In about an hour’s time they came to a narrow channel which connected the river with a lake-like body of water several miles in extent, and known by the Indians as the “Wedneebak.” Here they ran the canoe ashore, drew it out of the water and carried it up the bank and a short distance into the forest. Breaking off some fir boughs, they made for themselves beds upon the ground. Then taking off their jackets, they placed them over their bodies, and, lulled by the wind among the tree-tops, they were soon fast asleep.
Early dawn found them both awake, and watching with the keenest interest the narrow entrance to the Wedneebak. They ate sparingly of the food from the basket, hoping to make it last throughout the day. The morning was cold, but they did not dare to light a fire lest it should betray their presence. They took turns in watching the river and in moving about, so in this manner they were able to keep fairly warm.
During the morning Dane made a trip to a hill some distance inland, where from the upper branches of a large tree he obtained an excellent view of the upper stretch of the Wedneebak. He wished to learn if any of the rebels had already arrived for the council. From this elevated position his eyes scanned the shore, and soon detected several wreaths of smoke curling up into the air. How many men were there he could not tell, as the crowding trees hid them from view. He wondered if the pow-wow had already begun, or were the men waiting for others to arrive? He longed to go down to the shore, creep up close, and spy upon the rebels. This, however, he knew would be foolish, as it would be impossible in broad daylight to approach near enough to learn anything of importance. No, he must wait until night.
Pete was much pleased when Dane returned and told of the discovery he had made.
“Good, good,” he said. “Plenty canoe come bimeby.”
“But perhaps they are all there now,” Dane suggested.
“No, more come bimeby. See ’m soon.”
And in this the Indian was right, for as the day wore away, and darkness once more began to steal over the land, the canoes began to arrive. There were a dozen in all, and each contained a number of men, some of whom were Indians. They all came down river, entered the narrow channel, and sped up the Wedneebak.
As the last canoe disappeared around a bend, Dane and Pete slipped away from their place of watching. They moved rapidly through the forest, and hardly a sound did they make as they advanced. Their ears and eyes were keenly alert, for they were well aware that the critical time had now arrived, and that much depended upon their caution.
The darkness had now deepened, and no trail guided their steps. But to them this mattered little. The forest was their home, and their course was as unerring as birds in their flight or beasts in search of prey. A life-long training to one, and years to the other had developed the sense of instinct which always served when sight and hearing were of little or no avail.