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Full text of "Vacation on the trail; personal experiences in the higher mountain trails with complete directions for the outfitting of inexpensive expeditions"

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VACATION ON THE TRAIL 



THE OPEN COUNTRY BOOKS 



A Company of Genial Little Books about the 
Out-of-Doors 

Under the Editorship of 

L. H. BAILEY 

1. The Apple-Tree . . . . L. H. Bailey 

2. A Home Vegetable-Garden . . . 

Ella M. Freeman 

3. The Cow . . . Jared van Wagenen, Jr. 

4. Vacation on the Trail. Eugene Davenport 



The Open Country Books — No. 4 



VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

Personal experiences in the higher mountain 
trails with complete directions for the out- 
fitting of inexpensive expeditions 



BY 

EUGENE DAVENPORT, LL.D. 

DEAN AND PROFESSOR EMERITUS 
C»LLEGE OF AGRICULTURE 
UNIVERSITY OF ILUNOIS 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 
1923 

AH rights reserved 



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



Copyright, 1923, 
By THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 



Set up and electrotyped. Publiihed March, 1923. 



Press of 

J. J. Little & Ives Company 

New York, U. S. A, 



DEDICATION 

To my various companions of the many trails — the 
wife who managed the commissariat and was equal to 
every emergency; the daughter who grew up with the 
mountains and carried the artillery; the knight of her 
choice, H. B. Tukey, who came in due time and proved 
a worthy initiate; Dr. Elmer Roberts, prince of good 
fellows, who taught me the diamond hitch and whose 
genial good humor enlivened many a camp fire ; the wife 
of his choosing who took to the trail like an old-timer ; 
the extra member of the family from across the seas; 
and last of all, even the burros, good, bad, and indiffer- 
ent, — to so goodly and varied a company is this little 
volume of experiences and information affectionately 

dedicated. 

The AuTHoa 



PREFACE 

Frankly the following pages are written in the hope 
of interesting the thousands of men and women who go 
summering every year in search of that which will re- 
lieve from the strain of office, study, or classroom and 
send them back refreshed for the labors of another year. 
The aim is to point out a more excellent way than has 
yet been discovered by the vast majority who perforce 
follow the crowd to the popular ''resort" or at best join 
an excursion and "do" half a continent in thirty days. 

What the worn-out teacher, clerk, or executive needs 
is not rest but change; not inactivity which dulls the 
physical powers but action which stimulates; not mental 
excitement, of which he has had too much, but simple 
surroundings under his personal control. He needs some- 
thing that will set his idle body at work and stir up his 
sluggish processes, especially those of elimination ; and 
yet that something must be so filled with daily details 
as effectually to prevent the mind from slipping back into 
its old ruts to go wool-gathering after the deep things of 
life. In short, the man or woman seeking recuperation 
needs to reverse the daily grind and live a life of active, 
though not exhaustive, physical existence with enough 
of variety to keep the mind interested but not really em- 
ployed. So shall the tired vacationist go back to his work 
re-created and virtually a new man in body, mind, and 
spirit. 

The conditions necessary to this kind of vacation may 

vii 



viii PREFACE 

be found in a great variety of places, — in the Adiron- 
dacks, in the Alleghanies, in the Canadian woods, in the 
Rocky Mountains, in the Coast Range, or wherever the 
country is wild enough to make walking interesting and 
the population is scanty enough to give the effect of liv- 
ing with nature rather than with man. 

The outfit may be carried on the back, and the novice 
is likely to attempt this mode of transportation. But I 
have personal objections to making a pack horse of my- 
self even under the guise of vacation, having seen some 
distressing results of this attempt. Besides, an outfit 
that can be so transported is too meager for comfort and 
comfort is one of the prerequisites of vacation. It is 
equally important not to take so much as to be burdened 
with property that must be handled every day. An ade- 
quate outfit can be carried in a one-horse cart or a two- 
horse light wagon, depending on the size of the party; 
or it can be packed on horses or mules or burros, which 
latter is the approved and altogether desirable method of 
transportation of grub and tents and duffle. 

The enterprise may be conducted from a more or less 
permanent site with side excursions from time to time, 
or camp may be broken every day, in which latter case 
the theory is that one lives on the trail, stopping for 
rest or exploration wherever night overtakes or inclina- 
tion dictates. 

The objective may be hunting or fishing or collecting 
or simply wandering. My own preference is distinctly 
for the latter with an objective that seeks always to see 
what lies just over the ridge or beyond the pass or at 
the end of the trail. This means the very heart of the 
higher and wilder mountain districts where all our trips 



PREFACE 



IX 



have been taken, and it means an entirely self-sufficing 
outfit packed upon burros. 

After a goodly number of experiments, the author and 
his family have settled down to the kind of vacation life 
herein described, in which the daily tramp wdth its re- 
sultant appetite both for food and water are relied upon 
for physical rejuvenation, the events of the trail are suf- 
ficient to keep the mind fully occupied with new and fresh 
material, and an ever-changing panorama of the best 
available scenery serves as a never-ending inspiration to 
the soul. 

In its physical effects there is no exercise like walking, 
for it works the whole body without overworking any 
part of it, if only the feet are properly shod and cared 
for. Nowhere else is there such a succession of details 
to occupy the attention without mental strain as is af- 
forded on the trail, and if it should chance to lie on the 
upper levels of the mountains, there is not to be found 
elsewhere so vast an outlay of nature's best or so chang- 
ing a display of her mighty works. Altogether, there 
is nothing to be compared with a vacation on the trail. 

It is from this standpoint and as the result of the ex- 
perience of many years that I shall write, hoping to be 
able so to interest the reader as to entice him to the 
trail and to specify so clearly the essentials that he may 
safely depart from the particular plan of the writer suf- 
ficiently to meet his special conditions without sacrificing 
the fundamentals of a vacation in the open. 

Finally, in the words of Samantha, 'Think of the 
cheapness ont", for the food costs no more than at home, 
even less than at boarding houses, and there is no other 
expense in the walking trip save a nominal rent for pack 



X PREFACE 

animals and the cost of the outfit, which would not be 
great and is borne but once. 

Without further explanation or apology the author 
will undertake to depict what life on the trail really means 
from day to day and to make clear its entire feasibleness 
even to the tenderfoot. If any apology were needed, it 
Hes in the fact that so few are availing themselves of 
the wonderful possibilities of our many national parks, 
the playgrounds of the people, set aside for the very ser- 
vice of recuperation. 

Acknowledgment is due to Booth and Roberts for the 
illustration 'Torty Miles from Anywhere," to The Den- 
ver and Rio Grande Railway for Mt. Massive, to the 
Great Northern for Plates IV and V, to the Northern 
Pacific for Plate III, and to the Canadian Pacific for 
the frontispiece. 

E. Davenport 
University of Illinois 
August 1, 1922 



CONTENTS 

PART I Living with the Mountains . pages 1-59 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. The Call of the Wild 3 

II. We Discover the Trail 5 

III. The Layout 9 

IV. Getting Used to the Mountains .... 12 
V. The Trail 18 

VI. The Pass 22 

VII. Making Camp 26 

VIII. The Camp-Fire 31 

IX. Breaking Camp 36 

X. The Lay-Over 39 

XI. The Mountain Waters 42 

XII. The Timber 46 

XIIL A Storm on the Pass 50 

XIV. The Deserted Village 54 

XV. The Mountain Solitudes 58 

xi 



xii CONTENTS 

PART II Outfitting for the Trail . pages 61-101 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XVI. Results of Experience 63 

XVII. Food 65 

XVIII. Clothing 69 

XIX. Tents and Bedding ..... ... . 72 

XX. Cooking Equipment > . 76 

XXI. Accessories 79 

XXII. Rope and Strap Craft 84 

XXIII. The Burro 89 

XXIV. The Pack 92 

XXV. The Diamond Hitch 95 

XXVI. The Square Hitch ....... 99 

XXVII. The End of the Trail lOi 



Part I 
LIVING WITH THE MOUNTAINS 



THE CALL OF THE WILD 

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, 
From whence cometh my help. 

Thirty days for the heart of the Rockies! What a 
prospect for a vacation! Grub and tents and sleeping- 
bags packed safely upon a string of burros that live on 
next to nothing, feeding themselves as they go ; walking 
togs with sturdy but easy boots warranted against water 
up to fifteen inches deep; care-free and away from civi- 
lization with its responsibilities, its noises, and its smells, 
answering to the call of the wild ! 

Living alone w4th nature ''forty miles from anywhere," 
eight, ten, twelve, and thirteen thousand feet above the 
sea with the tang of the mountains filling the nostrils 
morning, noon, and night with the very breath of Heaven ! 
Brother to the peaks and the snow fields and the vast 
amphitheaters of green and white and gray that have 
guarded the passes since the world was young; friend to 
the timber, the waters and the wild flowers; companion 
to the clouds and the shadows and the drifting mists, the 
lightnings and the thunders and the storms; neighbor 
to the very stars at night that seem to beckon one to 
step off the edge and be with them ! 

What a privilege, yet how few have realized it among 

3 



4 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

the thousands that go summering! Even of the many 
who go to the mountain regions almost no one goes into 
the mountains where an unsuspected world would be dis- 
covered whence he would bend eager steps, did he only 
know what lies along the higher reaches and how easy it 
is to get there. Our little party has lived it all, day after 
day, not once but many times, until it has become a part 
of our very being. 

This is the story of how it all happened and what it 
is like, told not so much to entertain as to entice, if pos- 
sible, some thousands to enjoy what now is almost unseen 
and unfelt by the sons of man, even by most of those who 
think they have been to the mountains because they have 
ridden along the foothills in a pullman or an automobile 
and have seen the peaks some twenty or thirty or fifty 
miles away. 



II 

WE DISCOVER THE TRAIL 

It all came about in a perfectly natural way. The im- 
pulse lay heavy on us a good number of years ago to 
try out the mountains for vacation purposes, and accom- 
modations \vere secured on a ranch well up an almost inac- 
cessible canyon in the very heart of the Rocky Mountains. 

''Ranch'' is western for farm, whether large or small. 
Accordingly our meals were taken at the chuck-house, 
but lodging and quarters were provided in a tent close 
by a raging torrent that was a never-ending joy by day 
and a soothing lullaby at night, bringing with the chill of 
the air such slumber as only childhood knows. So did we 
regain our youth with what might be called the first 
intention. 

It was here in a permanent camp that we learned the 
life of the out-of-doors and two summers were spent 
upon the same spot, some seven thousand feet above the 
sea, taking frequent tramps up and down the valley, lit- 
erally reveling in the ever-changing experiences and fas- 
cinated by the majestic views over the distant hills. 

In the interest of variety we sought and obtained a 
new location in a wilder spot not connected with a ranch, 
which required that we should provide our own supplies 
from time to time. Here we set up a somewhat elaborate 

5 



6 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

outfit of canvas and accessories, imported or improvised, 
and here we took further lessons in the delights of life in 
the open. 

The permanent camp, however successful, must be lo- 
cated near a base of supplies and this means at or near 
the mouth of a valley; that is to say, at the bottom of a 
canyon and, therefore, two to four thousand feet below 
the surrounding ridges. The valley is superb and the 
slopes magnificent, but the range of tramping as limited to 
the immediate neighborhood is soon exhausted. Besides, 
who can resist day after day the temptation to discover 
what lies just over the ridge? And so it is that the per- 
manent camper must climb for most of what he sees. 

An early start with a hard scramble up the wall of the 
canyon hour after hour brings one eventually to the top 
to stand entranced at the panorama that lies spread out 
before him. On the one hand, ridge on ridge with mys- 
terious valleys between stretch away and away as far as 
the eye can reach. On the other, with marvelous lights 
and shadows lies an undulating valley surrounded by 
snow-capped peaks and glittering in the sunlight like an 
enchanted gateway to some abode of the gods, while a 
trail at one's very feet leads enticingly thitherward, serv- 
ing to beckon the traveler on and on like some spirit from 
another world. 

But it is near night and camp is far away and after 
a few minutes of this magnificent view, it is a wrench 
to turn the back on it all and scurry down the hill again 
in order to get supper out of the way before dark. And 
how one's dreams are mixed and his waking hours are 
haunted by what lies all about him but over the ridge and 
therefore just out of sight! 



WE DISCOVER THE TRAIL 7 

So it was that we came to say: "The time shall come 
when we will never go back but will go on and on in- 
definitely, camping when and where night or inclination 
overtakes." We discovered the trail and found it a vast 
improvement over the permanent camp, not only for 
scenery and variety of experience but for comfort as well. 
The occasional hard climb leaves one weary and lame 
most of the time, while the daily tramp of seven or eight 
miles, even ten or fifteen, makes him always fit, and at 
the end of a month he feels that he has sojourned in the 
very outskirts of paradise and is new-created for his work. 
Nor does the effect of it all vanish as the days and months 
go by, but rather it grows and intensifies with the passage 
of time. 

With apologies to my mountain friends, therefore, I 
will do the best I can to give the general reader some idea 
of what it means to live day after day on the trail, fol- 
lowing its lead up and up and ever upward beside the 
rushing torrent, along the sloping shoulders of some 
mountain giant, through acres of roses and columbine, 
paint-brush, and monk's-hood, across fields of melting 
snows, and over the pass into another valley with new 
enchantments that bewitch the eye and uplift the spirit 
of the traveler. 

July is the favorite month in the middle Rockies be- 
cause then the flowers are at their best, the water is cold, 
and the passes are open or at least passable. In June the 
snow is too abundant in the higher levels and the flowers 
are not yet out; while in August the streams are low and 
the water warm; besides, an occasional snowstorm may 
be expected, and falling snow is exceedingly mussy on 
the trail. To the north, in the United States and Can- 



8 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

ada, the most favorable season is correspondingly later 
though the altitudes are lower. 

The author is convinced that more tired men and 
women would spend their vacations in this bohemian 
fashion if only they were aware of its advantages, if they 
knew how to outfit so as to be comfortable, and if they 
knew how to live comfortably day by day in the out-of- 
doors, changing camp with every rising sun. The 
physical and psychological advantages of the trail are ob- 
vious for those who like it, and others of course are not 
interested. 

It is the purpose of this little volume, therefore, to ac- 
quaint the reader who cares for it with a detailed descrip- 
tion of life in the open and of the necessary outfit. The 
aim is to do this so thoroughly and so accurately that the 
merest novice can, if he will follow directions, hit the 
trail with impunity even in the wildest regions of the 
higher levels. To this end the account will be limited to 
the results of actual personal experience as being more 
convincing than any abstract treatise, however well it 
might be done. The reader will, therefore, overlook the 
personal element in the interest of clearness and of 
accuracy. 



Ill 

THE LAYOUT 

What to take on the trail by way of food, clothing, 
and equipment is matter for separate consideration. We 
are now concerned only with the external features of life 
on the trail and their influence on the human body and 
the soul, together with their power to exalt and to re-create 
the best that is in human kind. 

The particular region that may be chosen matters little, 
for in general all mountain systems consist of a series 
of more or less parallel ridges with valleys between, rising 
more or less abruptly from the plains to the peaks some 
twenty or thirty miles away. Down these valleys and 
across these ridges the waters from the melting snows 
have cut their courses deep into the living rock, a hundred, 
sometimes a thousand feet, and in the case of the Royal 
Gorge, a full half mile in breaking the way on their rest- 
less and irresistible rush to the lowlands and on out to the 
open sea. 

It is up these gorges and canyons that all roads and 
trails run; indeed, must run, for elsewhere the moun- 
tains are all but impassable. If one should make his way 
for some distance independently of the valleys, it would 
be only to find himself soon confronted by an impossible 
wall or an impassable gulf. Following a canyon, how- 

9 



10 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

ever, means following a river up to its source at or very 
near the pass, crossing its tributaries on the way, and 
all with a full certainty that over the pass will be another 
valley and another stream widening as it descends, the 
whole affording a guaranteed passage over the Divide 
and into the country that lies beyond. 

Mountain travel, therefore, means a succession of ups 
and downs, generally with easy grades, rarely with a 
level stretch for more than a few rods at a time, and 
occasionally with pitches rivaling in steepness any roof 
but a church spire and compelling a resort to the well- 
known principle of the zigzag. 

Nothing is so deceptive in or near the mountains as 
levels. As one approaches a mountain range or stands 
facing a lofty peak, the unaccustomed foreground de- 
stroys all judgment as to level lines and, in general, the 
ground seems to pitch abruptly away from the traveler 
and to descend rapidly toward the foot of the mountains, 
even when the actual rise is very considerable. The re- 
sult is that water on these lower levels, though descend- 
ing rapidly, seems to be frantically tumbling uphill. This 
is one of the most frequent, as it is also one of the most 
disconcerting, phenomena of the hills, for almost every- 
body thinks he knows uphill from downhill and is likely 
to charge up his newly discovered inability to the effects 
of altitude as the only means of preserving his self-respect 
in a very ordinary matter. 

This, in general, is the layout confronting the traveler 
who essays to know the mountains, and so strange and 
formidable does it all seem that comparatively few realize 
what actually lies in the mysterious upper valleys. It is 
not strange that primitive folk regard the mountains as 



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THE LAYOUT 11 

the home of spirits and that even Greece peopled her little 
Olympus and its neighbors with a whole fraternity of 
warring gods and goddesses and accordingly kept out of 
the hills instead of using them for recreation purposes. 

No guide is needed even in the wildest regions, for 
excellent maps of all the national parks and most of the 
other mountain sections are published by the United 
States Geological Survey and may be obtained for a 
nominal sum direct from the office at Washington. 
These maps show in great detail all lakes, rivers, small 
streams, and contour lines, and by their use the traveler 
may pick his landmarks and know always where he is. 
If he will cut the maps to pocket size and paste on muslin 
with a quarter-inch space between the sections, he can 
carry the largest map with perfect convenience and know 
at any time both his whereabouts and his elevation. Thus 
the zest of exploration will be coupled with the satisfac- 
tion of knowing always exactly where one is and where 
one may expect to emerge from the trail. 



IV 

GETTING USED TO THE MOUNTAINS 

The casual traveler thinks too much about the altitude, 
and palpitation and faintness often come more from 
fright than from rarefied atmosphere. The basic fact 
is that in the higher altitudes the accustomed work of the 
lungs does not provide even the usual amount of oxygen, 
whereas the climber is probably working harder than at 
home. The obvious remedy is deeper breathing. Most 
persons, until they learn better, will hold the breath and 
run up a steep incline thinking to rest at the top, but 
they succeed only in making a bad matter worse, because 
the seeming crest is gained only to discover further and 
further heights beyond, for there is no top for miles 
ahead. The old-timer takes a long, slow, and deliberate 
step, breathing the while ''to the very bottom of his 
boots." And so he goes to the top without distress. 
Never to hurry is an absolute rule in the mountains when 
the altitude is above five or six thousand feet. 

The novice should first accustom himself to an altitude 
of about seven thousand feet until he learns to breathe 
with all the lungs he has and to walk properly. Then, if 
he will forget all about altitude, he can safely go to the 
higher levels unless he has some organic trouble, in 
which case he would better keep out of the mountains. 

12 



GETTING USED TO THE MOUNTAINS 13 

Our own party went over the pass at twelve thousand feet 
the third day out, with no difficulty other than frequent 
pauses for breath. 

Not because it is the mountains but because the kind 
of camping party in mind is undertaking a radical change 
in its manner of living, it is well always to ''lay up" the 
second or third day out, look over the equipment, make 
everything shipshape, and incidentally let the lameness 
get well out of the legs. 

It is an abiding weakness of the tenderfoot to set 
himself daily stunts and above all to make the first pass 
as soon as possible. This is all wrong. If it takes a 
week to get over the pass, it does not matter if the party 
is in good condition and getting its tramping legs well 
under it. The objective is not to make passes but to live 
successfully and comfortably out-of-doors; not to put 
space behind but to absorb what the mountains have to 
give. 

The tramper must leave behind all fear of "bugs and 
snakes and things" and learn to sleep on the ground. 
Cots are cold in spite of all the bedding that can be car- 
ried ; besides, the pack must be reduced far below the pro- 
portions of such trumpery as frame beds and folding bath- 
tubs, else the very property becomes a burden. The 
would-be mountaineer must learn a new mode of life in 
almost every respect; indeed, that is one of the objects 
of the trip. Beyond the use of soap and toothbrush, he 
should forego all attempts at carrying his daily habits 
with him ; indeed, a large part of the good of it all is the 
breaking up of the ordinary habits of civilization, many 
of which are more burdensome than necessary. 

There is nothing to fear in the mountains except the 



14 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

bulls. The few wild animals on the higher levels are a 
timid folk ''not out looking for trouble." But the cattle 
in the valleys and on a thousand hills are unaccustomed to 
man except on horseback, and the bull will not leave his 
band or the cow her calf until time is afforded to draw 
slowly away. Given plenty of time, both bulls and cows 
will retire peaceably with no danger to the tramper, 
while if crowded, either one might charge and create an 
ugly situation. 

Landslides and washouts are never for a moment to 
be left out of the reckoning, though at the season in ques- 
tion both have subsided to a minimum. Nevertheless, 
the most casual observation will serve to show that these 
are mighty factors in mountain architecture and that, 
so far as the western ranges are concerned, at least, the 
job of creation is far from finished. 

Every winter sends down enormous quantities of earth 
and rock from the higher levels, and the occasional cloud- 
burst will do the same at any season. However enticing 
the spot, therefore, no camp should be pitched even in 
the pleasantest weather in any of the funnel-like shelving 
mountain sides which observation may show are natural 
pathways for a sudden deluge. All camp sites should 
be chosen on rounding shoulders and not at the foot of 
side ravines. 

Some tenderfeet seem possessed of a determination to 
kill themselves by venturing into dangerous places, and 
by that is meant the edge of cliffs or on shelving hillsides 
covered with the notorious "slide rock" that the ex- 
perienced mountaineer fights shy of or upon glaciers 
without a guide, alpine stock, and plenty of rope. It is 
a safe rule never to go anywhere except on ground that 



GETTING USED TO THE MOUNTAINS 15 

by no possibility can give way, and even so, the factor of 
safety must be kept liberal. The fool impulse of moun- 
tain travel is the passion to have the picture taken when 
posing in dangerous places. Here common sense, rather 
than impulse, must govern action. 

While there is no danger on the trail to those who 
use due caution, yet, because accidents may happen, the 
minimum number that should constitute any tramping 
party is three, — as one mountaineer put it, "one to get 
hurt, one to stay with him, and one to go for help." The 
rule is a good one, though the chances of getting injured 
are rare indeed if only reasonable caution is used. 

One may drink in safety from any stream in the higher 
levels, but irrigation ditches should be avoided. How- 
ever, the traveler would be wise to take the anti-typhoid 
treatment before starting out to tramp in any section of 
the country, even the higher levels, though this precaution 
applies to any other form of expedition even more 
strongly than to the mountain tramp in which the prin- 
cipal danger of infection Hes in going and coming. 

The laws of perspective deceive the traveler as to 
heights of mountains, and so profound is the deception 
that he is always disappointed in the appearance of even 
the most lofty peaks. In his mind he has accustomed 
himself to look almost straight up to see the top of a 
fourteen-thousand-foot mountain, and that would be cor- 
rect did such a peak rise straight up like a liberty pole. 
But as the traveler skirts the foothills, the peak is many 
miles away and probably looks merely like a shoulder in 
the landscape, perhaps like a low-lying cloud. Indeed, it 
may be entirely hidden by some intervening insignificant 
foothill. The one great test of height is snow at the top, 



16 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

the next is dimness of detail as compared with nearer 
hills, and the final test is that blue haze which lies between 
the eye and all distant objects, the same haze that makes 
the ''blue vault of heaven." 

If, therefore, the peak shows snow, is dim of outline, 
or is seen through blue haze, the traveler is safe in con- 
cluding that he is looking at one of nature's majestic 
mountains, perhaps seventy-five or a hundred miles away. 
The writer got his first view of Teneriffe at one hundred 
and twenty-five miles as a pointed cloud rising slightly 
above the horizon. 

Perchance some day may come unannounced a forest 
ranger locating the smoke of the camp-fire, a cow-boy 
going to a round-up, or possibly a sheep-man looking for 
company, for these men are lonely out in the hills. They 
are all human beings and grand good fellows to boot. 
With them the tramper will do well to keep on friendly 
terms, for they will be fond of him as he is of them, 
if only the opportunity offers, and they will help him in 
every possible way. These denizens of the hills are not 
a species separate from the genus Homo, as some tender- 
feet seem to assume, even if they do wear chaps of 
leather and sheepskin to keep the branches from tearing 
their clothes ; indeed, a surprising proportion are col- 
lege graduates. But whether lettered or unlettered, they 
all have absorbed the greatness of the hill country and 
their meeting is always a happy incident, for they are a 
real part of the mountains. 

It is frequently necessary to scout out a new trail or 
road where none exists or where there is some doubt as 
to the proper course. In order that the scout may be 
certain of returning to his party through thicket or con- 



GETTING USED TO THE MOUNTAINS 17 

fusion of turnings, it is well to break down a limb or 
twig occasionally on his way out or set up some kind of 
marker by which he may find his way back with certainty, 
for everything looks different on the return. 

Finally the traveler must not expect the sensational 
every moment of the time. Even the mountains do not 
afford continuous panoramas of superlatives. Besides, 
one goes to the hills not wholly, or even mainly for that 
which he can see with the eyes, but to become a part of 
the mountains themselves and to live a life that all in 
good time pervades and upUfts the very soul of him. 



THE TRAIL 

The start is always the same, — a plunge into the foot- 
hills, more than likely over a fairly good road and on 
what seems a steep decline, as already described, so that 
the river, the ever-present river, seems to be rolling 
tumultuously uphill to meet the traveler. This deceptive 
appearance is due to the same perspective that makes all 
peaks and mountainsides look flatter than they really are. 
The way, in truth, rises rapidly from the plain as it 
heads directly for an opening, through the canyon. 

The first few miles of the real climb will probably be 
upon a generous road or trail, sending branches up side 
canyons here and there, growing steadily narrower and 
less used as it ascends, leaving travel and civilization be- 
hind as it winds its tortuous way higher and ever higher 
toward the everlasting snows. 

In all the lower levels the trail is readily followed, as 
it conforms to the sweeping bends of the river whose 
waters here are strong enough to plow out a fairly easy, 
even though winding, channel. Farther up, however, the 
mountain becomes master and the infant river makes 
its turbulent way as best it may over rocks it cannot move, 
against bluffs it cannot pierce, and around points it is 
unable to wear away, plunging here and halting there — 

18 



THE TRAIL 19 

any way to get ahead and downward in its tumultuous 
hurry out of the hills. 

It is here on the higher levels that the trail often be- 
comes confused. Clear as any highway up to a certain 
point, it suddenly vanishes so completely that the tender- 
foot casts his eye upward as in wonder whether, like 
Jacob's ladder, it may not have been drawn up into the 
heavens. The old-timer knows, however, that he has only 
struck an open spot in which every traveler and every 
animal has had a choice of ways instead of wearing a 
single path. Therefore, he scouts a great circle until he 
picks up the trail again. It may be going in the same 
direction as when it was lost, it may possibly turn abruptly 
around some point or other obstruction, or it may head 
straight up some inviting valley or friendly slope. 

There is no danger of getting lost. It is assumed that 
the traveler has acquainted himself by maps and other 
reliable information which can always be secured of the 
forest ranger with the general lay of the country and 
particularly with the principal rivers and peaks, and so 
has plenty of landmarks. If, however, he should become 
hopelessly confused, there are two things to be done. 
In a frequented region, he should build two smoke fires 
and wait ; otherwise, he should travel downhill until he 
comes to water, follow this and it will lead him out, for 
the mountains are not like the trackless and illimitable 
forest; there is always a sure way out by following the 
streams. 

It is along the higher levels that the trail makes its 
tortuous way as best it can. Now it follows a broad and 
easy road through heavy timber with vistas here and there 
that would seem to lead straight up to Paradise. Now it 



20 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

comes to a turn so sharp as to suggest the end of the 
trail, but, skirting a cliff, it emerges without warning on 
broad meadows green with grass or blue with lupins. 
Up a winding valley carpeted with Indian paint-brush, 
past beds of larkspur and of columbine, stateliest of the 
mountain flowers, and on through fields of roses with 
borders almost as distinct as if made by a gardener, the 
ascending trail leads the astonished traveler up and ever 
upward, revealing new wonders at every step. 

Up and up, and always up, the trail climbs the slopes 
between great bowlders with scarcely room for packs, 
rounds the point on an overhanging rock, and strikes out 
upon the broad mountainside steeper than many roofs 
and a thousand feet or more above the foaming waters 
rushing along so far below that all motion is lost to 
the eye and the turbulent stream seems a ribbon of silver 
flecked with wool. Upward and still upward the trail 
runs across fields of melting snow. Here the beaten 
path lies eight or ten feet farther down the slope than 
upon the solid land, mute witness that, like any other 
glacier, melting snow is generally under irresistible mo- 
tion down the sides of the mountain. 

At the head of the valley, in most instances, the trail 
leads up a rocky and almost perpendicular wall five hun- 
dred, possibly twenty-five hundred, feet in height, depend- 
ing on the character of the cirque that is just below the 
pass. In any case, it is nearly always so steep as to com- 
pel a resort to the zigzag method of climbing, which is 
the only way of reducing the steeper grades to the pos- 
sibilities of the footman or his pack animal. This last 
climb is the great feature of approach to any pass. 

Here at some point we cross the timber line so sud- 





III. We Discover the Trail That Leads Always UrwARD. 



THE TRAIL 21 

denly that the trees themselves seem to have been sheered 
off with some giant sickle, so level are the tops and so 
suddenly does all timber stop. Thenceforth, above tim- 
ber line, the trail lies always in the open with all con- 
spicuous vegetation left behind, excepting only the low- 
liest flowers. 

Most attractive of these denizens of the upper levels are 
the hundreds of beds of forget-me-nots, fairest and most 
fragrant of all the mountain sisters. These little blue 
eyes look straight into the face of the traveler with a 
kind of yearning, as if they had been expecting him all 
along and as if wondering why he leaves so soon. 

Strange, almost uncanny, is this vivid evidence of life 
up here, where all else is bare and cold and dead, where 
snow holds supremacy undisputed, and where keen winds 
blow at any season of the year. Here the traveler may 
pick his bouquet with one hand and make a snowball 
with the other, as I have done many a time when linger- 
ing for a moment on the higher levels we have been climb- 
ing so long to reach. From here to the top the trail leads 
alternately over broken ground, bare rock, snow fields, 
and tundra, as it makes its final ascent to the pass. 



VI 

THE PASS 

Most mountains have a slightly flattened top; that is 
to say, the steepest places are some distance below the 
summit. As we near this shoulder and the grade lessens, 
the feet seem about to run away with the body, by which 
the old-timer knows, even before the eye gives him warn- 
ing, that he is nearing the pass and the beginning of 
another valley that will lead him down the opposite side. 
A few moments later this new prospect literally bursts on 
his view, as it seems to rise without warning out of the 
very earth beneath and in front of him with an effect 
that is startling both for its suddenness and for its 
grandeur. 

No words have been invented that can describe the 
magnificence of the vision that greets the traveler as he 
emerges from the valley behind and suddenly finds an- 
other spread out at his very feet, stretching away and 
away below him miles on miles into the distance, — a vast 
amphitheater of green and blue and gray and white; an- 
other world complete in its every detail. 

A lake glimmers in the foreground while the inevitable 
silver stream winds away and is lost in the distance as 
it plunges below the timber line. On every side of the 
enchanted valley and shutting it in from the remainder 

22 



THE PASS 23 

of the world, rise the great mountains side by side Hke 
giant guards, silent, massive, eternal, white, and cold. 
Their huge bare shoulders, on which the foot of man has 
never rested, nor indeed will rest, stand boldly out against 
the sky, while their mantles of melting snow, like great 
lace collars, seem to stream away down the sides as the 
accumulation of a thousand storms lingers in the deeper 
gorges and melts but slowly away. Above and over all 
rise the snow-crowned heads of these mighty monarchs 
of the Divide, their shining helmets glittering in the sun- 
light far above the mists and clouds that drift across 
their lower levels Hke skulking coyotes caught at their 
kill. 

Looking back over the valley from which he has 
emerged, the traveler, standing on the pass, is again 
amazed to behold, in a single view and with finished per- 
spective, what he has been so many hours in laboriously 
ascending. There lies behind him that mighty sweep of 
mountainside with the trail pricked out here and there 
in forest and bush and rock, running like a thread of gold 
through a fabric of green and gray. Far below is the 
camp site of the night before and a little farther back is 
all that remains of the great snowslide that went thunder- 
ing down the mountainside last winter, uprooting the 
largest trees and taking everything along as it went. In 
its mighty energy it stopped not at the bottom of the 
valley but rushed on some hundreds of feet up the op- 
posite slope, there at last to come to rest with its mass 
of snow and ice and rock and broken trees, reckless of the 
damage done as another step was taken in filling the 
valleys from the slopes above and in smoothing off the 
earth that is yet in the making. Surely it is here that the 



24 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

giants come to play, and it was in a place like this that 
the prophet must have stood when he exclaimed, "What 
is man that Thou art mindful of him?" 

Between the two, the valley behind and the valley 
ahead, between what he has seen and the vision of a 
prospect he expects to explore, the astounded traveler at 
the pass bares his head in adoration that such things 
were made to be, and silently he utters a word of thanks 
that he is one of the fortunate few to stand alone with it 
all at the top of the world — seemingly in the very presence 
of the Most High, whose voice he feels he might hear 
at almost any moment thundering down the mountain, as 
Moses did on Sinai. 

Lost in wonder and amaze, the climber at the pass feels 
at first almost like an intruder on the privacy of nature 
but gradually becoming accustomed to the heavenly vision, 
he continues his way a different and a better man, for 
the normal human soul cannot behold these visions face 
to face and day after day without being profoundly in- 
fluenced, not only at the time but permanently. 

This will seem extravagant language to one who has 
never stood at the passes of the great mountains, and 
yet how feeble and inexpressive it all appears as I read 
it over. After all, how inadequate is language for ex- 
pressing the unusual and the sublime ! 

Whoever has gone over Middle Cottonwood and seen 
the panorama of peaks beyond; whoever has climbed 
Taylor Pass and gazed on the valley spread out for 
thirty miles below ; whoever has stood on Pearl or on St. 
Elmo day or night wondering what lay beyond ; whoever 
has climbed Red Mountain and looked back on the amphi- 
theater of hills rising to his feet from seemingly illimit- 



THE PASS 25 

able depths; whoever has gone over Independence and 
looked down on the deserted village nestling snugly in 
the valley a thousand feet below; whoever has walked 
or ridden over the great shoulder of Pegan or the slopes 
of Gunsight; whoever has climbed the twenty-four zig- 
zags at Swift Current, looking backward two thousand 
feet below and out over a hundred miles of prairie; who- 
ever has gone on up the narrow pass and gazed fifteen 
hundred feet down on Granite Park, then lifted his eyes 
in amazement to Heaven's Peak beyond, with its halo of 
snow glittering in the sunlight; whoever has seen 
Yosemite across the valley, climbed the zigzags at Vernal 
Falls, or taken off his hat to El Capitan at the entrance ; 
whoever has stood on these or similar enchanted spots, 
will agree that neither word nor brush can convey more 
than a feeble picture of what the mountains really mean 
to man. 

To know this meaning, one must feel it, and to do that 
he must not merely see the mountains as in a picture — 
he must live with them and their timber, their snows, and 
their waters, day after day, in sunshine and in storm, 
and in all the moods and tempers which nature here takes 
on. That is the privilege only of the one who actually 
tramps their foothills, their slopes, and their passes, day 
in and day out, as part of the nature they so grandly 
typify. 



VII 
MAKING CAMP 

It is the end of a perfect day. We have climbed, we 
have waded, we have seen, we have heard, we have felt. 
We have followed the trail in all its meanderings, we have 
wandered at our own sweet will, we have loaded our- 
selves with wild flowers, we have marveled at mountain 
slope and cloud effect, we have unslung the cup from the 
belt and carried it brimming to the lips from the moun- 
tain torrent a score of times. We have rolled rocks down 
the precipice and listened like boys at play as they went 
thundering into the depths below, we have stood with 
heads uncovered before the mighty majesty of the moun- 
tains, and we have really lived, for we have experienced 
what is rare, except in childhood, — the rapture of bare 
physical existence. 

But now we are weary and hungry! Hungry, not 
politely and reservedly as at home, but hungry with a 
kind of savage and all-pervading demand for food and 
plenty of it. And why not? We have been on the trail 
since morning with only a cracker or a biscuit or a hand- 
ful of raisins, for the tramper does not eat when climb- 
ing. But now we impatiently crave nourishment as we 
did in childhood; and we have need for it, for if we have 
climbed say three thousand feet, we have done lifting 

26 



MAKING CAMP 27 

equivalent to the shoveling of some twenty tons of coal 
from the ground into a wagon. For an hour or more we 
have been looking for a good camping site and here it 
is. 

Here is timber for shelter and for that shut-in effect 
that makes a home out of a camp, even in the wilderness. 
A home out-of-doors in the wilderness? Yes, indeed; 
for if the spot be favorable in its immediate surroundings 
and in its view either up or down the canyon, a few min- 
utes will suffice to put the equipment in its accustomed 
order and to set up comfortable living with that homey 
feeling which the traveler seeks always to gratify. We 
have a number of such temporary homes scattered over 
the mountains, and we pay them frequent visits, not only 
in our dreams, but in our waking retrospections, as we 
live again from time to time the glorious experiences of 
vacation on the trail. 

In choosing a camping spot, certain definite require- 
ments are in mind. No matter how good the timber or 
how attractive the spot, the camp must not be at the 
mouth of a valley likely to be flooded by a sudden cloud- 
burst or other cause of the breaking away of waters from 
their accustomed channels on higher levels. With this 
provided against, the camp may be located wholly with 
reference to the traveler's immediate needs, always re- 
membering that the wind will turn at sunset and blow 
down the valley until morning. 

Here is an open space for tents and over there is an 
excellent spot for the "kitchen," with plenty of space near 
by for that important event to follow — the feast of 
biscuits and bacon, with simple trimmings. Yonder is 
an ideal site for the camp-fire, later on, with plenty of 



28 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

open space for sitting about the blaze. Wood is abun- 
dant. Water of the best is just at hand and running 
to waste, and down the slope is plenty of grass for the 
burros. Everything is ideal for meeting the needs of 
the party for refreshment against another day, and here 
we rest. 

These separate spots are features to be located definitely 
before a knot is loosened for unpacking. I am not de- 
scribing travel by caravan with great trains of pack ani- 
mals, a retinue of servants to do the work, and supplies 
that insure a Delmonico dinner, nor am I referring to 
that abomination of all camping by which the tramper 
carries his supplies upon his back; cooking, eating, and 
I had almost said living, in his frying-pan. I am try- 
ing to describe a simple style of family camping in which 
the party does all its own work and in which one pack 
burro can carry the food, tents, and supplies for each 
two members of the party on a thirty-day trip. Three 
to six make an ideal party, but if the company is larger 
than six, it would better break up into sections and travel 
separately with definite meeting places arranged in ad- 
vance. 

The party, whatever the number, will divide into two 
groups, one to prepare the food and wash the dishes, and 
the other to gather wood, bring water, pitch tents, wrangle 
the pack animals, repair equipment, and finally to pack 
for the next day's trip. In a mixed company the division 
is obvious, the male members being best adapted to the 
use of the only kind of language which most burros 
understand and to those forms of activity best calculated 
to secure from the lazy and tricky little beasts that at- 
tention to business which is necessary to progress. This 



MAKING CAMP 29 

means by the principle of reductio ad absurdum that the 
ladies do the cooking. 

The camp is quickly made. The packs are unloaded 
near — not on top of — the various spots selected for the 
tents and for the kitchen fire. It is a queer kink in 
human nature that leads the novice on the trail to dump 
his pack on the very spot on which he expects to pitch his 
tent or erect his stove, compelling an extra handling. It 
seems to take a man of ordinary intelligence and fore- 
sight about a week to learn to pile his stuff just one side 
of the spot selected for actual operations, all of which 
is a vast argument for the doctrine that evolution is the 
only hope of the race. 

A good plan is to lay the sleeping-bags unopened on 
the ground while everybody drops down for about ten 
minutes flat on the back for a real stretch out before be- 
ginning the labors of the evening. This does not mean 
a nap, for that Avould bring stiffness in the cool of the 
approaching night, but only a few minutes of complete 
relaxation of all the muscles. 

The first task is to put up the cooking jack and build 
the kitchen fire. Then, while one shift prepares the 
supper, the other pitches the tents, opens the sleeping-bags 
or bed-rolls and digs a little trench to turn water from 
the tent, making everything taut for the night, for one 
never knows when a sudden storm may come. If one 
of the party is to slip away with hook and line to secure 
a little variety, I am sure that nobody will object, but 
nothing must interfere with the job of getting everything 
ready for the night before darkness comes creeping over 
the mountainside, for it is not feasible to provide illumi- 
nation beyond a small electric flashlight. 



30 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

The best of all tents for the movable camp is one with 
a front that can be raised as a fly under which cooking 
may be done in time of storm. This tent requires but 
two poles, and the same rope is used both for ridge and 
for end stays. This part of tent-pitching must be well 
done, for if this rope is securely fastened to trees or heavy 
stakes, almost anything will serve for pegging down with- 
out danger of collapse in a sudden gust of wind. All 
knots should be tied with loose ends by which they can 
be untied with a jerk, even if tightened by wetting. 

Before spreading the beds, the ground should be care- 
fully looked over for snags and protruding shrubs and 
rocks, which can be dug out by that most useful of all 
camp tools, the mason's pick. The pack covers make good 
tent rugs, protecting against the litter of the ground. 

By the time these matters are carefully attended to, 
the call to chuck will be heard in camp and everything 
drops instantly. There is no need to instruct even the 
merest novice as to how to deal with the biscuits and 
bacon that will form the bulk of the meal. There is no 
use either in cautioning anybody to eat moderately, for 
under the circumstances it will not be done. In truth, 
there is little need of caution, for I have never known 
acute indigestion in camp. 

If anything is left — but there will not be — it can be fed 
to the burros ; and this is the usual practice when break- 
ing camp, for I have never found anything that they 
refused to eat, esteeming, as they do, tinfoil and greasy 
paper napkins as special delicacies. 

With the washing of the dishes and the collection of 
wood, the company is ready for the last and the best cere- 
mony of the day, the camp-fire. 



VIII 
THE CAMP-FIRE 

While *^the girls," that is, the cooks, are doing the 
dishes after supper — for this royal gorge may not be 
called a dinner — *'the boys" that is, the wranglers, collect 
wood for a camp-fire. It may be dead aspen warranted 
to make a bright yellow smokeless blaze. It may be sage- 
brush when out upon the desert, and sagebrush is better 
for the camp-fire than for cooking, unless it be chopped 
fine and burned in a shallow trench. It may be a small 
dead tree cut into six-foot or eight-foot lengths to be 
burned in two by **niggering," then swung together at 
the ends to make a "hot one." A few evergreen branches 
may be available to throw upon the bed of burning coals 
as the fire dies down, filling the nostrils with the pungent 
odor of burning balsam, and sending streamers of fire 
off into the night, chasing the gathering shadows back 
into the forest again. 

The warmth of burning logs and the flare and flicker 
of the flame, especially in the gathering shades of evening, 
exert a subtle influence out in the wild that is not far 
from that of companionship with something intelligent, 
beneficent, but mysterious. It is not difficult, therefore, 
to understand how primitive folk easily become fire- 

31 



Z2 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

worshipers. To any man with sentiment living alone out 
in the mountains, the building of a new fire is well-nigh 
a sacred rite to be performed with especial deliberation 
and almost ceremonial care involving certain definite and 
specific acts, — the selection of the spot, the gathering of 
suitable material, the discovery of dry quick-burning 
stuff for the lighting, and, last of all, the proper laying 
of the kindling and the logs. 

The spot may be against a rock, if it is desired to re- 
flect the heat into tents or over the camp site, but never 
against a log or stump or tree, for it is impossible com- 
pletely to extinguish a fire in such a location, and the 
putting out of the last spark either by drenching with 
water or covering with dirt is both the legal and the 
moral obligation of any man who starts a fire in the wild. 
Let the site be chosen, therefore, against a rock or pref- 
erably, in most cases, out in the open. 

Almost anything that is dry will serve for making heat, 
but a beautiful flame is a consideration as well, and the 
camper will soon learn the most desirable woods in his 
locality. Pitch is to be avoided as smoky and unduly 
hot, but an occasional evergreen bough will often give 
fine effects in fiery streamers that float off into the night 
like evil spirits seeking rest. 

The last hunt is for something that will light easily 
to start the fire. A search under down timber, rotting 
logs, in dense thickets, or other sheltered places will usually 
discover dry slivers, twigs, or bark that can be lighted 
easily. Failing in this, the ax may be requisitioned to 
split a dry chip out of some dead tree or seasoned stump 
from which shavings can be made with a jacknife. As a 
last resort even in wet weather, the bark may be twiste 1 



THE CAMP-FIRE 33 

from dead twigs, leaving the wood fairly dry, but the 
experienced camper carries in his pack a small piece of 
fine kindling against all emergencies. 

Everything is ready for the laying, and herein lies a 
fine art that seems to be known only to the woodsman. 
The tenderfoot has seen wood burning always in hori- 
zontal piles as in the stove or furnace, and that is his 
idea of laying a fire. Not so the experienced camper. 
He first selects a back log five or six inches in diameter 
and against this he builds his fire. Having lighted the 
shavings or twisted bark, he begins to lay on small slivers 
or twigs, not horizontally but standing on end, gradually 
enlarging the size of the sticks but always building teepee 
fashion so that the blaze is teased up through the mass by 
the natural draft as in a chimney. See insert in illustra- 
tion opposite p. 52. 

Should it chance to be raining, it may be necessary to 
cover the incipient blaze with a piece of bark until it 
gets well started or, in extreme cases when other shelter 
is wanting, it may be required to use the hat or even the 
coat for temporary shelter. It is no fun to build a fire 
in a rain but it frequently has to be done and, with plenty 
of wood, one can really dry himself at an open fire even 
w^hen it is raining hard. 

I am assuming that the camper is not only provided 
with that modern necessity known as matches but that 
he has them always on his person and that in the pack 
he has guarded the supply against any possibility of 
getting wet. Of course if any camper wishes to start his 
fire by rubbing two sticks together, he is at perfect lib- 
erty to do so, but, so far as actual experience goes, that 
performance is a primitive fad, like frying bacon on a 



34 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

stick instead of in a skillet, as every practical woodsman 
does, not only to cook the bacon without burning but to 
preserve the fat as a substitute for butter. In all these 
necessary matters, it is the part of wisdom to find the 
method that best squares with all the conditions and fol- 
low that. There is no virtue in being uncomfortable or 
in doing a thing in the most inconvenient way merely be- 
cause the camper is living next to nature ; indeed, quite 
the contrary. The wise tramper will avail himself of 
every advantage and every convenience which circum- 
stances provide, even to appropriating a deserted cabin 
in a storm. 

Here, around the camp-fire, the company assembles to 
rest before retiring, to talk over the events and ad- 
ventures of the day, and to make plans for the morrow 
in the only hour of real leisure that is found upon the trail. 
We talk over how the day compares with yesterday or 
the trail with others done before; the excellence and the 
shortcomings of this particular string of burros compared 
with others we have known ; how no thistle blossom es- 
caped the vigilant eye of old Jenny; how Jack got fast 
between two trees, not knowing enough to back out ; how 
Jeremiah, the fool on the job, fell completely over, with 
his pack wedged between two rocks and his feet waving 
helplessly in the air; how *T. W." lay down upon the 
trail, feigning illness, time after time, until the old-timer, 
tired of his tricks, went at his ears right roughly with his 
walking stick; how a burro can know so little and live, 
and how he came to know so much that is of no earthly 
use to him or anybody else ; wondering what becomes of 
a burro in the end, for nobody ever saw a dead one — 
does he explode into primordial dust, does he evaporate 



THE CAMP-FIRE 35 

into elemental vapors, or is he transported unchanged into 
interstellar space to make music for the spheres? 

So is the mountain canary a perpetual source of amuse- 
ment, of anger, of curiosity, even of despair. He is truly 
the pepper of the trail and the spice of the journey, and 
we would not have it otherwise. We wonder whether the 
snow at the pass half a mile ahead will be hard enough to 
hold the burros in the morning, and whether we can ''make 
a get-away" before it softens in the rising sun. H unable 
to make the pass, shall we scout out a road over the 
shoulder at the right or at the left? Will it freeze to- 
night as it did last night out on the desert, and may be 
expected on the pass? What about tomorrow's trail? 
Will it be good or bad up the slope and over the Divide 
and will we make the deserted village by camping time? 

These and a hundred similar questions take up the 
time till the fire dies down from neglect, the shadows be- 
gin to creep back from the forest, the cool of the evening 
is on the company with a deep drowsiness, and nothing 
further invites but the sleeping-bag or the bed-roll. So 
the Psalm is read by the flickering light and the day ends 
at dusk, and early darkness finds us all in care-free slum- 
ber such as only children and trampers know, lulled by 
the continual music of the mountain stream a rod away, 
which, like Tennyson's brook, goes on and on forever. 
No wonder that five o'clock finds everybody rested, as 
rest is not known except on the trail, and ready to begin 
a new day, anxious to be off before the snow softens on 
the pass or the heat of the day has well begun. 



IX 

BREAKING CAMP 

In the early morning the camp comes to life with a 
bang and at the first sign of action there comes floating 
up the valley the answering heehaw or rather "ee aw" 
of the burros. One of them is not a good singer, and the 
best he can do is a fair imitation of the squeak of a rusty 
hinge. His sides go in and out vigorously, however, as 
if something worth while were really coming of all his 
effort, but results are abortive. The camp is alive, and 
the new day has fairly begun. 

The wranglers build the cooking fire, then saddle the 
burros, for no burro can be tightly cinched at the first 
attempt. He will swell up to nearly bursting as soon as 
he sees the saddle and pack cloths coming, and the only 
way to beat him at the game is to saddle him early and 
then catch him unawares a little later on and **cinch him 
up for keeps," after which a side view of him may look 
more like that of a wasp than of a humble representative 
of the genus Equus. 

While breakfast is preparing, the tents must come down 
and either be folded for packing or, if covered with frost, 
laid out in the sun to thaw out and dry off. The beds 
should be shaken out and folded or rolled according to 
the kind of pack to be used, the duffle-bag filled and tied, 

36 



BREAKING CAMP Z7 

and the ground ^Yell searched to see that no piece of prop- 
erty is left behind. 

Immediately after breakfast the actual packing begins. 
First the tents and bedding are disposed of while the 
dishes are being washed, and last of all the kitchen equip- 
ment — dishes, stove, oven, and tables, if that luxury is 
afforded, as it may well be. 

The details of the pack will be reserved for another 
chapter, but there are four final chores in the breaking 
of the camp, no one of which should be omitted. The 
first is to see that some wood and kindling are put in a 
dry place for the next traveler who may come that way, 
perhaps in a storm. I have had the experience of starting 
a fire under these very conditions with kindling and wood 
that our own party had left upon the spot some two years 
before. So does bread that is cast upon the waters return 
after many days. 

The second chore is to see that no scrap of camp rub^ 
bish is left unburned or unburied to disfigure the beauty 
of nature and offend the next occupant of the camp site. 
The third is to make certain that no spark of fire is left 
to make trouble for the forest rangers, and the last is to 
take a final look, insuring that not so much as a steel 
tent stake is left behind. 

The rule of the trail is that no man must destroy 
or take more than he needs and must leave the camp 
with everything ready for him w^ho shall come after. 
If a camp is along a frequented trail, he may find food 
and cooking utensils. He may not take of the former 
except in distress without leaving a full equivalent of 
what he uses. He is welcome to use skillets and coffee- 
pot but he must leave them clean or he is a veritable pariah 



38 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

among campers. After its abandonment, a camp site 
should show no evidence of occupancy that will offend 
the eye of the most fastidious, or betray an abuse of 
nature's bounty, the latter having special reference to the 
care of young and growing timber and the evil habit of 
carving trees, disfiguring rocks, or befouling springs 
and streams. 

Life in the open is wild and free but it has its natural 
limitations which all right-minded men and women will 
observe, and nobody is so thoroughly disliked, even de- 
spised, in the mountains as the picnic type of camper who 
has never a care for what he does or leaves behind be- 
cause he never expects to come that way himself again. 
May his tribe soon vanish from off the earth! 



X 
THE LAY-OVER 

As already noted, it is well on the second or third day- 
out to "lay over" one day in order to work the lameness 
out of the legs, revise the methods of the camp, repack 
the stuff as experience has suggested, and, in general, 
prepare for the steady life of the higher trails. 

Again, from time to time later on a lay-over day will 
be convenient or desirable, and time for such diversions 
should be included in the general plan. On the trail, as 
elsewhere, bathing is a duty to be performed, requiring 
here special preparations, for the icy waters of lake and 
stream are not only forbidding but often dangerous. 
Certain washing must be done, and beds must be opened, 
sunned, and aired. Besides these matters of necessity, 
an occasional camp site is so bewitchingly beautiful that 
one wishes to linger in the shade of an especially friendly 
grove or tarry beside a particularly attractive stream. 
Here is the place, and this is the time, to combine neces- 
sity and inclination into a lay-over. 

I well remember one such spot at which the bulk of 
the family washing was laid in a long pile, a rope tied 
about the middle of the bundle, and the whole heaved over 
the cliff to be washed and rinsed in the raging torrent 
below, as sailors wash at sea, without labor and withouf 

39 



40 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

price. I recall groves and valleys and passes v^here the 
instinct to worship was so stimulated that man could not, 
if he would, resist the urge to adoration, and here can 
be found in these favored spots the primal cause of the 
religious impulse in primitive man. In places such as 
these the camper will probably linger, perform his few 
unusual duties, and fill himself with what nature has 
to give more completely than would be possible were the 
camp site utilized only as a stopping place at night. In 
one such place our party has camped three different times, 
in another twice, and always with increasing satisfaction, 
returning to the old spot with yearning as a full-grown 
man comes back to his childhood home. 

It is in the lay-over camp that certain indulgences are 
possible — a little later rising hour, a side excursion to 
valley, gorge, or hilltop, extra seating about the camp- 
fire, retiring nooks worked out of impenetrable thickets — 
these and a hundred other variations from the daily rou- 
tine will suggest themselves. 

Now is the time for some slight change in the menu. 
If beans are to be cooked, this is a favorable opportunity 
for so long a process. Much nonsense has been written 
about cooking at high altitudes, as if it were impossible, 
for example, to boil potatoes at ten thousand feet. At 
any height likely to be reached by the tramper, the dif- 
ference in cooking will hardly be noticed, except that a 
little extra time is required in boiling. 

The near-by snow-bank can be utilized for the making 
of ices and it is even better than the stream for the 
hardening of jello. If the season is right, berries can be 
found ; and, all in all, the lay-over will be acceptable. 

One day is enough, and by the next the company will 




V. Lakes Like Mirrors Set in the Laxd-^caie. 



THE LAY-OVER 41 

be ready to go ahead for, after all, the spirit of adventure 
is uppermost and the desire for action and constant change 
is on all the company, except perhaps the burros, though 
the more they work the better they behave. 

And so it goes to the end of the trip. Every day is 
different, and the moving panorama of water, timber, 
scenery, and the changing moods of nature afford variety 
experienced nowhere else as in the mountains. When on 
the trail these details so overlap and merge together that 
few distinct impressions are created, but afterwards, on 
review, each stands out by itself a distinct and impressive 
entity, almost sentient in its influence. 



XI 
THE MOUNTAIN WATERS 

The higher mountains abound with water, great quan- 
tities of it, tumbling down every canyon, streaming over 
almost perpendicular walls, and trickling from seams 
and crevices at every hand, although there are dry sides 
wherever the strata tilt in the opposite direction. 

This abundance of water comes almost entirely from 
melting snows, for aside from an occasional cloudburst, 
most summer showers in the higher levels are insig- 
nificant. However, the quantity is unaccountable when 
compared w-ith the snow fields whose actual extent is 
dwarfed by the vast expanse of mountainside, whole 
townships of it lying bare and gray in the sunlight. 

Snow w^ater seems to behave like no other I have ever 
known. Emerging from an ice field, turbid and milky, it 
soon clears and by the time it has become a torrent it 
flows with a peculiar greenish-glassy luster, half liquid, 
half crystal, that marks it anywhere as coming from the 
snow fields. So restless is its energy as it hastens over 
the rocks and around obstructions that it appears to be 
possessed of a kind of intelligent purpose to get on and 
out of the country. 

Opposed, as it frequently is, by bluffs and turns it 
cannot conquer, it lashes itself into foam wherever it is 

42 



THE MOUNTAIN WATERS 43 

balked, then hurries on as if to make up for time that 
was lost. Everywhere the beds of streams are filled with 
bowlders sent tumbling and bumping and booming against 
their neighbors from time to time by the sheer weight 
of rushing water — reason enough why experienced 
travelers keep out of the larger mountain streams where 
death awaits the unwary. 

All this is music sweet to the heart of the experienced 
camper, and as the torrent rushes by his tent at night or 
his sleeping-bag out under the stars, he feels in his very 
soul that this continued swishing roar of rushing waters 
is the great voice of Mother Nature lulling him to rest 
upon her bosom. Perforce he sleeps the sleep of child- 
hood, even the busy man of a thousand cares, and he 
wakes w4th the rising sun a new creature in a new 
creation. 

The streams are low in the morning because the chill 
of night has checked the thawing of the snows, but with 
the rising of the morning sun, the waters swell again 
and towards mid-afternoon they will reach their height. 
A muddy river indicates a cloudburst or landslide higher 
up, but so heavy is the material and so powerful the 
current that the most turbid of steams will clear in a few 
hours, returning quickly to the customary glassy appear- 
ance and inviting flow as it swings around the bend and 
tumbles madly down the gorge. 

When this snow water from a thousand silver rills, 
slipping down the higher peaks, gathers, as it sometimes 
does, into one of the few little mountain lakes, and quiets 
down before beginning its final turbulent journey, it is 
so still and so clear that it seems the emblem of eternal 
rest; for this is the land of the sky-blue waters beside 



44 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

which all other is turbid and yellow and common. These 
little mountain lakes, encountered unexpectedly beside 
the trail, look not so much like bodies of water as 
like so many mirrors set in the landscape, reflecting and 
doubling the glories not only of mountain peaks rising 
in the distance but of every tree and shrub and flower 
that grows upon the brink. Blessed be the mountain 
waters, whether in motion or at rest! Instinctively we 
kneel to drink from cup or hand or hat, or better yet 
to dip the face into the very substance of the limpid glory. 

The camper soon comes to regard the water as his 
special friend and he drinks of it abundantly. The cup 
that hangs from his belt is requisitioned at almost every 
turn, and the marvel is that one can drink so much with 
satisfaction. The tramper falls regularly to the tempta- 
tion, if for no other reason than that so much that is 
good seems going to waste. 

Here, too, abide the fish he often entices into his net 
by skilful cast of line. Finally, it is the stream that 
points the way and carves out the road whereby the 
traveler may reach the higher levels. Water is a constant 
and untiring friend to the tramper, and when it begins 
to fail as the summer advances, he feels that an old friend 
is slipping away, and it is time for him to fold his tents 
and depart for the ordinary haunts of man. In the 
desert or on the dry side of a mountain it may be neces- 
sary to scout for water. In this, as in following a blind 
trail, a kind of sixth sense seems to develop. Just as a 
broken twig or a bit of bark or wood scuffed off a rotting 
log or even a peculiar lay of the loose stones will serve 
to betray the road, so the camper scouting for water will 
learn to seize on the most insignificant indications. A 



THE MOUNTAIN WATERS 45 

tree in a dry place or some tufts of unusually long grass 
will suggest that a little digging may strike moisture, 
and a suspicious ledge of rocks will often shelter a spring 
that is inconspicuous because its scanty waters so quickly 
sink away. 

No joy of the chase can equal the satisfaction of the 
hunter after water when he has once found an ice-cold 
spring in a dry place. No wonder water plays so large 
a part in the imagery of the Old Testament where writers 
living in the mountains and the deserts knew well the 
meaning of a well of water in a weary land and of green 
pastures beside running brooks. 



XII 
THE TIMBER 

In the fastnesses of the higher mountains will be found 
the final retreat of the splendid timber growth that 
once covered so large a part of the North American 
continent. Here, in solitary sublimity, the great forest 
makes its last stand against the encroachments of civiliza- 
tion with its ax and plow, changing the face of nature to 
comply with the ideals and purposes of mankind com- 
mercialized. 

From foothills to timber line, which ranges from eight 
to twelve thousand feet according to latitude, moisture, 
and exposure, the mountains are clothed with a dense 
growth of evergreens, except only where the ranchman 
has carved out a clearing or where fire, that great enemy 
of the evergreen tree, has ravaged the hillsides, fanned 
and carried up the slopes by the wind that bursts into fury 
the moment a general conflagration starts. 

The lightning that plays freely in the higher levels is 
a fertile source of uncontrollable fires, and in all the 
national preserves, the foresters' watch-towers planted on 
the highest points command views of the country for 
miles around. The smallest smoke is a call to duty. The 
traveler is at first surprised to find here and there beside 
the trail, even in the wildest wilderness, little square up- 

46 



THE TIMBER 47 

standing boxes with a notice nailed on the door, inviting 
the passer-by to break the lock in case of fire and make 
use of the ax and shovel he will find to stop the impending 
conflagration while yet it can be controlled. By measures 
such as these, coupled with eternal vigilance, the Forestry- 
Service is controlling fire with marvelous success, and 
useful timber is rapidly increasing its growth. However, 
immense tracts were burned over long before we adopted 
measures of foresight in the case of our timber, and here 
the evergreen is being replaced by the rapidly growing, 
but short-lived, aspen. 

The camper blesses both evergreen and aspen for 
either makes an ideal shelter for the camp sites, but only 
a tenderfoot would pitch his tent in close proximity to 
a full-grown tree of any kind lest a sudden storm uproot 
it. 

In most places the evergreen and the deciduous are 
freely mixed, and both are valuable to the camper not 
only for poles and shelter but for camp-fire and for 
sturdy support to his tents. The choicest wood for cook- 
ing is from the smaller aspen, two or three inches in 
diameter, that has died and fallen down. The same 
timber makes the best poles, being light, strong, and free 
from pitch, which latter the camper soon learns to avoid, 
not only for its disagreeable stickiness but for its smoke 
and its certainty of melting down the cooking jack. 
Small dead evergreens, still standing, make the best 
camp-fire wood, while the deadened lower limbs of the 
larger trees are good for any kind of a fire, especially 
for baking in the reflector oven. 

The camper only partially appreciates the timber until 
he has been obliged to make camp in the open desert 



48 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

with not a leaf to break the fierceness of the sun upon 
his tent and not a thing to burn but sagebrush, although, 
when he learns to chop it fine and dig a hole for his fire, 
he can get on very well with a sagebrush fire in most 
kinds of cooking. Even so, he will come back to the 
timber at the first opportunity as to a friend of his child- 
hood, for it is only in the timber that the camp can be 
made really homey and comfortable. 

The tramper is conscious of the general steepness of 
things mountainous, not only by the aneroid barometer 
and his probable shortness of breath, but more especially 
by the angle at which the timber grows, an angle so sharp 
as to make all the trees seem to be leaning over back- 
wards to keep from falling down the hill, giving to the 
forest floor a strangely slanting appearance, as seen from 
underneath the trees. 

Nearing the limits known as the timber line, the forest 
floor merges into the open, the trees changing not so 
much in species as in size, being suddenly dwarfed, so 
that within a belt of six or eight hundred feet the growth 
is reduced from the diameter of a good-sized saw log 
and a height of seventy-five or one hundred feet to hard 
and scrubby stuff that is scarcely the height of a man, 
yet it represents perhaps a hundred years of battling 
with the elements for barely a chance to live. 

If near a pass or other wild exposure, all the limbs 
will be upon one side of the dwarfed and crooked trunk, 
giving a curiously wind-swept appearance and often, in 
dry regions, this exposed and scrubby growth will be cut 
into and actually whittled away by flying bits of sand, 
so that with timber, as with rocks, all sorts of fantastic 
shapes and twistings may be found. 



THE TIMBER 49 

It is fashionable to rave over the virtues of a bed made 
of evergreen boughs. Somebody has been brave enough 
to remark in this connection that other things can be 
done which do not pay. That is to say, it is possible to 
make a bed of boughs but it is a long and tedious task, 
this shingling with hundreds of little sprays in such way 
as to cover all the stems and make the surface soft and 
smooth. The labor and the expense of material are 
justified, if at all, only as a last expedient in a permanent 
camp. For a single night, almost any mountaineer would 
prefer to roll an old log out of its bed and ensconce 
himself in its place to undertaking the labor of making 
a bed of boughs. 

Timber is, next to water, the greatest friend of man 
on the trail. It shelters, warms, and cheers, and the 
camper everywhere looks on the trees as his best pro- 
tector. If he is above the timber line when a storm is 
gathering, he descends at once and builds a fire where 
he can weather anything but a cataclysm. The experi- 
enced mountaineer is never caught without matches, nor 
is he ever far from the means of building a fire. 

Some poet should sing to the mountain timber, not so 
much to the individual tree, though it is frequently 
worthy of his praise, but more especially to the forest 
as a whole, the oldest child of the higher slopes, twin 
brother to the waters and friend extraordinary to the 
wandering camper. 



XIII 
A STORM ON THE PASS 

The pass with its cross currents is the birthplace of 
the storm. It may come as rain on one side of the ridge 
and on the other turn to snow, which is the bane of the 
tramper, sending him scurrying down to timber line. It 
may drizzle all night, making it necessary to keep fire 
in front of the tent. In the morning everything may be 
covered with ice and the valley below be filled with fog, 
to be lifted only by the rising sun in great rolling billows 
like cumulus clouds, as they really are. 

In general, however, a storm on the higher levels is 
wholly a glorious experience to the camper, even the 
sight of a lifetime to him who invades these unaccus- 
tomed solitudes. For the pass is high above the life 
and activity of the valleys and the hills below. Here 
the timber has been left behind, the rushing torrent is 
not yet born, and only the silent rivulet from the snow 
field gives hint of the beginning of a mighty river. All 
is silent, cold, and dead on the pass until the storm king 
begins his revels, and then is the traveler treated to a 
display that suggests the gods at work with the elemental 
forces that make and remake worlds. 

From such a spot, the writer once looked down 
upon no fewer than seven separate storms in as many 

50 



A STORM ON THE PASS 51 

canyons— one of hail, one of snow, the others of rain, 
with lightnings playing here and there and a rainbow 
lying horizontal in the valley some fifteen hundred feet 
below. Standing in the sunlight in the midst of all this 
revel but far above it, one instinctively bares his head 
and repeats again that age-old question, ''What is man 
that Thou art mindful of him?" 

It may be that one great central storm is moving across 
the pass attended by outrider clouds upon the different 
peaks and ridges, for all the country is spread out to view 
for fifty miles around. Some of these outriders may be 
glorified almost continually by lightning flashes that illu- 
minate the snowy peaks with an unearthly brilliancy as, 
like golden chariots, the stately company of clouds sweeps 
majestically across the sky bathed in the slanting rays 
of the descending sun, for the late afternoon or early 
evening is the favorite time for cloud displays. 

A storm, as commonly seen by us groundlings, seems 
to be a thing of the upper air and far above us; but a 
storm on the pass twelve thousand feet or so above the 
sea is not only among the very peaks themselves but it 
is at, or above, the level where most of our storms are 
born. The observer on the pass, therefore, seems to be 
in the very heart of it all, for as the lightnings play around 
him, the storm is truly a part of the landscape, indeed of 
the very atmosphere. The lightnings crack about one's 
ears as in recognition of his presence, and the thunders 
roll along the ground as if giants were out bowling down 
the valleys. 

Such a storm on the pass means a glorious sunset after 
the lightnings have ceased to play and the rumblings 
have died away. Sunset in the mountains is always an 



52 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

impressive sight, for nowhere, not even on the deepest of 
deep blue seas, does the going down of the sun rival that 
glorious display of rich and changing color that char- 
acterizes the mountain sunset. After a day of clear 
blue skies the sun will set behind the peaks in a blaze 
of red and yellow glory in sharpest contrast to the intense 
cold white of the snow on the higher levels and the deep- 
ening gray shadows in the foreground. Out on the 
desert the browns and tans of the landscape and the 
softened blue haze of the distant mountains make a 
background for the sagebrush gray which turns the 
boundless waste into bewitching beauty that seen even 
but once will never be forgotten. 

It is at the pass and just after the storm king has 

ceased his revels that the sunset is at its best. The mists 

have cleared away and the last rumbling thunders gone 

to sleep. Great masses of clouds come rolUng up from 

the west, dragging across the pass to float away over 

the valley like shining chariots of gold. Alive they seem 

until the growing quiet of evening gradually subdues 

their movements and the descending sun that seemed to 

have set the world on fire softens the colors as in some 

great dissolving view from gold to tan and then to that 

mellow violet haze that we call the alpine glow. I saw 

it once over a great valley lying spread out below for 

thirty miles, and again as a shaft of soft blue-green light 

flung through a rift in the clouds as if it were a highway 

let down from Heaven and one could almost see angels 

ascending and descending in the mellow haze. Who 

knows what Jacob might have seen out there in the hills 

some four or five thousand years ago! And no wonder 

he exclaimed that God was also in that place. 




VI. Above— A Paradise, Not a Solitide. Below— The Deserted 

Village of Tin Cup. 



A STORM ON THE PASS 53 

And then follows the night, out under the stars two 
miles above the sea, where there is no need for tents ! 
One is too awed for sleep, looking straight up into the 
heavenly depths, wondering what lies beyond ! The shim- 
mering moonlight bathes the valley with a mellow glory 
that rests upon the hills around like a benediction from 
above. How far away the stars look and how witching 
the silvery light that seems more like a section of the 
milky way let down to earth than anything else we 
mortals have ever known. I saw it once at midnight 
shining across the valley on the great face of Mount 
Massive some twenty miles away — brilliant, glittering, 
glorious. I saw it again from the pass overlooking 
Taylor Valley after the storm had spent itself. The 
moon and the stars w^ere out, shining with a scintillating 
brilliance known only in the clear cold air of the higher 
levels. The mists had settled into the valley like a great 
white sea of foaming waters, shut in by the snowy peaks 
fading off into the distance some forty miles away. At 
two in the morning, after a stormy sunset, there lay the 
peaceful vision spread out below like an enchanted valley, 
uncanny and seeming not of earth. Such is the moonlight 
of the mountains, fit finish to the sunset and the storm. 



XIV 
THE DESERTED VILLAGE 

Caution needs to be observed in depending on towns 
named on the map for replenishment of supplies. For 
example, the town of Emma is an old mill site which 
even the rats have abandoned long ago. Dorchester 
figures prominently upon maps and trail marks, but its 
streets are grass-grown, the ''hotel" has neither guests 
nor proprietor, and the only remains of the saloon are 
a battered bar and five or six cords of beer bottles stacked 
in the rear. Independence and Rumley have been aban- 
doned for twenty years. Ivanhoe, on our last visit, had 
four inhabitants, and Busk had two, while other pre- 
tentious names stand for nothing physical but stakes 
driven into the ground. 

Ashcroft, the first mining town in the country, had 
at last account one inhabitant, my old friend Dan Mc- 
Arthur. Aspen, a dozen miles down the valley, was 
the successful competitor with Ashcroft and Independence 
for the county seat. It is the youngest of the lot; but 
lying between the two, it ran away with the prize by 
the ingenious device of playing the middle against both 
ends. As a result, Aspen is a charming little town with 
hundreds of the finest people, excellent shops, and a good 
hotel, amid extensive tracts of magnificent scenery, while 

54 



THE DESERTED VILLAGE 55 

the two rival towns are dead. This town is a good 
point to make on the trail, when the original supplies 
may be somewhat reduced at the outset except as to milk 
powder, dried eggs, and such standard articles that can 
be obtained only from the larger supply-houses. 

The coming suddenly on a deserted village causes 
mingled feelings of anticipation and disappointment, to- 
gether with an uncanny conviction of one's being some- 
how out of place, intruding where the inhabitants have" 
gone away for business or pleasure and are likely to 
return at any moment. 

We have reached the further side of the pass and 
there lies the little village spread out below seeming to 
offer shelter, cheer, and welcome. Some of the party 
hasten on in the gathering storm, while others stay to 
bring the packs along. Dow^n the single empty silent 
street the scouters w^ander, past open doors and roofs 
that are tumbled in. There is no answering voice, for 
no man has lived in the abandoned cabins for more than 
twenty years, and the stamp mill stands unroofed and 
with rotting machinery and tools and equipment scat- 
tered about as if the men had but just gone home to 
dinner and would soon be back to start up for the 
afternoon. 

It is always and forever the same silent place, 
all the more dead for having once been alive and the 
abode of men who worked and gambled and swore and 
loved and hated as other men have done since the be- 
ginning of time and will do until the end. 

Nestled in its amphitheater of snowclad peaks is a 
little weather-beaten shanty town once the pioneer in 
silver mining. We near it, having known it in more 



56 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

prosperous days, and think to renew acquaintances. The 
doors seem strangely open, the familiar streets are de- 
serted and grass-grown. No loafers enliven the *'hotel." 
Even the saloon is closed, being open to the weather 
and empty, the only evidence of former life and pros- 
perity being some cords of bottles carefully stacked in 
the rear. One man and his dog constitute the inhabitants 
now. ''Lonesome?" "No, I've got my dog; besides 
there's the hills just the same as ever. But, say, friend, 
when you get back to the states, you might send me a 
bundle of old magazines. The winter nights ye ken 
are a wee bit long since the boys have gone over the 
Divide.'* And so we left him, standing there with one 
hand on the head of his dog, a soUtary remnant of a 
day that is gone. 

We came once almost unexpectedly on a newly aban- 
doned town of many houses and much sign of recent 
life and prosperity. We had been tramping all day 
along the wildest of mountain trails, turning occasionally 
to admire the range of snowy peaks that hemmed the 
valley in and seemed, as they always do, to close up 
behind us as we followed the trail that led to the pass 
ahead. 

Rounding a point, the village literally burst on the view, 
for there it lay spread out, filling the great amphitheater 
between the hills that until recently had been the scene 
of intense activity. Here by the right is a modernly 
equipped schoolhouse. A little further down is the town 
hall with the stars and stripes flying from the pole, and 
with fire-fighting apparatus standing under the shed hard 
by. Hydrants, like those of any city, showed that this 
was meant to be no shanty town built by squatters. It 



THE DESERTED VILLAGE 57 

had clearly been made to stay. However, silver had 
dropped in the markets, the best veins had run out, 
some prospectors had struck it rich in another valley, 
a mysterious fire had wiped out the principal store, and 
as a climax of disaster, the mail stage route had been 
abandoned. Wherefore the inhabitants acted as always 
under such circumstances — pulled up their floors and 
left, going over the mountains to the more promising 
town in the neighboring valley. Some locked their doors 
on a few remaining possessions and others left them 
standing invitingly open. Only about a dozen hung on 
where hundreds had lived and hoped before. These still 
had hopes in a new lead just struck, and one of the most 
hopeful of them had kept the flag still flying over the old 
"town hall," where meetings were no longer held or 
probably ever would be. 

So does every deserted village have its history. Some- 
body will linger ten or a dozen years, appropriating the 
best of the cabins, but finally the last one nails up and 
goes, leaving the one-time haunts of men to the coyote 
and the cattle that follow close on the heels of the miner. 

They are scattered every^vhere in the hills, these 
pathetic remainders of the hopes of others, and we come 
on them almost without warning. Rarely do they offer 
acceptable shelter ; and when they do, the accommodation 
is tinged with sadness and the haunting feeling that the 
rightful owner may turn up any minute and claim his 
own. Nor is the feeling tempered by the probable fact 
that this same rightful owner, if ever there was one, 
has been sleeping in his grave for some ten or twenty 
years. 



XV 
THE MOUNTAIN SOLITUDES 

This stock phrase implies a world of inactivity like the 
moon that is dead. The term is coined and used in this 
relation by those who never could have really seen the 
mountains; or, if they have seen them, it must have been 
from many miles away and, knowing them to be unin- 
habited, they have jumped to the conclusion that up there 
in the mountain fastnesses is the home and headquarters 
of a solitude that is like unto death. 

Except on the peaks and passes everything in the moun- 
tains speaks of Hfe and of action. There are trees and 
shrubs and flowers everywhere — whole swamps of 
columbine, larkspur, monk's-hood, and paint-brush of 
a thousand hues, with literally acres of roses. The tim- 
ber is deliberate but the flowers are riotous in their 
growth. Water is in motion everywhere, great shadows 
chase each other up and down the valleys and along the 
mountainsides, and even the snow seems to be streaming 
down the peaks and slopes and to move about as the 
sunlight falls upon it, taking new shapes each day as it 
slowly melts away. Everything here radiates life, energy, 
and activity. 

On every hand is evidence of the changing landscape, 
and, though we seldom see animal life, we know that our 

58 



THE MOUNTAIN SOLITUDES 59 

brothers of the wood are all about us, as their recent 
tracks abundantly testify. Elks and bears and lions 
and bobcats there surely are. The chipmunks and the 
camp-robbers are in evidence everywhere, and the whistle 
of the marmot in the rocks and the calling of the cattle 
on the range below testify always that the mountains 
are inhabited. If perchance some night a coyote or two 
should bark, the camper will be ready to swear by all that 
is dependable that the hills are full of the noisy little 
pests, at least a thousand of them. 

Every year is witness of what the storms have done 
in a twelve month ; and as we come to know how worlds 
are made, and as we return to the same old spot year 
after year, the changes are profound and seem to be going 
on rapidly all about. Even the peaks appear in motion, 
and the Hebrew poets spoke truly when they sang of the 
hills as dancing for very joy. The mountains speak 
everywhere of life, of action, and of change. 

To live amid these changes and note this ceaseless riot 
of activity is to feel response to the great heart of nature. 
Except for the rushing waters, everything proceeds with 
that resistless quiet that marks always the greater enter- 
prise. Even the tumbling torrent, so noisy when just 
at hand, is soon lost in the general prospect the moment 
we consider the mountain as a whole. It is then that de- 
tails shrink into insignificance, even the flowers and trees 
and rivers merge themselves into the general impression 
and that impression is one of stately, resistless, ever- 
changing, but deliberate, action. And the effect is good 
on the soul of man. 



Part II 

OUTFITTING FOR THE TRAIL 



XVI 
RESULTS OF EXPERIENCE 

Vastly more persons would get into the mountains for 
a new kind of vacation if only they knew how to outfit 
for a moving camp and how to set up a new home every 
day. Those who have experienced the possibilities, the 
pleasures, and the satisfactions of Hfe on the trail would 
do anything within their power to induce as many as 
possible of their sedentary brethren to enjoy with them 
what is literally going to waste in the higher mountains. 

It is the present purpose so completely to describe the 
necessary outfit that the veriest tenderfoot is perfectly 
safe in starting out on the bohemian plan for the very 
heart of the mountains. While different persons would 
choose somewhat different outfits, yet the possibilities for 
variation within the necessities of the situation are not" 
great. This being the case, I shall describe in full the 
exact outfitting which our own party has gradually evolved 
after a good number of seasons' experience, mainly in 
leaving behind a quantity of useless trumpery and adding 
some things whose need is discovered only by experience. 

I shall describe an actual outfit for a party of four, 
which is an ideal number, living in two tents, for a period 
of thirty days with no opportunity for replenishment of 
supplies; and I can assure the reader that this will be a 

63 



64 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

perfectly safe set of specifications to start with, from 
which, with experience, he may develop his own additions 
or subtractions ; but I would not advise snap judgment in 
advance lest he encumber himself with useless baggage 
on the one hand or find himself stranded on the trail 
for lack of some necessity upon the other. 

Without further introduction, therefore, I shall give 
the list of food, clothing, tents, bedding, and accessories 
which we have found by actual experience to be suited to 
the needs of the trail for a party of four. 



XVII 
FOOD 

The general rule for *'grub" is this : a pound and a 
quarter of dry food for every adult member of the party 
and for every day of the trip. Should the party consist 
entirely of robust young men, the amount should be in- 
creased to approximately one and one-half pounds a day, 
but the daily pound and a quarter is a perfectly safe family 
ration. This will be found, in the words of mv old friend 
Dan McArthur, ''an excellent sufficiency, any more would 
be a superfluity, and any less a calamity." 

When it is all piled up for packing, the four tender- 
feet will exclaim, ''My goodness ! We never can eat 
all that stuff!" But thirty days is quite a long time; 
besides, a new set of appetites will develop and when, 
after a few days on the trail, the pile begins to go down 
with promptness and dispatch, a feeling of fear will 
possess the party lest the supplies run out too soon. 

It is specified that this shall be strictly dry food, such 
as flour, meat, fat, and dried fruit. If potatoes, canned 
fruit, and the like were to be taken, it would vastly in- 
crease the pack without in any way compensating for the 
added bulk and v/eight, an alternative that cannot be af- 
forded on the trail where both bulk and weight are 
serious considerations. In case supplies are available 

65 



66 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

along the trail, these luxuries may be added as the packs 
go down, making due allowance for the difference be- 
tween dry and fresh supplies. 

"But," says somebody, "I cannot live on this kind of 
food." Oh, yes, you can, and like it. One gets so hungry 
on the trail that he eats anything and everything with 
relish, even avidity. Besides, one of the purposes of the 
trip is to set up an altogether new and different style of 
living from the one to which we are accustomed at home, 
and this is part of the good of it all. 

Food for a Party of Four Living Thirty Days on the Trail 

Bacon 20 pounds A.pricots, dried 5 pounds 

Ham 15 " Raisins 4 " 

Salt pork 5 " Dried corn 1 pound 

Dried beef 2 " Spaghetti 1 " 

Dried milk 15 " Corn-starch 1 " 

Codfish 2 '* Crackers in tin . . . 4 packages 

Dried eggs 2 " Jello 10 " 

Crisco 4 " Bouillon cubes 6 " 

Butter 2 " Cocoa , 1 package 

Cheese 2 " Tea % pound 

Flour 40 " Geo. Washington 

Baking-powder ... 2 " coffee 4 small cans 

Corn-meal 5 " Pepper J4 pound 

Rice 2 " Salt 1 small sack 

Sugar 12 " Sweet chocolate ... 1 pound 

Rolled oats 2 " Baker's chocolate.. 1 " 

Prunes 5 " 

Here are 149 pounds of real food, besides the crackers 
and accessories, almost the exact equivalent of the pound 
and a quarter for each daily ration. Some variation is, of 
course, entirely feasible as between bacon and ham, for 
example, though bacon keeps better than ham. Dried 
eggs can be dispensed with but they are a great advantage. 
Fresh eggs can be carried in wooden cases but there is 





vii. Abuvl — The Lav-over. Below — Rkadv for the Start. 



FOOD 67 

manifest danger of losing the entire supply at any mo- 
ment when the burro rolls down the hill; besides they 
are too bulky to transport if it can be avoided. 

The butter specified is only for the start and as a kind 
of easement, for it must be packed in tin and will not 
keep many days at best. When well settled into the new 
manner of living, bacon gravy on hot biscuits will sub- 
stantially replace the need for butter, because bacon and 
biscuit are standard on the trail. It is surprising to see 
how everybody comes gladly to this standard ration. 

Lovers of rice may vary the amount with flour, but 
corn-meal does not keep well, nor does graham. The 
dried milk is standard and comes in five-pound tin cans. 
It is better in flavor than the condensed variety, besides 
being much lighter and less bulky. Crackers are a con- 
cession to luxury but are too bulky to constitute much of 
the ration. Their use is for a light lunch on the trail 
for the first few days, but a cold biscuit is a good sub- 
stitute and raisins are better still. 

Beans can be carried, but their proper cooking is too 
long and difficult to be recommended except in the ''lay- 
over." Potatoes are discarded only because of bulk and 
weight, for all talk about the impossibility of cooking at 
the high levels covered by the tramper is nonsense, and 
as the pack goes down, one of the first indulgences will 
be for "spuds," if perchance a town should he along 
the way. 

Prunes, dried apricots, and raisins are standard. Other 
dried fruits are to be avoided, as are all evaporated vege- 
tables, unless one stands ready to divide his rations with 
the burros to the disgust of a beast which esteems paper 
napkins an extreme delicacy. Whatever their merits at 



68 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

sea level with abundant time for rehydration, evaporated 
vegetables are not suited to the trail. We tried it as 
tender feet in the interest of variety before we learned the 
uselessness of endeavoring to carry all our living habits 
with us over the mountains. Great variety is not needed, 
for appetite will provide the spice, and the kinds specified 
will be found ample from the point of view of variety 
as well as amount. 

Chocolate-lovers may wish to increase the supply, in- 
deed all kinds of confections are acceptable but difficult 
to preserve in the pack. Jello is especially suited to pro- 
vide variety, as the ice cold water everywhere insures its 
perfect consistency. 

All food not put up in tin packages should be in- 
closed in cloth sacks to insure against wastage, and small 
articles may well be packed in wooden boxes for pro- 
tection. It must never for a moment be forgotten that 
the pack is not a tender and careful mode of transporta- 
tion and things must be prepared to withstand consider- 
able pressure from the cinch and possibly from the effects 
of a tumble down the hill. 

It is better to use several small packages of tinned 
goods, such as coffee, rather than one large case because, 
when a package is once opened, there is some danger of 
loss by leakage; besides, when a small package is empty 
it can be thrown away, reducing the pack, which is always 
desirable. 



XVIII 

CLOTHING 

In general, light weight, open weave, woolen garments 
are far preferable to cotton, both for outer and under- 
wear, not only because of their additional warmth in the 
chill of the evening and their porosity in the heat of the 
day, but for the comparative ease with which they can be 
cleaned with good soap, even in cold water which shrinks 
the goods less than warm. The younger members of 
the party may insist on cotton underclothing, but woolen 
socks are standard, not so much for warmth as to insure 
against sore feet when they perspire, as they surely will. 

Each person will need two suits of light woolen under- 
clothing and two wool shirts with roll collar and necktie. 
Should any portion of the trail lie in the open desert, one 
suit of light cotton underclothing may be grateful, but 
in the higher levels woolen is altogether preferable. 

Three pairs of woolen socks will be needed for each 
person. The difference between woolen and cotton in 
the protection of the feet is almost unbelievable, and a 
sore foot on the trail is the one great discomfort to be 
avoided. It is better to follow the wisdom of experience, 
wear woolen even in July, and bathe the feet frequently 
in witch-hazel or rub with lanolin than to trust to luck. 

Knickerbockers for the ladies and breeches for the man 

69 



70 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

are standard wear on the trail. Skirts are taboo, as are 
also ordinary trousers, coats, and such abominations as 
high-heeled or narrow-toed shoes. The only over-wrap 
needed is a medium-weight woolen sweater or a short 
jacket with waterproof interlining over the shoulders. 
Raincoats and heavy sweaters are bulky and unnecessary, 
except in extremely cold and rainy regions, for a slight 
occasional wetting on the trail is a trivial matter that can 
be disregarded. 

One pair of laced waterproof walking boots, fifteen 
inches high, with "bellows," that is solid, tongues like the 
Gokey, with an extra pair of laces and a box of water- 
proof dressing are standard. Rubber heels are an ad- 
vantage but under no circumstances should the soles be 
hobnailed. These walking boots, though heavy, will be 
exceedingly comfortable, and their flexible sole is de- 
sirable, not only for ease in walking but for holding to 
rocks and standing wear. The boots should be cleaned 
every day and kept well oiled, including the soles. Old 
shoes will not stand the wear and tear of the trail and 
should not be taken. The feet need special attention, 
and the best is none too good. There should be in the 
party at least one pair of arch supports in case some mem- 
ber should spring an instep. 

Except for fishing, hip boots are necessary only on ex- 
tremely unusual trails, and one pair of large size would 
be enough to ford the party over any stream that the 
burros could cross. They can usually be discarded. 

One light felt or cotton hat with not less than a three- 
inch brim and a pair of gauntlet gloves will complete the 
outfit, so far as ordinary clothing is concerned. If flies 
or mosquitoes are to be expected, a net made of mosquito 



CLOTHING 71 

netting and worn over the hat is a grateful protection; 
but only once have we used it in the mountains. 

With a nightdress or suit of pajamas, three small bath 
towels, and a supply of handkerchiefs for each member, 
the party will be provided for the trail, except for the 
ordinary toilet articles which should include a steel mir- 
ror and, for the ladies, a supply of vanishing cream and 
talcum powder for morning u^e, and cleansing cream 
for night as a protection against sunburn — all carried in 
a special bag or knapsack that can either be dropped into 
the duffle-bag for packing or carried outside the pack. It 
may be worth remarking that the tenderfoot on her first 
trip will insist on carrying these Lares and Penates by a 
strap over the shoulder, but she will soon learn to ''chuck 
ever}1;hing into the duffle-bag and let the mules do the 
lugging." 

There would need to be provided, in addition, one rub- 
ber-lined apron for each person who cooks or washes 
dishes, and one light rubber poncho for the party is a 
convenience in case of a rainy day in camp, though it is 
hardly necessary. 

To the novice, this may seem a rather meager outfit, 
but it is sufficient, and, in the words of my mountain 
friend, "any more would be a superfluity." 



XIX 

TENTS AND BEDDING 

The widest latitude may be permitted in the choice of 
shelter from pup tents up but only simple designs and 
small sizes are permissible on account of space. The 
house tent is preferable for permanent camp but not for 
the trail. 

The best tent for two is about seven by seven on the 
ground, two and a half feet at the back, rising to a 
ridge six and a half or seven feet high, and so built that 
the front can be either tied down for privacy or raised 
as a kind of porch to protect from sun and perhaps 
shelter the cooking in time of storm. Such a tent can 
be slung with two poles, two large stakes, and a single 
rope that serves both for ridges and stays. 

A very good tent is made from a kite-shaped piece of 
canvas strung with a single rope with two short poles. 
This tent is suitable for shelter only, as it cannot be 
closed. A small extra piece of light canvas, six by twelve 
or thereabouts, is useful about camp to cover the cooking 
jack in time of rain, to serve as a toilet screen on neces- 
sity, and if carried on the outside of the pack is an ex- 
cellent protection against a sudden downpour on the trail ; 
for such a piece thrown about the shoulders will easily 

72 



TENTS AND BEDDING 73 

shelter half a dozen people when standing in a compact 
group. 

The best material of course is silk, but it is expensive 
and easily injured. The most practical is the so-called 
Egyptian cloth, a fine strong cotton that is both water- 
proof, light in weight, and not easily snagged, though 
any tent must be well protected in the pack, which will 
strike against sharp rocks or broken limbs every day of 
the trip. 

There will be needed for pitching each large tent fifty 
to seventy-five feet of half -inch manila rope of the 
best quality, boiled slightly to take out the kinks and 
soften the fiber but not enough to weaken. The extra 
length is advisable in order the better to reach adjacent 
trees so far as they may be available, for they are stronger 
than stakes and save labor. 

There should also be two tent poles, six to seven feet 
long according to the length of the ridge. These poles 
may be jointed or, better yet, made of hollow tubing and 
used as walking sticks. In timber, rough poles will suf- 
fice, but poles are not always available and the tramper 
must carry all of his absolute necessities. This means 
also one half dozen fifteen-inch and a half dozen eight- 
inch steel tent pins for each large tent and a few feet 
of extra rope for reaching to trees, for which purpose 
a hank of clothes-line or forty to fifty feet of quarter-inch 
rope will serve perfectly. In practice it will be found that 
pitching the tent every day is not so much a work of art 
as one of speed and security in which trees, bushes, rocks, 
and everything within reach is utilized, and plenty of rope 
and then a little more is one of the necessities. Indeed, 
as we say on the trail, *'too much rope is just enough." 



74 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

There are many uses for ropes and cords of various sizes; 
besides they wear out rapidly. 

The standard bed is the waterproof sleeping-bag or 
the army bed-roll, thirty by seventy-two inches, laid flat 
on the ground for warmth. The cot is impossible on 
the trail, not only on account of its weight and bulk, but 
because it more than doubles the difficulty of keeping 
warm. The camper soon finds that the breast of mother 
earth is his best foundation for the bed, insuring the 
sleep of childhood, and he need have no more fear of 
''bugs and things" than when traveling in civilization, 
indeed not nearly so much. 

Underneath should be a good kapoc mattress made to 
fit the sleeping-bag, and for covers either a four- or five- 
pound wool comfort or two or three W'Oolen blankets 
should be used. Sheets are a luxury not tolerated on the 
trail, but instead the comfort or the inner blanket should 
be provided with a temporary covering of green or gray 
cheese-cloth or other light material which can be changed 
at the end of the trip. The blanket should be folded 
double to fit the sleeping bag and fastened along the bot- 
tom and up the side with a half dozen four-inch safety- 
pins. When so installed, the sleeper can crawl under as 
many thicknesses as he pleases. 

Pillows are an impossibility unless the luxury of the 
air pillow can be afforded. The boots must be put under 
the mattress every night for protection against porcupines, 
and these, with the day clothing, constitute the usual 
pillow of the trail. 

An air mattress is desirable from many points of view, 
but it is heavy, is constantly liable to puncture, and withal 
it offers some lung exercise in filling at the rarefied atmo- 













/J 



/ i 




TENTS AND BEDDING 75 

sphere of twelve thousand feet. I have tried it and 
know. That is why we now use kapoc, which is even 
more comfortable. 

The best ties to use in fastening ropes will be discussed 
in another chapter, but at this point attention is called 
to the manner of driving stakes, which must slant as 
nearly as possible in line with the strain of the rope so that 
the pull is endwise, not at an angle with the stake. The 
novice always drives the stake at about right angles with 
the stress, but a brief trial will convince him that w^hen 
it is almost impossible to start a stake by a direct pull, 
it comes easily when the pull is crosswise ; indeed, a slight 
horizontal kick will loosen almost any stake, and this is 
the method always used in pulling stakes, whether steel 
or wood, when breaking camp. 



XX 

COOKING EQUIPMENT 

It is possible, of course, to follow the example of the 
prospector who gets on with a frying-pan, a plate, and a 
tin cup, using his pocket-knife for all kinds of cutting op- 
erations. But we are providing for comfortable, though 
simple, living, and the burros may as well carry a reason- 
able load, for the more they work the better they behave. 
After having cut out all superfluous duffle, we may as well 
be comfortable. 

All dishes must be of metal. Enameled ware is pref- 
erable for plates, cups, and basins, but the wash-dishes 
may as well be of tin. Paper napkins are a luxury, but 
they come in handy, not only in the ordinary way, but in 
cleaning the plates and skillets from superfluous bacon 
fat at the end of the meal preliminary to washing, a 
practice especially approved by the burros which regard 
greasy paper napkins as a supreme delicacy. 

Sizes and shapes should be selected to nest as closely as 
possible for packing. For this reason, the open-handled 
cup is the only practicable one for the trail and it can 
most readily be carried on the belt, as every member of 
the party will like to do with his particular drinking cup. 

There should be provided for each person : one six-inch 
plate, two cups, one saucer, one small bowl, one table 

76 



COOKING EQUIPMENT 77 

knife, one fork, and two spoons. For general use there 
will be needed for comfortable service : three plates, four 
bowls of different sizes from two-quart down, one long- 
handled fork, one long-handled spoon, four tablespoons, 
one teaspoon, one paring knife, one good butcher knife, 
one can-opener, one jack-knife, one kitchen table knife, 
a flat file for sharpening, and both salt and pepper shakers. 

For cooking there should be provided : one large (ten- 
inch) frying-pan with heavy bottom, one smaller (eight- 
inch) and light in weight, one aluminum pancake griddle, 
one five-quart stew-pan with cover, one three-quart stew- 
pan, one four-quart kettle, — all of enamel ware and, like 
every other kind of dish, selected to nest for packing. 
One small flour-sifter, one measuring cup, a biscuit cutter 
without handle, one canvas water bucket, and two tin 
wash-basins w^ill complete the cooking outfit, while two 
larger basins should be added for toilet and bathing pur- 
poses. The coffee-pot is ruled out as impossible to pack 
and accordingly George Washington coffee is provided. 

For baking, a Dutch oven will serve, but a reflector 
oven made of bright tin can be obtained from the supply 
house for a very small sum and it is vastly to be preferred 
for most purposes, because the cook can see all that is 
going on. The only disadvantage of the reflecter oven 
is that it requires a generous fire, but that is no draw- 
back where firewood is abundant, as it is almost every- 
where in the mountains. 

A steel wire cooking jack, twelve by twenty- four, will 
be needed to stand over the fire and it will be well to fit 
this jack with a thin sheet-steel top, turned up one inch at 
the edge, from which sides eight or nine inches wide can 
be hung and banked at the bottom with dirt to confine the 



7^ 



VACATION ON THE TRAIL 



fire and protect the boots of the attendant. An extra 
piece of sheet iron, twelve by eighteen inches, may be 
bent and stuck in the ground at the back for a kind of 
chimney, the ''stove" being fed from the end, and a small 
piece, twelve by fifteen, can be set up as a door to regulate 
the draft. This will all pack flat with the reflector oven 
and can be wrapped in a piece of canvas, a yard square, 
for packing. If care is taken, the blackened side of the 
canvas can always be put on the inside, and the bundle 
thereby kept clean for handling. (See Fig. i.) 





I. The "stove" as fitted with sheet-steel. One side pushed back to 

show construction. 



XXI 

ACCESSORIES 

There is a small multitude of little things that goes 
with living anywhere. The great danger is that one or 
more of the necessities may be forgotten, but even greater 
is the likelihood of taking more than is needed and being 
encumbered with many articles. Even at the risk of 
possible repetition, I will assemble in one place a list of 
those accessories that will be indispensable for comfort- 
able living on the trail, and it includes everything that 
need be taken. 

Personal toilet articles will suggest themselves, but 
let the list be not much extended beyond such obvious 
necessities as the comb, hairbrush, toothbrush and paste, 
safety-razor, steel mirror, hair-pins, and soap, except 
that the ladies must include cold cream as a protection 
against sunburn and witch-hazel as a soothing balm for 
the feet. In this connection it is well to remind the ladies 
that on the trail cold cream is a better friend of the face 
than is water. On coming in from the trail, a cleansing 
cream should be applied; then the face bathed in warm 
water just before retiring, with another application of 
cream. In the morning before setting out, vanishing 
cream should be applied with plenty of powder. If these 

79 



80 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

directions are followed, the complexion will assume a 
beautiful tan. Otherwise some several thicknesses of 
skin may peel off from nose and face and ears, a per- 
formance that is neither ornamental nor comfortable. 
Smoked or colored glasses are necessary for the snow or 
desert, and are useful on many occasions. 

One waterproof duffle-bag for each tent is sufficient 
to carry all the extra clothing and other articles ; and this, 
like the boots, tents, sleeping-bags, cooking utensils, and 
all other camping supplies, including clothing, can be 
secured from any house handling sporting goods; such, 
for example, as Abercrombie of New York, or Von 
Lengerke and Antoine of Chicago. 

One folding canvas table for the ''kitchen" and one 
for the ''dining-room," each with an oilcloth cover to 
be rolled on a piece of old broom handle for packing, 
are not absolutely necessary but exceedingly convenient. 

One small folding camp-stool for each member of the 
party is a great source of comfort and is not difficult to 
pack. 

One piece of three-ply board, twelve by eighteen inches 
and a quarter of an inch thick, on which to cut meat and 
mold biscuits is also desirable and it will pack with the 
jack and the reflector oven. 

Five or six yards of cheese-cloth for wash-cloths and 
dish-towels, six or eight bars of soap for dishwashing 
and laundry, one can of Dutch cleanser, one five-cent 
scrubbing brush, a length of clothes-line and a package 
of pins are necessities not to be forgotten, though bushes 
make a fair substitute for line and pins. 

A canvas wall pocket with many compartments is con- 
venient for holding the various small articles used in 



ACCESSORIES 81 

cooking. It can be hung on a tree when in use and folded 
and packed with its contents in a single roll. 

One dozen boxes of safety matches should be divided 
and kept in different packs, the main supply at least in a 
tin box, for even life itself may depend some time on 
a few dry matches. Each member of the party is sup- 
posed always to carry matches that he may never be with- 
out the possibility of making a fire. 

Each member of the party should have a good jack- 
knife. 

One first-aid kit and a bottle of ammonia for insect 
bites and one of witch-hazel, both in tin cans, a roll of 
two-inch adhesive plaster, a good antiseptic, and about 
two yards of mosquito netting to a person should not be 
forgotten. 

One or two pairs of in-soles are advisable, with a pair 
or two of extra taps, a few nails or pegs, and an iron 
last for fixing repairs and on which to hammer down the 
nails that will continually work up through the boot heels. 
At least one pair of arch supports for the party is a wise 
provision. 

One small two-handed ax, two to two and a half 
pounds, kept sharp and never used for pounding iron tent 
stakes, is one of the indispensable features of every out- 
fit. The one-hand ax is not sufficient for the possible ex- 
igencies of the trail. 

One brick mason's hammer, really both a hammer and 
a pick, is the most useful single tool of the outfit, being 
adapted to driving in stakes, digging trenches around 
the tent, prying out stones from under the sleeping-bags, 
cutting grubs, and doing all kinds of rough work. (See 
Fig. 2.) 



82 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

One whetstone for the ax, one four-inch flat file for 
sharpening butcher-knives, two pairs of cheap leather- 
faced gloves for handling wood, fifty feet of extra half- 
inch rope besides the packing ropes and those for pitch- 
ing tents with a hundred feet of quarter inch should be 
included. Too much rope is just enough. 

One hank of chalk line, one spool of linen twine, a 




2. The mason's pick, the most useful tool in camp. 

small quantity of linen thread, darning yarn, assorted 
needles, and a few buttons will come in handy. 

Three or four strips of whang leather, two or three 
leather straps, one inch wide and three feet long, for re- 
placing broken cinch straps, one dozen copper rivets, one 
dozen one-inch clout nails, and a bit of copper wire should 
be tucked in against needed repairs on the pack saddles. 

Besides the individual toilet articles, including soap, 
there should be added three or four packages of toilet 
paper, preferably in the flat. Five or six yards of com- 



ACCESSORIES 83 

mon muslin, six feet wide, to wrap about three or four 
trees or stakes will make an excellent toilet tent. 

Two light jointed poles for each tent or their equivalent 
in walking sticks must not be omitted. 

One aneroid barometer in the party is a great satisfac- 
tion as indicating altitudes, but it is not a necessity. 
Watches are superfluous, but some member of the party 
should wear a pedometer, and there should be at least 
one revolver of not less than 38 caliber. Spy-glasses and 
cameras will suggest themselves and need not be specified 
as necessities. 

No games will be played, though a handball might be 
tucked in; and no books will be needed beyond one or 
two to while away a rainy day, and some selections from 
the Bible, preferably the Book of Psalms. It is strange 
how the mountains turn one's thoughts to far-off Pales- 
tine and to the prophets of old, who were among the first 
of all the races to look on the hills as friends. 

Maps of the region should be secured through the 
United States Geological Survey, cut and mounted on 
cheese-cloth as already described, and with these there will 
be no danger of losing the trail, at least as to the general 
direction. 

Beyond these accessories it is not at all necessary to 
go and the great danger is that too much will be taken 
along to become a daily burden in the handling. We are 
not moving our home to the hills. Rather, we are setting 
up a new manner of living, and that is part ot the object 
of it all. 



XXII 
ROPE AND STRAP CRAFT 

The camper does not need to know much about ropes 
and straps but he should be cognizant of a few points 
before setting out on the trail. 

All packing and tent ropes should be half-inch best 
manila, boiled slightly to make pliable and to take out 
the kinks, but not enough to injure the strength. Few 
laymen realize what it means to handle ropes continually 
or how fast they wear out. The best is none too good 
and bad rope is taboo. 

A knotted rope end is an impossibility in camp life. 
To prevent raveling, it should be wound for two or three 
inches with stout linen string, and the process is as simple 
as it is easy. Take a piece of small stout cord, two or 
three feet in length, depending on the size of the rope, 
fold back one end about six inches or thereabouts, lay 
the loop upon the rope to be wrapped in such way that 
the short end projects about an inch and a half beyond 
the end of the rope. Holding this loop firmly upon the 
rope with the left hand, begin with the right to wrap 
the long end tightly around both loop and rope, commenc- 
ing about a quarter-inch from the end and continuing until 
something like two inches have been closely covered. 
The closed end of the string will then be projecting an 

84 



ROPE AND STRAP CRAFT 85 

inch or two outside this wrapping. Pass the free end 
through this loop, then catch the short end of the string at 
the end of the rope and pull hard enough to draw both 
loop and the free end together well under the wrapping. 
Both ends may then be cut off, and if the work is well 




3. The best fastening to tree or stake. 

done, the wrapping will stay in place until the rope wears 
out. 

The camper may use his choice as to knots except that 
they must open easily by a single jerk of the free end, 
even when wet. The most convenient knot for most pur- 
poses is a kind of half-hitch best described in fastening 
a guy rope to stake or tree, and something as follows : 



86 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

When the rope has been wound around the tree, instead 
of using the ordinary slip knot, which allows the stay 
to loosen, the best tie is made by throwing the free end 
over the main rope, drawing taut and tying back upon 
itself by a simple loop drawn tight as in Fig. 3. This 
is easily opened, whether dry or wet, by a single jerk of 
the free end. The same tie is used on the pack and 
is the best general fastening for ropes about camp, though 
the double loop has some advantages, especially for stakes 
and roping to the end of a pole. This fastening is made 
by laying two loops one above the other, the free end 
dow^n in both cases, then placing over the end of the 
stake and pulling taut by the free end. Such a fastening 
has no knot, but it will hold until the stake comes out or 
the rope breaks. 

All straps for saddle and cinching should be of medium 
thickness, an inch to an inch and a quarter in width for 
burros and correspondingly wider for horses, made of the 
best leather, and should be in good condition when start- 
ing out. They should be fastened to the wood of the 
saddle by rivets and to rings either by stitching or by 
rivets. Straps should be fastened together with the cinch 
tie, not by buckles which are certain in time to cut the 
leather, and such a cut is practically beyond repair on 
the trail. 

This cinch tie is used for fastening a strap or rope to 
a ring, as in cinching saddles, and is made as follows : 
Put the strap or rope through the ring from front to 
back, carry the free end around to the left, then bring it 
forward across the front at right angles to the main strap 
or rope. Tuck the free end through the ring from the 
right side but this time from back to front. Then tuck 




IX. Abov-e — On the Trail. Below — The Finished Pack, 
Diamond Hitch. 



ROPE AND STRAP CRAFT 



87 



the free end under the loop by the side of and parallel 
to the main strap or rope, pull taut, and the knot is 
finished. (See Fig. 4.) 

If a pack is to hold, the saddle must be cinched ex- 






m 
m 



4. The cinch tie with strap and rope. The latter illustrates the 
position of the free end. 



tremely tight. This is no disadvantage to the animal 
because a loose saddle means a sore back and almost 
any cinch will work loose and will need to be tightened 
as the day advances. 

Every pack saddle has two cinch straps, one on the 
right and one on the left, each connecting with a cor- 



88 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

responding ring on the surcingle. In practice it is the 
left cinch strap that is loosened in unsaddling and this 
is the only one concerned in cinching from day to day. 

In cinching on the saddle, the cinch strap, being fastened 
to the saddle by a ring, is passed through the surcingle 
ring from inside to outside, pulled taut, tucked through 
the saddle ring from outside to inside, back again through 
the surcingle from inside to outside, and pulled as tight 
as is considered necessary. From this time on, all that 
remains is to make the cinch knot in the upper ring as 
already described; that is to say, once more the cinch 
strap is tucked through the saddle ring from the out- 
side, brought around to the left, carried squarely to the 
right across all straps, tucked under the saddle ring this 
time from inside to outside, brought down under the 
loop thus formed, pulled taut, and the knot is finished. 

It facilitates the tucking of the strap, particularly 
toward the last, if it is somewhat narrowed and pointed 
at the very tip. 



XXIII 

THE BURRO 

Two burros are the minimum for a party of four and 
if folding tables and the rather generous outfit herein 
indicated be taken, a third should be added — a wise pre- 
caution anyway in case of a possible accident. Each burro 
will need a pack-saddle and a saddle-blanket, the latter 
best made of two or three old gunny sacks. Advance 
arrangements for burros and pack-saddles should be made 
by correspondence with the prospective place of departure. 

All burros are good animals but some are worse than 
others, and most of them will try out a stranger to see 
whether or not he is a tenderfoot. This trial will come 
soon and will take the form of lying down with the pack, 
throwing back the head, and emitting a series of moans 
that will deceive the very elect into assuming that the little 
beast is sick unto death. However, a few sharp cuts 
over the ears, the only sensitive spot on a burro, will 
restore him instantly to most excellent health, and to as 
high a degree of activity as he is likely to exhibit, for he 
is an animal of very great self-restraint. 

No provision need be made to feed the little animals as 
they will forage along the way. Nor is it necessary to 
record any further instructions about managing burros, 
for they would be too voluminous for print. Every one 

89 



90 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

of these experiments in creation is a law unto himself, 
especially the one whose peculiar penchant it may be to 
untie the whole bunch, leading them off on the back trail 
to hide in the hills should they hear evidence of being 
followed. 

Because of the peculiar nature of the burro, there must 
be at least one even-tempered and merciful man in the 
party, lest murder be committed in a sudden moment of 
blind wrath when some burro deliberately runs between 
two trees for the evident purpose of stripping his pack 
and getting away, leaving the whole party stranded with 
no means of transportation. Seriously, the burro in 
general is the personification of patient endurance and 
willing service and the better he is treated the better 
he will perform, except that all burros behave better when 
fairly well worked, and most of them will try out a 
stranger to see of what stuff he is made. Nothing is 
more evident to the old-timer in reading Stevenson's 
Journeys with a Donkey than the fact that the little beast 
worked her master both day and night and for every step 
of the way. 

A good string of burros has its leader, who expects to 
go ahead and must be maintained in this official position 
or nothing but confusion will result. The constant 
scrapping among the others for leadership is sometimes 
amusing but often disconcerting. In a well organized 
and well conducted expedition the same order will be fol- 
lowed day after day, for the burros need neither to be led 
nor driven but will follow the leader and keep the trail 
except when stepping aside for a moment to secure a 
choice morsel like a thistle blossom. 

It is a safe precaution to tie one or two of the fe- 



THE BURRO 91 

males at night, at least for a time, lest the whole bunch 
start home some evening on the back trail and leave the 
company stranded. Well out on the trail, however, a 
good string will not stray far from camp, for they are 
homey little creatures and camp refuse keeps them con- 
tented and attached. 

A "mean bunch," and there are such, will well tax 
the ingenuity and the patience at times; but even so, the 
pack animals are a never-failing source of entertainment. 
If they cannot be trusted to keep the trail, the party would 
better divide, one portion going ahead to prevent a 
stampede, the other behind to bring up the stragglers. 

Most of the technique of the art of wrangling burros 
must be learned by main strength and experience, and at- 
tempts at specific directions are well-nigh useless. 



XXIV 
THE PACK 

Nearly every burro will ''swell up" as soon as the saddle 
cinch is applied. He should, therefore, be saddled before 
breakfast and taken suddenly in a moment of abstraction 
afterward and cinched tight. 

For each pack there should be provided two panniers 
or "kyaks," and as these will probably not be procurable 
from the burro man, they would best be purchased from a 
supply house and taken along. For each pack there should 
be provided a waterproof canvas cover, six by seven feet, 
which can be used at night as a tent floor. There will be 
needed for roping, one surcingle and about thirty-five feet 
of the best manila half-inch rope for each pack. There 
should also be extra rope for *'tying-out," because at 
least one burro will need to be tied up at night and if the 
''string" is an assembled gang of culls, they may all 
need tying. 

The first job is to fill the kyaks with the food, dishes, 
and other small stuff not adaptable to folding like tents 
and bedding. The kyaks must be so packed that no sharp 
corners project on the back side to hurt the animal, and 
they must be so paired off that the two which go opposite 
on the same pack shall be of approximately equal size and 

92 



THE PACK 93 

weight, or it will be impossible to build upon them a pack 
that will ride. 

After the kyaks are hooked on the saddle, the space 
between should first be filled, and this is a good place for 
the duffle-bag. After this the tents and bedding are piled 
in a compact evenly balanced stack, with the precious tent 
well protected between bedding, and over all the canvas 
cover is spread in such a way as to protect from rain or 
snagging, whatever may happen. 

Over all goes the rope, and the tighter it is the less 
likely will it be necessary to repack; indeed, it is rare 
that a good pack becomes dislodged, even if the whole out- 
fit should take a tumble down the hill. Either the 
diamond or the square hitch may be used and both are 
described in the chapters immediately following. 

Whatever the hitch, there are four rules to observe in 
packing : 

1. Nothing must hurt the animal. 

2. The pack must be of even weight and bulk on op- 

posite sides, that it may be perfectly balanced. 

3. The weight should not exceed two hundred pounds 

for the best burro, a matter that can practically be 
disregarded in camping where bulk prevails rather 
than weight. 

4. Everything must be tight, not in the ordinary sense 

of the term but extremely tight and then a little 
more to make certain. The tenderfoot will not 
know what is meant by this until he has learned to 
put his foot against the animal and the pack, using 
a good degree of strength both in cinching and in 
tightening the pack rope. 



94 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

One of the requirements of handling camp stuff in 
packing and unpacking is to keep it clean. The novice 
will tumble his blankets, sleeping-bags, and other duffle 
in hopeless confusion, drag them over the ground, and 
probably have his pack animals on top of the pile a few 
times until he learns to keep his stuff stacked and out of 
the way of packing operations. Until he learns this, he 
will find all kinds of woods dirt in his bed and his whole 
outfit will be covered with dust and dirt. 



XXV 
THE DIAMOND HITCH 

Of the many and varied devices for roping a pack, the 
justly famous diamond hitch is by far the best for most 
purposes. It is named from the diamond-shaped position 
which the rope assumes on top of the pack when the hitch 
is finished. 

The aim of the diamond hitch is, first of all, to put a 
rope tightly around both animal and pack and after 
that to throw a loop around both the right and the 
left sides of the pack, binding all together so firmly that 
the animal may roll over without seriously disarranging 
his load. The roping is done in such a way that in un- 
packing, the whole device will unwind by merely drawing 
out the free end of the pack rope. This means that, 
except for the cinch around both animal and pack, the 
whole is put on with a series of loops so threaded the one 
through another as never to make a knot until the whole 
is finished. 

It requires two men to throw the diamond hitch, as it 
does for most other hitches in common use. They will 
be designated as "right" and "left" with reference to the 
animal that is being packed. 

The half-inch manila pack rope should be thirty to 
thirty-five feet long for a burro, depending on the size 

95 



96 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

of the pack, and correspondingly longer for horse or 
mule, boiled and wrapped as elsewhere specified. One 
end should be fastened to the surcingle by a cinch knot, al- 
ready described. The other should be left free for rop- 
ing. 

After the pack is properly built, the man on the right 
tosses the surcingle under the animal to the man on the 
left and passes the rope to him over the center of the 
pack. The man on the left now passes the rope through 
the ring in the free end of the surcingle, braces his foot 
against the pack, and cinches it up practically to the limit. 

Holding what he has by friction through the ring, the 
man on the left, while retaining the free end on his side, 
now carries a quantity of the rope back to the top of 
the pack and tucks a loop twice under the cinch rope 
from back to front. This will naturally make a loop 
about the width of the hand, but enough rope should be 
drawn through to permit its being spread both ways down 
the cinch rope to a total width of nine or ten inches, 
even more if it is a large pack. 

We now have a double rope up the left side of the 
pack and for about ten inches on top. One is the original 
cinch rope that is taut and extends entirely around the 
animal, the other is the flattened loop nine or ten inches 
wide that holds its position by friction. This looser por- 
tion of the loop will make the back half of the diamond, 
and that portion of the cinch rope between its ends will 
make the front half when all is finished. 

The next step consists in looping the rope around the 
right side of the pack from front to back and this is 
accomplished by tucking a loop from back to front 
through the space between the two ropes on top of the 







> 



X 



THE DIAMOND HITCH 97 

pack, passing it around the right side of the pack from 
front to back, taking care that it has a firm hold upon the 
bottom of the kyaks. The loop is then pulled taut from 
the rear, bracing the knee or the foot against the back of 
the pack. 

All this time the man on the left has retained possession 
of the free end of the rope. Stepping to the back of his 
side of the pack, he now tightens his rope by pulling back- 
wards and slightly downward, taking the slack from his 
partner, thus forming the back half of the diamond. He 
now steps to the front, passing his rope forward and 
under the pack from back to front and adjusting it well 
on the under side of his kyak. Putting his foot against 
the front side of the pack, he pulls it taut. He now car- 
ries the free end of the rope up the front of the pack, and 
tucks it under the original cinch rope at a point midway 
between the two sides of the loop, pulling forward and 
downward, thus making the front half of the diamond 
on top of the pack. Fastening with a simple loop, already 
described, finishes the operation. 

Of course the hitch can be so altered as to finish at 
the back instead of the front, as is often done, but in 
that case the first loop on top of the pack would be tucked 
from front to back instead of from back to front. 

When properly done, the diamond hitch is a work of 
art in which no actual knots are tied except the one fasten- 
ing the rope to the surcingle at the last moment, and the 
whole can be unwound by a single pull on the free end. 

I have confidence in the adequate utility of this de- 
scription for I have tried it out on two men who never 
before saw the diamond hitch and they made a fair suc- 
cess at the first trial, — perfect, indeed, so far as security 



98 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

is concerned. I feel confident, therefore, that the tender- 
est of tender feet need have no fear but that he can pack 
his duffle without further instructions than are contained 
in this description. 



XXVI 
THE SQUARE HITCH 

The square hitch presumes a wide rather than a high 
and compact pack, and it is slung low on the saddle rather 
than high as in the case of the diamond hitch. In this 
kind of hitch, there is no attempt to lash the pack to the 
animal, but it is fastened to the saddle with two loops, one 
on either side, with nothing going over the top. 

To start the square hitch, the pack rope should be 
doubled to find the middle; then at this middle point 
it is passed under the front tree of the saddle and with 
a double loop fastened to the cross tree, throwing one 
end of the rope to one side of the pack animal and the 
other to the opposite side. The man on either side now 
carries the free end of his rope to the rear, passes it 
through the back saddle tree from rear to front, brings it 
under the loop then formed, and drops it to the ground, 
leaving the loop large enough to go easily over the pack 
when built. 

The pack is now laid on, when each man picks up his 
loop and passes it over the top of the pack, from front to 
back and so placed that the two ropes will be not more 
than five or six inches apart as seen from the top. Each 
man then pulls his loop taut from front to rear. He then 
drops to the ground, reaches up under the pack to see 

99 



100 VACATION ON THE TRAIL 

that the rope will run free, and with his foot against the 
pack, pulls it taut and brings the rope up the side at 
about the middle point. He now passes it under the 
loop on top, and draws down with about all the strength 
he can muster, tightening the original loop almost to the 
limit as it is brought well down the side of the pack. 

It is necessary that the partners on opposite sides of 
the animal should work together in tightening the pack, 
else it is likely to be drawn from one side over to the 
other. If all this is successfully done and the ropes are 
tight at their respective sides, a pack will be lashed that 
will remain in place as long as the saddle stays on the 
animal. 

For tents and bedding and ordinary packing, the 
diamond hitch is preferable, but for bed-rolls, boxes, 
barrels, and the like, the square hitch has many ad- 
vantages. 

In unpacking, the loop on either side will be opened 
enough to be swung off the pack, but the free end of the 
rope will be left under the rear saddle-tree so that when 
the pack is off both ropes may be carried on the saddle by 
winding back and forth between the trees; but it will 
never be taken entirely off as is done in the diamond hitch. 

This description, also, has been successfully tested out 
on men who have never seen the square hitch put on. 



XXVII 
THE END OF THE TRAIL 

Finally, when it is all over, when the last camp has 
been pitched and broken, the last camp-fire kindled, the 
last adventure related, and the last experience encountered, 
when the last of biscuit and bacon and apricot has been 
eaten, the last diamond hitch has been loosened and the 
pack unstrung for aye, then only will come a full realiza- 
tion of what it all has meant in the way of real relaxation 
from labor and freedom from care. There has been just 
enough hard work to insure an appetite and sweet sleep, 
and just enough of everything to have re-created the 
tramper physically, mentally, and spiritually without 
emptying the pockets; and in addition, a new revelation 
of the majesty of the mountains has come like a bene- 
diction on his soul. 

And he will live it all again, over and over, weeks and 
months and years afterward. He will pack the burros 
in his dreams ; and when he cannot sleep from weariness, 
he will retrace the trails and in memory he will stand again 
at the pass and lie down under the stars as of yore. So 
will the spirit of the mountains and of the camp-fire creep 
over him in his weary sleepless hours like a mother's 
lullaby, and even in retrospect will he find rest. 

So shall the tramper discover his Eldorado, and so shall 
he learn that his investment in the mountains and the 
trails is forever and a day. 

101 






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