“We had better plan to be gone about four days!” spoke up Pete who up to this time had taken no part in the morning conversation.
“I should think we ought to have supplies for more than that,” said Fred.
Pete, however, insisted that the time he had named would be ample for their first attempt. “If we don’t strike anything,” he explained, “we shan’t need to stay any longer and if we do we can mark the spot or leave someone there on guard and the rest can come back for more supplies.”
“What do you think, Zeke?” asked Fred.
“I think Pete is all right,” replied the guide. “We want to leave our supplies here pretty well protected and we don’t want to take enough with us to tire us out carrying them. We’ll have to measure it down pretty fine. We want just enough but not an ounce more than we ought to have.”
Zeke’s word carried the day and in a brief time the Go Ahead Boys were busily engaged in packing the few belongings they planned to take with them on their expedition. These were conveniently arranged so that they might be carried upon the backs of the boys, making a burden that did not exceed twenty-five pounds in weight for each boy when the arrangement was at last completed.
“Everything all ready now?” inquired Zeke when at last the packages, implements and knapsacks had all been prepared.
“How is the river right below us?” asked John.
“It’s a bit rough and pretty swift for a spell,” replied Zeke.
“Any danger of capsizing?” asked Fred nervously.
“There’s always that danger,” replied Zeke solemnly. “Nobody knows when the boat may turn squarely over. If you think you would rather walk across country we can try it that way,” he added, winking solemnly at Fred’s companions as he spoke.
Cautiously the party made their way down the canyon and at last after several exciting experiences arrived on the shore of the rushing Colorado.
Zeke’s statement that the river here was rough was speedily confirmed. The tossing waves seemed to be rushing at break-neck speed past the little point. There was a bend in the channel a half-mile below and a projecting point there was plainly seen.
“I don’t like the look of that,” muttered Fred as he first saw the rushing stream.
“There’s something I like still less,” said Grant.
“What do you mean?” demanded Fred.
“Why there’s only one boat there.”
“What!” exclaimed George and Fred together.
“That’s right,” repeated Grant. “One of the boats is gone.”
For a moment the boys stood and stared blankly at the one boat and at the place on the shore where the other had been drawn from the water. There was no question now as to their loss. Every member of their party was present and yet only one boat was to be seen.