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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about Christopher Carson.

He at once advanced as I did myself.  We shook hands.  I pointed out my last night’s trail.  He saw it at once, and turning to his companions, said to them,

“The white captain has told the truth.”

So we shook hands all around.  I gave them some hard bread, also some bacon, and we had a good time generally all day resting at this spring.  At nightfall they all departed, as silently as shadows, leaving us in full possession of the spring of water.

CHAPTER XVI.

Recollections of Mountain Life.

    Position of The Spring.—­The Cache.—­Kit Carson’s Character and
    Appearance.—­Cool Bravery of a Mountain Trapper.—­Untamed
    Character of Many Hunters.—­The Surveyor’s Camp in an Indian
    Territory.—­Terrors from Indians.—­Joe Walker.—­A Mountain
    Man.—­Soda Lake.—­Optical Illusion.—­Camp on Beaver Lake.—­The
    Piyute Chief.  Conversation with Him.—­An alarm.—­A Battle.

Mr. Goodyear in his interesting narrative continues:  Here let me speak a word or two about water.  The springs, as a general thing, are found near the summit of the mountains.  In some cases I have had to pack the water a distance of forty miles, for months at a time.  From a lake where it bubbled up from the bottom as warm as you would like to hold your hand in, the process of evaporation in the leather bottles rendered it soon, almost as cool as ice water.

Let us now return to our first camping ground on the Mohave river.  Here I cached or buried for concealment, some of my provisions, to relieve the animals of their heavy load.  If Mr. Indian does not find the cache, it will be all right on our return.  I will explain how we do it.  First, then, we send out two or three men as scouts, to see if they can discover any signs of Indians, such as footprints or trail, or smoke, or anything of that kind.  Men that are used to it, can distinguish between the footprints of an Indian and a white man.  They can also, at a long distance off, tell an Indian fire from a white man’s.

Any mountaineer can tell by the trail, how long since persons have passed, the number of the party, as well as the number of animals.  An Indian, when he makes a fire, uses half a dozen little sticks as big as your thumb, and very dry, and all the smoke the fire makes, will ascend straight up in one steady column.  The white man will use, if he is a novice, the dry to kindle with, and then he will chuck on the wet wood, which will cause a great smoke.

But to return to my cache.  I keep out my scouts all the time we are to work.  “Boys, get your shovels, and dig a hole about four or five feet deep, by ten feet in length.  Put a lot of wood or branches in the bottom.  In with the provisions, canvas over the top, or more bushes.  Cover over all with earth.  Then take ashes from previous fires, and scatter over the top; then build fires over them, so as to dry the sand.”

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