longer excursion than usual from headquarters camp, which was to carry us some twenty or twenty-five miles northwest toward the Wyoming line, to an old crater called Specimen Mountain. This crater rose just above a high pass that divided the headwaters of the Cache-de-la-Poudre, which flow first into the Platte, and then into the Missouri, and finally, by way of the Mississippi, into the Gulf of Mexico, from those of the Grand, which, after joining with the Green from Wyoming to make the Colorado, and enjoying much experience of canon and desert, reach the Gulf of California. In fact, on this pass, which is but a few hundred feet below timber-line, there are two tiny lakes hardly a stone's throw apart, which send their overflow to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, respectively.

Our way carried us to the bottom and up and out of a long, weird, fire-swept canon, known as Windy Gulch, with its sides bristling with the stark, gray skeletons of burned trees, and its top leading out on to the broad low summit of the Range, stretching away for a dozen miles or more above timberline to the pass I have spoken of.

On this trip we had our guns, as we always had in those earlier days before the protection of the law had been thrown around the disappearing elk and bighorn. Near the top of Windy Gulch we saw a bear — a rather small bear — lumbering its way toward the summit. We immediately gave chase. The bear turned toward a rock-ridge not far away, and disappeared. But on reaching the ridge we made out what seemed the only hole or cave it could have gone into, and there expectantly awaited the coming-out of the bear.

But it did not come out, and Funston finally made the rather startling proposal that he should crawl into the hole and stir up the bear, which, he argued, would undoubtedly chase him out. Vol. its—No. 4

We other two were to stand by the hole with cocked rifles, and were to shoot, not at the first thing that came out, which Funston fondly hoped would be himself, but at the second, which would presumably be an irate bear.

After careful consideration of this proposition, entirely generous on Funston's part, as one must admit, Franklin and I finally declined it, on the ground that in our excitement we should be almost certain to shoot at the first creature that appeared from the hole, and if this were Funston, — as it probably would be if he came out at all, — and we should hit him, we should have to answer to his parents. As his father was a Congressman, these parents seemed formidable. Also, if Funston, by any rub of the green, did not come out at all, we should have to help the burro carry Funston's pack back to camp. The final vote, therefore, was two to one against the proposal of the future general.

This Specimen Mountain was a famous place for bighorn; I hope it still is. The wild sheep used to come to the old crater from many miles away, to lick at its beds of green and yellowish deposits; and we rarely failed to find a band of from six to thirty of the wary animals in the crater's depths. In our later trips to the mountain, after the game-protection laws of Colorado were in force, we used to hunt the sheep with cameras instead of guns. The rim of the crater was sharp, and we could crawl up to it from the mountain-flanks and peer over into it, all unperceived. The inner slopes were covered with volcanic ash and broken lava, and great plutonic breccia crags or 'castles' lifted their bulk from various points. By getting one of these castles between us and the sheep, we could work our way carefully down into the crater and fairly near the animals, without startling them.

However, not all the adventures and joys of mountaineering are on or even near the summits. Camp and trail must often be at lower levels, although still truly in the mountains. The trails must lead from wild pasture to pasture — 'meadows,' the mountaineer always calls them; for the pack-animals and riding ones must have good feed each night, to enable them to meet the demands made on them each day. The camps must be made near good water, — a dry camp is a sad thing, — but where there is mountain meadow there is water: there would not be meadow without it. Many of these meadows lie on the successive levels reached in moving up or down the glacial gorges. In the upper cirques and gorge-reaches these successive levels carry lakes — wonderful green-blue sheets of cold water set on the wildest and bleakest of rock scenery; lower down there are wet meadows and still lower dryer ones, or bits of forest, but different from the great continuous forest of the mountainflanks. These meadows are often riotous color-patches, flecked and splashed with a score of kinds of mountain flowers. A stream wanders through them, or, if they are not too level, hurries along with much music. Of course, one can camp in smaller areas, in canon-bottom, or even on fairly steep mountainsides. One can usually find a few little level spots for the sleeping-bags and fire-irons, or, if necessary, a little terracing work with the spade will make the needed flatness. For you must lie fairly level if you are to sleep at all. Fir branches, old pineneedlcs, or heaps of bracken help to soften the bed-spots; but you soon get used to the uncovered ground. You manage to fit yourself to its unevenncsses.

Besides meadow and water and a bit of level ground, a good outlook is necessary for the best kind of mountain

camp. Long views down great canons, or across them to high peaks, or just straight up along the towering body of wonderful trees, are worth attending to, even for one-night camps. The trees of the Sierras are, of course, alone worth going into the mountains to sec. The huge, dinosaur-like bulk of the true 'big trees,' — the sequoias,—and the straight towering sugar-pines, incense cedar, yellow pine, and red fir, make the Sierran forests incomparable. How John Muir loved these trees and lived companion-wise with them! Mountain sculpture, the work of ice, and the great straight trees, were his first interests in the Sierra Nevada.

There is something so different, so remindful of older earth days, when fauna and flora were strange, in the sequoias, those relics of forests that are gone, that they impress me uncomfortably. They do not seem to belong to this time. They can have no companionship with the pines and firs and cedars, which live so congenially together. Their day is past; they must feel sad to linger on.

The trails seem to run most deviously. but mostly they run wisely. They must avoid too bad places and too much steepness; but they must get on, and if the objective is high, they must sometimes climb even steeply, zigzagging up. and they must not go too far around, even if they have to take, to rouuh places or skirt dangerously along clifffaces. They are most delightful when traversing the forests, for then they are cool and springy underfoot. They are most impressive when they run along the sides of great canons or on cliffy mountain-flanks. They seem to accomplish most when they carry you over high passes. The way up may be very steep and rough, and the way down long and hard on the knees, but the actual crossing of the pass is a triumph. You see both ways down into great watersheds; one may have a very different aspect from the other. You see innumerable near and distant peaks. At your feet are wonderful little green glacial lakes, cupped in the great cirques.

The surpassing trail-triumph is to put yourself and pack-animals over a 'new' high pass, that is, to be the first to cross it with pack-train.

We did this last summer in trying to get out of the Kings River watershed into that of the Kern by a shorter way than the usual ones. Some Sierra Club men, making knapsack trips around the headwaters of Roaring River on one side of the Great Western Divide, and the Kern-Kaweah on the other, had suggested in the Sierra Club Bulletin that it might be possible to cross the Divide with animals through a notch in it about 12,000 feet high, a short distance south of Milestone Peak. Sheep men with their flocks had undoubtedly occasionally used this pass, for there were indications of sheeptrails leading up to it on both sides. But sheep are more agile than mules and horses carrying packs of a hundred pounds and more. However, we had a sturdy lot of animals, with two packers in charge, willing and even anxious to make a venture. So we worked up without a trail, and with considerable difficulty, out of Cloudy Canon, to a high level camp (10,500 feet) by the side of a beautiful glacial lake not indicated on the Geological Survey maps, and hence unnamed and officially unknown.

Part of one day was given to spying out a possible way up to the pass, and 'making trail' to the extent of indicating by stone ducks the most feasible way to be followed, and throwing some stones out of the way, and strengthening loose and bad places by piling up rocks by their sides. The next day, with one man in front to guide and the others scattered among the pack-animals to lead and urge, we started up

slowly, and, with much care and many stoppings to work further at dangerous bits of trail, we won our way to the summit. We were rightfully very proud, and left a record of the winning of the pass in a stone cairn at the top. What needs now to be done is for Forest Service men, or National Park men (if the proposed lines of the new Roosevelt National Park are finally adopted), to make that a really available pass. Then Kern Canon can be reached from Kings Canon — or vice versa — in two days less time, and by a much more interesting trail, than now.

It is remarkable how effectively even the unexercised human body responds to the call of the trail to cover miles and make altitude. A distance that would be an exhausting walk on a smooth roadway becomes only a fraction of a day's inspiriting jaunt up and down over steep mountain trails. Lungs and heart and muscles seem to meet the need on call. You wonder at yourself as you count up in the evening, after dinner, how far you have come and how high you have climbed. I can't explain it; it is one of the pleasant secrets of the mountains.

But this paper, like the mountain trail, must reach its end. Its objective is simply one of suggestion. If you are surfeited with swift motor-riding; or tired of endless golf; or impatient with having the world too much with you, take a dose of American mountaineering. Go where the highest mountains are, the greatest canons, the biggest trees. Get a camp cook, — though you will want to be trying your own hand at his game all the time, — an experienced packer, and a train of mountain-wise pack-animals, sleeping-bag, camp-supplies, and a sheaf of U.S. Geological Survey contour maps, — 'quadrangles,' they call them, — and take to the trail. Once out, you will not come back until you have to. And you will go again.



She was the little wind that falls
Before the falling of the rain;
She was the one and early star
We lose and see and lose again.

She was the pang of the caress
That is too brief for our delight;
She was the torch another bore
And passed us in the night.


If you should say,

'Who goes there?'
Then I would say,

'You go there —
It 's your hand at the door
And your foot on the stair
Of my heart every day
And everywhere.'

Then you would say,
'It is long since I passed.'
And I would say,
'It is year before last
Since you went on your way,
But I still hear you there
In my heart every day
And everywhere.'



Let us be happy tcMiight —

It snows.

See where the hemlocks glimmer white

In the dusk and the snow and the half moonlight;

They never stir as their burden grows.

And you — O lovely and pale and near —
Loosen the bond of your maiden will;
Fall on my heart like the falling snows,
And I will be still as the trees are still.


Suddenly, up through the forest gloaming,

A partridge rose, and that urgent whirring

Startled our breath and checked our roaming;

We stood and were still where the leaves were stirring.

So from the place of my deepest grieving
Memory starts on a wing so thrilling,
I stand in the dusk of my self-deceiving,
Struck to the heart with a pang that is killing.

In the street where you went away,
In the air that is still and gray,
Like golden fish in a stream
The leaves of the maple gleam;

And down in a place apart,
In the dark and the deep of my heart,
You shine in the pool of my grief
Like a fallen golden leaf.

« ElőzőTovább »