“We’re about half way to Little Bear Lake now,” announced Dolly, after a spell of silence.
“Why, how do you know?”
“Because I saw a map, and this ridge we’ve just come to is half way between the two lakes.”
“Oh,” said Bessie.
“Yes. We’ve been coming up hill so far now, the rest of the way is down hill, so it will be easier walking.”
“That’s good; it means that when we’re going home we’ll be going down for the last half of the trip, when we’re tired. That’s much easier than if it was the other way, I think.”
“You look tired, Bessie; why don’t you sit down and rest!”
“Well, that’s not a bad idea, Dolly. I’m not used to so much walking lately.”
“All right, sit down. I’m thirsty. I think I’ll just run ahead and see if I can find a spring while you rest.”
So Dolly ran ahead, and disappeared after a moment. Presently, when Bessie was rested, she started again, and soon overtook Dolly.
“We turn here,” said Dolly. “See, here’s another trail, and the signs show which one we’re to take.”
“That’s funny,” said Bessie, puzzled. “I thought we went to Little Bear in a perfectly straight line. Miss Eleanor didn’t say anything about changing direction.”
“Well, there’s the sign, Bessie. If we keep straight on it says that we’ll come to Loon Pond. We turn off to the right here to get to Little Bear.”
“Well, I guess the sign must be right. But it certainly seems funny. I hope there isn’t any mistake.”
“Mistake! How can there be? Don’t be silly, Bessie. There wouldn’t be any chance of that. Come on.”
So they turned off, and, as they followed the new trail, the trees began to grow thinner, presently. The whole character of the woods seemed to change, too. They passed numerous places where picnic parties had evidently eaten their meals, and had left blackened spots, and the remnants of their feasts.
“It seems to me some of the people who’ve been here have been very careless, Dolly,” said Bessie, “Look, there’s a place where a fire started. It didn’t get very far, but it burnt over quite a little bit of ground before it was put out.”
The trail began to dip sharply, too, and before long they were walking in what was almost open country. Stumps of trees were all about, and evidently wood-cutters had been at work.
“This isn’t half as pretty as Long Lake,” said Bessie. “Oh, Dolly, look! What’s that?”
Dolly laughed in a peculiar fashion. For they had come in sight of a sheet of water, and, in plain view, not far from them, by the shore of the lake, they saw a place that could not be mistaken. It proclaimed its nature at once—a regular summer hotel, with wide piazzas, full of people. And on the water there were a score of boats and canoes, and one or two launches.
“This isn’t Little Bear Lake!” said Bessie.