Rain deterred us the following
morning, and with a late start and a early camp we did but a half-day’s
travel; but another morning found us on the trail in good season,
buoyed by the first sunshine since leaving the Beaver River, and in
mid-afternoon, traveling behind the hills that line the southern bank
of the Susan, we came upon Goose Creek. I recognized it at
once. Gilbert had never before been so far into this section
of the country, and I was guide now. We followed down the
south bank of Goose Creek, and presently came to the fall over which
Goose Creek drops to form its junction with the main stream.
Not far below the fall and opposite Hubbard’s camp, where the Susan
runs in a shallow rapid, we made our fording to the north
side. On the riverbank we dropped our packs.
you know the place?” asked the Judge.
and I will wait here,” said the Judge, with fine feeling and sympathy.
was a moment of intense expectation for me. The mind works
curiously upon occasions like this. The surroundings were as
familiar as though I had been absent but a day instead of a
decade. The river spoke with the same voice. No
twig, no tree, no rock had changed. Time fell from
memory. Ten years were forgotten as years unlived, and I was
returning to Hubbard and the camp, which I had left but
yesterday. I knew exactly where the tent stood, and exactly
how it looked—just in there among the spruce trees.
the ten years that had elapsed since I had last seen the place, I had
frequently called up pictures of it—the tent, the rock before which it
stood, and the surroundings, and for several hours such a picture had
been pretty constantly before my vision. But these pictures
had been more or less abstract. Now, before I actually saw
the old campsite or the rock, I saw in vision the whole in minute
exactitude. I stepped quickly toward the spot, without
hesitation or uncertainty, as one returning after a short absence to a
place he knows intimately and well. In that brief interval I
believe I fully expected to find Hubbard in the tent, as I had left
him, and to hear his greeting:
glad you’re back b’y. I was lonesome.”
I beheld the rock and the desolation which surrounded it, I returned to
consciousness of the present with a shock, and for a moment was
overwhelmed with emotion. Before the rock lay the bed of
spruce boughs, now withered and dry, which I had arranged and upon
which Hubbard lay when he died. By the side of the bed was
one of his old worn moccasins, a spool of thread, a small tin can in
which he had carried medicines, and an
undergarment. Scattered about were remnants of the
tent, and still knotted to trees in the rear were bits of the line
which had held the tent in position. At the base of the rock
were the dead embers of Hubbard’s last campfire, so fresh that the
previous evening’s rain might have beaten the fire out.
There, too, was the stick upon which our tea pail hung, and alongside
it lay two of our camp spoons, probably in the exact spot where Hubbard
placed them before he went to his last sleep.
In 1973, to mark the occasion of the rediscovery of Hubbard’s last camp
by Rudy Mauro and Dillon Wallace III, the Canadian Committee for
Geographical Names recognized Goose Creek, Mountaineer Lake, Elson
Lake, Murdock’s Rapid and the Charles Riley River as official names on
Arrival at Hubbard’s Rock. Wallace (L), Malone.
XXXIII: Reliving The Parting