He spent the day getting his things together for the trip. He was to carry a small individual frying pan, a small granite bucket, knife, fork, and spoon, eight small cans of condensed milk, a little cloth sack of tea, one of sugar, one of oatmeal, and one of rice, two boxes of raisins, a loaf of rye bread, and butter packed in a small tin can with a cover. He was to wrap these things, and whatever else he wanted to take along, including a first-aid packet, in his blanket, army style. His pack must not exceed twenty pounds in weight, not counting gun or camera. His tincup was to be fastened to his belt, and his safety ax carried in his hip-pocket. They would sleep on spruce boughs at night, and each man would cook his own meals from his own store. The mountain raspberries were just ripe, and there were great quantities of them. They would have them with cream, and count on killing a few squirrels now and then, or perhaps some turtle doves for a change. Mr. Allen took a trout line and a few flies, in case they had a chance to have mountain trout to break the monotony of the diet.
By Monday evening all was in readiness for the start. The news of the proposed cabin scheme had spread all through the Department, and many were the suggestions offered by interested fellows for making the trip an entire success in every way.
“Remember, shelter and drainage and wood supply, along with good water and big trees, are what you are looking for, boys,” was the advice of Mr. Dean, as he left them. “I wish I were going along with you. Here’s hoping you’ll find the very best spot, and that soon.”
A Stage Road Journey
“Well, if you haven’t any more brains than to be starting out on a mountain trip on a wet, stormy day like this, why I haven’t anything more to say to you; but remember, I’m not one whit responsible for you,” said Mr. Williams, as he arose from the breakfast table and passed out into the hall.
It had been a stormy night. The rainfall had been heavy and the lightning sharp. It had been a typical electric storm of the mountains. Old Sol had tried in vain to force his way through the heavy rain-clouds earlier in the morning, but by breakfast time he seemed to have given up entirely, and to have withdrawn from the contest. At any rate, he was nowhere to be seen. Willis was visibly disappointed. He pushed his chair back restlessly and went to the window. The heavy, black clouds hung low on the ridge, and Pike’s Peak was entirely hidden in the mists. Willis was thinking of the conversation he had had with his uncle that morning at the breakfast table.