Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Thursday July 23

Woke up this morning with Judd calling his usual—“Wake up, the little birds are singing praises to God.”  If this little rhyme fails to get at least a faint groan from our tent he has other speeches, less poetical but more effective and best not repeated.  

The sky was still cloudy but showed signs of clearing.  It has sprinkled a bit during the night.  Got away at 9:10 after the men has made perfect diamond hitches over the packs—well supervised by Leslie who was perched on a limb in order to see the top of the pack.  The Dead Pinto was lovely in the early morning sun and we took some snaps.

"On the trail"
The bank of the opposite side was quite step with a great deal of bush which made it hard riding, but the trail was well marked and we made good time. We came to one muskeg which was not very large and crossed umpteen little rivers, some of which were very muddy and rather hard for the horses to get over. Could lean over and pick ripe raspberries while riding along and the strawberries were very large and plentiful—also saw cranberries  and the Indian Paintbrush up here is a bright flame colour while down at Beaver Lodge it is pink.  Also saw clematis, lady slipper, columbine and bunch-berries which have six rather flat leaves on the top and in the centre a bunch of very red berries.

At twelve o’clock we could look back and see over the Rio Grande, Beaver Lodge and Halcourt countries.  We went through dense stretches of alders often unable to do anything but shut our eyes and trust that only a few branches would swat our faces.  These branches poke and pinch and swat you and often you are crushed against the trunk of  tree by your horse, so that bruises and cuts are nothing in our young lives, in fact the one who can boast the largest bruises is the most popular one for the evening.

Shortly after twelve we came to a small creek where we rested and Monica treated us with chocolate bars.  The water here was very cold and clear. It seemed as if we kept up a series of going up an hill and then down on the other side, till at the bottom there was a river and the call from those in front of “One more river to cross,”  became quite monotonous. 

We came to a lovely stretch of tall trees so dense that only fern grew beneath and you could see a great distance through the trees while it was a sort of twilight all the time, then out to more open places with poplars with white trunks where the sun penetrated in patches and blue larkspur grew while the trunks stood out from the darker background of spruce. Here some trees had to be chopped away.
"One more river to cross..."

At about three o’clock we came to the Indian Graves.  These graves are enclosed by a two foot picket fence and have a sort of peaked roof over the grave.  Many of them are just out in some open patch all by themselves.  There was also an Indian shack and a corral, later we came to the teepee poles where many Indians had camped but we saw no sign of Indians.

Nose River, hand coloured
We crossed the Nose River which is quite a good size and very rapid and made camp.  Judd made a bannock while Leslie and John proceeded to go to sleep, which is a good way to get out of carrying water.  After eating we set off on foot down the trail to lock for Indians, strawberries and gooseberries.  We found none of any, so came home.  At seven-thirty the sun was shining and well up in the sky.  It seems more like three in the afternoon.  Now the men are out looking for deer while we are keeping camp.

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