After tolling in this way all day, they had the mortification to find that they were but four miles distant from the encampment of the preceding night, such was the meandering of the river among these dismal hills. Pinched with famine, exhausted with fatigue, with evening approaching, and a wintry wild still lengthening as they advanced, they began to look forward with sad forebodings to the night’s exposure upon this frightful waste. Fortunately they succeeded in reaching a cluster of pines about sunset. Their axes were immediately at work; they cut down trees, piled them in great heaps, and soon had huge fires “to cheer their cold and hungry hearts.”
About three o’clock in the morning it again began to snow, and at daybreak they found themselves, as it were, in a cloud, scarcely being able to distinguish objects at the distance of a hundred yards. Guarding themselves by the sound of running water, they set out for the river, and by slipping and sliding contrived to get down to its bank. One of the horses, missing his footing, rolled down several hundred yards with his load, but sustained no injury. The weather in the valley was less rigorous than on the hills. The snow lay but ankle deep, and there was a quiet rain now falling. After creeping along for six miles, they encamped on the border of the river. Being utterly destitute of provisions, they were again compelled to kill one of their horses to appease their famishing hunger.
An Unexpected Meeting.—Navigation
in a Skin Canoe.-Strange
Fears of Suffering Men.-Hardships of Mr. Crooks and His
Comrades.—Tidings of M’Lellan.—A Retrograde March.—A Willow
Raft.—Extreme Suffering of Some of the Party—Illness of
Mr. Crooks.—Impatience of Some of the Men.—Necessity of
Leaving the Laggards Behind.
The wanderers had now accomplished four hundred and seventy-two miles of their dreary journey since leaving the Caldron Linn; how much further they had yet to travel, and what hardships to encounter, no one knew.