Astoria, or, anecdotes of an enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 570 pages of information about Astoria, or, anecdotes of an enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains.
a project.  These fellows had evidently been silent and secretly dogging the party for a week past, and a distance of a hundred and fifty miles, keeping out of sight by day, lurking about the encampment at night, watching all their movements, and waiting for a favorable moment when they should be off their guard.  The menace of Mr. Stuart, in their first interview, to shoot the giant chief with his pistol, and the fright caused among the warriors by presenting the rifles, had probably added the stimulus of pique to their usual horse-stealing propensities.  And in this mood of mind they would doubtless have followed the party throughout their whole course over the Rocky Mountains, rather than be disappointed in their scheme.


Travellers Unhorsed—­Pedestrian Preparations—­Prying Spies.  —­Bonfires of Baggage—­A March on Foot.—­Rafting a River—­The Wounded Elk.—­Indian Trails.—­Willful Conduct of Mr. M’Lellan.—­Grand Prospect From a Mountain.—­Distant Craters of Volcanoes—­Illness of Mr. Crooks.

Few reverses in this changeful world are more complete and disheartening than that of a traveller, suddenly unhorsed, in the midst of the wilderness.  Our unfortunate travellers contemplated their situation, for a time, in perfect dismay.  A long journey over rugged mountains and immeasurable plains lay before them, which they must painfully perform on foot, and everything necessary for subsistence or defense must be carried on their shoulders.  Their dismay, however, was but transient, and they immediately set to work, with that prompt expediency produced by the exigencies of the wilderness, to fit themselves for the change in their condition.

Their first attention was to select from their baggage such articles as were indispensable to their journey; to make them up into convenient packs, and to deposit the residue in caches.  The whole day was consumed in these occupations; at night, they made a scanty meal of their remaining provisions, and lay down to sleep with heavy hearts.  In the morning, they were up and about at an early hour, and began to prepare their knapsacks for a march, while Ben Jones repaired to an old beaver trap which he had set in the river bank at some little distance from the camp.  He was rejoiced to find a middle-sized beaver there, sufficient for a morning’s meal to his hungry comrades.  On his way back with his prize, he observed two heads peering over the edge of an impending cliff, several hundred feet high, which he supposed to be a couple of wolves.  As he continued on, he now and then cast his eye up; heads were still there, looking down with fixed and watchful gaze.  A suspicion now flashed across his mind that they might be Indian scouts; and, had they not been far above the reach of his rifle, he would undoubtedly have regaled them with a shot.

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Astoria, or, anecdotes of an enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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