« AnteriorContinua »
completed my demoralization. As soon ful burro browsing on a bit of brush a as the apparition had passed from my couple of rods from our bed! sight and the echoes of that howl from It was a great relief, and we rolled my ears, I got my numb muscles into over for a real nap, when from far down action and speedily made for camp — the mountain-side came the clear ripnot by way of the old trail.
pling call of a hermit thrush. And then As I came near it, I was further another, higher up, answered, and then startled to see a great, roaring fire, another, almost over our heads, and, and found my companion, later the finally, still another from farther up reckless hero of many a dangerous, the mountain-flank. It was the most self-chosen venture in war, piling ever beautiful, most thrilling bird-song I more fuel on the camp-fire. I asked him have ever heard. We lay entranced. the reason for the conflagration, and he And then Funston, sitting up in his blurted out, without interrupting his blankets to glance around the echoing good work, 'I have just seen the biggest forest, stretched out again with a grunt cougar in Colorado. Evidently both of of comfort, and murmuring, 'Say, it's us had had the same good fortune. damn religious up here,' drew his blanIn the safety of the fire-zone we made kets up to his eyes for the needed nap.
. a peaceful supper, without venison; and We were boys in those days, and we after a final heaping-on of logs, rolled thought more of new peaks to be won, up in our blankets by the fire. In the possible elk and bighorn and bear and middle of the night I was awakened by deer to be shot at, and trout to be a blow on the chest. I promptly sat up, caught, cooked, and eaten, with wild with the conviction that I was being red raspberries for dessert, than of mauled by the lion. The fire had gone the religion of Nature expressed in her down, and it was very dark. But Fun- greatness and beauty. But some of ston, who had punched me into wake- this religion did reach us occasionally, fulness, whispered hoarsely, “That cat and once ours, it has never been lost. I is prowling around the camp. I have have loitered in the incense-dimmed heard it several times. We must build aisles of many a great cathedral and
listened to the rolling of the organs and I strongly agreed, and we soon had hypnotic chanting of the priests; but another reassuring pyrotechnic effect. each time I have been reminded of the Again we turned in, and I was soon un- longer, more fragrant forest aisles and easily asleep again, only to be wakened the low repeated rumblings of thunder by another blow. This time Funston among the great peaks of the mountain was really excited. 'He's still around,' regions I know; and it has been those he said. "There, you can hear him now.' memories that have given me the great
I listened intently. I certainly heard er hope in something still above cathesomething moving off somewhere be- dral towers and mountain summits. yond the piled-up pack-saddle and kyaks on the other side of the smoul
IV dering fire. I stared hard in that direction. It was the first gray of a welcome Funston and I had another boys' morning. As quickly as the light had adventure in the Rockies — this time faded out of the forest the evening be- with a third college mate, now a wise fore, it now invaded it. Even as we college professor -- that I am minded stared through the cold gray, it became to tell. The three of us, with our longlight enough for us to see — our faith- suffering burro, had started on a rather
up the fire.'
longer excursion than usual from head- We other two were to stand by the hole quarters camp, which was to carry with cocked rifles, and were to shoot, us some twenty or twenty-five miles not at the first thing that came out, northwest toward the Wyoming line, which Funston fondly hoped would be to an old crater called Specimen Moun- himself, but at the second, which would tain. This crater rose just above a high presumably be an irate bear. pass that divided the headwaters of the After careful consideration of this Cache-de-la-Poudre, which flow first proposition, entirely generous on Funinto the Platte, and then into the Mis- ston's part, as one must admit, Franksouri, and finally, by way of the Missis- lin and I finally declined it, on the sippi, into the Gulf of Mexico, from ground that in our excitement we should those of the Grand, which, after join- be almost certain to shoot at the first ing with the Green from Wyoming to creature that appeared from the hole, make the Colorado, and enjoying much and if this were Funston, as it probaexperience of cañon and desert, reach bly would be if he came out at all, the Gulf of California. In fact, on this and we should hit him, we should have pass, which is but a few hundred feet to answer to his parents. As his fabelow timber-line, there are two tiny ther was a Congressman, these parents lakes hardly a stone's throw apart, seemed formidable. Also, if Funston, which send their overflow to the At- by any rub of the green, did not come lantic and Pacific oceans, respectively. out at all, we should have to help the Our way
carried us to the bottom and burro carry Funston's pack back to up and out of a long, weird, fire-swept camp. The final vote, therefore, was cañon, known as Windy Gulch, with two to one against the proposal of the its sides bristling with the stark, gray future general. skeletons of burned trees, and its top This Specimen Mountain was a faleading out on to the broad low sum- mous place for bighorn; I hope it still is. mit of the Range, stretching away for The wild sheep used to come to the old a dozen miles or more above timber- crater from many miles away, to lick line to the pass I have spoken of. at its beds of green and yellowish de
On this trip we had our guns, as we posits; and we rarely failed to find a always had in those earlier days before band of from six to thirty of the wary the protection of the law had been animals in the crater's depths. In our thrown around the disappearing elk later trips to the mountain, after the and bighorn. Near the top of Windy game-protection laws of Colorado were Gulch we saw a bear a rather small in force, we used to hunt the sheep with bear - lumbering its way toward the cameras instead of guns. The rim of summit. We immediately gave chase. the crater was sharp, and we could The bear turned toward a rock-ridge crawl up to it from the mountain-flanks not far away, and disappeared. But on and peer over into it, all unperceived. reaching the ridge we made out what The inner slopes were covered with volseemed the only hole or cave it could canic ash and broken lava, and great have gone into, and there expectantly plutonic breccia crags or “castles' lift
' awaited the coming-out of the bear.
ed their bulk from various points. By But it did not come out, and Funston getting one of these castles between us finally made the rather startling pro- and the sheep, we could work our way posal that he should crawl into the hole carefully down into the crater and and stir up the bear, which, he argued, fairly near the animals, without startling would undoubtedly chase him out. them. VOL. 128-NO. 4
However, not all the adventures and camp. Long views down great cañons, joys of mountaineering are on or even or across them to high peaks, or just near the summits. Camp and trail must straight up along the towering body of often be at lower levels, although still wonderful trees, are worth attending truly in the mountains. The trails must to, even for one-night camps. The lead from wild pasture to pasture trees of the Sierras are, of course, alone 'meadows,' the mountaineer always worth going into the mountains to see. calls them; for the pack-animals and The huge, dinosaur-like bulk of the true riding ones must have good feed each 'big trees,' — the sequoias, - and the night, to enable them to meet the de- straight towering sugar-pines, incense mands made on them each day. The cedar, yellow pine, and red fir, make the camps must be made near good water, Sierran forests incomparable. How
a dry camp is a sad thing, — but John Muir loved these trees and lived where there is mountain meadow there companion-wise with them! Mountain is water: there would not be meadow sculpture, the work of ice, and the great without it. Many of these meadows straight trees, were his first interests in lie on the successive levels reached in the Sierra Nevada. moving up or down the glacial gorges. There is something so different, so In the upper cirques and gorge-reaches remindful of older earth days, when these successive levels carry lakes fauna and flora were strange, in the wonderful green-blue sheets of cold sequoias, those relics of forests that are water set on the wildest and bleakest of
gone, that they impress me uncomrock scenery; lower down there are wet fortably. They do not seem to belong meadows and still lower dryer ones, or to this time. They can have no combits of forest, but different from the panionship with the pines and firs and great continuous forest of the mountain- cedars, which live so congenially toflanks. These meadows are often riot- gether. Their day is past; they must ous color-patches, flecked and splashed feel sad to linger on. with a score of kinds of mountain The trails seem to run most deviously, flowers. A stream wanders through but mostly they run wisely. They must them, or, if they are not too level, avoid too bad places and too much hurries along with much music. Of steepness; but they must get on, and if course, one can camp in smaller areas, the objective is high, they must somein cañon-bottom, or even on fairly steep times climb even steeply, zigzagging up, mountainsides. One can usually find and they must not go too far around, a few little level spots for the sleep- even if they have to take to rough ing-bags and fire-irons, or, if neces- places or skirt dangerously along cliffsary, a little terracing work with the faces. They are most delightful when spade will make the needed flatness. traversing the forests, for then they are For you must lie fairly level if you are cool and springy underfoot. They are to sleep at all. Fir branches, old pine- most impressive when they run along needles, or heaps of bracken help to the sides of great cañons or on cliffy soften the bed-spots; but you soon get mountain-flanks. They seem to acused to the uncovered ground. You complish most when they carry you manage to fit yourself to its uneven- over high passes. The way up may be nesses.
very steep and rough, and the way Besides meadow and water and a bit down long and hard on the knees, but of level ground, a good outlook is nec- the actual crossing of the pass is a triessary for the best kind of mountain umph. You see both ways down into great watersheds; one may have a very slowly, and, with much care and many different aspect from the other. You stoppings to work further at dangerous see innumerable near and distant peaks. bits of trail, we won our way to the At your feet are wonderful little green summit. We were rightfully very glacial lakes, cupped in the great cirques. proud, and left a record of the winning
The surpassing trail-triumph is to of the pass in a stone cairn at the top. put yourself and pack-animals over a What needs now to be done is for For'new' high pass, that is, to be the first est Service men, or National Park men to cross it with pack-train.
(if the proposed lines of the new RooseWe did this last summer in trying to
velt National Park are finally adopted), get out of the Kings River watershed to make that a really available pass. into that of the Kern by a shorter Then Kern Cañon can be reached from way than the usual ones. Some Sierra Kings Cañon or vice versa in two Club men, making knapsack trips days less time, and by a much more inaround the headwaters of Roaring Riv- teresting trail, than now. er on one side of the Great Western It is remarkable how effectively even Divide, and the Kern-Kaweah on the the unexercised human body responds other, had suggested in the Sierra Club to the call of the trail to cover miles Bulletin that it might be possible to and make altitude. A distance that cross the Divide with animals through would be an exhausting walk on a a notch in it about 12,000 feet high, a smooth roadway becomes only a fracshort distance south of Milestone Peak. tion of a day's inspiriting jaunt up Sheep men with their flocks had un- and down over steep mountain trails. doubtedly occasionally used this pass, Lungs and heart and muscles seem to for there were indications of sheep- meet the need on call. You wonder at trails leading up to it on both sides. yourself as you count up in the eveBut sheep are more agile than mules ning, after dinner, how far you have and horses carrying packs of a hundred come and how high you have climbed. pounds and more. However, we had a I can't explain it; it is one of the pleassturdy lot of animals, with two packers ant secrets of the mountains. in charge, willing and even anxious to But this paper, like the mountain make a venture. So we worked up with trail, must reach its end. Its objective out a trail, and with considerable diffi- is simply one of suggestion. If you are culty, out of Cloudy Cañon, to a high surfeited with swift motor-riding; or level camp (10,500 feet) by the side of tired of endless golf; or impatient with a beautiful glacial lake not indicated on having the world too much with you, the Geological Survey maps, and hence take a dose of American mountaineerunnamed and officially unknown. ing. Go where the highest mountains
Part of one day was given to spying are, the greatest cañons, the biggest out a possible way up to the pass, and trees. Get a camp cook, though you 'making trail' to the extent of indicat- will want to be trying your own hand at ing by stone ducks the most feasible his game all the time, - an experienced way to be followed, and throwing some packer, and a train of mountain-wise stones out of the way, and strengthen- pack-animals, sleeping-bag, camp-suping loose and bad places by piling upplies, and a sheaf of U.S. Geological rocks by their sides. The next day, Survey contour maps, - quadrangles, with one man in front to guide and the they call them, and take to the trail. others scattered among the pack-ani- Once out, you will not come back until mals to lead and urge, we started up you have to. And you will go again.
BY JEAN KENYON MACKENZIE
She was the little wind that falls
She was the pang of the caress
If you should say,
Then you would say,
And I would say,