the merry pranks and investigations of my party.
Surprise Valley seemed a part of my past, my dreams, my very self.
I left it, haunted by its loneliness and silence and beauty, by the
story it had given me.
That night we camped at Bubbling Spring, which once had been a geyser
of considerable power. Wetherill told a story of an old Navajo who had
lived there. For a long time, according to the Indian tale, the old
chief resided there without complaining of this geyser that was wont
to inundate his fields. But one season the unreliable waterspout made
great and persistent endeavor to drown him and his people and horses.
Whereupon the old Navajo took his gun and shot repeatedly at the
geyser, and thundered aloud his anger to the Great Spirit. The geyser
ebbed away, and from that day never burst forth again.
[Illustration: WEIRD AND WONDERFUL MONUMENTS IN MONUMENT VALLEY]
[Illustration: SUNSET ON THE DESERT]
[Illustration: CAVE OF THE CLIFF DWELLERS]
Somewhere under the great bulge of Navajo Mountain I calculated that we
were coming to the edge of the plateau. The white bobbing pack-horses
disappeared and then our extra mustangs. It is no unusual thing for a
man to use three mounts on this trip. Then two of our Indians
disappeared. But Wetherill waited for us and so did Nas ta Bega, the
Piute who first took Wetherill down into Nonnezoshe Boco. As I came up I
thought we had indeed reached the end of the world.
"It's down in there," said Wetherill, with a laugh.
Nas ta Bega made a slow sweeping gesture. There is always something so
significant and impressive about an Indian when he points anywhere. It
is as if he says, "There, way beyond, over the ranges, is a place I
know, and it is far." The fact was that I looked at the Piute's dark,
inscrutable face before I looked out into the void.
My gaze then seemed impelled and held by things afar, a vast yellow
and purple corrugated world of distance, apparently now on a level
with my eyes. I was drawn by the beauty and grandeur of that scene;
and then I was transfixed, almost by fear, by the realization that
I dared to venture down into this wild and upflung fastness. I kept
looking afar, sweeping the three-quarter circle of horizon till my
judgment of distance was confounded and my sense of proportion dwarfed
one moment and magnified the next.
Wetherill was pointing and explaining, but I had not grasped all he
"You can see two hundred miles into Utah," he went on. "That bright
rough surface, like a washboard, is wind-worn rock. Those little lines
of cleavage are canyons. There are a thousand canyons down there, and
only a few have we been in. That long purple ragged line is the Grand
Canyon of the Colorado. And there, that blue fork in the red, that's
where the San Juan comes in. And there's Escalante Canyon."
I had to adopt the Indian's method of studying unlimited spaces in the
desert--to look with slow contracted eyes from near to far.
The pack-train and the drivers had begun to zigzag down a long slope,
bare of rock, with scant strips of green, and here and there a cedar.
Half a mile down, the slope merged in what seemed a green level. But I
knew it was not level. This level was a rolling plain, growing darker
green, with lines of ravines and thin, undefined spaces that might be
mirage. Miles and miles it swept and rolled and heaved, to lose its
waves in apparent darker level. Round red rocks stood isolated.
They resembled huge grazing cattle. But as I gazed these rocks were
strangely magnified. They grew and grew into mounds, castles, domes,
crags, great red wind-carved buttes. One by one they drew my gaze
to the wall of upflung rock. I seemed to see a thousand domes of a
thousand shapes and colors, and among them a thousand blue clefts,
each of which was a canyon.
Beyond this wide area of curved lines rose another wall, dwarfing the
lower; dark red, horizon-long, magnificent in frowning boldness, and
because of its limitless deceiving surfaces incomprehensible to the
gaze of man. Away to the eastward began a winding ragged blue line,
looping back upon itself, and then winding away again, growing wider
and bluer. This line was San Juan Canyon. I followed that blue line
all its length, a hundred miles, down toward the west where it joined
a dark purple shadowy cleft. And this was the Grand Canyon of the
Colorado. My eye swept along with that winding mark, farther and
farther to the west, until the cleft, growing larger and closer,
revealed itself as a wild and winding canyon. Still farther westward
it split a vast plateau of red peaks and yellow mesas. Here the canyon
was full of purple smoke. It turned, it closed, it gaped, it lost
itself and showed again in that chaos of a million cliffs. And then it
faded, a mere purple line, into deceiving distance.
I imagined there was no scene in all the world to equal this. The
tranquillity of lesser spaces was here not manifest. This happened to
be a place where so much of the desert could be seen and the effect
was stupendous Sound, movement, life seemed to have no fitness here.
Ruin was there and desolation and decay. The meaning of the ages
was flung at me. A man became nothing. But when I gazed across that
sublime and majestic wilderness, in which the Grand Canyon was only a
dim line, I strangely lost my terror and something came to me across
the shining spaces.
Then Nas ta Bega and Wetherill began the descent of the slope, and the
rest of us followed. No sign of a trail showed where the base of the
slope rolled out to meet the green plain. There was a level bench a
mile wide, then a ravine, and then an ascent, and after that, rounded
ridge and ravine, one after the other, like huge swells of a monstrous
sea. Indian paint brush vied in its scarlet hue with the deep magenta
of cactus. There was no sage. Soap weed and meager grass and a bunch
of cactus here and there lent the green to that barren, and it was
green only at a distance.
Nas ta Bega kept on at a steady gait. The sun climbed. The wind rose
and whipped dust from under the mustangs. There is seldom much talk
on a ride of this nature. It is hard work and everybody for himself.
Besides, it is enough just to see; and that country is conducive to
silence. I looked back often, and the farther out on the plain we rode
the higher loomed the plateau we had descended; and as I faced ahead
again, the lower sank the red-domed and castled horizon to the fore.
It was a wild place we were approaching. I saw pinon patches under
the circled walls. I ceased to feel the dry wind in my face. We were
already in the lee of a wall. I saw the rock squirrels scampering to
their holes. Then the Indians disappeared between two rounded corners
I rode round the corner into a widening space thick with cedars. It
ended in a bare slope of smooth rock. Here we dismounted to begin the
ascent. It was smooth and hard, though not slippery. There was not
a crack. I did not see a broken piece of stone. Nas ta Bega and
Wetherill climbed straight up for a while and then wound round a
swell, to turn this way and that, always going up. I began to see
similar mounds of rock all around me, of every shape that could be
called a curve. There were yellow domes far above and small red domes
far below. Ridges ran from one hill of rock to another. There were
no abrupt breaks, but holes and pits and caves were everywhere, and
occasionally deep down, an amphitheater green with cedar and pinon. We
found no vestige of trail on those bare slopes.
Our guides led to the top of the wall, only to disclose to us another
wall beyond, with a ridged, bare, and scalloped depression between.
Here footing began to be precarious for both man and beast. Our
mustangs were not shod and it was wonderful to see their slow, short,
careful steps. They knew a great deal better than we what the danger
was. It has been such experiences as this that have made me see in
horses something besides beasts of burden. In the ascent of the second
slope it was necessary to zigzag up, slowly and carefully, taking
advantage of every bulge and depression.
Then before us twisted and dropped and curved the most dangerous
slopes I had ever seen. We had reached the height of the divide and
many of the drops on this side were perpendicular and too steep for us
to see the bottom.
[Illustration: THIS IMMENSE CAVE WOULD HOLD TRINITY CHURCH. IN IT LIES
THE RUINED CLIFF DWELLING CALLED BETATAKIN]
At one bad place Wetherill and Nas ta Bega, with Joe Lee, a Mormon
cowboy with us, were helping one of the pack-horses named Chub. On the
steepest part of this slope Chub fell and began to slide. His momentum
jerked the rope from the hands of Wetherill and the Indian. But Joe
Lee held on. Joe was a giant and being a Mormon he could not let go of
anything he had. He began to slide with the horse, holding back with
all his might.
[Illustration: THE WIND-WORN TREACHEROUS SLOPES ON THE WAY TO
It seemed that both man and beast must slide down to where the slope
ended in a yawning precipice. Chub was snorting or screaming in
terror. Our mustangs were frightened and rearing. It was not a place
to have trouble with horses.
I had a moment of horrified fascination, in which Chub turned clear
over. Then he slid into a little depression that, with Joe's hold on
the lasso, momentarily checked his descent. Quick as thought Joe ran
sidewise and down to the bulge of rock, and yelled for help. I got
to him a little ahead of Wetherill and Nas ta Bega; and together we
pulled Chub up out of danger. At first we thought he had been choked
to death. But he came to, and got up, a bloody, skinned horse, but
alive and safe. I have never seen a more magnificent effort than Joe
Lee's. Those fellows are built that way. Wetherill has lost horses on
those treacherous slopes, and that risk is the only thing about the
trip which is not splendid.
We got over that bad place without further incident, and presently
came to a long swell of naked stone that led down to a narrow green
split. This one had straight walls and wound away out of sight. It was
the head of a canyon.
"Nonnezoshe Boco," said the Indian.
This then was the Canyon of the Rainbow Bridge. When we got down into
it we were a happy crowd. The mode of travel here was a selection of
the best levels, the best places to cross the brook, the best places
to climb, and it was a process of continual repetition. There was no
trail ahead of us, but we certainly left one behind. And as Wetherill
picked out the course and the mustangs followed him I had all freedom
to see and feel the beauty, color, wildness and changing character of
My experiences in the desert did not count much in the trip down this
strange, beautiful lost canyon. All canyons are not alike. This one
did not widen, though the walls grew higher. They began to lean and
bulge, and the narrow strip of sky above resembled a flowing blue
river. Huge caverns had been hollowed out by water or wind. And when
the brook ran close under one of these overhanging places the running
water made a singular indescribable sound. A crack from a hoof on a
stone rang like a hollow bell and echoed from wall to wall. And the
croak of a frog--the only living creature I noted in the canyon--was a
weird and melancholy thing.
"We're sure gettin' deep down," said Joe Lee.
"How do you know?" I asked.
"Here are the pink and yellow sego lilies. Only the white ones are
I dismounted to gather some of these lilies. They were larger than
the white ones of higher altitudes, of a most exquisite beauty and
fragility, and of such rare pink and yellow hues as I had never seen.
"They bloom only where it's always summer," explained Joe.
That expressed their nature. They were the orchids of the summer
canyons. They stood up everywhere star-like out of the green. It was
impossible to prevent the mustangs treading them under foot. And as
the canyon deepened, and many little springs added their tiny volume
to the brook, every grassy bench was dotted with lilies, like a green
sky star-spangled. And this increasing luxuriance manifested itself
in the banks of purple moss and clumps of lavender daisies and
great mounds of yellow violets. The brook was lined by blossoming
buck-brush; the rocky corners showed the crimson and magenta of
cactus; and there were ledges of green with shining moss that sparkled
with little white flowers. The hum of bees filled the fragrant, dreamy
But by and bye, this green and colorful and verdant beauty, the almost
level floor of the canyon, the banks of soft earth, the thickets and
clumps of cottonwood, the shelving caverns and bulging walls--these
features were gradually lost, and Nonnezoshe began to deepen in bare
red and white stone steps. The walls sheered away from one another,
breaking into sections and ledges, and rising higher and higher, and
there began to be manifested a dark and solemn concordance with the
nature that had created this old rent in the earth.
There was a stretch of miles where steep steps in hard red rock
alternated with long levels of round boulders. Here, one by one, the
mustangs went lame and we had to walk. And we slipped and stumbled
along over these loose, treacherous stones. The hours passed; the toil
increased; the progress diminished; one of the mustangs failed and was
left. And all the while the dimensions of Nonnezoshe Boco magnified
and its character changed. It became a thousand-foot walled canyon,
leaning, broken, threatening, with great yellow slides blocking
passage, with huge sections split off from the main wall, with immense
dark and gloomy caverns. Strangely it had no intersecting canyons. It
jealously guarded its secret. Its unusual formations of cavern and
pillar and half-arch led me to expect any monstrous stone-shape left
by avalanche or cataclysm.
Down and down we toiled. And now the stream-bed was bare of boulders
and the banks of earth. The floods that had rolled down that canyon
had here borne away every loose thing. All the floor, in places, was
bare red and white stone, polished, glistening, slippery, affording
treacherous foothold. And the time came when Wetherill abandoned the
stream-bed to take to the rock-strewn and cactus-covered ledges above.
The canyon widened ahead into a great ragged iron-lined amphitheater,
and then apparently turned abruptly at right angles. Sunset rimmed the
I had been tired for a long time and now I began to limp and lag. I
wondered what on earth would make Wetherill and the Indians tired. It
was with great pleasure that I observed the giant Joe Lee plodding
slowly along. And when I glanced behind at my straggling party it was
with both admiration for their gameness and glee for their disheveled
and weary appearance. Finally I got so that all I could do was to drag
myself onward with eyes down on the rough ground. In this way I kept
on until I heard Wetherill call me. He had stopped--was waiting for
me. The dark and silent Indian stood beside him, looking down the
I saw past the vast jutting wall that had obstructed my view. A mile
beyond, all was bright with the colors of sunset, and spanning the
canyon in the graceful shape and beautiful hues of the rainbow was a
magnificent natural bridge.
"Nonnezoshe," said Wetherill, simply.
This rainbow bridge was the one great natural phenomenon, the one
grand spectacle which I had ever seen that did not at first give vague
disappointment, a confounding of reality, a disenchantment of contrast
with what the mind had conceived.
But this thing was glorious. It absolutely silenced me. My body and
brain, weary and dull from the toil of travel, received a singular and
revivifying freshness. I had a strange, mystic perception that this
rosy-hued, tremendous arch of stone was a goal I had failed to reach in
some former life, but had now found. Here was a rainbow magnified even
beyond dreams, a thing not transparent and ethereal, but solidified, a
work of ages, sweeping up majestically from the red walls, its iris-hued
arch against the blue sky.
[Illustration: FIRST SIGHT OF THE GREAT NATURAL BRIDGE]
Then we plodded on again. Wetherill worked around to circle the huge
amphitheater. The way was a steep slant, rough and loose and dragging.
The rocks were as hard and jagged as lava, and cactus hindered
progress. Soon the rosy and golden lights had faded. All the walls
turned pale and steely and the bridge loomed dark.
We were to camp all night under the bridge. Just before we reached it
Nas ta Bega halted with one of his singular motions. He was saying his
prayer to this great stone god. Then he began to climb straight up the
steep slope. Wetherill told me the Indian would not pass under the
When we got to the bridge and unsaddled and unpacked the lame mustangs
twilight had fallen. The horses were turned loose to fare for what
scant grass grew on bench and slope. Firewood was even harder to
find than grass. When our simple meal had been eaten there was gloom
gathering in the canyon and stars had begun to blink in the pale strip
of blue above the lofty walls. The place was oppressive and we were
Presently I moved away into the strange dark shadow cast by the
bridge. It was a weird black belt, where I imagined I was invisible,
but out of which I could see. There was a slab of rock upon which I
composed myself, to watch, to feel.
A stiffening of my neck made me aware that I had been continually
looking up at the looming arch. I found that it never seemed the same
any two moments. Near at hand it was too vast a thing for immediate
comprehension. I wanted to ponder on what had formed it--to reflect
upon its meaning as to age and force of nature. Yet it seemed that all
I could do was to see. White stars hung along the dark curved
line. The rim of the arch appeared to shine. The moon was up there
somewhere. The far side of the canyon was now a blank black wall. Over
its towering rim showed a pale glow. It brightened. The shades in the
canyon lightened, then a white disk of moon peeped over the dark line.
The bridge turned to silver.
It was then that I became aware of the presence of Nas ta Bega. Dark,
silent, statuesque, with inscrutable face uplifted, with all that was
spiritual of the Indian suggested by a somber and tranquil knowledge
of his place there, he represented to me that which a solitary figure
of human life represents in a great painting. Nonnezoshe needed life,
wild life, life of its millions of years--and here stood the dark and
Long afterward I walked there alone, to and fro, under the bridge. The
moon had long since crossed the streak of star-fired blue above, and
the canyon was black in shadow. At times a current of wind, with all
the strangeness of that strange country in its moan, rushed through
the great stone arch. At other times there was silence such as I
imagined might have dwelt deep in the center of the earth. And again
an owl hooted, and the sound was nameless. It had a mocking echo. An
echo of night, silence, gloom, melancholy, death, age, eternity!
The Indian lay asleep with his dark face upturned, and the other
sleepers lay calm and white in the starlight. I seemed to see in them
the meaning of life and the past--the illimitable train of faces
that had shone under the stars. There was something nameless in that
canyon, and whether or not it was what the Indian embodied in the
great Nonnezoshe, or the life of the present, or the death of the
ages, or the nature so magnificently manifested in those silent,
dreaming, waiting walls--the truth was that there was a spirit.
I did sleep a few hours under Nonnezoshe, and when I awoke the tip of
the arch was losing its cold darkness and beginning to shine. The sun
had just risen high enough over some low break in the wall to reach
the bridge. I watched. Slowly, in wondrous transformation, the gold
and blue and rose and pink and purple blended their hues, softly,
mistily, cloudily, until once more the arch was a rainbow.
I realized that long before life had evolved upon the earth this
bridge had spread its grand arch from wall to wall, black and mystic
at night, transparent and rosy in the sunrise, at sunset a flaming
curve limned against the heavens. When the race of man had passed it
would, perhaps, stand there still. It was not for many eyes to see.
The tourist, the leisurely traveler, the comfort-loving motorist would
never behold it. Only by toil, sweat, endurance and pain could any
man ever look at Nonnezoshe. It seemed well to realize that the great
things of life had to be earned. Nonnezoshe would always be alone,
grand, silent, beautiful, unintelligible; and as such I bade it a
mute, reverent farewell.
Riding and tramping trails would lose half their charm if the motive
were only to hunt and to fish. It seems fair to warn the reader who
longs to embark upon a bloody game hunt or a chronicle of fishing
records that this is not that kind of story. But it will be one for
those who love horses and dogs, the long winding dim trails, the wild
flowers and the dark still woods, the fragrance of spruce and the
smell of camp-fire smoke. And as well for those who love to angle in
brown lakes or rushing brooks or chase after the baying hounds or
stalk the stag on his lonely heights.
[Illustration: PACK HORSES ON A SAGE SLOPE IN COLORADO]
We left Denver on August twenty-second over the Moffet road and had a
long wonderful ride through the mountains. The Rockies have a sweep, a
limitless sweep, majestic and grand. For many miles we crossed no
streams, and climbed and wound up barren slopes. Once across the divide,
however, we descended into a country of black forests and green valleys.
Yampa, a little hamlet with a past prosperity, lay in the wide valley of
the Bear River. It was picturesque but idle, and a better name for it
would have been Sleepy Hollow. The main and only street was very wide
and dusty, bordered by old board walks and vacant stores. It seemed a
deserted street of a deserted village. Teague, the guide, lived there.
He assured me it was not quite as lively a place as in the early days
when it was a stage center for an old and rich mining section. We stayed
there at the one hotel for a whole day, most of which I spent sitting on
the board walk. Whenever I chanced to look down the wide street it
seemed always the same--deserted. But Yampa had the charm of being old
and forgotten, and for that reason I would like to live there a while.
[Illustration: THE GRASSY UPLANDS, WITH WHITELEY'S PEAK IN THE
On August twenty-third we started in two buckboards for the foothills,
some fifteen miles westward, where Teague's men were to meet us with
saddle and pack horses. The ride was not interesting until the Flattop
Mountains began to loom, and we saw the dark green slopes of spruce,
rising to bare gray cliffs and domes, spotted with white banks of
snow. I felt the first cool breath of mountain air, exhilarating and
sweet. From that moment I began to live.
We had left at six-thirty. Teague, my guide, had been so rushed with
his manifold tasks that I had scarcely seen him, let alone gotten
acquainted with him. And on this ride he was far behind with our load
of baggage. We arrived at the edge of the foothills about noon. It
appeared to be the gateway of a valley, with aspen groves and ragged
jack-pines on the slopes, and a stream running down. Our driver called
it the Stillwater. That struck me as strange, for the stream was in
a great hurry. R.C. spied trout in it, and schools of darkish,
mullet-like fish which we were informed were grayling. We wished for
our tackle then and for time to fish.
Teague's man, a young fellow called Virgil, met us here. He did not
resemble the ancient Virgil in the least, but he did look as if he had
walked right out of one of my romances of wild riders. So I took a
liking to him at once.
But the bunch of horses he had corralled there did not excite any
delight in me. Horses, of course, were the most important part of our
outfit. And that moment of first seeing the horses that were to carry
us on such long rides was an anxious and thrilling one. I have felt
it many times, and it never grows any weaker from experience. Many a
scrubby lot of horses had turned out well upon acquaintance, and some
I had found hard to part with at the end of trips. Up to that time,
however, I had not seen a bear hunter's horses; and I was much
concerned by the fact that these were a sorry looking outfit, dusty,
ragged, maneless, cut and bruised and crippled. Still, I reflected,
they were bunched up so closely that I could not tell much about them,
and I decided to wait for Teague before I chose a horse for any one.
In an hour Teague trotted up to our resting place. Beside his own
mount he had two white saddle horses, and nine pack-animals, heavily
laden. Teague was a sturdy rugged man with bronzed face and keen
gray-blue eyes, very genial and humorous. Straightway I got the
impression that he liked work.
"Let's organize," he said, briskly. "Have you picked the horses you're
goin' to ride?"
Teague led from the midst of that dusty kicking bunch a rangy powerful
horse, with four white feet, a white face and a noble head. He had
escaped my eye. I felt thrillingly that here at least was one horse.
The rest of the horses were permanently crippled or temporarily lame,
and I had no choice, except to take the one it would be kindest to
"He ain't much like your Silvermane or Black Star," said Teague,
"What do you know about them?" I asked, very much pleased at this from
"Well, I know all about them," he replied. "I'll have you the best horse
in this country in a few days. Fact is I've bought him, an' he'll come
with my cowboy, Vern.... Now, we're organized. Let's move."
[Illustration: A SPRUCE-SHADED, FLOWER-SKIRTED LAKE]
[Illustration: LOOKING DOWN UPON CLOUD-FILLED VALLEYS]
[Illustration: SEARCHING BURNED-OVER RANGES FOR GAME]
We rode through a meadow along a spruce slope above which towered the
great mountain. It was a zigzag trail, rough, boggy, and steep in
places. The Stillwater meandered here, and little breaks on the water
gave evidence of feeding trout. We had several miles of meadow, and
then sheered off to the left up into the timber. It was a spruce
forest, very still and fragrant. We climbed out up on a bench, and
across a flat, up another bench, out of the timber into the patches of
snow. Here snow could be felt in the air. Water was everywhere. I saw
a fox, a badger, and another furry creature, too illusive to name. One
more climb brought us to the top of the Flattop Pass, about eleven
thousand feet. The view in the direction from which we had come was
splendid, and led the eye to the distant sweeping ranges, dark and dim
along the horizon. The Flattops were flat enough, but not very wide
at this pass, and we were soon going down again into a green gulf
of spruce, with ragged peaks lifting beyond. Here again I got the
suggestion of limitless space. It took us an hour to ride down to
Little Trappers Lake, a small clear green sheet of water. The larger
lake was farther down. It was big, irregular, and bordered by spruce
forests, and shadowed by the lofty gray peaks.
The Camp was on the far side. The air appeared rather warm, and
mosquitoes bothered us. However, they did not stay long. It was after
sunset and I was too tired to have many impressions.
Our cook appeared to be a melancholy man. He had a deep quavering
voice, a long drooping mustache and sad eyes. He was silent most of
the time. The men called him Bill, and yelled when they spoke, for he
was somewhat deaf. It did not take me long to discover that he was a
Our tent was pitched down the slope from the cook tent. We were too
tired to sit round a camp-fire and talk. The stars were white and
splendid, and they hung over the flat ridges like great beacon lights.
The lake appeared to be inclosed on three sides by amphitheatric
mountains, black with spruce up to the gray walls of rock. The night
grew cold and very still. The bells on the horses tinkled distantly.
There was a soft murmur of falling water. A lonesome coyote barked,
and that thrilled me. Teague's dogs answered this prowler, and some of
them had voices to make a hunter thrill. One, the bloodhound Cain, had
a roar like a lion's. I had not gotten acquainted with the hounds, and
I was thinking about them when I fell asleep.
Next morning I was up at five-thirty. The air was cold and nipping and
frost shone on grass and sage. A red glow of sunrise gleamed on the
tip of the mountain and slowly grew downward.
The cool handle of an axe felt good. I soon found, however, that I
could not wield it long for lack of breath. The elevation was close to
ten thousand feet and the air at that height was thin and rare. After
each series of lusty strokes I had to rest. R.C., who could handle
an axe as he used to swing a baseball bat, made fun of my efforts.
Whereupon I relinquished the tool to him, and chuckled at his
After breakfast R.C. and I got out our tackles and rigged up fly rods,
and sallied forth to the lake with the same eagerness we had felt when
we were boys going after chubs and sunfish. The lake glistened green
in the sunlight and it lay like a gem at the foot of the magnificent
The water was full of little floating particles that Teague called
wild rice. I thought the lake had begun to work, like eastern lakes
during dog days. It did not look propitious for fishing, but Teague
reassured us. The outlet of this lake was the head of White River. We
tried the outlet first, but trout were not rising there. Then we
began wading and casting along a shallow bar of the lake. Teague had
instructed us to cast, then drag the flies slowly across the surface
of the water, in imitation of a swimming fly or bug. I tried this, and
several times, when the leader was close to me and my rod far back, I
had strikes. With my rod in that position I could not hook the trout.
Then I cast my own way, letting the flies sink a little. To my
surprise and dismay I had only a few strikes and could not hook the
R.C., however, had better luck, and that too in wading right over the
ground I had covered. To beat me at anything always gave him the most
unaccountable fiendish pleasure.
"These are educated trout," he said. "It takes a skillful fisherman to
make them rise. Now anybody can catch the big game of the sea, which
is your forte. But here you are N.G.... Watch me cast!"
I watched him make a most atrocious cast. But the water boiled, and he
hooked two good-sized trout at once. Quite speechless with envy and
admiration I watched him play them and eventually beach them. They
were cutthroat trout, silvery-sided and marked with the red slash
along their gills that gave them their name. I did not catch any while
wading, but from the bank I spied one, and dropping a fly in front
of his nose, I got him. R.C. caught four more, all about a pound in
weight, and then he had a strike that broke his leader. He did not
have another leader, so we walked back to camp.
Wild flowers colored the open slopes leading down out of the forest.
Golden rod, golden daisies, and bluebells were plentiful and very
pretty. Here I found my first columbine, the beautiful flower that is
the emblem of Colorado. In vivid contrast to its blue, Indian paint
brush thinly dotted the slopes and varied in color from red to pink
and from white to yellow.
My favorite of all wild flowers--the purple asters--were there too,
on tall nodding stems, with pale faces held up to the light. The
reflection of mountain and forest in Trappers Lake was clear and
The hounds bayed our approach to camp. We both made a great show about
beginning our little camp tasks, but we did not last very long. The
sun felt so good and it was so pleasant to lounge under a pine. One of
the blessings of outdoor life was that a man could be like an Indian
and do nothing. So from rest I passed to dreams and from dreams to
In the afternoon R.C. and I went out again to try for trout. The lake
appeared to be getting thicker with that floating muck and we could
not raise a fish. Then we tried the outlet again. Here the current
was swift. I found a place between two willow banks where trout were
breaking on the surface. It took a long cast for me, but about every
tenth attempt I would get a fly over the right place and raise a fish.
They were small, but that did not detract from my gratification. The
light on the water was just right for me to see the trout rise, and
that was a beautiful sight as well as a distinct advantage. I had
caught four when a shout from R.C. called me quickly down stream. I
found him standing in the middle of a swift chute with his rod bent
double and a long line out.
"Got a whale!" he yelled. "See him--down there--in that white water.
See him flash red!... Go down there and land him for me. Hurry! He's
got all the line!"
I ran below to an open place in the willows. Here the stream was
shallow and very swift. In the white water I caught a flashing gleam
of red. Then I saw the shine of the leader. But I could not reach it
without wading in. When I did this the trout lunged out. He looked
crimson and silver. I could have put my fist in his mouth.
"Grab the leader! Yank him out!" yelled R.C. in desperation. "There!
He's got all the line."
"But it'd be better to wade down," I yelled back.
He shouted that the water was too deep and for me to save his fish.
This was an awful predicament for me. I knew the instant I grasped
the leader that the big trout would break it or pull free. The same
situation, with different kinds of fish, had presented itself many
times on my numberless fishing jaunts with R.C. and they all crowded
to my mind. Nevertheless I had no choice. Plunging in to my knees I
frantically reached for the leader. The red trout made a surge. I
missed him. R.C. yelled that something would break. That was no news
to me. Another plunge brought me in touch with the leader. Then I
essayed to lead the huge cutthroat ashore. He was heavy. But he was
tired and that gave birth to hopes. Near the shore as I was about to
lift him he woke up, swam round me twice, then ran between my legs.
When, a little later, R.C. came panting down stream I was sitting on
the bank, all wet, with one knee skinned and I was holding his broken
leader in my hands. Strange to say, he went into a rage! Blamed me for
the loss of that big trout! Under such circumstances it was always
best to maintain silence and I did so as long as I could. After his
paroxysm had spent itself and he had become somewhat near a rational
being once more he asked me:
"Was he big?"
"Oh--a whale of a trout!" I replied.
"Humph! Well, how big?"
Thereupon I enlarged upon the exceeding size and beauty of that trout.
I made him out very much bigger than he actually looked to me and I
minutely described his beauty and wonderful gaping mouth. R.C. groaned
and that was my revenge.
We returned to camp early, and I took occasion to scrape acquaintance
with the dogs. It was a strangely assorted pack--four Airedales, one
bloodhound and seven other hounds of mixed breeds. There were also
three pup hounds, white and yellow, very pretty dogs, and like all
pups, noisy and mischievous. They made friends easily. This applied
also to one of the Airedales, a dog recently presented to Teague by
some estimable old lady who had called him Kaiser and made a pet of
him. As might have been expected of a dog, even an Airedale, with that
name, he was no good. But he was very affectionate, and exceedingly
funny. When he was approached he had a trick of standing up, holding
up his forepaws in an appealing sort of way, with his head twisted in
the most absurd manner. This was when he was chained--otherwise he
would have been climbing up on anyone who gave him the chance. He was
the most jealous dog I ever saw. He could not be kept chained very
long because he always freed himself. At meal time he would slip
noiselessly behind some one and steal the first morsel he could
snatch. Bill was always rapping Kaiser with pans or billets of
Next morning was clear and cold. We had breakfast, and then saddled up
to ride to Big Fish Lake. For an hour we rode up and down ridges of
heavy spruce, along a trail. We saw elk and deer sign. Elk tracks
appeared almost as large as cow tracks. When we left the trail to
climb into heavy timber we began to look for game. The forest was
dark, green and brown, silent as a grave. No squirrels or birds or
sign of life! We had a hard ride up and down steep slopes. A feature
was the open swaths made by avalanches. The ice and snow had cut a
path through the timber, and the young shoots of spruce were springing
up. I imagined the roar made by that tremendous slide.
We found elk tracks everywhere and some fresh sign, where the grass
had been turned recently, and also much old and fresh sign where the
elk had skinned the saplings by rubbing their antlers to get rid of
the velvet. Some of these rubs looked like blazes made by an axe. The
Airedale Fox, a wonderful dog, routed out a she-coyote that evidently
had a den somewhere, for she barked angrily at the dog and at us. Fox
could not catch her. She led him round in a circle, and we could not
see her in the thick brush. It was fine to hear the wild staccato note
We crossed many little parks, bright and green, blooming with wild
asters and Indian paint brush and golden daisies. The patches of red
and purple were exceedingly beautiful. Everywhere we rode we were knee
deep in flowers. At length we came out of the heavy timber down upon
Big Fish Lake. This lake was about half a mile across, deep blue-green
in color, with rocky shores. Upon the opposite side were beaver
mounds. We could see big trout swimming round, but they would not rise
to a fly. R.C. went out in an old boat and paddled to the head of the
lake and fished at the inlet. Here he caught a fine trout. I went
around and up the little river that fed the lake. It curved swiftly
through a meadow, and had deep, dark eddies under mossy, flowering
banks. At other places the stream ran swiftly over clean gravel beds.
It was musical and clear as crystal, and to the touch of hand, as cold
as ice water. I waded in and began to cast. I saw several big trout,
and at last coaxed one to take my fly. But I missed him. Then in a
swift current a flash of red caught my eye and I saw a big trout
lazily rise to my fly. Saw him take it! And I hooked him. He was not
active, but heavy and plunging, and he bored in and out, and made
short runs. I had not seen such beautiful red colors in any fish. He
made a fine fight, but at last I landed him on the grass, a cutthroat
of about one and three-quarter pounds, deep red and silver and green,
and spotted all over. That was the extent of my luck.
We went back to the point, and thought we would wait a little while to
see if the trout would begin to rise. But they did not. A storm began
to mutter and boom along the battlements. Great gray clouds obscured
the peaks, and at length the rain came. It was cold and cutting. We
sought the shelter of spruces for a while, and waited. After an hour
it cleared somewhat, and R.C. caught a fine one-pound cutthroat, all
green and silver, with only two slashes of red along under the gills.
Then another storm threatened. Before we got ready to leave for camp
the rain began again to fall, and we looked for a wetting. It was
raining hard when we rode into the woods and very cold. The spruces
were dripping. But we soon got warm from hard riding up steep slopes.
After an hour the rain ceased, the sun came out, and from the open
places high up we could see a great green void of spruce, and beyond,
boundless black ranges, running off to dim horizon. We flushed a big
blue grouse with a brood of little ones, and at length another big
In one of the open parks the Airedale Fox showed signs of scenting
game. There was a patch of ground where the grass was pressed down.
Teague whispered and pointed. I saw the gray rump of an elk protruding
from behind some spruces. I beckoned for R.C. and we both dismounted.
Just then the elk rose and stalked out. It was a magnificent bull with
crowning lofty antlers. The shoulders and neck appeared black. He
raised his head, and turning, trotted away with ease and grace for
such a huge beast. That was a wild and beautiful sight I had not seen
before. We were entranced, and when he disappeared, we burst out with
We rode on toward camp, and out upon a bench that bordered the lofty
red wall of rock. From there we went down into heavy forest again, dim
and gray, with its dank, penetrating odor, and oppressive stillness.
The forest primeval! When we rode out of that into open slopes the
afternoon was far advanced, and long shadows lay across the distant
ranges. When we reached camp, supper and a fire to warm cold wet feet
were exceedingly welcome. I was tired.
Later, R.C. and I rode up a mile or so above camp, and hitched our
horses near Teague's old corral. Our intention was to hunt up along
the side of the slope. Teague came along presently. We waited, hoping
the big black clouds would break. But they did not. They rolled down
with gray, swirling edges, like smoke, and a storm enveloped us. We
sought shelter in a thick spruce. It rained and hailed. By and bye
the air grew bitterly cold, and Teague suggested we give up, and ride
back. So we did. The mountains were dim and obscure through the gray
gloom, and the black spear-tipped spruces looked ghostly against
the background. The lightning was vivid, and the thunder rolled and
crashed in magnificent bombardment across the heavens.
Next morning at six-thirty the sun was shining clear, and only a
few clouds sailed in the blue. Wind was in the west and the weather
promised fair. But clouds began to creep up behind the mountains,
first hazy, then white, then dark. Nevertheless we decided to ride
out, and cross the Flattop rim, and go around what they call the
Chinese Wall. It rained as we climbed through the spruces above Little
Trappers Lake. And as we got near the top it began to hail. Again
the air grew cold. Once out on top I found a wide expanse, green and
white, level in places, but with huge upheavals of ridge. There
were flowers here at eleven thousand feet. The view to the rear was
impressive--a wide up-and-down plain studded with out-cropping of
rocks, and patches of snow. We were then on top of the Chinese Wall,
and the view to the west was grand. At the moment hail was falling
thick and white, and to stand above the streaked curtain, as it fell
into the abyss was a strange new experience. Below, two thousand feet,
lay the spruce forest, and it sloped and dropped into the White River
Valley, which in turn rose, a long ragged dark-green slope, up to a
bare jagged peak. Beyond this stretched range on range, dark under the
lowering pall of clouds. On top we found fresh Rocky Mountain sheep
tracks. A little later, going into a draw, we crossed a snow-bank,
solid as ice. We worked down into this draw into the timber. It
hailed, and rained some more, then cleared. The warm sun felt good.
Once down in the parks we began to ride through a flower-garden. Every
slope was beautiful in gold, and red, and blue and white. These parks
were luxuriant with grass, and everywhere we found elk beds, where the
great stags had been lying, to flee at our approach. But we did not
see one. The bigness of this slope impressed me. We rode miles and
miles, and every park was surrounded by heavy timber. At length we
got into a burned district where the tall dead spruces stood sear and
ghastly, and the ground was so thickly strewn with fallen trees that
we had difficulty in threading a way through them. Patches of aspen
grew on the hillside, still fresh and green despite this frosty
morning. Here we found a sego lily, one of the most beautiful of
flowers. Here also I saw pink Indian paint brush. At the foot of this
long burned slope we came to the White River trail, and followed it up
and around to camp.
Late in the evening, about sunset, I took my rifle and slipped off
into the woods back of camp. I walked a short distance, then paused to
listen to the silence of the forest. There was not a sound. It was a
place of peace. By and bye I heard snapping of twigs, and presently
heard R.C. and Teague approaching me. We penetrated half a mile into
the spruce, pausing now and then to listen. At length R.C. heard
something. We stopped. After a little I heard the ring of a horn on
wood. It was thrilling. Then came the crack of a hoof on stone, then
the clatter of a loosened rock. We crept on. But that elk or deer
evaded us. We hunted around till dark without farther sign of any
R.C. and Teague and I rode out at seven-thirty and went down White
River for three miles. In one patch of bare ground we saw tracks of
five deer where they had come in for salt. Then we climbed high up a
burned ridge, winding through patches of aspen. We climbed ridge after
ridge, and at last got out of the burned district into reaches of
heavy spruce. Coming to a park full of deer and elk tracks, we
dismounted and left our horses. I went to the left, and into some
beautiful woods, where I saw beds of deer or elk, and many tracks.
Returning to the horses, I led them into a larger park, and climbed
high into the open and watched. There I saw some little squirrels
about three inches long, and some gray birds, very tame. I waited a
long time before there was any sign of R.C. or Teague, and then it was
the dog I saw first. I whistled, and they climbed up to me. We mounted
and rode on for an hour, then climbed through a magnificent forest of
huge trees, windfalls, and a ferny, mossy, soft ground. At length we
came out at the head of a steep, bare slope, running down to a verdant
park crossed by stretches of timber. On the way back to camp we ran
across many elk beds and deer trails, and for a while a small band of
elk evidently trotted ahead of us, but out of sight.
Next day we started for a few days' trip to Big Fish Lake. R.C. and I
went along up around the mountain. I found our old trail, and was at a
loss only a few times. We saw fresh elk sign, but no live game at all.
In the afternoon we fished. I went up the river half a mile, while
R.C. fished the lake. Neither of us had any luck. Later we caught four
trout, one of which was fair sized.
Toward sunset the trout began to rise all over the lake, but we could
not get them to take a fly.
The following day we went up to Twin Lakes and found them to be
beautiful little green gems surrounded by spruce. I saw some big trout
in the large lake, but they were wary. We tried every way to get a
strike. No use! In the little lake matters were worse. It was full of
trout up to two pounds. They would run at the fly, only to refuse it.
Exasperating work! We gave up and returned to Big Fish. After supper
we went out to try again. The lake was smooth and quiet. All at once,
as if by concert, the trout began to rise everywhere. In a little bay
we began to get strikes. I could see the fish rise to the fly. The
small ones were too swift and the large ones too slow, it seemed.
We caught one, and then had bad luck. We snarled our lines, drifted
wrong, broke leaders, snapped off flies, hooked too quick and too
slow, and did everything that was clumsy. I lost two big fish because
they followed the fly as I drew it toward me across the water to
imitate a swimming fly. Of course this made a large slack line which I
could not get up. Finally I caught one big fish, and altogether we got
seven. All in that little bay, where the water was shallow! In other
places we could not catch a fish. I had one vicious strike. The fish
appeared to be feeding on a tiny black gnat, which we could not
imitate. This was the most trying experience of all. We ought to have
caught a basketful.
The next day, September first, we rode down along the outlet of Big
Fish to White River and down that for miles to fish for grayling. The
stream was large and swift and cold. It appeared full of ice water
and rocks, but no fish. We met fishermen, an automobile, and a camp
outfit. That was enough for me. Where an automobile can run, I do not
belong. The fishing was poor. But the beautiful open valley, flowered
in gold and purple, was recompense for a good deal of bad luck.
A grayling, or what they called a grayling, was not as beautiful a
fish as my fancy had pictured. He resembled a sucker or mullet, had a
small mouth, dark color, and was rather a sluggish-looking fish.
We rode back through a thunderstorm, and our yellow slickers afforded
Next morning was bright, clear, cold. I saw the moon go down over a
mountain rim rose-flushed with the sunrise.
R.C. and I, with Teague, started for the top of the big mountain on
the west. I had a new horse, a roan, and he looked a thoroughbred.
He appeared tired. But I thought he would be great. We took a trail
through the woods, dark green-gray, cool and verdant, odorous and
still. We began to climb. Occasionally we crossed parks, and little
streams. Up near the long, bare slope the spruce trees grew large and
far apart. They were beautiful, gray as if bearded with moss. Beyond
this we got into the rocks and climbing became arduous. Long zigzags
up the slope brought us to the top of a notch, where at the right lay
a patch of snow. The top of the mountain was comparatively flat, but
it had timbered ridges and bare plains and little lakes, with dark
domes, rising beyond. We rode around to the right, climbing out of the
timber to where the dwarf spruces and brush had a hard struggle for
life. The great gulf below us was immense, dark, and wild, studded
with lakes and parks, and shadowed by moving clouds.
Sheep tracks, old and fresh, afforded us thrills.
Away on the western rim, where we could look down upon a long rugged
iron-gray ridge of mountain, our guide using the glass, found two big
stags. We all had our fill of looking. I could see them plainly with
We decided to go back to where we could climb down on that side,
halter the horses, leave all extra accoutrements, and stalk those
stags, and take a picture of them.
I led the way, and descended under the rim. It was up and down over
rough shale, and up steps of broken rocks, and down little cliffs.
We crossed the ridge twice, many times having to lend a hand to each
At length I reached a point where I could see the stags lying down.
The place was an open spot on a rocky promonotory with a fringe of
low spruces. The stags were magnificent in size, with antlers in the
velvet. One had twelve points. They were lying in the sun to harden
their horns, according to our guide.
I slipped back to the others, and we all decided to have a look. So we
climbed up. All of us saw the stags, twitching ears and tails.
Then we crept back, and once more I took the lead to crawl round under
the ledge so we could come up about even with them. Here I found the
hardest going yet. I came to a wind-worn crack in the thin ledge, and
from this I could just see the tips of the antlers. I beckoned the
others. Laboriously they climbed. R.C. went through first. I went over
next, and then came Teague.
R.C. and I started to crawl down to a big rock that was our objective
point. We went cautiously, with bated breath and pounding hearts. When
we got there I peeped over to see the stags still lying down. But they
had heads intent and wary. Still I did not think they had scented us.
R.C. took a peep, and turning excitedly he whispered:
"See only one. And he's standing!"
And I answered: "Let's get down around to the left where we can get a
better chance." It was only a few feet down. We got there.
When he peeped over at this point he exclaimed: "They're gone!"
It was a keen disappointment. "They winded us," I decided.
We looked and looked. But we could not see to our left because of the
bulge of rock. We climbed back. Then I saw one of the stags loping
leisurely off to the left. Teague was calling. He said they had walked
off the promontory, looking up, and stopping occasionally.
Then we realized we must climb back along that broken ridge and then
up to the summit of the mountain. So we started.
That climb back was proof of the effect of excitement on judgment. We
had not calculated at all on the distance or ruggedness, and we had a
job before us. We got along well under the western wall, and fairly
well straight across through the long slope of timber, where we saw
sheep tracks, and expected any moment to sight an old ram. But we did
not find one, and when we got out of the timber upon the bare sliding
slope we had to halt a hundred times. We could zigzag only a few
steps. The altitude was twelve thousand feet, and oxygen seemed
scarce. I nearly dropped. All the climbing appeared to come hardest on
the middle of my right foot, and it could scarcely have burned hotter
if it had been in fire. Despite the strenuous toil there were not many
moments that I was not aware of the vastness of the gulf below, or the
peaceful lakes, brown as amber, or the golden parks. And nearer at
hand I found magenta-colored Indian paint brush, very exquisite and
Coming out on a ledge I spied a little, dark animal with a long tail.
He was running along the opposite promontory about three hundred yards
distant. When he stopped I took a shot at him and missed by apparently
a scant half foot.
After catching our breath we climbed more and more, and still more, at
last to drop on the rim, hot, wet and utterly spent.
The air was keen, cold, and invigorating. We were soon rested, and
finding our horses we proceeded along the rim westward. Upon rounding
an out-cropping of rock we flushed a flock of ptarmigan--soft gray,
rock-colored birds about the size of pheasants, and when they flew
they showed beautiful white bands on their wings. These are the rare
birds that have feathered feet and turn white in winter. They did not
fly far, and several were so tame they did not fly at all. We got our
little .22 revolvers and began to shoot at the nearest bird. He was
some thirty feet distant. But we could not hit him, and at last Fox,
getting disgusted, tried to catch the bird and made him fly. I felt
relieved, for as we were getting closer and closer with every shot, it
seemed possible that if the ptarmigan sat there long enough we might
eventually have hit him. The mystery was why we shot so poorly. But
this was explained by R.C., who discovered we had been shooting the
It was a long hard ride down the rough winding trail. But riding down
was a vastly different thing from going up.
On September third we were up at five-thirty. It was clear and cold
and the red of sunrise tinged the peaks. The snow banks looked pink.
All the early morning scene was green, fresh, cool, with that mountain
rareness of atmosphere.
We packed to break camp, and after breakfast it took hours to get our
outfit in shape to start--a long string, resembling a caravan. I knew
that events would occur that day. First we lost one of the dogs. Vern
went back after him. The dogs were mostly chained in pairs, to prevent
their running off. Samson, the giant hound, was chained to a little
dog, and the others were paired not according to size by any means.
The poor dogs were disgusted with the arrangement. It developed
presently that Cain, the bloodhound, a strange and wild hound much
like Don of my old lion-hunting days, slipped us, and was not missed
for hours. Teague decided to send back for him later.
Next in order of events, as we rode up the winding trail through the
spruce forest, we met Teague's cow and calf, which he had kept all
summer in camp. For some reason neither could be left. Teague told us
to ride on, and an hour later when we halted to rest on the Flattop
Mountain he came along with the rest of the train, and in the fore was
the cow alone. It was evident that she was distressed and angry, for
it took two men to keep her in the trail. And another thing plain to
me was the fact that she was going to demoralize the pack horses. We
were not across the wide range of this flat mountain when one of the
pack animals, a lean and lanky sorrel, appeared suddenly to go mad,
and began to buck off a pack. He succeeded. This inspired a black
horse, very appropriately christened Nigger, to try his luck, and he
shifted his pack in short order. It took patience, time, and effort to
repack. The cow was a disorganizer. She took up as wide a trail as a
road. And the pack animals, some with dignity and others with disgust,
tried to avoid her vicinity. Going down the steep forest trail on
the other side the real trouble began. The pack train split, ran and
bolted, crashing through the trees, plunging down steep places, and
jumping logs. It was a wild sort of chase. But luckily the packs
remained intact until we were once more on open, flat ground. All went
well for a while, except for an accident for which I was to blame. I
spurred my horse, and he plunged suddenly past R.C.'s mount, colliding
with him, tearing off my stirrup, and spraining R.C.'s ankle. This
was almost a serious accident, as R.C. has an old baseball ankle that
Next in order was the sorrel. As I saw it, he heedlessly went too near
the cow, which we now called Bossy, and she acted somewhat like a
Spanish Bull, to the effect that the sorrel was scared and angered at
once. He began to run and plunge and buck right into the other pack
animals, dropping articles from his pack as he dashed along. He
stampeded the train, and gave the saddle horses a scare. When order
was restored and the whole outfit gathered together again a full
hour had been lost. By this time all the horses were tired, and that
facilitated progress, because there were no more serious breaks.
Down in the valley it was hot, and the ride grew long and wearisome.
Nevertheless, the scenery was beautiful. The valley was green and
level, and a meandering stream formed many little lakes. On one
side was a steep hill of sage and aspens, and on the other a black,
spear-pointed spruce forest, rising sheer to a bold, blunt peak
patched with snow-banks, and bronze and gray in the clear light. Huge
white clouds sailed aloft, making dark moving shadows along the great
We reached our turning-off place about five o'clock, and again entered
the fragrant, quiet forest--a welcome change. We climbed and climbed,
at length coming into an open park of slopes and green borders of
forest, with a lake in the center. We pitched camp on the skirt of the
western slope, under the spruces, and worked hard to get the tents up
and boughs cut for beds. Darkness caught us with our hands still full,
and we ate supper in the light of a camp-fire, with the black, deep
forest behind, and the pale afterglow across the lake.
I had a bad night, being too tired to sleep well. Many times I saw the
moon shadows of spruce branches trembling on the tent walls, and the
flickering shadows of the dying camp-fire. I heard the melodious
tinkle of the bells on the hobbled horses. Bossy bawled often--a
discordant break in the serenity of the night. Occasionally the hounds
Toward morning I slept some, and awakened with what seemed a broken
back. All, except R.C., were slow in crawling out. The sun rose hot.
This lower altitude was appreciated by all. After breakfast we set to
work to put the camp in order.
That afternoon we rode off to look over the ground. We crossed the
park and worked up a timbered ridge remarkable for mossy, bare ground,
and higher up for its almost total absence of grass or flowers. On the
other side of this we had a fine view of Mt. Dome, a high peak across
a valley. Then we worked down into the valley, which was full of parks
and ponds and running streams. We found some fresh sign of deer, and a
good deal of old elk and deer sign. But we saw no game of any kind. It
was a tedious ride back through thick forest, where I observed many
trees that had been barked by porcupines. Some patches were four feet
from the ground, indicating that the porcupine had sat on the snow
when he gnawed those particular places.
After sunset R.C. and I went off down a trail into the woods, and
sitting down under a huge spruce we listened. The forest was solemn
and still. Far down somewhere roared a stream, and that was all the
sound we heard. The gray shadows darkened and gloom penetrated the
aisles of the forest, until all the sheltered places were black as
pitch. The spruces looked spectral--and speaking. The silence of
the woods was deep, profound, and primeval. It all worked on my
imagination until I began to hear faint sounds, and finally grand
orchestral crashings of melody.
On our return the strange creeping chill, that must be a descendant of
the old elemental fear, caught me at all obscure curves in the trail.
[Illustration: A HUNTER'S CABIN ON A FROSTY MORNING]
Next day we started off early, and climbed through the woods and into
the parks under the Dome. We scared a deer that had evidently been
drinking. His fresh tracks led before us, but we could not catch a
glimpse of him.
[Illustration: THE TROUBLESOME COUNTRY, NOTED FOR GRIZZLY BEARS]
We climbed out of the parks, up onto the rocky ridges where the
spruce grew scarce, and then farther to the jumble of stones that had
weathered from the great peaks above, and beyond that up the slope
where all the vegetation was dwarfed, deformed, and weird, strange
manifestation of its struggle for life. Here the air grew keener and
cooler, and the light seemed to expand. We rode on to the steep slope
that led up to the gap we were to cross between the Dome and its
[Illustration: UNDER THE SHADOW OF THE FLATTOP MOUNTAINS]
I saw a red fox running up the slope, and dismounting I took a quick
shot at three hundred yards, and scored a hit. It turned out to be a
cross fox, and had very pretty fur.
When we reached the level of the deep gap the wind struck us hard and
cold. On that side opened an abyss, gray and shelving as it led down
to green timber, and then on to the yellow parks and black ridges that
gleamed under the opposite range.
We had to work round a wide amphitheater, and up a steep corner to the
top. This turned out to be level and smooth for a long way, with a
short, velvety yellow grass, like moss, spotted with flowers. Here at
thirteen thousand feet, the wind hit us with exceeding force, and soon
had us with freezing hands and faces. All about us were bold black and
gray peaks, with patches of snow, and above them clouds of white and
drab, showing blue sky between. It developed that this grassy summit
ascended in a long gradual sweep, from the apex of which stretched a
grand expanse, like a plain of gold, down and down, endlessly almost,
and then up and up to end under a gray butte, highest of the points
around. The ride across here seemed to have no limit, but it was
beautiful, though severe on endurance. I saw another fox, and
dismounting, fired five shots as he ran, dusting him with three
bullets. We rode out to the edge of the mountain and looked off. It
was fearful, yet sublime. The world lay beneath us. In many places we
rode along the rim, and at last circled the great butte, and worked up
behind it on a swell of slope. Here the range ran west and the drop
was not sheer, but, gradual with fine benches for sheep. We found many
tracks and fresh sign, but did not see one sheep. Meanwhile the
hard wind had ceased, and the sun had come out, making the ride
comfortable, as far as weather was concerned. We had gotten a long way
from camp, and finding no trail to descend in that direction we turned
to retrace our steps. That was about one o'clock, and we rode and rode
and rode, until I was so tired that I could not appreciate the scenes
as I had on the way up. It took six hours to get back to camp!
Next morning we took the hounds and rode off for bear. Eight of the
hounds were chained in braces, one big and one little dog together,
and they certainly had a hard time of it. Sampson, the giant gray and
brown hound, and Jim, the old black leader, were free to run to and
fro across the way. We rode down a few miles, and into the forest.
There were two long, black ridges, and here we were to hunt for bear.
It was the hardest kind of work, turning and twisting between the
trees, dodging snags, and brushing aside branches, and guiding a horse
among fallen logs. The forest was thick, and the ground was a rich
brown and black muck, soft to the horses' feet. Many times the hounds
got caught on snags, and had to be released. Once Sampson picked up a
scent of some kind, and went off baying. Old Jim ran across that trail
and returned, thus making it clear that there was no bear trail. We
penetrated deep between the two ridges, and came to a little lake,
about thirty feet wide, surrounded by rushes and grass. Here we rested
the horses, and incidentally, ourselves. Fox chased a duck, and it
flew into the woods and hid under a log. Fox trailed it, and Teague
shot it just as he might have a rabbit. We got two more ducks, fine
big mallards, the same way. It was amazing to me, and R.C. remarked
that never had he seen such strange and foolish ducks.
This forest had hundreds of trees barked by porcupines, and some clear
to the top. But we met only one of the animals, and he left several
quills in the nose of one of the pups. I was of the opinion that these
porcupines destroy many fine trees, as I saw a number barked all
We did not see any bear sign. On the way back to camp we rode out of
the forest and down a wide valley, the opposite side of which was open
slope with patches of alder. Even at a distance I could discern the
color of these open glades and grassy benches. They had a tinge of
purple, like purple sage. When I got to them I found a profusion of
asters of the most exquisite shades of lavender, pink and purple. That
slope was long, and all the way up we rode through these beautiful
wild flowers. I shall never forget that sight, nor the many asters
that shone like stars out of the green. The pink ones were new to me,
and actually did not seem real. I noticed my horse occasionally nipped
a bunch and ate them, which seemed to me almost as heartless as to
tread them under foot.
When we got up the slope and into the woods again we met a storm, and
traveled for an hour in the rain, and under the dripping spruces,
feeling the cold wet sting of swaying branches as we rode by. Then the
sun came out bright and the forest glittered, all gold and green. The
smell of the woods after a rain is indescribable. It combines a rare
tang of pine, spruce, earth and air, all refreshed.
The day after, we left at eight o'clock, and rode down to the main
trail, and up that for five miles where we cut off to the left and
climbed into the timber. The woods were fresh and dewy, dark and cool,
and for a long time we climbed bench after bench where the grass and
ferns and moss made a thick, deep cover. Farther up we got into fallen
timber and made slow progress. At timber line we tied the horses and
climbed up to the pass between two great mountain ramparts. Sheep
tracks were in evidence, but not very fresh. Teague and I climbed on
top and R.C., with Vern, went below just along the timber line. The
climb on foot took all my strength, and many times I had to halt for
breath. The air was cold. We stole along the rim and peered over. R.C.
and Vern looked like very little men far below, and the dogs resembled
Teague climbed higher, and left me on a promontory, watching all
The cloud pageant was magnificent, with huge billowy white masses
across the valley, and to the west great black thunderheads rolling
up. The wind began to blow hard, carrying drops of rain that stung,
and the air was nipping cold. I felt aloof from all the crowded world,
alone on the windy heights, with clouds and storm all around me.
When the storm threatened I went back to the horses. It broke, but
was not severe after all. At length R.C. and the men returned and we
mounted to ride back to camp. The storm blew away, leaving the sky
clear and blue, and the sun shone warm. We had an hour of winding in
and out among windfalls of timber, and jumping logs, and breaking
through brush. Then the way sloped down to a beautiful forest, shady
and green, full of mossy dells, almost overgrown with ferns and low
spreading ground pine or spruce. The aisles of the forest were long
and shaded by the stately spruces. Water ran through every ravine,
sometimes a brawling brook, sometimes a rivulet hidden under
overhanging mossy banks. We scared up two lonely grouse, at long
intervals. At length we got into fallen timber, and from that worked
into a jumble of rocks, where the going was rough and dangerous.
The afternoon waned as we rode on and on, up and down, in and out,
around, and at times the horses stood almost on their heads, sliding
down steep places where the earth was soft and black, and gave forth a
dank odor. We passed ponds and swamps, and little lakes. We saw where
beavers had gnawed down aspens, and we just escaped miring our
horses in marshes, where the grass grew, rich and golden, hiding
the treacherous mire. The sun set, and still we did not seem to get
anywhere. I was afraid darkness would overtake us, and we would get
lost in the woods. Presently we struck an old elk trail, and following
that for a while, came to a point where R.C. and I recognized a tree
and a glade where we had been before--and not far from camp--a welcome
Next day we broke camp and started across country for new territory
near Whitley's Peak.
We rode east up the mountain. After several miles along an old logging
road we reached the timber, and eventually the top of the ridge. We
went down, crossing parks and swales. There were cattle pastures, and
eaten over and trodden so much they had no beauty left. Teague wanted
to camp at a salt lick, but I did not care for the place.
We went on. The dogs crossed a bear trail, and burst out in a clamor.
We had a hard time holding them.
The guide and I had a hot argument. I did not want to stay there and
chase a bear in a cow pasture.... So we went on, down into ranch
country, and this disgusted me further. We crossed a ranch, and rode
several miles on a highway, then turned abruptly, and climbed a rough,
rocky ridge, covered with brush and aspen. We crossed it, and went
down for several miles, and had to camp in an aspen grove, on the
slope of a ravine. It was an uninviting place to stay, but as there
was no other we had to make the best of it. The afternoon had waned. I
took a gun and went off down the ravine, until I came to a deep gorge.
Here I heard the sound of a brawling brook. I sat down for an hour,
but saw no game.
That night I had a wretched bed, one that I could hardly stay in,
and I passed miserable hours. I got up sore, cramped, sleepy and
irritable. We had to wait three hours for the horses to be caught and
packed. I had predicted straying horses. At last we were off, and rode
along the steep slope of a canyon for several miles, and then struck a
stream of amber-colored water. As we climbed along this we came into
deep spruce forest, where it was pleasure to ride. I saw many dells
and nooks, cool and shady, full of mossy rocks and great trees. But
flowers were scarce. We were sorry to pass the head-springs of that
stream and to go on over the divide and down into the wooded, but dry
and stony country. We rode until late, and came at last to a park
where sheep had been run. I refused to camp here, and Teague, in high
dudgeon, rode on. As it turned out I was both wise and lucky, for we
rode into a park with many branches, where there was good water and
fair grass and a pretty grove of white pines in which to pitch our
tents. I enjoyed this camp, and had a fine rest at night.
The morning broke dark and lowering. We hustled to get started before
a storm broke. It began to rain as we mounted our horses, and soon
we were in the midst of a cold rain. It blew hard. We put on our
slickers. After a short ride down through the forest we entered
Buffalo Park. This was a large park, and we lost time trying to find a
forester's trail leading out of it. At last we found one, but it soon
petered out, and we were lost in thick timber, in a driving rain, with
the cold and wind increasing. But we kept on.
This forest was deep and dark, with tremendous windfalls, and great
canyons around which we had to travel. It took us hours to ride out of
it. When we began to descend once more we struck an old lumber road.
More luck--the storm ceased, and presently we were out on an aspen
slope with a great valley beneath, and high, black peaks beyond. Below
the aspens were long swelling slopes of sage and grass, gray and
golden and green. A ranch lay in the valley, and we crossed it to
climb up a winding ravine, once more to the aspens where we camped in
the rancher's pasture. It was a cold, wet camp, but we managed to be
The sunset was gorgeous. The mass of clouds broke and rolled.
There was exquisite golden light on the peaks, and many rose- and
violet-hued banks of cloud.
Morning found us shrouded in fog. We were late starting. About nine
the curtain of gray began to lift and break. We climbed pastures and
aspen thickets, high up to the spruce, where the grass grew luxuriant,
and the red wall of rock overhung the long slopes. The view west was
magnificent--a long, bulging range of mountains, vast stretches of
green aspen slopes, winding parks of all shapes, gray and gold and
green, and jutting peaks, and here and there patches of autumn blaze
in grass and thicket.
We spent the afternoon pitching camp on an aspen knoll, with water,
grass, and wood near at hand, and the splendid view of mountains and
We spent many full days under the shadow of Whitley's Peak. After the
middle of September the aspens colored and blazed to the touch of
frost, and the mountain slopes were exceedingly beautiful. Against
a background of gray sage the gold and red and purple aspen groves
showed too much like exquisite paintings to seem real. In the mornings
the frost glistened thick and white on the grass; and after the
gorgeous sunsets of gold over the violet-hazed ranges the air grew
Bear-chasing with a pack of hounds has been severely criticised by
many writers and I was among them. I believed it a cowardly business,
and that was why, if I chased bears with dogs, I wanted to chase the
kind that could not be treed. But like many another I did not know
what I was writing about. I did not shoot a bear out of a tree and I
would not do so, except in a case of hunger. All the same, leaving the
tree out of consideration, bear-chasing with hounds is a tremendously
exciting and hazardous game. But my ideas about sport are changing.
Hunting, in the sportsman's sense, is a cruel and degenerate business.
[Illustration: WHITE ASPEN TREE, SHOWING MARKS OF BEAR CLAWS]
The more I hunt the more I become convinced of something wrong about
the game. I am a different man when I get a gun in my hands. All is
exciting, hot-pressed, red. Hunting is magnificent up to the moment
the shot is fired. After that it is another matter. It is useless for
sportsmen to tell me that they, in particular, hunt right, conserve
the game, do not go beyond the limit, and all that sort of thing. I do
not believe them and I never met the guide who did. A rifle is made
for killing. When a man goes out with one he means to kill. He may
keep within the law, but that is not the question. It is a question of
spirit, and men who love to hunt are yielding to and always developing
the old primitive instinct to kill. The meaning of the spirit of life
is not clear to them. An argument may be advanced that, according to
the laws of self-preservation and the survival of the fittest, if a
man stops all strife, all fight, then he will retrograde. And that is
to say if a man does not go to the wilds now and then, and work hard
and live some semblance of the life of his progenitors, he will
weaken. It seems that he will, but I am not prepared now to say
whether or not that would be well. The Germans believe they are the
race fittest to survive over all others--and that has made me a
little sick of this Darwin business.
[Illustration: A BLACK BEAR TREED]
To return, however, to the fact that to ride after hounds on a wild
chase is a dangerous and wonderfully exhilarating experience, I will
relate a couple of instances, and I will leave it to my readers to
judge whether or not it is a cowardly sport.
One afternoon a rancher visited our camp and informed us that he had
surprised a big black bear eating the carcass of a dead cow.
"Good! We'll have a bear to-morrow night," declared Teague, in
delight. "We'll get him even if the trail is a day old. But he'll come
Early next morning the young rancher and three other boys rode into
camp, saying they would like to go with us to see the fun. We were
glad to have them, and we rode off through the frosted sage that
crackled like brittle glass under the hoofs of the horses. Our guide
led toward a branch of a park, and when we got within perhaps a
quarter of a mile Teague suggested that R.C. and I go ahead on the
chance of surprising the bear. It was owing to this suggestion that my
brother and I were well ahead of the others. But we did not see any
bear near the carcass of the cow. Old Jim and Sampson were close
behind us, and when Jim came within forty yards of that carcass he
put his nose up with a deep and ringing bay, and he shot by us like a
streak. He never went near the dead cow! Sampson bayed like thunder
and raced after Jim.
"They're off!" I yelled to R.C. "It's a hot scent! Come on!"
We spurred our horses and they broke across the open park to the edge
of the woods. Jim and Sampson were running straight with noses high. I
heard a string of yelps and bellows from our rear.
"Look back!" shouted R.C.
Teague and the cowboys were unleashing the rest of the pack. It surely
was great to see them stretch out, yelping wildly. Like the wind they
passed us. Jim and Sampson headed into the woods with deep bays. I was
riding Teague's best horse for this sort of work and he understood the
game and plainly enjoyed it. R.C.'s horse ran as fast in the woods as
he did in the open. This frightened me, and I yelled to R.C. to be
careful. I yelled to deaf ears. That is the first great risk--a rider
is not going to be careful! We were right on top of Jim and Sampson
with the pack clamoring mad music just behind. The forest rang. Both
horses hurdled logs, sometimes two at once. My old lion chases with
Buffalo Jones had made me skillful in dodging branches and snags, and
sliding knees back to avoid knocking them against trees. For a mile
the forest was comparatively open, and here we had a grand and ringing
run. I received two hard knocks, was unseated once, but held on, and
I got a stinging crack in the face from a branch. R.C. added several
more black-and-blue spots to his already spotted anatomy, and he
missed, just by an inch, a solid snag that would have broken him
in two. The pack stretched out in wild staccato chorus, the little
Airedales literally screeching. Jim got out of our sight and then
Sampson. Still it was ever more thrilling to follow by sound rather
than sight. They led up a thick, steep slope. Here we got into trouble
in the windfalls of timber and the pack drew away from us, up over the
mountain. We were half way up when we heard them jump the bear. The
forest seemed full of strife and bays and yelps. We heard the dogs go
down again to our right, and as we turned we saw Teague and the others
strung out along the edge of the park. They got far ahead of us. When
we reached the bottom of the slope they were out of sight, but we
could hear them yell. The hounds were working around on another slope,
from which craggy rocks loomed above the timber. R.C.'s horse lunged
across the park and appeared to be running off from mine. I was a
little to the right, and when my horse got under way, full speed, we
had the bad luck to plunge suddenly into soft ground. He went to his
knees, and I sailed out of the saddle fully twenty feet, to alight all
spread out and to slide like a plow. I did not seem to be hurt. When I
got up my horse was coming and he appeared to be patient with me, but
he was in a hurry. Before we got across the wet place R.C. was out of
sight. I decided that instead of worrying about him I had better think
about myself. Once on hard ground my horse fairly charged into the
woods and we broke brush and branches as if they had been punk. It
was again open forest, then a rocky slope, and then a flat ridge with
aisles between the trees. Here I heard the melodious notes of Teague's
hunting horn, and following that, the full chorus of the hounds. They
had treed the bear. Coming into still more open forest, with rocks
here and there, I caught sight of R.C. far ahead, and soon I had
glimpses of the other horses, and lastly, while riding full tilt, I
spied a big, black, glistening bear high up in a pine a hundred yards
or more distant.
Slowing down I rode up to the circle of frenzied dogs and excited men.
The boys were all jabbering at once. Teague was beaming. R.C. sat his
horse, and it struck me that he looked sorry for the bear.
"Fifteen minutes!" ejaculated Teague, with a proud glance at Old Jim
standing with forepaws up on the pine.
Indeed it had been a short and ringing chase.
All the time while I fooled around trying to photograph the treed
bear, R.C. sat there on his horse, looking upward.
"Well, gentlemen, better kill him," said Teague, cheerfully. "If he
gets rested he'll come down."
It was then I suggested to R.C. that he do the shooting.
"Not much!" he exclaimed.
The bear looked really pretty perched up there. He was as round as a
barrel and black as jet and his fur shone in the gleams of sunlight.
His tongue hung out, and his plump sides heaved, showing what a quick,
hard run he had made before being driven to the tree. What struck me
most forcibly about him was the expression in his eyes as he looked
down at those devils of hounds. He was scared. He realized his peril.
It was utterly impossible for me to see Teague's point of view.
"Go ahead--and plug him," I replied to my brother. "Get it over."
"You do it," he said.
"No, I won't."
"Why not--I'd like to know?"
"Maybe we won't have so good a chance again--and I want you to get
your bear," I replied.
"Why it's like--murder," he protested.
"Oh, not so bad as that," I returned, weakly. "We need the meat. We've
not had any game meat, you know, except ducks and grouse."
"You won't do it?" he added, grimly.
"No, I refuse."
Meanwhile the young ranchers gazed at us with wide eyes and the
expression on Teague's honest, ruddy face would have been funny under
"That bear will come down an' mebbe kill one of my dogs," he
"Well, he can come for all I care," I replied, positively, and I
I heard R.C. curse low under his breath. Then followed the spang of his
.35 Remington. I wheeled in time to see the bear straining upward in
terrible convulsion, his head pointed high, with blood spurting from his
nose. Slowly he swayed and fell with a heavy crash.
[Illustration: CROSSING THE COLORADO RIVER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE GRAND
[Illustration: WHERE ROLLS THE COLORADO]
The next bear chase we had was entirely different medicine.
Off in the basin under the White Slides, back of our camp, the hounds
struck a fresh track and in an instant were out of sight. With the
cowboy Vern setting the pace we plunged after them. It was rough
country. Bogs, brooks, swales, rocky little parks, stretches of timber
full of windfalls, groves of aspens so thick we could scarcely squeeze
through--all these obstacles soon allowed the hounds to get far away.
We came out into a large park, right under the mountain slope, and
here we sat our horses listening to the chase. That trail led around
the basin and back near to us, up the thick green slope, where high up
near a ledge we heard the pack jump this bear. It sounded to us as if
he had been roused out of a sleep.
"I'll bet it's one of the big grizzlies we've heard about," said
That was something to my taste. I have seen a few grizzlies. Riding
to higher ground I kept close watch on the few open patches up on the
slope. The chase led toward us for a while. Suddenly I saw a big bear
with a frosted coat go lumbering across one of these openings.
"Silvertip! Silvertip!" I yelled at the top of my lungs. "I saw him!"
My call thrilled everybody. Vern spurred his horse and took to the
right. Teague advised that we climb the slope. So we made for the
timber. Once there we had to get off and climb on foot. It was steep,
rough, very hard work. I had on chaps and spurs. Soon I was hot,
laboring, and my heart began to hurt. We all had to rest. The baying
of the hounds inspirited us now and then, but presently we lost it.
Teague said they had gone over the ridge and as soon as we got up to
the top we would hear them again. We struck an elk trail with fresh
elk tracks in it. Teague said they were just ahead of us. I never
climbed so hard and fast in my life. We were all tuckered out when we
reached the top of the ridge. Then to our great disappointment we did
not hear the hounds. Mounting we rode along the crest of this wooded
ridge toward the western end, which was considerably higher. Once on
a bare patch of ground we saw where the grizzly had passed. The big,
round tracks, toeing in a little, made a chill go over me. No doubt of
its being a silvertip!
We climbed and rode to the high point, and coming out upon the summit
of the mountain we all heard the deep, hoarse baying of the pack. They
were in the canyon down a bare grassy slope and over a wooded bench
at our feet. Teague yelled as he spurred down. R.C. rode hard in his
But my horse was new to this bear chasing. He was mettlesome, and he
did not want to do what I wanted. When I jabbed the spurs into his
flanks he nearly bucked me off. I was looking for a soft place to
light when he quit. Long before I got down that open slope Teague and
R.C. had disappeared. I had to follow their tracks. This I did at a
gallop, but now and then lost the tracks, and had to haul in to find
them. If I could have heard the hounds from there I would have gone on
anyway. But once down in the jack-pines I could hear neither yell or
bay. The pines were small, close together, and tough. I hurt my hands,
scratched my face, barked my knees. The horse had a habit of suddenly
deciding to go the way he liked instead of the way I guided him, and
when he plunged between saplings too close together to permit us both
to go through, it was exceedingly hard on me. I was worked into a
frenzy. Suppose R.C. should come face to face with that old grizzly
and fail to kill him! That was the reason for my desperate hurry. I
got a crack on the head that nearly blinded me. My horse grew hot and
began to run in every little open space. He could scarcely be held in.
And I, with the blood hot in me too, did not hold him hard enough.
It seemed miles across that wooded bench. But at last I reached
another slope. Coming out upon a canyon rim I heard R.C. and Teague
yelling, and I heard the hounds fighting the grizzly. He was growling
and threshing about far below. I had missed the tracks made by Teague
and my brother, and it was necessary to find them. That slope looked
impassable. I rode back along the rim, then forward. Finally I found
where the ground was plowed deep and here I headed my horse. He had
been used to smooth roads and he could not take these jumps. I went
forward on his neck. But I hung on and spurred him hard. The mad
spirit of that chase had gotten into him too. All the time I could
hear the fierce baying and yelping of the hounds, and occasionally I
heard a savage bawl from the bear. I literally plunged, slid, broke a
way down that mountain slope, riding all the time, before I discovered
the footprints of Teague and R.C. They had walked, leading their
horses. By this time I was so mad I would not get off. I rode all the
way down that steep slope of dense saplings, loose rock slides and
earth, and jumble of splintered cliff. That he did not break my
neck and his own spoke the truth about that roan horse. Despite his
inexperience he was great. We fell over one bank, but a thicket of
aspens saved us from rolling. The avalanches slid from under us until
I imagined that the grizzly would be scared. Once as I stopped to
listen I heard bear and pack farther down the canyon--heard them above
the roar of a rushing stream. They went on and I lost the sounds of
fight. But R.C.'s clear thrilling call floated up to me. Probably he
was worried about me.
Then before I realized it I was at the foot of the slope, in a narrow
canyon bed, full of rocks and trees, with the din of roaring water in
my ears. I could hear nothing else. Tracks were everywhere, and when I
came to the first open place I was thrilled. The grizzly had plunged
off a sandy bar into the water, and there he had fought the hounds.
Signs of that battle were easy to read. I saw where his huge tracks,
still wet, led up the opposite sandy bank.
Then, down stream, I did my most reckless riding. On level ground
the horse was splendid. Once he leaped clear across the brook. Every
plunge, every turn I expected to bring me upon my brother and Teague
and that fighting pack. More than once I thought I heard the spang of
the .35 and this made me urge the roan faster and faster.
The canyon narrowed, the stream-bed deepened. I had to slow down to
get through the trees and rocks. And suddenly I was overjoyed to ride
pell-mell upon R.C. and Teague with half the panting hounds. The
canyon had grown too rough for the horses to go farther and it would
have been useless for us to try on foot. As I dismounted, so sore and
bruised I could hardly stand, old Jim came limping in to fall into the
brook where he lapped and lapped thirstily. Teague threw up his hands.
Old Jim's return meant an ended chase. The grizzly had eluded the
hounds in that jumble of rocks below.
"Say, did you meet the bear?" queried Teague, eyeing me in
astonishment and mirth.
Bloody, dirty, ragged and wringing wet with sweat I must have been a
sight. R.C. however, did not look so very immaculate, and when I saw
he also was lame and scratched and black I felt better.
ROPING LIONS IN THE GRAND CANYON
The Grand Canyon of Arizona is over two hundred miles long, thirteen
wide, and a mile and a half deep; a titanic gorge in which mountains,
tablelands, chasms and cliffs lie half veiled in purple haze. It is
wild and sublime, a thing of wonder, of mystery; beyond all else a
place to grip the heart of a man, to unleash his daring spirit.
On April 20th, 1908, after days on the hot desert, my weary party and
pack train reached the summit of Powell's Plateau, the most isolated,
inaccessible and remarkable mesa of any size in all the canyon
country. Cut off from the mainland it appeared insurmountable;
standing aloof from the towers and escarpments, rugged and bold in
outline, its forest covering like a strip of black velvet, its giant
granite walls gold in the sun, it seemed apart from the world,
haunting with its beauty, isolation and wild promise.
The members of my party harmoniously fitted the scene. Buffalo Jones,