Sei sulla pagina 1di 297

WE V E


GOT A BE A V E R , I RE C K O N —P ag e
. 171 .
JAC K
THE YO U N G T RAPP ER

fin E as t er n Boy F u r H u nt ing

s

in Me R o c éy Mo u nt a ins

G EO RG E B I R D G RI NN E LL
A ho
ut r o f Ja k h Y o n g Ran h m n
c t e u

cJa k A m o n g h I n dian
a ,

c t e s,
! “
j ac k

R o ki e a o n n oe an P a w n ee H e o S on e

in t he c s , j k “
h Y c tg Ce mu a ,
r t s,

B l a kfoo Lod ge T 1
c t T he S o y f h I d n
3 15 ,

t r o t e n Ia

T he I n d ian f T o—
,
!

d y o a ,
et :

IL L U S TR AT ED BY W A L TE R K IN G S T O N E

u u u u

NEW YO RK
FR E D E R I C K A . ST O K E S C O MP ANY
P U B LIS H E R S
C O P Y RI G H T , 1 9 0 7 , BY

F RED E RI C K A . S T O K E S CO M P A N Y

T wel ft h P ri nt i ng , J anuary 2 2 ,
1 9 36

P rint ed in t h e Uni t e d S t at e s o f A m e rica


F O REW O R D

A CE N T U R Y ago the western hal f o f the A m er i can Co n


t ine nt was u nknown V as t herds o f bu ff al o and ante
.

lope swa rm ed o ve r its r o lling plains : elk and deer fed


al o n g i ts rive rs ; w ild sheep and whi te goats cl ambered
Ove r i ts r o cky heights ; bea rs pr o wled th r o ugh i ts
f o rests ; beavers built thei r dams and houses along every
stream O ccasionally a gr o up o f Ind ians passed ove r
.

the pla i ns or th readed the d e fil e s o f the m o unta in


ranges .

A few yea rs later the white man began t o penetrate


this w ilderness B eave r were growing scarcer and
.
,

men were f o rced to g o fu r t he r fo r t hem S O the trap


.

per entered these unkn o wn fa stnesses and began h i s


work He followed up s t ream a f t e r stream s o ught
.
,

o u t rem o te valleys crossed d eser t s


,
With rifle i n one
.

hand and trap i n the othe r he endu red eve ry ha rdsh ip


,

and exposed himsel f t o eve ry danger He swam .

rivers climbed m o unta ins f o ught Indians an d ri sked


, , ,

l i fe in h i s st ruggle f o r fu r .

They were men Of firm c o urage a nd ste rn res ol ut io n ,

th o se trappers o f the early days About thei r l i fe and


.

thei r work there i s a ro mance and a charm that appeal


powerfully t o th e imaginati o n Jack Danvers w as
.

fortunate in that the man who taught h im s o me o f the


secrets Of that no w f o rg o tten l i fe w as o ne w h o had
borne a part i n the w o rk o f subduing the wil d west and ,

in laying th e f o undat io ns u p o n wh ic h it s p res e nt civili


z at io n i s b u i lt
.

M234 4 “?
C O NT E N T S

A CO U N C I L O F WA R
A P LE A S A N T SP R I N G R I D E
A N E ! P ED I T I O N F O R F U R
M A K I N G RE A D Y F O R T H E TR I P
T H E S T A R T P O R N O RT H P A R K
T O L A RA M I E A N D N O R T H P A R K
A T A L K AB O U T B E AV E R
T H E W A T E R FO W L S S U M M E R HO M E

A T RO U B LE SO M E G R I ! ! L Y
A BI G B E AVER M EADO W
I N D I A N B EA VE R LO R E
PR OS P E C T I N G P O R F U R
A L I O N S L EA P

S E TT I N G F O R B E AVE R
T H E Y S K I N B E AVE R
O FF F O R NE W T RA PP I N G GRO U N D
T RA PP I N G T H E M I N K
T H E E N GLI S H P I LG RI M S
T H E F I R S T B I GH O R N
D A N GE R P R O M T H E UT E S
L I ST OF I LLU ST R AT I O N S

WE V E’
GOT A BE AV ER I
, RE C KO N F ro nt is pi e c e

F AC I N G P A G E

T wo BO B- CA T S P U LLI NG A ND T E ARI N G AT SO M E SM A LL
TH NG ON I TH E G RO U N D

LO N G ST IC K ,
W H IC H HE
P LAC E D W IT H OT H ERS ON TH E ROO F

A
BE R , I
S TT N GI ON H ER H AU N C H ES ,
WAS L OO K I N G
M O ST C
DI RE T LY AT TH EM
A COU N C IL O F W AR

W ELL J ack sa id M r S turgi s


, , I am glad to see .
,

yo u back a g a i n .


Indeed Uncl e Ge o rge yo u can bet I am glad to
, ,

get back repl ied Jack ,


I t el l yo u i t j us t made my “

hea rt ri se up to rid e ove r the pr ai r i e t o day ; it seemed -

to me that I never smelt anyt hing s o go o d as the odo r


O f the sage and the l ittle bi rds that kept getting u p
,

o u t O f the road and flying ahea d o f the tea m and


alighting again seemed l ike old fri ends ,
Then we .

s aw s o me antelope and a coyote o r two I tell yo u i t .

w as bully I t seemed m igh t y good t o o t o see H ugh


.
, ,

a fte r all thes e months .


W ell sai d M r S t u rgis i t i s g oo d t o get yo u
'

, .
,

back and I h o pe yo u w ill have a go o d summe r Have


, .

y o u th o ught o f what yo u want t o d o ?

Jack shook hi s head No h e sa id I have n o t ; .


, ,

it i s g o od enough t o be back A S s o on a s thi s .

sto rm i s Ove r I want to go o ut and take a ri d e and see



the c o un t ry again .


O h thi s snow w o n t last long th o ugh i t s a pretty

, ,

rough night now Whe re we re you on the r o a d when .


i t began t o snow ? asked M r S t u rgi s . .

We were j ust about hal f thr o ugh the L i ttl e Bas i n ,

sa i d h i s n ephew Hugh ha d been look i ng at th e


.

sky f or q uite a l ittl e whi le back and sai d that i t w as ,

g o ing t o sn o w We d rove p retty fa


. st from the
Tr o ubl e s om e unt i l w e g o t int o the B i g Basin ; the
sn o w di dn t get v e ry d e ep unti l ab o ut three o r f o u r

m i les back from h ere F r om th er e o n we had p rett y .


s l ow d rivi n
g .
2 JAC K . T HE YOU NG TRAPP E R
Well sa id M r S tu rg i s
,
s upp o se y ou g o o ut
.
,

and se e i f y o u can fi n d H u gh and as k h im i f h e w i ll ,

come i n he r e and s it w i t h u s fo r a l i tt le w h il e ; I w ant



to talk w ith y ou b o th .


Al l ri ght repl i e d J a ck an d h e di sapp e a red i n
, ,

the di rection o f the ranch k i tchen .

It wa s ab o ut the m i ddl e o f the mo nth O f M ay an d ,

Jack Danvers a fter a w inter o f hard w o r k at scho o l


,

in the East had c om e o u t by the Uni o n Pa ci fic Rai l


,

roa d t o spend the summe r at h i s uncle s ranch H i s ’


.

Old f r i end Hugh J ohnson had m et him at the ra i l road


, ,

station with a team o f horses h itch ed to a sp ring


w agon and the greater pa r t o f the dr i ve O f fo rty
,

mi les o ut to th e ranch had been m ade i n reco rd tim e .

Then i t had begun t o sn o w and bl o w furiously and ,

the last few m iles O f the d istance had been passed


over much mo re slowly In thes e h igh altitudes i n .

th e R oc k y Mo unta i ns sn o wst o rms a re c o mm o n i n ,

M ay and J une ; yet th o ugh th e sn o w may fall deep ,

at su c h times i t li es o n the g ro und f or but a sh o rt


,

time .

J a ck and h i s u n cl e ha d b een talk i ng a fter suppe r i n


the c om f o rtable S i tt i ng r oom o f the ranch ; a fire o f
d ry aspen l o gs bu rned m erri ly in the l arge open fire ,

place and thei r cheerful crackl i ng c o nt r asted pleasantl y


,

W ith the h o wl i ng o f the w i nd W ith o ut .

As M r S turg i s sat fi lling h i s pipe i n front O f the


.

fire he l oo ked bac k ov e r t h e yea r s wh ich had elapsed


,

Since he first began t o ta k e an acti v e v iv i d i nterest i n ,

t h i s nephew o f his H e re m e mbered h im as a small


.
,

p al e , sh r unken sl ip o f a b o y W h o spent all h is time ,

curled up i n a cha i r devou r i ng b oo ks ; a boy seemingly


,

W ithout V i tal ity and W ith ou t a ny Speci al i nte r est i n


l i fe H e r em e mb ered h o w th e bo y w ok e up and b e
.

came ale r t W hen he had fi rst Sp o ken t o hi m o f th e


p o ss i b i l ity o f a tr i p t o the West H O W the l i ttle fe l l o w .

had w o nd ered at and en j o ye d a ll t he di ff er e nt i nci dent s


A COU N C I L O F WAR 3

o fl i fe o n a c o w ranch ; and h ow Hugh Jo hns o n had


taken to h im and i nst ructed hi m i n the lore o f the
,

p ra i ries and mounta ins i n which Hugh was s o W ell ,

versed ; and how yea r a fte r yea r the b o y ha d gr o wn


and strengthened until now he wa s a y o ung fellow O f ,

great p romise \V it h in a few yea rs the b o y had


.

changed fr o m a child to s o meth i ng very l ike a man .

While h e w as g o ing ove r these yea rs i n hi s mind ,

M r S tu rgi s hea rd steps i n the passage w ith o ut and


.
,

then Jack s voice and a m o ment later the doo r opened


and Hugh Johnson and J ack s t pped in t o the r oom e .

S it down Hug h sa i d M r S tu rgi s


,
and fill , . .

y o u r pipe ; I want to talk w ith yo u Y o u s it d o wn .


,

t o o Jack
,
have ma t te rs t o d iscuss w h i ch wil l be
.

inte resting t o bo t h o f you I th ink It w as p retty ha rd ,


.

hauling th i s a f t e rn oo n w a sn t i t he c o ntinued ad

?
.
,

d ressing Hugh .

Well yes M r S t u rgis i t w as s o


, ,
sa id the O l d .
.

man Th e snow finally g o t s o deep that I w ould no t


.

force the ho rses They a re str o ng and a re w illi ng and . . ,

they might have tro t ted but w e wasn t t rying t o catch ,


a tra in and they balled up pre t ty well i n th i s w et


,

sn o w and I wa s a f ra id t hat they m ight sl ip and strai n


,

something I reck o n I told yo u that I had sh o d both


.

O f them didn t I when y o u sai d that y o u w anted me


,

,

t o g o i n fo r Jack ?

NO sa i d M r S turg i s I d o n t re m ember that ’
, .
,

y o u d id but i t w as a go o d thing t o sh o e them ; the


,

r o ads between h ere and town a re cruel o n h o rses feet ’

and wh ile o ne trip w o n t wea r down a team s feet


,
’ ’

still t h ey have w o rk t o d o all summe r and the re i s


, ,

s o m u c h gravel i n th is soi l that thei r feet w o ul d be



b o und t o get tender bef o re summer i s ov e r .


Well r epl i ed Hugh
,
that s j ust the w ay I ,
“ ’

think A pa i r o f shoes i n fr o nt w ill last them p retty


.

nea rly a ll sum m e r and when the y a re sh o d w e kn ow ,



the y w o n t g et tender .
4 JACK , THE Y O UNG T RA P P E R
While he had been talking Hugh had wh i tt l e d h im ,

sel f s o me tobacco ground i t fine between the pal ms o f


,

h is h ands fill ed his pi pe an d l it it and no w h e sat c om


, ,

fo rtab l y by the bla z e w i th h i s head enc ir c l ed b y a


,

s m oke w reath .

Well H ugh sa i d M r S t u rg i s
, ,
I as k e d y ou t o .
,

co m e i n he r e so that w e co u l d t alk ab ou t W hat y o u an d


J ack a re goi ng t o d o thi s summ e r .

W ell said H ugh that s for yo u t o say I ’


, , ,

r eckon I m wo rking fo r yo u at least I m supp o sed


.
’ ’

t o be wo rking fo r you but it se e m s t o m e that fo r ,

the last three o r fou r y e a rs I haven t been d oi ng much ’

w o rk becau s e I ve b een o ff p l aying w i th Jack eve ry


,


su m mer Lo rd son he c ontinued W ith a sm i le
.
, , ,

what grea t travele rs y o u and m e a r e gett i ng t o be !


F i rst w e w ent up to the Black feet and played w i th
the m a season ; that s when yo u c o unted you r first’

co up ; and then we went up wi th the m an o the r year ,

and ca m e d o wn s o uth th rough the m o untains and sa w


all them h o t sp rings in that c ount ry that th ey u sed ,

t o call C o ulte r s H ell i n Ol d times ; and then last yea r


w e went o ut t o th e big wate r in the west and paddled


a r o und i n the sa lt wate r and got fish Y ou and m e .


surely ha v e got t o be great t rave l ers .


Well H ugh sa i d M r S tu rg i s
, ,
I g u ess we w il l .
,

h ave t o think up s o mething fo r th i s yea r O f c o u rse .


,

y o u and Jack c o uld S it a r o un d an d l ook a fte r the stock ,

j ust as the r est O f u s d o here o n the ranch but I ,

beli eve it w o uld be be tte r fo r y o u t o go o ff an d m a k e



a trip by y o u rsel v es What d o you th i n k ? .

Well M r S turg i s sa i d Hugh


, . i t rea ll y w oul d
, ,

be pleasant t o g o o ff and make a l o ng trip and there s ,

lots o f go od c o untry le ft yet that Jack ha s no t seen ,

but I d o n t think I get exactly what y o u mean I f you



.

will S pe ak a little plaine r I w ill understand better .

It i s l ike th i s Hugh sa i d M r S tu rgis ; Jack i s


, , .

o ut he re fo r the su mm e r an d I want hi m t o ha v e a ,
A C OU N C I L O F WA R 5
g oo d time and t o see as much a s h e can o f what there
,

i s in th i s country It i s all begi nning t o change he re


.

S O fast that I am afraid t h e fi rst t h ing we know the


count ry w i l l be full of peo ple an d every time yo u want ,

t o rid e O ff in some di rec ti on you w ill have to t urn out


fo r a W i re fence o r you wi ll get lost beca use t he re a re
,

s o many road s runni ng ove r t h e p rai ri e Where d o .

you sup pose you could tak e Jack thi s summe r so as


t o give h im a go od time O f cou rs e I don t want you
?
,

t o take any chances o r to go where t he re i s any danger , ,

but t hen I know you won t d o that s o I needn t speak


, ,

,


ab o ut i t
F o r some mom ents Hugh sat s ilently puffing at h i s
p i pe and s t a ring i nt o the fi replace wh ile Jack o n hi s , ,

le ft h and watched h i s face wi t h ab so rbe d interest


, ,

wondering wha t h e would say P resen t ly h e ra i sed .

hi s head and tu rni ng t o M r S t u rgi s sa id


,
Well .
, ,

,

M r S tu rgis the re s a migh t y n ice t ri p to be made i n


.
,

the high mountains down t o t he southwa rd It s a .


count ry W here there s no poss i ble dange r that I can


s ee ,
though a s yo u kno w i t s only a l i t tle wh il e ago
, ,

that th e Utes wi pe d ou t Maj o r T h o rnb u rg h s co m ’

mand N ow everyt hing i s peaceable and l ikely to


.
,

rema in so I reckon ,
.


Wh ere d o you me an Hugh sa i d M r S tu rgi s , , .
,

down i n th e P a rks o f Colo ra do ?

Y e s S ir that s what I mean It s a great hunti ng


’ ’
.
, ,

g ro und down there still and besides that it i s a fu r , ,

c o unt ry I hav e been th rough there many tim es and


.
,

I never saw any place i n the southe rn count ry whe re


beaver were so pl enty ; besides that as you know i t , ,

i s up i n the high m ountains and th e fu r i s good till mid


summer I f yo u all th ink well of it J ack and I could
.
,

g o d o wn t he re and sp e nd a c o upl e o f month s t rapping


b eave r a nd i f we have g oo d luck w e m ight make q u i te
, ,

a stake We w o uldn t need t o ca rry much i n the way


.

Of g rub fo r the c o unt ry i s full O f g a m e and the re are


, ,
6 JACK ,
THE Y OU N G TRAPP E R

even some b i s o n d o wn the r e th ou gh i t a i n t l i k e l y that ,

w e woul d get to s e e any o f the m



I do n t kn o w o f an y .

prettie r mounta i ns o r where y o u can l ive b ette r than


,

y o u can down there ; deer elk antel o p e Sheep t r o ut , , , , ,

and bi rds till yo u can t r est That see m s to m e ab ou t


,

.

the nicest trip o ne could m ake wi th o ut g oi ng o ff fa r ;



what do yo u s ay to i t ?
That sounds good t o m e H ugh sa i d M r S t u rg i s , , . .


What do y o u think ab o u t i t J ack ? ,
” “

Why said J ack i t sound s aw ful g ood t o me I
, , .

never th o ught o f m ak i ng a tr i p thi s yea r I j ust .

th o ught that I was t o c om e o ut h ere and l o a f a rou n d



the ranch and hunt and he l p w i th the st o ck
, , .


No sa i d M r S tu rgis
,
I think i t i s bette r for
.
,

y o u t o be o ff in the mo unta i ns by you rse lv es and i f ,



Hugh s plan suits y ou i t s u it s me an d you c an say , ,
.

that it can be c arri ed o ut .

S plendid ! excla im ed J ac k .

” ’
But Hugh M r S turgi s we nt o n
, , . w hat s the ,

sh ortest way t o get the re ; and h O W w ould y o u g o ?

Well said Hugh , i f w e Sh o uld g o I d say the
,

,

best way t o d o would be t o take tw o or th ree pack


horses and start from here w ith the m O f c o u r se you .
,

can d r i ve a wag o n all the w ay d o wn t here through ,

No rth and M iddle and S outh Pa rk but I w o uldn t ,


w ant t o take a wag o n i f I co u l d help i t I f yo u .

wanted t o g o u p i n the mou nta i ns w hy you d h a ve t o , ,


c o me bac k t o that wag o n Y ou c an t m a k e any cu t .


o ffs o r sh ort s i de t rips ; y o u v e always g o t t o get ba ck


,

to y o ur wagon again I s ay take s o m e pack an im a l s


.
, ,

and then yo u w ill be perfectly f oo t l oo s e and can g o -


,

W here y o u want t o and a s fa r as y o u want t o I f .

I should g o that w ay I w o ul d sta rt from here g o , ,

d o wn th e Muddy c r o s s the M ed ici ne B ow f ol l ow


, ,

U p R o c k C reek and c r o s s o ve r t o th e L a ram i e and


, ,

f oll o w up th e La ram i e unt i l I g o t i nt o N orth Park .

Fr om there it s p l a i n sa i l i ng ei th er th rough t he v a l ley


,

,
8 J ACK ,
TH E Y O U N G T RA PP E R
you are more cunning and skill ful than they a r e I t s .

no fun to se t a trap and then when a bea r gets i nt o ,

i t to c rawl up and Shoot it It is some fun to get the .

bes t o f the shyest and w ildest animal that goes o n f o u r


legs but I don t s e e whe re the fun comes i n i n trapping
,

them and then c rawling up o n them and k i ll ing them


It s t o o much like chopp ing a chicken s head O ff— and
.
,
’ ’


that w o uldn t be v e ry much fun fo r any o f us

.


I agree w i th y o u Hugh sai d M r S turgis ; b ut , , .

yo u know there a re all s orts o f people back East j us t ,

a s there a re all s o rts o f peopl e here and s o me o f thos e ,

men who come o ut t o hunt take back great sto ri es ,

about the bears that they have trapped an d ab o ut the ,

danger that they were in when they ki lled th e bea r .

O f cou rse that d o es n o t seem t o u s very h o nest b ut


, ,

the r e are b ragga rts all ov e r the w o rld .


That s so M r S turgis sa id H u gh

,
I guess t h e
.
, .

fr auds are n o t confined t o any o ne pa r t of th e c o unt r y ;



y o u find them m o st eve rywhere ’
.


S o yo u do Hugh sa id M r S turgi s as he kn o cke d
, , .
,

o u t hi s pipe against the st o nes o f the fireplace .

Well he went o n ab o ut th e trip that y o u an d


, ,

J ack a re g o ing to make L et s think it over fo r a da y .


o r tw o and i f it still seems g oo d t o yo u the s oo ne r


, ,

y o u sta rt the bette r .


V e ry well sa i d Hugh The s oo ne r w e get sta r te d
, .

th e better the fu r w ill be and the longe r it w ill last ,


.


We ll chew o n it fo r a day o r two s o n and s ee what , ,

w e can make o u t o f it S o saying Hugh r o se fro m .
,

hi s seat knocked o u t hi s pipe and saying go o d n i ght


, ,
-

to M r S tu rgi s disappea red down the passage


Befo re long Jack and h is uncl e went to b ed—J a ck
. .
,

to d ream o f the gl ori es o f th e t r ip an d t h e bea v e r h e ,

was t o t rap .
A P L EA SA N T S P R I N G R ID E

W H E N J ack a rose the nex t mo rning and l oo ked o u t o f


the wind o w o n th e lit t le valley below t he house and ,

upon t he s ide o f the m o un t ain he s aw t h e ground ,

c o vered w ith snow which gli s t ened i n t he b rilliant


,

sunshine It di d not t ake h i m long to ge t in t o hi s


.

clothes and he rushed t h rough t he house and o u t the


,

ki tchen doo r and do w n to w a rd t he co rral O ve r t he .

hills beyond th e ba rn a numbe r o f horses w ere gallop


i ng w it h streaming ma nes and tails and behind t hem
, .

w as Joe zig zagging back and


,
-
fo r t h occasionally ,

snapping forwa rd t he end o f hi s t ra il i ng rope to hu rr y


up the lagga rds I t w as a good sigh t — o ne t ha t Jack
.

had no t seen fo r a couple O f yea rs — and he ran o n


d o wn towa rd t h e co rral but suddenly a t hought struck ,

h im and he stopped turned and s t a r t ed back t o t h e


, , ,

h o use .

When h e burst int o th e kitchen aga in he sai d O h .


, ,

M rs Carter please giv e me a couple o f l umps o f suga r


.
,

f o r Pawnee ; I want t o s ee i f the o ld ho rse wi ll know me ,

and whether h e does o r not I want t o be friends w i t h ,



him . H e ran back int o t he S itting room and g o t the
o l d w h istle wh ich he had taugh t h i s horse to Obey and ,

put it i n h is pocket S ei zing th e suga r wh ich M rs


. .

Ca rter had put o n the tabl e he hurried d o wn t o the ,

co rral Wh en he g o t there th e h o rses f o r th e day s



.
,

rid ing w ere being caugh t up and h e entered H e had ,


.

l o ng ago l o st th e o l d fea r that he had had as a l i ttle


fell o w that the frightened ho rses w o uld run o ver and
,

t rample him S tepping o u t into the mi ddl e o f the


.

co r r al he loo ked at the bunch o f twent y o r th irt y


,

!
IO J ACK ,
THE Y OU N G T RAP P E R
horses wh i ch sto o d th ere s l eepi l y a s l o ng a s they w e r e ,

und i sturbed but were quick e no irg h t o mo v e a b o ut and


,

t ry to dodge the rope when i t was th rown at them .

By th i s time the men had caught all thei r h or ses and ,

J o e walked ov er t o the gate ready t o o pen i t a s soon


,

as Jack had caught h is Jack calle d to h i m . S ay ! ,

wai t a m i nute Jo e ; I want t o t ry an expe ri ment ; and


,

he p u t the whi stle t o h i s l ips and blew the O l d call


that he had b een accustomed to u s e f or P awnee The .

h ors e w as standing partly h idden by tw o or th ree


o thers but the m o ment the wh istle blew he ra ised h is
,

head and tu rned and l o oked at Jack J ack st oo d pe r


,
.

fe ct l y sti ll f o r a m o ment o r t w o and then bl e w the ,

wh i stle o nce m o re and th e hors e steppe d f orwa rd


,

o ve r towa rd J ack w ith h i s hea d up h i s ea rs thrust


, ,

forward and an exp ression o f grea t i nterest o n h is


,

c o untenance Aga in Jack blew the wh i stle and th i s


.
,

t i me he reached out h i s hand towa rd the h o rse wh i ch ,

agai n t oo k three o r f o u r steps an d st o pped o nly a few


f eet from J ac k reach ing o u t h is n o s e t o Jack s hand
,

as i f t rying t o smell i t J ac k put h i s hand i nt o h i s


.

p ock et and lai d a lu m p o f suga r i n hi s palm and ,

whistled o nce mo re and the ho rse stepped f o rwa r d


,

and t oo k the suga r and as h e cru nched i t i n h is teeth


, ,

st epped f o rward aga i n so that h i s head was c l o s e t o


,

Jack s sh o ulde r

.

J ac k patted h im v e ry g e nt l y and t h en s li pped th e ,

rope o ve r h i s neck and knotted i t and began t o rub th e


ho rse s hea d and ea rs G radually— as it seemed t o


.

Jac k t h e h o rse s m em or y awakened an d a fte r a fe w


mo ments J ack f elt quite c o nfident that Pawnee rec o g


niz ed him and was glad t o s ee h im The h o rse rubbed .

h i s head v i go r o usly against Jac k s s h oul de r and ’

seeme d t o enj o y being petted .

As thei r o l d friendsh ip see m ed to be r esu m ed Jack ,

called t o Jo e t o Open the gate and a fte r he had d o ne ,

s o t he hor s e s walk ed ou t S om e o f the m ha d a lre ad y


.
A P LE A S ANT S P RI NG RID E II

shed thei r w inte r c o ats but o n o the rs the l o ng hai r ,

hung d o wn three o r f o u r i nches below thei r necks an d


belli es Th e dust and di r t o f the co rral was f ull o f
.

shed ha i r and great wads o f i t were lying about


,

everywhere .

Just a s Jack sta rted o ut w ith Pawnee t o take hi m to ,

the ba rn Hugh passed by and sa i d


, Does h e kn o w ,

? ”
o u, so n
y

I really think h e does Hugh sa i d Jack At , , .

first h e di dn t though he remembe red t h e wh istle and


, ,

recogn i zed t he suga r when I held i t o u t t o h im but ,

now I bel ieve h e know s w h o I am I t s pret t y ha rd .


o n h i m to have to remembe r m e fo r I expect I have ,

changed mo re o r less i n appea rance eve ry yea r and ,

you know it s t w o yea rs no w since I have seen th e old



horse .

Yes sai d Hugh : I d o n t wonde r t hat h e w as a


,

li t t le slow t o know y o u bu t a fte r all a horse has a . ,

long memory and insid e o f t wen t y fou r hours it w ill


,
-

all come back t o hi m I reckon t ha t to morrow he — .

will likely com e right up t o you i n the c o rral o r o n



t he pra i ri e .

H e s fat and i n fine c o ndi t i on i sn t he Hugh ? He


’ ’

, ,

looks to m e t o be i n t he bullies t ki nd o f o rde r fo r a



tr 1 p .

Lord yes said Hugh ,


he s fat enough fo r I
, .

don t think he ha s done an y t h ing fo r t wo yea rs Y o u r



.

uncle w ould no t let him be ri dden last yea r he w as s o ,

much a fra id tha t some t h ing might happen t o him I .

shouldn t be a l ittle bit su rpri sed i f he would kick and


c rowhop qui t e a li t tle when you first get o n him I .

don t believ e h e w ould really p i tch but he s l ikely t o


,

p retend to He looks fatter than he really is though


.
,

o f course h e s fat enough the o l d man went o n

, ,

but that long wi nter coat o f hi s makes him l o ok a s



round as a ball .


Yes assented J ack it d o es o f c o urs e ; and what
, , ,
12 JACK ,
THE Y O U N G T RA PP E R
tremendous coats these horses get in thi s country ,

don t they ?



Yes sa id Hugh ,
they have t o ; fo r as you , ,

know it i s fea rful c o ld here in w inter and o f course


, , , ,

the horses a re out on the range all the time and they ve ’

g o t to d o someth ing to keep themselves warm so they ,



grow these long c o ats L ook at this now ! and.

walking up t o P awnee he put h i s hand under h i s


brisket and pull i ng a l ittle f ro m s ide t o side t o ok
,

o ff a great patch o f hai r and held i t o u t t o J ack


so that he could l oo k at it There were seen th e .

r oo ts o f th e l o ng ha i rs sticking up t h rough a sort


o f fu r o r d o wn such as may be s een next t o the,

Sk i n o f an elk or a deer whe n it i s shedding i ts w i nter


c o at .


There sa i d H ugh d o yo u s ee that fur that
, ,

gr o ws next t o the skin ? Mo st ani m al s i n th i s cold


climate develop that during the wi nte r and you can ,

s e e that it s alm o st l ike the fu r o n th e o tter the beaver


, ,

o r the muskrat It must keep o ut the cold i n great


.

S h ap e f

I declare sai d J ack I n e v er s aw that o n a ho rse


, ,

bef o re I did see i t once on an elk that we k illed i n


.

the spr i ng ; I think i t was th e first yea r I came out here ,

when I hunted w ith J o hn M unr o e I have seen thi s .

same k i nd o f fu r o n a S t Berna rd dog too ; the ani .


,

m als that the m o nks keep up on the tops o f the moun


tains i n S wit z erland away up abov e ti mber l ine , ,

and that they u s e in winter t o lo o k fo r pe o pl e who get


l o st i n the snow i n the m o untains They have j ust .

that kind o f d o ubl e c o at w ith long hai r o n the o uts ide ,



and a s o rt o f fu r underneath next to the skin ,
.


Yes sa id Hugh , I guess all animals that liv e
,

in c o ld cl imates get that same kind o f c o at .

While he was speak i ng the horn ble w and J ack , ,

took P awnee to the barn and tied h i m u p and then h e ,

and Hu g h went i n t o b r eakfast .


A P LEA S A N T S P RI N G RID E 1 3

Well Jack sa id M r S turgis as they s at at the


, ,
.
,

table have you and Hugh had a consultation yet


,

over what you a re going to do ?



No t yet Uncle G eo rge said Jack ; but I gu ess

, ,

w e wi ll duri ng t he day and w e w ill be able t o tell yo u ,



to night what o u r decision i s
-
.

Thi s snow w ill melt right a w ay and the grass has ,

sta rt ed enough fo r yo u to g o off on you r trip any tim e



no w ,
sai d M r S t urgis . .


And I supp o se sa i d Jack i f w e a re going o ff
, , ,

the sooner w e get sta rt ed the better I sn t t hat s o


.
,

Hugh ?

I reck o n it i s s o n ; and i f we re goi ng to t ry to get


,

any fu r o f any kind the sooner w e s t a r t t he be tt er t he


,

fur W ill be It won t be long now before t he animals


.

begi n to shed O f course a bea r hide i s good ti ll well


.
,

into June and the h ighe r up the animal l ives the longe r
, ,

the coat stays good Why i n o l d t imes w e used to .


, ,

trap all through t h e summer bu t o f course i f w e , , .

caught fu r l o w down on t he prai ri e i t d id no t bring us



the price that prim e pelts brought .


Well sa i d M r S t urgi s
,
make up you r minds
.
,


what yo u want to do and repo rt to me to nigh t ,
-
.

All right si r sa id Hugh and he and Jack went


, , ,

down towa rd the ba rn .


What a re you g o ing t o d o t o day Hugh ? sa i d -
,

J ack .


Why sa i d Hugh ,
M rs C a rte r sa id that they , .

were all o u t o f fresh meat and I thought I d g o o ff ,


and see i f I could ki ll a buck antelope That s about .


all that s fit t o kill n o w O f course w e might g o up



.
,

o n the mountai n and hunt a round and perhaps find a ,

m o untain sh eep but I don t g o much o n sheep meat


,


at this time o f the year .

Why how s that Hugh ? I thought Sheep meat


,

w as the best m ea t there was except perhaps bu ffal o , , ,

m eat .
1 4 J ACK ,
THE Y OU NG T RAP P E R

Ev e r eat any i n spr i ng t i me sai d Hugh ? .

No o f cou rse I neve r did I guess you v e a l ways


,
.

b een w ith me when I v e eaten sheep meat and yo u ’

,

and I have never killed a sheep i n the sp ring .

” “
Well said Hugh,
i f you kill a sh eep now y o u ll ,

find i ts mea t tastes and sm ell s so strong o f ga rl ic that


perhaps y o u d n o t ca re to eat i t I ve eaten a good

.

m any quee r things but I d never eat Sheep meat i n the


,

spring ; that is f or ch o ice ,
.


Why i s that Hugh ? sai d J ack , .



I ll tell you repl ied Hugh

Ab o ut the fi rst
, .

green th i ng that Sp rings up in thes e mounta ins i s the


w ild leek and the sheep hunger i ng f o r somethin g
, ,

green hunt th is up and eat i t whenever they find it


, .

The result is that they taste o f i t strong D i dn t y ou


, , .

eve r hea r o f that before ?



N o indeed repl ied J ack ; that s news t o m e I
, ,

.

d o beli eve th o ugh that once i n a whil e when I hav e


, ,

been i n th e country i n the sp ring the m ilk o f th e cows


has tasted o f ga rl ic o r onions and they told m e i t w as ,

because they had been eati ng the wil d leek .


That s straight enough repl ied Hugh

I hav e , .


drunk c o w s mi lk i n sp ring o ut i n th i s count ry that , ,

tasted strong o f sage N o w y o u kno w well enough .


, ,

w i thout my telling you that the meat o f the sage hen ,

tastes str o ng o f sage because they feed o n i t all th e ,

t i me and didn t M r F ann i n tell u s last year that the


,

.

h o gs and chi ckens that fed on th e dea d salmon could


n o t be eaten becaus e they w ere s o fishy ? It see m s t o

me he did .


It see m s t o m e h e did t o o H ugh I beli e v e you re , , .


ri ght about that .


Well said Hugh
,
I guess that s comm o n ,

e nough I ve tasted beef and bu ffal o both that tasted


’ ’

m ighty strong o f garli c .

Why yes Hugh I remember now yo u told me all


, , , ,

a bo ut thi s la st yea r Y o u told me about it at the sa m e


.
1 6 JACK ,
THE Y OU NG TRAPPE R

but tu rned h i s head a r o und as i f cur iou s t o s ee W hat


thi s weight was that h e n o w felt o n h i s back and then ,

at a touch o f th e Spur moved o ff and Hugh and J ac k ,

s oo n passed ove r the h i ll and o ut o f Sight o f the ranch .

As the day ad v a nced t h e sun grew wa rme r and the


fi eld of snow w as dazzl ing .

We ought to have blackened o u r faces b efo re w e


s ta rted o ut sai d Hugh , Th is i s j ust the k ind o f .

day t o get a bad attack o f snow bl indness .


Y es sa id J ack
, I can s ee that s s o b ut th i s
,

sn o w isn t going t o last the day o ut S ee h o w many



.

patches o f ba re gr o und a re beginning t o Sh o w and h o w ,

the water i s running o ff into the rav ines .

” ’
That s s o sa id Hugh I f i t we r e n o t for the
, .


w ay it s go ing i t would be a g oo d i dea fo r us t o t ie
o ur handkerchi efs a cr o ss o u r n o ses Anyh o w I don t .
,

want to get an attack o f snow bl indness ; it s mighty ’

pa i nful I can tell you and e v e ry time you get it i t


, ,

m akes y o u r eyes weaker and mo re l iable t o another


attack i f you a re o ut i n th e b right sunsh ine w hen the

gr o und i s covered w i th snow .

Were yo u e v er snow b l ind ? asked J ac k .


Y es repl ied Hugh
,
I v e b een snow bl ind but I ,

neve r had a real bad attack I ve been s o that I .


co uldn t s ee and the w ay my eyes hurt w as something


aw ful but i t always passed o ff i n a few days I neve r


, .

had an attack l i ke I ve seen some men hav e whe re ’


,

they w o uld b e blind and su ffer i ng fo r weeks at a time .

Where a re y ou g oi ng t o l o ok f o r that antelop e ,



H ugh ? sai d J ack .

W hy I think w e mi ght g o up towa rd th e head o f


,

th e Basi n and then swing o ve r o nto the east side .

It s wa rm over there and a good many antelope c o mi ng


back i n spring get over there and stop f o r a whil e



bef o re they scatter o ut th r o ugh the Basin We re .

l ikely to s ee plenty o f them th i s mo rning and i f w e ,

d o it d o es see m t o m e that w e m ight as wel l k il l a


,
A P LE A S ANT S PRI NG RID E 1 7

c o upl e I f y o u and me are going o n a trip p retty soon


.

there won t be anyb o dy here to ki ll meat fo r the


ranc h f

All right sa id Jack , I d l ike first rate to k i ll an


,

antelo p e again It seems to me a long time s ince I v e


.

shot at o ne and I d like to find o u t whethe r I v e fo r


,
’ ’


gotten how to shoot .


Well said Hugh
,
you re n o t l ikely to have
,

fo rgotten how to shoot but you r gun may be a l ittle


,

strange to you a fter such a long rest .

The two rode quie t ly along fo r some m il es W ithout


seeing anyth ing mo re than a few bi rds that rose from
the b rushy ravines which they passed o r a n occas i onal ,

coyote trotting ove r t h e whitened p ra i ri e on h is w ay


to som e place to t ake hi s nap fo r t he day Do wn o n .

the lake below could be seen many wate r fowl and over ,

i t a grea t flock o f these would ris e and fly ab o ut in the


ai r fo r a long tim e a nd t hen al ight aga in on the wate r
,
.

S ometi mes the groups o f bi rds fo rmed a black spo t in


the s ky and t hen s w m g ing o u t i nto long l ines looked
,

almost l ike th e smoke o f a locomo t ive ca rried o ff ove r


the p rai ri e It w as plea sant rid ing Every moment
. .

i t seemed to grow warme r and wa rmer and the snow ,

d i sappe a red from th e hill s w ith sta rtl ing rapidity .


AN E ! P ED I T I O N F OR F U R

H U GH and J ack had ri dden s om e m i l es a cro ss the


Basi n with o ut see i ng any game except a few distant
antelope fo r wh ich they di d not tu rn aside
,
Th e .

hi lls a s th ey grew mo re and more ba re o f sn o w


, ,

were al ready beginning to turn green w ith the ne w


grass which showed among the sere and yellow tufts
o f last yea r s growth The buds were swelling on the

.

t rees and bushes whi ch grew i n the rav ines they


c rossed but a s yet no leaves had begun to appea r
, .

Yet al l o ve r the p ra i ri e o n and under the bushes


, , ,

w ere seen numbe rs o f small b i rds some o f them ,

migrants o n thei r w ay to th e n o rth others summer ,

resi dents that were bui lding o r we re about t o bui ld


thei r nests No w and then w as hea r d the distant
.

hooti ng o f the sage gr o use .

After c rossing the valley and cl imb ing the h ill o n


the othe r si de o f th e Basin they came o ut on a rolling ,

table land from wh i ch th e snow had almost d is ap


-
,

p e a re d th o ugh here
, and t h ere long l ines o f whi te were
seen marking som e ravine shaded from the di rect rays
o f the sun O ve r the pla i n before th e m were scatte r ed
.

many antel o pe and Hugh said N ow s o n watch out


, , , ,

sha rp and let s get o u r m eat a s so o n as w e can and


,

,

get back .

As they r o de along they app roached the t o p o f ,

each hill carefully Jack keeping a little b ehind Hugh , ,

wh o rode up very slowly to the c rest and bef o re show ,

ing anythi ng mo re than th e top o f hi s head scanned ,

th e count ry beyond They had pas sed o v er o ne or .

tw o such r i ses when Hugh sl o wly bent h i s head , ,

1 8
AN EX PEDITI O N F O R FU R 1 9

tu rn ed h i s ho rse and rod e back t o wa rd Jack saying


, , ,

a s he reached him There s a bunch o f antelope j ust


,
“ ’

Ove r the hill and they may be j us t what w e want ; I


,

s aw the backs o f t w o that were feeding ; w e better

c reep up there and se e what they a re and remembe r . .

a d ry doe o r even a yea rl ing doe i s likely to be better


,

than a buck a nd i f y o u get a chance k ill o ne ; I ll d o


, ,


the same .

D ropping thei r ho rs es reins and loading thei r rifles ’

they re t u rned to the h ill t op Hugh went Slowly and .

ca re fully b ending lo w e r and l o we r a s h e app roached


,

the c rest and finally d ropped o n hi s knees and c rept


, ,

forwa rd At la st h e s t opped and ve ry slowly ra ised


.

h i s ba red h ead fo r he h ad le f t h i s ha t behind him t o


, ,

t ake anothe r look ; t hen wi th t he same sl o w m o tion he , ,

lowered h i s head and tu rn i ng motioned Jack t o come , .

beside him A s Jack reached h im Hugh w hi spered


.
, ,

There s a big buck o ff to t he right t hat yo u can ki ll


and t here s ano t her buck righ t i n front o f me t hat I l l


’ ’

take a fter you v e shot G e t ready n o w and k 1 11 y o ur



.
,

a ni mal .

C o cking h i s rifle Jack sl o wly ra i sed hi s head and , ,

i n a moment s aw the black h o rn s o f an antelope that


was l oo king o ff over the prai ri e H e waited an .

i nstant and then as t h e anima l lowe red h i s h ead he


, , ,

ros e up a l ittle highe r d rew a careful b ead o n the spot ,

that Hugh y ears ago had t o ld hi m t o shoot


,
at — th e ,

l ittl e da rk cu rl o f hai r j ust be h ind the fo releg and —


fired The antelope rushed away and immediately a
.
,

do z en others that ha d been sti ll nea rer to the hunters


and o u t o f sight follow ed h i m They ra n part way up
,
.

the next slo p e and then st o pped nearly a hundred and



fifty ya rds o ff and a s t hey d id so H ugh s rifle cam e
, ,

t o h is shoul de r and he fi red The a nim al t hat he had .

shot fell in h i s t racks and the others rushed O ff ove r ,

the h ill The hunters rose to thei r feet and went ba c k


.
,

t o t he hors e s p i cking u p t hei r h ats o n t he w a y


, Wh en .
20 JACK ,
THE Y O U N G T RA P PE R

they were i n the saddle Jack sai d t o H ugh D i d y ou


, ,

see anything o f my buck ?
N o sai d Hugh
,
I d o n t feel sure w h ethe r he
,

fell int o the ravin e as they c rossed o r whethe r h e went ,

o n I hea rd the ball str i ke him th ough and I r eck o n


.
, ,

W e ll find h im p resently

.

R iding ove r t o wa rd the an i mal that Hugh ha d shot ,

they crossed th e ravine and j ust a s they were ri sing ,

the h ill Hugh st o pped h i s horse and sai d


,
There s ,
“ ’


you r buck and p o inted down the ravine where seven
, ,

ty fi -
v e o r eighty ya rds fr o m them the antelope w as ,

seen standing w i th h is head d o wn e v i dently unab l e to ,

go furthe r .

J ack pulled up h i s h o rs e and l o o ke d a t the an im al ,

and said I d o n t know whether I had bette r g iv e h im


,


another shot o r wait fo r h im t o di e
,
.


Well sai d Hugh ,
I reck o n i f I wa s y ou I d, ,

get o ff and s h o ot hi m again ; h e s hard hit but som e ’

ti mes o ne o f those fellows will g i ve y ou a chase o f


th ree o r four m i les i f h e gets fr i ghtened e v en th o ugh ,

he m ay have a mo rtal w o und .


All right sa i d J ack and he d i sm o unted and
, , ,

stepping back beh ind th e ho rses h e shot from the ,

sh o ulde r and th e antel o pe fel l ov e r and w as h id den


,

i n th e b rush o f the r avine .

It took b ut a sh ort tim e t o clean H ugh s buc k and ’

put i t o n the h o rse and a few m inutes late r J ack s, ,


was s i milarly t i ed o n h i s h o rse B o th an i mal s had fa i r .

h eads but Hugh had said


,
It s n o t wo rth wh i l e to ,

p a ck all thi s ext r a w eight back to the ranch ; we may


as well cut i t d o wn as l o w as poss ible SO they had

rem o ved the hea ds and necks and shanks be fo re ty i ng ,

the carcasses beh ind the saddl es w i th the buckskin


strings with wh ich they w e re provided Wh i le they .

were do i ng all this the s ky had bec o me o vercast and


,

the W ind had begun to bl o w up cold from the west .

They mo unted the ir h or ses and sta r te d b ack for the


AN EX P EDITI O N FOR FUR 21

r anch stopping at th e first sn o w b ank where i n the


, , ,

m oi st sn o w they washed t he bloo d from thei r hands .



Well said Hugh thi s w ind i s blowing up right
, ,

c o ld ; i f w e had a sheltered place t o s it down I would ,

l ike to smoke a pipe but as w e haven t I reck o n w e ,


better keep o n across th e valley un t il w e find a lee ove r



there where w e can s it and smoke and talk B ut by .

the t i me t hey had c rossed t he valley th e s u n ha d come


out again and Hugh sa i d No w son i f w e keep

, , , ,

poking right al o ng and don t stop w e w ill ge t back ’

t o th e ranch i n t ime to get som e dinne r I move that .


w e do t ha t fo r I m right w o l fl s h

.
,

G ood en o ugh repl ied Jack t ha t w il l suit me ;
, ,
’ ”
w e ll hav e all t h e a f t e rn o on t o sm o ke and talk .

They were y e t hal f a mi le fro m the ranch w hen they


hea rd t he d inner ho rn but a f t e r t hey had hung up ,

thei r meat unsaddled t hei r ho rses and got into th e


, .

house t hey found t he men were s t i ll at the table and


, ,

s at down w i t h t hem .

How good tha t first di nne r d id taste to Jack a fte r


his mo rning s ri de ! Th ere w as t he las t o f some elk

meat killed the fall befo re by Hugh po t a t oes canned


, , ,

toma t oes and lo t s o f good b read and pl en t y o f m ilk


, ,

and cream Joe sa i d to Jack a s he watched him eat


.
, ,

a fter he ha d finished hi s o w n meal E at hea rty Jack : , ,

i t s a m i ghty g o od th ing to enj oy y o u r v i ctuals l ike


you do !
Well sa i d Jack I v e enj oyed l o ts o f good meals
, ,

in my l i fe but i t seems to me t hat thi s i s the best I


,

ever di d eat and thi s m i lk i s Splen did t oo I can


, , .

drink a qua rt o f i t .

I t s someth ing y o u d o n t get o ften o n a c o w ranch


’ ’


i n thi s c o untry sa id J o e P ears l ike the m or e cows
, .

a m an has the less mi lk he gets ; but I tell yo u it s


,

a m ighty good thing t o hav e and i t help s o u t the ,



c atin wonderfully

.


Well sa id M r S turgis
, i t always seemed t o me .
,
22 JAC K ,
THE YOU N G T RAP P E R
t h at i t i s w orth wh il e t o have th e best fo o d the r e is
goin g j ust a s fa r as yo u can a ffo rd it
,
.

Y o u had better dr i nk al l you can s o n sa i d



, ,

Hugh becaus e i f yo u and m e a re g o ing o ff f o r a


,

tri p t o be gone two o r th ree months you w o n t see ,



,

any milk fo r a m ighty l on g time .


J ack gr i nned as he replied D o n t be a fraid Hugh , ,
.

I m going t o fill mysel f j ust a s full o f the g oo d thi ngs



a s I possibly can and when I get where I can t have ,

them w h y I wi ll enj oy the th i ngs w e c an ha ve j u s t


, ,

as much a s I know how .


That s good ph ilosophy J ac k

sai d h is u ncle ; , ,

st i ck t o it ; always get the b est you p o ss i b l y can but ,



never grumble i f that best i s p retty po o r .

D inner over H ugh and J ack adj ou rne d t o the bunk


,

house and there s itting i n its lee i n th e wa rm sunsh ine


, , ,

they began to discuss thei r plans .


N o w Hugh sai d Jack what d o y o u th i n k about
, , ,

o u r summer s trip Tell me all you can fo r I want to



?
,

know what i s c omi ng O f c o u r s e whate v e r y ou say .


goes .

Well s o n said H ugh o u ha v e t ra v e l e d and


, y , ,

hunted and seen Indians but th ere s o ne thing y o u ,


have not done ; y o u haven t d o ne any t rapp i ng It ’


.

seem s to me that i t would no t be a bad i de a f or y o u


to l ea rn s o meth ing ab o ut that I used to be a p retty .

fai r t rapper i n my y o ung days and I reckon w e can ,

go down south here i n th e high mountains an d p erhaps


get some fu r ; n o t much but en o ugh maybe to pay , , ,

o u r expenses and then we can c o m e back he re and


,

turn it i n t o M r S tu rgis as a s ort o f pay fo r o u r ti m e



.

and f o r th e use o f the ho r s e flesh w e hav e had .

That seem s to m e a bull y i dea H ugh ; i t do es ,

seem a sham e fo r m e to come o u t h ere e v ery yea r and


take yo u away from the ranch fo r al l summe r fo r I ,

suppose that of c o u r se m y u nc l e p ays y ou ri g ht


, ,

al o ng ?
24 JAC K ,
THE Y O U N G T RA P P E R

Well Hugh sa id J ack ,


what pa rt i c u la r plac e
,

d i d y o u think o f g oi ng t o ?

I thought o f N o rth Pa r k sa id H ugh There , .

a re h igh mountai ns the r e plenty o f game an d fish and , ,



i t used to be a grea t c o untry f or beaver It s a g ood .

m any yea rs since I ve been i n the re It m u st be a ’


.

d o zen yea rs o r m o re L ast t im e I c ro ssed th rough .

the re I had been camping o n Henry s F o rk o f Green ’

R i ver along w ith Ike Edwa rds o ld Jo hn Baker P hil


, , ,

M aas and D ick S un That wa s a g o od b u nch o f men ;


, .

m ighty few like them i n th e c o unt ry n o w They were .

all o ld timers and all had ski n l o dges and l i ved there
-
,

w ith thei r women i n the c o unt r y nea r B ri dger and i n ,



w i nter m o ved into h o uses whi ch they had o n H en ry s
Fo rk I reck o n I l l have to tell yo u someth ing about
.

them s o m e o f thes e days b ut n o w w e l l st i c k t o o ur ,


t rip.

N o rth Pa rk i s h i gh u p w i th mo unta i ns o n both ,

si d es o f i t mi ghty h igh m o unta i ns t o o and i f there


, , ,

a re any b eaver living i n that c o untry w e w ill p r o bably ,

De able t o find them Beaver i s about all the fu r that s ’


.

wo rth b o ther i ng w i th There a re not many ma rt en .


,

and i f there w ere th e fu r w ould n o t be goo d n o w O f


, .

cours e y o u may get a bea r o r so and each bea r w o uld


, ,

b ring about se v en or p robabl y ten dolla rs i f w e kill ,

them b ef o re they b eg i n t o shed B ea v er i s w ort h .

th ree or fo u r d o lla rs a p o und That w o ul d m ake a .


skin worth ab o ut five or s i x d o lla r s that i s a g o od ,

Skin I t s a g o od dea l o f a tri ck to ski n a bea v er an d


.

d ry h i s pelt i n go o d shap e It s o ne o f the m th i ngs ’


.
,

o f cou rse that y o u have g o t to l earn


, .

O n th e o the r hand beaver trapping i s mi ghty ha r d ,

w o rk and yo u had better know it beforehand Y o u ve


,
.

got to be i n the wate r mo re than hal f the t im e and ,

have to get you r beave r back t o camp and sk i n e m an d ’


,

by the ti me you have been runn i ng to your traps ,

g etting yo u r b ea v e r setting you r t rap s packi ng you r


, ,
AN EX P EDITI O N F O R F U R 2 5

c at c h t o camp and skinning i t yo u w ill think y o u ve ,

done a mighty go o d day s work Al l the same s o n ’


.
, ,

you re pretty husky and there s n o reason w h y you


,

should not do a full day s wo rk but I tell y o u one ’

thi ng w e had better do because it w ill add a whole lot ,


to o u c o m f o rt w e had be tter get rubber b oo ts f o r
r

bo th befo re we sta rt out s o that w e won t get any


, ,

wetter than w e hav e t o get I have had a touch o f .

rheumati sm i n past yea rs and I d o n t want t o get any


,

mo re o f i t .

That seem s bully Hugh sa i d Jack I m w i lli ng


, , .

to wo rk ha rde r th i s yea r t han eve r be fo re and I m ,


bigge r and stronge r and b ette r abl e to do wo rk than


I eve r w as be f o re I ll try to h o ld up my end j ust a s
.


well a s I can .



Well sai d Hugh ,
i t a i n t l ike a s i f w e were ,

stone broke and t rying to make a ra ise to car ry us


,

th rough t h e w in t er needn t wo rk any ha rde r


than w e feel l ike but when I tackle a j ob I l ike t o


,

make it a g oo d o ne and I reck o n yo u feel that w ay, ,



to o .

Yes sa i d Jack tha t s t h e w ay I feel ab o ut i t


, , ,

f o r that i s th e w ay the people I think m o st o f i n the


w o rld have always t alked to me .

That s good sound sense my s o n sai d Hugh


, , .

No w tell m e Hugh h o w do we g o from here down


, ,

i nto N o rth P a rk ?

It s quite a ways repl i ed H ugh ; eight o r ten



.

days ma rch We go from the ranch d o wn t he Muddy



.

to the M edicine Bow up that river quite a l ittl e way , ,

and then c ro ss over the divide to th e B i g Laramie and


fo ll o w that up i nto th e P a rk That takes us p retty .

well o n t o Laramie City and I guess w e may as well ,

g o there anyh o w i f w e a re g o ing t o get the r ubber


,

bo o ts I spoke ab o ut .

In that ca se w e ought t o sta rt j ust as s oo n as w e


? ”
p o ss i bly can o ughtn t we sai
, d J ack I under

.

26 JAC K , THE Y O UNG TRA PP E R
stand that the s oo ne r w e get o nt o the trapp ing groun d s

the bette r the fur wi ll be .

You re dead right sai d Hugh



and I d r athe r ,

sta rt to mo rrow than the day a fte r


-
.


Well sa id Jack i s there any r eas o n W hy w e
, ,


sh o uld no t sta rt to morrow ?

I don t kn o w o f any sa i d H ugh ; but y o u r uncle

,

i s th e d o ct o r and he ll have to tell u s what to d o
,

.


Well sai d Jack what s th e matter w i t h hunt i ng
, ,

h im up and finding o u t ?

All right sa i d H ugh let s l o ok f or h i m
, ,

.

Mrs C a rte r when asked a s to the whereabouts of


.
,

M r S tu rgis sai d that the last s h e ha d seen o f hi m h e


.
,

had sta rted down towa rd the blacksm i th s Sh O p and ’

there a littl e later Hugh and J ack found h im and Jo e


, ,

busy tinkerin g w ith some i r o n w o rk needed f or the


ho rse rake The tw o sto o d a r o und and watched the
.

blacksm ithing f o r a t i m e and then M r S turgi s lo o ke d , .

up w ith a twinkle i n hi s eye and sai d Y o u tw o l oo k , ,

like scouts that ha v e c o m e i n t o m ake a rep or t ; W ha t



i s it ?

You t ell h im Hu gh sa i d Jack and s o H ug h , , ,

r ep o rted the c o nversati o n wh i ch had taken place an d


the conclusi o n that they had reached .

” ’
Well sa i d M r S tu rgi s,
I d o n t k n ow b ut y ou .
,

a re right but W hethe r y o u sta r t t o mo rrow o r next


,
-

week the re i s n o reas o n why y o u shoul d n o t get y o u r


stu ff t o gether and hav e i t all ready t o pack on the
animals I f I were you I w o u l d g o and get o ut y o u r
.
,

pack riggings select the h o rses you want t o u se and , ,



get M rs Ca rte r t o put up y o u r gru b
. .


Hu rrah ! sai d Jack and he th rew h i s hat u p t o ,

the ro o f and then felt m uch mort ifi ed when i t fell int o


,

the f o rge bucket and h e dip ped i t o ut all w et ; he then


rush ed o u t o f the Sh o p t o wa rd th e h o use whi le Hugh ,

followed mo re slowly go ing t o the st o re r oo m t o get ,

o ut t he p a ck sadd l es and t heir ri g g in g s .


M A K I N G R EA D Y F OR T H E TR I P

A LI TT L E later when Jack came i nto the st o rer oo m


, ,

he f o und th ree pack saddles and t h ree blankets wi t h


vari o us other pieces o f t he riggings s t rewn upon th e
flo or L ying by each saddl e w as i t s lash rope and
.

cinch its Sl ing rope and t he hackamo re fo r t he animal


, .

A p i le o f sa ddle blanke t s res t ed i n o ne co rner o f t he


r o om from which t hose requi red fo r the trip would
,

be selected Hugh w as rummaging i n t he s t orero o m


.
.

and presently came o u t ca r rying a piece o f canvas and


a small sack from wh ich h e t ook a palm a large sa i l
.
,

needl e with a c r o oked poin t a piece o f beeswax and a . ,

ball o f heavy th read These h e pu t o n t he floo r and .


.

then taking up t h e pi ece o f canva s h e cut fr o m its s ide


a long s t rip about fi f t een i nches wide .

Wha t a re you goi ng t o do Hugh sa i d Jack ,


?
.

Well sa id Hugh w e re li abl e to have c o n


, .

s id e rab l e climbing t o do i n the m o unta ins and whi le ,

probably w e w on t have to make any long d rives no r


climb any ver y steep h i lls yet w e may want t o do .

bo t h I f w e have any t hing o f tha t so rt to do we want


.
,

to keep the backs o f o u r ho rses in good o rde r I f o u r .

animal s a re carrying any loads t hes e w ill hav e a ten


d e nc y to sl ip o ff backwa rd when th e ho rse i s going
up hill o r to slip o ff for w ard when coming down hi ll
,
.

I bel ieve w e ll save ourselves and animals both i f w e


rig up breas t bands and breech ings t o o o n these s ad


, , ,

dles O f cou rse o ne o f them has a c rupper al ready


.
, ,

but that do es not amount t o m uch I b el ieve we d bet .


ter d o what I v e sai d and then w e re p retty su re that


,

the loads i f they are prope rly lashed w ill stay put and
, , ,

w o n t be giving us everlasting trouble


.

Ho w m any p acks d o you i nte nd t o take Hugh ? ,

27
28 J ACK ,
THE Y O UN G T RA P P E R
'

Why sa i d Hugh I sh o uld th i n k t hre e w i l l b e


, ,

a plenty ; o n e t o ca rry our be d s w a r sa ck s and t e nt ; , ,

o ne t o ca r ry o u r mess outfit and g r ub ; and o ne t o

carry o u r fu r i f w e get any The th i rd h o rse will g o


, .

light for part o f the way and then later w e c an use ,

h i m to save the others O f c o u rse w e could get al o ng .


,

wi th tw o an i mals but n o t s o well i f we re g o ing to
, ,

b ring anyth i ng back w i th us ; and o f co u rs e there s , ,

always a probabil i ty o f that th o ugh o n the o the r , ,



hand w e may n o t get anyth ing at all
, .

“ ”
Well sa i d J ack th ree packs a ren t muc h t o
, ,
“ ’

b o the r w i th an d w e ou ght t o b e able t o t r a v e l fast w i th


,

the m .

N o sa id H ugh th r e e won t be m uch t ro uble


, ,

,

and we c an get a g ood sta rt eve ry mo rn i ng if w e want ,

to.

Wh i l e they had b een talk i ng Hug h ha d s et a saddle ,

u p right o n the floo r and had run a ro pe i n f r o nt o f i t


about where the animal s breast w o uld come and then ’

b rought the r o p e back to th e si d e o f the saddle ;


m easur i ng the canvas by th is he cut o ff th r ee st r ips , ,

and then doublin g them over h e t o ok the palm and


sai l needle and w i th waxed th read stitched the tw o
edges t o gether s o that he had a doubl e th i ckness o f
canvas six or eight i nches w ide and l o ng enough to
,

reach fro m o ne s ide o f th e saddle to th e o ther a r o und ,

the animal s breast S imi la r bands w ere cut and



.

sewed fo r b reech ing and then Hugh p o i nted out to ,

Jack where o ne di fficulty l ies i n using such a ids t o


t ravel You have got to have the breast band s o low
.

that i t w i ll press o n th e breast and not o n the throat ,

o therwi se you stop y o ur animal s w ind choke h im— ’


.


Aga in i f yo u have it to o low and i f it isn t held up by
, ,

anyth ing from abo v e it s likely to d r o p down to the ,


an i mal s knees P robably the best way fo r u s to d o



.

i s t o r un a string th rough o ne edge o f the band b ring ,

i t up and pas s i t over th e h o rse s nec k and d o w n


,

MAKING R EADY F O R THE T RI P 29

th ro ugh the edge o n the othe r side There s less .


danger o f c o urse o f the breeching slipping down b e


, , ,

cause it w ill catch on the animal s hocks S till I ’


.
,

think I ll t ry and s ee i f I can find a couple o f c ruppers


fo r these o ther saddles and then we can t i e the s u p ,

ports fo r the breeching t o t he cruppe r band m idway o f .

where i t ru ns back from t he saddle Reall y t o mak e .


,

g o od breech ing w e ough t to have i t so that i t can be


sh o rtened up o r leng t hened o u t and s o that it w i ll fit ,

any animal that th e saddle i s put o n I don t see how


'

w e can get al o ng withou t straps and buckles but as w e ,

haven t g o t any we ll j ust put on a couple o f snaps two


,

o r th ree inches apa rt I l l g o ah ea d and se w t he


breech ing and the breast s t raps o n o ne s ide anyh o w , ,

and a fter w e get up t h e animals w e can fit t hem ,


.

By the w ay Hugh sa i d Jack how much grub


, , ,

w ill w e want t o take with us ? I tol d M rs Ca rte r t ha t .

we would be g o ne f o r a coupl e o f m o n t hs ; w as that


r i ght ?

Yes sa i d Hugh we ll be gone a c o uple o f


, ,

mo nth s anyhow I sh o uld think maybe m o re but o f


, , , , ,

course w e expect t o l ive mostly on what w e kill


,
.

We ll need coff ee suga r bac o n and flou r a nd baking


, , , ,

powder but it seems to m e that i t s not w o rth wh ile


fo r us t o take much o f that sort o f thing from he re .

I f w e re going to s to p i n La ram i e C ity we can buy all


that stu ff t here right o n t h e ra il r o a d and i n that case , ,

w e o nly need to take from here a fift y pound sack o f -

fl o ur a l ittle bacon and a littl e c o ffee and suga r May


, ,
.

be M rs Carter would bake us b read enough to last us


.

f o r a few days and tha t w o ul d save us w restl i ng wi th


,

frying pan bread for a wh il e I reck o n sh e w o uld d o


-
.


it i f you asked her
, .


All r i ght repl ied Jack I ll ask he r and I bet
, ,
“ ’
,

she ll do it t o o S h e has always been m ighty nice to


, .

me .

Y es sai d Hugh she s a mighty nice w o man


, ,

.
30 J ACK ,
THE Y O UNG TRAP P E R
Fo r a l ittle whi le Hugh s at s il ent b usy w i th h is ,

work o f sewing up the bands o f can v as and attach i ng


them to th e saddles o n the o ff s i de Presently h e sa i d .
,

Look he re so n i t pea r s t o me y o u re n o t d oi ng
, ,
’ ’


much wo rk .

N sai d J ack that s s o but I d o n t kn o w


,

,

en o ugh t o make th o se b reast band s and b reech i ng t o



help you do I ?
,

N sai d Hugh I had better d o th i s part o f the


,

business mysel f but don t you se e these riggings have ’

got to be fitted to the animals ? N ow W hy don t you ,


go out and saddle up and bring in th e ho rse bunch ,

and then we ll p ick o u t th e animals w e need fo r th e


trip .

All r i ght sa i d J ack I ll go and he sta rted for


, ,

the do or .


And wh i le y ou re about i t sai d H ugh st o p up , ,

at the house and tell M rs Carter tha t w e shan t want .


much grub It may save her l i fting down a lot o f


.


heavy flou r sac k s and that s n o w o rk f o r a w o man
, ,

anyho w .


G o o d ! sa i d J ack an d h e ran up t o th e house ,

and explai ned to M rs Carter what Hugh had sai d . .

A l ittl e later he was in the saddle and spurring ,

Pawnee ove r the h ills n o rth o f the ranch looked fo r ,

the h o rse bunch He knew ab o ut where they would


.

be f o und at thi s t i me o f the day and at thi s season o f ,

the yea r and bef o re long he rode o ve r a h i ll and s aw


,

the m scattered o ut bef o re hi m o v e r a level hay mead o w


o n wh i ch the grass w as j ust beginning to be green .

In a few moments h e ha d rounded them up and started


them towa rd the c o rral but w i th o ut hurrying the m , ,

f o r i n the bunch there wer e a number o f l ittle colts that


were rather shaky o n the i r Spindly cr oo ked legs and , ,

h e did not want to hu rry them In fact as they tr o tted .


,

along t owa rd the ranch he let several o f the o l d m a res,

an d col ts dro p ou t b y the way t ryi ng o nly t o keep th e ,


32 JAC K , THE YO UNG TRAPP E R

h ad brou ght ov er the i r o n gray We l l put t h es e .


h o rses i n the hay c o rral t o n i ght and then when m o m ,

i ng com es we ll know where they a re but fi rst w e v e

g o t t o fit these saddles to the m Let S g o d o wn an d .

b r i ng u p the b l ankets and th e sadd l es and see h o w the y



go .

O ne a fte r the o the r th e p ac k s a ddles we r e c i n c he d


o n the h or ses each o ne ha v ing a g oo d roll O f b lanket s
,

unde r i t .

These co n fo unded h or ses are s o fat n o w sa i d ,

H ugh ,
i t s a ha rd matte r to mak e th e saddles st i c k
“ ’

on them anyway It s a go o d deal l ike t ry i ng t o ci n ch


.

up a ba rrel ; but they ll l o se flesh a fter they v e been o n ’

the r o ad a little wh il e and l u ckily there s no l o ad fo r ,


the m t o ca r ry j ust n o w I m putting o n mo re b l an k et s .


than I w o uld i f these ho rses w ere a l ittle th i nner I .

hate to put t oo many blankets unde r a saddle I t s .


j ust a s bad as n o t putting en o ugh and m ight y lik el y ,



to make a ho rse s back so re ’
.

N ow s ai d Hugh a fte r the sa d d l es w e re a l l in


, ,

place let s m easure these band s and then we ll m ar k


,

,

them w ith a penc i l and th i s a fte rn oo n o r t o n i ght I ll -



fix the m up so that th ey l l be i n shap e t o p u t o n t o

mo rr o w morn in g .

The w o rk d i d n o t take lo ng The br east and br eech .

ing bands w e re br ou ght a r o un d aga i nst ea c h an i m al s ’

breast and hips and the plac e whe re they sh o uld be


,

attached o n th e nea r s i de wa s marked w ith a penci l .

After thi s w as d o ne the saddles were taken o ff the , ,

h o rses w ith the i r hacka m o re shanks t i ed u p w ere


, ,

turned i nt o the hay co r r al an d H u gh an d J a ck w ent ,

back t o the st o rer oo m .

While Hugh cont i nued h i s w ork o n th e saddles J ac k ,

sa t c r o ss legged o n th e floor wat c h i ng h im and ask i n g


-

m an y q uestions .


A re y o u g o i g t o take a tent w ith y o u H ugh
n ?
,

sa i d J ack .
M AKIN G R E ADY FOR TH E T RI P 33

si r said Hugh
Y es , ,
I can get along all right
wi t hout a tent when I know it ain t g o ing t o ra in o r
,

s now but w h e h I kn o w it s go i ng to ra i n I am po w e r

ful pa rtial t o some kind o f shel t e r O f c o urse i f w e .


,

had a small lodge and w e were sure w e could get lodge


,

po les whereve r we went I d pre fer a lod g e but a s w e ,


can t have j ust W hat w e want I m going t o have a


,

tent You r uncl e has got the n ices t kind o f an A tent


.

with j ointed poles and I expect he ll be w ill ing to let


,

us have i t At least I m go ing t o ask h im f o r it I


.
,

.

don t reckon i t wi ll be in use at all thi s summer Y o u



.

must unde rs t and that up in t h e mountains and espe ,

c ial l y at th i s season o f t h e yea r w e re likely to ,

have lots o f ra in and maybe some snow and cer , ,

t ainl y plenty o f t hunde r s t orm s No w o f course yo u .


, ,

can get along all righ t w hen i t s w e t and yo u can cook


i n the ra in and ea t i n the ra i n and ea t w e t grub too i f , ,

you have to but I v e always found t hat a man w as j ust


,

a li t tle b i t be t te r o ff and more com fo r t abl e i f he kep t


dry and I ve found t o o t hat i t doesn t take much mo re
’ ’

, , ,

wo rk to keep d ry than i t does t o keep w e t These .

j oint e d poles a re the greatest t h ings o u t \Vhen the y .

a re taken apa rt they a re about three o r four feet


l o ng ; there a re only s ix p ieces They lash first class .
,

and make a g o od t o p pack They give you a chance .


,

to o t o put up a tent whereve r y o u a re and int o the tent


, ,

yo u can b ring all t he th ings yo u wan t to keep dry .


Most always you ca n a rrange th ings s o that you can
d o your c o oking under som e sort o f cover and even i f ,

you do get a l it t l e damp you can dry o ff i n front o f the


fire go to bed d ry and sleep d ry at night You r sad
, ,
.

dles your r o pes and you r blankets all are kept d ry


, , ,

and that helps yo u a W hole lot in getting away in good


Shape and seas o n i n the m o rning I t only takes a few .

minute s to put up a tent but thos e few minutes and the ,

extra wo rk w ill be more than pai d for some night


when perhaps it sn o ws ha rd and y o u kn o w that i f ,
34 JACK , THE YOU N G T R A PP E R
y our t hing s w er e l y i n g ou t i n t he weat h e r i t m ight
take y ou ha l f a day o r all da y t o g o a ro un d and d ig
the m o ut o f th e sn o w or i n fact y o u mi ght ha ve t o ,

wa it u ntil the sn ow m e l t ed before y o u cou ld fi n d th em



aga i n .

Wel l H u gh i t see m s t o m e i t s a p r etty g oo d i dea


, ,

t o take a tent especially i f w e re lik ely t o str ik e s uc h


,

weather a s yo u tell o f .


We re likely t o o f c ourse sa i d Hugh ; but that, ,

d o esn t mean that w e w i ll I v e seen i t perfectly fai r .

up there i n them m ounta i ns day a fter d ay and week


a fter we e k but then again I v e s een i t ra i n and sno w
, , ,

fo r w eeks at a t i me Yes w e d better take a tent by .


,


all m eans unless it i s go i ng t o b e i n the w ay
, .

Hugh had fini shed hi s w o rk o n th e pack saddles long


befo re supper t i m e and the tw o w ent up t o s ee what,

grub M r s Carter had la i d o ut ca rrying w ith them two


.
,

rawh i de p anni er s wh i ch w ere to hang o ne o n either


,

side o f a p ack saddl e and in the m they packed the ,

grub and ca rri ed them back t o the storer oo m .

The load w as a l ight o n e an d J a ck d id n o t stagge r ,

unde r hi s share o f it .

A fter supper that n i ght Mr S t urg i s ta lk ed w i th , .

H ugh and Jack and t o ld the m that h e agreed w i th


the m that they had bette r sta r t a s s oo n as the y co u l d ,

and be gone as l o ng a s they l i ked .

You w ill be p retty cl o se to th e settle m ents all t h e


t i me I take i t he sa i d to Hugh and i f eithe r o f you
, , ,

feel l i ke it I sh o uld l ike t o hav e a lette r f rom y o u fr o m


,

time t o t i m e tell ing m e how you re getting al o ng and


,

what y o u a re doing O f c o u rse I don t want to have .


,

y o u feel o bl i ged t o carry o n a c o rresp o ndence w i th m e ,

but whene v e r you do get w ith i n reach o f a po s t o ffic e


let m e h ea r from you that y o u a re all right I kn o w .

y o u are b o th p retty w ell abl e t o take ca r e o f y o u rselves ,

and I shan t do any wo r ryi ng ab o ut y o u but I have a


curi o s i ty t o kn o w what fu r y o u fi nd and gene ral ly ,


M AK I N G READY F O R TH E T RI P 35

w ha t y o u s ee down there in those high mounta i ns I .

have never been down th ere mysel f and i f I had the ,

time I should l ike to go wi th you I hea r that there i s .

some great fishing i n those streams T o —mo rrow .

mo rning I wi ll get o u t my trout rod and reel and som e


fl ies and you had bette r take the outfit w ith yo u You
, .

should be able to ca rry i t s o t hat i t won t break and ’

ve ry likely there w i ll b e a good many t imes w hen you


can catch som e fish You wo n t su ffe r fo r t hings t o e at
.

because th ere i s plenty o f game i n those mountains


down th ere Y o u wi ll hav e a good tim e and maybe
.
,

y o u w ill catch beave r enough to make a coat



apiece D o yo u expect to s ee any Indians Hugh
.
? he ,

asked .

Why ye s M r S tu rgi s I reckon w e wi ll see som e


, ,
.
,

U t es bu t t hey a re all qui et now since t hey killed thei r


, ,

agent and had a figh t w i t h T h o rnb u rg h s command


'

I always had an i dea t hat the t ru t h o f that bus iness


never cam e o u t and that the Utes had a g o od deal
,

mo re t o stand than any o f us know about before they ,

b roke o u t the w ay t hey did I l i ved down o n the edge .

o f thei r count ry once fo r seve ral years an d knew most , ,

o f the Uinta U t es and they were always good and kind


.

people and b rave t o o Y o u know t hey were al w av s


, ,
.

at wa r w i th the P awnees S i oux and Cheyennes and m , .


,

fact w ith p retty much all t he P lains peopl e and t hey ,

generally managed to hold up thei r end p retty well ,


too .

Well sai d M r S turgis


,
when can you get .
,

ready to sta rt ?
Why I reckon w e can get o ff s o on a fter day t o
,

m o r row m o rning i f you th ink best said Hugh , , .


B y all m ean s sai d M r S t urgi s Y o u haven t
,
. .

wasted any ti m e have y o u ? Go t eve ryth i ng ready


,
?


Yes sai d Hugh ,
eve ryth ing I was th inking ,

.

that maybe we would no t take much grub along wi t h


us ; no t mo re than en o u g h t o last f or s ix o r eight days ,
36 JACK ,
THE Y O UN G TRA P P E R
and then w e could buy the suppl i es for the ma i n t ri p at

L aram i e i f yo u think best
, .

That s a very g oo d i dea Hugh sa i d Mr S tu rgis


, , .
,

and y o u had better d o it I w il l g iv e y ou an o rder o n


.

the sto re at L a ramie f or whate v er y o u want and yo u ,

can tra v el l i ght until y o u get there ; then y o u w i ll ha v e


t o l o ad up hea v y but there is a g oo d r o ad d o wn i nto
,

t h e Pa rk I hear and p erhaps y ou can cach e a pa r t o f


, ,

yo u r supplies d o wn there a fter yo u get the re
, .

’ ”
I guess that s a g oo d i dea sai d H ugh M aybe
,
.

’ ”
w e ll do it .

W ell s a id Hu gh
,
a fte r a pa u s e
,
i f it s a l l set ,

t l ed we sta rt t o mo rrow mor ning I recko n I l l s ay



-
,

g o o d n
-
i ght an d g o t o be d .

Jack and h i s uncle s at a w h il e lo nge r in fro nt o f t h e


fire ta lk i ng and th e n th ey w e nt t o bed
, .
CHA P TE R V
T H E S TART F OR N O RT H P AR K

IT was j ust g ray dawn next morning when Jack awoke


and tumbled o u t o f be d As he passed the co rral o n .

h is way down to th e bunk house h e s aw Hugh moving ,

about among th e h o rses and entering f o und that the , ,

pack ani mals we re all sa ddled .

Hello son ! sa id Hugh I m glad t o see y o u st i r


, ,

ring We want to get o u r loads ou t s o t ha t a s soon as


.
,

w e ve ea t en break fas t w e can pack up and go You



.

bet t er roll up that bed o f you rs and bring it down here


and put it wi t h m i ne ove r th ere agai ns t th e fence and ,

then we want to bring down the g rub and the mess



kit and make up ou r packs
, .

F o r a l i t tle tim e b o th we re busy j o u rney i ng t o an d


fro between the house and th e co rral ca rry i ng down ,

loads o f food th e small m ess kit packed i n a soap bo x


, ,

the ax the hatchet the Dutch Oven packages o f am


, , ,

munition and thei r guns Hugh showed Jack h o w t o


, .

lash togethe r the s ix pieces wh ich made up the two u p


r ights and the ridge pole o f the i r s m all tent and then ,

w ith a number o f pieces o f canva s and som e l en gt h s


o f r o pe H ugh began t o m ake up the packs f or th e
,

pack animals .

Wh ile I m w o rki ng a t thi s so n he sai d d o y o u


, , ,

g o up and put the saddles o n th e riding horses Don t .

cinch them up but j ust d raw the latigos tight en o ugh


,

to h o ld the saddles i n place and have the b ri dles handy ; ,

and by the way y o u d bette r get that c oi l o f hal f inch


, ,


ro pe that s in the st o rero o m We ll take all that

.

al o n g fo r w e m ay need picket r o pes be for e we get b a ck


, .

37
38 J ACK ,
THE Y O UN G T RAP PE R

Ropes a re s o meth i ng that a re aw ful easy lo st o n a



tr i p
.

Jack got th e rope wh ich he th rew down w i th th e


,

other things o ver whi ch Hugh was working and then ,

went up and saddled P awnee and Hugh s black H e ’


.

watered both horses and then tied the m i n the i r stalls


,

and left them munching thei r hay .

When he returned to the co rral Hugh ha d appa r ,

ently finished hi s work but wh ile they had three pac k ,

ho rses there we re only two loads p iled U p Jac k


,
.

looked about fo r a thi rd and Hugh not i cing this sa i d , , ,

Y o u s e e s o n w e ve got so l ittl e t o pa ck that w e may


, ,

as well put i t all o n tw o h o rses and let the thi rd o ne


go without a lo ad Yo u s e e when w e buy o u r grub
.
,

at L a ram i e w e can stick a g oo d pa rt o f i t o n h im and


, ,

put mo re o n the oth e r ho r ses as well As it i s n o w .


,

neither o f th e l o aded horses w ill have had m o re than



hal f what he ou ght to ca rry .

The call t o b reak fast came ab o u t t h is time and a fter ,

the m eal was o ver all hands went down to the corral
and sto o d a round while Hugh and J ack packed the i r
h o rses A few moments late r they had mounted turned
.
,

the ir pa c k t ra in loos e and a fter shaking hands all,

a round and saying go o d b y to M r S turgi s they sta rted -


.
,

d o wn the valley Fo r som e mi les the ri de was a


.

fami lia r o ne t o J ack fo r h e had passed over 1t a num


,

be r o f ti mes o n h i s hunting t r i ps and o n h i s w ay t o the


Po well r anch H e ha d noth ing special t o do except to
.

keep the pack animals cl o se up to Hugh and t o p revent


them fro m turning o ff and trying to return to th e
ranch Thi s they kept d o i ng fo r the first few m iles
.
,

and at last J ack quite lost patience with them and began
t o r i de fast a fter them chasing them back at a gallop,

s o that at times they ran ahead o f H ugh Afte r he .

had been doing th is some l ittle time Hugh stopped and ,

mo ti o ned to h im to come up t o hi m When Jack ha d .


d o ne so H ugh sa id
,
I f I were you so n I d be mo re
, , ,
4o JAC K ,
TH E Y O UN G T RAPP E R

N o s ir ! sai d Jack , You g o ahea d and lea d ; ,
.

there s where you belong and I ll foll o w and dr i ve


,

the horses ; it will give m e a lesson in pat i ence and that ,

i s s o mething that I need You and the Indians w e .

have hunted w ith have taught m e to be pati ent i n hunt


ing but I have not lea rned to be patient with horses
, .


All right sai d Hugh I ll go ahead o r I ll com e
, ,

,

behind j ust wh icheve r you pleas e ; b u t i f I m t o g o


,

ahead y o u d rive the h o rses w ith good sense


, .

“ ”

I ll t ry sai d J ack and f rom that time o n th e
, ,

horses ve ry la rgely o wing to the way i n wh i ch the y


,

we re treated went along much better , .

There w as l i ttle that w as interesting on the road fo r


the greater part o f the day O n e ither s ide o f th e .

stream st r etched the w i de sage plai n o f s ilvery green .

B ey o nd th i s pla i n t o the ri ght ros e the tall naked hills , , ,

alm o st b l oo d red whi le t o the left as fa r o ff was a , , ,

yell o w c halky blu ff Am o ng th e red h i lls Jack had


, .

se v era l t i mes b een hunting dee r and elk and j ust b e ,

y o nd the chalky blu ff w as Bate s H o le whe re J ack ’

had k illed h is first mule dee r .

It w as but a little a fte r n o on when Hugh stopped


h i s h o rse and when Jack had come cl o se to h im sa i d
, , ,

So n there a re so m e antelope ove r th is next h ill and


, ,

w e need fresh m eat ; w hy n o t slip o ff y o ur horse and go


up t o the top o f th e next h i l l an d se e i f y o u can find a

buc k that y o u can kill .


All right sa i d J ac k H e j umped fr om t h e
, .

sa d dl e th rew do wn th e reins and sta rted fo r the c rest


,

of the ri dge b eyon d As he slo w ly and carefully ad .

v anc e d he s aw not far ahead o f h im a pa i r o f small


, , ,

ho rns wh i ch he knew must bel o ng t o a yearling


,

buck antel o pe and d ropping on h is knees h e c rept for


, ,

wa rd until close t o the ridge ; then slowly ra i sing his


head he s aw but a sho rt d istance from h im a fine
,

y oung buck antelope lo oking across the val l ey and


stand i ng b r o ads i de o n J a c k r a ised h i s g u n and fire d . ,
TH E S TA RT F O R N O RTH P A RK 41

and the antelope fell whi le a hal f dozen others n o t seen


,

befo re rushed into view from behind the h ill and


scampered o ff into t he plain The o ne t hat Jack had .

Shot struggled t o hi s fee t and s t ood w ith lowered


head facing in t h e di rection i n which i t s com rades had
,

gone Jack t h rew h is ri fle t o h i s Shoulde r again in


.
,

t ending t o shoo t once more but the antelope looked ,

as i f it were badly wounded and h e di d no t t h ink that ,

i t could run fa r Tu rning abou t he signaled Hugh to


. ,

come on s aw h i m ride over to P awnee grasp the


, ,

bridle reins and start towa rds h im Then Jack slowly .

walked ove r t he c res t and up to t he an t elope There .

was o f course a possibil i t y t ha t t h e an i mal m ight run


, , ,

a nd Jack cocked h i s rifl e and held it at a ready b u t ,

t he antelope shot th rough t he l ungs was brea thing


, ,

heavi ly and w as in no condi t ion t o run away S till i t .


,

kept its feet and Jack w as doub t ful as to h o w t o handl e


,

it H e certainly did no t ca re t o go i n front o f i t and


.

take it by the h o rns and he di d no t l ike to put d o wn


,

hi s gun and at t empt t o sta b i t w i t h hi s bu t che r kni fe .

Finally he put down t he gun close by the antelope and ,

stepped up behind it w i t h d rawn bu t cher kni fe caught ,

its h ind leg and tri ed to hamstring it I t w as no t until .

then that he realized some t hing o f t he strength o f even


s o small an animal as th i s It kicked and s t ru ggled
.
,

and Jack wh i le he managed t o keep h i s hold O f the


,

leg was shaken and twi s t ed ab o ut i n a way that grea t ly


,

astonished him H e dared not let go fo r fea r the


.
,

antelope would run away but h e had no i dea as to h o w ,

long the struggle would last However a fter a mi nute .


,

o r t w o wh i ch s eemed t o hi m l ike a very long tim e the


, ,

antel o pe s e ffo rts grew weake r and finally i t fell over


o n its side By th e time Hugh had com e up w ith the


.

h o rses Jack had cut th e l ittl e buck s th r o at


,

.

What w as th e matter ? sa id Hugh You seemed .


t o be having quite an act i ve time d o wn here .


A c t iv e t im e ! sa i d J ack I s h ou ld s ay s o ! I ,
42 JA C K , THE Y O UNG T RAP P E R
had n o i dea that an animal as small as th i s antel o p e
could shake m e up as h e d id I made a p o o r shot .
,

fo r I h i t h im t o o high up and fr o m the w ay h e ,

breathed I thi nk I j ust cut th e uppe r part o f h is lungs


, .

I shal l have t o p ractice shooting i f I am going to help



keep th e camp suppl i ed w ith meat th i s summer .


O h don t you bother about p racticing Hugh sai d

,
.
,

Tw o o r th ree shots wi ll get yo u back i nt o you r ol d


w ay aga i n but that s a regula r green -ho rn trick to

sh oo t too h igh I t seems t o me that m ighty few pe o ple


.

kn o w h o w low the l i fe l ies i n any animal I keep tell .

ing y o u whe re t o sho o t at in an antel o pe and y o u must ,



reme m be r i t .

O f c o u rs e y ou d o H ugh sai d J ack ; I kn o w that , ,

w el l en o ugh I t ry t o shoot at that l ittl e curl o f hai r ;


.

that s what I a i m ed at but y o u s ee I d rew m y sight t oo


,

coars e .

Wel l sa id H ugh
,
j ust a l i ttle Sh oo t i ng i s what,

y o u need and y o u ll get plenty o f that in a very sho rt


,


time n ow .

H ugh g o t o ff h i s ho rs e an d they b ega n t o ski n the ,

antelope which w as a v ery sho rt operat ion The h ide


,
.

strips o ff an antelope very eas ily j ust as the h ide strips ,

o ff a deer Jack noticed that o n hi s s ide Hugh kept


.

tu rning under th e edge o f the sk i n s o that th e hai r ,

side w as always next t o the gr o und o r else turned well


u nder th e edge Jack o n the o the r hand s imply la id
.
, ,

the h ide on h is si de o n the gr o und and tw i sted and ,

pulled i t ab o ut ; someti m e s th e flesh s i des w o uld co m e


togethe r and som e o f the antel o pe hai r rubbed o ff on
,

the b o dy .

Hugh sa i d to h im Y ou mi ght a s wel l l ea r n t o sk i n


,

an antelope right so n Y o u kn o w th e ha ir smells qu i te


, .

st rong and i f y o u let the ha i r t o uch th e meat the meat


, ,

gets th is smell and ta stes o f i t L o ts of people don t .

l i ke that taste and s o I a l ways m ake i t a p oi nt t o keep


,
.

t he h a i r from t ouc h i n g t h e s ki n

Y ou see how I m .
THE S TA RT F O R N O RTH P A RK 43

w o rk i ng it o n m y side always keeping the fl esh side ,



to the body .


I s ee sa id Jack and n o w that you have t o ld me
, , ,

I s e e w h y yo u do i t O f course I ve ta sted the flavo r .


o f the an t elope hi de in th e mea t and I don t like it a


b it mysel f I w ill remembe r tha t a fter th i s in Ski n


, .

ning A re there othe r animals the meat o f wh i ch i s


. .

? ”
a ff ec t ed by t he touch ing o f the h ide
Well sa id Hugh
, t h e mea t o f th e tame Sheep ,

gets an aw ful strong t aste i f t he w o ol i s allowed to


rub against i t and sometimes I t hink the m eat o f the
,

w ild sheep gets t he same t aste ; anyhow i t s j ust as


'

well t o keep t h e ha i r side o f t he hide away from th e


meat o f t he animal it bel o ngs t o At be s t the hi des .

o f these animal s a re full o f di rt and dust and t here ,

i s a common p rej ud ic e against mak ing t hat s o rt o f


th i ng you r food \V e have to ea t a l o t o f i t o f .
,

course but at th e sam e tim e w e don t want t o eat


,

any mo re than w e have g o t to Y o u take the hide o f .

a dee r o r an elk o r a buff alo j ust a f t er yo u have ,

stripped i t o ff rub you r hand down t h e outsi d e o f it


, ,

and see wha t a l o t o f d i r t yo u wi ll get on your hand .

O f course t he Indian s don t thi nk much about a


l ittle thing like that and perhaps t he average pla i ns ,

man don t but I v e no t iced a few times h o w very d i rt y


,

thes e hi des a re and i t s eems to m e wo rth W hil e to be


,

as clean as w e can w i t h t he ski nning .

The antelope being li f t ed o ff the hi de its b o dy was ,

rested now fo r a momen t on t h e top o f a sage bush ,

while Hugh w ent to h i s saddl e and from o ne o f the


strings behind it untied a co tt on sack The antelo pe .

was quickly q ua rtered and the pieces packed i n this


sack which w as lashed o n th e unl o aded ho rse and
, ,

they w ent o n .

Camp w as made that night som e miles ab o ve where


the Muddy runs i nt o the M edicine Bo wRiver There .

w as n o timber but the grass w as g o od and there w as


, ,
44 J ACK ,
THE Y O U N G T RAP P E R

plenty o f sage b r ush and s om e dry w i llow b ushes so ,

that they had f uel en ou gh t o coo k thei r meals By .

the time the h o rs es we r e p i ck eted and the c o ffee w as


boil ing i t w as dar k
,
.

The day h ad b een wa rm and bri ght and as the night ,

w as clea r they dec i ded that it was n o t necessary t o put


,

up the tent A fte r supper they sat b y the fire J a c k


.
,

q uest io n i ng Hug h ab o ut the co unt ry the y were g o i n g


to
You have tal k ed t o m e a g ood d ea l ab o ut the
N orthern co unt ri es but I d o n t kn o w that you hav e
,

e v e r sa id anythin g about th e Parks o f C o lo rado and ,



I d o n t kn o w j u st what they a r e O f co ur se we w ill .
,

s e e the m be f ore l o ng but I sh o uld l ike t o have s o me


,

i dea o f the c o untry be fo re w e reach i t .


Well sa i d H ugh
, I c an tell y o u p retty cl ear l y
,

what these P a rks a re l i k e They a re j ust big basins .

of o pen c o untry lyi ng between r anges o f h igh moun


ta i ns In s o me places they a re fifteen o r twenty m iles
.

ac r o ss and tw ice a s long as they a re w ide and the ,


mo unta i ns o n eith er si de are v e ry high n o t l ike the
mo untai ns ba ck o f the ranch but running away up ,
.

ab ov e t i mbe r l ine There a r e no pe o pl e i n N o rth


.

Park though I bel i eve w ithin the last tw o or th ree


,

yea r s some f o lks ha v e begun to d ri v e cattle i n the r e fo r


the s u m mer ; but i n M iddl e Pa rk and So uth P a rk ,

wh i ch a r e neare r Denv er there a re s om e settlements ,


.

I n N orth Park and i n M i ddle Pa rk there i s lots o f



ga m e in fact I reckon it s o n e the greatest ga m e
,

countr i es there i s l eft n o w Y o u w i ll find elk deer .


, ,

antel o pe sheep and maybe a few b u ffalo but no m o ose


, , , ,

and n o wh ite g o ats I f y ou i magine a big pla in l ike


.

the Bas i n w e ha v e j ust come o ve r w ith high moun ,

ta i ns all a r ou nd i t you w il l ha v e a p retty g oo d i dea of


,

N orth Pa rk .


There s a wag o n r o ad f ro m L a ram i e i nt o the Pa r k
—a g oo d wag o n road but a fter y o u pass P i nkha m s ,

TH E S TA RT F O R NO RTH PAR K 45

you won t see any settlers unti l yo u get over the d ivi de
into M iddle P a rk The N o rth P lat t e heads i n N o rth
.

Park and o f cou rse there a re no fish i n that Then


, , , .

y o u ride over a low divi de and strike one o f the heads


o f G rand R iver and there even up i n the shallow
, ,

water in a small b rook you can catch lots o f t rout .

Why is i t Hugh that the r e a re no tr o ut in t h e


, ,

Platte R i ve r ?

I reck o n a th o usand pe o ple hav e a sked that ques


t i on and nobody ha s ever been able to answer i t s o
, ,

far is I know We al l j ust know that there a re no


.

t rout in the st ream but why i t is n o body can tell, ,


.

N eithe r i n the P latte Rive r no r i n any s t rea m that runs


i nto it s o fa r a s I kn o w a re there any t r o ut and i t
, , ,

does seem quee r .

Why ye s Hugh that d o es see m queer ; but w here


, , ,

do th e trout come from tha t a re i n t he o t he r Rocky


M o unta in st reams ? I know t hat t hey a re not t h e sam e
ki nd o f trou t tha t w e have back East Those have red .


spots and t hese have black ones
,
.

Y o u j ust can t pr o ve i t by me sa i d Hugh ; but


I ve always bel ieved t hat they cam e from the other


S i de o f the mounta i n over the range H ow they g o t ,


.

ove r to th i s side I do n o t kn o w but I reck o n that


, ,

there a re ways fo r fis h to m o ve ab o ut and get scattered


over the country that maybe you and I don t know ,

anything about There s o ne place up north o f here


.

w here there s a littl e spring right o n t he crest o f the


mounta in from w hich the water fl o ws b o th ways


, .

That is to s ay i t fl o ws down int o the Yellowstone on


,

o ne s ide and into the S nake River o n the o ther and s o ,

from thi s sam e sp r i ng water goes t o th e Atlantic


O cean and to the P acific O cean No w o f c o urse i t .
, ,

might be possible fo r a trout fr o m the west side o f


the range to push h i s w ay up a w estern stream unti l he
g o t into th is littl e spri ng and then he might push hi s ,

I n rec ent years t h e N o rt h P l at t e Riv er h as b e en st o c ke d w it h t ro u t .


46 JACK ,
THE Y O UNG T RAP P E R

w ay do wn t h e stream wh ich runs east and where o ne


, ,

fish w ent another m ight follow ; and s o t hat strea m


m ight get s tocked It may be that i n times past there
.

have been a nu m be r o f places l i ke that where a fish


could cl imb over the range M i nd I don t say that .
,

i s the w ay that i t happened b ut i t seems t o m e it might ,



have been that way .

That s mighty interesting H ugh sa i d J ack ; I


, ,

neve r hea rd o f that place bef or e What d o they call .


it ?

Why sa i d Hugh they hav e a g oo d nam e f o r i t


, , ,

they cal l i t Two O cean S p r i ng L o ng ag o I hea r d .


o f i t from mountai n men a great many times and I ,

have been there once o r tw i ce It s in the right h igh .


mountai ns j ust east o f that Yellowstone P a rk that w e


cam e down th r o ugh tw o years ago They call the .

two l ittle creeks that run o ut fr o m it Atlanti c C reek ,

and P acific Creek and these seem to me to be very


,

good names for them t o o I hea rd that not V ery l o ng


,
.

ago a government outfit c rossed ove r the re and made a


map o f the c o untry .

sa d ack that s ne the place s


J e fu s al e m ! i J ; o o f
I (1 l ike to g o to .


Well sa id H ugh
,
y o u re l ikely t o see j ust as
,

p retty places a s that i n these mountains th i s summe r .

The l i ttl e pool up there that these two streams run o u t


,

o f i s j ust like any othe r littl e shallow lak e o n t o p o f a


,

d i vi d e and there i sn t any w o nderful scenery there


,

.

It s a g o od game c o unt ry th o ugh not any better I


, ,

thin k than what we came th rough when w e made tha t


,

t ri p w i th Jo e two yea rs ago ; but it i s a p retty c o untry


to t rav el th rough ; Open pa rks and quaking aspen
gr ov e s and high peaks o f mount ai ns sticking up e v ery

l i ttle wh il e O h yes i t s a real nice c o unt ry
.
, ,

.


Well sai d Jack
,
I w o uld l ike t o go th ere but
, ,

dea r m e ! what a lot o f count ry there i s o ut here an d ,

h o w m uch tim e it would take to v isit all o f i t !


CH APT E R VI
T O L ARA M I E A ND N O RT H P AR K

TH E Y we re up befo re l ight next mo rn i ng an d b y t h e ,

t i me the sun had risen the l ittle tra in had started o ff


,

southwa rd C rossing tw o low d iv ides they found


.
,

themselves before noon o n Rock C reek and traveled


, , ,

up that w i thout incident until late i n th e day Eve ry .

whe re sc attered over the valley and the blu ffs antelop e ,

were feeding i n go o d numbers .

About the m iddle o f the a ftern oo n H ugh propose d


that they should stop and smoke and let the animals
feed fo r a l ittl e while and they di d so The men ,
.

l o unged i n th e shade o f a clump o f bullberry bushes fo r ,

the sun wa s hot A fter hal f an hou r s rest Hugh sa id


.

,

Well s o n let s gather up these ho rses and be moving
, , .

We want to get beyond Rock Cree k S tati o n t o night -


.

I d o n t th i nk much o f camping i n or close to a town



,

and especially n o t close to Rock Creek The re s .

where they un lo ad cons i derabl e freight fo r th e ranches


up north and there s usually a good big c r o wd o f bull
,


whackers there and most of the m d runk L et s get
, .

by there be f ore w e camp .

They were stepping out t o get the horses when ,

H ugh stretched o ut h i s hand and t o uched Jack saying , ,

H o ld o n a m inute so n what s that c o ming down th e


, ,

? ”
creek
Jac k loo ked and could s ee fa r o ff a flo ck o f bi rds
,

coming They were stretched o ut in a l ine and seemed


.

t o hav e wh ite bodies w ith black t i ps t o the i r w i ngs .


What a re they Hugh ? he sai d as they both , ,

c rouched o n the ground and watched the d i stant bi rds .


I m no t s u re repl i ed H u gh

There a r e m i ght y
,
.

48
T O LARAM I E AN D N O RTH PAR K 49

few bi rds tha t a re whi te with black tips to thei r wings .

These m ight be white geese o r wh ite c ranes o r gulls


o r pel i cans They can t be gu lls for they don t fly ’ ’

.
,

righ t and t h ey are no t white c ranes I am su re They


, ,
.

a re ei t her gees e o r pelicans and w e ll soon know ,


which .

The b i rds d rew nea rer and n ea rer and presen t ly ,

Hugh sai d They a re n o t geese eithe r ; they must be


, ,

pelicans I hope they ll com e ove r u s fo r t hey ll make ’ ’

.
,


a fine Sh o w and I reck o n they w ill follow the wate r
,
.

Very slowly a s i t seemed to Jack the great b i rds


, ,

approached H e w as as t onished at thei r t remendous


.

sp read o f wing and at thei r cu rious appea rance They .

fl ew in single file n i ne o f t hem the bi ll o f each j ust


, .

ab o ut so fa r from th e t a il o f the bi rd be fore i t Thei r .

necks we re c ro o ked so t ha t t he back o f the head seemed


to res t o n the bod y and Jack coul d not bu t th ink t hat
,

in th i s matter t hey carri ed themselves j ust l ike herons .

Thei r enormous yellow bill s shone i n t h e bright sun


light and the feet stre t ched o u t behi nd were yellow
, ,

but seem ingly pale r t han t he b i lls To Jack t wo o r .

three o f t hem seemed t o have a wash o f gold colo r o n


the Si de o f t he head but except fo r that they were pure,

w hite all over except th e black w i ng tips O n s t eady .

w ing they followed t he w i ndings o f the stream not ,

mo re than th i rty o r fo rty fee t above th e water passed ,

the travelers w ithout noticing them and then d is ap ,

p e a re d down the stream .



My ! excla im ed Jack a s they grew smaller in ,

the distance that w as a fine sight Hugh I never


,

, ,

expected to s e e anything qu i te like that I d i d not .

know that there were many pel icans i n th i s count ry ,

th o ugh o f course there a re plenty o f them further


, ,

west at least that s what the bo o ks s ay


,

.



Y es answer ed H ugh ; there are l o ts o f th e m
,

o u t West especially i n Utah and N evada s o I ve he ard



,
, ,

but the re are a few s c atte r ed al l o ver the Western c o un


50 JA C K , THE Y OU N G TRAPP E R
try Now and then o n e sees the m u p i n Mo ntana and
.
,

sometimes down here and p retty much everywhere , ,

but it s a long t im e si nce I v e seen a l o t t o gethe r thi s


’ ’

wa y .

“ ’

Well sa i d J ac k ,
I m mi ghty glad they ca m e ,

al o ng j ust when they d i d .

A f ew m inutes late r the t ra i n w as i n m ot io n and ,

n o t long befo re sunset they passed through the town


o f R o ck Creek A s Hugh had sa i d much freighting .
,

was go ing o n here and many wag o ns w ith white tilts ,

w ere drawn up s ide by S ide whil e at a d istance on the ,

p rai ri e herds o f stock fed each watched by a herder


, ,
.

S cattered ab ou t nea r th e di fferent groups o f wagons ,

w ere the camps o f the bull whackers and a few men -


,

w ere seen though most o f them were p resu m ably i n


,

the c o ok tents eat i ng thei r suppers The t ra i n had al .

most passed thr o ugh th e camps when fro m between ,

t w o tents a hund red yards o ff to o ne Si de Jack saw a ,

l ittl e man run o u t turn and run down towa rd another ,

camp and almost immedi ately beh ind h im w as an o ther


,

much larger man who carried i n h i s hand a g oo d st o ut


club The l ittle man di d no t r un so fast as th e o ne
.

beh ind h im and presently the pu rsuer o vert oo k h i m


,

and began t o beat hi m with th e club Th e sec o nd o r .

third blow knocked th e s m a l l m an flat t o the ground ,

but h e di d no t rema i n there and spr i nging to h i s feet , ,

he tu rned and caught th e tall man around the neck


with h is le ft a rm and in a mom ent th e tall man fell to
the gr o und while th e l ittle fellow walked O ff It had
, .

al l happened quickly and alm o st by the t ime J ack had ,



called Hugh s attent io n t o it th e l ittl e fellow had ,

quickened h i s steps and was n o w runn ing away from


the camp A S Hugh and J ack looked back they could
.

see dark stains spreading over the wh ite undershi rt


that the large man wo re and i t was evi dent that the ,

l ittl e fellow had stabbed hi s antagoni st Alm o st at .

o nce from three o r fou r d i rections men cam e runn i ng


T O L A RAM I E AN D N O RTH PA RK 5 1

towa rd the w o unded man and a l ittl e later t w o o r


,

three m en rushed o u t from tents ca rrying rifles and ,

ca rtridge b e l t s Jack had sai d to Hugh


. O h Hugh , ,

that man i s wounded ; shan t w e go over and help h im


to which Hugh had repli ed Don t you do i t so n let


,

us get ahead a s fast a s w e can and not m i x up w ith


these fellows qua rrels Y o u ca n t tell what t hese hal f

.

d runken men wi ll do They a re l iabl e to try t o knock


.

o ne o f u s o ff o u r h o rse i f the no t ion takes them The .

best thing w e can d o i s to pu t a s much ground between



them and us a s w e can There s o ne com fo rt h e
.

added ; i f they d o sh o ot at u s t hey can t h i t us


“ ’
.

M eantime sh o ts were sounding o u t on th e fl at and


, ,

J ack coul d s e e the l it t le man running ha rd fo r th e


distant bluff wh il e behind h im t wo o r t h ree men we re
,

running o r s t agger i ng and shoo t ing w i th pi s t ols and


rifles B e fo re ve ry long Hugh and Jack had put two
. .

o r three mi l es be t w een Rock C reek and themselves ,

and j ust a f t er sundown they camped i n a pl easant pa rt


o f the valley where t he re w as go o d grass and wate r ,

but not much wood .

Wh il e Hugh w as cooking supper a man came along ,

o n horseback and stopped t o Speak with them .

Hugh asked him i f he would not alight and have a


cup o f co ffee and h e accepted
,
.


Have y o u men j ust com e from Rock Creek ? he
asked .

Yes s ir sa i d Hugh
, ,
We have j ust passed
.

through the re an ho ur ago A l ively place i sn t it ?


.
,


T o o l ively fo r me sai d the stranger ; I ve got ’

charge o f that bull tra i n and those drunken bull


,

whackers w i ll break my hea rt i f I don t get them out ’

from the ra il road befo re ve ry long Th ree o r fou r .

o f the m got d runk and quit on me th e other day and ,



I ve been into Larami e t o t ry and get some more I ve

.

g o t th ree that a re c o m i ng up o n the pa ssenger t o



night .
52 J ACK , TH E Y O UN G T RA PP E R

Well sai d Hugh we s aw a couple o f them ha v


, ,

ing fun with each o ther as we came through There .

w as a big man p o unding a little man and the little ,

man turned and cut the big man and then p retty ,

much the whole camp turned out and c hased the li ttle
fell o w o ff over th e p ra i rie and the last we hea r d they ,

were still shoot i ng at him .

Y es sa id the fo reman that d o n t surp rise m e a


, ,

b i t That l ittle fellow w as W i ld Tex and the b i g


.
,

fellow w as D o n ov an Don o va n has always been p i ck .

i ng o n Tex and when h e gets d runk h e i s wo rs e than


,

ever I v e been expecting that Te x w o uld kill h i m
. ,

but h e s a m ighty pat i ent l ittl e cu s s an d hasn t done it ’

yet .

W ell sa i d H ugh , h e ha d a g oo d chanc e t o d o i t


,

t o day and i f Don ov an gets well I h o p e he ll ha v e


-
,


l ea rned a less o n .


I hope s o sa i d the fo reman , but I do n t th i n k ,


h e i s o ne o f the kind that learns lessons .

Th e f o reman sat w ith them until they h ad fin i shed


s upper and then getting up said
, Well I must he g o , ,

i ng I v e got t o r o und up m y outfit and get them


.

sta rted t o m orrow m o rning i f I can A m ighty goo d


-
, .

cu p o f co ffee y o u gav e me S O long . .

The next n ight they camped close t o L ara m i e and ,

e a rly the ne x t day went int o the town and purchased


thei r suppl ies not fo rgetting a pa i r o f rubber b o ots fo r
,

each I t w as only the m i ddl e o f the m o rning when the


.

lo ads w ere put o n and they st arte d s ou th ov e r the o pen


pra i ri e o n thei r way to N orth Park N o w J ack felt .

that the trip had reall y begun .

The ri de ove r the open prai r i e was del ightful The .

mo untains towa rd wh i ch they we r e j o u r neying showed


many strange shapes and cur i ous colo rs and th e wagon ,

r o ad wh ich they were foll o w ing wa s c o nstantly dipping


down steep h ills and climbing o the rs The first fe w .

m i l es sh o wed t hem m an y c att le and hor ses bu t no ,


T O LA RAM I E A ND N O RTH PA R K 53
game but later as they approached the mo unta ins a
, , ,

few antelo pe began to be seen and there we re m any ,

well kn o wn western bi rds o f the d ry c o unt ry which


-
,

no w f o r two years Jack had not seen .

Towa rds evening they reached B eave r C reek a ,

tributa ry of the La rami e and a fte r following it up fo r ,

a few m iles camped fo r the nigh t The day had been


, .

a long o ne and no t long a f t er suppe r both Hugh and


,

Jack tu rned i nt o thei r blankets and were so o n s o und


asleep .

O ff aga i n at an ea rly h ou r next mo rning they ,

t raveled fo r a long w ay th rough t he pleasant green


timber where the foo t fall o f t h e h o rses made no
,

sound o n the forest floo r o f dead pine needles and ,

where no sound w as hea rd except occasionally the ca l l


o f a gray j ay the rat t le o f a woodpecker s bill on a ’

dead l imb o r the s o ft whistl e o f a c r o ssbill i n th e tree


,

tops .

Jack felt obliged t o f o llow beh ind Hugh th o ugh he ,

really wanted t o ri de beside h im and talk about the


pleasant coun t ry t h rough which they were passi ng .

S till i t was hi s business to wa t ch the ho rses especially ,

so now during t he firs t day o f t ravel th rough the tim


ber where a pack ho rse unless watched might possibly
, , ,

get hung up by a t ree and break s o meth i ng or d isturb


h i s pack .

It was th i s mo rning a fter leav i ng camp o n th e ,

Beaver that they cam e to what i s called the N eck o f


,

the P a rk and passing ove r the divi de followed d o wn


, ,

the valley at first narrow but gradually bec o m ing


, ,

wider w hich at leng t h lead them to a more open coun


,

try They passed P inkham s Ranch and th en took th e


.

right hand r o ad wh i ch H ugh sai d led t o the m ines at


-
,

Hahn s P eak

.

S oon after leav i ng P i nkham s they passed a cab i n ’


, ,

nea r wh ich was a small spring from wh ich bubbl e d up ,

a c o nstant supply o f c oo l water abundantly cha rg ed


54 JAC K ,
THE Y OU N G T RAPPE R

w i th what J a ck th o ught m i ght be carbo nate o f s o da .

At all events the water was fresh sparkl ing and del i , ,

ci o ns and he thought that i f i t w ere nea r e r t o a


,

ma rket it m i ght be bottled and sold .

S o on a fte r they left th e soda water f o unta i n the y ,

c r o ssed a h igh steep r idge and then passed d o wn a


gentl e descent t o wa rd the North P latte R i ve r O n .

either s ide o f the tra i l they were follow ing the moun
tai ns were rough and weathered pilla rs o f granite
,

st oo d o u t bare am o ng the ancient cedars on th e h i llside .

Th ey camped i n the beauti ful valley o f the N orth


P latte on th e edge o f a splendi d l evel meadow covered
w i th fine grass o n wh ich i n th e evening and aga in next
,

mo rning Jack s aw from three t o fou r hundred antelope


at a t i me There were also ducks rabbits sage hens
.
, , ,

and blue gr ou se ; abundant food Jack th o ught f or any , ,

hunte r s wh o are satisfied w i th enough .

That e v ening J ack wandered away f r o m camp and


f o und i n a clump o f w illows not m o re than a quarter ,

o f a mi le f rom it a cur io us collection of l o ng eared


,
-

owls H e could n o t th ink what brought s o many o f


.

them to th i s place unles s it w as fo r a shelter duri ng


,

t h e day wh i ch would enabl e them t o get o u t o f th e


,

bright glare o f th e sun f or n o where e l se i n the neigh


,

b o rh o o d could shade b e foun d except i n thi s growt h


o f w illows H ere t o o i n the tops o f the w illow s h e
.
, ,

no t i ce d a numbe r o f d o med nests o f m agpies an d ,

f r o m the calls o f the bi rds that he hea r d a r o un d a bo ut ,

h e felt sure that they were o ccupi ed .

When h e g o t back t o camp Hugh sa i d t o h im D o , ,

you know so n that last antelope y o u killed i s p r etty


, ,

nea rly g o ne ? We o ught t o have anothe r one o r at ,

all events s o m e m eat bef o re long You m ight start .

o u t t o n i ght th o ugh i t s a l i ttle late o r w e can lay



-
, ,

ove r he r e t o mo rrow until n oo n and yo u can go out


-


and t ry t o k i ll something .

S ay w e p u t i t O ff u nt il t o morro w mo rning Hugh


-
, ,
56 JACK ,
THE Y O U N G T RA PP E R

Well Hugh sa i d J ack


, what abo u t t rapp i ng
, ,

w o lves ? Are they not worth trapping ? A r e they


hard t o catch or is i t n o t much trouble to catch y ou ng
,

wolves ?

Th o se that a re o ne t o tw o yea rs old a r e easy
caught but i f a wol f has been travel ing the p ra i r i e
,

f o r three o r f o u r yea rs he gets to be pretty smart , .

W ol f sk i ns a re w orth fr o m four to s ix dollars api ece ,

and s o o f c o u rse wolves are worth trapp ing but i n old


, , ,

ti m es we always used t o poison them and that wa s ,

cheaper and a wh o le l o t less trouble than catch ing them


in traps Besides that a wol f i s a power ful strong
.
, ,

ani mal and he can pack o ff a trap w ith h i m j ust as i f


,

he weren t car rying anything at all Then to o o n



.
, ,

the pra i ri e there is usually nothing t o fasten a trap to ,

and unless y o u ca r ry a lot o f i ron picket p ins w i th y o u ,



you lose you r traps about a s fast as you can set them .


You ha v e t o l d m e all about p o i soning w o lves ,

Hugh sai d J ack but y o u never sai d anything about
, ,

trapp ing and I d o n t understand h o w y o u fi x the bait


,

in a trap You ce rta inly can t put i t o n th e pan f or


.

,

you d o n t want to catch the w o l f by the n o se and if


,

you di d h e would pull free
, .


O f cou rse he wo uld sai d Hugh ; y o u want t o ,

catch a w o l f by th e f o ot and to d o that y o u must ,

scatter you r bait a r o und th e trap so that h e w ill put


hi s foot i n it ; but a fter all i n trapp ing wolves you don t ,

use ba it at all Gene r ally you use a scent s o mething


.
,

that a wol f smells and wants t o smell more o f and you ,

ra i s e that above th e gr o und a foot o r e ightee n inches


and set you r trap s o that h e w i ll step int o it when he
tries to get near the scent .


That s news t o me sa i d J ack ; I s u pp o sed that

yo u always s et y o ur traps Wi th something t o eat .

N sa id Hugh ; v e r y seld o m The bea v e r .

m edicine that w e u s e i s j ust something t o s m ell o f not


t o ea t at all B u t ab o ut w o l f b a i t : the w or st s m ell i ng
.
T O LA RAM I E A ND N O RT H PARK 57
th i ng that yo u can get hold o f is about the best bai t fo r
wolves S o m e people u s e asa fetida o r other drugs
.

that they can buy i n th e shops but the best thing that ,

I know o f is to take a piece o f fresh meat put i t w i th ,

s o me grease i n a wi de mou t hed bot t l e o r j ug and let


-
.

it stand i n the heat fo r a week o r two until it ge t s to ,

smelling very badly Then add to i t som e beave r


.

casto r and about a quart o f o il o r grease and co rk it ,

up tight O f course w hen you set you r t rap you must


.
,

be ca re ful not t o leave any scen t o f yoursel f on i t .

S ome peopl e smoke thei r traps ever y t ime they s e t


them and i f t hey can use a fi re o f green p i ne boughs
, , ,

but I don t coun t much o n t hat I believe that though


smell o f fire may kill t h e human scent it makes the ,

wolves suspici ous I th ink t he be tt e r w ay i s to w ea r


.

gloves when you set you r traps and to be ca re ful al ,

ways to keep th e t raps to t h e w 1 nd w ard o f you Don t .


let the w ind blow from y o u t o t he traps O f course .


,

i n setting yo u hav e to dig ou t a hole in th e ground


,

large enough to le t t he t rap s e t i n i t so t ha t t h e j aws .

w i ll be j ust level w i t h t he ground Then spr i nkl e over .

the trap a light covering o f dust and a f t e r t he t rap i s ,

s e t take a stick eighteen inches o r t w o fee t long sha rpe n ,

o ne end o f it dip t he o t he r end in your bo tt le o f scent


, ,

and s t ick the sha rpened end in th e ground so t hat t h e


end with th e scent o n i t w ill pretty nearly overhang
the trap .

Y o u have to fasten your trap o f course I f you ,


.


don t do that the w ol f w i ll carry it away The best .

w ay to fasten i t i s to bo re a hole th rough the end


o f a stick three feet long and a s big as the cal f o f you r

l eg pass th e end o f a cha i n th rough tha t and then


, ,

d rive a staple th rough the ring and i nto the log Then .

i f the wol f gets into the trap he i s not held i n o ne ,

place st ru ggling to get o u t and tw i sti ng the chain


, ,

and s o likely to b reak it but h e sta rts o ff dragging th e


,

stick w h ic h m akes a plai n tra il catch in g every no w


, ,
58 JAC K ,
THE YOU N G T RAPP E R
and t hen i n the sage br ush and s o ma ki n g h im g o

sl o w l y I t d o esn t g iv e h im a c hance to fight the
.

trap I f y ou go t o y o u r trap s e v e ry day y o u w il l fin d


.
,

that a w o l f w ill n o t drag the c l o g v ery fa r bef o re y ou


ov ertake h i m Then yo u p r o bably have t o sh oo t h im
. .

A S I s ay there i s a l o t o f w o rk i n trapping wolves


,

that w ay and I w o uld hate to ha v e t o earn my l i vi ng


,

b y doi ng i t I f i t Sh o ul d happen that w e sh o uld get


.

t o any place where w o lves a re plenty we can s et two o r


th re e t r aps f o r th e m but I d o n t want t o d o that unti l
,

w e ha v e tr i ed bea v e r trapping b e c ause I a m afra id w e ,



w i ll lo s e s om e o f ou r t raps .

I had n o i dea H ugh sa i d J ac k , that w o l v es , ,

were so cu nn i ng and so p o werful .


Yes sai d Hugh
, they are st ro ng an im als an d ,

,

w he n th ey have gr o wn o l d they a re pretty smart .

They a re mi ghty tough t oo H aven t I ever t o ld you , .


ab ou t that wo l f that Bi lly C ol l i ns ki l l e d th re e o r fo u r


ye a r s ag o at the ranch ?
N sa i d J ack I don t th i n k so ,

.


W ell sa i d Hugh
, I o nl y spea k o f i t t o s ho w ,

h o w t o ugh a w o l f i s B illy had gone o ut j ust i n t h e


.

gray dawn o f the morn i ng and j ust as he shut the ,

do or beh i nd h i m a big wol f came ar o und the c o rne r


,

o f the h o use B illy j umped back i nt o the h o us e t o get


.

h i s g un and the w o l f r an o ff and stopped t o lo o k


,

a r ou n d o n the t o p o f that l ittl e kn o ll s o uth o f th e h o use .

H e wa s a bo ut a h u ndred yar d s o ff and B illy fired an d ,

the wo l f yell e d and f ell down and then sta rted o ff ,


.

B il l y an d old S hep the house d o g sta rted a fter h i m


, , ,

and when they g o t up t o W here he had sto o d they ,

f o und the gr o und all covered w ith blood and a b r o a d


b l oo d tra il lead i ng o ff ov e r the hills B illy started o n .

the t r a i l e x pectin g t o find th e wol f ov e r the next hi l l


, ,

but h e f o llowed hi m f o r tw o mi les bef o re he ov e rt oo k


him and then the w o l f w as str o ng enough t o sit up an d
,

figh t O ff t he d o g and needed a no th er s ho t t o kill him


, .
To L ARAM I E A ND N O RT H PAR K 59
But when Bill went up to h im he found that the bullet
had gone almost the w hol e length o f the wol f and had
smashed o ne o f its shoulders I had a fr i end w h o was
.

t rapping d o wn in S outh P a rk and s e t two o r th ree


traps fo r wolves and o ne mo rni ng w hen he found one
,

o f them g o ne ,
he went back and g o t two o r th ree
hound s that were at the ranch and took afte r the wol f
t hrough th e snow fo r i t w as winte r
,
. They chased that
wol f w ith the d o gs fo r th i r t een hou rs before they g o t
h im and he ca me migh t y nea r ge tt ing away then
, .
CH A P TE R VII
A T A L K A B O U T B E AV E R

WELL n o w Hugh asked J ack


,
what can y ou
, , ,

t e l l me ab ou t beaver t rapping

Why s o n sa i d Hugh ,
I can tell you wh o l e lo t
, ,

ab o ut beave r trapping Th e re i s a great big book t o .

be w ritten yet ab o ut bea v e r and h o w t o trap them an d ,

when that b o ok i s w ritten there w i ll be en o ugh left



ou t o f it t o m ake an o ther bo o k .



I ve always hea rd sa i d J ac k that bea v e r w as , ,

ab o ut the s m artest animal the re was and the one m o st ,

d i ffi c ult t o trap but o f cou rse I d o n t kn o w anything


, , ,

ab o ut i t I ha v e seen a few dams and the tops o f a


.

few houses up n o rth but y o u can t lea r n m uch about ,



beaver by lo o ki ng at h is wo rk .

N0 sa i d Hugh
, not much and be f o re y o u c an
, ,

lea rn anything about trapping beaver y o u v e g o t t o ,



kn o w s o meth i ng about the natu re o f the beast .

Well that s the v ery thing I want you to tell m e


,


ab o ut repli ed Jack
, I want to find o ut all that I
can ab o ut the beave r befo re I s ee an y In th e first , .


place suppose y o u tell m e how big they a re
, .


Well sai d Hugh they a r e the b iggest gnaw i ng
, ,

animal w e have in th is c o untry A full grown beave r .

w i ll we i gh fro m f o rty t o s ixty pounds ; perhaps b i g



o nes w i ll a v erage as heavy as a hal f sack o f flour .

My sai d Jack , that s bigge r than I supp o se d


,
“ ’

they we r e I ha v e always hear d o f the bea v e r as a


.


li ttl e an i mal It seem s t o me that i t s a big o ne
.

.


Yes sa id Hugh i t s q u i te a s izabl e an imal an d
, ,

,

i f y ou v e g o t a hal f d oz en t o pac k t o y o u r c a m p o n
60
A TA LK AB O U T BE AV E R 61

your back y o u ll th i nk they a re p retty go o d si z ed ani


mals before you get them all i n .


Well where do they l ive ,
? sai d Jack .


I reckon replied Hugh that th ey l ive all over
, ,

th i s coun t ry o f N o rth America from Texas no r t h as ,

far a s t he re a re any trees Y o u know that t he food .

o f the beaver i s the ba rk o f cer t a in trees and o f course , , ,

they can t live anywhere except w here t hese trees


grow but I have hea rd o f t hem way down i n Texas


,

,

and I know tha t t h e N o rt hern Indians away up towa rd


the lim i t o f trees t rap beave r a plenty s o t ha t I expect ,

they a re found ove r t h e whol e coun t ry I have heard .

you r uncl e say t ha t t here we re som e beave r i n Europe ,

but o ver there I reckon they have been about cl eaned



T o o many pe o ple kill ing em I reckon
'

o ut . , .


Well said Jack I guess t hey a re found all ove r
, ,

No rth Ame ri ca n o rt h o f the Uni t ed S t ates anyhow ;


, ,

because I know t hat the coat o f a rm s o f Canada has the



beave r o n i t .


Yes I reck o n the b eaver w as th e reas o n that
,

Canada w as settled a nd in fact the beave r w as wha t .

l ed men into all t h i s w este rn c o unt ry In th e ea rly .

days soon a f t er Lew i s and Cla rk went across the con


,

t ine nt the fu r traders began to push thei r w ay into


,

this weste rn count ry n o rt h and sou t h and beaver was , ,

what they were a f t e r Y o u s e e i n those days i t was .

a mighty valuable fur w o rt h a g oo d deal m o re than ,

it s ever been since



.


Just a s soon a s the wh ite m en cam e int o the
co untry and found the Indians wea ring robes made o f
beaver and clothing trimmed w ith beave r and other
,

fur they began to trade fo r the robes and t o tell the


, ,

Indians that i f they d bring them i n beave r skins ’


th ey d give them knives and n e edles and beads and ,

later rum and o f cou rse that s e t the Indi ans to


, , , ,

kill i ng beave r a s fast a s they c o uld .


But a s I say i t wasn t u nti l a ft e r L ewi s and
, ,

62 JAC K , THE Y O U NG T RAP P E R

Cla rk g o t ac ro ss th e c o nt i nent that t rapp i ng b ega n


down i n th e Uni ted S tates Al o ng i n the 3o s th o ugh .

, ,

wh i te m en began t o get up fu r c o mpan i es and t o h i re


the best t rappers that they c o uld get and they pushed ,

o ut i n all d i r ections up t h e Arkansas up the P latte


, , ,

and u p th e M issou r i R iv e r setting thei r t raps in ,

eve ry v alley and cleaning o ut the beaver as fast as


they c o uld Then they g o t i nto th e mo untains and
.
,

there they f o und mo re bea v e r and better fu r and ,

there t oo i s wher e they began to run ac r o ss Indians


, ,

t o b o the r them The Black feet we r e the wo rst They


. .

u sed t o steal o u r h o rses and take o ur t raps and no w ,

and then a scal p wh en they could and they made u s


, ,

a great deal o f tr o uble The pr i ces fo r fu r were g oo d .

until in the 4o s j ust before I got o u t int o the count ry


, .

Then they fell and fo r th e next twelve o r fifteen yea rs


,

ev e ry o ld trapper that you m et wa s gr o wl ing ab o ut



th e fact that beaver w eren t w orth anything any m o re .


Y o u r uncle t e l l s me that the re ha s been a wh o l e
l o t o f b oo ks w ritt e n ab o ut th o se early t rapping days ,

but I ha v e neve r seen any o f them O f cours e then .


,

i t wa s all w ild c o unt ry and l o t s o f th i ngs were hap


p ening and a man had t o keep h i s eyes o pen p r etty
,

w i de As I hav e told y ou th e Indian wa rs di d n o t


.
,

beg i n unti l l o ng a fter that and m o st o f the t rouble that ,

w e ha d w ith the Ind i ans w as w i th pa rties o f w ild


y ou ng men w h o had sta r ted o ff t o w ar and w ere
, ,

a nx i ous to get glo ry and to go back t o the i r v i llages


,

and b rag a b o ut what they had d o ne The fights we re .

wi th these l i ttl e pa rt i es and n o t w i th the tribes But .


,

at the sa m e time a bullet or an a rro w f rom o ne o f


,

these l i ttle parties w o ul d k il l a ma n j u st a s dead as



i f he had been fighti ng w i th a t rib e .

That s all m ighty i nteresting Hugh sa i d J ac k


, , .

It seem s to m e that yo u n e v e r get th r o ugh tell i ng


m e i nte resti ng things ab o ut thi s country i n t h e o ld
t im es I w i sh that I knew h o w t o w r i te s o that I
.
,
64 JACK ,
THE YOU N G T RAP P E R

else Yo u ll s e e that thei r h o uses a re bui l t o ut i n


.

p retty deep wate r and when they a re sca r ed fr o m ,

sh o re they g o o ut and get int o thei r h o uses and i f ,

s omeb o dy tries t o pull d o wn the h o uses whe r e they

l ive then they can swim t o the sh o re and h i d e there


, ,

w i th thei r noses j ust ab o ve wate r .

” ’
Well sai d J ack
, that s news t o m e I a l ways , .

accepted the fact that they built da m s t o hold th e



wate r back but I neve r had any i dea w h y they d i d it
, .

N sai d Hugh I r eck o n not I never heard , .

anybody that d i d kn o w why but I am j ust giving ,

y o u my idea Y o u l l hea r a wh o le l o t o f st o r i es about


.

the wonderful things that beave r d o and in many o f ,

these sto ries there i s n o t a grain o f truth but they d o ,

w o nderful things en o ugh a s i t i s You don t have .


t o li e ab o ut the m t o m ake the m o ut mi ghty s m a r t


an i m als .


Yes repl ied J ac k
, I ha v e h ea rd of s om e of ,

thes e w o nderful things I think s o me o f the bo o ks .

s ay that the beaver can cut d o wn a tree s o that i t w ill

fall exactly where they want i t t o l ie j ust as a lumbe r ,

m an i n the woods wi ll fell a tree whe re h e wants it


t o l i e Th ey say that when th e b ea v e r want t o build
.

a new dam they l oo k along th e stream unti l they find


a place where there i s a tree o f j ust the r ight length ,

and then they fell i t a cro ss the st r ea m f or a f ou ndat io n



fo r thei r da rn .


Yes sa id H u gh
, I ha v e hea rd that st o ry t oo , , ,

b ut I d o n t bel ieve i t Beave r w i ll cut down trees and .
,

mighty big ones t o o but I d o n t belie v e that they can


, ,

cut d o wn a tree s o that i t w il l fall in a pa rticular


di recti o n and i f i t does fall in a di rection t o be useful
,

t o them that s j ust n o th ing but accident What they


,

.

cut trees down f o r i s f o r the f oo d that they kn o w i s


gr o wing o n the tree They want t o get at the tende r .

bark o f the branches f o r the i r f o od and that s what ,


t hey cut t h e trees f o r Al l th e s ame i t s mi ghty w o n .


,
~
A TALK AB O U T B EAVE R 65

d e rfu l sometimes to s e e what big trees they w i ll cut


down and how s ma rt they are about cut ti ng them
,
.

They wi ll gnaw a deep gouge below and then gnaw


another cut eight o r t en inches above and pull t he chip ,

o ut ; a chip j ust about as big as a n axman w o uld cut


o u t w ith a n ax They a re smart about that but
.
,

they haven t any idea which way the tree i s g o ing t o



fall .

Well sa id Jack that seem s natural enough


, , ,

and besides that I should t hink t ha t even i f beaver d i d


,

know h o w to fell the t ree t o l i e i n a pa rticula r d i rection ,

they could not always d o i t w i t h t he se c rooked Old



co tt o nwood t rees t ha t gro w along th e stream s .


Y es sa id Hugh some o f t hem a re so crooked
, ,

and grow s o slan t w i se that no axman could fell them



the w ay h e wanted .


I have seen i t stated in b oo ks to o j ack went o n , , ,

that they always fel l a t ree j ust l o ng enough to reach


across t he stream and no longe r I never could s e e
,
.

how that could be becaus e i t would be imposs ible fo r


,

beaver to measu re t he heigh t o f a t ree .


O h sa i d Hugh t hat s all nonsense ; they don t
“ “ ’ ’

, ,

do any t hing l ike tha t The re i s o ne t h ing wh ich they .

do though that people don t give t hem c redi t fo r o r


'

, , ,

at leas t I have neve r heard anyb o dy speak about i t ;


they ll build a da m across a c reek and ra ise the water

,

and make a big wi de pond Maybe the water flows .

ove r the top O f the dam pret t y freely fo r its whole


length S uch a pond wi ll be lived in fo r a good many
.

yea rs During all those years the ra in and the melting


.

snow and all the water that falls carries down from
, ,

the h ills so il and dead leaves and s t icks and a whole


l o t o f trash and a fter a time the pond fills up and gets
,

to o shallow f o r the beaver to use it Then maybe .

they ll ra i se the dam fo r i ts whole length and make


the p o nd bigger and then a fter years o f time thi s


,

larger po nd w ill pa rtly fill up and grow shall o w Afte r .


66 JAC K ,
THE Y O UN G T RAPP E R
a time th e beave r w ill perhaps l ea v e the p o n d an d
, , ,

go somewhere else to build an o ther T h en a fte r a .


,

few yea rs the dam w ill ro t o ut and b reak down t h e ,

pond w ill go dry the wate r w ill get bac k t o it s o ld


,

channel and grass and w illows and o ther b rush w ill


,

gr o w up ove r th e o l d bottom o f the p o nd and there



,

yo u ve g o t a b ig w i de flat what w e call a bea v e r


m eadow All a long streams all o ve r thi s western


.

country there a re big st r i ps o f flat land that have been



made j ust i n thi s way by the beave r .

I have neve r thought o f that befo re Hugh and , ,

I neve r h e a rd any b o dy speak o f it Th e tim e may .

co m e when peopl e w ill farm o n thes e b i g fl ats neve r ,



know i ng h o w they were made .


Yes that s a fact said Hugh and al ready there
,

, ,

a re l o ts o f pl aces down t o ward t h e prai ri e where f o lks


ha v e sta rted ranch es o n land o f j ust that s o rt .


Let me tell you another th ing that beave r a r e
smart about So m etimes they w ill make a p o nd i n a
.

particula r v alley quite a d i stance from any place where


,

the i r foo d gr o w s O ften there a re no w illows and


.
,

the quaking aspen grows o nly along the foo th ills ,

m ayb e quite a l i ttl e d i stance fr om the edge o f the ir


pond S o m etimes they w ill dig o ut a d itch o r canal
.

all th e way fr o m the edge o f th e pond up cl o se to


whe r e the aspen gr o ws O f c o urse th e wate r f r om
.
,

the pond fi lls up these ditches and the b eav er w ill fol ,

l o w the m up close to the aspens cut down thei r feed ,

there and cutting th e trees and brush into convenient


,

lengths car ry them t o th e ditches du m p the m i n and


, ,

then take and swi m w i th them back to thei r houses o r ,

the places where they st o re th e i r f oo d Thi s always .

seemed t o m e p r etty sma rt because wh i l e i t mu st b e


, ,

a l o t o f w o rk f o r the m t o d i g the ditch i t s a t rem en ,


dous sa vi ng o f lab o r f o r them to be abl e t o flo at thes e



st i c k s t o where th ey want them .

That seems to m e m ighty i ntell i gent H ugh an d , ,


A TA L K AB O UT B EAVE R 67

I sh o ul d th ink t o o that t hey m ight have another


, ,

mo tive in digging these d itches I f they had to t ravel .

t w o o r th ree hund red ya rds o n d ry land wouldn t


there b e a g o od deal o f danger o f thei r gett i ng caught


away o u t from th e water and ki lled ?

Lots o f danger sai d Hugh , and I wouldn t be ,

a bi t su rpri sed i f they made t hese ditches more fo r


thei r sa fety tha n t o save themselves w o rk They a re .

mighty industrious animals t he beave r Y o u know , . ,

i f w e see a m an t hat is ha rd a t wo rk all t he time w e ,

s ay he wo rks like a beaver They a re busy animals .


,

and they keep at i t all the t ime .

What animal s a re t here Hugh that kil l the , ,

beave r ? I suppo s e ma n i s the wo rst enemy it s g o t ’

but there must b e a l o t o f othe rs such as w olves and , ,

pe rhaps b ears
,
.


Y es sa id Hugh
, a beave r has lots o f enem ies
, .

As I hav e sa i d to you i t s heavy a nd slow ; i t ca n t ’


run away no r climb a t ree and i t has no Special means ,

o f defend ing i t sel f A beaver s g o t a good set O f


teeth but while he can give o ne o r t wo pretty strong


,

bites that would no t help h i m much i n a sc rap w ith


,

any animal nea r h i s o w n si z e .

A bea r o f c o urse w o uld ki ll a beave r eve ry t im e


, ,

i f h e could get hold o f him ; s o would a big wol f A .

s ingle coyote m ight n o t be abl e to but tw o o r three ,

c o y o tes could get away w i t h h im in sho rt o rde r .

D i dn t you ever back Ea st s ee a d o g get between


, ,

a w oo dchuck and hi s hole ? Y o u know the wood


c huck w il l s it u and chatte r h i s teeth and perhaps
p ,

he wi ll bite th e d o g once when th e d o g runs in but ,

that s th e end o f th e w o odchuck The beave r h as got



.

longe r t eeth and can bite a l i ttle ha rde r and deeper


, ,

but h e i s n o t built fo r fighting and what s more h e , ,

never means to fight i f he can help i t .

The wol v erine s o metimes l ies a round beaver p o n d s


and may be o ncc in a whil e cat ch es o ne bu t wolveri ne s
,
,
68 J ACK ,
TH E Y O UN G T RAP P E R

a re pretty scarce and I d o n t th i nk they get many I


,

.

beli eve that the animal that gets more beaver than any
o the r is th e lynx They a re small to be sure but they
.
, ,

a re mighty quick and they have got those long claw s


, ,

and they can j ump o n a bea v e r and cut him up p retty


badly befo re he can get hold o f them I have Often .

seen places where beaver ha d been ki lled and I kn o w ,

i t was d o ne by lynxes ; that i s by bob cats and als o by ,


-
,

the big gray lynxes O ne time a go o d many y e ars .


,

ag o , I s aw a lynx wa iting to catch a beaver As i t .

happened he di dn t get him but he tried hard enough


,

,
.

I happened to be ridi ng down William s Fo rk and ’

had to pass th rough a po int o f timbe r and j ust bef o re ,

I got o u t to the pond o n the othe r s ide I stopped my , ,

ho rse fo r a minute to look a round and see what I


could s e e There was a big beave r dam j ust below m e
.
,

on the river and I knew o f i t for I ha d o ften passed


, ,

there I could s ee nothing and w as j ust go ing to


.
,

start on again when as I happened t o l o ok over across


, ,

th e creek j ust opposite me I s aw s o mething move ,


.

F o r a m inute I could not tell what i t was and then I ,

s aw lyi ng among the sage b rush a b ig bob cat whose -


,

colo r matched the ground and the w eeds about h i m


so well that it was hard fo r m e to make out hi s shape .

At o ne end o f him h o wever there was s o mething , ,

b lack that kept mo v ing regularly i n little j erks and , ,

o f c o urse I knew that thi s w as h is tail and that he w as


, ,

watching someth ing i n the stream and getting ready


to j ump o n it I looked at th e stream carefully and
.
,

fo r a moment could not s ee anything and then j ust , ,

below the bob cat I made o u t something sw imming i n


-
,

the wate r clos e under the bank but t o save my l i fe


, ,

I could not tell whether i t w as a duck o r a m uskrat , ,

o r what .When thi s thing whatever i t w as had g o t , ,

nearly to the bob cat which kept c rouch ing flatter and
-
,

flatter all the time th e thi ng suddenly d ived and hit


,

the wate r a tremendous rap w i th i ts tail and then of , ,


A TALK AB O UT B EA V ER 69

c o urse I knew that i t wa s a beaver that had been


,

swimm i ng up stream and that t h e bob cat had seen— ,

it and was wa iting fo r i t to get w ithi n reach and t hen


, ,

w as going to j ump on i t O f course bob ca t s don t .


,
-

like the wa t er very well bu t all t he same they w i ll , ,

go into i t fo r food .


What did t he b o b cat do when the beave r d ived -
,

H ugh ? asked Jack .


O h a f t e r a m inute o r t w o
,
sa id Hugh he , ,

seemed t o realize tha t th e game w as up and he then ,

got up and walked away i n t o t he sage brush I have .

o f t en wished t hat t he beave r h ad come o n a li t tl e


furthe r so t hat I coul d have seen t h e end O f t he thi ng ,

and seen whe t he r beave r o r b o b cat w ould hav e come -

o u t ahead You s e e t he beaver m us t have been sw i m


.
,

m ing in p retty deep w a t e r and O f course i f he had , , ,

had sense enough t o grab t he b o b cat and hold o n to -

him no doubt h e could have d rowned hi m but I don t


, ,

reckon the beave r w o uld have had sense enough fo r


tha t ; h e would have j ust t ried t o get away and I ,

guess he would have s ucceeded .



Well Hugh sai d j ack ,
i t i s interesting to hear
, ,

Of these an ima ls but as you say i t s p re tt y hard wo rk


, ,

to really lea rn any t hing ab o ut t hem by read i ng o r


hea ring pe o ple talk Th e real w ay i s t o s e e the animals
.

themselves and I h o pe w e w ill d o that bef o re ve ry


,

l o ng f


Yes so n w e ought t o
, In fact by to mor row
, .
,
-

afterno o n w e ought t o get t o where there used to b e


a great big beave r meadow I don t know o f course .

, ,

whether w e w ill find any b e ave r there n o w o r no t but ,



i t s a goo d place to g o and lo o k f o r them I have seen .

the time when it w as full O f beaver a nd i f w e could ,

find i t a s full n o w as i t was then w e o ught t o be able ,



t o l o ad up a pack ho rse w ith fu r .


My ! said J ack ; d o n t I w i sh w e c o uld That ’
.


wo uld be fine .
7 0 JAC K ,
THE Y OU N G TRAPPE R

Put some mo re w oo d o n the fi r e so n sai d Hugh , , ,



and I ll smoke my pipe and then w e ll g o to bed

,

.

Jack ros e from h i s com fo rtabl e s eat and going ,

over to where som e c o ttonwo o d b ranches had been


d ragged together b rought tw o o r th ree g o od si zed ,
-

logs and raki ng th e fire togethe r threw them on The


, , .

d ry w oo d blazed up w ith a cheerful flame that al m ost


reached th e b ranches o f the p i ne tree beneath which
thei r tent w as p itched and Hugh a fte r filling h i s pipe , ,

an d lighti ng it by m eans o f a tw ig th rust i nt o the fire ,

s at back and decla red that thi s w as s o li d c om fort .

” ’
It s a b ully g oo d ca m ping place i sn t i t ? sa id

J ack .

F i rst class w as the r ep l y an d w e a r e g oi ng t o


, ,

hav e good weather and good co unt r y t o camp and


t ravel in all sum m er ex cept when w e have thunder ,

sto rms O f cou rse w e have got t o expect that fo r


.
, ,

there i s l o ts O f thunde r and l ightn ing i n these m o un



ta ins We w i ll get w et o nce i n a w h ile but that s n o
.
,

great ha rm .

N O i ndeed sai d J ac k
,
gett i ng w et i s a part o f
, ,

the play .

Tell m e Hugh h e added a fte r a pa u se


, , ,

other fur may w e expect to s ee here ?

Why so n sai d H ugh

,
there i s m ighty li ttle
, ,

that w ill be g o od now except bea rs As I told y o u at , .

the ranch any bea rs that we c an kill bef o re th e fi r st o f


,

j uly w ill be good prim e sk i ns but right a fter that ,

they begi n to get s un— burned and rusty and beg i n t o ,

shed o ff and then t h e first th ing w e know they are


, , ,

not w o rth sk i nning fo r about t hree months Al o ng i n .

O ct o ber they begi n t o get a pretty g oo d co at aga in ,


though i t i s n o t so very long .


Well pers isted Jack the r e i s f u r i n the mo un
, ,

ta ins h ere I suppose , .


Lo rd yes sa id Hugh ,
The r e a re a few o tte r
, . ,

lo ts o f m i nk an d a few m a rte n high up in the h ill s ;


,
7 2 J ACK ,
THE Y O UN G TRA P PE R
being abl e to shoot any o f these animals while we a re

h u nfing P

N O replied Hugh
,
I don t th i nk there i s O f
,

.

course you neve r can tell what y ou might run across


,

when you a re going th r o ugh th e timber o r up o ver the


r o cks o n th e m o untains but as a rul e these animal s ,

w ill s ee or hea r o r smell you be fore you know they


, ,

a re a round and they ll j ust slip o u t o f sight and either


,

get away a s fast as they can o r else watch y o u to s e e ,

what you are g o ing t o do I remember that the o nly .

w o lverine I have killed i n a good many years w as o ne


that I s aw travel ing a long over th e rocks when I w as
up above timber line one tim e wa i ting t o t ry t o ki ll
-

a sheep H e j ust walked up w ith i n easy sh o t and o f


.
, ,

course I killed him A m ighty p retty l oo king animal


, .

he w as t o o w ith h i s sm o oth c o at all shining i n the


, ,

s u n and blowing in the breeze .

But l oo k h ere so n i f yo u and I a re g oi ng t o get


, , ,

O ff i n any s o rt o f season to mo rr o w mo rning we d



-

better tu rn i n now S uppose you go down t o the .

creek and get a bucket o f water and I ll go o ut and ,


l o ok a r o und th r o ugh the h o rses and then we ll m ake ,



d o wn o u r beds .


All right sa i d J a ck an d he d id as re q uest ed and
, , ,

a l ittle later the c a m p was p e a ce f ully s le epin g as t he ,

fir e d ied dow n .

THE W AT E R F O W LS SU M ME R H O M E

IT was sti ll da rk when Jack aw o ke next m o rning but ,

when h e struck a match and l o oked at hi s watch h e


s aw that daylight w as not fa r O ff and ris ing and put ,

ting o n hi s clothes he sta rted t o l i ght the fire .

Hugh havi ng hea rd him a r o se and befo re l o ng


, , ,

breakfa st was well unde r w ay Then j ack went ou t .

t o where the ho rses were pi cke t ed and se t free all bu t


o ne and th is o ne he changed t o fresh grass so t ha t
, ,

the horses m ight start wi t h full belli es The s u n had .

no t yet ri sen when break fast w as Over and j ack ,

had b rought in an d saddled al l t he h o rses They made .

an early sta rt fo r th e day s j ourney w as to be a l o ng


'

o ne .

For the first h o ur o r t w o O f t he ma rch i t wa s i nte r


esting to j ack to w atch t he antel o pe t hat were seen
o n both Si des O f t he t ra il and t o s e e h o w di fferently
,

those acted that had t he s u n o n thei r backs from those


that ha d the s u n sh i ning in thei r faces S om etimes .

there w ere an t elope o n bo t h Si des o f the t ra il and when ,

those that were looking away from the s u n sta rted


to run then those that were looking toward the sun
,

sta rted also But i f t he li tt le pack tra in approached


.

antelope w ith the s u n o n its back so that th e antelope ,

were looking toward t he s u n th e timi d animals unable , ,

t o di stinguish what thes e moving Obj ects were would ,

let them come up very cl o se w ithout show i ng any


alarm Jack had O ften seen the same th ing happen
.

with other animals so i t w as not new t o h im but


, , ,

nevertheless i t w as interesting and he sp o ke o f it


, ,

to H ugh .
74 JACK , THE Y OU N G T RA P PE R
Yes sa id Hugh, that i s interesting and of
, , ,

course br i ngs up the O l d quest i on o f h o w useful the ir


,

di fferent senses are to w i ld animals S o me peopl e s ay .

that a dee r has bad eyes ; that he can t s ee well and ’


, ,

o f course we all o f us know that all game depends


,

o n its p o we r s o f scent fo r wa rn ing that its enem ies a re


ab o ut M ost game can hea r well en o ugh and can
.
,

di stingu i sh between th e o rdina ry sounds o f the ti m ber


o r the mo untains and thos e made by a man g o in g
th rough the timber o r rattl i ng the r o cks The people .


that s ay that ga m e can t s ee a re m i staken I think ,
.

They don t g o q uite deep en o ugh i nto th e m atter



.

What I be li e v e i s that many w i ld ani m als don t n o tice


,


a m an and SO d o n t take h i m f o r an enemy i f he keeps ,

absolutely still An an imal s eye i s quick to catch any


.

m o tion but a m an standing still m ay be taken fo r a


,

stump o r a r o ck o r a bu m p o f e a rth The deer s eye


, , .

does n o t stop to l oo k careful ly at stumps and r o cks


and bumps o f ea rth but i f o ne o f these th ings mo ves
, ,

then the eye stops and studies it and i s l ikely t o find ,



o u t what i t i s .

O f c o urse that i s s o H ugh sa i d j ac k but I, , ,

ne v e r th o ught O f i t bef o re I remember th o ugh that .


, ,

when I went duck sh oo t i ng o n Great S o uth Bay w i th


m y uncl e and was s i tting i n th e blind he always
, ,

warned m e neve r to make a sudden m o ti o n but that ,

i f I w anted t o low e r m y h ead t o get i t o ut o f s i ght


beh i nd the b li nd I sh ould d o s o w ith a Sl o w gradual
, ,

mo ti o n .


O f cou r se sa id Hugh ,
b u t i f y ou st o p and ,

think a m i nute y o u w i ll k n o w that that i s j ust exactly


what y o u do now when y ou a re hunt i ng i n thi s c o untry .

I f y o u ra i se you r head up s o that it shows o ver a r idge ,

and s ee an antel o pe feeding there y o u do n t duc k d o wn ,


to get o ut o f Sight ; y o u lowe r you r head v ery slowly .

I f y ou m ade a quick m o ti o n the antelope w o uld see


o u o ut o f t he cor ne r of h i s eye and w o ul d r un awa y
y ,

WAT E R F O W L S S UM ME R HO M E 75

w ith o ut wa iting to ask any quest io ns I f y o u lowe r .

your head gradually he does not s e e the slow m o ti o n


, ,

and yo u can have a chance to c rawl up t o h im .


That s so’
assented j ack ;
, I must be p retty “


stup i d not to be able to t hink O f these things .


Well ,
replied Hugh o f c o urse yo u have t o ,

think and boys don t a lways stop t o do t hat Men


,

.
,

a fter they have l ived a good many years find t hat they
have t o do i t B ut t h i s i s w hat I wanted to say about
.

the power O f game t o recogni z e danger fr o m man ; a


deer knows that there i s dange r o nly from living
t hings and he know s al s o tha t o nly l iving thi ngs
,

m o ve so that i f he sees anything mak e a sudden


,

moti on he knows that he must be o n the lookout .

All day they traveled on t h rough a broad valley and ,

towa rd n ight camped at the foot o f a h igh bare hog ,

back ru nn ing north and south One O f th e foot hi lls — ,

o r spurs O f th e ma in range t o t h e north There wa s .

a good Spring whe re t hey camped and qu ite a w ide ,

stretch o f level p ra i rie i n w h ich were hal f a dozen,

la rge alkali lakes and on these lakes were great num


,

bers o f wate r fowl S ome o f t hem were s o la rge t ha t


.

j ack t hought they must be geese and getting hi s fiel d .

glasses out o f t h e packs he looked at them and found


that they really were geese .

H o w i s it H ugh he said that geese a re found


, , ,

here as late i n th e season a s th i s H ere it s nearly the


? ’

first o f j un e and i t seems t o me a ll geese ought to have


,

passed n o rth to t h ei r b reeding grounds befo re th is .

I ll allow answered Hugh that th e geese o ught


, ,

to be o n thei r breeding gr o unds by thi s time but why ,



d o yo u s ay they ought t o be up n o rth ?

Why sai d Jack


,
I th o ught all geese went nort h
,

i nt o C anada t o breed except a few that b reed in ,



n orthern M o n t ana right close to the Canada l ine
,
.

W ell sai d Hugh there s where y o u a re m i s ’

, ,

taken The geese b reed right he re i n thes e mo unta i ns


.
,
7 6 j A C K ,
THE Y O UN G T RAPP E R

and q ui te a way south o f here t o o Then y ou k n o w , .

yoursel f you ve seen the m b reeding o n th e M i ss o uri


,


Rive r alth o ugh that is pretty well north o f course
, ,
.

Y es sa id Jack I ve seen them up n or th but I


, ,

di d n t supp o se that any o f them stayed as fa r s o uth as



th i s .


That s a mi stake sa i d Hugh

In O l d t i mes ,

they used to b reed o n the p ra i ries as far s ou th a s K an


s as and maybe s t ill further south
,
M any a t i me I hav e .

seen them b reeding i n N eb raska and i n northern K an



s as and fr o m that away no r th as fa r a s I v e b een
,
.

S wans t o o used t o b reed in the sa m e country Th e


, , .

reason they d o n t breed there any mo re i s because th e ’

white people ha v e c o m e i n and killed the m at all t i mes


o f the yea r and so they g o o n t o a c o unt ry fu rther
,

away f rom where the wh i te pe o ple are .


Well l ive and l ea rn ,sai d j ack I got my , .

k n o wledge ab o ut that from th e b ook s b ut I g u es s the ,



bo oks don t kn o w everyth i ng ?

Well sai d Hugh I guess the book s k n ow j ust


, ,

as m uch as the m en knew that w rote them an d I ,

supp o se there s a l o t about thi s western c ou nt ry that



they don t a ll kn o w yet ’
.


S ay Hugh sa i d j ack , a fte r we v e ha d suppe r , ,


I m g o ing o ver t o these lakes t o t ry t o s ee what b i rds

there are o n them D o you mi nd coming al o ng ? .


N sa id Hugh I ll g o w ith y o u but first we ve ,

g o t t o get supper and got to get up wood enough fo r



t o night and to mo rr o w m o rning I ll r ustle the supper -
.


i f you ll pack i n the wo o d

.


Done said Jack ; and fo r th e next fifteen o r
,

twenty m inutes he w as busy d ragging in aspen and


co tt o nwo o d sticks O f wh ich before very long he had a , ,

g ood pi le .

After supper Hugh sa i d t o j ack S o n t o mo rro w , ,


-


we ll have to kill someth i ng fo r there s only enough ,

meat l eft fo r a couple o f meals I d o n t l ike t o eat .




W ATE R F O W LS S U M M E R H OM E 77

meat that i s j ust fresh killed but i f to morrow you ll


'

-
,

kill a deer o r a good fat an t elope w e will ca rry i t a ,



day and then it w ill be j us t abou t right to eat .

They washed up the dishes befo re t hey sta r t ed and ,

then walked ove r t o the lakes the s u n being only abou t


,

an hour high The lakes were shallow and thei r


.
,

Sho res slop ing up very gradually from t he water s


edge were all O f so ft yellow mud s o t hat it was not


, , ,

poss i bl e t o get cl o se to t he wate r w ith o ut sinking deep


in the mi re .

The abundance and va riety O f bi rds seen was very


striking Wh i t e gull s flew slowly Ove r t he wa t e r and
.
,

beauti ful avocets s t rik ing Obj ec t s from t he con t ras t ing
,

black and wh i t e O f t hei r plumage w aded along nea r .

the sho re F locks o f tiny shore bi rds tripped l ightly


.

over th e so f t mud O f t he banks and b rown and black ,

long billed curlew s s t alked over the grassy p rai r i e


-
.

Many o f t hese bi rds w ere eviden t l y breedi ng and di s ,

played great a nxi ety when the vi si t ors approached


thei r nests The curlews especially were demon
.


s t rat iv e and flew about close above the men s heads
, ,

uttering loud sh rill c ries , .

O n a little knoll nea r o ne o f t he lakes Hugh and ,

j ack s at d o wn and adj usted t he glasses t o study the

bi rds that were floating o n the w a t e r .

G eese and ducks O f several Species were there and ,

j ack c o uld detect als o grebes and coots and the cu rious ,

l ittle sho re bi rds known a s phala ropes whi ch swam ,

about i n the w ater w ith a curious nodd ing motion o f


the head that reminded j ack o f th e ra ils .

Jack w as very much exc i ted at thi s display O f bi rd


l i fe fo r he real ized that a t th is season O f the yea r all
,

these bi rds had either eggs o r young and there were ,

a multitude o f bi rds that he had never seen befo re and ,

whose eggs he had never seen no r even heard about .


Why Hugh it seem s t o m e w e ought to stop
, ,

ov er here a day and s e e i f we can t c o llect a l o t o f t he



7 8 J ACK ,
T HE Y OU N G TRAPP E R
eggs o f these b i rds I th i n k there are s o me b i rd s he r e
.

whose eggs have ne v er been desc ribe d Just th ink what .

a great thing i t would be i f I c o uld take the m back


and sh o w the m t o t h e or n i t h o l o g i st s w h o ha v e ne v e r
seen them .


S ure sai d H ugh , that w ou ld b e g r eat How, .

a r e yo u going to know wh en you get an egg b a ck E ast



what b i rd it belongs to ?

Why sa i d Jack ,
I supp o se I c o uld r e m e mb e r
, .


I guess my memo ry i s go o d enough fo r that .

” ’
Maybe i t is sa id Hugh ,
I know mi ne wouldn t .

be especially i f I had to do w ith a lot o f eggs o f bi rd s


,

that I never had seen be fore I should have to ti e th e .


egg round the neck o f each b i rd and take both home .

Well sai d Jack ,


O f course i f y o u a re goi ng t o
, ,

col l ect the eggs I suppos e you o ught t o co lle c t t h e



pa rent b i rds at the sa m e time .


I suppos e sai d H ugh ,
that y o u ve g o t y our ,

t ool s f o r fix i ng up thes e eggs t o take away w ith yo u ,

cached s o mewhere i n the packs haven t you and som e ,


s o rt o f a chest to carry these eggs i n ? I expect i f w e


put a lash r o pe o v er them and pull p re tty hard i t w i ll
smash s o me o f the eggs w o n t it ? ,

Jac k s at Silent fo r a l i ttl e wh ile an d then l oo ked at ,

Hugh .I neve r saw any bo dy that c o ul d make a



f ell o w fee l l ike such a f o ol a s yo u can .

” ’
Why sai d Hugh ,
I don t want you t o fee l l i ke
,

a foo l .

N 0 sa i d J a ck I supp o s e m ay b e that is n o t what


, ,

y ou want I su pp o s e that y o u want t o m a k e m e think


.


be fore I spe ak .


Yes said Hugh ,
that s s om eth i ng I w o u l d l i ke
,

to do . That would be a bully l esson f o r y ou t o learn ,

and I thi nk y o u a re l ea r n i ng i t o nly m a ybe no t very ,

fast .

O f cou rse sa i d J a c k yo u k n o w ju st a s we ll as
, ,

I d o that I ha v en t any stu ffin g t oo ls w i th m e o r am:



,
80 JAC K , THE Y O UNG TRAPP E R

p erhaps there wa s j ust as many bu ffalo and el k an d


deer in Illinoi s o r O hi o as there were i n Wyomin g
and Montana when I came West N o w O f course al l .
, ,

thos e animals have disappeared fr o m that country and ,

i n the sam e way bi rds have disappeared There m ust .

b e places sti ll all over the West here where b i rds c o me


and b reed j ust as th ickly a s they d o o n these l i tle

-
,

p o nds that w e ve been l o oking at t o night And i n



-
.

o ld times they may have b red j u st as th i c k l y i n th e


swamps o f Illinoi s and O hi o a s they d o he r e i n th i s

v alley What s becom e o f the m al l ?
.

Hugh d i d n o t answe r bu t m ade w i th h i s h an d t h e ,



s i gn fo r g o ne unde r meaning dead , .

Yes Jack we nt o n
,
I supp o se they a re b ut is , ,

that what i s go ing t o happen t o all th e w ild animals


and b i rds i n th i s country ? I S the whol e o f N o rth
America going t o be swept bare o f all the b i rds and
animals that bel o ng t o i t and j ust have nothi ng in it ,

except sheep and cattle and d o gs and things ? That s

th e way it seems t o m e b ut I h o p e that s n o t t h e wa y ,

i t s go ing to be

.

Well s o n th at s o ne o f the th ings that w e ha ve


, ,

O ften talked ove r but it s a p retty ha rd thing t o pr o ,


p h e s y about There s o ne th
. ing sure all big an imals ’

a re g oi ng to be ki lled o ff except those that a re found i n ,

parks like that Yell o wst o ne P ark we cam e thr o ugh tw o


years ag o I expect that the r e elk and deer and sheep
.
,

and antelope may be f o und fo r a long time But peopl e .

are g o ing t o come i nt o thi s western countr y thicke r ,

and thicke r and o f course they a re not com ing her e


, , ,

for thei r health they re com ing here to make m o ney,



.

O ne man w i ll start a band O f cattl e an o ther w ill have ,

a bunch o f sheep an o the r w ill f arm al o ng the creek ; ,

ten to o ne m i nes w ill be f o und all over these m oun


,

tains and the fi rst th ing any o f u s know the country


,

w ill be full o f people and t o wns and ra ilr o ads and



f a c t or i es O f co urse y o u d o n t need me t o tell y ou
.
,
\VATE R F O WL S S U M M E R H OM E 81

that there can t be any game w hen the country gets


full o f pe o ple .

I suppose tha t s j ust what will happen Hugh I ’

, .

suppose a time will c o me when there w on t be any m o re


bu ffalo and maybe W hen there w o n t be any elk o r


'

even deer I m glad that I w as b o rn i n time to s ee


.


s o mething o f these w ild animals .



Yes sa id Hugh ,
you are lucky t o get to see ,

them becaus e I bel ieve that they re no t going to last


,

many mo re yea rs I w o uldn t be surpr i sed i f twenty .


o r twenty fi — v e years s aw them p retty much all w i ped

o ut I expect t hat I ll be dead be f o re that times comes


.

,

but l ikely you ll be al ive al l right ’

J ack s at thoughtfully sta ring int o the fire as th o ugh


h e w e re con t emplating th e d ea th o f all gam e and ,

o f Hugh a s well .

Presently Hugh went o n : N ow ab o ut th e bi rds , ,

i t s a l it t le d iffe rent They ve g o t W ings and can fly



.

, ,

and do fly long di s t ances They d o n t have t o stop i n .


o ne plac e and o f c o urse a w ay up n o rth there is a


, , ,

W h o le l o t o f country yet tha t the pe o pl e haven t g o t


into and I expect a good many o f t he bi rds that used


,

t o b reed i n Ill i noi s and O h io as yo u were saying j ust ,

n o w d o n t stop any l o nger i n that c o untry but keep


, ,

o n going t o the no rth .


I ve seen Hudson Bay men that came down fr o m

tha t no rthern coun t ry w h o s ay t hat i n som e O f th e


lakes and big rivers up there t he natives at the ri ght
time O f the yea r ki ll a po w erful l o t o f fowl Th ere .

m ust be dead loads o f them th ere and then when molt ,

ing sea son comes and they lose thei r w ing feathers and
can t fly the natives take a fte r them i n the i r can o es

and ki ll them w ith sticks and spea rs and then d ry ,

them I beli eve that s a regular part o f thei r living


.

up there .

There must b e an aw ful lot o f ducks and geese


that breed in that great coun t ry up there Hugh I t s , .

82 J A C K ,
TH E Y OU N G TRAPP E R

alm o st the wh o le w i dth o f the co nt i nent i s i t n o t an d ,


?

a th o usand o r fifteen hund red m iles north and s o uth ?


” “
Yes sa i d Hugh,
i t s an aw ful b ig count ry and ,

,

mi ghty f ew people i n it Y o u k no w don t you he .
,

went o n that the f o od o f a nu mbe r o f the Hudson


,

Bay P o sts during certa in seasons o f th e yea r i s dri ed


, ,

o r fr o zen fi s h and d ri ed or sm o ked geese ?


,
They kill
the gees e spr i ng and fall a s they are passing back and ,

fo rth and s o m any o f them that they store them up f or


,

the w inter and summer food .


M y sa id J ack
, what a pl a c e that w o uld be t o
,

g o sh oo t i ng i n !

D o n t f oo l y o urs el f s o n W hen y o u k ill gam e

, .

r egularly f or th e fo o d it yiel d s it stops bei ng fun to ,



hunt and i t bec om es r eal w or k I kn ow i t s S O because .


I v e d o ne it

.

T o m o rro w m o rni ng
-
a d ded Hugh u nl ess I , ,

mi ss m y guess you ll see th e b i ggest beave r m eadow


,

y o u e v er s aw and we ll get t o i t toward night Then


,

.

bey o nd and n o t fa r o ff i s th e ma i n range where w e


, , ,

can hunt i f w e want to but I don t kn o w as we ll b e ,

able t o get the r e Haven t yo u n o t i ced s o mething l ike


.

sm o ke O ff t o th e west ? P ea rs t o m e I have and i t ’


,

m a y be that the range i s o n fire I f i t i s that w i ll l et .


,

u s o ut as fa r as hunting goes .

I h o pe there i sn t any fire sa id J ac k ; I want ’

,

v e ry much t o get up i nt o the mo unta i ns .

W ell sa i d Hugh a s he ro se and began t o ta k e


, ,

the straps O ff h i s bed and t o un ro ll i t even i f w e ,


sh o uld not b e abl e t o get i nto the m o untains here w e ,

can d o i t f urthe r s ou th !We ll s ee ho w the h i gh h ill s .



look to m o rr ow
-
.

In a l ittle wh il e the t w o w e re f ast as l eep and a s th e ,

fire d i ed down no s ou nd was hea rd except the c all s


o f the wate r fo wl fr om the nearby lake .
CHA P TE R I X
A TR O U B L ES O M E G R I ! ! LY

T H E Y had sat up so late the n ight before t hat neithe r


Hugh no r Jack w as as t i r ve ry ea rly next morn ing and ,

the s un w as well above the ho ri zon before th ey sta rt ed


west towa rd the high ri dge which lay between the m
and the mai n snowy range .

The ho rses w ere now s o accustomed t o t ravel ing


together that they needed no d riving and Jack and ,

H ugh rode side by si de ahead O f t he packs though ,

every now and then Jack looked back to see that the
animals w e re com ing o n well O ccas i o nally an animal .

w o uld st o p and lag a l itt le and graze alongside the ,

tra il but usually a shou t from Jack woul d cause i t to


,

stop f eeding and it would tro t along unti l i t had o ver


,

taken the others Each mo rning about an hour a fter


.

sta r t ing w hen the ropes ha d s t retched a l i tt le the


, ,

trai n w as halted and the lashi ngs tigh t ened upon all
the animals and a f t e r that the y needed no atten t ion
,
.

O f course i f a bad stream o r a very steep rav ine had


,

t o be c rossed Jack dropped behind and followed the


,

pack an imals but the pack i ng w as SO well done that it


,

w as very seld o m they had t o give any atten t ion to the


loads .

A S they ro de a lo ng Hugh sai d t o J ack : I f w e had a


big trai n o r heavy loads I woul d g o round the po int
,

o f the h o g back -
wh ich w oul d m ake us travel fiv e o r
,

Si x m iles fu rther but w o ul d be a good deal easier o n


the ho rses but o u r a nimals a re fat and strong and
, ,

lightly loaded and w e may as w ell make the cut O ff


,
-


and cross the ridge .

The ascent o f the hog back w as steep at first but -


,

th e n b ec a me mor e g r adual S everal tim es dur i ng the.

83
84 J ACK , TH E Y O UNG T RAPP E R
cl i m b they st o pped to l et th e hor s e s br eathe O n t h e .

way up se v era l big buck antel o pe were seen each o n e


, ,

feed i ng al o ne but as they were all a t s o me l ittle


,

di stance from the trai l J ac k th o ught i t b ette r t o let ,

them al o ne o n th e chance later o f getting a Sh o t w h i ch


,

w ould requi re less time .

They had nea rly reached t me c r est o f the ri dge when


H ugh waving h is hand t o wa r d the west rema rked
, , ,


I th o ught s o ; the range i s afire and J ack could ,

p lainly s e e the s mo ke r i sing s o me ten o r fifteen m iles


d istant A l i ttle further o n they coul d s ee th e whole
.

range and found that everywhere to the s o uth it w as o n


,

fire and that the fire seemed to be moving northwa rd


,
.

C olumns and masses o f th i ck wh ite smoke rose fr o m


the mountains i n many places and were r oll i ng stead i ly ,

al o ng f rom s o uth t o n o rth .

The fire see m ed t o be ch i e fl y o n the lo wer Sl o pes o f


the mo untains Abo v e i t c o uld be seen the green
.

timbe r and abo v e that agai n gray r o cks bare o f vegeta


,

tion wh i tened a l ittl e furthe r up by occasional patches


,

o f sn o w and st i ll h i g he r were great fields o f Snow


, ,

pure an d Sh i n i ng when t o uched by the rays O f the sun ,

but seem ing gray and s oi led where shad o wed by clouds
o r by a c o lumn o f ascend i ng smoke .

N 0 u s e t o think o f hunting the r e i s the r e H ugh ?


, ,

aske d J ack .


N o t any s o n r epl ied Hugh , ,
We l l have t o .

strike into the hills s o mewhere else But l oo k at that .

beave r meadow th is side o f the m ounta in .

J ack l o wered hi s eyes t o the v alley and wa s ,

astoni shed at what he saw There spreading o ve r .


,

m iles and m iles north and s o uth wa s a great carpet


, ,

of green b o rdered o n either side by the gray and


,

yell o w prai ri e and i ntersected by a thousand tiny


,

streams that gl istened i n th e sunl ight It lo o ked like .

a v a st ca rpet o f eme rald velvet over whic h ha d been


s
\ p
re ad an i rre g ula r net o f S ilve r c or ds .
A T R O UB L E S O M E G RIZ Z L Y 85

Beauti ful i t was but the most ast o ni sh ing thing ,

about it all was i ts great Size It seemed t o stretch .

no rth and south fo r t en o r fifteen mi les and east and ,

west fo r hal f as many The view presented astoni sh .

i ng contrasts in t he aspect o f the moun t ains snow ,

,

capped timbe r clad and fire swept ; and not less i n t he ,
-

lower land with i t s oppos ites o f a ri d sage b rush p rai ri e


, ,

and O f wa t ered verdan t meadow , .

Jack t u rned to Hugh : Tha t s the most wonder ’

ful thing I ve seen since I ve been out \Vest Hugh


’ ’

,
.


Did yo u ever s e e anyth i ng l ike i t ?

Well sai d Hugh i t s su re a pre tt y sight but I

, , ,

wouldn t want to say t hat i t w as t he pre tt ies t thing that


I d eve r seen O ne sees a w hol e l o t o f fine Sights out



.

in t h i s country P ea rs to m e I ve hea rd you say a


.

good many t imes t hat d i fferent t hings a re the most


wonde rful t hings you d eve r seen ’
.

Well sa id Jack tha t s s o I neve r get through


, ,

.

wondering at t he sights here i n the moun t a i ns and I ,

don t suppose i t s true that each thing is more wonder


’ ’

ful than any t hing else I ve eve r seen but I d o keep


being surpri sed a t all t hese beauti ful sights .



Well said H ugh , what do you t hink o f stop ,

ping o ff at the first wate r w e come to and taking o ff ,

the loads and letting the horses rest whil e w e c oo k



a cup o f co feef ?
“ ’
That w ill su i t me H ugh sa i d J ack but I d , , ,

like t o stop s o mewhere so I can look at thi s Sh o w that



is spread o u t in front o f us .

We can d o that all right sai d Hugh an d I th i n k , ,

over in that li t tle ravine j ust below us we ll find some ’

water There a re som e w i ll o ws down the re an d that


.
,

must mean a sp r i ng so mewhe r e nea r .

They sta rted o n J ack foll o wing b ehind t o keep th e


,

h o rses up and t o c at c h the m when they g o t t o the


s to ppin g p l ace .

H u g h kept o n d o wn th e Sl o pe an d then t urn i ng sh o rt ,


86 JA C K ,
THE Y O UNG TRAP P E R

to th e r i ght descen d ed i nt o the r a vi ne H e had g o t .

part w ay down the Slope when suddenly h i s h o rse


threw forwa rd hi s ears and st o pped Tw o o f the .

pack hors es tur ned at right angles and began t o cl imb


the s ides o f th e rav ine At the same moment from .
,

under a ceda r j ust ahead o f Hugh a bea r sp rang up ,

and rushed down th e ra v ine Jack caught a gl impse .

O f the animal and s aw H ugh th row h i s ri fle to hi s


,

Sh o ulder and fire but as the black ho rs e was t rying to


,

run J ack was n o t sure that the Sh o t had told Jack


, .

spurred h is o w n horse up the side o f th e rav i ne where


the pack ho rses had g o ne and i n a moment w as high ,

enough t o s ee porti ons o f the ravine down which th e


bea r ha d run H e wheeled P awnee S O that he coul d
.

sh o ot handi l y and havi ng loaded hi s r i fl e s at there


, ,

watch ing f o r the bear .

S uddenly i t appea red and h e c o ul d se e i t wh il e it ,

ran twenty fiv e o r th i rty yards al o ng the rav ine It w as


-
.

a hundred and fi f ty ya rds O ff but he threw h i s r ifl e to ,

h is shoulde r and ai m ing high and w el l ahea d O f th e


,

bea r fired The animal turned a somersault at the


, .

shot an d then regai ned its footing and d isappeared


, .

Hugh meantim e had galloped o n down the ra v ine


, , ,

and a moment o f two late r h is rifl e sp o ke aga in .

J ac k w as str o ngly tempted t o ride d o wn an d see


W hat had happened but feeling that i t w as now t o o
,

l ate t o d o anyth ing and that the bear ha d e i ther been


,

killed o r had escaped h e r o de round the pack h o rse s


,

and d rove them o n down the r av i ne following Hugh s ,

cou rs e P resently h e cam e to a place where s o me


.

w ill o ws g r ew at the s i de o f a patch o f green g r ass and ,

there o ut O f th e bott o m o f the blu ff bubbled a sp r ing


o f clea r wate r Jack tasted i t and found i t sweet and
.

go o d and then caught up the pack horses and ti ed the m


,

t o the will o ws .

A few moments later Hugh gall o ped back d i s ,

mou nted and said ,


Well let s take the packs o ff
' “
,

as JA C K ,
THE Y O U N G T RA P PE R

big o ne wi th a b eaut i fu l lo ng c o at o f sh i n i ng b row n .

The long claws o f the fo re feet Sh o wed that he w as -

a gr izz ly and a v ery la rge and handsom e spec i men .

The next hou r and a hal f wa s Spent i n Skinning t h e


b e a r and lo ng bef o re th i s o perat io n was fi nishe d
, ,

Hugh and Jack we r e t ire d and mo re o r les s c ov er e d


w i th grease .


Thi s w ill be g ood pra c t i ce s o n i f we get any , ,

beave r sa i d H u gh ,
Y o u s ee i n sk i nn i ng a bea v e r.
,

you v e got to w o rk j u st a s you d o o n th i s b ea r Y o u



.

can t d o any st r ipp i ng ; e v ery i nch o f h ide you take O ff


has got to be cut f ree fr o m the fat that l i es under it ,



and a s y o u see that s a m ighty l o ng Slow business ,

,
.


I sh o uld say it was sa i d J ack and a m ighty , ,

g reasy bus i ness t oo It seems t o me a s i f I


, w as all .

c ov ered w ith O il an d I am up to my elbows and my , , ,

face t oo S ee m s t o m e my face neve r itched before as


, .

it d o es now and when I rub i t with m y greasy hands


,

o f c o urse m y face gets a l l grease too , .


Y es sai d Hugh it s a v ery d iffe r ent th ing

, ,

Sk i nn i ng a bear o r beave r from ski nning a deer o r a ,

bu ffal o but th is is j ust a part o f the game s o n and thi s


, , ,

h i de w i ll pay us g oo d w ages f o r the t r o u b le w e v e b een
to
The r e H ugh went o n a s h e m ade a l a st cut
, , ,

that h i de i s f ree o n th i s si de do wn t o the mi ddle o f


the ba c k Ho w a re y o u getting o n o n you r S ide
.
?


I v e g o t a l o t mo r e t o do sa id Jack ,
.

A l l r i ght s ai d Hugh and h e ca m e a r ou nd t o


, ,

J a ck s s i de and began t o help h im and presently i t


see med a s i f the h ide were f ree through o ut .


NO W sa id Hugh I t ri ed t o l i ft and drag that
, ,

b ea r j ust a fter he was dead and I c o uldn t sti r i t and ,



,

I d o n t bel i e v e y o u and I can do any bette r n ow ; let s


They t ook h o ld o f the bea r s h i nd legs and tr i ed t o -

lif t and pull the carcass O ff th e h i de but i t was t o o ,

he a vy for the m t o mov e .


A TR OU B L E S O M E G RIZ Z LY 89

Well sa i d Hugh get y o u r rope o ff P awnee and


, ,

W e ll s e e what a h o rse can do

.

When J ack had br o ught hi s la riat it w as knotte d .

about t he hind — legs O f the bea r and then a f t er t ighten ,

ing t he cinches o f h 1 s saddle Jack moun t ed t ook a , ,

double turn o f the r o pe a round h is saddle ho rn and ,

then Slowly s t arte d Pawnee up the valley wh ile Hugh


took hold o f the bea r s hi de t o keep it i n place Th e ’
.

ca rcass began t o Slide O ff t he h ide and Hugh with h i s ,

kni fe made t wo o r three las t cuts wh i ch freed t he ,

h ide from th e ca rcass and p resently the h ide lay t he re ,

spread o u t flesh side up A f t er t he rope had been u n .

t ied from the ca rcass the t w o wen t over t he hide w i t h ,

t hei r knives scraping away all th e fa t t hat they could


get O ff and p resen t ly Hugh decla red that it w as i n
,

shape to be spread and d ried .


W e re likely t o have s o me t r o uble getting th i s o n

a pack because o f course no horse l ikes t o pack a bea r


, , ,

hide but I guess W e can do i t all righ t Instead o f


,
.

taking i t back to W he re w e left t he horses le t s sp read ,


i t o u t here and bring o ne o f the anima l s d o wn here and


load it o n him .


All right sai d Jack and n o w l et s get back to
, ,


c amp I feel l ike having a w ash
. .

Returning to the h o rses it took some l it t l e time w ith


,

water mud and sand fo r O f course t he soap w as in
, , ,

the pack and they d id not w ant to Open it — to cleanse


themselves o f the grease from t he bea r Th e smell o f .

the beast they could not get ri d o f and th is gave them ,

some trouble when they were catching and loading thei r


animals f o r the ho rses snorted and j umped and pulled
,

back w hen they caught the scent o f either o f the two .

H o wever at last they had thei r lunch and then l o ade d


, ,

the i r ho rses and went down to the bea r skin


, .

As Hugh had sai d the matter o f load ing i t was not ,

easily performed It w as first lashed up i nto a secure .

package to be put o n as a top pack and then the l ight


, ,

e st lo a ded o f th e h orses w as b roug ht u p t o i t T he .


9 0 J AC K ,
THE Y OU N G T RAP PE R
ho rse did not l i ke i t a b i t but at length by bl i n d fo l d i n g
,

h im with a c o at tied about hi s head h e sto o d quietly ,

en o ugh fo r Hugh to place t h e load o n his back but ,

Jack wa s o bliged to hold th e rope fo r the ho rse n o t , ,

w ithstanding h i s blind folding kept stepp ing ab o ut an d ,

w as ver y uneas y .

Hugh managed t o ti e the ski n o n S O that i t w oul d


stay and then Jack g o ing ar o und to the o ff s ide helped
, , ,

t o put on the lash rop e firmly When they took o ff .

the c o at however and th e h o rse s aw what w as on h i s


, ,

back h e bucked fiercely all ove r th e meadow and


, ,

would have stampeded th e o the r ho rses when h e passe d


nea r the m i f it had not been that H ugh and Jack ,

b o th mounted ha d a firm h o l d on thei r ropes


,
.

At last the hors e becam e ti red o f bucking but its ,

f ears were n o t qui eted fo r every l ittle wh ile it would ,

lo o k back at i ts pack and sno rt and rush here and there ,

much a frai d o f the load it was ca rrying .

That bea r ski n i s g oi ng t o make us a l o t of trouble ,

so n , said H ugh and the s o oner w e get i t d ried S O


,

that s om e o f the smell wi ll be gone o u t o f it the better ,

i t w i ll be fo r us Let s go o n n o w to the edge o f that


.

beave r meadow and camp there We ll have to spe nd .


a day o r tw o drying thi s hi de and gett i ng the horses



us ed to it .

F o r th e rest o f the day they ha d m uch tr o uble w i th


the ir h o rses fo r eve ry t i me the t rai l cr oo ked ar o und s o
,

that the odo r o f th e bea r sk i n was ca r r ied to th e o the r


h o rses o f the tra in the re w as a scattering and Jack , ,

ha d t o r o und up the an im als and b r i ng the m back


aga i n .

It was nea rly dark when they final l y ca m ped at a


l i ttl e spr i ng at the borde r o f the bea v er meadow where ,

a l ittle clump o f cottonw oo d t rees ga v e shelte r an d


wood f or the campfire .

N o t l o ng be f o re they reached t h e st o pping place ,

d ark clou ds had b eg u n t o r i se ov e r the m o untains t o


9 2 JA C K , THE Y O UN G TRAPP E R

place o f the O l d b u rnt t ree trunks that we r e gett i n g



rea dy to fall .


That s S O r epl ied H ugh ; but I reme m be r that
,

w e passed Over s o me places where the f o rests had been


burned where there was no S ign at al l o f anyth i ng
,

growing n o Sign o f any s oi l ; n o th i n g e xc ept th e b are


,

gravel o r the r o ck .


Yes sai d Jac k I r e m e mbe r that t o o
, , , .


I reck o n it s like th i s explained Hugh ’
I f th e , .

fire passes ov er the c o untry q u i ckly and j ust burns o r


ki lls th e standing trees and doesn t heat the soil t o o ’

much then the seeds that have been dropped by th e


,

trees and a re ly i ng hi dden i n the s o il sprout and new ,

t i mbe r grows up but i f the fire catches i n the s o i l o f ,

the fo rest which y o u kn o w i s made up o f the needles


,

and b ranche s and c o nes o f th e p ine trees and i f that ,

s o il i s dry enough SO that it wi ll burn then the fire ,

k eeps c r eeping thr o ugh i t bu rn i ng it where i t s dry ,


enough t o burn or heati ng i t where it s t o o damp and ,


S O all the seeds that a re lying in i t a re either bu rned

or coo ked and there i s n o th ing left t o sprout Then


, .

a fte r that a few yea rs o f ra i n storm s wi ll wash away


,

all the so il and as there s noth i ng l eft O n the m o un


,

ta i n t o fu rn i sh seeds n o timber eve r gr o ws I take i t , .


,

a great deal depends o n th e c o nd i tion o f the soil at the


t i me the fire g o es thr o ugh I f i t s dry the seeds o f .

,

the trees a re l ikely t o be k i lled I f i t s da m p they re .

l ikely t o l i v e a fte r the fire has passed and t o send u p



anothe r cr o p o f trees .

It seems an aw ful Shame Hugh that all th i s , ,

t i mber sh o uld be destr o yed and all gam e Should b e


d riven o ut O f c o urse th e timber has no comme rc i al
.
,

val u e n o w I supp o se i t s t o o fa r fr om any m a rket


.

,

and there s no way to get i t o u t

.


No sa i d H ugh
'
,
y o u couldn t sel l i t f or any ,
“ ’

t h ing o f course but the tim e w i l l come I expect when


, , , ,

the r e l l be s o me u s e fo r all thi s timbe r Th is c o untry



.
A T R O UB L E SO M E G RIZ Z L Y 93

i s g oi ng t o fill up with people sometime and those ,

people w ill need h o u s e l o g s c o rral poles and fence , ,

posts ; and then besi des that nobody kn o ws what m ines ,

m ay not be found in these mountains ; and i f mines


ever a re found and wo rked there i s g o ing t o b e a l o t ,

o f lumber needed to timber them w ith .

When the camp w as reached t he western s ky l o oked


v ery th rea t ening and Hugh sai d to Jack,
No w s o n , , ,

let u s get t hese loads o ff as quick as w e can and picket


the ho rses and then we ll get the tent up I reck o n
,

.

w e a re go ing t o be ra ined o n t o n ight and we may a s -


,

w ell sleep a s d ry as w e can .

It took but a few m i nutes t o th r o w the l o ad s O ff the


h o rses and to picket them and immediately the l it t le
, ,

tent w as raised and th e beds and packs got unde r cove r .

By t hi s ti me i t w as da rk and ove r t he m o unta in tops ,


-

t o th e west could be seen l igh t ning flashes play ing fa r ,

above the red glow o f th e fo rest fi re .



Yes said Hugh as he looked towa rd the m o un
, ,

tai ns I bel ieve that ra i n w ill c o m e p ret t y nea r putti ng


,

tha t fire out t o n i gh t At all even t s i t wi ll check i t


-
. .

The storm advanced toward t hem and p resently t he ,

light o f t he fire grew d imme r a s the ra in passed over i t


and advanced t o wa rd t he valley S uppe r had ha rdly .

been cooked when the first few d rops reached them and ,

a fter pili ng plenty o f w oo d o n th e fire they retreated ,

to the tent to eat It w as a ha rd thunder st o rm and


.
,

before long flashes o f l ightning were th ick all o ve r the


s ky and the thunder was c rashing and rattlin ab ov e
g
thei r heads .


I don t believe w e ll get dr o wned out here t o
’ ’


night sai d H u gh fo r th is place where w e ve c a mpe d
, ,

i s a few inches h i gher than anything round ab o ut i t ,

but w e may find o u r th ings p retty damp i n the mo rn


ing fo r thi s ha rd ra i n Si fts th r o ugh even g oo d c an v as
,

like thi s and he pointed to the tent ab o ve them


, .

There s o ne th ing y o u want t o l o ok o ut fo r when



94 J AC K ,
TH E Y O UN G T RAP PE R

y o u a r e camp i ng i n a dry count ry s o n he w e nt o n ; , ,



d o n t eve r camp down i n a ravine n o matter h o w
dr y i t m ay seem t o b e I v e known t l ire e o r fou r cases
,

.

where a l o t O f fell o ws c a m ped i n a n ice grassy sp o t i n


the m iddle O f a ravine and al o ng during the night there
cam e a cloud bu rst som ewhere up on the high pra i ri e
-
,

and the water came rolling d o wn the ravine an d fl o ated


all the fellows O ff I g u ided a pa rty o f scientific chap s
.

o ne time that di d j ust that The ravin e was dry when .

they went t o Sleep and they were washed away during


,

the night and the next m o r ni ng the rav i ne was pretty


,

nea rly d ry aga in but they spe nt two o r th ree days


,

tra v el ing down that gulch picki ng up thei r things that ,

had been carri ed away by the wate r and d i gging the m


o ut o f t h e m u d and sand S o me o f th e men m i ght .

eas i ly enough ha v e g o t d r o wne d i f the st o rm had lasted


a little longe r .

Well Hugh sa i d J ac k
, , w hy d i d you no t t el l ,

them not to camp i n such a place .


I did sa id H ugh
, but they laughed at m e and
, ,

th o ught that because there wasn t any wate r there ’

then and hadn t been f o r a long tim e there never


,

would be any I took my blankets and slept o n a l ittle


.

p o int eight o r ten feet above the b o ttom o f the ra v i ne


and the water never g o t to me but I had to laugh at ,

tw o or th ree O f the young fellows w h o waded o ut close



t o m y bed O f co urse i t was dark and they d i d n t
.
,

kn o w where they were no r what had happened I ,


.

hea rd them call ing and Sho u ting t o each other and ,

bef o re that I ha d hea rd the w ate r c o ming s o that I ,

knew what w as taking place b ut I co uld n o t d o an y ,



th i ng t o help any o f them .

Well a fter that Hugh I expect th o se m en ha d


, , ,

mo re r espect fo r y o u r advi ce d i dn t they ? sa i d J ack ,

.

” ”
W el l sa i d Hugh I d o n t kn o w b u t they d i d ’
.
, ,
9 6 JACK , THE Y O UNG TRA P PE R

your first less o n i n sk i nn i ng a b ea v er to day and y our -


,

first taste o f bea v e r m eat t oo W o n t it b e or d i d y o u


, .
'

,

eve r eat beaver when y o u we r e wi th the Blackfeet ?

N o Hugh sai d J ack I do n t th i n k I ever taste d
, , ,

i t I d l ike to

.


We ll have beave r ta il s o up t oo sa id Hu gh , ,
.


Th is ta i l s only a l ittl e o ne b ut i t ll b e en o ug h t o gi v e,

us a taste B eaver ta il used t o b e cons idered great


.

m eat by the old t i me trappers something like back fat


-
,

among the Indians I never cared much about beave r


.

ta il It s t o o o ily fo r my taste I should th i nk th o s e


.

.

Indians we s aw last summe r up i n B ritish Columb i a


would l ike i t but I l ike someth ing a little m o re sol i d
, .


Lay that kitten i n the shade h e went o n an d , ,

a fter we ve g o t th rough o u r b reak fast w e ll stretch


’ ’

that bea r hi de You must remember that that i s l ik e


.

s o m uch cash in o u r p o cket We v e got to save all t h e ’


.


fur w e get thi s t ri p and n o fur i s eve r sa fe until it s
,

go o d and dry .

As they sat at b rea k fast they loo ked t o wa r d t h e ,

m ounta ins The morning w as still and instead o f t h e


.
,

flames and the o nrush ing cl o uds o f smoke wh ich they


had seen th e day befo re there were n o w only a few ,

s m oke w reaths la z ily curl i ng up towa rd th e sky at


o ccasional points on the mountai n s ide .


Y es sai d Hugh a s he waved hi s kn i fe t o wa rd th e
, ,

range ,
I r eck o n that st o rm l ast night put o u t that
fire In the fi r st place i t wet al l th e timber green and
.
,

dry and then i t wet all th e dead underb rush and th e


,

needles and d ry b ranches w ith which the ground i s


covered I think everyth ing got a goo d s o aking and
.
,

I bel ieve that n o w the fire w i ll g O o ut Anyway I .


,

ho pe s o .

I suppos e yo u ha v e no m o re i dea than I ha v e how



the fire got sta rted ? asked Jack .

N 0 sa i d Hugh no m an can tell about that A


, ,
.

fire m ay get started i n fo rty ways Usually it s some .


,

A BI G B EA V E R M EAD O W 97

f e llow g o es o ff and l eav e s hi s ca m pfire bu rn i ng and ,

then a pu ff o f w ind co mes up and blows s o me o f the


coals int o s o me d ry gras s o r s o meth i ng that catches fire
easy o r els e the Indians may s e t fire to the timber j ust
,

fo r the pu rpose O f d riving the game into s o me big


stretch o f c o untry where i t i s ea sy t o hunt it O f .

course Indians get th e c red it fo r a whole lot O f


,

fi res that they neve r s e t and I bel i eve that hal f the ,

fires a re started by white men j ust from carelessness , ,

l ike th rowing down a l igh t ed match o r chucking away ,

a c i ga rette tha t w ill burn fo r ten o r fi fteen m inutes .

O n the prai ri e o f course lots o f fires a re sta rt ed by the


, ,

rai lr o ad The spa rks from t h e locom o tive fall among


.

d ry grass S ome t imes in t he t i mbe r l ig htni ng sta rts


.

a fire There a re lots o f ways in wh ich the forests c an


.

be burned and a s long a s t here s so much fo rest and


, ,

i t s nobody s business to lo o k a f t er i t O f c o urs e these


’ ’

, ,

fires will keep burning yea r a f t e r yea r .

Well now s o n sa i d Hugh



a f t e r they had
, , ,

finished eat i ng i f you ll get ano t he r bucket o f wa t er


,

I ll w ash the di shes and then w e can stretch that bea r


,

h ide .

Jack brought a nothe r bucket O f wate r wh i ch Hugh ,

s e t on the fire and whi le i t was heating he d i rec t ed


,

Jack t o unlash the bea r hide and to d rag it out a l it t l e


away fro m camp A fte r thi s had been done he sent .
,

hi m down t o look along the stream t o s e e i f he could


find any bi rch o r alder b rush telling h im i f he could ,

do S O to get enough b ranches t o make th i rty o r f o rty


wooden pi ns Taking the ax Jac k went d o wn the
.
,

stream and c o uld find neither birch no r alder H e .

d id find howeve r a thicket O f small ash sapl ings and


, , ,

cutt i ng down hal f a d oz en o f thes e he put the m o n


h is back and dragged them back t o ca m p .

C o uldn t find any bi r c h ? ’


sa i d Hugh Well I .
,

don t know a s I m much surp r i sed I t s p retty well ’
.


s outh f o r b i rch b ut that makes b etter pins than mo st
,
9 8 JAC K ,
TH E Y O UN G T RAP P E R

anyth i ng else Howeve r this ash w i ll have to d o I


.
, ,

reckon He took the sapl ings and w i th the a x cut
.

them i nto lengths o f about eight o r ten i nches and ,

then taking th e thickest ones h e Split them .

Then h e sa i d t o Jack : G et out you r kni fe now ,

s o n and help me wh ittl e pegs


,
We want quite a lot .

o f them for I would l ike t o stretch thi s hi de n i cel y


, ,

and take i t i n i n good shape .

F o r hal f o r th ree quarters o f an hou r the tw o w ere


-

bus i ly employed wh ittling down and pointing pins ,

and they had a large pil e o f them before H ugh de


c l are d that there w ere enough They carri ed the pi ns .

o ver to where the bea r skin lay and threw them o n the
g r o und ; then tu rning th e hi de flesh Si de up th ey
stretch e d it as nea rly squa re as possible and then w ith ,


thei r j ack knives went round its borde r cutting holes ,

hal f an i nch long i n th e ma rgi n o f the h i de at i ntervals


o f ab o ut s ix i nches When these had all bee n cut th e .
,

h ide w as aga i n Sp read o ut and Hugh w i th the ax , , ,

d rove tw o pins th rough holes o ne i n each S ide o f the ,

neck and then stretchi ng the h ide t o its full length


, , ,

d rov e two mo re i n holes each about a fo o t o n eithe r


s ide o f the ta i l Then two pins w ere d riven at o ne
.

s ide o f the h i de b etween fore and h i nd leg and two ,

o n the other s ide between fore and h ind leg The ,


.

h ide now w as held i n pos it i on and g o ing about it , ,

Hugh w ith great care drove i n hi s pins stretching


, , ,

the h ide so that i t w as nea rly s q uare though a little ,

longer from head to tai l than fr o m si de to S ide O f .

cours e the fou r legs and the h ead made the squa re
,

i rregula r but o n the wh o le Hugh declared a fter h e


, , , ,

had fini shed that i t was a very good j ob


,
.

I Sh o uldn t have stretched th is h ide quite S O la rge



,

so n , h e sai d i f i t h adn t been so very well furred


,
“ ’
.

Usually the ha i r i s thi n o n the flanks and i f yo u ,

stretch a h ide much you get places o n e i ther flank


i u s t i n fr o nt o f the h ind le g s where there i s scarcel y -
I OO J ACK ,
THE Y O U N G TRA P PE R

At th e sam e ti m e y o u m ust ski n cl o se to the h id e an d ,

not leav e any fat o n it When you get to the legs cut .
,

the skin all ar o und j ust ab o ve th e feet o n fore and


h ind legs and at the ta il cut al l a r o und th e b o ne j ust
, ,

ab ov e where th e scales begi n In skinning a r o und the .


eyes s ee that you don t cut the eyeli ds and when you
, ,

get t o the ears cut them O ff close t o th e h i de o n the


,

i nside N o w go ahead and s ee what y o u can d o


.
, .

J ac k spl i t th e bea v e r as d i rected and ca refully ,

worked back th e h ide first O n one s i de and then o n ,

the o ther It wa s Sl o w business In h i s e ffort not to


. .

cut holes i n the ski n he made sh o rt cuts and th e peel ,

ing o ff o f the h i de seemed to g o very slowly H ow .

ever h e w o rked it al o ng w ith much patience until h e


,

g o t t o the l egs and th e ta il and cut them ar o und a s , ,

Hugh had instructe d .

M eanti m e Hugh ha d g o ne O ff and cut s o me long


,

w i ll o w spr o uts and return i ng t o where J ack sat o c


, ,

c up ie d h imsel f i n m aking a ci rcula r hoop whi ch h e , ,

told J ack w as to stretch the skin o n He bent a long


,
.

tw ig i nto a ci rcle and w ith th e slende r b ranches o n


,

the end tied the s m aller and larger ends together By .

thi s t i me J ack had the b eaver ab o ut hal f skinned and ,

H ugh d rawing his kn ife took hold o f o ne s ide o f the


, ,

h i de and helped and i n a very few minutes the carcass


,

w as free and lying o n the g r ass wh ile beside i t lay ,

the s k in fl esh side up


, .

“ ”
Wel l so n sa i d Hugh
, ,
that i s a p r etty good ,

j ob cons idering it s the first b eaver yo u eve r Skinned


,

.

It w ill b e a g o o d pract i ce fo r you You s ee i f we .


,

sh o uld ever be lucky enough t o get hal f a dozen beaver


i n a mor n ing i t w i l l take u s a b out all d ay long t o skin

them .

Whew ! sa i d J ack as he st o od up an d stretched ,

h i s cramped limbs that s something l ike work I


,
“ ’
.

guess m ost fellows when they th ink o f trapping , ,

th i nk o nl y of h o w g oo d they feel when the y catch


A BI G B E AVE R MEA DO W

.
1 64

thei r beaver and how go o d they feel when they sell


,

the Skins They don t remembe r how much wo rk i t


.


takes to get the skins ready fo r ma rket .



That s so s o n sa i d Hugh

but then I guess
, , ,

,

that s true about m o st eve ry t hing i n li fe The mi ne r


’ ’
.

thinks only about th e rich haul that he i s going to


make ; he doesn t reckon o n th e number o f hours that

h e s g o t t o swing a pick o r a sledge o r hold a drill


before he strikes pay streak He j us t th inks o f st riking .

i t rich and t hen get ti ng th e money fo r hi s mine


,
.

There s lots O f human nature i n all o f us



.

W ell n o w he w en t o n t he first t h ing w e want


, , ,

t o d o i s to g o down t o the c reek and get rid o f some o f


thi s grease t hat w e have accumula t ed and then w e can ,

c o me back and cook o u r dinner .

It took a lot o f scrubbing w i t h s o ap and sand to


free themselves from t h e Oi l o f the bea r and th e
beaver and the smell O f t he grease t hey could not get
,

ri d o f When t hey had re t urned t o t he tent Hugh


.

sent Jack to cu t a long green fo rked s t ick S ha rpen , , .

ing thi s at its la rge r end h e d rove it firm ly in t o the ,

ground in such a posi t ion tha t i t would overhang t he



fire H e ti ed a s t ou t co rd t o th e hind legs o f the l i t tle
.

beaver built up h is fire o f d ry co tt onwood and let


, ,

i t burn down to good red coals and then hung th e , ,

beaver to the fo rk of a green s t ick S O t hat i t swung


d irectly over th e coals Then he told Jack t o get a .

l o ng green wi llow twig and from time to time to


, , ,

g i ve the beaver s carcass a twi rl so that it would ’

constan t ly keep turning o ve r the fire Then Hugh .

himsel f began p reparati o ns fo r the rest o f the dinner ,

which a fter all c o ns i sted o nly o f b r ead and co ffee


, ,
.

The h o t coals soon caused the grease to drip fr o m the


meat wh ich Sl o wly twi rled over the fire and by th e
, ,

time Hugh had baked h is bread and c o oked his c o ffee


he declared that the m ea t ought t o be done It w as .

taken fr om the fi r e and a slash w i th a kn i fe sh o we d


YO UNG TRA P P E R

that i t wa s cooked through Hugh d i vided i t i nto .

t w o p ieces and putting it o n tw o ti n plates ga v e o ne


, ,

to Jack and took o ne himsel f .


N ow s o n h e sa id , t ry thi s meat and s ee h o w
, , ,

y o u l ike it Mo st o f us think
. that kitten i s p retty
go o d f oo d O f cou rse i t i sn t l i k e fat co w o r even
.
,

like m ounta i n Sheep o r elk but t o my m ind i t s quite ,



a s good a s any bi rd o r fis h that there i s .

F o r some time J ack s mouth was s o full that h e ’

could not comment o n the d inner but a fter a time , , ,

h e declared i n response to a questi o n by Hugh that ,



the meat wa s prime But what i s th is q uee r hal f .
,

b itter ta ste that i t has Hugh ? h e asked ,
.

Why s o n that s extract o f cottonwood and w il


, ,

l ow bark Don t you know that i s what the beaver


.

feed o and o course the flesh tastes o f i t


n f , ,
? Th i s ,

l ittl e fell o w i s n o t very strong but I v e someti mes ,


eaten Old beaver that was s o bitte r that you reall y


d id n t want to eat much o f it

.


Well sa id Jack this i s about the tenderest m eat
, ,

that I ve ever eaten and I l ike th e bitter flavo r


,
.


Yes sa i d Hugh ,
i t s m i ghty n ice and then thi s ,
“ ’

fellow i s s o young that you don t have to m ind th e ’

ribs at all ; you can chew the m right up and swall o w



th e m down .


Well sa i d J ac k ,
I s ay i t s pr i me and I h o pe ,

,
’ ”
w e l l hav e lots more beaver meat befo re w e g o i n .


NO doubt w e w i ll sai d Hugh ; but n o d o ubt “
, ,

also i t wi ll n o t be as g o od as th is ha s been It s not
, .

eve ry day that o ne gets a kitten beave r and it s m ighty ,


poo r p o l i cy t o kill them You see thi s little b i t o f a .


hi de i sn t w o rth anything whereas i f the kitten had , ,

been allowed to grow a yea r mo re th e hi de would


ha v e been w o rth maybe fou r o r five dollars No w , , .


i t i sn t wo rth m o re than seventy fiv e cents

-
.

“ ”
Well Hugh sai d Jack , i f I had kn o wn that
, ,


pe rha p s I wou ldn t ha v e sh o t i t but y o u see I d idn t

, ,
m4 JAC K ,
THE Y O UNG TRA P PE R
No t th e smell o f the b ea r sk i n o ught rather
s o , so n ;

t o frighten o ff the ani m als At the sam e time I .

ha v en t v e ry much co nfidence i n the m i se r able coy o tes


that th i s c o untry seems to be full o f s o I am g o ing t o ,

p u t a sca re o u t a round that h i de t o night and t o ,


~

morrow m o rn i ng y ou w i ll s ee that n o th i n g has d is



t u rb e d it .

Well I shall b e mi ghty gla d t o s ee what you do t o


,

i t Hugh sa id J ack
, , .


Oh sa i d Hugh, the r e i s n o th ing spe ci a l ab o ut
,

i t I m g o ing t o p r o tect that h i de by taking ad v antage
.

o f the cunning o f the coy o te H e i s always o n the .

lookout for traps and sna res o f o ne k i nd o r an o ther ,

and he w o n t go close to where h e thi nks there i s a


trap N o w i f I put f ou r sticks i n th e gr o und at the


.
,

co rner o f that bea r s k in and run a l ittle str i ng from ,

the tops o f thes e fou r sticks all a round the hide th e ,



coyotes w ill no t pass under that string becaus e they l l ,

th ink that m aybe it s some kind o f a trap t o catch ’

them Y o u s e e the coyotes a re l ike s om e m en


.
,

you ha v e hea rd o f ; s om eti m es they a r e a l i ttle t oo



sma rt .

When Hugh had fin i shed h i s p i pe J ac k sa id What ,

shall we do th i s a fterno o n Hugh ? You wer e g oi ng ,



t o vi s it this beaver meadow this m o rning i f we hadn t
had that be a r skin t o attend t o I s there t im e en o ugh .


fo r us to go down there n o w ?
P lenty o f time sai d Hugh I w as j ust g oi ng
, .

t o p rop o se it Th ere s an aw ful b ig stretch o f b eave r


.

w o rk here and I guess that a great deal O f it has been


aband o ned We want t o find o u t where the beaver
.

a re n o w and when w e ve lea rned that and s o mething


,

ab o ut the i r ways we can get out o u r traps I f y o u , .

l ike I ll go d o wn w ith y ou no w an d look for p o nds


,


that ha v e beave r in them .


All right sa id Jack ; I m rea d y ,

.

” ’
Well sa id Hugh let s g o o n n ow and I reck o n
, , ,
A BI G B E A VE R M EAD O W 10 5
th i s is a s g o od a time as any t o C hristen those rubber
boots that w e bough t i n La rami e \V e are l ikely t o .

find i t pretty w e t down t here and I don t ca re to take ,


a h o rse i n t hose t hick w ill o ws un t i l I find o ut a l it tl e


about them mysel f An Old beaver meadow i s a .

mighty mean place t o take ho rses There are bogs .

and beaver sloughs and O l d aband o ned beaver holes ,

and it s easy fo r a horse to fall down and s o me t imes


,

migh t y ha rd t o get h im up aga in .

H ugh and Jack donned t hei r rubbe r bo o ts and ,

taking thei r r1 fl es s t a rted d o wn t owa rd the mai n


,

stream The meadow here w as m iles i n w i d t h and i t


.

was quite unce r t a i n how fa r t hey could go As well .

as they c o uld s ee much O f t he meadow w as overgrown


,

wi t h tall w illows but o n t he o t he r hand t here seemed


, ,

t o be many Open gra ssy mead o ws , .

B efore plunging i n to the w ill o w s they f o ll o wed


al o ng t he edge fo r som e l i tt l e distance and at last
Hugh said Let s turn i n here s o n there seems to
,
“ ’

, ,

be a game t rai l running in the d i recti o n w e should g o .

S ure enough they found a w ell —t raveled a nd d ry game


,

trail wh ich showed that last au t umn it had been


traveled by bands o f elk fo r t he ba rk was rubbed O ff ,

the w ill o w s a s high a s Hugh s head where great ’

h o rn s o f the bulls ha d forced th e stems o f the b rush


apa rt o n either sid e o f th e tra il The w ay led j ust .

in the d i rectio n they wanted to g o that i s across the


.

, ,

valley and ten o r fifteen m i nutes bri sk tramping


,

br o ught them t o the edge o f a green grassy meadow ,

o f consi derable extent Just a s they reached t he edge.

o f the will o ws Hugh paused and moti oned w i th h i s

hand beckon ing Jack to come up to h is side


,
L o ok .


there son h e sai d pointing and Jack saw o nly about
, , , , ,

forty ya rds away tw o b o b cats pulling and tearing at


,
-

s o me small thing o n the gr o und a l ittle distance o u t ,

in the mead o w Hugh said Y o u try to kill the o ne


.
,

th at is n e a re st t o the bru sh an d I ll see i f I can ta k e ,



1 06 J ACK ,
THE YOU N G T RAP P E R

the other o ne o n th e j ump J ack l eveled h i s r ifl e .

and to o k a care ful si de aim at the breast o f one o f the


cats which stood facing him O n th e c rack o f the
, .

gun the o ne h e had fired at fell over whi le the o ther ,

j umped h igh i n the a i r and when i t struck the gr o und


,

aga in sto o d looking to s ee whence the noise had come .

I t lo o ked only fo r an instant fo r th en Hugh s gun als o ,


Spoke and the ani mal fell o ver


,
.

Well s ai d Hugh as he rel o aded hi s gun


, ,
I ,

wouldn t have looked fo r those two bob cats in such a



-

place a s th i s I reckon thei r h ides are not wo rth


.

much but they might make you a pai r o f shaps s o n ;


, ,

let s go o ver and get them and see what it is that they


were eating .

Walking o ve r t o th e place they f o und that the b ob ,

cats had been de v ou ring th e ca rcass o f a l i ttle sp o tted


f awn .



Look the r e n o w sa i d H u gh ; that s th e s ort
, ,

o f w o rk thes e fellows a re at day i n and day o ut all

the yea r r o und O f c o urse a fter a wh ile the fawns


.
,

get t oo big and Shy for them to tackle but these b o b ,

cats are all the t i me kill ing someth ing that o ught to
be allowed t o l iv e I suppose that eve ry tw o o r t hree
.

days for th e next mo nth o r tw o each o f these cats w i l l


k ill a y o ung deer o r a young antel o pe o r maybe a
, ,

young elk That w o uld make twenty head O f youn g


.

game animal s t o a cat each summer It s m ighty luck y .



that there a i n t any mor e of those fell o ws i n the mo un

ta ins th an there is H e st o oped o ve r and looked at
.

the h ea d o f the lynx h e had Sh o t and then at the o ne ,

that had fallen t o J ack s gun The latter was sh o t ’


.

th rough th e neck and showed a small h o le whe r e the


bullet went i n and a la rge o ne where it cam e o u t The .

ly nx h e had ki lled had only o ne bullet hole i n its neck ,

the ball ha v i ng entered its mouth and hav i ng kn o cked


o ut s om e o f i ts front teeth .

Y o u o u g ht t o sh o ot cl o se r so n h e said t o J ack , , .
A BI G B EAVE R M EAD O W 10 7

Eve ry hole cut i n a skin takes a little o ff its value .


You might remember this .

Y e s Hugh I know I ought t o have shot i t t hrough


, ,

the head bu t th e range was short and I w as a li tt le


,

a frai d t ha t i f I fired at its hea d I might o vershoo t .



Well sa id Hugh
,
o f course yo u m ight have ,

d o ne so and at the same time you ought t o know how


,

to hold your gun S O tha t you w ould know j ust where


the bulle t would hi t at every range from twen t y ya rds

up t o two hund red .


Well sa id Jack
,
I hav e been p retty lucky w ith
,

my shoo t ing bu t y ou know t ha t I ca n t shoo t like yo u


, ,

Hugh ; and I don t beli eve I ever w ill be able to
'

N onsense s aI d Hugh , \Vhen you once know .

your gun tho roughly provided i t s a good o ne yo u ,


can shoo t j us t where yo u want t o and j ust a s well a s ,



any man al ive .


Well sa id Jack
,
I ll t ry t o be mo re ca re ful
,
“ ’

a fter t h is Lo rd know s I wan t to be a good shot but


.
, ,

you can never make m e bel ieve that I ll eve r learn t o ’

s h oo t a s well as yo u do Hugh , .


Y e s you w ill sa i d Hugh No w le t s see w hat ’

.
, , ,

w e can d o w i t h these b o b ca t s s o n and t hen go o n a -


, ,

l ittle further and find out som ething about h o w these



beaver down here a re l iving .

Hugh t o ok from h is pocket a buckskin string and


t i ed the t w o cats toge t her Jack climbed up am o ng .

so m e st o ut w i llow stem s and by hi s w eight bent them


d o wn to with in five o r si x feet o f the ground and then ,

H ugh hung the cats across them When Jack cam e .

down the stems rose nearly to thei r f o rme r height and


left the lynxes suspended w ell o ut o f reach o f any
p rowl ing animal Then the two went o n . .

A S t hey walked o n over the mead o w where the th ick



grass s t ood knee high t he ground becam e more and ,

more moist unti l p resently th e water q uite covere d


,

t he soil.
10 8 JAC K ,
THE Y OUN G T RAPP E R

We must lo o k o u t here so n sa i d H ugh ; w e , ,



may strike bad places anywhere and must g o ca refully .

P resently they were stopped by a d i tch tw o o r th r ee


feet w i de i n which a few i nches o f wate r seemed t o
,

stand Hugh stepped ac r o ss i t fi nding th e bank o n


.
,

the o ther Si de firm enough and Jack j umped a fter h i m ,


.

“ ”
Th i s sai d Hugh, i s one o f th o s e ditches that ,

I was telling yo u about that the beave r dig to float


thei r feed d o wn t o the ir p o nds I f w e could follow i t .

back to the b rush w e w o uld fin d that the w i ll o ws all



al o ng it had been cut O ff .

A l i ttle beyond thi s they c a m e t o a place where the


water w as deepe r and where the mud under th e water
w as s o ft and he r e they stopped and turning up the
,

strea m foll o wed a s nea rl y as they could the edge o f


,

the O l d pond S tanding i n th e grass o ut where th e


.
,

wate r was deepe r Hugh p o inted o ut a number o f ,

l i ttle m o un d s o vergr o wn w ith gras s and low w ill o ws ,

whi ch he told Jack were o l d and l o ng deserted beaver -


h o uses I f we c o uld get o ut t o them he sai d w e
.
, ,

sh o uld find under that b rush a soli d f oundation o f


sticks and mud Those h o uses w ill last fo r a long .

time fo r as th e st i cks a r e kept w et all the time they


,

d o n t r ot but j ust bec ome wate r s o ake d and w i ll last


,
-


prett y nearly fo reve r .

The grass th e mu d a n d wate r and the fre q uent


, ,

detours they had to m ake made thei r progress up


strea m sl o w but at length they came t o a grass grown
,
-

wall a f oo t o r tw o h i gher than the rest o f the ground ,

and when he s aw that Hugh ga v e an excla m at i on o f ,

satis faction .


No w

he sa i d , I think w e l l have bette r go i ng
,
.

Th i s y o u s e e i s an old dam and the chances a re w e


, , ,

can get on i t and c ross the stream an d o n the other ,

side where the b O t t o m is na rrowe r w e shall have


, ,

bette r go ing It tu rned out j ust as h e had sa id


. .

The dam th o ug h s o ft i n places w as generally so firm


, ,
1 10 J ACK ,
THE Y O UN G TRA P PE R

H ugh away ove r there under the bank What i s


, .

that swimming ? O f c o u rse i t m ay b e a duck but ma y , ,

i t n o t be a bea v er ?
H ugh l oo ked ca reful l y and presently the O bj ect ,

wh ich w as swimming passed a little bay s o that i t w as


dist i nctly seen a s a s m all r o und Obj ect That s a , .


beaver s o n sai d H ugh
, ,
Y o u can s ee fo r yoursel f .

that it i sn t a duck and the o nly o ther thing it coul d


b e w o uld b e an o tte r o r m usk rat It i s to o b ig fo r .

a m uskrat and it doesn t seem lik e an otte r There ’


.

a r e beave r down there and what s more they haven t ,


,

been di sturbed fo r a long time or els e they w o uldn t ,


be o ut swimming a r o und l ike that i n th e heat o f the


day L et s go down and take a loo k a r o und ; but
.

keep q uiet ; don t make any qui ck mo t i ons and what


e v er you s e e d o n t fi re you r gun I f there a r e any


,

.


beaver there w e want t o get some o f them .

The two wa lked sl o wl y d o wn t o ward the d am ,

taking advantage O f whatever l i ttl e c ov e r there w as i n


the way o f i nequal ities o f the gr o und o r o f w i llow
b rush Down cl o se to the w ater s edge grew a go o d
.

many wi llows and they were thus able to get q uite


,

close to th e dam and S itt i ng d o wn there they watched


,

the water For a l o ng time a s it seem ed t o J ack it


.
, ,

wa s absolutely st i ll and th en wh i l e h e w as star i ng as


, ,

hard a s he coul d at th e farther bank and the place


where the d am met i t H ugh t o uched h i m and made a ,

li ttl e moti o n w i t h h is head and J ack following the , ,

d i rect i on o f h i s c o mpani o n s eyes s aw not mo re than ’

, ,

twenty fiv e ya rd s o ff tw o beave r swimm ing down t o


-
,

wa rd the da rn each w i th hi s head Sl ightly turned t o


,

o ne S i de and each d ragg i ng a fter him a green stick


,

about th ree o r f o ur feet l o ng The two animal s cam e .

o n down to the da m and without th e slightest s u sp i ,

ci on that they were being watched crawled o ut o f ,

the water d ragging thei r sticks a fte r the m When


,
.

th ey le f t t h e water the y w e r e s o c l o s e t o the wat c hers


A B I G B EA V E R M EAD O W I I I

that they were h idden from them by th e dam and j ust ,

what they were doing could not be seen Jack touched .

Hugh and when he bent down his head whi spered t o


, ,

him ,
Couldn t w e crawl up a l itt le closer and watch


them ? Hugh Shook hi s head A few moments later .

the two beaver en t ered the wa t e r aga in and swam o ff


up t he pond .When they had disappea red Hugh
touched Jack and turning about t hey crept away
, ,

among the W illows in the di recti o n from which they


had j ust come .

When they had left the dam some w ay behind them ,

Hugh stopped and sa id to Jack No w let us g o o n , ,

up t his pond and t ry to s e e w here t hese beaver are


,

l iving and w here t hey re w orking Keep out O f sight



.

as much a s you can I don t wa nt t hem t o know t hat


.

there a re any people about I t looks to me as i f .

nobody had been t rapp i ng here fo r years and as i f ,

w e ha d s t ruck some t hing good No w come o n I .


, ,

want t o walk fast and find out all I can to night and -
,

then w e ve g o t to get back t o t he camp a s quickly a s



w e can . They hu rried along up t he s t ream Hugh ,

looking ca re fully a t the w illo w s and aspens along t h e


border O f t h e mea dow and some t i mes going down
,

toward the edge o f t he pond The y c rossed a numbe r .

o f places where b ranches som e o f t hem quite large


, ,

had been d ragged over th e ground bu t H ugh c o n ,

tented himself w ith saying t o Jack You s e e these , ,

beave r a re working al l along here and they have t o ,



g o q uite a l it t le w ay fo r thei r food .

The beaver pond w as quite a long o ne but at la st ,

they reached i t s head H ere they came upon a gam e


.

tra i l which s eemed t o lea d back across th e stream an d ,

turned into it in t he hop e that it might lead them t o


the other side F ro m o ne high point above the pond
.

they got a good V iew o f its whole len gt h and Hugh ,

pointed o u t half a dozen grayish brown Obj ects ra ised


two o r three f eet above the water s surface wh i ch he ’

,
1 1 2 JA C K , THE Y O UN G T RA PP E R
t ol d Jack were beave r h o uses It may be son he .
, ,

sa i d , that w e ll have t o b ring o u r o utfit across an d


“ ’

camp up at the head o f th i s pond It s t o o fa r fro m .



o u r present camp fo r us t o trap here c o nveni ently .

The game tra i l led them ac r o ss the wi de stream


v alley by a good ha rd road At only o ne point was , .

i t deep and muddy and j ust here by g oo d luck they ,

f o und an o l d c o tt o nwo o d t r ee felled l o ng ag o by the ,

beavers which b ri dged the bad place


,
.

O nce o n the o ther s i de o f th e v alley they t u rned ,

sharply d o wn st r ea m and a f te r a long walk r eached , ,

the game trai l b y which they had cr o ssed i t ea r l ier i n


the da y They went down th i s until they cam e to th e
.

place where the lynxes had been hung up and gett i ng ,

these the y went bac k t o ca m p r ea c h in g i t j u st a bo ut


, ,

s u n d own .

W ell sa i d Hu gh I fee l as i f w e d had qui te a ’


, ,

wa l k I gues s y o u a r e r eady f o r s u ppe r a re n t y ou


.
,

,

so n ?

Y o u bet I am sa i d J a ck ; but the first th i ng I


,

want to do i s t o shed these r ubbe r b oo ts They see m .

t o me the heavi est th ings I e v e r had o n m y feet and ,

I belie v e I ve got th ree or f o ur bl isters from walking


i n them I d r athe r g o ba ref oo t than wea r thes e


.


aga i n .


Don t y o u b el i e v e i t s o n sa i d Hugh

Y o u ll , , .

be m ighty glad o f them b oo ts bef o re many days now , .

I expect befo re long t o ha v e you wall o w i n g a ro und in



the mud an d wate r l i ke a te rr ap in .
1 1 4 JAC K ,
THE Y O UN G TRA P PE R
wouldn t l et my h o rse d r i nk at first and j ust wetted

my head w ithout d rinking but that Indian s at d own ,

o n the bank and bo rrowed my quart cup and drank i t

seven times f ull whi le h e was s itting there and then ,

h e wa s Sick Lo rd i how s ick he w as When my ho rse


-
.

had cooled o ff I let h im drink and then w e crossed the ,



rive r and camped o n the other s i de .


We l l why d i d y o u make that l o ng r i de
,
? asked
J ack .

W e ll sa id H ugh w e had gone down fr o m the


, ,

old Pawnee agency to take back south some horses


that had been stolen and when w e were com ing back ,

we passed th r o ugh some white settlements and the ,

white men being new to the country and not knowing ,

anything ab o ut Indians wanted to kill my people and ,

a rrest me I ha d all I could d o t o get the bunch


.

th r o ugh w ith o ut anyb o dy getting hurt and to keep ,

o u t o f troubl e mysel f but I finally d id it and when w e , ,

g o t o ut o f the settlement I told the Indians that w e d ’

all better make fo r hom e and that w e d better separate ,


i n do i ng it Thi s Ind i an S un Chief and I came along


.
, ,

togethe r They all g o t i n finally w ithout any m or e


.


tr o uble .


When w as that Hugh ? a sked Jack , .


Why sai d Hugh that was i n 6 7 o r 68 I think
, ,
’ ’
,
.

It w as j ust a fter the ra il r o ad had passed thr o ugh


E astern Nebraska .

By th i s tim e supper was o ver and th e d ishes wa shed ,

and though Hugh and Jack were ti red i t hardly seemed


tim e to go to bed .

I w ish Hugh sa i d Jack that y o u would tell


, , ,

m e something ab o ut what w e s aw to day and s o me -


,

thing m o re ab o ut the way th e beavers l i ve .

S ure sai d Hugh ; I ll tell you all I know but


,
“ ’
,

that i s not much yet as f a r as what w e s aw to day ,


-

goes We found a dam and some houses where I a m


.
, ,

su r e the re a re q uite a number o f beaver mayb e


, ,
INDIAN B EAVE R L O R E 1 1 5
twenty fiv e o r th i rty and maybe m o re and from what
-
, ,

w e s aw I am pretty sure t hat t hey a re gentle and


,

unsuspicious We ought to be able to ge t some o f


.

them but until we ve looked about more I can t tell


,
’ ’

much What I th ink w e d be t ter do i s spend a day o r


.

tw o more p rospecting especially on thi s Si de o f the ,

creek and then we ll move camp according to what


w e s e e and then go to work t o set some t raps


,
Yo u .

sa w enough t o day to ge t s o me i dea o f h o w t he beaver


-

l ive Y o u s aw an Old dam and a new o ne and yo u


.
,

s aw some houses D i d y o u ever s ee a muskrat h o use


.


back Eas t ?
” ’
Yes sa i d J ack I ve seen a g oo d many
, , .


Di d yo u ever see o ne Opened ? a sked Hugh .

N O I never d id ,
sa id Jack , .

Well n o w a musk ra t and a beaver are p retty


, ,

close rela t ions I take i t They l ive in much t h e same


,
.

w ay and bui ld houses that a re a good deal al i ke


,
Of .

course a musk rat doesn t build dams and a muskra t s


,

,

tai l i s flattened from si de t o Side wh i l e t he beaver s


tai l i s fla t tened fr o m above downwa rd bu t i n many .

ways t hey a re a good deal alike They both l ive i n .

the i r houses during the win t e r and i f t he y re d riven ,


from thei r houses t hey s w i m under t he wa t e r to som e


place whe re there s an a i r hole in the ice and where ’
-

they can put up thei r noses to breathe O f course .


,

both beaver a nd muskrat must have a i r A muskrat .

builds h is house by heaping up mud and reeds and


grass in a Shallow pond at a di stance from the bank .

The beaver builds his by heap ing up the sam e sort o f


stu ff only bigge r that i s t o say s ti cks and brush an d
, , ,

mud in a shallow pond away from the bank Each .

so rt o f house ha s in i t one o r more rooms w ith a k in d


o f a bench all round the walls where the animals S it

o r sleep and with a hole som ewhere nea r the m iddle


,

o f the flo o r leadi ng down through the bottom O f the

h o use and o ut i nt o the Open water I have seen b ea v e r .


1 1 6 JAC K ,
THE Y O UN G T RA P P E R
houses opened G ene r ally they have o nly o n e b ig
.
,

r o om but s o metimes a big h o use w i ll ha v e tw o o r


,

th ree rooms i n i t an d each r o o m has a sepa r ate pas


,

sage O u t into the wate r I th i nk that perhaps se v e r a l.

fam il ies tak e part i n building such a b i g h o use as that ,

and each f am i ly has i ts separate h om e .

Bea v er y o u kn o w d o n t always liv e i n h o uses


, ,

.

There s a ki nd that peop l e call bank beave r and the y



,

j ust d i g a h o l e i n the bank u nder water wh ic h sl o pes ,

u p a l ittle and finally gets ab ov e the level o f the water ,

and the r e they dig o ut qu i te a g oo d s i z ed roo m n o t -

s o v ery fa r unde r gr o und Th es e bank bea v er l i v e .

f or the mo st part i n rive r s or i n natural lakes and as ,



a r u le they d o n t b uild any da m s They are j ust l ike .

any o ther beave r but I expect they l i v e i n the wa y


,

that i s handi est t o the m .


Yes sa i d J ack ;
, a d apt the m se lv es t o the i r en

v i ro nment

as Uncle Ge o rge says
, .

” ’
Yes I reck o n that s it
,
repl i e d H ugh But , .

t ho s e w o rds are a t ri fl e t oo lo ng f o r me to un d erstand .


No w H ugh went o n
,
th i s r oom that the bank
,

b ea v e r liv es i n i s q uite a big o ne mayb e fou r feet or ,

so ac r oss w i th a sort o f bench o r shel f all r o und i t


, ,

w he r e the beaver S it and sleep and o f c o u rse w i th th e , , ,

water i n th e m iddle where the tunnel that they ha v e ,

dug c o mes up int o the room Us u ally there s a gr o wth .


o f w i ll o w s o r o ther brush on th e ground ab ov e i t and ,

q u i te a th i ckness o f earth so that there s n o dange r ,


o f any an im al that walks a r o und on the gr o und puttin g


h i s f o ot th ro ugh int o the room O f c o u r se these h o les .
,

a r e usually dug S O that the m o uth s o f the m are always


u nde r water and s o that the wate r always stands a s
nea r as p o ss ible at the same level but i f a b ig floo d ,

com es al o ng these bank bea v ers s o met i mes get d r o wned


,

o u t and have t o lea v e the i r h o mes and sit a ro und o n


,

the ba nk and i n the brush wa iting f o r the wate r t o


g o d o wn I rememb
. e r o n c e qu ite a n u mbe r o f yea r s ,
1 1 8 J ACK ,
THE Y O U N G T RAPP E R
that I sta rted d o wn to g o to Berthold and a s I ,

traveled down the river about th e first th i ngs that I


began to s ee were beave r sitting around o n the banks
and o n dri ftwood stupi d and confused and no t kn o w
, ,

ing enough to j ump into the water when I came al o ng .

O f c o u rse I began to kill them shooting them through


, ,

the head and I soon s aw that I had a big j o b o n my


,

hands and that I could ki ll more i n hal f a day than


,

I c o uld sk i n in two o r th ree days B esi des that I had .


,

been o ut some t i me and was Short o f ammunition .

What I d i d was to ki ll i n the morning what beaver I


c o uld sk i n i n the rest o f the day and for two o r three ,

days I was kept m ighty busy and w o rking ha rd late ,

int o the n i ght Then the rive r went down and the
.

beaver d i sappea red all going back i nto the i r holes


,

aga i n I supp o se I mad e qu ite a b it o f m o ney o n that


,
.

trip and i f I had had a man w ith m e t o ski n all th e


,

time I could have got tw ice as m any as I did mayb e ,

three times as many I th ink i f I d had a helpe r I .


c o uld have killed o ne hund red and twenty fiv e beaver -

w ithout trying ve r y ha rd I v e o ften thought i f a m an .


c o uld go down the Little M i ssouri i n a boat at such a


time and with one o f these l ittle pea r i fles h e co uld
, ,

get an aw ful l o t o f fur .


But I d o n t understand Hugh inqu i red J ack , , ,

h o w the bea v er let y o u c o m e ri gh t up t o them and



sh oo t them .


Well sa i d H ugh O f c o urse I d i dn t walk r i ght
, ,

u p t o them making plenty o f no ise ; I went as quietly


,

a s I could and shot a s carefully as I could but the ,

beaver seemed to have lo st thei r w its They w eren t .


Shy and watch ful as bea v er most always a r e The y


,

.

j ust s at there i n the rai n and lo o ked m iserable .


Dea r me c o mmented Jack ; i f y o u c o uld find
,

beaver a s pl enty as that only a f ew years ag o what ,

i m m ense numbers o f them there m ust have been in



t he O l d times .


Ye s sa i d H ugh
, i t s wo n d e rful to th i n k o f it
,
“ ’
,
I N DIA N B EA V E R L O R E 1 1 9

of cours e and yet yo u must remember that all th e


,

regula r trapping had stopped more than t w enty years


befo re tha t and tha t i t w as only once i n a whi le a
,

man came along and se t some t raps and even t hen h e ,

didn t make a business o f t rapping H e got j ust a few



.

beaver and t hen wen t on And it s wonderful how


quickly any sor t o f wild animal inc reases i f the y re let ’

alone I believe that yo u m ight t rap o u t all the


.

beaver except o ne pai r from a s t ream a nd then leave


, , ,

that stream alone fo r twen t y yea rs and go back there


and y o u d find j us t as man y beave r there as there


were the firs t t ime yo u v is i ted i t .

That brings up ano t he r th ing Hugh that I wanted , ,



t o ask yo u about sa i d Jack H o w many young
, .

ones do the beave r have ?



I th ink replied Hugh that they have fou r and
, , ,

maybe some t imes Six I know yo u take any place .

W here there a re th ree o r f o u r beave r houses and i f ,

you can go there and watch t h em and the beaver a re ,

no t t o o s h y you ll s e e an aw ful lot O f ki tt ens playi ng



,

a round a t t he right t im e O f t he day I don t believe .


that t he beave r breed un t il t hey a re t w o yea rs o l d b e ,


~

cause more t ha n once I v e seen w hat I t ook to be o ne ’

fam ily wh ich consi sted o f t w o Ol d Ones fou r or fiv e


, ,

nearly a s big a s t h e old ones and four o r five only hal f ,

grown That makes me t h ink t ha t t he young ones stay


.

with t hei r parents un t i l they a re consi derably more


than one yea r Old but when t he young ones a re about
,

full grown I expect the o l d ones d rive them O ff


,
.

Beaver a re pretty m ean ; they re great thi ngs to fight ’

among themselves and I v e seen many a o ne all scarred


,

and cut about his h ead and neck and shoulders where ,

he d been fighting w i t h another one After the full



.

gro w n ones are driven o ff by thei r pa rents I reckon ,

they sta rt out and eithe r build themselves h o uses so m e


w here nearby o r perhaps go o n up o r down the stream
, ,

and eith er j oin some other c o lony o r build a dam f or ,



them selves .
1 20 J ACK ,
THE Y O UN G T RA P P E R

I don t understand Hugh h o w i t i s that t h e


, ,

beaver kno w enough to build these d ams wh i ch a r e



strong enough t o hold back the water i n these c r eeks .

Well s o n I don t bel i eve that I can help y o u o ut


, ,

a b i t All I kn o w i s that the beaver d o it and that


.
, ,

thei r dams are strong and hold back the water and ,

that i f y o u g o and break down a dam s o as to let th e ,

wate r run o u t o f the pond th e beave r w i ll come down ,

that night and mend the dam and th e next morning ,

y o u ll find the pond full o r nearly full S omehow o r


, .

o ther they understand j ust how to put together sticks


,

and stones and mud S O that the dam w ill hold S ome .

times the dam runs straight across the creek sometimes ,

i t curves a l ittle downward that i s t o s ay the hollow , ,

o f the da m l o oks up the stream ; s o metimes i t curves a


l i ttle the o ther w ay s o that the hollow o f th e da m ,

lo o ks down th e stream Y o u d th i nk that thi s w as t h e .


strongest w ay t o build and i t has seemed t o me the ,

dam s built i n that shape a re usually found o n t h e


strongest running streams but I can t be sure about it ,

,

because I don t know that I ever took particular n o tice



.

Anyh o w I know that all peopl e that I ve eve r seen


,

Indians and whites al i ke thin k that the b ea v e r is ,



s mart .

I don t w o nder sa i d J ack



and now I r eme m , ,

be r he went on
,
that the Blackfeet have a l o t o f ,

beliefs about the b eaver They th ink h e s st ro n g .


m ed i ci ne .

S ure they d o sa i d H ugh ; they have l o ts o f b e


, ,

liefs about it and they think i t s o ne o f the greatest


,


animal helpers .

I know they d o sa i d J ack I remembe r now , .


,

that o ne tim e Jo e took m e to a ceremony where o ld



I ron S hi rt unw rapped a beaver bundl e I d i dn t .

k now whethe r I would be allowed to see i t but Jo e ,



asked I ron S hi rt and h e told me to come I didn t ,
.

u nderstand what it was all about b ut the y unwrappe d ,


1 22 JACK ,
T HE YOU N G T RAPPE R
first ene m y that they m et and sca l ped h im an d th i s , ,

w as the first time scalps were ever taken Th i s gave .

the p oo r b o y great c redit and s o on a fter h e w as abl e ,

t o m a r ry th e beauti ful g i rl and t o b ec om e a h e a d ,



w a rr i o r and l ater a big ch ief
, .

That s a p retty go o d sto ry H ugh sa i d J ack


, , .

Yes replied Hugh i t s a p retty g oo d st o ry b u t


, ,
“ ’

i t i s li ke a good ma ny o f th o s e Indian stori es which


often have f o r thei r hero some p oo r m iserable y o ung ,

fell o w wh o being helped by s o m e animal hi s dream —



, ,

they c all t comes o ut all ri g ht and ge t s the th i ng


i ,

that he wants .

O f course th e B l ac k feet H ugh went o n


, ha v e , ,

a great deal o f r espect fo r the p o wer o f what the y ca ll


- —
th e unde r wate r people S uye t uppi I r eck o n y ou v e .


heard ab o ut them .


Yes,
replied Jack they are pe o pl e and an im a l s
,

that l ive at the bo tt o m o f lakes and strea m s and hav e ,

great powe r .


That s i t sa id H ugh ,
B u t i t i sn t t h e Black fe et .

a lo ne that have these strong beli efs ab o ut the bea v e r .

I guess all Indians are al ike i n the w ay they lo ok at


these animals I kn o w th e Pawnees and Cheyennes
.

feel the same way B o th tr i bes ha v e queer st o r i es


.

ab ou t them I reck o n I ne v e r to l d y o u ab o ut o ne th i ng
.

that i s sa i d t o ha v e happen e d t o a y o ung Cheyenne


man a l o n g t i m e ag o .


I do n t r e m e m be r i t i f y ou ha v e H ug h What

,
.


w as i t ?
Well s a i d Hu gh
, i n anc i ent t im es th e Ind i an s
, ,

used t o k ill l o ts o f bea v er They l iked the meat and .


,

they used t o m ake ro bes o f th e h ides In th o se days .

they had n o steel traps and th e only w ay that they ,

c o u l d get bea v er wa s either t o sh oo t them w ith thei r


a r r o w s o r to tea r d o wn the dams and when the wate r ,

had ru n o ff t o get th em o ut o f thei r h o uses It w as


, .

a go o d d eal o f work t o pull dow n t he h o use s and t hey ,


I NDIA N B E A VE R LO R E 1 23

used t o t ra i n small d o gs to g o i nto the holes i n the


houses and wor ry the beaver unti l they would get mad
and chase the l ittl e dog o u t through the mouth o f the
passage w ay and th ere the Indian would be wa iting
,

with a club to knock th e beaver o n the head S om e .

times howeve r the beave r woul d not come o ut fa r


, ,

enough to be h it and then they d have to g o int o the


,

house and k ill them there o r pull t hem out ,


.

Once a par t y o f people had t o rn down a da m and


killed a numbe r o f beave r fro m t he houses B ut o ne .

man w as wo rking at a house and couldn t get t h e ,


beaver o u t o f it H i s dog would go in and ba rk but


.
,

the beave r w ould not com e o u t t o where the young


man could ki ll him ; s o the young fellow go t down and
crawled i n t o t h e pa ssageway and presen t ly got close ,

enough to t he beave r S O t ha t h e could ge t hold o f i t s


foot H e wa sn t st rong enough to pull i t o u t so he

.
,

backed o u t o f t he hole and call ed to a woman o n the


bank to bring h i m a rope Wh en She had b rought i t.
,

he crawled in t o t h e hol e agai n and t ied i t to th e beaver s ’

foo t and t hen came o u t and t h ree o r four people began


, ,

t o pull o n th e rope s o a s t o haul t he beave r into t he


,

dayligh t H e came very slowly moving fo rw ard only


. ,

a short di s t ance and t hen hold ing on but a t last they ,

began to s ee some t hing coming and presently when , ,

t hey had pulled thi s thi ng to t he mou t h o f the hol e they ,

w ere as t oni sh ed and fr i gh t ened to see that instead o f


being a beaver i t was a queer l i tt le old white man
whom they were pulling o u t by the rope ti ed to one o f
his legs When they saw what t hey had at the end o f
.

the rope they were all S O frightened that m o st the m


,

ran away ; but the young ma n wh o had ti ed o n the


rope , before running away went down t o the beave r ,

house and took t he rop e o ff the Old man s leg SO that ’

he might be free again Then he cl imbed up o nt o.

the bank and hung the rope o n a t ree and mad e a ,



p raye r and we nt awa y h im self
, .
1 24 JAC K , THE Y O UNG TRAPP E R

What d o y o u supp o se i t was they s aw H ugh ? ,


!

sa i d J ack .

Bless y ou so n I have n o mo re i dea than yo u have


, , .

I reckon that what they s aw was a beaver but o f ,

c o urse that w as n o t what they thought they saw .

You l l find l o ts o f Ind i ans that i magine that they v e


’ ’

seen th ings or that th ings have happened to them that


,

y o u and I would s ay couldn t possibly have been seen ’

,

o r c o uldn t p o ssibly have happened The Indians have .

got pretty str o ng imaginati ons and then aga i n maybe



they have eyes t o s ee th i ngs that we w h ite f o lks can t
see I have seen a whol e lot o f quee r things in Indian
.

camp th i ngs that I couldn t explain things that I ve


,

,

seen w ith my own eyes yet that most wh ite pe o ple ,



wo uld s ay were j ust my imagination .

I know Hugh ; you tol d me ab o ut s o me o f th o s e


,

things and o f course I can t s ee how they c o uld po s


, , ,

s ib l y have happened and yet becaus e y o u s aw them I ,

bel ieve that they did happen .

O f course s o n you kn o w that I th ink that they


, ,

happened ; but o f c o u rse m ayb e I m ight have been


, ,

fo oled ab o ut them .


Well to g o b ac k t o the b eaver he went o n ;
, ,

m o st all Indians that I ever had anyth i ng t o do w ith


bel i e v e i n a big O l d white beave r that i s the chief o f all
beaver I guess nobo d y e v er s aw him but lots o f people
.
,

ha v e seen h im i n dreams especially in dreams where ,

they went to the l o dge o f all the beave rs That i s a .

dream that has come t o a good many men at least yo u ,

o ften hear sto r i es about people w h o have had the


d ream Thi s O l d wh ite beave r i s o f great p o wer H e
. .

kn o w s ab o ut eve rything that has happened and i f by ,

any chance h e doesn t kn o w about i t hims el f he calls ’

,

all the o the r beave r together and asks the m and it s ,

p retty sure that s om e o ne o f the m has s ome k n o wledge


about the matte r .

Y o u s e e the bea v e r a re scattered al l ove r i nhab it


, ,

all the wate r s and a r e act i ve and g oi ng ab o ut all


, ,
CH APTE R X II
P R OSP E CTI N G FO R FUR

I T w as n o t yet li ght next m orning when J a ck w as


awakened by a dull tapping n o t O ften repeated and a s , ,

h is S e nses gre w cleare r i t seemed to him that the


s o und was l ike that made by an animal stamp ing i ts
h oof o n th e gr o und H e crept silently o ut o f h is
.

blankets felt ab o ut fo r hi s cartri dge belt and gun and


, ,

when he ha d found b o th crept t o th e do o r H e h ad , .

hardly g o t there when he heard again mo re fa intly a , ,

stamp i ng o f a h oo f an d then a sn o rt wh ich h e k new


,

w as made by a dee r .

M eantime Hugh ha d awa k ened and r a i se d o n h is


, , ,

elbow w as watch ing J ac k The light w as stil l s o


, .

fa i nt that o b j ects c o uld hard l y b e di stinguished but ,

gra d uall y as th e eastern sky began t o flush an d th e


,

light c r ept up t o wa rd z enith J ack m ade o ut a dee r ,

standing fi fty o r s ixty yards away and lo o k i ng at t h e ,

tent and then hea rd rather than s aw it stamp i ts f oo t


, .

T w o o r three times h e put his rifl e t o h i s shoulder and


glan c ed along th e barrel but he could n o t yet s e e h is
,

fo r e s ight Two o r th ree t imes th e dee r stepped fo r


.

wa r d a littl e w ay an d then stopped and aga in stamped


, .

Evi dently th e tent Shining white i n the d im light of


,

t h e mo rn ing puzzled he r and she w as trying t o m ak e


, ,

ou t what i t was S he had never seen anything l ike


.

th i s bef o re As the l ight grew Jack c o uld s ee that i t


.
,

w as a small d o e probably a yea rl ing and j ust th e meat


, ,

they needed At length h e put hi s gun to h i s shoulder


.

again and found that he could see th e sights though ,

no t v e ry clea rly and d raw i ng a c o a rse sight and a imin g


,

1 26
P R O S P E CTI N G FOR F UR 1 27

lo w down at the brisket o f the animal wh i ch stood ,

facing him he pulled th e trigger The dee r sp rang


,
.

in the ai r and then turning ran sw i ftly toward the


, ,

brush and disappea red .


Get it ? asked Hugh a s Jack m o ved bac k o n h i s ,

bed and began to put o n h i s t rouse rs an d Sh o es .

I don t know sa i d Jack



the l ight w as t oo di m
, ,

fo r m e to s e e m uch I ought to have killed he r but I


.
,

could ha rdly see my S i gh t s I wouldn t be much sur .


prised though if w e were to find he r S he seemed t o


, ,
.

me to j ump a s i f s h e had been hit .

In a very few moments Hugh and Jack we re both


dres sed and wh il e Hugh began to k indle t he fire Jack
, ,

walked O ff i n the di rec t ion where th e dee r had last been


seen I t w as no w full day and before h e had gone
.
,

far the brill iant di sk o f the sun began t o Sh o w o ver


the eastern hori z o n .

The tracks were pla inly seen whe re th e deer h ad


Sprung i n t o the ai r and then t u rning ha d run swi f t ly
, ,

towa rd t he w i llows It w as easy to follow the tra il


.
,

but there w as no bl o od and thi s gave Jack rathe r a ,

feel ing o f chagrin f o r h e d id not l ike to feel that he


,

had mi ssed As h e went o n th e tracks were less


.

deeply marked i n the gr o und rathe r as if Jack — ,


thought the an ima l had recovered from its fright .

He had o nly j ust begun t o th ink ab o ut thi s when sud ,

d e nl y he almost fel l Over the deer l y ing I n front O f


him It had run ab o ut a h un dred ya rds Jack turned
. .

and l oo ked back toward the tent and at that moment


H ugh w h o had been putt i ng wood o n the fire turned
, ,

h is h ea d and looked towa rd h i s compan ion Jack .

waved h is hat as a S ign that h e had found the animal ,

and then began to p repa re i t t o take to camp It w as .

a young doe and quite fat and Jack felt quite pleased ,

that he had g o t so good a piece o f m eat It d id not .

take l o ng to prepare it for camp and as the animal wa s ,

sm all and th e distance sh o rt J ack t oo k i t by the ea rs


, ,
1 28 JACK , THE Y O UN G TRA P P E R

and eas i ly dragged it ov e r the sm oo th grass up t o the


camp .

Well sai d Hugh as he st oo ped o ver and felt o f


, ,

the ca rcass ,

that s g oo d A nice little white tailed ’
.
-

yearling and quite fat F r om n o w o n w e ve g o t t o kill


, .

buck s o r yearlings o r dry d o es for the o ld o nes that ,

a r e nursing thei r young w o n t be fit t o eat ’


.

’ ”
It s queer Hugh sa id Jack ,
I d idn t find a bi t , ,

o f bl oo d o n the trai l I j ust f o ll o wed the tracks and .


,

I was watching them s o cl o sely that I alm o st fell o ve r


the de e r at last The bullet entered th e b reast l o w.

d o wn and went thr o ugh the wh o le l ength o f the ani


m al and both where the bullet went in and where i t
,

cam e ou t the Ski n had Sl i pped t o o ne S ide so a s t o


,

cove r the hole in th e flesh O f c o urse She bled a lo t .


,

but n o t a drop o f i t came o ut o f her b o dy .

Yes that happens s o eve ry n o w and then i n th o se


,

sh o ts that g o th rough an animal lengthw ise and they re ,


especi ally likely t o happen i f th e animal w as stan d ing


when the Sh o t was fi r ed and then m akes a big e ff o rt ,

a fterward .

B reakfast w as near l y ready an d by the t im e J ack ,

ha d washed h i s hands Hugh had p o ured o u t the co ffee


and they b o th s at d o wn .

Well Hugh said J a ck


,
what a re w e g oi ng t o
, ,

do t o day
- ? S hal l we mov e o r shal l w e st o p he r e o ne ,

mo re night ?

I think sa i d H ugh that the best thing w e can
, ,

do i s t o take the saddl e h o rses and go on up the c reek



a few m i les o n th is s ide and prospect After we ve .

d o ne that w e can make up our m inds what is best to


,

be d o ne but i t s p retty certai n that w e w ill want to


g o o ver and camp two o r th ree nights by that p o nd



that we saw yesterday .


Yes sa i d Jack
,
I should think that w as s om e ,

th ing that we ought to do sure ,


.

It t oo k but a few m inutes to sk in the deer and hang


1 30 JA C K , THE YO UN G TRAPP E R
o ut o ver the p o nd There be f or e them wa s a lo n g .

dam which Jack w i th hi s exper i ence O f the day bef o re


,

fresh in h is m ind c o uld s ee had been recently w o rked


,

on . O ut i n the water were a numbe r o f th e hay stac k -

shaped h o uses o f the beaver and even w hile they were ,

lo o king to Jack s astonishment and del i ght a bea v e r


,

appea red o n o ne o f them carry i ng i n h i s m outh a ,

long wh ite peeled stick which he placed among others


, ,

o n the r oo f Jack looked at Hugh wondering i f h e


.
,

had s een th e beave r t oo and Hugh gave a l i ttl e motion


, ,

o f his h ead At two o r three points on the dam ani


.

m al s were at work beaver o f cours e but too fa r O ff , , ,

to be ce rtainly recognized Jack wi shed w ith all h is .

heart that he had brought h i s glasses .

F or nea rly an hour they s at there and then c rept ,

away as noiselessly as they had c o me apparently u n ,

observed by the animals .

When they ha d returned t o thei r h o rses J ack felt ,

that he m ight speak Wasn t that a p retty s i ght .


“ ’

Hugh ? h e sa i d I d o n t think I ever s aw anyt h ing


.

quite a s fine a s that I bel i eve i t would be a great .

deal mo re fun j ust t o get up close to these beaver and


watch th e way they l iv e than i t w il l be t o trap them ,

and kill them .

S O i t w o uld s o n sa id H ugh ,i f w e were j ust , ,

com i ng o ut f o r fun ; and I reckon it s p retty nearly as ’

g oo d fun fo r m e to watch them critte rs a s i t i s f o r yo u .

At the sa m e time I feel as i f w e needed so m e o f that


fur that is swimm i ng a r o und th ere and as i f w e were ,

going t o get it It ll be qu i t e a lo t of work but i t s
.

,

wo rk that w ill b e fa i rly well paid fo r .


Yes Hugh o f c o u r se you r e r i ght I want t o
, ,

.

trap s om e beave r and get s o me fur and e i ther take i t ,

home o r sell it ; but d i dn t we ha v e a g o od ti m e when ’

we were sitt i ng o u t there watch i ng those an i mal s ?


I tell y o u when that beaver crept up o n the ho us e
,

the re an d put that wh i te stick i n it s pla c e my hea rt ,
A B E A VE R A PPE A R E D W I T H A LO N G S T I C
K , W H IC H HE P L AC E D
W I T H O T H ER S O N T H E R o ma— P ag e 1 30
.
1 32 J ACK ,
THE Y O UN G TRAPP E R
h er cal f o r a comm o n c o w h i des hers You see al l
, .

these animals seem t o have that one insti nct When .

thei r y o ung ones a re v ery small and t o o weak t o run


fast o r f a r they hide them and the plan works well
, , ,

t o o fo r I guess it ca rri es most O f them through


,
That .

fawn that th o se tw o lynxes were eating the o ther day


was pr o bably either o ne that they stumbled o n by acci
dent o r else pe r haps o ne that had di ed fro m s o me sick
,

nes s They d o that so m etimes
. .

The sun w as o nly a coupl e o f h o u r s h i gh when they


t u rne d the ir h o rses and rid i ng out o n the p rai ri e , ,

gall o ped sw i ftly b ack to camp The straight r o ad and .

g oo d pace made thei r retu rn j ou rney see m m uch


s h or te r than i t had been in t h e mo rning .

S upper ov er they l o unged ab o ut the fi re on wh ich


, ,

J ack had piled s o much wood that it gave a b right and


c heer f ul bla z e Hugh was ev i dently thinking ove r
.

what he had seen during the day and maki ng up h is


mi nd about t o m o rr o w and Jack feel i ng la z y stretched
, , ,

o ut o n the g rou nd nea r th e fire and p r esently went to ,

Sl eep .

A little late r H ugh called t o h im an d sa i d R i se up , ,

s o n and let us talk o ver what w e a re go i ng to do .


W e (1 better settle that before w e g o t o bed .

J ack rubbed h i s eyes and s at up sleep i ly wh i l e H ugh ,

g o t o ut his t o bacc o and filled h is p i pe and then Sitting ,


c ross legged bef o re t h e fire and pu ffing o ut huge
w r eaths o f sm ok e h e sa i d t o J ack Now s o n there
, , , ,

a re plenty o f bea v er he r e and i f w e have any luck at ,

all we co ul d l o ad o ne h o rse j ust from thi s stream I .

d o n t know th o ugh whether it s going t o pay us t o


, ,

s pend weeks o f t i me sett i ng traps and skinn i ng beave r .

I think i t s w o rth wh ile f o r us to do s o me trapping and


g e t s o me fu r but I doubt i f it
,
s worth o u r wh ile to

sp en d th e wh o le su m mer d oi ng i t S uppose t o m o r .
-

ro w w e m ov e up cl o se t o that b ig pond that we f o und


t o da y and make ca m p the r e and then t rap u nti l we get
-
P R O S PECTI N G FOR FUR 1 33

t i red o f i t \V hen w e ve had as mu c h as w e want o f ’


th i s one place w e can move o n and g o som ewhere else


,
.

It i sn t qu i t e as i f w e w ere t ry ing t o make money


enough trapping t o car ry us Over the winte r You .

don t greatly need the money tha t the fu r w ould bring


and as fo r me I v e got my j o b and i t s no matter O f l i fe


,

,

and dea t h to get thi s fu r We re o u t here mainly fo r .


pleasure and fo r you to learn something about the


country and the ways o f t he things tha t l ive i n it
,
.

We a re free to do about a s w e please W hat do you .



think ?
Why Hugh repl ied Jack ,
that seems t o m e a , ,

good w ay t o look at i t Le t s t rap he re a s long as w e .


want to and t hen t ravel on and g o somewhe re else I


,
.

want to get up i n t o t he high mountains and I suppose ,

you do t oo \V e wan t t o have a l i tt l e hun t ing and t o


, .


s e e as much o f the coun t r y a s w e can .


All right s o n said H ugh w e ll l e t i t g o at
'

, , ,

that And to mo rrow mo rn i ng i n goo d season w e ll


.
-

move camp up the c reek I ll be glad t o get these


horses On t o fresh grass O f course t hey a re no t .


,

working to amount t o anyth ing and d o n t grea t ly need ’

the food bu t I ve so rt o f fo rmed t he habi t o f wanting


,


my horses always to have t he best t here i s going .


All right rej oi ned Jack ; t he firs t t hing when
,

w e get up to mo rrow I ll bring i n th e horses and saddle



-


them and i t w o n t take so very l o ng t o get sta rted
,

.


N o Hugh assented that s o ne go o d thing ab o ut
, ,

us w e travel p retty l ight and can go fast and fa r i f w e


,

have t o .

There w as a l ittle pause w hile Hugh knocked the


ashes o u t o f hi s pipe g o t hi s tobacc o and lighted the ,

pipe aga i n Then Jack sai d t o h im . Hugh there s , ,


o ne th i ng I want to as k you about ; h o w does i t c o m e

that these beaver here a re s o tame and are out swi m


m ing around in the water in the m iddl e o f t he day ?

I have always heard that i n O l d times i t was s o me


1 34 JAC K ,
THE YOU N G T RAPP E R
t i mes possible t o s e e beave r o ut at thei r w o rk i n th e
ea rly mo rning and agai n i n the even i ng but that du r ,

i ng the day they were always i n the i r holes I th o ught .

that the beaver w as a night animal and that o f late ,

yea rs S i nce it had been trapped and hunte d s o muc h i t


, ,

neve r cam e out at all i n th e d aytim e .

That i s something s o n that I can t unde r stan d at , ,


all : why we v e s een these beaver the w ay w e ha v e I



.

d o n t thin k I ever saw beave r acting j ust th is w ay


th o ugh I ve hea rd o f old men th o s e that were out here


trapping i n the early days sa y that i n th o se times ,

beaver were ab o ut all day l o ng They d i dn t talk as .


i f the beave r were a night an imal but as i f i t were ,

g oi ng about through the day j ust fo r example as , , ,

prai ri e dogs d o o r wh istlers o r others o f these gnaw


, ,

ing animal s that we commonly s ee I ve an i dea that .


i t s o nly S ince pe o pl e began t o hunt th e beaver that h e


has t o ok to working nights and sleep ing days but o f ,

course I d o n t kn o w anyth i ng about th i s ; that s j ust


’ ’

m y n o ti o n Anyhow fro m the way these beave r here


.
,

a re acting I Shoul d s ay that it was a long tim e s ince


,

th ey had been trapped o r di sturbed i n any w ay and ,

that seems queer f o r y o u s ee w e a re n o t v ery fa r fr o m


,

the rail r o ad and there a re a lways i dle pe o ple ly i ng


,

a round a place l ike La rami e peopl e that bel i ev e they ,

know how t o trap and wh o i f they knew o f a place , ,

l ike this w o uld think they c o ul d make the i r ev e rl ast


,

i ng fortune here I w o nder s om e o f th o s e fellows.

haven t found the place T h en o n the o ther hand



.
, ,

we re not s o very fa r from where the Utes r ange and ,

i t w o uld seem to m e only natu r al that s o me o f thei r


y o ung men might run acr o ss a place l ike th i s and try
to get the fur O f c o urse i f th ey had c o m e they
.
,

w o uld have made a scatterati o n o f these bea v er by tea r


i ng d o wn the dams and gett i ng as m any o f the animals
as they c o uld o ut o f the houses But n o thing has .

been dist urbed ; there s n o S i g n of w h i te peo pl e o r I n



1 36 J AC K ,
THE Y O UN G T RA P P E R
fossils that com e from the o lde r times have c hange d
i nto regular stone They a re j ust r ocks w ith the shap e
.


o f bones o r shells o r whatever i t may be .


Yes sai d Hugh I know ab o ut that b e c ause I v e
, , ,


seen a heap o f them They re j ust r o cks i n the shap e .


o f the di fferent things that they used to be .


Well sa id Jack anyh o w the ma i n th i ng i s that
, ,

i n that time when there w ere mastodons i n thi s c o un


try there w as also a big animal l ik e a bea v e r that
, ,

would weigh se v eral hundred pounds .


H e must have h ad fine fur sai d Hu gh but I , ,

reck o n i t would have b een powerful ha rd work settin g


traps f o r that fell o w Y o u d have t o have bea r traps .


t o catch h i m and i t s n o j oke t o s e t a bea r trap You
, .

s ay all they kn o w ab o ut h i m i s that they f o und hi s



bones ?

That s all sa i d J ac k Uncl e Geo rge sh o wed me
, .

a p i cture o f a skull o nce and I remembe r that i t w as ,

l o nge r than a wol f s skull and i t h ad two great big ’


,

gnawing teeth r each i ng dow n f r om th e fr o nt of t h e



J aw .

P o werfu l st r ange th i ngs there u sed t o be o n th i s


ea rth a l o ng t i me ag o sai d Hugh i n a m editative , ,

t o ne .


Yes i n d eed , answe r ed J ac k ,
and th i n k h o w ,

l i ttl e we any o f us kn o w ab o ut th o se things E v en


, ,
.

the s m a rtest men th o se w h o have given up all thei r


,

t im e t o study i ng these things d o n t seem t o kn o w mu ch ,


a bo ut those o l d times I kn o w it s aw ful easy t o ask .



the m q uesti o ns that they can t an swer ’
.

I s u pp o se a man o f that k ind doesn t want t o s ay


anyth i ng unless h e s dead su re it s so sa i d Hugh
’ ’
.
,

Li kely en o ugh h e s ma d e h is reputation by always ’


b ei ng r ight and h e s a frai d to make any guesses
,

.


M aybe that i s it sai d Jack but I remember one , ,

t i m e g oi ng t o New Haven w ith my uncle and we went ,

i nt o th e Peab o dy M useu m and o ne o f the p r o fess o rs ,


P R O S PECTI N G F O R FU R

there a M r M arsh took us ar o und and Showed us the


,
.
,

greatest lot o f bones yo u eve r saw H e could tell us .

a great many things ab o ut t he skele t ons and pa rts o f


skeletons t hat he Showed us but I know my uncle ,

asked hi m a great many questions about other th ings ,

and he would j ust laugh and say h e didn t kn o w any ’


th ing abou t it and nobody el se did , .



Well sai d Hugh ,
i t s each man to hi s trade ,

.

I suppos e I can hunt and trap and kn o w something


about animals and t hese p ro fessors work Over thei r
,

bi rds and thei r bugs and the i r b o nes S ome o f the .

stories they tell a re pretty hard to believe and yet I ,

reckon they a re all true .

O h I guess S O sai d Jack


, , .

The nex t mo rning be fo re dayl igh t had fa irly


broken Jack w as a foot a nd o n hi s w ay o u t to t h e
,

horses They were brought i n and t i ed up to t he


.

willows thei r sa ddl es pu t o n a nd ropes coiled picke t


, ,

pins got t o gethe r and all the va rious p rope rty o f the ,

camp w hich S O ea s i l y becomes sca tt ered ab o ut w as


, ,

c ollected befo re break fast was ready .

The bear Skin which had no w been d ry ing fo r th ree ,

o r four days w as t aken from t he ground and b rough t


,

into camp Hugh when he looked at it sai d that i t


.
, ,

w as in firs t cla ss c o nditi o n and had no t been burned


-

by th e s u n .

S ave all these pins s o n h e said w rap them up , , ,

i n a gunny sack ; they may be useful t o u s later o n and ,



m ay save us hal f a day s wh ittli ng ’
.


No w he sai d yo u take h o ld o f o ne si de o f th i s
, ,

h i de and I ll take hold o f the other and w e ll fold i t up


,

ha i r side in and make it small enough t o g o o n top o f


o ne of the packs It w on t frighten the horse SO much ’
.
,

n o w that it has l o st it s fresh smell ’


.

They folded the h i de a s H ugh had sa id and i t made ,

1 small flat package o f co nveni ent s iz e t o g o i n t h e


3
,

oad .
1 38 J AC K ,
THE Y O U NG TRAP P E R

A fter they had eaten thei r break fast Jack t o o k do wn ,

the tent and folded i t rolled the beds and g o t m o st of


, ,

the packs ready Hugh s ki tchen w as the last th i ng


.

to be p repared and then a fte r a general tightening o f


,

the saddles th e loads were lashed on the ho rses backs


,

and they se t o ut up th e creek J ack s last duty and .


o ne which h e perfo rm ed at eve ry camp w as to rid e ,

ca re fully about the fire and about w here the tent had ,

sto o d and look all o v er th e gr o und t o s ee whethe r any


, ,

thing had been l eft beh i nd .

I t was nearly n oo n when they reached th e new c a m p


ground A pretty spot raised well above the level o f
.
,

the strea m b o ttom w ith a b ig fri nge o f w illows t o


,

the west which w o uld giv e Shelte r fr o m any st o r m


,

rushing down the mountains and a l ittl e gr o ve o f cot ,

t o nw o o d s wh i ch made a pleasant Shade and woul d


furni sh fuel Along a ravin e wh ich emptied i nt o th e
.

b o tto m there grew a few box elde r trees .


Well Hugh th i s i s a good camp said J ack
, , , .


F irs t class r eplied Hugh all except the wate r
, , .

S uppos e you g o do wn i nto th e w ill o ws there and s e e


i f you can find a spr i ng There must be wate r right .

close by here but I haven t seen any ,



.

In a few m inutes Jack returned rep ort ing an ex c el ,

lent though small spring r i ght i n the edge O f the w il


lows close t o th e camp .

We o ught t o dig i t o ut so n an d make i t b i gger , , ,



i f w e a re g oi ng t o wate r t h e h or ses there rema rked ,

H ugh .

All right sa i d J ac k I l l d o that n o w


, ,

.

A fte r the tent had been put up tw o o f th e h o rses ,

picketed and d inne r eaten Hugh sa id t o Jack


, N ow , , ,

s o n i f you want to go O ff on a p rospecting tou r th i s


,

a fte rn oo n y o u bette r g o I am going to b e busy all


, .

the aftern oo n l ooki ng ov e r m y traps an d m a ki ng my



me d 1 c ine .
C H A PTE R X II I

A LI O N s LE A P

A C OO L b ree z e w as blow i ng d o wn f r om the mo unta ins ,

and although the s u n wa s warm i t w as not unc o mfort


ably h o t H ere an d the r e l i ttl e w isps o f sm o ke d r i fted
.

fr o m po i nts o n the m o untainside where s o m e o l d log


w as st i ll s mo ulder i ng b ut the fire a s a wh o le seemed
,

t o have been ext i ngui shed by the ra i n Away d o w n t o .

th e s ou th the mo u ntainsi des were all b lack an d fr o m ,

the borde r o f the burned c o untry great tongues o f the


sam e da rk c o lo r he r e and there stretched out i nt o the
.

green t i mber that cl o thed the unburned m o unta i ns i d e ,

sh o w i ng where the o n rushing flames had sc o r c hed th e


t o ps o f the p i ne trees ; but t o the n o rth o f t hi s the
ti m be r w as st i ll b rightly green .

Bef o re Ja c k had gone far the v alley grew na r ro we r


,

and the h ills o n eithe r s i de h igher O n h i s side o f t h e


.

strea m the blu ffs n o w d rew cl o se r t o th e w ill o ws and ,

we r e o ccas io nally b r ok en d o wn i nto Bad L and shapes ,

where n o grass gre w and whe r e th e cl ay wa s d eepl y


g u ttered by the ra in .

In the ra v ines wh i ch at sh or t i nte rv a l s b rok e th r o ugh


,

thes e steeper blu ffs grew huge o ld c o tt o nwoods not


, ,

v ery tall but th i ck and w i th gna r led tw isted branches


, , ,
.

Evidently at some seas o ns o f the yea r great quantities


o f water passed down th r o ugh thes e r avi nes fo r thei r ,

b e d s were deeply washed .

I n the valley and o n th e h i lls i des Jack s aw m any


antel o pe but there w as meat enough i n camp to l ast
,

them for a day o r tw o and it hardly seemed t o h im


,

wo rth wh il e t o ki ll anyth ing At least h e thought
.
, ,

i f I d o fire a sh o t I w ill wa i t until I have sta rte d
,

1 40

A L I ON S L EAP 1 4 1

back t o ward the camp so that I can carry the meat


,

w ith m e as I g o in .

As he went o n h e kept watching t he willows t o hi s


left thinking that at any t i me a whi t e ta il dee r might
,
-

appea r among them and h e kept an equally good look


,

o u t o n the blu ffs and up the rav ines to hi s right where ,

there w as always a poss ibil ity o f seeing a black tai l o r


even a mounta in Sheep .

He was standing l o oking up o ne o f these ravines ,

watching a d o e antelope that had been feed ing there ,

which having seen him w as tr ot ti ng O ff furthe r up the


, ,

rav i ne when with o ut t he sl igh t es t wa rning a s the d o e


, , ,

was passing under the branches o f a huge O l d c o tton


wo o d that grew o n the b o rde r o f t he w atercourse ,

somethi ng yellow sp rang o u t from the b ranches O f the


tree and descend ing o n the d o e st ruck her t o the
, ,

gr o und Although Sh e w as a long w ay o ff Jack could


.
,

hea r her bawl i n fright and h e ins t an t ly s aw that a


,

panthe r ha d been resting among the branches o f thi s


tree and had sprung a t t he d o e as s h e passed by
, .

The doe and the pan t he r w ere i n plain Sight a s he


st o od there but d ropping t o the ground h e crept sw i f t ly
,

t o a l i ttl e coule e which led down t o the b o ttom o f the


ravine and running down thi s he sta rted up th e


, ,

rav i ne as fast a s he c o uld The w atercours e w as .

narrow its sides steep and its bottom enti rely dry
, ,
.

The big cottonwood from wh ich th e panther ha d


leaped wa s the first one in the ravine and by watching ,

its branches h e coul d tell w hen it would be necessa ry


for h im t o begi n to g o cautiously i n o rder to creep up
and get a shot a t th e great cat F o r the most part .
,

the bed o f the ravine w as c o vered w ith sand over ,

which h e c o uld run no iselessly but every l ittle while h e ,

came t o a bed o f d ri ft pebbles and here h e felt obl iged


,

t o g o more Slowly Presently the towering cr o wn o f


.

the great c o tt o nw oo d came i n sight aga i n now ,

not m o re than seventy fiv e ya rds distant and J ack


-
,
1 4 2 J ACK ,
THE YOU NG TRAPPE R
began to look fo r a p l ac e where he could cl i mb up the
stee p banks o f the rav i ne to get a shot I n a mo ment .

mo re a l i ttl e s ide wash gave h im the Oppo rt u nity that


he s o ught and clambering up four o r five feet o f
,

broken d own clay he f o und h imsel f i n a coul é e wh i ch


-
, ,

furnished an easy way t o the level gr o und abo v e .

Taking advantage o f anothe r l ittle si de wash that cam e


i n he presently found h imsel f on th e level groun d
,

where th e cottonwood stood and looking th r o ugh t h e ,

sage brush he t ri ed to catch a gl impse o f the panthe r


, .

F o r a moment o r two he could s e e nothing o f it b ut ,

then something wh ite caught his eye and ra i s ing h is ,

hea d a littl e higher h e saw th e wh i t e breast and belly ,

o f the doe and the panther stretched o ut beside he r


,

w ith hi s teeth appa rently fixed i n her neck .


T h e panther s eyes w ere hal f closed almost as i f i t ,

were asleep and i t w as paying no attention t o i ts s u r


,

roundings Th i s t i m e Jack th o ught that he could try


.

t o make a cl o se shot and resting h i s elbow o n h is knee , ,

h e S ighted c a reful l y for th e panther s head and pulled ’

th e tr i gger The an i ma l di d not m o ve but when the


.
,

s mok e clea red away and J ack l oo ked again h e s aw


that the beast s head w as tu rned a little t o o ne side and

that i ts cheek was resti ng o n the doe s neck H e felt ’


.

p retty co nfident that h i s ball had g o ne where he w i shed


i t t o and taking two o r three loose cartr i dges i n h is
,

right hand h e r o se t o h i s knees and took a long stare


,

a t the panther S t i ll i t d i d n o t mov e and when a fter


.
, ,

a Sl o w app roach h e ha d com e c l ose t o i t he could s ee


, ,

j ust ov e r its eye a l ittl e red spot and ci rcling round ,

to th e othe r s ide h e saw a l a rger bleed i ng hole fro m


,

whi ch the hall had emerge d .

When he pulled th e panthe r away from the d o e


and tu rned her over t o l o ok at her h e saw that th e ,

cat must ha v e l eaped sh o rt fo r o n her hips were marks ,

o f fou r deep scratch es where th e sharp claw s o f one


paw ha d sunk i nt o th e antel o pe s sk i n and then o n he r ’

,
1 44 JACK ,
TH E Y O UN G TRAPP E R

o f pal e gray d o wn and feathe r s an d wh en h e h a d ,

parted th is with h i s finge rs h e s aw b e neat h i t hal f a ,


dozen sm o oth cream colored eggs , .

H e left t h e nest undi sturbe d an d tr ied t o p e e r


thr o ugh th e reeds t o get a lo o k at the duck wh ich was ,

now swimm ing about in the water call i ng excitedly .

P resently he g o t a g oo d glimpse o f it and saw that i t


was a female Shovele r duck A few steps further t o .


ward th e water s edge he found th e gr o und s o s o ft
and m i ry that he coul d g o no fu rther and d raw i ng
.
,

back h e walked towa rd the blu ff th r o ugh the ru shes


, ,

and bef o re he ha d gone fa r ha d found three m o re



duck s nests Thi s seemed t o be a great breed i ng
.

place A l ittle f urther on the rushes ende d and as


.
,

he stepped o ut o f the m h e sta rtled fr o m the sh o re j ust ,

ab o ve the wate r s edge a multitude o f b i rds some o f



, ,

which fl ew away l o w o ver the water hal f flying and ,

hal f running o ver i t W hi l e o thers swa m away sunk , ,

almost below the surfac e and a fte r they had gone a ,

l ittle furthe r di sap pea red e nt i rely Jack knew o f


, .
,

course that the first o f thes e were c oo ts o r m ud hens


, ,

and the o thers we re grebes and h e k new als o that ,

somewhere cl o se by w o ul d be f o und the i r nests A fte r .

looking ar o und a l ittl e bit h e s aw I n t h e edges o f the


rushes and seemingly fl o ating o n th e wate r little
, ,

bunches o f g r ass o r o ther ve getati o n wh ich h e th o ught ,

m ust be nests and a s h e wanted to see what w as i n


,

them h e looked a r o und t o find h o w he c o uld get o ut


to them The m ud w as s o deep that he da red not wade
.

to them fo r h e remembered the narrow escap e that


,

he had two o r th ree years ago when h e had been c aught


i n the quicksands o f th e M usselshell R iver and had ,

been saved fr o m d rowning o nly by th e ti mel y a rriv a l


o f Hugh .

Then he began t o l oo k ab o ut t o see i f he coul d n o t


find a long stick o r pol e wh ich he c o uld th r o w o n the
m ud and o n i t c o ul d wa d e o ut t o th e nests bu t n o th i n g
, ,
A LI O N S LEA P ’
1 45

of the s o rt w as nea r Then i t occurred t o h i m that


.

i f he went very ca refully th rough t he reeds and bent


them down to step o n they m ight keep h i m from sink
,

ing deep into the mud and m ight supp o rt h im unti l


he got o u t to the nes t s At al l events this was worth.

trying though he determined t o be ve ry cauti ous about


,

it H e stripped O ff h is clo t hes except hi s shi rt and


.
,

hat and then going down th rough the reeds bent


, ,

them Over and stepping o n t hem as h e went and


, ,

eve ry now and th en resting h i s foot on a bunch o f the


roots he managed to get o u t to t h e nea rest nests They
,
.

were loosely bui lt O f dead stems o f t he rushes r o ughly ,

piled toge t h er and appa ren t l y fl oat ing o n the water ,

but anchored t o the bo tt om b y t w o o r th ree green


stems that grew up th rough th e nest The eggs were .

nearly oval a l i tt l e bigger than a pige o n s egg and all


,

o f a s o iled wh ite c o lo r and lying appa ren t ly i n the


,

water These Jack decided must be the nests o f the


.

grebes fo r h e remembered that t h e eggs o f the coots


,

a re sp o tted and besides w o uld be larger than these


, ,

eggs .

H i s footing w as so uncerta in that h e w as sati sfied


with the i nspection O f two o r th ree o f t he n ests and ,

then made his w ay quickly to shore It t o ok him a .

long time to get ri d o f th e mud that he had picked up


in hi s j ou rney but at last h e g o t dressed and kept o n
,

around the pond A S h e reached a point close to th e


.

blu ffs where h e could s ee the whole w i dth o f the p o nd ,

he w as astoni shed t o se e th e great number O f birds


that w ere living o n it A few O f them were ducks .
,

but the m o st w ere smalle r bi rds c oo ts grebes phala , , ,

r o pes and sandpipers All o f them seemed to be in


, .

c o mpan i es and Jack concluded that th e b i rds that h e


,

could se e were probably the males whose mates w ere ,

scattered about nea r at hand sitting o n thei r nests ,


.

Near a little p o int O f tall w i re grass which extended


ut into the p o nd J ack s aw a pretty sight a fam ily of
p , ,

1 46 JACK ,
THE Y OU N G T RAP P E R

li tt l e C a ro l i na ra il s such a s h e had o ften h ea rd h is ,

uncle tal k ab o ut The m oth er walked del ibe r ately .

about th e so ft mud bobb i ng her head and from t i me t o ,

t i m e j er ki ng he r absurdly sma ll ta il wh ile foll o w i ng ,

her i n s ingle fil e were nine tiny black ob j ects n o t m uch


large r i t seemed to h im than bumble bees black and
, , ,

downy evi dently her newly hatche d ch icks N o w and


, .

then th e mothe r would run hurr i edly in o ne d i recti o n


o r another and catch someth ing i n her bill and then ,

woul d utte r a cal l which b r o ught th e l ittl e o nes cl o se


about her Then s eemi ngly s h e would drop her pre y
.
,

on the gr o und and the l ittle o nes would scramble fo r it


, .

J ack lay o n the ground f o r som e l ittl e time watching


t h i s pretty sight and then suddenly he noticed that ,

the s un w as beginning t o get low and real ized that it ,

w as t i me fo r h im to sta rt f or ca m p H e hurri ed bac k .

a s fast as he could and before long found hi s m eat ,

and hi s panther s sk i n undi sturbed and putting them ’

o n hi s back w ent o n r each i ng camp j ust bef o re


, ,

s undown .

H ugh ha d s u pper c oo ked and w as s i tt i ng by the


fire smo k ing , .


Wel l s o n he sa i d , I didn t kn o w but what
, ,

m aybe you had got l o st I s e e that y o u ve be en busy .



.

What s that y o u v e g o t— a p i ece O f ante lo pe m ea t an d


’ ’

a l ion ?

That s what Hugh sa i d J a ck I tel l y ou
, ,
.
,

I v e had a great time th i s a f tern oo n A wh o l e lo t o f



.

f un and a li o n s skin
,

.


Well sai d Hugh y o u sure l y ha v e had a g ood
, ,

ti m e I expect I d hav e been glad t o ha v e g o ne w ith


.

y o u i f I had kn o wn y o u were g oi ng t o s ee a lio n .


H o w d i d you get h im ?
S O w h i l e they wer e eat i ng s u pper J a ck t ol d H ug h
, ,

the st ory o f the kill ing o f the l ion and then talked ,

w i th h i m at grea t len g th ab o ut the s i ghts h e had see n


o n the bea v e r p o nd .
1 48 JACK , THE Y O UN G T RA P P E R
little living o n the m all summer and when aut um n
, ,

came the wate r w o uld b e nea rl y c ov e r e d w i th t h e


,

b i rds showing as it seems t o m e that the b reeding


, , ,

bi rds ha d all had pretty g ood lu c k i n r a i s i ng thei r


yo ung .

W el l anyh ow H ug h it w as mi ght y g oo d fun


, , ,

g o ing a ro und the edge o f th e lake there and seeing ,

all these b i rds and one O f the f unniest sights I s aw,

w as a l ittle mo the r ra i l and nine little c hickens each ,

o ne of the m ha rd l y bi gge r than th e en d o f yo u r


fi nge r .


What i s th i s bird y ou c al l a ra il s o n ? a sked ,
” ’
Hu gh I reck o n I d o n t k n o w i t by that na m e
. .

Why r epl ied J ack i t s a pretty sma l l b i r d that


, ,
“ ’

liv es i n th e tall grass o n the edge o f the wate r It s .


s ort o f g reen i sh brow n ab o ve w i th s o m e wh i te m ar k s , ,

has lo ng legs a l itt l e b i t o f a ta i l a Short b i ll and


, , ,

a b o dy n o t m uch bigger than that o f a blackbi rd .



Wh y sai d H ugh a fte r a moment s thought
, ,

that m ust b e o ne o f th o se sa c red bi rds that the


B l ack f eet M ed i c i ne Lo dge w om en put o n thei r sacred

b o nnets Y o u m ean a l ittle Sh or t winged bi rd d o n t
.
,
-
,

y ou that when y o u see i t most always r uns i nt o the


, ,

grass i nstead o f fl y i ng away and i f y o u d o m ake i t ,

fl y i t fli es very s l ow l y f o r a Sh or t w ay an d then d ro ps

,

down i nt o th e grass aga i n ?


” ’

Yes Hugh J ack answer ed ;
,
that s t he v e ry
,

b ird Back E ast the y S hoo t them an d the y re splend id
.
,

eat i n g .

“ ’
Wel l sa id H ugh th ere i sn t more than a
, ,

mo uth fu l of flesh o n eac h o ne of the m I rec k o n i t .


w o uld ta k e a good m any t o m a k e a m eal f or m e .

That s s o sai d J ack ; they re pretty small b ut


,
“ ’
,

they r e aw ful g oo d The w ay p e o ple sh oo t them i s



.

l ike thi s The b i rds i n the a u tu m n c om e d o wn fr om


.

th e n orth and l i ve i n the t al l g r ass and reeds al o ng


th e e d g e o f the b ays an d river s The y p ic k up the i r .
A L I O N S LEA P ’
1 49

fo od a m ong the grass and on the muddy flats but when ,

the tide ri ses they a re fo rced up from the ground and ,

walk among the reeds and grass o n the floa t i ng vege t a


t io n When th e tid e gets up nea rly to the top the
.
,

gunners start o u t i n flat bottomed boats two men t o -


,

a boat Th e shoote r stands i n the b o w and i n the


.
,

stern i s a man w ith a long pole w h o shoves the boat ,

through the grass and as it goes along i t disturbs t he


,

ra ils which have t o get up and fly a littl e w ay t o get


,

o ut o f the boat s r o ad When they rise o ut Of t he



.

g r ass the gunne r Shoots at them In old times they .

s ay that there used t o be thousands o f t hese rai l i n

the ma rshes and some t imes a man would get from a


,

hundred to a hundred and fi fty in a tide that i s i n t wo , ,

to three hou rs A s so o n a s th e tide gets low enough


.

so that the boat can no longer shove easily over th e

mud flats and th rough the grass th e ra il can run ,

faster tha n the boat c a n g o a nd the sh oo ting i s ,



o ve r .


Well sa id Hugh that seems t o m e mighty

, ,

q ueer killing these l it t le bits o f bi rds j ust fo r t he fun


o f it It must cost a m an quite a l o t t o d o sh oo ting
.


o f that k i nd .


Yes sa id J ack , O f c o urse men d o i t f or amuse
.

m ent and no t f o r what they make o u t o f it Why I


, .
,

think they pay the sh o ve r a dolla r and a hal f o r tw o


dollars a tide and then o f course th e ammunition
, , ,

c o sts s o mething and perhap s a man ha s t o g o q u i te


,

a l o ng j o urney o n the ra i l r o ad t o get to the ra i l


gr o unds .


Well sa i d H ugh , I d o n t bel i eve I d fin d m uch
,


fun d o ing that s o rt o f thing ; but then he c o nt i nued , ,

I don t find much fun i n hunt i ng nowadays ; it s
’ ’


s imply a question o f gett i ng s o mething to eat .

Y es sai d Jack, I understand what yo u m ean ,


.

O ut here where gam e i s SO plenty th e fun o f huntin g


is la rg ely ta k en a w a y I exp e c t that i t i s th e d ou bt
.
1 5
6 JAC K ,
THE Y OU N G T RAPP E R

in hunt i ng the u ncerta i nty whether yo u a re g oi ng t o


,

get a shot or n o t that m akes hunt i ng i nte r est i ng
, .

I reckon that s i t sai d Hugh It s the ga mbl e


, .

that there i s in it ; th e chance that the r e i s ab o ut i t ,



that makes m en l ike it But s ay so n h e continued .
, , ,

bef o re w e fo rget i t I want t o tell y o u something
about these l ittl e ra i l bi rds You kn o w they ve got .

mighty sh o rt w ings and i t seems hard fo r the m t o


fly N ow what do y o u th i nk the Ind i ans u p n o rth say
.

about the s e bi rds ?


” ’

I am su r e I d o n t kn o w Hug h ; what i s i t ?
, ,

asked Jack .

Why they s ay that these bi rds make the i r j o urneys


no rth and south o n the backs o f th e cranes— no t
,

h er o ns I don t m ean th o s e fell o w s that l i ve along



, ,

the wate r but r egula r sandhill c r anes ; th o s e fellows


that m ak e so muc h n oi se fly i ng ov e r i n sp ri ng and
fal l .

We l l sa id J a ck ,
that s funny an d that r e mi nds
,

m e o f s om eth i ng t o o ; but first I want t o ask how


,

they kn o w that th e ra i l mig r ate i n that w ay ; what



m akes the m th i nk SO ?

I ve asked that quest io n t oo sa i d Hu gh



an d , , ,

th i s i s what old S aiyeh t o l d m e


S a i yeh — that s Mad W ol f i s n t i t H ugh ? aske d
’ ”
,

J ac k .

Y es sa i d H ugh ; O ld M a d W o l f he sa i d that
, ,

o nce when he w as ou t o n t h e p ra i ri e w i th t w o o r
th ree othe r men they s aw s om e cranes coming and
, ,

h id and the cranes flew ove r them and they sh o t at


,

the m and p er h aps killed o ne or t w o and when they ,

fell to the pra i ri e tw o o r th r ee o f these li ttle bi rds


,

came d o wn w ith them .

That s mighty interest i ng sa i d Jack ; and that


reminds m e o f s o mething that I hav e read w ritten by ,

s o me G erman w h o studi ed bi rds He sai d that there .

w ere s om e s m all b i r ds O f Europe that c r o ssed t h e


1 5
2 JACK ,
THE Y O UN G T RAPP E R
they can understand the talk o f th e w olv es I f they .

hea r a wol f howling they know that he is speak i ng ,

tell ing them some news o r o ther and they can under ,

stand hi m and i nterp ret fo r h im t o o the r Indians that


don t understand the w o l f s speech Then there a re
’ ’
.
,

some Indians Blackfeet wh o s ay tha t they can under


, ,

stand what the m ead o w lark says when he i s s inging .

The Cheyennes say th i s t o o but they s ay that th e , ,

meadow la rk says only one th ing ; that i s the s o ng al ,

ways repeats I com e fr o m Tallow River ,


Tallo w .

Rive r you know i s the So uth P latte R i ver The Black


, , .

feet names fo r th e killdee and fo r the bi g curlew a re i n


i mitati o n o f the cry o f each bi rd Black feet cal l th e .

little ch ic k adee N e o po muk i and that means acco rd - -


,

i ng t o the m su mm e r i s c o ming , Yes there are a .


wh o l e lo t o f beli e f s an d st o ri es about b i rds and animals


that a re p retty inte resting O f c o u rse the b i rds and the .
,

animals see m a wh o le l o t cl o se r t o th e Indians than


the y d o t o us They c om e p retty nea r t o b eing the
.


Ind i a n s c o m ra d es and eve ry day ass o c i ates There i s .

one st o ry that O l d S hell a Cheyenne Indian t o l d m e , ,

once that I th o ught w as a m ighty go o d st o ry and i f


, ,

y ou l i ke I ll t r y t o r epeat i t t o y o u be fo re w e g o t o
bed .

I w i sh y ou wo u l d H ugh sai d J ac k I always


, , .

li ke t o hea r thos e st ori es and i t see m s t o m e that you ,



k n o w an aw ful l o t o f them .

“ ”
W ell repl i ed Hugh I v e hear d a lo t o f the m ’
, ,

in m y t i m e and I w ish that I c o uld remember them all


,
.

Thi s i s W hat o ld S hell t o ld me as nea r as I can re


m ember H e sa i d : A l o ng ti me ag o my fathe r w as
.

o u t walk i ng i n th e h i lls an d he cam e to a high cut

cli ff The cl i ff was b roken and o verhung a l ittle an d


.
,

alm o st everyw h e re it w as c ov ered with the mud nest s


O f swall o ws It w as about th e t i me i n Spring when
.

the eggs hatch and th e swallow s were fly i ng about,

g athe r in g foo d and b ringin g it t o the y o un g o nes .


A LI ON S LEAP ’

53
They were thick about t he nests and made a great ,

deal o f noi s e My father s at t here and looked at them


.

fo r quite a long time P resen t ly he saw the b i rds .

gathering i n great numbers about a pa rticula r place


o n the cli ff and when he looked ca refully to s e e what
,

attracted them h e s aw a great snake crawl ing along


,

on a ledge P resen t ly the snake cam e close t o a lot


.

o f nes t s bu i lt all together and rai sed it s head and put ,

it into o ne nest a fter ano t her and a t e t he young bi rds .

The swallows kept flying at the snake but t hey could ,

not stop it All at once all the bi rds ga t hered toge t her
.

and flew i n a great t hrong away t o t he east All th e .

Old ones were gone ; none we re le f t about the nests .

While my fa t he r s at there wondering where they


had gone h e s aw th e swallows coming back i n a
,

great black bunch and fl y ing in fr o nt o f them w as a


,

swi ft hawk wh i ch every now and then whi s t led as


,

it flew al o ng Th e birds came o n and when they


.

we re close to the cli ff t he hawk wh is t led loud W hen .

h e did that the snake ra ised i t s head and tu rn ed it


,

toward the hawk and t he hawk t urned a side and ,

flew by the snake and fl ew away o ut O f sight When .

the hawk tu rned asi de and fl ew by the snake W ithout


d o i ng anyth ing to it the swallows made a great noi se ,

and followed h i m as h e flew away calling as i f askin g ,

him t o come back S O all th e b i rds flew ove r the h i ll


.

o u t o f sight but my f ather s at there waiting t o see


,

what would happen .

Befo re long he s aw the swallows c o m e back ove r


the h ill a second time and now the bi rd lea d ing the m ,

w as a bal d eagle and a s i t fl ew it wh istled as eagles


,

d o When th e eagle drew nea r t o the snake the snake


.
,

rai sed its head and looked at the eagle and when the ,

snake looked the eagle seemed t o b e a fra id and i t


, ,

turned and flew away o ut O f S i ght the swall o ws fol ,

l o wing it and making still more noi se .

A thi r d t i me the swa llo ws ca m e b ack o ve r the h i ll ,


1 54 J AC K , THE YOU NG T RAP P E R

and flying i n fr o nt o f them w as a gray eagle and as ,

i t d rew nea r the g ray eagl e wh i st led as the bal d eagle


,

ha d done The gray eagl e came up flying swi ftly


.
,

but when the snake ra i sed it s head and looked at the


eagle it seemed a s i f a flash o f l ight blazed fr om the
snake s eyes and th e gray eagl e made the same turn

,

as the o thers had made and flew away o u t O f s i ght , ,

wh ile all the swall o w s made a mou rn ful no ise .

Th e gray eagl e flew o ut o f sight d o w n the c reek ,

and the swallow s foll o wed i t and w ere gone a l o ng


ti me P retty s oo n though they c o uld be seen c o ming
.
, ,

back j ust l ik e a black mass an d th i s t i m e thei r leader ,

w as a her o n When th e her o n d rew nea r the si de o f


.

the cl i ff th e snake raised its hea d and l oo ked at the


bi rd and i t seemed as i f blue sparks o f fire flew from
,

th e snake s eyes The he r o n did n o t tu rn asid e fr om



.

the snake when i t r a i sed its head but flew straight o n , ,

an d when he had c o m e close to th e snake he ran hi s


bi ll c l ea r th r o ugh it s b o dy an d i t fell to the gr o und
and d i ed and the swall o w s gathe r ed a r o und th e snak e
,

i n g re at crow ds and t rampled al l o ve r i t That i s the .


w ay O l d S hell s a i d that the swall o w s tr i ed t o s ave


the i r ch i l d ren .

It s


That s su r e a g oo d st o ry Hu gh sa i d Jack , ,
.

got t h e sa m e o ld number fou r i n it has n t it ? ,



Y es sa i d H ugh ; o f c o urs e w e look t o fi nd
,

that i n e v ery Indian st ory Y o u ll ha v e t o t ry fo u r .



t im es be fo re yo u succeed at anyth i ng .


Well son he said let us go t o b e d We o ug ht
, , , .

t o be starting out in g o od seaso n t o m o rrow fo r unl es s -


,

I am m i staken we ll ha v e q uite a l o ng da y O f it

.
1 56 JACK ,
THE Y O UNG TRAPP E R

ti ed a l o ng bucksk i n th o ng f ormi ng a loo p w hi ch he ,

hung ov e r h i s hea d so that th e st i ck r ested on h is


breast .

Jack l ook e d a t i t i n s om e ast o n ish m ent an d then ,

saw that the st i ck w as apparently a big w oo den bottl e


form ed o f a bi rch stick three i nches or mo re i n
diameter i n wh i ch a h o le had b een b o red Th i s h o le
,
.

w as st o pped by a w oo den plug d riven int o th e hole ,

th u s co rk i ng the bottle tightly Ev i dently the stick .

had been used a l o ng ti m e f or i t w as w o rn and p o l i shed ,

by mu ch handling .

Well Hugh sa i d J a ck
, I s u pp o s e that i s yo u r
, ,
.

beaver m edicine but I ne v e r ha d any i dea that yo u


,

c arri ed it i n a b o ttle l ike that .

Y e s s o n that s the bottl e and I ha v e u se d i t fo r


, , ,

a g oo d m any yea rs Y o u kn o w that i n o ld times when .

I fi r st ca m e out i nt o th i s c o unt ry glass b o ttles and tin



Cans w eren t v ery plenty here and glass doesn t l ast

l o ng anyhow Thi s i s the s o rt o f a bottle that every


.

b od y used in early days and I ve had thi s f or a lo n g ,



t i me and had c o nsi derable l uc k w ith i t .

I ne v e r da red ask y ou w hat the m ed i c i ne w as



m ade o f Hugh sa id J ack b ut I supp o se when you
, , ,

get t o u sing it y o u ll let me h a v e a s m el l o f i t wo n t

,

you ?

S u r e sa i d H ugh
, That s w hat i t s m ade fo r .
’ ’
,

t o b e smelled o f But be fo re y ou k n o w what bea v e r



.

m edic i ne i s made o f y o u ll have to be a rea l trappe r ,



.

The tw o swung thems elves i nt o the saddles and


sta rt e d o ff up the stream Jack ca rried the ax the .
,

head o f wh i ch wa s p rotected by a leather case which


c ov ered i ts c utt i ng edge i n h i s rifl e s c abba r d u nde r ,

h i s leg .

N o w s o n sa i d H ugh
, ,
j u d g i ng fr o m what y ou ,

sai d yeste rday about the creek abov e here I belie v e “

it s w o rth o ur wh ile t o r id e qu i te a w ay up and s e e


whether i t g ets na rr o w I f i t d o es w e c an perhaps! .


,
S ETTI NG FOR B EA V E R 1 57

s et o ur traps first up there because they wi ll be easie r ,

t o handle I don t want t o set around these big ponds



.

i f I can help i t There i s to o much danger o f ou r


.

l osing some o f o u r traps and then i f a beaver gets out ,



int o deep water i t s ba rely p o ssible that w e might lose
the floa t stick o r else t hat it might get hidden and
-
, ,

even i f w e should find it o u t in deep wa t er there s no


w ay t o get at i t except to swi m fo r it You and I .

don t want to d o that i f w e can help it This water



.


i s p retty cold f o r i t comes righ t down from t he sno w
,
.

That is o ne o f th e things I w as wondering abou t ,

Hugh ; how you w ere going t o find you r traps o r your


beaver i n case they g o t o ut i nt o the water in these

ponds a long way fr o m sho re .


I ll Sh o w you h o w w e fix that s o rt o f th i ng so n ;

but as I s ay we haven t traps en o ugh t o take very much


,


risk .

As they went o n up the st ream Jack p o inted o ut to


Hugh where he had ki lled the pan t he r the day be fo re ,

and showed hi m the pond where he had seen t he bi rds .

N ot very fa r ab o ve t h is they came to a place where


a few w illows grew and where a beave r dam hold , ,

ing back th e w ate r had made a long na rrow and , , ,

rather deep pond running th rough the meadow .

There sai d Hugh po inting t o i t


,
that l oo ks , ,

l ike a good place t o s e t b ut w e ll g o o n further and ,



s ee what w e find .

Ab o ve th is pond the strea m fo r s o me d i stan ce rip ,

pled noi sily o ver a rocky bo t t o m but s o on they cam e ,

t o an o ther dam abov e which w as found an o ther l o ng


,

and narr o w pond w ith two o r three houses nea r its


lower end At two places toward the uppe r end there
.
.

were grassy points wh ich p roj ected i nt o th e p o n d and ,

o ne o f wh ich ran nearly across i t .

That looks like a good place f o r u s t o set a co upl e



o f traps so n
,
sai d Hugh ,
N ow I w i sh that you .
,

v o u l d g o int o that p ine ti mb e r j ust at the edge of the


a
1 58 J ACK ,
THE Y O UNG TRAPP E R

mea dow and get m e a co uple o f dead p i nes i f y ou can


find them s ix o r eight feet long and th ree inches
,

thr o ugh at the butt Then Sharpen th e butt end s o .

that I can d rive i t g oo d and deep int o t h e m ud s o ,

that it w ill h o ld When you get t h e sticks com e


.
,

a round by th e o ute r edge o f the mead o w and then


ri de i n as nea r the edge o f the pond as you c an ,

coming well below m e I am go ing o ve r n o w t o th e .


edge o f the water to sort 0 prospect ’
.

Jack rode up int o th e t imber and s oo n f o und a


couple o f young dea d trees which h e chopped d o wn
, ,

and from wh ich he cut th e requ i red l engths Then .

tri mm ing th e b ranches from the sticks h e sharpened ,

th e butt o f each and hanging o ne o f the m o n e i the r


,

s ide o f the horse rode slowly back , .

Hugh s black h o rse wa s grazing at th e e d ge o f t h e


meadow and Hugh h i msel f c o uld be seen d o w n c l os e


,

t o th e water s edge ’
.


Ja c k left P awnee by Hugh s h o rse and tak i ng th e ,

sticks o n hi s sh o ulde r walked over t o the water s edge ’

making a ci rcle s o as t o c o me t o ward Hugh fr o m the


down stream s ide Befo re he had reached the wate r
-
.
,

Hugh signed t o h i m to st o p and then came back ,

towa rd h im and said There s a g oo d place here fo r


,

tw o traps a nd I ll s e t them and yo u may as well c o m e


,

,

w ith m e and watch what I do Jack n o ticed that .

Hugh ha d stuck i n h i s belt hal f a dozen stra ight w il


l o w tw i gs fr om a f o o t and a hal f t o th ree feet l o ng
and about as large a r o und as a lead pencil .

No w the first thing you want t o remember son


, , ,

i s that you mustn t l eave any S ign o r any scent fo r the


bea v er to n o tice They re smart animals and i f they


.

see anyth i ng unusual o r i f they smell anything strange


, ,

i t puts them o n thei r guard and y o u re n o t li kely to ’

have them go to you r traps O f c o urse h ere i t s a .


,

l i ttle d i fferent because these bea v er see m SO ta m e b u t ,



y o u m a y a s wel l t ry to begi n ri ght .
1 66 J ACK ,
THE YO UNG TRAPP E R

satis fact o ry to h im th rust the sharpened end o f th e


,

stick into the mud at the b o tto m By repeated e ff o rts .

he d r o ve the stick s o deep that the end which he hel d


i n h i s hand was almost submerged M eantime th e .
,

t rap wh ich wa s f ast to the othe r end o f the cha in lay


, ,

o n the b o ttom close to hi s f o ot H e now t o ok t h e .

t rap and rolling up hi s Sleeves sto o d w ith one foot o n


, ,

either spring o f the trap and by hi s weight bent these


Springs down S O that he coul d s et th e trap Then .

holding it by the chain he li fted the trap o u t o f the


wate r and b rought it w i thi n ten o r twelve inches o f
the grassy ma rgin o f the pond Then he sai d to Jack .
,

who stoo d s ilently nea r him We can t do much talk ,


ing here 8 0 11 but a fter w e get thes e traps s e t I l l


, ,

explain to yo u what I ve been doing an d w h y Tak e ’

, .

notice though that I m putting th is trap i n p rett y


, ,


shallow wate r b ut that there s d eep wate r j ust o ut
,

s i de .

Hugh w ork ed a li ttle w h ile o n th e bo tt om unt i l h e


h ad scraped o ut a flat firm bed i n wh i ch the t rap ,

wa s placed then fr o m th e up stream S ide o f the trap


,
-

he s c raped up one or tw o handfuls o f soft mud and


scattered it ab ov e the trap so that tw o or th ree minutes
late r when th e wate r ha d cleared Jack coul d barely
, ,

s e e the o utline o f th e j aws showing i n th e mud wh ich

covered trap and chai n Then Hugh d rew from h is .

belt o ne o f th e sho rter o f the w ill o w twigs submerged ,

it and w ith h i s kni fe also hel d unde r water Split the


, , ,

twig i n hal f a dozen places fo r an i nch o r two fro m


the end Then h e r etu rned h i s k ni fe t o i ts sheath
.
,

and still