“Shall we take our pistols?” asked Charley.
“We’d better have at least one. You never can tell when you’re going to need a pistol in the forest. Remember the time that bear treed me on the first hike of the Wireless Patrol? I don’t ever want to get into another situation like that without something to shoot with.”
Charley chuckled. “It wasn’t a pistol that saved you then,” he smiled, “but Willie Brown and his spark-gap.”
“Then we’ll be doubly armed,” replied Lew. “Since you have so much faith in wireless, you can carry the outfit. I’ll pack the gun. We’re almost certain to have some kind of adventure, for every time the Wireless Patrol or any of its members venture into the woods, something exciting happens.”
Off to the Mountains
Busy, indeed, were the succeeding ten days. The outfit that the two boys were to carry was packed and repacked several times, and each time it was overhauled something was eliminated from the packs; for both boys knew well enough that the trip before them would test their endurance even with the lightest of packs. Finally their outfit was reduced to two fishing-rods, one hatchet, a first-aid kit, a flash-light, the necessary food and dishes, one canteen, and one pistol, with the wireless equipment.
This was made as simple as possible. Six new dry cells were to be taken to provide current. Then there were a spark-gap, a spark-coil, a key, and a detector, with the receiving set, switch, and aerial. To be sure, the entire aerial was not packed, but merely the wires and insulators, as spreaders could be made in the forest. Then there was an additional coil of wire to be used for lead-in and suspension wires. No tuning instrument was necessary, because the wireless outfits of all the members of the Camp Brady Wireless Patrol were exactly alike and so were already in tune with one another. Without a tuning instrument, to be sure, it might not be possible for Charley and Lew to talk with anybody except their fellows of the Wireless Patrol, but in the present circumstances that made no difference to them. They had no intention of talking to anybody else.
The various instruments were carefully packed so that they could be carried without injury. The dishes were nested as well as possible. Then all were stowed away in the pack bags, together with the food supplies. The two blankets were tightly folded and tied, ready to be slung over the shoulders. Long before that last session of school, everything was in readiness. When finally that last session was over, the two lads had only to strap their packs on their backs, sling their blankets into place, and pick up their little fishing-rods, unjointed and compactly packed in cloth cases. Lew buckled the pistol to his belt and suspended the canteen from his shoulder, while Charley sheathed his little axe and hung it on his hip. Then, completely ready, the two lads waved farewell to their envious comrades and hastened away to the train. In less than an hour the train stopped to let them off at the little flag-station at the foot of Stone Mountain. In a moment more it had gone whistling around the shoulder of the hill, leaving the two boys alone on the edge of the wilderness.