a safe distance from the river we cached our goods, covering them with
a tarpaulin as a protection from the rain, and then, each man with a
fifty pound pack on his back, and with Poppy at our heels, we scaled
the ridge that rose above the river and plunged at once into the
forested region that stretched northward from the Beaver.
course took us nearly due north until, upon crossing a ridge of hills,
we encountered a long narrow lake extending east and west for a
distance of probably two miles. This made a deviation
necessary as we swung past the eastern end of the lake and floundered
through muskeg. Here we came upon fresh signs of wild geese,
which evidently made this their breeding ground, upon fresh caribou
tracks, Poppy flushed some spruce grouse, and screeching gulls soared
overhead. These were the first evidence of life that we had
seen since leaving Grand Lake, save rabbits and a few twittering birds
in the valley of the Beaver.
clipped the heads from two of the grouse with the Judge’s
rifle. I called his attention to the fact that one of them
was a hen, and that its brood of little ones, still too young to care
for themselves would probably perish without their mother’s care.
means a half-dozen fewer partridges next winter,” said I, “that might
help some poor Indian to live.”
so,” Gilbert admitted. “I never thought of it that way
might be a good plan to mention it to the other fellows down at the
post, who hunt partridges in summer,” the Judge suggested.
do that,” Gilbert agreed. “None of us ever thought about the
young ones. We just thinks about getting the bird we
sees. I’ll never kill a she partridge again until the young
ones are able to take care of themselves. It’s wasteful, but
I never thinks about it that way before.”
drizzle of the morning had soon become a steady rain, with a cold
northeast wind to drive it into our faces. We traveled fast,
where we could, but we could not travel fast enough to keep warm; when
we dropped our packs to get our breath, as we did at intervals of a
mile or so, we were at once in a shiver and were glad enough to take
the packs up again and hurry on.
bearings from O’Keefe Lake, as we called it, were about north
northeast, and presently crossing the second ridge we fell, in
mid-afternoon, upon a second lake, which also lay in an easterly and
westerly direction, with a length of about four miles. This
lake I named Malone Lake, in honor of the Judge. The
conditions were so unfavorable that we did not halt to make tea and eat
at midday; but we were now shivering with cold, in spite of rapid
traveling, and at three o’clock we stopped in a driving rain to pitch
camp at the eastern end of Malone Lake, and to warm ourselves before a
roaring big fire of Juniper, which we kindled at the side of a large
rock, and here to remain for the night.
Chapter XXXI: Valley Of The Shadow