Part 5 out of 7
leave Flagstaff on September fifteenth. Meet you here September
twenty-first, along about noon."
We shook hands upon the deal. It pleased me that the Haughts laughed
at me yet appeared both surprised and happy. As I left I heard Edd
remark: "Not a kick!... Meet him next year at noon! What do you know
about thet?" This remark proved that he had paid me a compliment in
eastern slang most likely assimilated from R.C. and Romer.
The rest of the afternoon our camp resembled a beehive, and next
morning it was more like a bedlam. The horses were fresh, spirited,
and they had tender backs; the burros stampeded because of some
surreptitious trick of Romer's. But by noon we had all the outfit
packed in the wagon. Considering the amount of stuff, and the long,
rough climb up to the wagon, this was a most auspicious start. I
hoped that it augured well for us, but while I hoped I had a gloomy
foreboding. We bade good-bye to Haught and his son George. Edd offered
to go with us as far as he knew the country, which distance was not
many miles. So we set out upon our doubtful journey, our saddle-horses
in front of the lumbering wagon.
We had five miles of fairly level road through open forest along the
rim, and then we struck such a rocky jumble of downhill grade that the
bundles fell off the wagon. They had to be tied on. When we came to a
long slow slant uphill, a road of loose rocks, we made about one mile
an hour. This slow travel worked havoc upon my mind. I wanted to
hurry. I wanted to get out of the wilds. That awful rumor about
influenza occupied my mind and struck cold fear into my heart. What
of my family? No making the best of this! Slowly we toiled on. Sunset
overtook us at a rocky ledge which had to be surmounted. With lassos
on saddle horses in front of the two teams, all pulling hard, we
overcame that obstacle. But at the next little hill, which we
encountered about twilight, one of the team horses balked. Urging him,
whipping him, served no purpose; and it had bad effect upon the other
horses. Darkness was upon us with the camp-site Edd knew of still
miles to the fore. No grass, no water for the horses! But we had to
camp there. All hands set to work. It really was fun--it should have
been fine for me--but my gloomy obsession to hurry obscured my mind.
I marveled at old Doyle, over seventy, after that long, hard day,
quickly and efficiently cooking a good hot supper. Romer had enjoyed
the day. He said he was tired, but would like to stay up beside the
mighty camp-fire Nielsen built. I had neither energy or spirit to
oppose him. The night was dark and cold and windy; the fire felt so
good that I almost went asleep beside it. We had no time to put up
tents. I made our bed, crawled into it, stretched out with infinite
relief; and the last thing I was aware of was Romer snuggling in
Morning brought an early bestirring of every one. We had to stir to
get warm. The air nipped like cold pincers. All the horses were gone;
we could not hear a bell. But Lee did not appear worried. I groaned in
spirit. More delay! Gloom assailed me. Lee sallied out with his yellow
dog Pups. I had forgotten the good quality of Pups, but not my dislike
for him. He barked vociferously, and that annoyed me. R.C. and I
helped Edd and Nielsen pack the wagon. We worked quick and hard. Then
Doyle called us to breakfast. We had scarcely started to eat when we
heard a jangle of bells and the pound of hoofs. I could not believe
my ears. Our horses were lost. Nevertheless suddenly they appeared,
driven by Lee riding bareback, and Pups barking his head off. We all
jumped up with ropes and nose-bags to head off the horses, and soon
had them secured. Not one missing! I asked Lee how in the world he had
found that wild bunch in less than an hour. Lee laughed. "Pups. He
rounded them up in no time."
Then I wanted to go away and hide behind a thicket and kick myself,
but what I actually did was to give Pups part of my meat. I reproached
myself for my injustice to him. How often had I been deceived in
the surface appearance of people and things and dogs! Most of our
judgments are wrong. We do not see clearly.
By nine o'clock we were meeting our first obstacle--the little hill at
which the sorrel horse had balked. Lo! rested and full of grain, he
balked again! He ruined our start. He spoiled the teams. Lee had more
patience than I would have had. He unhitched the lead team and in
place of the sorrel put a saddle horse called Pacer. Then Doyle tried
again and surmounted the hill. Our saddle horses slowly worked ahead
over as rocky and rough a road as I ever traveled. Most of the time
we could see over the rim down into the basin. Along here the rim
appeared to wave in gentle swells, heavily timbered and thickly
rock-strewn, with heads of canyons opening down to our right. I saw
deer tracks and turkey tracks, neither of which occasioned me any
thrills now. About the middle of the afternoon Edd bade us farewell
and turned back. We were sorry to see him go, but as all the country
ahead of us was as unfamiliar to him as to us there seemed to be no
urgent need of him.
We encountered a long, steep hill up which the teams, and our saddle
horses combined, could not pull the wagon. We unpacked it, and each of
us, Romer included, loaded a bundle or box in front of his saddle, and
took it up the hill. Then the teams managed the wagon. This incident
happened four times in less than as many miles. The team horses,
having had a rest from hard labor, had softened, and this sudden
return to strenuous pulling had made their shoulders sore. They either
could not or would not pull. We covered less than ten miles that day,
a very discouraging circumstance. We camped in a pine grove close to
the rim, a splendid site that under favorable circumstances would have
been enjoyable. At sunset R.C. and Nielsen and Romer saw a black bear
down under the rim. The incident was so wonderful for Romer that it
brightened my spirits. "A bear! A big bear, Dad!... I saw him! He was
alive! He stood up--like this--wagging his head. Oh! I saw him!"
Our next day's progress was no less than a nightmare. Crawling along,
unpacking and carrying, and packing again, we toiled up and down the
interminable length of three almost impassable miles. When night
overtook us it was in a bad place to camp. No grass, no water! A cold
gale blew out of the west. It roared through the forest. It blew
everything loose away in the darkness. It almost blew us away in our
beds. The stars appeared radiantly coldly white up in the vast blue
windy vault of the sky. A full moon soared majestically. Shadows
crossed the weird moon-blanched forest glades.
At daylight we were all up, cramped, stiff, half frozen, mostly
silent. The water left in the buckets was solid ice. Suddenly some
one discovered that Nielsen was missing. The fact filled me with
consternation and alarm. He might have walked in his sleep and fallen
over the rim. What had become of him? All his outfit lay scattered
round in his bed. In my bewilderment I imagined many things, even to
the extreme that he might have left us in the lurch. But when I got to
that sad pass of mind I suddenly awakened as if out of an evil dream.
My worry, my hurry had obsessed me. High time indeed was it for me to
meet this situation as I had met other difficult ones. To this end I
went out away from camp, and forgot myself, my imagined possibilities,
and thought of my present responsibility, and the issue at hand. That
instant I realized my injustice toward Nielsen, and reproached myself.
Upon my return to camp Nielsen was there, warming one hand over the
camp-fire and holding a cup of coffee in the other.
"Nielsen, you gave us a scare. Please explain," I said.
"Yes, sir. Last night I was worried. I couldn't sleep. I got to
thinking we were practically lost. Some one ought to find out what was
ahead of us. So I got up and followed the road. Bright moonlight. I
walked all the rest of the night. And that's all, sir."
I liked Nielsen's looks then. He reminded me of Jim Emett, the
Mormon giant to whom difficulties and obstacles were but spurs to
achievement. Such men could not be defeated.
"Well, what did you find out?" I inquired.
"Change of conditions, sir," he replied, as a mate to his captain.
"Only one more steep hill so far as I went. But we'll have to cut
through thickets and logs. From here on the road is all grown over.
About ten miles west we turn off the rim down a ridge."
That about the turning-off place was indeed good news. I thanked
Nielsen. And Doyle appeared immensely relieved. The packing and
carrying had begun to tell on us. Pups ingratiated himself into my
affections. He found out that he could coax meat and biscuit from me.
We had three axes and a hatchet; and these we did not pack in the
wagon. When Doyle finally got the teams started Lee and Nielsen and
R.C. and I went ahead to clear the road. Soon we were halted by
thickets of pines, some of which were six inches in diameter at the
base. The road had ceased to be rocky, and that, no doubt, was the
reason pine thickets had grown up on it, The wagon kept right at our
heels, and many times had to wait. We cut a way through thickets, tore
rotten logs to pieces, threw stumps aside, and moved windfalls. Brawny
Nielsen seemed ten men in one! What a swath he hacked with his big
axe! When I rested, which circumstance grew oftener and oftener, I had
to watch Nielsen with his magnificent swing of the axe, or with his
mighty heave on a log. Time and again he lifted tree trunks out of the
road. He sweat till he was wringing wet. Neither that day nor the next
would we have ever gotten far along that stretch of thicketed and
obstructed road had it not been for Nielsen.
At sunset we found ourselves at the summit of a long slowly ascending
hill, deeply forested. It took all the horses together to pull the
wagon to the top. Thus when we started down a steep curve, horses and
men both were tired. I was ahead riding beside Romer. Nielsen and R.C.
were next, and Lee had fallen in behind the wagon. As I turned the
sharp curve I saw not fifty feet below me a huge log obstructing the
"Look out! Stop!" I yelled, looking back.
But I was too late. The horses could not hold back the heavily
laden wagon, and they broke into a gallop. I saw Doyle's face turn
white--heard him yell. Then I spurred my horse to the side. Romer was
slow or frightened. I screamed at him to get off the road. My heart
sank sick within me! Surely he would be run down. As his pony Rye
jumped out of the way the shoulder of the black horse, on the off
side, struck him a glancing blow. Then the big team hurdled the log,
the tongue struck with a crash, the wagon stopped with a lurch, and
Doyle was thrown from his seat.
Quick as a flash Nielsen was on the spot beside the team. The bay
horse was down. The black horse was trying to break away. Nielsen cut
and pulled the bay free of the harness, and Lee came tearing down to
grasp and hold the black.
Like a fool I ran around trying to help somehow, but I did not know
what to do. I smelled and then saw blood, which fact convinced me
of disaster. Only the black horse that had hurdled the log made
any effort to tear away. The other lay quiet. When finally it was
extricated we found that the horse had a bad cut in the breast made
by a snag on the log. We could find no damage done to the wagon. The
harness Nielsen had cut could be mended quickly. What a fortunate
outcome to what had seemed a very grave accident! I was thankful
indeed. But not soon would I forget sight of Romer in front of that
With the horses and a rope we hauled the log to one side of the road,
and hitching up again we proceeded on our way. Once I dropped back
and asked Doyle if he was all right. "Fine as a fiddle," he shouted.
"This's play to what we teamsters had in the early days." And verily
somehow I could see the truth of that. A mile farther on we made camp;
and all of us were hungry, weary, and quiet.
Doyle proved a remarkable example to us younger men. Next morning
he crawled out before any one else, and his call was cheery. I was
scarcely able to get out of my bed, but I was ashamed to lie there
an instant after I heard Doyle. Possibly my eyesight was dulled by
exhaustion when it caused me to see myself as a worn, unshaven,
wrinkled wretch. Romer-boy did not hop out with his usual alacrity.
R.C. had to roll over in his bed and get up on all fours.
We had scant rations for three more days. It behooved us to work and
waste not an hour. All morning, at the pace of a snail it seemed, we
chopped and lifted and hauled our way along that old Crook road. Not
since my trip down the Santa Rosa river in Mexico had I labored so
At noon we came to the turning-off junction, an old blazed road Doyle
had some vague knowledge of. "It must lead to Jones' ranch," Doyle
kept saying. "Anyway, we've got to take it." North was our direction.
And to our surprise, and exceeding gladness, the road down this ridge
proved to be a highway compared to what we had passed. In the open
forest we had to follow it altogether by the blazes on the trees. But
with all our eyes alert that was easy. The grade was down hill, so
that we traveled fast, covering four miles an hour. Occasionally a
log or thicket halted rapid progress. Toward the end of the afternoon
sheep and cattle trails joined the now well-defined road, and we knew
we were approaching a ranch. I walked, or rather limped the last mile,
for the very good reason that I could not longer bear the trot of
my horse. The forest grew more open, with smaller pines, and fewer
thickets. At sunset I came out upon the brow of a deep barren-looking
canyon, in the middle of which squatted some old ruined log-cabins.
Deserted! Alas for my visions of a cup of cold milk. For hours they
had haunted me. When Doyle saw the broken-down cabins and corrals he
yelled: "Boys, it's Jones' Ranch. I've been here. We're only three
miles from Long Valley and the main road!"
Elated we certainly were. And we rushed down the steep hill to look
for water. All our drinking water was gone, and the horses had not
slaked their thirst for two days. Separating we rode up and down the
canyon. R.C. and Romer found running water. Thereupon with immense
relief and joy we pitched camp near the cabins, forgetting our aches
and pains in the certainty of deliverance.
What a cold, dismal, bleak, stony, and lonesome place! We unpacked
only bedding, and our little store of food. And huddled around the
camp-fire we waited upon Doyle's cooking. The old pioneer talked while
"Jones' ranch!--I knew Jones in the early days. And I've heard of him
lately. Thirty years ago he rode a prairie schooner down into this
canyon. He had his wife, a fine, strong girl, and he had a gun, an
axe, some chuck, a few horses and cattle, and not much else. He built
him that cabin there and began the real old pioneering of the early
days. He raised cattle. He freighted to the settlements twice a year.
In twenty-five years he had three strapping boys and a girl just as
strapping. And he had a fortune in cattle. Then he sold his stock and
left this ranch. He wanted to give his faithful wife and his children
some of the comforts and luxuries and advantages of civilization. The
war came. His sons did not wait for the draft. They entered the army.
I heard a story about Abe Jones, the old man's first boy. Abe was a
quiet sort of chap. When he got to the army training camp a sergeant
asked Abe if he could shoot. Abe said: 'Nope, not much.' So they gave
him a rifle and told him to shoot at the near target. Abe looked at
it sort of funny like and he picked out the farthest target at one
thousand yards. And he hit the bull's eye ten times straight running.
'Hey!' gasped the sergeant, 'you long, lanky galoot! You said you
couldn't shoot.' Abe sort of laughed. 'Reckon I was thinkin' about
what Dad called shootin'.'... Well, Abe and his brothers got to France
to the front. Abe was a sharpshooter. He was killed at Argonne. Both
his brothers were wounded. They're over there yet.... I met a man not
long ago who'd seen Jones recently. And the old pioneer said he and
his wife would like to be back home. And home to them means right
Doyle's story affected me profoundly. What a theme for a novel! I
walked away from the camp-fire into the dark, lonely, melancholy
Arizona night. The ruined cabins, the broken-down corrals, the stone
fence, the wash where water ran at wet season--all had subtly changed
for me. Leaning in the doorway of the one-room cabin that had been
home for these Joneses I was stirred to my depths. Their spirits
abided in that lonely hut. At least I felt something there--something
strange, great, simple, inevitable, tragic as life itself. Yet what
could have been more beautiful, more splendid than the life of Jones,
and his wife, and daughter, and sons, especially Abe? Abe Jones! The
name haunted me. In one clear divining flash I saw the life of the
lad. I yearned with tremendous passion for the power to tell the
simplicity, the ruggedness, the pathos and the glory of his story.
The moan of wind in the pines seemed a requiem for the boy who had
prattled and romped and played under them, who had chopped and shot
and rode under them. Into his manhood had gone something of their
strength and nature.
We sought our beds early. The night down in that deep, open canyon was
the coldest we had experienced. I slept but little. At dawn all was
hoar-white with frost. It crackled under foot. The air had a stinging
bite. Yet how sweet, pure, cold to breathe!
Doyle's cheery: "Come and get it," was welcome call to breakfast. Lee
and Pups drove the horses into one of the old corrals. In an hour,
while the frost was yet hard and white, we were ready to start. Then
Doyle somewhat chilled our hopes: "Twenty years ago there was a bad
road out of here. Maybe one's been made since."
But one had not been made. And the old road had not been used for
years. Right at the outset we struck a long, steep, winding, rocky
road. We got stalled at the very foot of it. More toil! Unloading the
wagon we packed on our saddles the whole load more than a mile up this
last and crowning obstacle. Then it took all the horses together to
pull the empty wagon up to a level. By that time sunset had overtaken
us. Where had the hours gone? Nine hours to go one mile! But there had
to be an end to our agonies. By twilight we trotted down into Long
Valley, and crossed the main road to camp in a grove we remembered
well. We partook of a meagre supper, but we were happy. And bed that
night on a thick layer of soft pine needles, in a spot protected from
the cold wind, was immensely comfortable.
Lee woke the crowd next morning. "All rustle," he yelled. "Thirty-five
miles to Mormon Lake. Good road. We'll camp there to-night."
How strange that the eagerness to get home now could only be compared
to the wild desire for the woods a few weeks back! We made an early
start. The team horses knew that road. They knew they were now on the
way home. What difference that made! Jaded as they were they trotted
along with a briskness never seen before on that trip. It began to be
a job for us to keep up with Lee, who was on the wagon. Unless a rider
is accustomed to horseback almost all of the time a continuous trot on
a hard road will soon stove him up. My horse had an atrocious trot.
Time and again I had to fall behind to a walk and then lope ahead
to catch up. I welcomed the hills that necessitated Lee walking the
At noon we halted in a grassy grove for an hour's rest. That seemed
a precious hour, but to start again was painful. I noticed that
Romer-boy no longer rode out far in front, nor did he chase squirrels
with Pups. He sagged, twisted and turned, and lolled in his saddle.
Thereafter I tried to keep close to him. But that was not easy, for
he suspected me of seeing how tired he was, and kept away from me.
Thereafter I took to spying upon him from some distance behind. We
trotted and walked, trotted and walked the long miles. Arizona miles
were twice as long as ordinary properly measured miles. An event of
the afternoon was to meet some Mexican sheepherders, driving a flock
south. Nielsen got some fresh mutton from them. Toward sunset I caught
Romer hanging over his saddle. Then I rode up to him. "Son, are you
tired?" I asked. "Oh, Dad, I sure am, but I'm going to ride Rye to
Mormon Lake." I believed he would accomplish it. His saddle slipped,
letting him down. I saw him fall. When he made no effort to get up I
was frightened. Rye stood perfectly still over him. I leaped off and
ran to the lad. He had hit his head on a stone, drawing the blood, and
appeared to be stunned. I lifted him, holding him up, while somebody
got some water. We bathed his face and washed off the blood. Presently
he revived, and smiled at me, and staggered out of my hold.
"Helluva note that saddle slipped!" he complained. Manifestly he had
acquired some of Joe Isbel's strong language. Possibly he might have
acquired some other of the cowboy's traits, for he asked to have his
saddle straightened and to be put on his horse. I had misgivings, but
I could not resist him then. I lifted him upon Rye. Once more our
cavalcade got under way.
Sunset, twilight, night came as we trotted on and on. We faced a cold
wind. The forest was black, gloomy, full of shadows. Lee gave us all
we could do to keep up with him. At eight o'clock, two hours after
dark, we reached the southern end of Mormon Lake. A gale, cold as ice,
blew off the water from the north. Half a dozen huge pine trees stood
on the only level ground near at hand. "Nielsen, fire--pronto!" I
yelled. "Aye, sir," he shouted, in his deep voice. Then what with
hurry and bustle to get my bedding and packs, and to thresh my
tingling fingers, and press my frozen ears, I was selfishly busy a few
minutes before I thought of Romer.
Nielsen had started a fire, that blazed and roared with burning pine
needles. The blaze blew low, almost on a level with the ground, and a
stream of red sparks flew off into the woods. I was afraid of forest
fire. But what a welcome sight that golden flame! It lighted up a wide
space, showing the huge pines, gloom-encircled, and a pale glimmer of
the lake beyond. The fragrance of burning pine greeted my nostrils.
Dragging my bags I hurried toward the fire. Nielsen was building a
barricade of rocks to block the flying sparks. Suddenly I espied
Romer. He sat on a log close to the blaze. His position struck me as
singular, so I dropped my burdens and went to him. He had on a heavy
coat over sweater and under coat, which made him resemble a little old
man. His sombrero was slouched down sidewise, his gloved hands were
folded across his knees, his body sagged a little to one side, his
head drooped. He was asleep. I got around so I could see his face
in the firelight. Pale, weary, a little sad, very youthful and yet
determined! A bloody bruise showed over his temple. He had said he
would ride all the way to Mormon Lake and he had done it. Never, never
will that picture fade from my memory! Dear, brave, wild, little lad!
He had made for me a magnificent success of this fruitless hunting
trip. I hoped and prayed then that when he grew to man's estate, and
faced the long rides down the hard roads of life, he would meet them
and achieve them as he had the weary thirty-five Arizona miles from
Long Valley to Mormon Lake.
[Illustration: SKUNK, A FREQUENT AND RATHER DANGEROUS VISITOR IN CAMP]
[Illustration: ON THE RIM]
[Illustration: WHERE ELK, DEER, AND TURKEY DRINK]
Mutton tasted good that night around our camp-fire; and Romer ate a
generous portion. A ranger from the station near there visited us, and
two young ranchers, who told us that the influenza epidemic was waning.
This was news to be thankful for. Moreover, I hired the two ranchers to
hurry us by auto to Flagstaff on the morrow. So right there at Mormon
Lake ended our privations.
Under one of the huge pines I scraped up a pile of needles, made
Romer's bed in it, heated a blanket and wrapped him in it. Almost he
was asleep when he said: "Some ride, Dad--Good-night."
Later, beside him, I lay awake a while, watching the sparks fly, and
the shadows flit, feeling the cold wind on my face, listening to the
crackle of the fire and the roar of the gale.
Eventually R.C. and Romer and I arrived in Los Angeles to find all
well with our people, which fact was indeed something to rejoice over.
Hardly had this 1918 trip ended before I began to plan for that of
1919. But I did not realize how much in earnest I was until I received
word that both Lee Doyle in Flagstaff and Nielsen in San Pedro were
very ill with influenza. Lee all but died, and Nielsen, afterward,
told me he would rather die than have the "flu" again. To my great
relief, however, they recovered.
From that time then it pleased me to begin to plan for my 1919 hunting
trip. I can never do anything reasonably. I always overdo everything.
But what happiness I derive from anticipation! When I am not working
I live in dreams, partly of the past, but mostly of the future. A man
should live only in the present.
I gave Lee instructions to go about in his own way buying teams,
saddle horses, and wagons. For Christmas I sent him a .35 Remington
rifle. Mr. Haught got instructions to add some new dogs to his pack. I
sent Edd also a .35 Remington, and made Nielsen presents of two guns.
In January Nielsen and I went to Picacho, on the lower Colorado river,
and then north to Death Valley. So that I kept in touch with these men
and did not allow their enthusiasm to wane. For myself and R.C. I had
the fun of ordering tents and woolen blankets, and everything that we
did not have on our 1918 trip. But owing to the war it was difficult
to obtain goods of any description. To make sure of getting a .30
Gov't Winchester I ordered from four different firms, including the
Winchester Co. None of them had such a rifle in stock, but all would
try to find one. The upshot of this deal was that, when after months I
despaired of getting any, they all sent me a rifle at the same time.
So I found myself with four, all the same caliber of course, but of
different style and finish. When I saw them and thought of the
Haughts I had to laugh. One was beautifully engraved, and inlaid with
gold--the most elaborate .30 Gov't the Winchester people had ever
built. Another was a walnut-stocked, shot-gun butted, fancy checkered
take-down. This one I presented to R.C. The third was a plain ordinary
rifle with solid frame. And the last was a carbine model, which I gave
During the summer at Avalon I used to take the solid frame rifle, and
climb the hills to practice on targets. At Clemente Island I used to
shoot at the ravens. I had a grudge against ravens there for picking
the eyes out of newly born lambs. At five hundred yards a raven was in
danger from me. I could make one jump at even a thousand yards. These
.30 Gov't 1906 rifles with 150-grain bullet are the most wonderful
shooting arms I ever tried. I became expert at inanimate targets.
From time to time I heard encouraging news from Lee about horses. Edd
wrote me about lion tracks in the snow, and lynx up cedar trees, and
gobblers four feet high, and that there was sure to be a good crop
of acorns, and therefore some bears. He told me about a big grizzly
cow-killer being chased and shot in Chevelon Canyon. News about
hounds, however, was slow in coming. Dogs were difficult to find.
At length Haught wrote me that he had secured two; and in this same
letter he said the boys were cutting trails down under the rim.
Everything pertaining to my cherished plans appeared to be turning
out well. But during this time I spent five months at hard work and
intense emotional strain, writing the longest novel I ever attempted;
and I over-taxed my endurance. By the middle of June, when I finished,
I was tired out. That would not have mattered if I had not hurt my
back in an eleven-hour fight with a giant broadbill swordfish. This
strain kept me from getting in my usual physical trim. I could not
climb the hills, or exert myself. Swimming hurt me more than anything.
So I had to be careful and wait until my back slowly got better. By
September it had improved, but not enough to make me feel any thrills
over horseback riding. It seemed to me that I would be compelled to
go ahead and actually work the pain out of my back, an ordeal through
which I had passed before, and surely dreaded.
During the summer I had purchased a famous chestnut sorrel horse named
Don Carlos. He was much in demand among the motion-picture companies
doing western plays; and was really too fine and splendid a horse to
be put to the risks common to the movies. I saw him first at Palm
Springs, down in southern California, where my book _Desert Gold_ was
being made into a motion-picture. Don would not have failed to strike
any one as being a wonderful horse. He was tremendously high and rangy
and powerful in build, yet graceful withal, a sleek, shiny chestnut
red in color, with fine legs, broad chest, and a magnificent head. I
rode him only once before I bought him, and that was before I hurt my
back. His stride was what one would expect from sight of him; his trot
seemed to tear me to pieces; his spirit was such that he wanted to
prance all the time. But in spite of his spirit he was a pet. And
how he could run! Nielsen took Don to Flagstaff by express. And when
Nielsen wrote me he said all of Flagstaff came down to the station to
see the famous Don Carlos. The car in which he had traveled was backed
alongside a platform. Don refused to step on the boards they placed
from platform to car. He did not trust them. Don's intelligence had
been sharpened by his experience with the movies. Nielsen tried to
lead, to coax, and to drive Don to step on the board walk. Don would
not go. But suddenly he snorted, and jumped the space clear, to plunge
and pound down upon the platform, scattering the crowd like quail.
The day before my departure from Los Angeles was almost as terrible an
ordeal as I anticipated would be my first day's ride on Don Carlos.
And this ordeal consisted of listening to Romer's passionate appeals
and importunities to let him go on the hunt. My only defence was that
he must not be taken from school. School forsooth! He was way ahead of
his class. If he got behind he could make it up. I talked and argued.
Once he lost his temper, a rare thing with him, and said he would run
away from school, ride on a freight train to Flagstaff, steal a horse
and track me to my camp. I could not say very much in reply to this
threat, because I remembered that I had made worse to my father, and
carried it out. I had to talk sense to Romer. Often we had spoken of
a wonderful hunt in Africa some day, when he was old enough; and I
happened upon a good argument. I said: "You'll miss a year out of
school then. It won't be so very long. Don't you think you ought to
stay in school faithfully now?" So in the end I got away from him,
victorious, though not wholly happy. The truth was I wanted him to go.
My Jap cook Takahashi met me in Flagstaff. He was a very short, very
broad, very muscular little fellow with a brown, strong face, more
pleasant than usually seen in Orientals. Secretly I had made sure that
in Takahashi I had discovered a treasure, but I was careful to conceal
this conviction from R.C., the Doyles, and Nielsen. They were glad to
see him with us, but they manifestly did not expect wonders.
How brief the span of a year! Here I was in Flagstaff again outfitting
for another hunt. It seemed incredible. It revived that old haunting
thought about the shortness of life. But in spite of that or perhaps
more because of it the pleasure was all the keener. In truth the only
drawback to this start was the absence of Romer, and my poor physical
condition. R.C. appeared to be in fine fettle.
But I was not well. In the mornings I could scarcely arise, and when
I did so I could hardly straighten myself. More than once I grew
doubtful of my strength to undertake such a hard trip. This doubt I
fought fiercely, for I knew that the right thing for me to do was
to go--to stand the pain and hardship--to toil along until my old
strength and elasticity returned. What an opportunity to try out my
favorite theory! For I believed that labor and pain were good for
mankind--that strenuous life in the open would cure any bodily ill.
On September fourteenth Edd and George drifted into Flagstaff to join
us, and their report of game and water and grass and acorns was so
favorable that I would have gone if I had been unable to ride on
anything but a wagon.
We got away on September fifteenth at two-thirty o'clock with such an
outfit as I had never had in all my many trips put together. We had a
string of saddle horses besides those the men rode. They were surely a
spirited bunch; and that first day it was indeed a job to keep them with
us. Out of sheer defiance with myself I started on Don Carlos. He was no
trouble, except that it took all my strength to hold him in. He tossed
his head, champed his bit, and pranced sideways along the streets of
Flagstaff, manifestly to show off his brand new black Mexican saddle,
with silver trappings and tapaderos. I was sure that he did not do that
to show me off. But Don liked to dance and prance along before a crowd,
a habit that he had acquired with the motion pictures.
Lee and Nielsen and George had their difficulties driving the free
horses. Takahashi rode a little buckskin Navajo mustang. An evidence of
how extremely short the Jap's legs were made itself plain in the fact
that stirrups could not be fixed so he could reach them with his feet.
When he used any support at all he stuck his feet through the straps
above the stirrups. How funny his squat, broad figure looked in a
saddle! Evidently he was not accustomed to horses. When I saw the
mustang roll the white of his eyes and glance back at Takahashi then I
knew something would happen sooner or later.
Nineteen miles on Don Carlos reduced me to a miserable aching specimen
of manhood. But what made me endure and go on and finish to camp was the
strange fact that the longer I rode the less my back pained. Other parts
of my anatomy, however, grew sorer as we progressed. Don Carlos pleased
me immensely, only I feared he was too much horse for me. A Mormon
friend of mine, an Indian trader, looked Don over in Flagstaff, and
pronounced him: "Shore one grand hoss!" This man had broken many wild
horses, and his compliment pleased me. All the same the nineteen miles
on Don hurt my vanity almost as much as my body.
We camped in a cedar pasture off the main road. This road was a new one
for us to take to our hunting grounds. I was too bunged up to help
Nielsen pitch our tent. In fact when I sat down I was anchored. Still I
could use my eyes, and that made life worth living. Sunset was a
gorgeous spectacle. The San Francisco Peaks were shrouded in purple
storm-clouds, and the west was all gold and silver, with low clouds
rimmed in red. This sunset ended in a great flare of dull magenta with a
background of purple.
That evening was the try-out of our new chuck-box and chef. I had
supplied the men with their own outfit and supplies, to do with as they
liked, an arrangement I found to be most satisfactory. Takahashi was to
take care of R.C. and me. In less than half an hour from the time the
Jap lighted a fire he served the best supper I ever had in camp
anywhere. R.C. lauded him to the skies. And I began to think I could
unburden myself of my conviction.
I did not awaken to the old zest and thrill of the open. Something was
wrong with me. The sunset, the camp-fire, the dark clear night with its
trains of stars, the distant yelp of coyotes--these seemed less to me
than what I had hoped for. My feelings were locked round my discomfort
About noon next day we rode out of the cedars into the open desert--a
rolling, level land covered with fine grass, and yellow daisies, Indian
paint brush, and a golden flowering weed. This luxuriance attested to
the copious and recent rains. They had been a boon to dry Arizona. No
sage showed or greasewood, and very few rocks. The sun burned hot. I
gazed out at the desert, and the cloud pageant in the sky, trying hard
to forget myself, and to see what I knew was there for me. Rolling
columnar white and cream clouds, majestic and beautiful, formed storms
off on the horizon. Sunset on the open desert that afternoon was
singularly characteristic of Arizona--purple and gold and red, with long
lanes of blue between the colored cloud banks.
We made camp at Meteor Crater, one of the many wonders of this
wonderland. It was a huge hole in the earth over five hundred feet deep,
said to have been made by a meteor burying itself there. Seen from the
outside the slope was gradual up to the edges, which were scalloped and
irregular; on the inside the walls were precipitous. Our camp was on the
windy desert, a long sweeping range of grass, sloping down, dotted with
cattle, with buttes and mountains in the distance. Most of my sensations
of the day partook of the nature of woe.
September seventeenth bade fair to be my worst day--at least I did not
see how any other could ever be so bad. Glaring hot sun--reflected heat
from I the bare road--dust and sand and wind! Particularly hard on me
were what the Arizonians called dust-devils, whirlwinds of sand. On and
off I walked a good many miles, the latter of which I hobbled. Don
Carlos did not know what to make of this. He eyed me, and nosed me, and
tossed his head as if to say I was a strange rider for him. Like my
mustang, Night, he would not stand to be mounted. When I touched the
stirrup that was a signal to go. He had been trained to it. As he was
nearly seventeen hands high, and as I could not get my foot in the
stirrup from level ground, to mount him in my condition seemed little
less than terrible. I always held back out of sight when I attempted
this. Many times I failed. Once I fell flat and lay a moment in the
dust. Don Carlos looked down upon me in a way I imagined was
sympathetic. At least he bent his noble head and smelled at me. I
scrambled to my feet, led him round into a low place, and drawing a deep
breath, and nerving myself to endure the pain like a stab, I got into
the saddle again.
Two things sustained me in this ordeal, which was the crudest horseback
ride I ever had--first, the conviction that I could cure my ills by
enduring the agony of violent action, of hot sun, of hard bed; and
secondly, the knowledge that after it was all over the remembrance of
hardship and achievement would be singularly sweet. So it had been in
the case of the five days on the old Crook road in 1918, when extreme
worry and tremendous exertion had made the hours hideous. So it had been
with other arduous and poignant experiences. A poet said that the crown
of sorrow was in remembering happier times: I believed that there was a
great deal of happiness in remembering times of stress, of despair, of
extreme and hazardous effort. Anyway, without these two feelings in my
mind I would have given up riding Don Carlos that day, and have
abandoned the trip.
We covered twenty-two miles by sundown, a rather poor day's showing; and
camped on the bare flat desert, using water and wood we had packed with
us. The last thing I remembered, as my eyes closed heavily, was what a
blessing it was to rest and to sleep.
Next day we sheered off to the southward, heading toward Chevelon Butte,
a black cedared mountain, rising lone out of the desert, thirty miles
away. We crossed two streams bank full of water, a circumstance I never
before saw in Arizona. Everywhere too the grass was high. We climbed
gradually all day, everybody sunburned and weary, the horses settling
down to save themselves; and we camped high up on the desert plateau,
six thousand feet above sea level, where it was windy, cool, and
fragrant with sage and cedar. Except the first few, the hours of this
day each marked a little less torture for me; but at that I fell off
Don Carlos when we halted. And I was not able to do my share of the camp
work. R.C. was not as spry and chipper as I had seen him, a fact from
which I gathered infinite consolation. Misery loves company.
A storm threatened. All the west was purple under on-coming purple
clouds. At sight of this something strange and subtle, yet familiar,
revived in me. It made me feel a little more like the self I thought I
knew. So I watched the lightning flare and string along the horizon.
Some time in the night thunder awakened me. The imminence of a severe
storm forced us to roll out and look after the tent. What a pitch black
night! Down through the murky, weird blackness shot a wonderful zigzag
rope of lightning, blue-white, dazzling; and it disintegrated, leaving
segments of fire in the air. All this showed in a swift flash--then we
were absolutely blind. I could not see for several moments. It rained a
little. Only the edge of the storm touched us. Thunder rolled and boomed
along the battlements, deep and rumbling and detonating.
No dust or heat next morning! The desert floor appeared clean and damp,
with fresh gray sage and shining bunches of cedar. We climbed into the
high cedars, and then to the pinons, and then to the junipers and pines.
Climbing so out of desert to forestland was a gradual and accumulating
joy to me. What contrast in vegetation, in air, in color! Still the
forest consisted of small trees. Not until next day did we climb farther
to the deepening, darkening forest, and at last to the silver spruce.
That camp, the fifth night out, was beside a lake of surface water,
where we had our first big camp-fire.
September twenty-first and ten miles from Beaver Dam Canyon, where a
year before I had planned to meet Haught this day and date at noon! I
could make that appointment, saddle-sore and weary as I was, but I
doubted we could get the wagons there. The forest ground was soft. All
the little swales were full of water. How pleasant, how welcome, how
beautiful and lonely the wild forestland! We made advance slowly. It was
afternoon by the time we reached the rim road, and four o'clock when we
halted at the exact spot where we had left our wagon the year before.
Lee determined to drive the wagons down over the rocky benches into
Beaver Dam Canyon; and to that end he and the men began to cut pines,
drag logs, and roll stones.
R.C. and I rode down through the forest, crossing half a dozen swift
little streams of amber water, where a year before all had been dry as
tinder. We found Haught's camp in a grove of yellowing aspens. Haught
was there to meet us. He had not changed any more than the rugged pine
tree under which a year past we had made our agreement. He wore the same
blue shirt and the old black sombrero.
"Hello Haught," was my greeting, as I dismounted and pulled out my
watch. "I'm four hours and a quarter late. Sorry. I could have made it,
but didn't want to leave the wagons."
"Wal, wal, I shore am glad to see you," he replied, with a keen flash in
his hazel eyes and a smile on his craggy face. "I reckoned you'd make
it. How are you? Look sort of fagged."
"Just about all in, Haught," I replied, as we shook hands.
Then Copple appeared, swaggering out of the aspens. He was the man I met
in Payson and who so kindly had made me take his rifle. I had engaged
him also for this hunt. A brawny man he was, with powerful shoulders,
swarthy-skinned, and dark-eyed, looking indeed the Indian blood he
"Wouldn't have recognized you anywhere's else," he said.
These keen-eyed outdoor men at a glance saw the havoc work and pain had
played with me. They were solicitous, and when I explained my condition
they made light of that, and showed relief that I was not ill. "Saw wood
an' rustle around," said Haught. And Copple said: "He needs venison an'
They rode back with us up to the wagons. Copple had been a freighter. He
picked out a way to drive down into the canyon. So rough and steep it
was that I did not believe driving down would be possible. But with axes
and pick and shovel, and a heaving of rocks, they worked a road that Lee
drove down. Some places were almost straight down. But the ground was
soft, hoofs and wheels sank deeply, and though one wagon lurched almost
over, and the heavily laden chuck-wagon almost hurdled the team, Lee
made the bad places without accident. Two hours after our arrival, such
was the labor of many strong hands, we reached our old camp ground. One
thing was certain, however, and that was we would never get back up the
way we came down.
Except for a luxuriance of grass and ferns, and two babbling streams of
water, our old camp ground had not changed. I sat down with mingled
emotions. How familiarly beautiful and lonely this canyon glade! The
great pines and spruces looked down upon me with a benediction. How
serene, passionless, strong they seemed! It was only men who changed in
brief time. The long year of worry and dread and toil and pain had
passed. It was nothing. On the soft, fragrant, pine-scented breeze came
a whispering of welcome from the forestland: "You are here again. Live
now--in the present."
Takahashi beamed upon me: "More better place to camp," he said,
grinning. Already the Jap had won my admiration and liking. His ability
excited my interest, and I wanted to know more about him. As to this
camp-site being a joy compared to the ones stretched back along the road
he was assuredly right. That night we did no more than eat and unroll
our beds. But next day there set in the pleasant tasks of unpacking,
putting up tents and flies, cutting spruce for thick, soft beds, and a
hundred odd jobs dear to every camper. Takahashi would not have any one
help him. He dug a wide space for fires, erected a stone windbreak, and
made two ovens out of baked mud, the like of which, and the cleverness
of which I had never seen. He was a whirlwind for work.
The matter of firewood always concerned Nielsen and me more than any
one. Nielsen was a Norwegian, raised as a boy to use a crosscut saw; and
as for me I was a connoisseur in camp-fires and a lover of them. Hence
we had brought a crosscut saw--a long one with two handles. I remembered
from the former year a huge dead pine that had towered bleached and
white at the edge of the glade. It stood there still. The storms and
blasts of another winter had not changed it in the least. It was five
feet thick at the base and solid. Nielsen chopped a notch in it on the
lower side, and then he and Edd began to saw into it on the other. I saw
the first tremor of the lofty top. Then soon it shivered all the way
down, gave forth a loud crack, swayed slowly, and fell majestically, to
strike with a thundering crash. Only the top of this pine broke in the
fall, but there were splinters and knots and branches enough to fill a
wagon. These we carried up to our camp-fire.
Then the boys sawed off half a dozen four-foot sections, which served
as fine, solid, flat tables for comfort around camp. The method of using
a crosscut saw was for two men to take a stand opposite one another,
with the log between. The handles of the saw stood upright. Each man
should pull easily and steadily toward himself, but should not push back
nor bear down. It looked a rhythmic, manly exercise, and not arduous.
But what an illusion! Nielsen and Copple were the only ones that day who
could saw wholly through the thick log without resting. Later Takahashi
turned out to be as good, if not better, than either of them, but we had
that, as well as many other wonderful facts, to learn about the Jap.
"Come on," said R.C. to me, invitingly. "You've been talking about this
crosscut saw game. I'll bet you find it harder than pulling on a
Pride goes before a fall! I knew that in my condition I could do little
with the saw, but I had to try. R.C. was still fresh when I had to rest.
Perhaps no one except myself realized the weakness of my back, but the
truth was a couple of dozen pulls on that saw almost made me collapse.
Wherefore I grew furious with myself and swore I would do it or die. I
sawed till I fell over--then I rested and went back at it. Half an hour
of this kind of exercise gave me a stab in my left side infinitely
sharper than the pain in my back. Also it made me wringing wet, hot as
fire, and as breathless as if I had run a mile up hill. That experience
determined me to stick to crosscut sawing every day. Next morning I
approached it with enthusiasm, yet with misgivings. I could not keep my
breath. Pain I could and did bear without letting on. But to have to
stop was humiliating. If I tried to keep up with the sturdy Haught boys,
or with the brawny Copple or the giant Nielsen, soon I would be
compelled to keel over. In the sawing through a four-foot section of log
I had to rest eight times. They all had a great deal of fun out of it,
and I pretended to be good natured, but to me who had always been so
vigorous and active and enduring it was not fun. It was tragic. But all
was not gloom for me. This very afternoon Nielsen, the giant, showed
that a stiff climb out of the canyon, at that eight thousand feet
altitude, completely floored him. Yet I accomplished that with
comparative ease. I could climb, which seemed proof that I was gaining.
A man becomes used to certain labors and exercises. I thought the
crosscut saw a wonderful tool to train a man, but it must require time.
It harked back to pioneer days when men were men. Nielsen said he had
lived among Mexican boys who sawed logs for nineteen cents apiece and
earned seven dollars a day. Copple said three minutes was good time to
saw a four-foot log in two pieces. So much for physical condition! As
for firewood, for which our crosscut saw was intended, pitch pine and
yellow pine and spruce were all odorous and inflammable woods, but they
did not make good firewood. Dead aspen was good; dead oak the best. It
burned to red hot coals with little smoke. As for camp-fires, any kind
of dry wood pleased, smoke or no smoke. In fact I loved the smell and
color of wood-smoke, in spite of the fact that it made my eyes smart.
By October first, which was the opening day of the hunting season, I had
labored at various exercises until I felt fit to pack a rifle through
the woods. R.C. and I went out alone on foot. Not by any means was the
day auspicious. The sun tried to show through a steely haze, making only
a pale shift of sunshine. And the air was rather chilly. Enthusiasm,
however, knew no deterrents. We walked a mile down Beaver Dam Canyon,
then climbed the western slope. As long as the sun shone I knew the
country fairly well, or rather my direction. We slipped along through
the silent woods, satisfied with everything. Presently the sun broke
through the clouds, and shone fitfully, making intervals of shadow, and
others of golden-green verdure.
Along an edge of one of the grassy parks we came across fresh deer
tracks. Several deer had run out of the woods just ahead of us,
evidently having winded us. One track was that of a big buck. We trailed
these tracks across the park, then made a detour in hopes of heading the
deer off, but failed. A huge, dark cloud scudded out of the west and let
down a shower of fine rain. We kept dry under a spreading spruce. The
forest then was gloomy and cool with only a faint moan of wind and
pattering of raindrops to break the silence. The cloud passed by, the
sun shone again, the forest glittered in its dress of diamonds. There
had been but little frost, so that aspen and maple thickets had not yet
taken on their cloth of gold and blaze of red. Most of the leaves were
still on the trees, making these thickets impossible to see into. We
hunted along the edges of these, and across the wide, open ridge from
canyon to canyon, and saw nothing but old tracks. Black and white clouds
rolled up and brought a squall. We took to another spruce tent for
shelter. After this squall the sky became obscured by a field of gray
cloud through which the sun shone dimly. This matter worried me. I was
aware of my direction then, but if I lost the sun I would soon be in
Gradually we worked back along the ridge toward camp, and headed several
ravines that ran and widened down into the big canyon. All at once R.C.
held up a warning finger. "Listen!" With abatement of breath I listened,
but heard nothing except the mournful sough of the pines. "Thought I
heard a whistle," he said. We went on, all eyes and ears.
R.C. and I flattered ourselves that together we made rather a good
hunting team. We were fairly well versed in woodcraft and could slip
along stealthily. I possessed an Indian sense of direction that had
never yet failed me. To be sure we had much to learn about deer
stalking. But I had never hunted with any man whose ears were as quick
as R.C.'s. A naturally keen hearing, and many years of still hunting,
accounted for this faculty. As for myself, the one gift of which I was
especially proud was my eyesight. Almost invariably I could see game in
the woods before any one who was with me. This had applied to all my
guides except Indians. And I believed that five summers on the Pacific,
searching the wide expanse of ocean for swordfish fins, had made my eyes
all the keener for the woods. R.C. and I played at a game in which he
tried to hear the movement of some forest denizen before I saw it. This
fun for us dated back to boyhood days.
Suddenly R.C. stopped short, with his head turning to one side, and his
body stiffening. "I heard that whistle again," he said. We stood
perfectly motionless for a long moment. Then from far off in the forest
I heard a high, clear, melodious, bugling note. How thrilling, how
lonely a sound!
"It's a bull-elk," I replied. Then we sat down upon a log and listened.
R.C. had heard that whistle in Colorado, but had not recognized it. Just
as the mournful howl of a wolf is the wildest, most haunting sound of
the wilderness, so is the bugle of the elk the noblest, most melodious
and thrilling. With tingling nerves and strained ears we listened. We
heard elk bugling in different directions, hard to locate. One bull
appeared to be low down, another high up, another working away. R.C. and
I decided to stalk them. The law prohibited the killing of elk, but that
was no reason why we might not trail them, and have the sport of seeing
them in their native haunts. So we stole softly through the woods,
halting now and then to listen, pleased to note that every whistle we
heard appeared to be closer.
At last, apparently only a deep thicketed ravine separated us from the
ridge upon which the elk were bugling. Here our stalk began to become
really exciting. We did not make any noise threading that wet thicket,
and we ascended the opposite slope very cautiously. What little wind
there was blew from the elk toward us, so they could not scent us. Once
up on the edge of the ridge we halted to listen. After a long time we
heard a far-away bugle, then another at least half a mile distant. Had
we miscalculated? R.C. was for working down the ridge and I was for
waiting there a few moments. So we sat down again. The forest was almost
silent now. Somewhere a squirrel was barking. The sun peeped out of the
pale clouds, lighted the glades, rimmed the pines in brightness. I
opened my lips to speak to R.C. when I was rendered mute by a piercing
whistle, high-pitched and sweet and melodiously prolonged. It made my
ears tingle and my blood dance. "Right close," whispered R.C. "Come on."
We began to steal through the forest, keeping behind trees and thickets,
peeping out, and making no more sound than shadows. The ground was damp,
facilitating our noiseless stalk. In this way we became separated by
about thirty steps, but we walked on and halted in unison. Passing
through a thicket of little pines we came into an open forest full of
glades. Keenly I peered everywhere, as I slipped from tree to tree.
Finally we stooped along for a space, and then, at a bugle blast so
close that it made me jump, I began to crawl. My objective point was a
fallen pine the trunk of which appeared high enough to conceal me. R.C.
kept working a little farther to the right. Once he beckoned me, but I
kept on. Still I saw him drop down to crawl. Our stalk was getting
toward its climax. My state was one of quivering intensity of thrill, of
excitement, of pleasure. Reaching my log I peeped over it. I saw a
cow-elk and a yearling calf trotting across a glade about a hundred
yards distant. Wanting R.C. to see them I looked his way, and pointed.
But he was pointing also and vehemently beckoning for me to join him. I
ran on all fours over to where he knelt. He whispered pantingly:
"Grandest sight--ever saw!" I peeped out.
In a glade not seventy-five yards away stood a magnificent bull elk,
looking back over his shoulder. His tawny hind-quarters, then his dark
brown, almost black shaggy shoulders and head, then his enormous spread
of antlers, like the top of a dead cedar--these in turn fascinated my
gaze. How graceful, stately, lordly!
R.C. stepped out from behind the pine in full view. I crawled out, took
a kneeling position, and drew a bead on the elk. I had the fun of
imagining I could have hit him anywhere. I did not really want to kill
him, yet what was the meaning of the sharp, hot gush of my blood, the
fiery thrill along my nerves, the feeling of unsatisfied wildness? The
bull eyed us for a second, then laid his forest of antlers back over his
shoulders, and with singularly swift, level stride, sped like a tawny
flash into the green forest.
R.C. and I began to chatter like boys, and to walk toward the glade,
without any particular object in mind, when my roving eye caught sight
of a moving brown and checkered patch low down on the ground, vanishing
behind a thicket. I called R.C. and ran. I got to where I could see
beyond the thicket. An immense flock of turkeys! I yelled. As I tried to
get a bead on a running turkey R.C. joined me. "Chase 'em!" he yelled.
So we dashed through the forest with the turkeys running ahead of us.
Never did they come out clear in the open. I halted to shoot, but just
as I was about to press the trigger, my moving target vanished. This
happened again. No use to shoot at random! I had a third fleeting
chance, but absolutely could not grasp it. Then the big flock of turkeys
eluded us in an impenetrable, brushy ravine.
"By George!" exclaimed R.C. "Can you beat that? They run like streaks. I
couldn't aim. These wild turkeys are great."
I echoed his sentiments. We prowled around for an hour trying to locate
this flock again, but all in vain. "Well," said R.C. finally, as he
wiped his perspiring face, "it's good to see some game anyhow.... Where
It developed that our whereabouts was a mystery to me. The sun had
become completely obliterated, a fine rain was falling, the forest had
grown wet and dismal. We had gotten turned around. The matter did not
look serious, however, until we had wandered around for another hour
without finding anything familiar. Then we realized we were lost. This
sort of experience had happened to R.C. and me often; nevertheless we
did not relish it, especially the first day out. As usual on such
occasions R.C. argued with me about direction, and then left the
responsibility with me. I found an open spot, somewhat sheltered on one
side from the misty rain, and there I stationed myself to study trees
and sky and clouds for some clue to help me decide what was north or
west. After a while I had the good fortune to see a momentary
brightening through the clouds. I located the sun, and was pleased to
discover that the instinct of direction I had been subtly prompted to
take, would have helped me as much as the sun.
We faced east and walked fast, and I took note of trees ahead so that
we should not get off a straight line. At last we came to a deep canyon.
In the gray misty rain I could not be sure I recognized it. "Well,
R.C.," I said, "this may be our canyon, and it may not. But to make sure
we'll follow it up to the rim. Then we can locate camp." R.C. replied
with weary disdain. "All right, my redskin brother, lead me to camp. As
Loren says, I'm starved to death." Loren is my three-year-old boy, who
bids fair to be like his brother Romer. He has an enormous appetite and
before meal times he complains bitterly: "I'm starv-ved to death!" How
strange to remember him while I was lost in the forest!
When we had descended into the canyon rain was falling more heavily. We
were in for it. But I determined we would not be kept out all night. So
I struck forward with long stride.
In half an hour we came to where the canyon forked. I deliberated a
moment. Not one familiar landmark could I descry, from which fact I
decided we had better take to the left-hand fork. Grass and leaves
appeared almost as wet as running water. Soon we were soaked to the
skin. After two miles the canyon narrowed and thickened, so that
traveling grew more and more laborsome. It must have been four miles
from its mouth to where it headed up near the rim. Once out of it we
found ourselves on familiar ground, about five miles from camp.
Exhausted and wet and nearly frozen we reached camp just before dark. If
I had taken the right-hand fork of the canyon, which was really Beaver
Dam Canyon, we would have gotten back to camp in short order. R.C. said
to the boys: "Well, Doc dragged me nine miles out of our way." Everybody
but the Jap enjoyed my discomfiture. Takahashi said in his imperfect
English: "Go get on more better dry clothes. Soon hot supper. Maybe good
It rained the following day, making a good excuse to stay in camp and
rest beside the little tent-stove. And the next morning I started out on
foot with Copple. We went down Beaver Dam Canyon intending to go up on
the ridge where R.C. and I had seen the flock of turkeys.
I considered Copple an addition to my long list of outdoor acquaintances
in the west, and believed him a worthy partner for Nielsen. Copple was
born near Oak Creek, some twenty miles south of Flagstaff, and was
one-fourth Indian. He had a good education. His whole life had been in
the open, which fact I did not need to be told. A cowboy when only a boy
he had also been sheepherder, miner, freighter, and everything
Arizonian. Eighteen years he had hunted game and prospected for gold in
Mexico. He had been a sailor and fireman on the Pacific, he had served
in the army in the Philippines. Altogether his had been an adventurous
life; and as Doyle had been a mine of memories for me so would Copple be
a mine of information. Such men have taught me the wonder, the violence,
the truth of the west.
Copple was inclined to be loquacious--a trait that ordinarily was rather
distasteful to me, but in his case would be an advantage. On our way
down the canyon not only did he give me an outline of the history of his
life, but he talked about how he had foretold the storm just ended. The
fresh diggings of gophers--little mounds of dirt thrown up--had
indicated the approach of the storm; so had the hooting of owls;
likewise the twittering of snowbirds at that season; also the feeding of
blackbirds near horses. Particularly a wind from the south meant storm.
From that he passed to a discussion of deer. During the light of the
moon deer feed at night; and in the day time they will lie in a thicket.
If a hunter came near the deer would lower their horns flat and remain
motionless, unless almost ridden over. In the dark of the moon deer feed
at early morning, lie down during the day, and feed again toward sunset,
always alert, trusting to nose more than eyes and ears.
Copple was so interesting that I must have passed the place where R.C.
and I had come down into the canyon; at any rate I missed it, and we
went on farther. Copple showed me old bear sign, an old wolf track, and
then fresh turkey tracks. The latter reminded me that we were out
hunting. I could carry a deadly rifle in my hands, yet dream dreams of
flower-decked Elysian fields. We climbed a wooded bench or low step of
the canyon slope, and though Copple and I were side by side I saw two
turkeys before he did. They were running swiftly up hill. I took a snap
shot at the lower one, but missed. My bullet struck low, upsetting him.
Both of them disappeared.
Then we climbed to the top of the ridge, and in scouting around along
the heavily timbered edges we came to a ravine deep enough to be classed
as a canyon. Here the forest was dark and still, with sunlight showing
down in rays and gleams. While hunting I always liked to sit down here
and there to listen and watch. Copple liked this too. So we sat down.
Opposite us the rocky edge of the other slope was about two hundred
yards. We listened to jays and squirrels. I made note of the significant
fact that as soon as we began to hunt Copple became silent.
Presently my roving eye caught sight of a moving object. It is movement
that always attracts my eye in the woods. I saw a plump, woolly beast
walk out upon the edge of the opposite slope and stand in the shade.
"Copple, is that a sheep?" I whispered, pointing. "Lion--no, big lynx,"
he replied. I aimed and shot just a little too swiftly. Judging by the
puff of dust my bullet barely missed the big cat. He leaped fully
fifteen feet. Copple fired, hitting right under his nose as he alighted.
That whirled him back. He bounced like a rubber ball. My second shot
went over him, and Copple's hit between his legs. Then with another
prodigious bound he disappeared in a thicket. "By golly! we missed him,"
declared Copple. "But you must have shaved him that first time. Biggest
lynx I ever saw."
We crossed the canyon and hunted for him, but without success. Then we
climbed an open grassy forest slope, up to a level ridge, and crossed
that to see down into a beautiful valley, with stately isolated pines,
and patches of aspens, and floor of luxuriant grass. A ravine led down
into this long park and the mouth of it held a thicket of small pines.
Just as we got half way out I saw bobbing black objects above the high
grass. I peered sharply. These objects were turkey heads. I got a shot
before Copple saw them. There was a bouncing, a whirring, a
thumping--and then turkeys appeared to be running every way.
Copple fired. "Turkey number one!" he called out. I missed a big gobbler
on the run. Copple shot again. "Turkey number two!" he called out. I
could not see what he had done, but of course I knew he had done
execution. It roused my ire as well as a desperate ambition. Turkeys
were running up hill everywhere. I aimed at this one, then at that.
Again I fired. Another miss! How that gobbler ran! He might just as well
have flown. Every turkey contrived to get a tree or bush between him and
me, just at the critical instant. In despair I tried to hold on the last
one, got a bead on it through my peep sight, moved it with him as we
moved, and holding tight, I fired. With a great flop and scattering of
bronze feathers he went down. I ran up the slope and secured him, a
fine gobbler of about fifteen pounds weight.
Upon my return to Copple I found he had collected his two turkeys, both
shot in the neck in the same place. He said: "If you hit them in the
body you spoil them for cooking. I used to hit all mine in the head. Let
me give you a hunch. Always pick out a turkey running straight away from
you or straight toward you. Never crossways. You can't hit them running
to the side."
Then he bluntly complimented me upon my eyesight. That at least was
consolation for my poor shooting. We rested there, and after a while
heard a turkey cluck. Copple had no turkey-caller, but he clucked
anyhow. We heard answers. The flock evidently was trying to get together
again, and some of them were approaching us. Copple continued to call.
Then I appreciated how fascinating R.C. had found this calling game.
Copple got answers from all around, growing closer. But presently the
answers ceased. "They're on to me," he whispered and did not call again.
At that moment a young gobbler ran swiftly down the slope and stopped to
peer around, his long neck stretching. It was not a very long shot, and
I, scorning to do less than Copple, tried to emulate him, and aimed at
the neck of the gobbler. All I got, however, was a few feathers. Like a
grouse he flew across the opening and was gone. We lingered there a
while, hoping to see or hear more of the flock, but did neither. Copple
tried to teach me how to tell the age of turkeys from their feet, a
lesson I did not think I would assimilate in one hunting season. He tied
their legs together and hung them over his shoulder, a net weight of
about fifty pounds.
All the way up that valley we saw elk tracks, and once from over the
ridge I heard a bugle. On our return toward camp we followed a rather
meandering course, over ridge and down dale, and through grassy parks
and stately forests, and along the slowly coloring maple-aspen thickets.
Copple claimed to hear deer running, but I did not. Many tired footsteps
I dragged along before we finally reached Beaver Dam Canyon. How welcome
the sight of camp! R.C. had ridden miles with Edd, and had seen one deer
that they said was still enjoying his freedom in the woods. Takahashi
hailed sight of the turkeys with: "That fine! That fine! Nice fat ones!"
But tired as I was that night I still had enthusiasm enough to visit
Haught's camp, and renew acquaintance with the hounds. Haught had not
been able to secure more than two new hounds, and these named Rock and
Buck were still unknown quantities.
Old Dan remembered me, and my heart warmed to the old gladiator. He was
a very big, large-boned hound, gray with age and wrinkled and lame, and
bleary-eyed. Dan was too old to be put on trails, or at least to be made
chase bear. He loved a camp-fire, and would almost sit in the flames.
This fact, and the way he would beg for a morsel to eat, had endeared
him to me.
Old Tom was somewhat smaller and leaner than Dan, yet resembled him
enough to deceive us at times. Tom was gray, too, and had crinkly ears,
and many other honorable battle-scars. Tom was not quite so friendly as
Dan; in fact he had more dignity. Still neither hound was ever
demonstrative except upon sight of his master. Haught told me that if
Dan and Tom saw him shoot at a deer they would chase it till they
dropped; accordingly he never shot at anything except bear and lion when
he had these hounds with him.
Sue was the best hound in the pack, as she still had, in spite of years
of service, a good deal of speed and fight left in her. She was a slim,
dark brown hound with fine and very long ears. Rock, one of the new
hounds from Kentucky, was white and black, and had remarkably large,
clear and beautiful eyes, almost human in expression. I could not
account for the fact that I suspected Rock was a deer chaser. Buck, the
other hound from Kentucky, was no longer young; he had a stump tail; his
color was a little yellow with dark spots, and he had a hang-dog head
and distrustful eye. I made certain that Buck had never had any friends,
for he did not understand kindness. Nor had he ever had enough to eat.
He stayed away from the rest of the pack and growled fiercely when a pup
came near him. I tried to make friends with him, but found that I would
not have an easy task.
Kaiser Bill was one of the pups, black in color, a long, lean,
hungry-looking dog, and crazy. He had not grown any in a year, either in
body or intelligence. I remembered how he would yelp just to hear
himself and run any kind of a trail--how he would be the first to quit
and come back. And if any one fired a gun near him he would run like a
To be fair to Kaiser Bill the other pups were not much better. Trailer
and Big Foot were young still, and about all they could do was to run
If, however, they got off right on a bear trail, and no other trail
crossed it they would stick, and in fact lead the pack till' the bear
got away. Once Big Foot came whimpering into camp with porcupine quills
in his nose. Of all the whipped and funny pups!
Bobby was the dog I liked best. He was a curly black half-shepherd,
small in size; and he had a sharp, intelligent face, with the brightest
hazel eyes. His manner of wagging his tail seemed most comical yet
convincing. Bobby wagged only the nether end and that most emphatically.
He would stand up to me, holding out his forepaws, and beg. What an
appealing beggar he was! Bobby's value to Haught was not
inconsiderable. He was the only dog Haught ever had that would herd the
pigs. On a bear hunt Bobby lost his shepherd ways and his kindly
disposition, and yelped fiercely, and hung on a trail as long as any of
the pack. He had no fear of a bear, for which reason Haught did not like
to run him.
All told then we had a rather nondescript and poor pack of hounds; and
the fact discouraged me. I wanted to hunt the bad cinnamons and the
grizzly sheep-killers, with which this rim-rock country was infested. I
had nothing against the acorn-eating brown or black bears. And with this
pack of hounds I doubted that we could hold one of the vicious fighting
species. But there was now nothing to do but try. No one could tell. We
might kill a big grizzly. And the fact that the chances were against us
perhaps made for more determined effort. I regretted, however, that I
had not secured a pack of trained hounds somewhere.
Frost was late this fall. The acorns had hardly ripened, the leaves had
scarcely colored; and really good bear hunting seemed weeks off. A storm
and then a cold snap would help matters wonderfully, and for these we
hoped. Indeed the weather had not settled; hardly a day had been free of
clouds. But despite conditions we decided to start in bear hunting every
other day, feeling that at least we could train the pack, and get them
and ourselves in better shape for a favorable time when it arrived.
Accordingly next day we sallied forth for Horton Thicket, and I went
down with Edd and George. It was a fine day, sunny and windy at
intervals. The new trail the boys had made was boggy. From above Horton
Thicket looked dark, green, verdant, with scarcely any touch of autumn
colors; from below, once in it, all seemed a darker green, cool and
damp. Water lay in all low places. The creek roared bankfull of clear
The new trail led up and down over dark red rich earth, through
thickets of jack-pine and maple, and then across long slopes of
manzanita and juniper, mescal and oak. Junipers were not fruitful this
year as they were last, only a few having clusters of lavender-colored
berries. The manzanita brush appeared exceptionally beautiful with its
vivid contrasts of crimson and green leaves, orange-colored berries, and
smooth, shiny bark of a chocolate red. The mescal consisted of round
patches of cactus with spear-shaped leaves, low on the ground, with a
long dead stalk standing or broken down. This stalk grows fresh every
spring, when it is laden with beautiful yellow blossoms. The honey from
the flowers of mescal and mesquite is the best to be obtained in this
country of innumerable bees.
Presently the hounds opened up on some kind of a trail and they worked
on it around under the ledges toward the next canyon, called See Canyon.
After a while the country grew so rough that fast riding was impossible;
the thickets tore and clutched at us until they finally stopped the
horses. We got off. Edd climbed to a ridge-top. "Pack gone way round,"
he called. "I'll walk. Take my horse back." I decided to let George take
my horse also, and I hurried to catch up with Edd.
Following that long-legged Arizonian on foot was almost as strenuous as
keeping him in sight on horseback. I managed it. We climbed steep slopes
and the farther we climbed the thicker grew the brush. Often we would
halt to listen for hounds, at which welcome intervals I endeavored to
catch my breath. We kept the hounds in hearing, which fact incited us to
renewed endeavors. At length we got into a belt of live-oak and
scrub-pine brush, almost as difficult to penetrate as manzanita, and
here we had to bend and crawl. Bear and deer tracks led everywhere.
Small stones and large stones had been lifted and displaced by bears
searching for grubs. These slopes were dry; we found no water at the
heads of ravines, yet the red earth was rich in bearded, tufted grass,
yellow daisies and purple asters, and a wan blue flower. We climbed and
climbed, until my back began to give me trouble. "Reckon we--bit off--a
big hunk," remarked Edd once, and I thought he referred to the endless
steep and brushy slopes. By and bye the hounds came back to us one by
one, all footsore and weary. Manifestly the bear had outrun them. Our
best prospect then was to climb on to the rim and strike across the
forest to camp.
I noticed that tired as I was I had less trouble to keep up with Edd.
His boots wore very slippery on grass and pine-needles, so that he might
have been trying to climb on ice. I had nails in my boots and they
caught hold. Hotter and wetter I grew until I had a burning sensation
all over. My legs and arms ached; the rifle weighed a ton; my feet
seemed to take hold of the ground and stick. We could not go straight up
owing to the nature of that jumble of broken cliffs and matted scrub
forests. For hours we toiled onward, upward, downward, and then upward.
Only through such experience could I have gained an adequate knowledge
of the roughness and vastness of this rim-rock country.
At last we arrived at the base of the gray leaning crags, and there, on
a long slide of weathered rock the hounds jumped a bear. I saw the dust
he raised, as he piled into the thicket below the slide. What a wild
clamor from the hounds! We got out on the rocky slope where we could see
and kept sharp eyes roving, but the bear went straight down hill.
Amazing indeed was it the way the hounds drew away from us. In a few
moments they were at the foot of the slopes, tearing back over the
course we had been so many hours in coming. Then we set out to get on
the rim, so as to follow along it, and keep track of the chase. Edd
distanced me on the rocks. I had to stop often. My breast labored and I
could scarcely breathe. I sweat so freely that my rifle stock was wet.
My hardest battle was in fighting a tendency to utter weariness and
disgust. My old poignant feelings about my physical condition returned
to vex me. As a matter of fact I had already that very day accomplished
a climb not at all easy for the Arizonian, and I should have been happy.
But I had not been used to a lame back. When I reached the rim I fell
there, and lay there a few moments, until I could get up. Then I
followed along after Edd whose yells to the hounds I heard, and overtook
him upon the point of a promontory. Far below the hounds were baying.
"They're chasin' him all right," declared Edd, grimly. "He's headin' for
low country. I think Sue stopped him once. But the rest of the pack are
I had never been on the point of this promontory. Grand indeed was the
panorama. Under me yawned a dark-green, smoky-canyoned, rippling basin
of timber and red rocks leading away to the mountain ranges of the Four
Peaks and Mazatzals. Westward, toward the yellowing sunset stood out
long escarpments for miles, and long sloping lines of black ridges,
leading down to the basin where there seemed to be a ripple of the
earth, a vast upset region of canyon and ridge, wild and lonely and
I did not get to see the sunset from that wonderful point, a matter I
regretted. We were far from camp, and Edd was not sure of a bee-line
during daylight, let alone after dark. Deep in the forest the sunset
gold and red burned on grass and leaf. The aspens took most of the
color. Swift-flying wisps of cloud turned pink, and low along the
western horizon of the forest the light seemed golden and blue.
I was almost exhausted, and by the time we reached camp, just at dark, I
was wholly exhausted. My voice had sunk to a whisper, a fact that
occasioned R.C. some concern until I could explain. Undoubtedly this was
the hardest day's work I had done since my lion hunting with Buffalo
Jones. It did not surprise me that next day I had to forget my crosscut
Late that afternoon the hounds came straggling into camp, lame and
starved. Sue was the last one in, arriving at supper-time.
Another day found me still sore, but able to ride, and R.C. and I went
off into the woods in search of any kind of adventure. This day was
cloudy and threatening, with spells of sunshine. We saw two bull elk, a
cow and a calf. The bulls appeared remarkably agile for so heavy an
animal. Neither of these, however, were of such magnificent proportions
as the one R.C. and I had stalked the first day out. A few minutes later
we scared out three more cows and three yearlings. I dismounted just for
fun, and sighted my rifle at four of them. Next we came to a canyon
where beaver had cut aspen trees. These animals must have chisel-like
teeth. They left chippings somewhat similar to those cut by an axe.
Aspen bark was their winter food. In this particular spot we could not
find a dam or slide. When we rode down into Turkey Canyon, however, we
found a place where beavers had dammed the brook. Many aspens were fresh
cut, one at least two feet thick, and all the small branches had been
cut off and dragged to the water, where I could find no further trace of
them. The grass was matted down, and on the bare bits of ground showed
[Illustration: WHERE BEAR CROSS THE RIDGE FROM ONE CANYON TO ANOTHER]
[Illustration: CLIMBING OVER THE TOUGH MANZANITA]
Game appeared to be scarce. Haught had told us that deer, turkey and
bear had all gone to feed on the mast (fallen acorns); and if we could
locate the mast we would find the game. He said he had once seen a herd
of several hundred deer migrating from one section of country to
another. Apparently this was to find new feeding grounds.
[Illustration: BEAR IN SIGHT ACROSS CANYON]
While we were resting under a spruce I espied a white-breasted,
blue-headed, gray-backed little bird at work on a pine tree. He walked
head first down the bark, pecking here and there. I saw a moth or a
winged insect fly off the tree, and then another. Then I saw several
more fly away. The bird was feeding on winged insects that lived in the
bark. Some of them saw or heard him coming and escaped, but many of them
he caught. He went about this death-dealing business with a brisk and
cheerful manner. No doubt nature had developed him to help protect the
trees from bugs and worms and beetles.
Later that day, in an open grassy canyon, we came upon quite a large
bird, near the size of a pigeon, which I thought appeared to be a
species of jay or magpie. This bird had gray and black colors, a round
head, and a stout bill. At first I thought it was crippled, as it hopped
and fluttered about in the grass. I got down to catch it. Then I
discovered it was only tame. I could approach to within a foot of
reaching it. Once it perched upon a low snag, and peeped at me with
little bright dark eyes, very friendly, as if he liked my company. I sat
there within a few feet of him for quite a while. We resumed our ride.
Crossing a fresh buck track caused us to dismount, and tie our horses.
But that buck was too wary for us. We returned to camp as usual, empty
handed as far as game was concerned.
I forgot to say anything to Haught or Doyle about the black and gray
bird that had so interested me. Quite a coincidence was it then to see
another such bird and that one right in camp. He appeared to be as tame
as the other. He flew and hopped around camp in such a friendly manner
that I placed a piece of meat in a conspicuous place for him. Not long
was he in finding it. He alighted on it, and pecked and pulled at a
great rate. Doyle claimed it was a Clark crow, named after one of the
Lewis and Clark expedition. "It's a rare bird," said Doyle. "First one
I've seen in thirty years." As Doyle spent most of his time in the open
this statement seemed rather remarkable.
We had frost on two mornings, temperature as low as twenty-six degrees,
and then another change indicative of unsettled weather. It rained, and
sleeted, and then snowed, but the ground was too wet to hold the snow.
The wilderness began all at once, as if by magic, to take on autumn
colors. Then the forest became an enchanted region of white aspens,
golden-green aspens, purple spruces, dark green pines, maples a blaze of
vermilion, cerise, scarlet, magenta, rose--and slopes of dull red sumac.
These were the beginning of Indian summer days, the melancholy days,
with their color and silence and beauty and fragrance and mystery.
Hunting then became quite a dream for me, as if it called back to me dim
mystic days in the woods of some past weird world. One afternoon Copple,
R.C., and I went as far as the east side of Gentry Canyon and worked
down. Copple found fresh deer and turkey sign. We tied our horses, and
slipped back against the wind. R.C. took one side of a ridge, with
Copple and me on the other, and we worked down toward where we had seen
the sign. After half an hour of slow, stealthy glide through the forest
we sat down at the edge of a park, expecting R.C. to come along soon.
The white aspens were all bare, and oak leaves were rustling down. The
wind lulled a while, then softly roared in the pines. All at once both
of us heard a stick crack, and light steps of a walking deer on leaves.
Copple whispered: "Get ready to shoot." We waited, keen and tight,
expecting to see a deer walk out into the open. But none came. Leaving
our stand we slipped into the woods, careful not to make the slightest
sound. Such careful, slow steps were certainly not accountable for the
rapid beat of my heart. Something gray moved among the green and yellow
leaves. I halted, and held Copple back. Then not twenty paces away I
descried what I thought was a fawn. It glided toward us without the
slightest sound. Suddenly, half emerging from some maple saplings, it
saw us and seemed stricken to stone. Not ten steps from me! Soft gray
hue, slender graceful neck and body, sleek small head with long ears,
and great dark distended eyes, wilder than any wild eyes I had ever
beheld. I saw it quiver all over. I was quivering too, but with emotion.
Copple whispered: "Yearlin' buck. Shoot!"
His whisper, low as it was, made the deer leap like a gray flash. Also
it broke the spell for me. "Year old buck!" I exclaimed, quite loud.
"Thought he was a fawn. But I couldn't have shot----"
A crash of brush interrupted me. Thump of hoofs, crack of branches--then
a big buck deer bounded onward into the thicket. I got one snap shot at
his fleeting blurred image and missed him. We ran ahead, but to no
"Four-point buck," said Copple. "He must have been standin' behind that
"Did you see his horns?" I gasped, incredulously.
"Sure. But he was runnin' some. Let's go down this slope where he
jumped.... Now will you look at that! Here's where he started after you
A gentle slope, rather open, led down to the thicket where the buck had
vanished. We measured the first of his downhill jumps, and it amounted
to eighteen of my rather short steps. What a magnificent leap! It
reminded me of the story of Hart-leap Well.
As we retraced our steps R.C. met us, reporting that he had heard the
buck running, but could not see him. We scouted around together for an
hour, then R.C. and Copple started off on a wide detour, leaving me at a
stand in the hope they might drive some turkeys my way. I sat on a log
until almost sunset. All the pine tips turned gold and patches of gold
brightened the ground. Jays were squalling, gray squirrels were barking,
red squirrels were chattering, snowbirds were twittering, pine cones
were dropping, leaves were rustling. But there were no turkeys, and I
did not miss them. R.C. and Copple returned to tell me there were signs
of turkeys and deer all over the ridge. "We'll ride over here early
to-morrow," said Copple, "an' I'll bet my gun we pack some meat to
But the unsettled weather claimed the next day and the next, giving us
spells of rain and sleet, and periods of sunshine deceptive in their
promise. Camp, however, with our big camp-fire, and little tent-stoves,
and Takahashi, would have been delightful in almost any weather.
Takahashi was insulted, the boys told me, because I said he was born to
be a cook. It seemed the Jap looked down upon this culinary job.
"Cook--that woman joob!" he said, contemptuously.
As I became better acquainted with Takahashi I learned to think more of
the Japanese. I studied Takahashi very earnestly and I grew to like him.
The Orientals are mystics and hard to understand. But any one could see
that here was a Japanese who was a real man. I never saw him idle. He
resented being told what to do, and after my first offense in this
regard I never gave him another order. He was a wonderful cook. It
pleased his vanity to see how good an appetite I always had. When I
would hail him: "George, what you got to eat?" he would grin and reply:
"Aw, turkee!" Then I would let out a yell, for I never in my life tasted
anything so good as the roast wild turkey Takahashi served us. Or he
would say: "Pan-cakes--apple dumplings--rice puddings." No one but the
Japs know how to cook rice. I asked him how he cooked rice over an open
fire and he said: "I know how hot--when done." Takahashi must have
possessed an uncanny knowledge of the effects of heat. How swift, clean,
efficient and saving he was! He never wasted anything. In these days of
American prodigality a frugal cook like Takahashi was a revelation.
Seldom are the real producers of food ever wasters. Takahashi's ambition
was to be a rancher in California. I learned many things about him. In
summer he went to the Imperial Valley where he picked and packed
cantaloupes. He could stand the intense heat. He was an expert. He
commanded the highest wage. Then he was a raisin-picker, which for him
was another art. He had accumulated a little fortune and knew how to
save his money. He would have been a millionaire in Japan, but he
intended to live in the United States.
Takahashi had that best of traits--generosity. Whenever he made pie or
cake or doughnuts he always saved his share for me to have for my lunch
next day. No use to try to break him of this kindly habit! He was keen
too, and held in particular disfavor any one who picked out the best
portions of turkey or meat. "No like that," he would say; and I heartily
agreed with him. Life in the open brought out the little miserable
traits of human nature, of which no one was absolutely free.
I admired Takahashi's cooking, I admired the enormous pile of firewood
he always had chopped, I admired his generosity; but most of all I liked
his cheerfulness and good humor. He grew to be a joy to me. We had some
pop corn which we sometimes popped over the camp-fire. He was fond of it
and he said: "You eat all time--much pop corn--just so long you keep
mouth going all same like horse--you happy." We were troubled a good
deal by skunks. Now some skunks were not bad neighbors, but others were
disgusting and dangerous. The hog-nosed skunk, according to westerners,
very often had hydrophobia and would bite a sleeper. I knew of several
men dying of rabies from this bite. Copple said he had been awakened
twice at night by skunks biting the noses of his companions in camp.
Copple had to choke the skunks off. One of these men died. We were
really afraid of them. Doyle said one had visited him in his tent and he
had been forced to cover his head until he nearly smothered. Now
Takahashi slept in the tent with the store of supplies. One night a
skunk awakened him. In reporting this to me the Jap said: "See skunk all
black and white at tent door. I flash light. Skunk no 'fraid. He no run.
He act funny--then just walk off."
After that experience Takahashi set a box-trap for skunks. One morning
he said with a huge grin: "I catch skunk. Want you take picture for me
send my wife Sadayo."
So I got my camera, and being careful to take a safe position, as did
all the boys, I told Takahashi I was ready to photograph him and his
skunk. He got a pole that was too short to suit me, and he lifted up the
box-trap. A furry white and black cat appeared, with remarkably bushy
tail. What a beautiful little animal to bear such opprobrium! "All same
like cat," said Takahashi. "Kittee--kittee." It appeared that kitty was
not in the least afraid. On the contrary she surveyed the formidable Jap
with his pole, and her other enemies in a calm, dignified manner. Then
she turned away. Here I tried to photograph her and Takahashi together.
When she started off the Jap followed and poked her with the pole. "Take
'nother picture." But kitty suddenly whirled, with fur and tail erect, a
most surprising and brave and assured front, then ran at Takahashi. I
yelled: "Run George!" Pell-mell everybody fled from that beautiful
little beast. We were arrant cowards. But Takahashi grasped up another
and longer pole, and charged back at kitty. This time he chased her out
of camp. When he returned his face was a study: "Nashty thing! She make
awful stink! She no 'fraid a tall. Next time I kill her sure!"
The head of Gentry Canyon was about five miles from camp, and we reached
it the following morning while the frost was still white and sparkling.
We tied our horses. Copple said: "This is a deer day. I'll show you a
buck sure. Let's stick together an' walk easy."
So we made sure to work against the wind, which, however, was so light
as almost to be imperceptible, and stole along the dark ravine, taking
half a dozen steps or so at a time. How still the forest! When it was
like this I always felt as if I had discovered something new. The big
trees loomed stately and calm, stretching a rugged network of branches
over us. Fortunately no saucy squirrels or squalling jays appeared to be
abroad to warn game of our approach. Not only a tang, but a thrill,
seemed to come pervasively on the cool air. All the colors of autumn
were at their height, and gorgeous plots of maple thicket and sumac
burned against the brown and green. We slipped along, each of us strung
to be the first to hear or see some living creature of the wild. R.C.,
as might have been expected, halted us with a softly whispered:
"Listen." But neither Copple nor I heard what R.C. heard, and presently
we moved on as before. Presently again R.C. made us pause, with a like
result. Somehow the forest seemed unusually wild. It provoked a
tingling expectation. The pine-covered slope ahead of us, the thicketed
ridge to our left, the dark, widening ravine to our right, all seemed to
harbor listening, watching, soft-footed denizens of the wild. At length
we reached a level bench, beautifully forested, where the ridge ran down
in points to where the junction of several ravines formed the head of
How stealthily we stole on! Here Copple said was a place for deer to
graze. But the grass plots, golden with sunlight and white with frost
and black-barred by shadows of pines, showed no game.
Copple sat down on a log, and I took a seat beside him to the left. R.C.
stood just to my left. As I laid my rifle over my knees and opened my
lips to whisper I was suddenly struck mute. I saw R.C. stiffen, then
crouch a little. He leaned forward--his eyes had the look of a falcon.
Then I distinctly heard the soft crack of hoofs on stone and breaking of
tiny twigs. Quick as I whirled my head I still caught out of the tail of
my eye the jerk of R.C. as he threw up his rifle. I looked--I strained
my eyes--I flashed them along the rim of the ravine where R.C. had been
gazing. A gray form seemed to move into the field of my vision. That
instant it leaped, and R.C.'s rifle shocked me with its bursting crack.
I seemed stunned, so near was the report. But I saw the gray form pitch
headlong and I heard a solid thump.
"Buck, an' he's your meat!" called Copple, low and sharp. "Look for
No other deer appeared. R.C. ran toward the spot where the gray form had
plunged in a heap, and Copple and I followed. It was far enough to make
me pant for breath. We found R.C. beside a fine three-point buck that
had been shot square in the back of the head between and below the roots
of its antlers.
"Never knew what struck him!" exclaimed Copple, and he laid hold of the
deer and hauled it out of the edge of the thicket. "Fine an' fat.
Venison for camp, boys. One of you go after the horses an' the other
help me hang him up."
I had been riding eastward of Beaver Dam Canyon with Haught, and we had
parted up on the ridge, he to go down a ravine leading to his camp, and
I to linger a while longer up there in the Indian-summer woods, so full
of gold and silence and fragrance on that October afternoon.
The trail gradually drew me onward and downward, and at length I came
out into a narrow open park lined by spruce trees. Suddenly Don Carlos
shot up his ears. I had not ridden him for days and he appeared more
than usually spirited. He saw or heard something. I held him in, and
after a moment I dismounted and drew my rifle. A crashing in brush
somewhere near at hand excited me. Peering all around I tried to locate
cause for the sound. Again my ear caught a violent swishing of brush
accompanied by a snapping of twigs. This time I cocked my rifle. Don
Carlos snorted. After another circling swift gaze it dawned upon me that
the sound came from overhead.
I looked into this tree and that, suddenly to have my gaze arrested by a
threshing commotion in the very top of a lofty spruce. I saw a dark form
moving against a background of blue sky. Instantly I thought it must be
a lynx and was about to raise my rifle when a voice as from the very
clouds utterly astounded me. I gasped in my astonishment. Was I
dreaming? But violent threshings and whacks from the tree-top absolutely
assured me that I was neither dreaming nor out of my head. "I get
you--whee!" shouted the voice. There was a man up in the swaying top of
that spruce and he was no other than Takahashi. For a moment I could not
find my voice. Then I shouted:
"Hey up there, George! What in the world are you doing? I came near
"Aw hullo!--I come down now," replied Takahashi.
I had seen both lynx and lion climb down out of a tree, but nothing
except a squirrel could ever have beaten Takahashi. The spruce was fully
one hundred and fifty feet high; and unless I made a great mistake the
Jap descended in two minutes. He grinned from ear to ear.
"I no see you--no hear," he said. "You take me for big cat?"
"Yes, George, and I might have shot you. What were you doing up there?"
Takahashi brushed the needles and bark from his clothes. "I go out with
little gun you give me. I hunt, no see squirrel. Go out no gun--see
squirrel. I chase him up tree--I climb high--awful high. No good.
Squirrel he too quick. He run right over me--get away."
Takahashi laughed with me. I believed he was laughing at what he
considered the surprising agility of the squirrel, while I was laughing
at him. Here was another manifestation of the Jap's simplicity and
capacity. If all Japanese were like Takahashi they were a wonderful
people. Men are men because they do things. The Persians were trained to
sweat freely at least once every day of their lives. It seemed to me
that if a man did not sweat every day, which was to say--labor hard--he
very surely was degenerating physically. I could learn a great deal from
George Takahashi. Right there I told him that my father had been a
famous squirrel hunter in his day. He had such remarkable eyesight that
he could espy the ear of a squirrel projecting above the highest limb
of a tall white oak. And he was such a splendid shot that he had often
"barked" squirrels, as was a noted practice of the old pioneer. I had to
explain to Takahashi that this practice consisted of shooting a bullet
to hit the bark right under the squirrel, and the concussion would so
stun it that it would fall as if dead.
"Aw my goodnish--your daddy more better shot than you!" ejaculated
"Yes indeed he was," I replied, reflectively, as in a flash the
long-past boyhood days recurred in memory. Hunting days--playing days of
boyhood were the best of life. It seemed to me that one of the few
reasons I still had for clinging to hunting was this keen, thrilling
hark back to early days. Books first--then guns--then fishing poles--so
ran the list of material possessions dear to my heart as a lad.
That night was moonlight, cold, starry, with a silver sheen on the
spectral spruces. During the night there came a change; it rained--first
a drizzle, then a heavy downpour, and at five-thirty a roar of hail on
the tent. This music did not last long. At seven o'clock the thermometer
registered thirty-four degrees, but there was no frost. The morning was
somewhat cloudy or foggy, with promise of clearing.
We took the hounds over to See Canyon, and while Edd and Nielsen went
down with them, the rest of us waited above for developments. Scarcely
had they more than time enough to reach the gorge below when the pack
burst into full chorus. Haught led the way then around the rough rim for
better vantage points. I was mounted on one of the horses Lee had gotten
for me--a fine, spirited animal named Stockings. Probably he had been a
cavalry horse. He was a bay with white feet, well built and powerful,
though not over medium size. One splendid feature about him was that a
saddle appeared to fit him so snugly it never slipped. And another
feature, infinitely the most attractive to me, was his easy gait. His
trot and lope were so comfortable and swinging, like the motion of a
rocking-chair, that I could ride him all day with pleasure. But when it
came to chasing after hounds and bears along the rim Stockings gave me
trouble. Too eager, too spirited, he would not give me time to choose
the direction. He jumped ditches and gullies, plunged into bad jumbles
or rock, tried to hurdle logs too high for him, carried me under low
branches and through dense thickets, and in general showed he was
exceedingly willing to chase after the pack, but ignorant of rough
forest travel. Owing to this I fell behind, and got out of hearing of
both hounds and men, and eventually found myself lost somewhere on the
west side of See Canyon. To get out I had to turn my back to the sun,
travel west till I came to the rim above Horton Thicket, and from there
return to camp, arriving rather late in the afternoon.
All the men had returned, and all the hounds except Buck. I was rather
surprised and disturbed to find the Haughts in a high state of dudgeon.
Edd looked pale and angry. Upon questioning Nielsen I learned that the
hounds had at once struck a fresh bear track in See Canyon. Nielsen and
Edd had not followed far before they heard a hound yelping in pain. They
found Buck caught in a bear trap. The rest of the hounds came upon a
little bear cub, caught in another trap, and killed it. Nielsen said it
had evidently been a prisoner for some days, being very poor and
emaciated. Fresh tracks of the mother bear were proof that she had been
around trying to save it or minister to it. There were trappers in See
Canyon; and between bear hunters and trappers manifestly there was no
love lost. Edd said they had as much right to trap as we had to hunt,
but that was not the question. There had been opportunity to tell the
Haughts about the big number four bear traps set in See Canyon. But they
did not tell it. Edd had brought the dead cub back to our camp. It was a
pretty little bear cub, about six months old, with a soft silky brown
coat. No one had to look at it twice to see how it had suffered.
This matter of trapping wild animals is singularly hateful to me. Bad
enough is it to stalk deer to shoot them for their meat, but at least
this is a game where the deer have all the advantage. Bad indeed it may
be to chase bear with hounds, but that is a hard, dangerous method of
hunting which gives it some semblance of fairness. Most of my bear hunts
proved to me that I ran more risks than the bears. To set traps,
however, to hide big iron-springed, spike-toothed traps to catch and
clutch wild animals alive, and hold them till they died or starved or
gnawed off their feet, or until the trapper chose to come with his gun
or club to end the miserable business--what indeed shall I call that?
It cannot be defended on moral grounds. But vast moneyed interests are
at stake. One of the greatest of American fortunes was built upon the
brutal, merciless trapping of wild animals for their furs. And in this
fall of 1919 the prices of fox, marten, beaver, raccoon, skunk, lynx,
muskrat, mink, otter, were higher by double than they had ever been.
Trappers were going to reap a rich harvest. Well, everybody must make a
living; but is this trapping business honest, is it manly? To my
knowledge trappers are hardened. Market fishermen are hardened, too, but
the public eat fish. They do not eat furs. Now in cold climates and
seasons furs are valuable to protect people who must battle with winter
winds and sleet and ice; and against their use by such I daresay there
is no justification for censure. But the vast number of furs go to deck
the persons of vain women. I appreciate the beautiful contrast of fair
skin against a background of sable fur, or silver fox, or rich, black,
velvety seal. But beautiful women would be just as beautiful, just as
warmly clothed in wool instead of fur. And infinitely better women! Not
long ago I met a young woman in one of New York's fashionable hotels,
and I remarked about the exquisite evening coat of fur she wore. She
said she loved furs. She certainly was handsome, and she appeared to be
refined, cultured, a girl of high class. And I said it was a pity women
did not know or care where furs came from. She seemed surprised. Then I
told her about the iron-jawed, spike-toothed traps hidden by the springs
or on the runways of game--about the fox or beaver or marten seeking its
food, training its young to fare for themselves--about the sudden
terrible clutch of the trap, and then the frantic fear, the instinctive
fury, the violent struggle--about the foot gnawed off by the beast that
was too fierce to die a captive--about the hours of agony, the horrible
thirst--the horrible days till death. And I concluded: "All because
women are luxurious and vain!" She shuddered underneath the beautiful
coat of furs, and seemed insulted.
Upon inquiry I learned from Nielsen that Buck was coming somewhere back
along the trail hopping along on three legs. I rode on down to my camp,
and procuring a bottle of iodine I walked back in the hope of doing Buck
a good turn. During my absence he had reached camp, and was lying under
an aspen, apart from the other hounds. Buck looked meaner and uglier and
more distrustful than ever. Evidently this injury to his leg was a trick
played upon him by his arch enemy man. I stood beside him, as he licked
the swollen, bloody leg, and talked to him, as kindly as I knew how. And
finally I sat down beside him. The trap-teeth had caught his right front
leg just above the first joint, and from the position of the teeth marks
and the way he moved his leg I had hopes that the bone was not broken.
Apparently the big teeth had gone through on each side of the bone. When
I tried gently to touch the swollen leg Buck growled ominously. He would
have bitten me. I patted his head with one hand, and watching my chance,
at length with the other I poured iodine over the open cuts. Then I kept
patting him and holding his head until the iodine had become absorbed.
Perhaps it was only my fancy, but it seemed that the ugly gleam in his
distrustful eyes had become sheepish, as if he was ashamed of something
he did not understand. That look more than ever determined me to try to
find some way to his affections.
A camp-fire council that night resulted in plans to take a pack outfit,
and ride west along the rim to a place Haught called Dude Creek. "Reckon
we'll shore smoke up some bars along Dude," said Haught. "Never was in
there but I jumped bars. Good deer an' turkey country, too."
Next day we rested the hounds, and got things into packing shape with
the intention of starting early the following morning. But it rained on
and off; and the day after that we could not find Haught's burros, and
not until the fourth morning could we start. It turned out that Buck did
not have a broken leg and had recovered surprisingly from the injury he
had received. Aloof as he held himself it appeared certain he did not
want to be left behind.
We rode all day along the old Crook road where the year before we had
encountered so many obstacles. I remembered most of the road, but how
strange it seemed to me, and what a proof of my mental condition on that
memorable trip, that I did not remember all. Usually forest or desert
ground I have traveled over I never forget. This ride, in the middle of
October, when all the colors of autumn vied with the sunlight to make
the forest a region of golden enchantment, was one of particular delight
to me. I had begun to work and wear out the pain in my back. Every night
I had suffered a little less and slept a little better, and every
morning I had less and less of a struggle to get up and straighten out.
Many a groan had I smothered. But now, when I got warmed up from riding
or walking or sawing wood, the pain left me altogether and I forgot it.
I had given myself heroic treatment, but my reward was in sight. My
theory that the outdoor life would cure almost any ill of body or mind
seemed to have earned another proof added to the long list.
At sunset we had covered about sixteen miles of rough road, and had
arrived at a point where we were to turn away from the rim, down into a
canyon named Barber Shop Canyon, where we were to camp.
[Illustration: Z.G.'S CINNAMON BEAR]
[Illustration: R.C.'S BIG BROWN BEAR]
Before turning aside I rode out to the rim for a look down at the
section of country we were to hunt. What a pleasure to recognize the
point from which Romer-boy had seen his first wild bear! It was a
wonderful section of rim-rock country. I appeared to be at the extreme
point of a vast ten-league promontory, rising high over the basin, where
the rim was cut into canyons as thick as teeth of a saw. They were
notched and v-shaped. Craggy russet-lichened cliffs, yellow and
gold-stained rocks, old crumbling ruins of pinnacles crowned by pine
thickets, ravines and gullies and canyons, choked with trees and brush
all green-gold, purple-red, scarlet-fire--these indeed were the heights
and depths, the wild, lonely ruggedness, the color and beauty of
Arizona land. There were long, steep slopes of oak thickets, where the
bears lived, long gray slides of weathered rocks, long slanting ridges
of pine, descending for miles out and down into the green basin, yet
always seeming to stand high above that rolling wilderness. The sun
stood crossed by thin clouds--a golden blaze in a golden sky--sinking to
meet a ragged horizon line of purple.
[Illustration: ANOTHER BEAR]
Here again was I confronted with the majesty and beauty of the earth,
and with another and more striking effect of this vast tilted rim of
mesa. I could see many miles to west and east. This rim was a huge wall
of splintered rock, a colossal cliff, towering so high above the black
basin below that ravines and canyons resembled ripples or dimples,
darker lines of shade. And on the other side from its very edge, where
the pine fringe began, it sloped gradually to the north, with heads of
canyons opening almost at the crest. I saw one ravine begin its start
not fifty feet from the rim.
Barber Shop Canyon had five heads, all running down like the fingers of
a hand, to form the main canyon, which was deep, narrow, forested by
giant pines. A round, level dell, watered by a murmuring brook, deep
down among the many slopes, was our camp ground, and never had I seen
one more desirable. The wind soughed in the lofty pine tops, but not a
breeze reached down to this sheltered nook. With sunset gold on the high
slopes our camp was shrouded in twilight shadows. R.C. and I stretched a
canvas fly over a rope from tree to tree, staked down the ends, and left
the sides open. Under this we unrolled our beds.
Night fell quickly down in that sequestered pit, and indeed it was black
night. A blazing camp-fire enhanced the circling gloom, and invested the
great brown pines with some weird aspect. The boys put up an old tent
for the hounds. Poor Buck was driven out of this shelter by his canine
rivals. I took pity upon him, and tied him at the foot of my bed. When
R.C. and I crawled into our blankets we discovered Buck snugly settled
between our beds, and wonderful to hear, he whined. "Well, Buck, old
dog, you keep the skunks away," said R.C. And Buck emitted some kind of
a queer sound, apparently meant to assure us that he would keep even a
lion away. From my bed I could see the tips of the black pines close to
the white stars. Before I dropped to sleep the night grew silent, except
for the faint moan of wind and low murmur of brook.
We crawled out early, keen to run from the cold wash in the brook to the
hot camp-fire. George and Edd had gone down the canyon after the horses,
which had been hobbled and turned loose. Lee had remained with his
father at Beaver Dam camp. For breakfast Takahashi had venison,
biscuits, griddle cakes with maple syrup, and hot cocoa. I certainly did
not begin on an empty stomach what augured to be a hard day. Buck hung
around me this morning, and I subdued my generous impulses long enough
to be convinced that he had undergone a subtle change. Then I fed him.
Old Dan and Old Tom were witnesses of this procedure, which they
regarded with extreme disfavor. And the pups tried to pick a fight with
By eight o'clock we were riding up the colored slopes, through the still
forest, with the sweet, fragrant, frosty air nipping at our noses. A
mile from camp we reached a notch in the rim that led down to Dude
Creek, and here Edd and Nielsen descended with the hounds. The rest of
us rode out to a point there to await developments. The sun had already
flooded the basin with golden light; the east slopes of canyon and rim
were dark in shade. I sat on a mat of pine needles near the rim, and
looked, and cared not for passage of time.
But I was not permitted to be left to sensorial dreams. Right under us
the hounds opened up, filling the canyon full of bellowing echoes. They
worked down. Slopes below us narrowed to promontories and along these we
kept our gaze. Suddenly Haught gave a jump, and rose, thumping to his
horse. "Saw a bar," he yelled. "Just got a glimpse of him crossin' an
open ridge. Come on." We mounted and chased Haught over the roughest
kind of rocky ground, to overtake him at the next point on the rim.
"Ride along, you fellars," he said, "an' each pick out a stand. Keep
ahead of the dogs an' look sharp."
Then it was in short order that I found myself alone, Copple, R.C. and
George Haught having got ahead of me. I kept to the rim. The hounds
could be heard plainly and also the encouraging yells of Nielsen and
Edd. Apparently the chase was working along under me, in the direction I
was going. The baying of the pack, the scent of pine, the ring of
iron-shod hoofs on stone, the sense of wild, broken, vast country, the
golden void beneath and the purple-ranged horizon--all these brought
vividly and thrillingly to mind my hunting days with Buffalo Jones along
the north rim of the Grand Canyon. I felt a pang, both for the past, and
for my friend and teacher, this last of the old plainsmen who had died
recently. In his last letter to me, written with a death-stricken hand,
he had talked of another hunt, of more adventure, of his cherished hope
to possess an island in the north Pacific, there to propagate wild
animals--he had dreamed again the dream that could never come true. I
was riding with my face to the keen, sweet winds of the wild, and he was
gone. No joy in life is ever perfect. I wondered if any grief was ever
I came at length to a section of rim where huge timbered steps reached
out and down. Dismounting I tied Stockings, and descended to the craggy
points below, where I clambered here and there, looking, listening. No
longer could I locate the hounds; now the baying sounded clear and
sharp, close at hand, and then hollow and faint, and far away. I crawled
under gnarled cedars, over jumbles of rock, around leaning crags, until
I got out to a point where I had such command of slopes and capes, where
the scene was so grand that I was both thrilled and awed. Somewhere
below me to my left were the hounds still baying. The lower reaches of
the rim consisted of ridges and gorges, benches and ravines, canyons and
promontories--a country so wild and broken that it seemed impossible for
hounds to travel it, let alone men. Above me, to my right, stuck out a
yellow point of rim, and beyond that I knew there jutted out another
point, and more and more points on toward the west. George was yelling
from one of them, and I thought I heard a faint reply from R.C. or
Copple. I believed for the present they were too far westward along the
rim, and so I devoted my attention to the slopes under me toward my
left. But once my gaze wandered around, and suddenly I espied a shiny
black object moving along a bare slope, far below. A bear! So thrilled
and excited was I that I did not wonder why this bear walked along so
leisurely and calmly. Assuredly he had not even heard the hounds. I
began to shoot, and in five rapid shots I spattered dust all over him.
Not until I had two more shots, one of which struck close, did he begin
to run. Then he got out of my sight. I yelled and yelled to those ahead
of me along the rim. Somebody answered, and next somebody began to
shoot. How I climbed and crawled and scuffled to get back to my horse!
Stockings answered to the spirit of the occasion. Like a deer he ran
around the rough rim, and I had to perform with the agility of a
contortionist to avoid dead snags of trees and green branches. When I
got to the point from which I had calculated George had done his
shooting I found no one. My yells brought no answers. But I heard a
horse cracking the rocks behind me. Then up from far below rang the
sharp spangs of rifles in quick action. Nielsen and Edd were shooting. I