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Bear-hunting in the White Mountains, or, Alaska and British Columbia revisited Seton-Karr, Heywood Walter, 1859- 1891

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Captain H. W. Seton-Karr, explorer,   *\
collector, and  big-game hunter, who
has died at the age of 78.   He was fond
of water-colour drawing.
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jroN-KARl, f.B;gls:,
Alaska and British   Columbia Revisited.
H.  W.   SETON-KARR,  F.R.G.S.,  Etc.,
1891.  In
INTRODUCTION     .......
.      12
THE  ISLAND  PASSAGE             .....
.      22
PYRAMID  HARBOUR       ......
.      34
THE   CHILCATS     ......
.      44
FIGHTING  THE  STREAM           .....
.     56 VI
ONE OF SIX BEARS    ......
HEAD  OF  BLACK  BEAR       .....
.     LETTER IV.
I        VII.
„        VII.
„       XII.
„       XII.
jm  BEAR-HUNTING |     '"t
There remains at least one mysterious corner of
North America which promises to prove comparatively accessible. This is the entirely unknown and
hitherto unvisited country forming the south-west
corner of British North-West Territory, bounded
on the north by Copper River, on the east by
the British portion of the great Yukon, on the
west by the coast-strip of Southern Alaska, and
on the south by the upper portion of the Inland
Some years ago Dr. Krause, a German, ascended
to the summit of the Chilcat Pass (4,000 ft.),
and made an accurate   map  of  the small   extent
of country he visited, comprising a district within
fifty miles of the coast. Beyond this nothing
was known. In addition to my own party, which
consisted only of four whites, an American exploring party had the same intentions as myself.
In San Francisco they engaged one of the men
we had with us in 1886.* But the leader of this
rival party of explorers came up with me on the
Alaska mail-steamer Elder to Chilcat.
It had been an exceedingly severe and late
winter, and snow was reported as lying to an
abnormal depth on the mountains. Whether this
would prove advantageous to us, or otherwise,
remained to be seen. If the snow is firm, one
is enabled to transport provisions and baggage by
dragging them upon a sled, more expeditiously
than they can be portaged on men's shoulders.
The American expedition had given out that
their objective point was Mount Wrangell, the
active volcano on Copper River. I was not so
ambitious as that.
The absence of any important tributaries on the
left bank of the Yukon for many hundreds of miles
above the junction of the White River and the
* See  "Ten Years' Travel and Sport in Foreign Lands"
(Chapman & Hall). INTRODUCTION. 6
Yukon seems to show, says Dr. Dawson (who has
just returned from an expedition down the Pelly
and up the Yukon), that the basin of the upper
portion of the White River must lie comparatively
low, and, situated as it is within the St. Elias Alps,
this country must possess most remarkable features,
both geographically and from a climatic point of
view, and well deserves exploration.
The Chilcat Pass was formerly employed by the
Indians for reaching the Yukon, instead of going
over the Chilcoot Pass, which was in the hands of
the other branch of the tribe.    They used, however,
in this case to descend the Takheena River, turning
east from the summit, and are said to have occupied
twelve days in packing before being able to use a
boat, in place of three days by the Chilcoot.    The
driest country is found in a belt bordering the lee
side of the coast ranges, and the enormous height
of the  St. Elias range,  under whose lee this unknown   land  lies,   should   make   it   a   very   dry
The White River is noted among the Indians as
a moose and beaver region,  but  at present   it is
doubtful to which branch this refers.    The Indians
also report  the  existence of a burning mountain'
near the head waters of the White River,  but it
B 2 m
is uncertain whether this refers to Mount Wrangell
or not.
A wide-spread and modern layer of volcanic
ash of great extent was observed by my friend
Dr. Dawson, in 1887, as he poled his way up
the Yukon, and also by my fellow-explorer Fred
Schwatka, deposited over a large area of the upper
Yukon basin. Its position seems to indicate that
it came from the west. In some places drift-logs
were observed below it quite sound and undecayed.
This seems to show that there is at least one great
volcano in this undiscovered country, recently active.
Mr. Ogilvie's Report lately appeared ("Annual
Report of the Department of the Interior," part 8,
Ottawa, 1890), in which he relates his story of the
winter spent on the Yukon at the boundary line, in
order to determine the approximate position of the
frontier. He endeavoured to ascend the White River,
but was unable, after several hours' exertion, to
advance more than half a mile, owing to the swift
and shallow current and numerous sand-bars. This
river is very rapid and shoal, and the water, coming
as it does from glaciers on the St. Elias Alps,
is exceedingly muddy, and discolours the Yukon
completely below their junction. He found the
Takheena River also muddy, but not from glaciers. INTRODUCTION. <>
This river, by Indian  report,  is  easy  to  descend,
and heads in a large lake.
The most valuable furs procured in the district are
the silver-gray and black fox; the red fox is also very
common. Game is not so abundant in the vicinity of
the Yukon as it was before mining began ; and it is
now difficult to get any in the immediate neighbourhood of the river anywhere along the whole length
of the Yukon. On the uplands large herds of
cariboo still wander, and when the Indians encounter
a herd, having now firearms, they allow very few
to escape, even though they do not require the
meat; in fact, they frequently kill animals just for
the love of slaughter. Moose are not now often
seen along the course of the Yukon, but must be
sought at some distance back from it. A boom in
mining soon exterminates the game in any district.
There are two species of cariboo in the country—
one, the ordinary kind, found in most parts of the
north-west; the other, called the wood cariboo,
much the larger and finer animal, but with antlers
smaller than those of the former kind. The ordinary
cariboo runs in herds, and when fired at becomes
panic-stricken, bounding just as probably towards
the hunter as away from him. When the Indians
find   a   herd   they take   advantage   of   this,   and
surround it, whereupon the animals are slaughtered
There are four species of bear, the grizzly, cinnamon
or black, brown, and silvertip, the latter being said to
attack a. man on sight without being wounded. In
places the Arctic rabbit is numerous; in others it
is altogether absent, and in some places is said
to appear and disappear in different years. The
mountain sheep, or bighorn, and mountain goat
exist everywhere. Near the coast there is a smaller
kind of sheep, with straighter horns than the ordinary bighorn. Ptarmigan and grouse are abundant
in places.
I took the coasting steamer from Vancouver's
Island up the Inland Passage—that wonderful archipelago which has its counterpart on the coast of
Norway and the west coast of South America.
We reached Pyramid Harbour Cannery at the
end of April. Like all other Indians of the coast,
these Chilcats are loth to accept employment, but
I at length, with Colonel Ripinski's assistance,
persuaded an old man and a boy, out of the three
families that chanced at that time to be at the
station, to take my whole party in one canoe as
far up the Chilcat River as Klokwan, the last
Indian camp.    A man might write a volume on the INTRODUCTION. 7
superstitions, wars, and murders of this same Chilcat
tribe, though I found them commonplace to the last
degree. They are not cursed by the fatal gift of
beauty. They were frequently drunk, and I am
sorry to say that the whisky is supplied to them
by white men who are to be found within a thousand
miles of the Chilcat-Chilcoot peninsula.
This state of thiDgs is deplored by the managers
of all three of the canneries at the head of Lynn
Canal. It is slowly exterminating the Indians, who
are absolutely essential as pack-carriers and guides
to explorers.
Without Indians white men would be helpless on
great rapid rivers like the Upper Chilcat, which can
only be ascended in smooth-bottomed canoes. An
Indian has so few needs that he can load himself
with the white man's baggage instead of his own
usual trading material, and, trained to do so from
infancy, can carry far, far heavier packs than the
ordinary white man for long distances. After four
hours' tramping, a light pack (thirty pounds) seems
to weigh a hundred pounds, and the pressure of the
straps and bands becomes intolerable. Extermiuate
the aboriginal Indian for present gain, as is now
being done at Chilcat, and I say that the interior
will become a desert as far as human life is con
M 8
cerned, accessible only in winter by hardy men
with sledges, for in this way only can white men
unaided carry sufficient food with them. Similarly
an explorer can traverse more easily those parts of
Africa where natives live. I speak thus boldly of
the iniquities of Chilcat rum-sellers because I have
no ties in Alaska to prevent my doing so; and as
a tourist I .have seen the poor Indians drunk and
dying beside their homes upon the upper river,
whither they transport the whisky, to consume it
not in moderation but in ignorance. Wherever there
are no roads (and where are there roads or paths in
Alaska ?) I say the Indian is a necessity, all humane
and Christian consideration laid aside, and taking
the simply practical view. This Government will be
cursed by future generations if they do not stamp
out this deliberate killing off of the Indians with
Alaska will become, so far as the interior parts
of the country are concerned, " a wilderness again,
peopled with wolves, its old inhabitants." The
only excuse is that testimony must be had to convict, and that this is hard to obtain.
I am fond of the Indians, and I like having
them about me, yet on this occasion I was unable to
employ them, owing to lack of funds. INTRODUCTION. »
For three days we wrestled and fought with
the current, there being no breeze to help us so
that we might hoist a sail, and at length camped
at Klokwan, which consists of forty large houses,
besides many now in ruins; the few Indians present afforded an illustration of the effects of the
flourishing and hellish trade in ardent spirits which
is enriching a few bold and undeserving publicans
on the coast, and of the dastardly apathy of the
United States Government compared with British
methods of dealing with the aborigines and the
liquor traffic.
The Indians asked such long prices for their
services as 1 packers " that I was unable to employ
any of them to accompany me, but with a sufficient
number of these aborigines in the party, white men
can traverse almost any part of the country without
much difficulty. These high prices were partly the
result of the whisky trade at Chilcat reducing the
number of Indians, partly of the prices charged at
stores for goods, and partly of the general cheapness
of money in the Union. It makes it hard for needy
miners to pay these rates, yet Indians, as I said
before, are a necessity to explorers.
I pass over a long period of hard travelling by
canoe,  poling,  rowing,   paddling,   hauling,   towing,
vjfl 10
wading, besides packing and dragging our effects
over the remaining snow-slopes and snow-patches
on the river flats on rough sledges. For four days
we hunted bear upon the hills overlooking what I
named the Marble Glacier, killing four bears, two
being black, one cinnamon, and one a huge brown
bear whose hide measured by a pocket tape-measure
(not by eye, which is usually in error) about sixty
square feet. On one afternoon I saw at the same
instant feeding on different parts of the same hillside,
half a mile apart, no less than six bears. On the
next afternoon I observed five simultaneously. There
is no doubt in my mind that the Upper Klaheena
River drains one of the greatest bear-countries in
British Territory or in Alaska.
We made a canoe in approved Indian fashion,
besides the one I already possessed, and some weeks
later commenced the descent. The most dangerous
portion of the wholly dangerous Klaheena (which I
waded nearly fifty times in the shallower portions) is
opposite the boundary (which we marked by a hewn,
board bearing the letters " B. C." on one side, and on
the other " U. S.") A fearful collection of stumps
and snags renders navigation dangerous. The
thundering waters roll impetuously towards a steep
bank and turn over on themselves, the upper current INTRODUCTION.
descending when it strikes the opposing wall of
earth, and sucking under whatever floats upon its
Here Thomas Johnson met his death. My canoe,
steered by a Kwagiulth Indian, dashed past foaming
towers of water, through the branches of fallen trees,
escaping destruction by a miracle. My smaller canoe
was instantly capsized, turning end over and nearly
killing its occupant. Just as this occurred we
managed to hitch on to a snag, and armed with long
poles leaped ashore and pursued the wreck downstream until it grounded on a shallow.
Having gained all the information I required
about the Pass, the expedition returned to Chilcat
after a total absence of two months.
S.S. Elder, Departure Bay, Vancouver Island, B.C.
April 25th, 1890.
Having crossed the Atlantic in the Teutonic—the
best boat I was ever aboard of—and the continent by
way of Niagara Falls, Chicago, and the Canadian-
Pacific Railway, I have reached the Pacific.
I spent only two days in Victoria, having on my
way across Canada collected my camp outfit, which
Mr. Thomson, the Hudson Bay Company's officer at
Calgary, had kindly warehoused for me since 1887.
I had previously arranged a shortened code with
Messrs. Chapman and Hall, by which, in case tents
or other things had suffered from damp or moth,
others might be sent out to me from London without
delay, knowing that the ones suitable for my proposed expedition could only be procured in England;
but I found everything in even  better order than
when I had left them.
The winter on this coast and in the interior has
been as severe as that on the east coast has been
mild, and I hear that, correspondingly, in Japan the'
season has also been an exceptionally mild one. The
snow is now still lying thickly on the mainland a few
hundred feet above sea-level, and on all the elevated
ground on Vancouver, Queen Charlotte, and the
other islands of the coast. Sealing schooners have
been for long periods unable to launch their boats,
and throughout the winter the trans-Pacific steamers
to Japan have had rough passages, and frequently
suffered damage.
After these two days at Victoria I started north
by a little coasting steamer called Boscowitz, intending to spend nearly two weeks at Fort Simpson,
Metlakatla, and at the mouth of Skeena River, but
the. snowstorms with which we were greeted on
the first part of the voyage, and the invitation of
Mr. and Mrs. Hall, induced me to stop instead at
the C.M.S. Mission, at Alert Bay, at the north end
of Vancouver Island. It was lucky I did so, as I
there secured two promising men to accompany
me on my expedition. I also found that, should
I   go  on   to Fort  Simpson,   the delay which the f
steamers had experienced owing to thick   weather
would,  perhaps, cause   me   to   miss the American
mail  steamer  which I had  intended  to   catch  by
taking an Indian canoe with Indians to paddle and
sail   from   Fort   Simpson  to   Tongass   across    the
water-frontier.      I  also   learned  that   the   Alaska
mail did not now (since it is no longer the seat
of the Custom House) stop at Fort Tongass every
trip.    I therefore returned to Victoria, to the discomfiture   of  the   newspapers, who   had   heralded
my departure   for the north  thusly:   " Exploring
strange   lands. — One   of the   passengers for Fort
Simpson,   by  the   Boscowitz,   will   be   the   adventurous young Briton who  two   years  ago  made  a
tour of   exploration up the   rocky side   of   Mount
St. Elias, etc.    The lieutenant is a typical Englishman,  his   broad shoulders,  etc.,   pronounce him a
man of strength and endurance, and his blue  eye
conveys the impression that he would not be easily
deterred from accomplishing anything that he had
undertaken."    But after this came :   " Changed his
plans.—The English explorer who started a couple
of weeks ago to visit the unknown regions of the
north, returned by the steamer Louise.    His friends
repudiate the statement that he has abandoned his
I had opportunities of conversing with various
classes of people. On board the Boscowitz was the
manager of a salmon cannery at Port Essington,
near the mouth of the Skeena River, going to his
post for the summer. At these canneries the
salmon are netted from different rivers within a
circle of many miles radius. Few canneries confine
themselves to one river only, but one of these few
is that at Alert Bay, which has the exclusive
right of fishing the Nimpkish River, and from that
one river obtains all the salmon it requires. The
labour is partly white, Indian, half-breed, and
Chinese. The fish are first laid on a slatted board,
gutted, the heads, tails, and fins cut off, and
passed on to be brushed and cleaned in a tank
of fresh water, and afterwards dipped into brine.
They are then cut into lengths by machine to fit
the cans, into which they are packed by hand.
The cans are then soldered down, and boiled in
fresh—not salt—water, taken out in a swollen condition, pricked, and soldered up instantaneously, and,
lastly, steamed for a given time in a retort, which
completes the process.
The total catch of salmon last year, both in
British Columbia and Alaska, was in excess of the
requirements ;   and, in fact, the sale has been in-
1 16
juriously affected by some canners putting up
white-fleshed salmon for lack of a sufficient number
of the red-fleshed. At San Francisco so many
more tins were received from Cook's Inlet than
could be disposed of that hundreds of thousands of
cans still remain over in the dealers' hands, which
will lead to a mutual understanding among cannery
managers to reduce this year's total. In British
Columbia some of the rivers have been over-netted,
and the catch, in consequence, in these rivers will
be much smaller than formerly.
Dogfish oil making is also an industry all along
this coast, and can be obtained by boiling the
whole fish, as well as from their livers. Most of
the settlers along the seaboard make their own oil.
It sells for about half-a-dollar a gallon in Victoria,
and is cheaper than other oils of the kind, I was
There was also on board the Boscowitz a Scotch
fisherman, with his two boys, going to the north
for a summer's work in a salmon cannery, while
in winter he fishes with long lines off Victoria
Harbour. Another passenger was a trader at the
ports of the Skeena River, and was, as he said,
"running" a store there to "buck" the Hudson
Bay Company's store at the same place.    The Skeena }'     THE  COAST  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND. 17
River generally becomes free from ice and "opens"
about the first week in April, and he was going to
make the asGent as soon as possible, before the
current became too swollen and rapid, as it does
soon after the disappearance of the ice, with a
convoy of twelve canoes, to carry 12,000 dollars'
worth of trading material—a twelve-day journey
of slow towing and poling. During winter the
route often followed to the Skeena forks is by
the Naas River, and thence overland, because certain
rapid portions of the Skeena do not completely
freeze over, and cannot consequently be traversed
on foot. He showed me a photograph of himself
as he had made the journey, in wolf-skin cap,
ordinary overcoat, snow shoes, and revolver very
(and I thought unnecessarily) prominently buckled
round his waist. This Skeena River breaks through
the mountain ranges which run parallel to the coast,
as the .Stikeen River also does farther north, in a
direction at right angles to the general run of
the valleys. From the Skeena forks a pack-trail
suitable for horses leads inland, and the country
is flatter and drier than the mountainous coast.
This man was a fair specimen of the pushing
trader. He had once made the journey from
Victoria to the Skeena in a sloop, and, what with
o 18
calms, tidal currents, and baffling winds, he was
not desirous of repeating the experience. He had
also no charts of this intricate coast farther north
than about lat. 52 deg., and consequently took
a " blind " passage, or channel, instead of the correct
one, which was much more insignificant looking,
and he did not discover his error until, after several
days' sailing with a fair wind, he came to the
termination of the inlet. When I asked him whether
he thought the good old Indians were dying off,
he answered:
" Yes, beautifully; they're good Indians when
they're dead—not before."
The Columbia River is said to have been named
by Captain Gray, in the year 1792, after his ship
the Columbia, when he sailed into its estuary across
the bar. But it was in the same year that Captain
George Vancouver, who had served under Captain
Cook, discovered and named the largest island on
the west coast, Vancouver Island. The country
remained almost without inhabitants until 1858,
when gold was discovered on the Fraser River, in
which year it was created a Crown colony. Even
now the international boundary from the sixtieth
parallel southwards along the west coast is as ill-
defined and imaginary in its position on the very THE  COAST OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.
meagre maps of this colony which we possess, as
any boundary line that can be thought of between
the territories of the great nations of the world.
The approximate frontier, according to the treaty
between Great Britain and Russia, formulated and
signed in the year 1825, is to follow a line east-
wards of the one hundred and forty-first meridian
as far as the mouth of Naas River at the head
of Portland Canal, which shall in no part be at
a greater distance than thirty miles from the sea
at the heads of inlets, and it is to follow the
watershed summit wherever the latter comes within
that zone. The area of this colony is, roughly,
342,000 square miles without Vancouver Island,
or 358,000 with it, being more than three square
miles per head for the inhabitants if it were equally
divided amongst them.
There are still many blanks on our maps of
this continent, but the one I previously alluded to
is larger, and yet more accessible and withal more
interesting and mysterious than the other dark
blanks, not to use the word dark in its physical
or moral sense, but as implying a want of knowledge
of its geography.
Some bold cartographers, differing from one
another in their opinions,  have  drawn   serpentine
o 2
" ji 50
lines to indicate the course of the White, Copper,
Takheena and other rivers, as their fancy may
have led them, or according to supposed Indian
report, laying down in rounded symmetrical wavy
patterns the arbitrary courses of their fairy rivers.
This vessel has experienced an exceedingly fine
passage so far, though one must not shout before one
is out of the wood. My usual experience of this
coast has been intermittent glimpses of fine weather
and blue skies, broken by long spells of wet and
occasionally a few fogs, especially towards the mouths
and estuaries of cold, glacier - fed rivers like the
Stikeen and Skeena; but under • the conditions of
fine weather and cloudless skies, as I stated previously, I only know one place, and that is Yakutat,
which I can compare to the south - east coast of
Vancouver's Island. I am still as uncertain whether
to call this Vancouver Island or Vancouver's Island
as I am as to whether it should be Hudson Bay or
Hudson's Bay. While we have been coaling at
Nanaimo some of the passengers have been trying
to catch some fish—rock cod or bass, which can be
seen swimming about beneath the wharf—but so far
without success. People have not noticed so many
ducks of different kinds before as are to be observed
this year, particularly in that part of the Strait of THE  COAST  OF VANCOUVER  ISLAND.
Georgia which lies opposite to Nanaimo and Comox,
including an incredible number of that absurd bird
which the miners call a § road-maker," which can
only flop along the surface of the sea, and frequently
turns somersaults in its haste, and then disappears.
But yesterday was so calm that standing in the bow
of the steamer one could clearly distinguish these
birds after they dived, about four or five feet below
the surface, flapping slowly along, using their wings
while in the water as though they were actually
flying in the air. There were also numerous porpoises
about, which sometimes followed and overtook the
ship, mistaking us for a whale, and causing much
astonishment to those passengers who had never seen
them before. Owing to the entire absence of ripples
on the surface, the details and forms of these beautiful
fish could be distinctly made out from the stern-rail
as they followed the ship, as clearly as the diving
birds could be seen flying below the surface of the
ocean as one stood upon the bows, the latter seeming
unable to get away fast enough, while the former
appeared to be in an equally great hurry to attack
and devour us.
in p
Chilcat, Alaska, May 1st, 1890.
After taking in half a thousand and one hundred
and fifty tons of coal respectively, the United States
survey steamer C. P. Patterson, carrying the American
explorers, and the Elder, with my own party, sailed
from Departure Bay almost simultaneously at about
sundown on April 25th, with the expeditions on board,
so as to make Seymour Narrows during the half-hour
of slack water at high tide the following morning.
Most of the passengers had spent the day in reposing
on the verdant slopes facing the bay, others walked
into Nanaimo. I went to Wellington in a coal-truck,
and descended one of the four mines there. As we
steamed up the Straits of Georgia, every glittering
snow-peak round the circle of the horizon was distinctly visible by the light of the half-moon, including
Mount Hood and the highest points of the Cascade THE inland passage.
range. There was absolutely no visible vapour in
the sky.
We made the aforesaid narrows at daylight. A
week previously I had passed them in the small
coasting steamer, the captain of which is a morose
old salt, but sometimes affable, and is said to be a
cautious navigator, and never yet to have bumped
his vessel on a rock amongst the somewhat difficult
channels of the Inland Passage, like most of the other
skippers, who are " piled up half their time," as some
one remarked to me. The night was cloudy, with
snow showers, and we drove on through the darkness
on that occasion, after landing some men at a logging
3 o OO      o
camp near the village of Cape Mudge. The Indians
came out for them in canoes immediately in reply to
our whistle. A landsman could hardly have distinguished the wooded sides of the channel.
Cape Mudge (so named by Vancouver after one of
his officers) guards the entrance of the formidable
Seymour Narrows, which, together with the narrow
channel which leads to them, is bounded on the east
by some large islands and by a promontory of the
mainland of British Columbia which is thrust out
into close proximity to Vancouver Island. The
narrows commence at the head of the fine reach
called the Straits of Georgia, into which open Bute w
Inlet, Jervis Inlet, and other of those  magnificent
fiords winding like rivers far into the mainland itself,
bordered and walled in by precipitous granite peaks
rising to a height of nine and ten thousand feet.*
Seymour Narrows lies at about the centre of
Vancouver Island, near the point at which the two
tides rounding each extremity of the island meet,
but a little to the north of it. I have seen an
excellent tidal almanack published by the United
States Government. Though we have done the
most towards charting this coast, we do not appear
to have done much as regards tabulating the tides,
which, in some of our inlets, are quite extraordinary,
and even apparently inexplicable in their change-
fulness and I infinite variety." In some inlets there
is but one tide a day for some months in the year,
in other inlets and other months they are abnormal
altogether. Sometimes in the same inlet there are
three tides a day, sometimes none at all. During
the voyage I learned what a useful thing a cedar
raft is, and what an enormous bulk and weight of
stuff it will bear in comparison with rafts made
of other woods without capsizing. We landed a
logging party on a tract of timber lands leased by
* I hunted the wild white goat in Bute Inlet in 1888, seeing
plenty, but killing one only. THE  INLAND  PASSAGE.
an Englishman opposite Cracroft Island; everything
was piled upon one huge cedar raft (which had
evidently done long service, for her bottom was
thickly covered with sea growths), including some
tons of supplies, besides hay for oxen, who were
used in hauling the logs; on the top of all were
seated the overseer and the men, and yet the
structure seemed almost as high out of the water
as before it was loaded with this bulky cargo.
I understand that at present there are only
four steamers making regular trips as far as Port
Simpson, two of which quite recently ran upon
rocks, one  being saved  by her strong build,   and
o J o '
the fact that there was a quantity of cement
on her stem just where the contact with the rock
occurred; while the other was able to run into a
shallow sandy bay without delay, where the receding
tide left her dry, while there also chanced to be two
skilled ship carpenters among her passengers.
We continued for some hours to skirt the
northern portion of Vancouver Island, beyond which
lies a brief stretch of open sea named Queen Charlotte Sound, many miles to the eastward of which,
quite out of sight, lie the rainy, thickly-wooded
Queen Charlotte Islands, inhabited by the finest
tribe of Indians of any of those upon this coast.
At noon we steamed past Alert Bay without
stopping, where, as previously mentioned, I had
engaged two of the men who accompanied me, situated on Cormorant Island, which might as well have
' O
been named Racoon Island on account of the number
of racoons upon it, and in passing I could distinguish
with a Ross telescope Mr. Hall standing upon the
wharf, who is in charge of the C.M.S. school, store,
and saw-mill at this place, with whom I had remained some days. There is also a salmon cannery,
which has the sole right of fishing the Nimpkish
River opposite. From this point northward, most
of the coast line is taken up by persons who hope
that these so-called coal lands may be developed
some day, and there is just now a rush for sites
on Quatsino Arm, on the other side of Vancouver
Island, in expectation of a railway being made
thither some day, and of its becoming a port for
ocean steamers, from which the voyage to Japan
would be shorter by some half-day or more than
at present from Vancouver. I also met at Alert
Bay a youthful schoolmaster sent out from England
to instruct the depraved Nahwitti and Kwagiutl
Indians at Fort Rupert, at the extreme north-east
corner of Vancouver Island, who was doubtless glad
enough to leave that desolate spot for a few days— THE  INLAND  PASSAGE.
where the only other white man is an old employe'
of the Hudson's Bay Company, to whom the
Company have sold their post at that place—and to
exchange for a comfortable house his lonely log
hut, where at times the only visitor he could expect
was the horrid Amatze or scapegoat Indian, who
is sent out naked and without food beyond what
roots he can pick up, into the forest until such times
as he shall have become possessed by the spirit
of some animal, upon which he returns, and is
escorted by a body-guard of young men, and has
to bite pieces out of people. These rites still take
place, and the Indians are proud of showing the
scars where Amatze has enjoyed a mouthful. Of
course, he never ventures to bite white people,
because they don't taste nice; but they " tried it
on" with the schoolmaster in many other ways.
Notwithstanding  that  these  Kwagiutls  have been
acquainted with the ways of white people for
many years, the children evince an extraordinary
fear of white strangers, which  fear  I  attribute  to
o *
the habit Indian mothers have of frightening their
children with a story of a white man  coming to
*/ O
eat them, like a kind of bogy akin to our own
nursery fictions, which frequently make white
children such cowards in the dark.
44 tr
Though it was the end of April, 1890, snow was
lying deep upon the mountains a few hundred feet
over sea-level. At Alert Bay there is a moderate-
sized Indian " camp" built of axe-split boards,
though latterly they have been made of sawn planks
owing to the erection of the saw-mill, and whitewashed externally, which I never saw before as
regards Indian houses. The interiors of the houses,
about ten in number, consist of one large smoke-
blackened apartment, dark,, dirty, draughty, with
smoke-holes in the roof; the floor of soil and gravel;
and round the walls are some small cubicles or
sleeping rooms, raised a couple of feet above the
level of the earth floor. In the centre there is
always a fire burning, and round it are strewn a
medley of dogs, clothes, women, children, and a
multitude of utensils. Most of the tribe were absent,
part fishing oolachan or candle-fish at the extreme
head of that extraordinarily long arm, Knight's Inlet,
and the remainder holding a potlatch on Cracroft
Island in the vicinity : one of those unlawful orgies
which the law has not yet been enforced to prevent;
the natives are making the most of their immunity
from interference, so that " drinkee for drunk," not
"for drink," is probably the rule whenever they
chance to have any spirituous liquor.    A day or two THE INLAND  PASSAGE.
previously the old chief had died, and, as we passed,
the red and white flags newly suspended could be
discerned flying from long poles near his grave. An
Indian of inferior social standing (for there are
grades in society even among Kwagiutls) may
become chief, if he has in any degree the gift of
verbosity: and if he combines with this the posses-
sion of more riches in the shape of blankets, and
greater capacity to plot and scheme than his fellows,
and some generosity and ostentation in the givings of
O J o o
feasts (tea and crackers mostly), his success is certain.
Even in the lifetime of the old chief he may step
into his shoes, being assisted in so- doing by the fact
that an Indian pays but scant regard or respect to
old age. In front of the chiefs grave had also been
erected a large structure of boards, covered with
cotton sheeting, nailed to which were three T-shaped
instruments, known as " coppers," and on the tops of
trees round the bay were fastened old-time boxes
enclosing the cremated remains of other Indians, " exposed in forests to the casing snow."
I have mentioned that racoon are very numerous
on Cormorant Island (Alert Bay); in fact, the boys
caught one or more regularly every morning while
I was there. I also went out twice in a canoe and
bagged eight duck, including the painted duck, the
1 k
long-tail, the butterball, and the mallard. From Fort
Rupert it is twelve miles on foot across to Quatsino
Arm. This end of Vancouver Island is reported by
the Indians to be a favourite haunt of the native
Vancouver elk or wapiti. I never heard of any
white man who has hunted them systematically,
or done more than kill one occasionally almost by
haphazard. I listened to an address in Kwagiutl
from Mr. Hall: the sound of the language is musical,
' O        O y
though interspersed by frequent thick, raucous, undignified gurgles or clicks produced by half closing
the throat. " How much will you give us," say the
Indians at Fort Rupert, "if we come to school to be
taught, as we know you receive so much for each
one who comes ?" It is difficult to convince them
that this is not the case.
We crossed Queen Charlotte Sound in magni-
^ O
ficent weather, with a slow, majestic sort of ground-
swell rolling in from the open sea. The whole day
was a panorama of peaks and islands, looking all
the more imposing from their covering of snow, in
some cases so thick that massive cornices were noticeable along the crests where the wind had caught the
loose snow and blown it over to the leeward side.
The Patterson Calls at Port Simpson for her launch.
The Skeena, as I write, is still closed to navigation. THE INLAND  PASSAGE.
At Wrangell we found the Stikeen still frozen over
and two foot of snow on the ice. Here the Elder
landed a great many tons of machinery, together
with two separate parties of engineers and workmen,
who are going to initiate hydraulic mining for the
first time on the river; one above, the other four
miles below Telegraph Creek, which is the head of
navigation upon the Stikeen. Some of us tried fishing at Wrangell, but it was not a success; but halibut
are frequently fished for with success a few hundred
yards from the wharf in deep water, and a couple
of solitary Indians were trolling in a couple of dugout canoes for salmon.
The Russians established a trading post at Fort
Wrangell to gather in the pelts brought down the
Stikeen River, and after the United States acquired
the territory a military garrison was maintained for
some years.   The mining excitement of fifteen years
ago, when the discoveries in the Cassiar district
brought prospectors and fortune-seekers from all the
older camps of the coast, gave Fort Wrangell its best
x *   o o
days commercially. The place had its boom; tents
were crowded in with the long row of houses border-
ing the beach ; traders made amazing profits ; ocean
steamers, river boats, and fleets of canoes, made the
water-front a busy scene, and all went well until the
m [ill
Cassiar placers were about exhausted. The miners
left, the Indian village fell off, and by a slow descending scale Fort Wrangell has reached its present stage
of quiet retrospect. Even the mission industrial
school for Indian boys and girls has been given up,
and there is now only the Government public school
to instruct the risinsf generation.
O   O
We got through Wrangell Narrows before dark.
This is an intricate piece of navigation, but the
channel now appears to be well buoyed and marked
out. At Douglass City time was given for all the
tourists to walk up to the great mill of the Tread-
well Mine, where 240 stamps keep up their thunderous din day and night, and send out streams of
muddy water.
No one knows with exactness the output of this
remarkable gold-mine, but 50,000 dollars have often
been shipped below month after month. The ore is
low grade, but the vein cropping out on the very
surface of the mountain allows it to be mined or
quarried so cheaply that there is abundant profit in
working away at a solid mountain of quartz. Other
claims on the same ledge have been prospected sufficiently to show that the same vein runs the length of
the island, and the one mill, which is the largest of THE INLAND  PASSAGE.
its kind in the world, is destined to have many
The chief topic of conversation was the Bear's
Nest mine, being worked by a German company.
It was reported that gold-bearing quartz from the
Treadwell mine had been substituted for quartz from
their own shafts, and that the deceived experts made
a favourable report in consequence, whereas the reef
had not yet been " struck."
With over 1,500 inhabitants Juneau is quite a
town in itself, and considers, as tributary to it,
Douglass City, across the channel, and the mining
O */ 7 ' O
camps of Silver Bow and Dix Bow basins, a few
miles back in the mountains. At Juneau the first
promising gold discoveries were made. I laid in a
supply of stores at Juneau, and I think the leader of
the American party, who is on board, did the same.
The snow is reported to be very deep upon the
mountains; whether this will be advantageous to us
or the contrary we have yet to learn, but I have it in
mind to make a sled and thus transport our effects to
the necessary altitude of 4,000 feet, which is the
height of the Chilcat Pass.
m sK t
Camp 3, May Sth, 1890.
The Chilcats at Pyramid -Harbour were averse to
packing, even for good wages, and did not want
white men to use their pass into the interior.
"Salmon soon be here," said they, "and then we
make big money."
It was learned by inquiry of the cannery superintendent, Mr. J. G. Laws, that natives last
summer individually earned from eight to ten
dollars per day, when at all industrious, by spearing salmon at ten cents apiece for the three rival
cannery concerns in the harbour. To this comfortable income they added the extortions secured
from steamboat tourists for Chilcat blankets and
trinkets, and were amply able, financially as well
as physically, to keep in a half-drunken condition
for the remainder of the year. o
o    <
At Pyramid Harbour Salmon Cannery, Chilcat,
I remained two nights, being hospitably entertained
by the manager, who had come up with us on the
steamer. As my expedition. was then in trim and
ready to start, I determined to delay no longer
than was absolutely necessary, especially as the
U.S.S. Patterson was expected in a week, and
accommodation would be somewhat short for those
who had to land here, but to set out as soon as
an  Indian and  a  canoe large  enough   to   contain
O o
everything could be procured. These were only to
be had in the shape of a lame Indian named Charlie,
a small boy, and a canoe rather more restricted
in size than I had anticipated, which was to take
us to the chief Indian village up the river for
the sum of twelve dollars. This is how prices
run in Chilcat.
There was once a missionary and his wife who
remained for a season on the peninsula between
the two inlets in a nice house they built. I
saw it standing empty, for the Indians made themselves so unpleasant, more particularly one arrogant
old medicine man who demanded tobacco from me
and astounded me by his fantastic tricks, that
they went back to Juneau, where they have remained ever since.
D 2 I
I found that even Colonel Ripinski, who once
was a school-teacher for these Chilcats, but is now
storekeeper at Pyramid Harbour, stood in awe of
this same old humbug.
Taking John Hammond with me I set out along
the beach, giving instructions that the canoe was
3      O O
to wait for us at the mouth of the river.    At low
tide,   and  when there is no snow upon the cliffs
(and there is still about four feet upon the level
on the north sides of the mountains even as low
as the beach in spots sheltered from the sun's rays,
but no snow whatever up  to a height of 1,000
feet upon the south-facing slopes), this walk.of five
miles from Pyramid Harbour to Chilcat River presents
no difficulty.    But now it was otherwise, and if
we had known the task we had set ourselves we
should certainly have crowded our additional bulks
into the already overladen  canoe,  notwithstanding
the breeze that was sweeping westward up the inlet.
We had four severe climbs up  around bluffs that
descended too perpendicularly into the sea to allow us
to clamber along their bases.    The moss and cliffs
were  damp  and rotten,  but generally   a   friendly
branch   of young  spruce  or  alder   offered  a solid
hand-hold across the   roughest   and   most   abrupt
rock faces.    Having at last surmounted all these PYRAMID HARBOUR.
obstacles we emerged on to the partly snow-covered
mud-flats of the Chilcat River. Small oolachans,
or a small oily sprat-like fish resembling them, lay
in scattered heaps along the shore, but of canoe
or human being on the wide expanse of the Chilcat
delta there was no trace or sight. However, we
had shot a grouse, and that during the most difficult
bit of climbing we had to accomplish, so that there
was no risk of starvation. We were tired with frequently sinking waist-deep into the soft and slushy
snow amongst the forest trees, while the photographic
camera (smallest size Kodak, weighing about two
pounds) suffered some severe concussions without
apparent damage. Then we got into an exasperating
thicket of long pliant elastic stems that interlaced,
and that, as we tried to pass, reached out and
wrapped themselves round our legs, and tied themselves into hard knots, and threw us down and
covered us with leaves and dirt.
I was vowing the most retributive punishment
to the occupants of the canoe unless they gave a
satisfactory account of their failing to wait to pick
us up at the mouth of the river; but it turned out
that the actual position of the mouth was hard
to define, as the river had more than one channel,
and that they had determined to take up a position 38
te I
well up the river for fear of our passing them. At
last with glasses I found a small tent upon the
opposite shore of the wide river bed. The structure
resembled one of those we had, and we commenced
to make our way towards the thin column of smoke
that showed a camp fire, across trembling quicksands
that quaked and quivered. After advancing a mile
in the required direction I clearly discerned a woman.
I had no such article in my outfit. It was an Indian
camp after all, and we were as much lost as ever—
but no, the canoe was lost, not we. Then at last
far up the river, across the gravel-flats, the lost
ones were seen. An hour later we floated down the
stream to where the Indians had camped—as it
was the best spot for the purpose, for a rivulet
ran down from the mountain above, and the ground
was flat in places, and covered with a convenient
growth of rushes to keep off the wind and serve for
a soft and yielding bed. There were numerous sour
but palatable red berries still hanging pendant in
small bunches from the bushes on which they had
ripened in the early winter, and with a kind of
scoop net the Indian women of the camping party
had caught more than one pailful of small fish
like sticklebacks, consisting mostly of spines, of which
(I mean the fish, not the spines) they gave us as PYRAMID  HARBOUR.
many as we wanted. Two orange-coloured spines
were firmly fixed crosswise on the front part of the
belly, and there were three spines, elevable at will,
upon the back. Altogether it was an awkward fish
to masticate, There were also a few young salmon
about four inches in length captured with them.
The next day two of. my party went up the
mountain-side behind and shot two blue grouse,
while I floated out to sea in the canoe, descending
the river about five miles, and endeavoured unsuccessfully to catch a salmon with spinning bait. We
never, however, fairly got out of the turbid, brackish
water of the estuary before a smart breeze came on,
which compelled me to turn, and swept the canoe
rapidly up-stream against the swift current under sail.
In the afternoon we reached Camp 2, partly sailing,
partly rowing, towing, and poling. On the evening
of May 4th we reached Klokwan, and. camped a
fourth of a mile below the village itself; but were
quickly surrounded by a crowd of the natives, who
were made aware of our arrival by the fact that I
had walked through the village and back to find an
eligible camping-ground at some distance from it.
During our voyage up-stream the avalanches—which
kept thundering down the gullies every ten minutes
or so, with a noise like distant artillery—were superb, fl!
! ■■»■
each one overlapping the one preceding, and going a
little further towards the valley below. The sound
of these continually falling bodies of snow resembled
unending successions of peals of thunder, the sky
meanwhile being perfectly cloudless. We were able
to supply the larder with two more grouse, both with
their heads shot off by a rifle-bullet within twelve
paces. I ascended a thousand feet above the village
of Klokwan, on the side of the mountain above, to a
bold outstanding rock, from the summit of which I
made some photographs and sketches, and took the
bearings of some of the principal peaks around,
which I had previously seen from the 1st and 2nd
camps. One peak resembled the summit of Mount
Fairweather, according to my recollection of it as
seen from the deck of the U.S.S. Pinta from the
coast; but this is uncertain until the bearings are
worked out. High up as the rock was to which I had
climbed, yet at the base I found a cave containing the
remains of carved coffins and images, much gnawed
O       ' O
and soiled by some species of rodent, whose dung was
littered about the ground.    Skulls and thigh-bones
predominated, but I found nothing worth keeping.
I put up a snipe lower down the hillside, and outside
the cavern mouth red, edible, but rather tasteless,
berries were growing. PYRAMID  HARBOUR.
In  the afternoon  the  redoubtable chief of the
Chilcats, Kin-tagh-Koosh, took me to his house—a
fine building compared to the others in the village,
with glass  in  the  windows  and  two  old  Russian
cannon  in   front.      The   interior   was  filled   with
water   from   the   melted  snow,   which   his  family
were baling out, the floor being below the level of
the ground,  they  having just  returned   from   the
sea.    I deposited in his charge a quantity of stores
and luggage on the  dry platform round the floor
in   the   centre.    Four   totems,   grotesquely  carved
and painted, adorned the corners inside his house
— hideously ugly.     Kin-tagh-Koosh  himself is  a
mild-mannered,   pleasant,   and   somewhat   stoutish
Indian, who shook  me  frankly by the  hand, and
seemed   not  surprised  to   see   us.      I   had   heard
numerous  unpromising reports about the Chilcats,
and  they certainly ask exorbitant prices  for  their
services,  as  I found.     Very  few  of them are  at
home.    Out of the some four hundred inhabitants of
the village, half seemed to be away in the interior,
trading with the Stick Indians, and the remainder,
except about fifty, including  women and  children,
on the  coast  or  elsewhere.    In fact,   most of the
houses were   locked  and barred.    I counted  some
forty houses, and a dozen grave-houses of doctors, BEAR-HUNTING IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
extending for half a mile' along the left bank of
the Chilcat River, just opposite where the stream
comes in from the Chilcat Lake, which is still frozen
and covered with a layer of snow. In this respect
the maps are wrong, marking this river too far down
X O' o
below the village. I passed through the village
and camped beyond it next day, suffering no
On account of the vicinity of the Indian village,
the jackal-like dogs prowl about the camp ; but,
on the other hand, there are no dead salmon putrefying upon the banks and tainting the air, as elsewhere ; they have all been eaten up by these same
The Indian women object to being photographed,
and it is even hard to take them with the insigni-.
ficant-looking Kodak. Some loving couples are
"carrying on" their love affairs on the river-bank
with the utmost unconcern. I find sugar-candy
a   great   assistance   in   making   friends   with   the
o o
Chilcats. A peep through a field-glass also greatly
surprised them. Many have their faces smeared
with powdered black rock and oil, to preserve their
Next day, with a small boy and canoe, we advanced some way up-stream against a rapid current, PYRAMID  HARBOUR.
ourselves towing and poling, and we ascended the
valley of the river which is used by the Indians in
reaching the Altsehk country on their trading expeditions. This river I at once named the Wellesley,
in honour at the same time of Lord Wellesley and
of Mr. Wells and the Leslie party, who are follow
ing us.
Packing our things upon two snow-sleds, we
ascended upon the ice or compact snow for five
and a half miles, fording the river twice, which
was at a temperature of 37 degrees—cold enough!
To-day I have explored it for a further distance of
five miles, as it will evidently have to be conquered
mile by mile; the current rapid and turbid, rising
in the afternoon, but falling in the early morning. At times it encroaches so much upon the
banks that we are compelled to take to the bush,"
which is exceedingly dense with devil's-club and
To-morrow I return to the village for more
supplies and to send off this letter, while my men
will attempt to cut a trail for about a mile to a
point which offers an inviting camping-ground for
a base camp pending further explorations. LETTER V.
Camp 6, Chilcat Country, on the Columbian-Alaskan frontier,
May 11th, 1890.
1 mentioned in my last letter that I was compelled,
for want of Indians, to leave a certain amount of
material with the redoubtable Chilcat Chief, Kin-'
tagh-Koosh or Kitnagh-koosh—a stout Indian with
long black hair, awkward gait, and smiling but
rather sly countenance. These he stowed away in
his so-called treasure-house, a more civilised dwelling
7 O
than the rough shanties of the other Indians, which
O '
are built of hewn split logs not sawn or smoothed,
and begrimed with smoke both inside and out.
The treasure-house, indeed, boasts of glass in the
windows, and within, at the four corners of the
raised platform which surrounds the square earth
floor in the centre, rise imposing but atrociously
hideous totemic emblems or massive figures carved THE CHILCATS.
in alto-relievo, and painted with glaring colours,
the huge and protuberant features of the central
figure showing the native characteristics, and shaded
o O i
by a mass of artificial hair made out of dyed roots.
The platform before alluded to was piled with large
trunks, Saratogas, hide cases, blunderbusses and
antique firearms like cannons, some with six barrels,
and with bales of blankets.
The Klinket tribe are, as a rule, of short, thick- Hi
I 'I r
set stature. . They dress after the fashion of the
white man by wearing shirts and pants, but they
still prefer the native-made moccasins to our boots
and shoes. They are of dark, swarthy complexion,
with black, straight hair, which is worn, as a rule,
cut fairly close to the head. A great many of them
seem to resemble people of Mongolian descent by
their small, almond-shaped eyes. They do a great
deal of sitting down. Each pair of pants bears
patches most suggestive of this. It is difficult to
pass a correct opinion concerning the form or
features of their fair (?) sex; their mode of facial
decoration and general slovenly attire renders this
impossible. They wear an old Gotton dress, which
article is supplemented by the universal blanket
drawn tightly around the neck and sometimes
worn over the head.
We had now advanced some forty miles up the
valley, and to the east lay Mount Fairweather
and Mount St. Elias, and other great mountains
bordering the coast, which were now hidden from us
O *
by intervening ranges.
Before quitting Victoria some weeks since, I was
told a story of the St. Elias expedition of 1888,
which repeated our expedition of 1886. It seems
that some members of that party were inspecting THE CHILCATS.
the Hudson Bay Company's premises, and, seeing a
large pile of my luggage in a corner, which was
evidently intended for camp use, inquired to whom
it might belong.
"That," said the assistant commissioner, "belongs
to a gentleman who started two years ago for the
same place you are going to, to hunt polar bears, and
was never heard of again."
There was snow upon the Klaheena-Altsehk
divide, and we also found sufficient to enable us
to drag our sledges as far as Camp 5, from which
my last letter was written; but I now found that,
owing to the rapidly-increasing temperature and the
lengthening days, the snow had left bare gaps so
large that a canoe was unavoidably necessary, and
I therefore returned in person to Klokwan to secure
one, accompanied by one of my men. We had made
our way to the farthest point so far partly by means
of a canoe hired temporarily, which I had sent
back, thinking we should be able to get on without
one, for the river was shallow, rapid, and very
difficult to navigate.    We had also used our sledges ;
O O 7
but it was now necessary to return to the village,
finding the way by the direct route through the
scrub, and during my absence I ordered the remainder of the party to  cut a trail through the 48       BEAR-HUNTING IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
brush to a bare promontory which projected into
the bed of the Wellesley River, as the latter
appeared too deep to ford, and encroached so much
upon its banks as to drive us altogether away from
its bed, while the brush itself was so matted together
as to render it quite a work of art for a man to
make his way through it at all. This trail subsequently proved useful in a way I did not anticipate.
At this portion of the valley the notorious devil's-
clubs flourished with astounding vigour, their long
elastic stems growing upwards in all directions,
covered with millions of needle-like thorns which
become detached on the slightest contact, penetrating
•and rankling in the flesh, while when trodden on
they spring back and strike one with their club-like
heads on the chest or arm with devilish malignity,
though mercifully the thickness of one's clothing
saves one from the shower of their venomous darts.
I found that a pair of Chilcat buckskin gloves, cut
and sewed in a very creditable manner by the
natives, saved my hands and wrists from this
infliction, for which I paid the sum of one quarter,*
though it must not be supposed that prices always
rule so low here, for I had afterwards to pay the
sum  of fifteen dollars for a small  and dreadfully
* A shilling. THE  CHILCATS.
cracked, cranky, and dilapidated canoe (the only
one for sale), and the sum of seven dollars for a
pair of second-hand gum-boots that developed a hole
on the third or fourth day of use.
However, notwithstanding devil's-clubs, deep
streams, and thick brush, we continued on our way
on foot to Klokwan in quest of the necessary canoe,
steering our course through the forest by the sun,
or by the compass, or the mountain-tops whenever
they were visible.
There had been ten days of fine weather, with
absolutely no cloud in the sky, which was like a
dome of brass, day after day.
This had caused a steady increase of temperature,
both in air and water, up to the date of writing,
namely, May 11th, and a steady rise in the volume
of water in the rivers as well as in their temperature,
together with a marked decrease in the amount of
snow—for instance, the temperature at sunset on the
2nd was 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while a week later at
the same hour the thermometer marked 50.
We made our way for some time down the bed of
the Wellesley, or Klaheena, until we were forced to
betake ourselves, packs and all, to the labyrinthine
and partly wooded expanse of flat marsh land, for
such I found it was, which is enclosed between the 50
Klaheena and Chilcat rivers on the right bank of the
former. Deep sluggish streams of clear water drain
these marshes into the Chilcat River. The first one
we managed to cross by means of a fallen tree, which
bent under one's weight till it was two feet below the
surface. But the next one was too wide for any tree
to bridge, and it was a case of wading sans clothes.
Just as I was about to enter the exceedingly chilly
current, hoping that the sand and mud would prove
firm, a couple of ducks flew by overhead ; I brought
both down by a right-and-left, one falling upon the
opposite bank and one in midstream, which I waded
out in time to intercept, as it drifted past upon the
current. I fervently trusted we should have no more
deep wading to do, for easy as it sounds to wade a
stream, we were already wet in those parts of one's
clothing we had not thought it incumbent on us to
remove, and there is no doubt that water below forty
degrees in temperature, as no doubt this was, does
lower the vitality when one has to endure prolonged
immersion in it. This was perhaps the reason that
my men always objected so much to wading, though
they were repeatedly obliged to, but one of their
reasons was that it shortened the lives of their boots,
and owing to the extra weight in packing spare pairs
of boots no one possessed more than one extra pair, THE  CHILCATS.
while they became stiff and hard notwithstanding
applications of real bear's grease.* There proved indeed to be " one more river to cross " or negotiate,
but it was a comparatively shallow glacial stream,
and we were soon opposite the Indian camp on the
hither side of which flowed the swift and stately
Chilcat. I hullooed lustily for a canoe, and should
not have been in the least surprised if they had
attempted to blackmail us before Charoning us over,
in which case I should have been contented to make
the passage with the help of an air-cushion, which I
had brought for this purpose, for I was wet enough
already to make a little more water in my clothing
*/ J o
immaterial, either to lessen or increase my personal
comfort. I was astounded, then, to observe with
what alacrity a black-faced Siwash responded to my
summons by quickly poling his canoe up-stream
upon the opposite side to allow for the drift of the
current, and coming rapidly over to fetch us without
a word.
I soon found that the American party had arrived
the day before, and were located in their only tent
near our old camp beyond the bend.     The first
* Notwithstanding the sharp stones and the fact of the river
being waist-deep, Hammond generally took his hoots off before
e 2
\ ¥
intimation I had of this was finding one of them
sketching the totems in the chief's house : and I was
o *
very pleased to meet them all again, after pitching
my spare tent near theirs. Owing to their having
the greater bulk of their 2,000 pounds of baggage in one large canoe, they had found three
days of hard and continuous labour necessary for
the ascent thus far up the Chilcat River, varied, as
our experience had likewise been, by frequent
groundings on shallows, poling, rowing, paddling,
sailing, wading in water over the tops of their
rubber " gum-boots," pushing the canoe and general
vexation. One of the hired men was arrayed in
naval garb, while all had naval peaked caps supplied
to them by the Patterson, as anything of the description of uniform, naval or military, has a good
effect upon these Indians, though I doubt whether
this is the case to the full extent people think,
because I was thus arrayed in 1886 in order to
terrorise the inhabitants of Kaiak Island (off the
mouth of Copper River) on arrival in a trading
schooner at that desolate spot, but without visibly
greatly impressing them. It seems that they found
a long golden woman's hair in their canoe—some
o   o
mysterious white prisoner, doubtless, held captive by
the Indians. THE CHILCATS. 53
I must close this letter after adding a few other
items of interest about the outfit of the American
party, because the Indian who has agreed to convey
this "to the salt water" by canoe is impatient to
set out, and my subsequent communications will
probably refer exclusively to our own struggles up
the Klaheena or Wellesley River, as here our routes
bifurcate—the American party exploring the headwaters of the Takheena River (which they will
descend), while wre explore the head-waters of the
one before-mentioned, whence I hope to find a pass
which leads to the Altsehk River, which is said
to rise in the unknown country behind Mount St.
Elias and to flow into the sea at Dry Bay. My
own party are already camped far up the Klaheena,
and by to-night wTill have completed the trail as
far as the bare promontory, which I have named
Point Christopher, but the other party keep on
up the Chilcat River for yet another day and a half
by canoe.
For packing each hundred pounds weight of
material the Indians ask forty dollars. It will therefore cost them six hundred dollars to have 1,500
pounds weight conveyed to the lake-source of
the Takheena. One large tent accommodates the
entire party, which consists of five white men and
1 hi ■P^
one old Indian, who has permanently attached himself to them, and will prove of much use from his
previous knowledge  of the  country—all the other
Indians being only willing to work temporarily and
within the bounds of their own district.    This old
Indian who has expressed his intention  of staying
with the white men all through, is  one who had
already made the voyage down the Yukon with my
friend Lieutenant Schwatka.    Meantime almost the
whole Chilcat tribe—and I believe it numbers fewer
souls than has been represented—are ready to set
off at an hour's notice on their own account to trade
in the  " Stick-Indian country," as they think we
have come  to take their means of livelihood from
them, and it will require a great amount of proof,
persuasion, and inspection of what the packs contain
to  convince them that  we are not rival   traders.
Another thing the Americans have is a flat bottomed,
collapsible folding canvas boat weighing, complete
with duplicate fixings, about eighty pounds, and not
unlike the Berthon boats. '   The packs  are   being
weighed   by   a   small   portable   weighing-machine,
and  some  are  as much  as  120  pounds,  bringing
in the   lusty packer forty-eight dollars by agreement.     I   doubt   if   any   white   man   could   be
induced for hire to pack such a weight as that, even
for one day, whereas it will take at least eight days
(and more, if bad weather should come on) to reach
the source of the Takheena. Yet Indians have
packed as much as 200 pounds over the Chilcoot
Pass. I find a white man can comfortably carry a
pack of a certain weight according to his strength,
and that as every horse has its pace, beyond which,
when making long journeys, he should not be pressed,
so a pound or two added to that weight causes great
discomfort. Thirty pounds is as much as I can
comfortably manage, even with the most approved
and broadest shoulder straps, with a broad band
across the forehead to equalise the pressure. However, these Chilcats have carried packs, one might
almost say, from infancy upwards, as I have seen
small boys staggering for miles under a bundle
almost as heavy and much more bulky than themselves; and they have done so for generations,
because hitherto the Sticks have not been suffered
to approach the ocean, and therefore the Chilcats
have themselves portaged their trading material to
the Sticks, bringing back in exchange bales of furs,
7 O       O O '
chiefly fox skins.
Upper Chilcat, Camp 7, May 12th, 1890.
Having at last found an Indian who was willing
to part with his canoe for fifteen dollars (a very
old one, which I had to patch up with lard and
resin boiled together, and with pieces of tin), and
bidden farewell to the Americans, I set out to pole,
paddle, or tow the said canoe, with the assistance
of a white man who was not familiar with punting
or poling, against the exceedingly swift current of
the Chilcat, and subsequently of the Klaheena River,
in order to overtake the remainder of my party,
who were, I thought, now safely camped upon the
treeless summit of Point Christopher, having cut
a trail thither with axes from Camp 6.
I found on first setting off that the canoe was
not perfectly level in the water, the oil sacks containing the additional supplies of food not having FIGHTING THE STREAM. 57
been properly disposed upon its bottom. This
having been set right so that she rode upon a
perfectly level keel, I next found that she refused
to tow properly. The Indians standing by, who
observed this, soon corrected it by slightly altering
the position of the tow-rope, which should have
been attached to the canoe at a distance from the
bows of one-third her total length, after which,
by sitting in the stern, the steerer directs her
course with a paddle without any exertion; but
occasionally I had to exchange the paddle for the
pole where the current was so swift that, even
with a full strain upon the tow-rope, we could
barely make headway against it.
Most of the Chilcat canoes, except the larger
ones which come from British territory, are made
of cottonwood, which is exceedingly tough and
makes good strong craft, but they are liable to
split longitudinally from stem to stern. This
particular canoe had been repaired by tacking strips
of tin across the cracks, besides which I had filled
them in with waterproof compound, thus entirely
preventing leakage.
Progress was slow, but continuous, except where
the too great depth of water for poling, combined
with the impossibility of continuing to tow on one 58
bank, owing to scrub and timber, and a swiftness
too great for the paddle to contend with, obliged us
to cross the river. Then it was heart-breaking to
see how much ground we lost in so doing, swept
downward by the nine-knot current. In some
places the depth, or rather the shallowness, was
such that, if the stern had been perceptibly deeper
sunk than the bows, it would have grounded, while
the forward part of the canoe would have been
whirled round by the force of water; nor, on
reaching the other side, whenever it was necessary
to cross, was it easy to gather up the tow-rope
and leap out upon a shelving bank of loose pebbles,
past which the canoe was being carried with arrowlike rapidity, and then recovering one's equilibrium,
to stop her, and commence the tedious work of
towing her in the teeth of the rapids, with a foothold
upon the yielding sand. Any bungling under these
circumstances was sure to be followed by unpleasant
consequences, such as a total but temporary disappearance under the milk-white flood, which was
now of a temperature of thirty-eight, owing to the
amount of ice upon the banks.
Towards the afternoon the temperature of the
Klaheena rose five or six degrees, according to the
heat  of  the sun,  and   also,  as  is usual with all ^ffl 60
streams of glacial origin, it was subject to a daily
rise and fall which was independent of the steady
daily rise of the river owing to the increasing
heat of May. Thus the distance of its sources
caused the water to increase in volume and swiftness
from noon to midnight, after which it commenced
to decrease from midnight to noon, the daily rise
measuring from six to ten inches according to the
heat of the weather, the diurnal fall in volume
measuring from five to eight inches during the time
o o O
the fine weather lasted. After a few days of cloudy,
rainy weather, I found the river falling from day
to day at about the same ratio as that at which it
had risen during the fine weather.
Another danger to which we were exposed all
day, was that of contact with large blocks of ice
which were floating down the current and were
difficult to see, especially round bends of the river,
or in the foam of rapids with the sun in one's eyes.
The man towing had also to walk upon the ice
bordering the stream on either side like white walls,
O *
which the water had completely undermined in certain
places, where it frequently fell into the current with
an appalling noise, and, had he been standing upon
it at the time, must have thrown him into the
river, to say nothing of its falling upon the canoe, FIGHTING THE STREAM. 61
which frequently had to pass below such overhangin
masses.   Then again a light person might have been
carried off his legs wading, or a heavy one might
easily capsize a Chilcat  canoe by jumping into it
too heedlessly.
It is worthy of remark that during fine weather
I invariably found the wind during the day-time
in the Chilcat valley blowing up from the sea,
commencing in the forenoon with a gentle breeze
o o
which gradually increased to a smart gale that died
quite away by sunset, while during the night there
was either no wind, or else it blew in the contrary
direction. This regular movement of the atmosphere
no doubt is an important factor in producing the
regular daily rise and fall of the river. It is also of
great assistance to the Chilcats, who can thus count
upon a breeze to assist them up against the current
by means of a sail, rendering poling unnecessary
except in certain places; while by starting either
early or late in the day when descending the river
they can avoid it altogether, since it is difficult to
steer canoes with accuracy when being carried downstream against the wind, the tendency being, as in
Norwegian boats and others built high at both ends,
to slew sideways, and in many parts of the Chilcat
River very nice calculation is essential to avoid snags,
• i /
rocks, shallows, and especially fallen trees in the
narrow channels, where the current runs as high as
nine miles an hour. But here the river was far
too dangerous and rapid to make sailing desirable.
The salmon-trout had arrived in the river, as I
was made aware by observing an old man trying to
impale some of them with a large gaff by striking
upwards towards the surface with a long elastic pole
on the chance of one being within range, the muddi-
O O    '
ness of the water preventing their either seeing or
being seen.    That he was successful I knew, because
O }
he offered me ten previous to my departure, at the
Chilcat price of a dollar each, like early strawberries.
It was two hours before midnight when we
reached the new camp, thankful to haul the canoe
out of a river which it takes at least ten times as long
to ascend as to descend. But the tents had been
pitched in a conspicuous manner, and the British
ensign tied on a sapling was waving over my tent,
while an enormous fire, ready to dry our clothes by,
had been distinctly visible to us for several hours previously, and formed a cheering spectacle as we gradually fought our way upwards towards it, mile by mile,
against the cold and rushing torrent. The weather
remained as it had been for the last twelve days, a
cloudless sky and a gentle breeze probably from the FIGHTING THE  STREAM.
westward in the higher regions of the atmosphere.
I found that along the coast, at Yakutat, the Copper
River, Prince William Sound, and the Alaskan peninsula, wet cloudy weather was invariably accompanied
by an easterly wind, while a westerly one was without exception synchronous with dry and usually clear
weather, but as there have been no clouds or even
vapour of any kind upon the mountains it has been
difficult to decide what the direction of the wind
was, though on making a partial ascent of a mountain I named Mount Glave, the wind was found to
be from the westward at an elevation of 5,000 feet
above the river.
We passed Sunday quietly in camp. A small
party of Chilcat Indians came down the valley. We
sighted them first at a distance of some miles on
the wide expanse of the Klaheena River bed, though
the number of snags, trunks, and roots of trees with
which it is strewn makes it difficult to distinguish
moving objects. They chiefly waded in preference
to forcing their way through the bush, and, as the
river has not yet risen to its full spring height, it
■can be waded in many places where it becomes
subdivided into branches, and assumes a broad and
rapid character. In choosing a place to wade a river
it must be borne in mind that where it is swiftest
-* w
and broadest, there it is also shallowest. I observed
these Indians for some time with the field-glass, and
noted both the places they selected for crossing and
the manner in which they effected it. The party
consisted of a man, two women, and a boy, and
they negotiated the deeper streams in line, shoulder
to shoulder, all of them holding on to the same pole
or limb of a tree held horizontally, of which there
were plenty lying about, the man grasping the upstream end, and his legs breaking the force of the
* o o
current for those below; upon the top of his pack
was perched a small child. It is better to carry a
heavy weight in wading a swift stream than to carry
none whatever, as it renders one's legs less liable to
J o
be swept from under one by the force of the water,
though having once lost one's foothold, no doubt a
heavy pack strapped to one's back would make it diffi
cult to recover. On this question we shall probably
have more experience in the immediate future. These
Indians had evidently come from the divide, and had
either been hunting or trading (probably the former), as
the presence of the women and child made it unlikely
that they had come any great distance. Moreover,
after giving them tea and crackers, I discovered that
o o '
their packs contained but a few furs of the commonest
kind.   We had bridged a small clear stream, sluggish FIGHTING THE  STREAM.
but deep, on the west of our camp, by felling a tall
cottonwood, and floating one end across. It formed
a footway so narrow and slippery, and the water was
so profound on either side, that I hesitated to cross
it, and only did so once, and that in fear and
trembling, preferring to wade. But these Chilcats
walked across (except one woman, and the man
informed us she was a Yakutat) without so much as
thinking twice about it, turning their toes inwards
after the manner of an ape, though Schwatka informed me that he has observed the Chilcoots
balancing themselves across a log bridge by stepping
sideways all the time, the feet being planted so that
both pointed to the same side.
On May 12th, with Michael Kalamo, my Kwagiutl
half-breed, I made a tedious ascent of Mount Glave.
We had to run a race with the river. I was anxious
to recross it before noon, as subsequent to that hour
it rises so rapidly that I feared it might be almost
unfordable, particularly as we found it hard enough
to stagger across in the early morning, when it
was almost at its lowest. I therefore roused every
one at four, and we had breakfast—porridge with
condensed milk stirred in undiluted, hard tack or
captain's biscuits toasted, with butter, canned roast
beef,  cheese,  and  cold boiled  beans.    It  was im-
u\ 66
portant also to know if there was much game in
the country to depend upon for food ; if possible
to get a glimpse towards the St. Elias district in
case any superlatively high peaks should be visible
in that direction, and to obtain a general view of
the immediate district.
We tried to cross at several points before succeeding, using long poles as a support, but in
returning we imitated the Indians by forming
line (of two), and then, like the hundred
pipers, "Shoulder to shoulder the brave men
stood," and instead of dancing ourselves dry to
the pibroch's sound, we climbed ourselves dry to
the  drumming of numerous grouse, the sighing  of
o o o        o
the breeze, and the crackling of dry sticks
as we forced our way upwards through the inter-
plaited stems of thickest brushwood, scaring,
possibly, a bear whose tracks were fresh upon the
slopes. We presently reached a tall spruce on
which a grouse was sitting, uttering its peculiar
booming sound which can be heard at least a
mile away on a still day. It required, as usual,
a careful scrutiny of several minutes before the
plump form of the bird could be distinguished,
though one could almost locate the precise spot
by the  sound it   continued to give forth,  until  a FIGHTING THE  STREAM.
well-directed shot brought our lunch fluttering to
my feet. The bush was found to be thickest at
the bottom, and immediately below the snow-line;
while in the  centre, being   a   zone   ranging   from
■ O O       O
1,000 to 3,000 feet in height, it was not
so tedious to penetrate, excepting on account of
fallen trees and devil's-clubs. At an altitude of
4,000 feet we made our way over snow-patches
alternating with thin brush, the snow being
soft in places and allowing one to sink waist-deep,
while on the surface were traces of ptarmigan, fox
and hare. The ground was frequently pitted with
extensive burrows of the mouse. The view from
such an altitude and in such a place was of the
superbest character, and unapproachable except, I
think, in the Caucasus, in its qualities of mingled
width of verdure and highest snow-capped desolation. Mount Fairweather and a galaxy of peaks
in the south formed a distant cluster of glittering
pinnacles fringing the sky.
Before me rose and fell
White cursed hills, like outer skirts of hell
Seen where men's eyes look through the day to night,
Like a jagged shell's lips harsh, untunable,
Blown in upon by devils' wrangling breath.
Below,  the  river wound serpentinely in  glittering,
f 2 i/v
wrinkled channels, and the upper Chilcat valley lay
mapped out; the lake (frozen) and the forest
flecked with marshes and shining pools and streams,
and snow-patches.
On the east was the main valley, with a less
turbulent and more subdivided stream and more
wooded bottom, and, opening from it, a gorge with
steep cliffs and snow-peaks beyond. On the west
stretched out some of the St. Elias Alps, the peaks
just discernible over the shoulders and gaps of the
range, probably bordering the Altsehk River, and
far away a high square mountain, that seemed of
colossal proportions, without any rock appearing to
relieve the smoothness of its snow slopes.
We hurried down, and once within the timber
found it less fatiguing to descend than to ascend;
frequently making use of some fallen monarch of
the forest as a kind of bridge across other prostrate
trees, but with some risk, as a slip might have
impaled one like a cockroach on some of the sharp
spikes of dead branches of trees below, that radiated
like chevaux-de-frises.
mm   wmmmmmm
Chilcat Country, Camp 9, May 21st, 1890.
One easily perceives how necessary it is to have
Indians in a country like this, where long distances
have to be traversed over the roughest description of
trail, but generally without any trail at all. Although
it frequently happens that parties of Chilcats enter
the Altsehk valley by this route, they leave but
little track behind them with their bare feet, only
occasionally giving a stroke with the axe upon
some offending limb, but generally they are content
to find a way through the thicket without leaving
it any easier for the next comer. A party of Indians
can take provisions with them in addition to trading
material or furs, calculated to last them a far greater
length of time than a party of white men, who, on
the contrary, have probably not taken anything but
what   they  consider personal  necessaries.     During
a long journey the white man, in short, eats more
than he himself can carry; the Indian can carry
more than sufficient for his own consumption.
On the 13th of May we struggled all day
against the stream, first towing with one rope
and keeping the canoe away from the bank with
a pole ; then I tried a plan new to us all, which
I had only heard of by repute, by attaching one long
tow-rope to an auger hole through the stern, another
through one in the bow. A pull on the stern rope
would send the canoe out into the midstream, while
a slacking of it brought her in again, and in this
O O O '
way it was unnecessary for any one to be in the
canoe, and she consequently drew so little water
that we were able to avoid running aground so much,
O       O
nor was it necessary to wade so frequently in order
to push and shove her past some obstruction. Some
remarkably large cottonwoods were observed at this
portion of the Klaheena, the largest I measured
with a tape girthing thirteen feet.
The shallower portions of the river were full
of young salmon about an inch in length ; terns and
gulls were preying upon them as they sported amongst
the rotting carcases of their parents, but so many
of these latter had been eaten by wild animals that
the stench  was not so  unbearable as it is earlier mmm
in the winter. One of the men shot an eagle, but
it fell dead in the timber and could not be found.
The locality we chose for the eighth. camp had been
used previously, but long since, by the Indians for
that purpose. In front through the opening in
which the tents were pitched could be seen the swift
gray-green river, beyond it a narrow strip of light
green young cottonwoods, then the steep, dark green,
spruce-clad slopes, and above them the domes and
peaks of snow - mountains, dyed orange by the
declining sun.
Across the river a large eagle's eyrie was discovered near the top of a lofty cottonwood; and
there was visible over the top of the nest the white
head of one of the parent birds, sitting on the eggs,
without paying any regard to us, although some
of the smoke of our fire had drifted across in a
most peculiar fashion, and had formed a white cloud
below the tree, as though there were a separate fire
there.    We left her undisturbed, though these eagles
I o o
probably devour many young salmon. Next morning
I I cached " some food before starting, in order to
lighten the loads. One of the men, through a
moment's inattention, got pulled into the current
by the tow-ropes, undergoing total immersion; but
this was not a great inconvenience, as the thermo-
meter in the sun marked ninety-five.     At noon I
had reached a large mountain torrent on the left
bank of the river, being ahead of the others who
were bringing up the canoe, where I found a small
party of Indians camped, engaged in trapping and
snaring bears.     Two women were seated   by the
river with blackened faces;  in the thicket hard by
I found a cottonwood  canoe in  process of manufacture,  shaped,  but  not yet hollowed out, while
spruce-boughs were piled upon it to prevent the
sun's   rays   from   hardening   the   wood.     Another
woman seemed much alarmed at my sudden appearance,   and walked away—at first slowly and with
dignity, then  broke into a run and screamed with
suppressed fear.    By this time the canoe had arrived,
and I decided to camp here.    Presently an old man
came in from hunting, accompanied by a. small boy
with a large spring bear-trap, and made the most
complicated signs  about  something which  I failed
to  elucidate, as he  had no knowledge of Chinook,
but spoke only the language of his tribe.    On following him I discovered their camp, composed of three
tents and  some  shelters  of boughs and logs, the
inhabitants  consisting  of two   men,  three women,
two  boys, and two  children.    They commenced  a
meal of dry salmon, which I tasted, but felt un- EXCELSIOR. 73
certain as to whether it was smoked and salted,
or might consist of choice pickings from the dog
salmon of last season whose remains strewed the
To ascertain the velocity of the current, I
measured one hundred yards with the tape, and
by noting the number of seconds a log took to
float past, found it to be nine and a half miles per
hour. The Indians indicated by signs that it was
impossible to take the canoe any higher up the
river. It therefore became necessary to " pack." I
found that the Indian dogs are made to carry packs.
The old man showed me a pair of dog saddle-bags
of mountain goat skin, each bag being eighteen
inches square when empty, and signified that they
were worn by a powerful animal which was kept
tied to a tree, a stick serving as a chain. In the
evening, with an Indian boy, I crossed the torrent
by means of a bridge of felled saplings, and found a
slender trail leading upwards, which, taken together
with the increased rapidity of the current, pointed
to the fact that this might be considered as the
head of canoe navigation upon the Klaheena or
Wellesley River. At nightfall was seen the first
cloud that had appeared in the sky for ten days,
moving rapidly from east to west, and consequently 74
foreboding rainy weather, which, sure enough, came
on during the night. The next day, the weather
still continuing wet and cloudy, a shelter was constructed, the foundation being of logs and the upper
portion of spruce-boughs laid horizontally and supported by cross-pieces. While I was seated writing
under this rough but effective cover at four in the
afternoon, there came a slight shock of earthquake,
and the structure descended gracefully and harmlessly upon me, completely shutting me in ; while
from underneath the ruins I observed a little Indian
boy who had been hanging about the camp in order
to pick up any little unconsidered trifles we might
have thrown away—such as scraps of paper, empty
cartridges and cans—furtively, under cover of the
calling away of one's attention produced by this
predicament, fill his mouth with a portion of the
contents of one of our cooking-pots before assisting
me to release myself. I felt greatly diverted at the
idea of a child so calmly profiting by a terrestrial
convulsion. But then he was desperately hungry,
and I have never yet. found a full-grown Indian
who deigned to steal.
This day we also commenced to hew a second
canoe, to be used in returning. For this purpose
a cottonwood was selected and felled, girthing nine ufi'
feet. Many of the best trees had already been
marked by the Indians. Some were not straight,
others had knots, and on some fungi were growing,
showing that they were probably rotten at the core.
Finally, after two hours' work, our tree fell with
a crash and became slightly split along the upper
part, which when the old Indian saw, he seemed
greatly amused. Some one constantly worked at it
with an axe, shaping or hollowing it out, while one
of the party was hunting for grouse or whatever
else he could find in the shape of meat, to
spare the supplies as much as possible, which, I
calculated, were sufficient to last about four weeks.
Though low moisture-laden clouds were driving
rapidly overhead, yet the amount of rain that fell
was very slight, thus confirming what the character
of the vegetation already partly indicated, that we
had reached the climatically dry zone that lies
behind, and sheltered by, the coast ranges. We
were already under the lee of the St. Elias Alps,
and it was doubtless raining heavily upon the
coast. Fresh snow, however, had fallen upon the
mountains at altitudes over 3,000 feet, but the
coolness had caused a daily fall in the level of
the river of four inches.
The next evening Michael returned with a brace of BEAR-HUNTING  IN  THE WHITE  MOUNTAINS.
blue grouse or willow grouse, having shot their heads
off with his Winchester rifle, and reported having
seen a cinnamon bear with a cub high up the mountain, where the slope was bare of brush. She
seemed the reverse  of   frightened,   and had   even
O '
followed him a short distance, but having used up
all his cartridges but one, firing at grouse, he had
O * O O 7
thought it advisable to let the animal alone for
the present. I allowed others of the party, the
following day, the chance of killing the bears, having
overstrained a wrist by too liberal use of the axe;
the bearess, if the word might be coined, and her
cub were found in identically the same place as on
the previous afternoon. My Canadian boy, John
L. Hammond, fired at her at a distance of over one
hundred yards and wounded her, whereupon she
crept into a small bush. When she emerged Michael
fired somewhat hastily, and caused both mother and
cub to make off as fast as possible downhill into
the timber -without giving another chance, and
though traced for some considerable distance by
drops of blood, neither of them could again be
sighted. This mountain I named Mount Shanz.
On the 20th, one of the Indians killed a large
dark-coloured wolf. Accompanied by Hammond, on
the same day I ascended Mount Glave again from ill1
this side to a height of 5,000 feet. The lower slopes
were clothed with birch, maple, and other trees,
higher up with patches of willow, while the ground
itself was almost entirely under snow.
We killed a grouse, and found a place where a
bear had recently made itself a kind of shelter
under a tree by pawing out a hollow, and had thrust
aside and broken a branch measuring three inches in
diameter. Towards the summit the range was bare
and rocky, partly covered with grass and lichens
with a few clumps of birch, so far as could be seen
on the patches bare of snow.
High overhead glimmered the topmost crags of
the mountain through the mist, and on account of
snow commencing to fall I deemed it advisable to
take the bearings of the line of descent with a pocket
compass. Presently we came across three broad
deep tracks, ploughed up through the snow by three
bears that had recently descended valleywards; deep
lanes across the whiteness of the snow-fields in zigzag,
O       O3
while snowballs and miniature avalanches that had
become piled up on either side during their struggles
through the yielding element, had fallen, rolled, and
slid away like foam beneath the bows of a ship.
These must have been ponderous as bullocks, for
though it was afternoon  we stepped gingerly and
lightly upon the same snow and it held us up without allowing us to sink more than a couple of inches,
being without snow-shoes, whereas the broad paws of
the bears had not prevented them from sinking deep;
while lower down, where I came across their trail
again on the bare earth, still descending, the impressions of their paws had sunk several inches even into
the soil itself. In the remoter distance, south-east,
could be seen the Chilcat Lake, over the low range of
7 -o
timbered hills below, but though a few days previously it had appeared as a sheet of pure snow, it now
showed nothing but blue-green water, wrinkled by
wind-storms sweeping across it. Along the base of
Mount Glave we found bear-paths pitted with deep
foot-holes regular as a chess-board, for Bruin or ancient
Ephraim is the chief road-maker of Alaska. In the
evening the vapours lifting disclosed the semicircle of
snow-peaks at the head of the valley, the lower slopes
streaked with snow in innumerable ravines resembling the design on a zebra skin, fading away into
the westerly-drifting cloud. The vivid green cotton-
woods faced the Klaheena like a line of sentinels,
while the valley-bottom was strewn with trees partially buried by the gravel amongst the glittering
channels of the river, which, seen from the mountain, had appeared capable of being stepped across EXCELSIOR.
dry shod, but when one stood by the margin of its
chief branches, the fierce rush and frigidity of the
water made it seem an uncomfortable stream to have
anything to do with, yet teeming throughout the
summer with countless myriads of salmon.
Chilcat Country, Camp 12, June 1st, 1890.
On the 22nd of May, I ascended the Klaheena on an
exploratory trip ahead of the expedition, taking my
half-breed Indian with me. By exercising care we
were able to keep to the faint trail that existed
on the left bank for some distance. When I had
travelled for about four miles beyond the frontier
into British ground, I found that the valley twisted
abruptly to the right, heading exactly due north. I
wish to confine myself now to a summary of the
great bear-hunt  we indulged in while waiting for
o o o
the clouds to roll by. Where the valley turns northward a line of low hills projects, which I named
Frontier Point. In order to pass this obstacle we
had repeatedly to wade the river, and frequently to
take to the  exasperating and  almost impenetrable THE GREAT BEAR-HUNT.
brush as an alternative. On the mountain behind,
a wide face of granite is exposed, resembling a huge
quarry, and a brief distance higher up the stream
some immense blocks of almost pure white marble,
rounded by the action of water, and evidently brought
down to their present position by some prehistoric
glacier, lay alongside the bank and measured about
forty feet in diameter. I had mistaken them in the
distance for blocks of snow.
But to return to the bears. We were having
lunch, or rather I was, as my half-breed companion
was rather fond of displaying his capacity for abstemiousness   while    undergoing   these   exhausting
o       o o
marches, when, with a field-glass, I sighted what
resembled a round black ball moving across a
snow-slide in a valley facing us on the left bank of
a large glacier, which latter was completely covered
by moraines. On the upper part of it the ice was
visible in places, and, further off still, another wide
glacier joined it; all round the mountains rose steep
and high, and still white with the winter's snow, a
land without one sign of human life. The animal
was, of course, a black bear having yet his thick
winter coat, and was distant from us at least a mile
and a half. This was the first intimation that I
had that black bears, as well as brown, might be 82
as numerous as we found them to be hereabouts.
Though it was nearly sunset we started off at once
hoping to intercept the animal, because the nights
were already so light that it was possible to travel
when necessary throughout the twenty-four hours. I
was carried over a portion of the river on my
companion's back, but the water came over the tops
of his high gum-boots, and he staggered so fearfully
that considering the stony bottom and the swiftness of
the current, I decided not to risk total immersion on
another occasion, but to trust to my own legs.
Having once found the bear with the aid of glasses,
it was easy to keep it in sight with the unaided eye, as
it was evidently making for the river with the intention of crossing just where the ice-cold stream issued
with a rush and a roar from a cavern in the ice at the
foot of the glacier. As we had only one rifle, which
I carried myself, I left the half-breed at this point,
but high up out of the way of the animal in case
he might give it the alarm before I had a chance of
shooting. With all the speed I could summon I
commenced to climb the moraine, or mountainous
heaps of loose stones brought down by the ice,
intending to make a circuit to a point which com-
O x
manded an unimpeded view of the ravine. I had
not gone far before hearing footsteps  amongst the THE GREAT BEAR-HUNT.
unstable blocks of rock behind me, and found that
Michael had decided to follow.
I found him a bold fellow in difficulties, but with
regard to bears he was-a curious mixture of bravery
and timidity, full of queer Indian superstitions.*
I had never before observed so many and variegated blocks and chips of marble as on this moraine,
not worn or blunted, but like the stones of which all
moraines consist, freshly chipped and broken with
* For instance, he believed that a bear would hold out its
paw towards a man at a distance and feel whether he was
sharp edges, just as they had fallen from the cliffs,
heaped up in ridges, with the blue ice occasionally
showing itself below, and ready to slide down
in noisy avalanches upon the slightest pressure of
the foot. The ice below seemed to be about two
hundred feet in thickness, and I gave it the name
of Marble Glacier, covered as it was with green,
white, purple, orange, black, mauve, and gray
marble, granite, sandstone, and slate. We presently
reached the farther or northern edge of the glacier,
where I expected to find the bear below me not
more than fifteen yards away. The ravine immediately at our feet, as we peered cautiously over
the edge of the ice-cliff, was partially filled up
with snow, and on the opposite side was a clump
of firs, and behind those rose the mountain slopes
covered thickly with willow scrub, but this was
so backward compared to the Chilcat valley below,
that it was still bare of leaves. I had been in
such a hurry to arrive at this point before the bear
got there, and so much occupied in selecting a
route across the moraine, that I had not bestowed
a glance at the mountain overhead. No black
bear was visible as we peered carefully into the
ravine below, but on the bare patches between
the willow clumps upon the declivities above were Ill
no less than five black bears in different places,
half a mile apart; three about one thousand feet
above us, and two others lower down, all of them
busily employed in feeding upon the bright green
herbage, which had just commenced to show itself
above the surface, where it was bare of snow.
While I was observing this curious spectacle, a
cinnamon bear slowly passed an open glade between
the spruces across the gully, and I quickly dropped
into position for a shot, but some movement or
noise we had made had given the alarm, and the
animal passed again into the thicket. Keeping
out of sight, I ran on in a parallel direction,
hoping to be able to command with my rifle an
open spot across which the bear must necessarily
pass. The wind was blowing towards us from
below, but if we had remained at the foot of the
gully, it would have given Bruin the alarm. In place
of keeping out of sight, my companion remained
upon the ridge, and the first notification I had
of this fact was his exclaiming that after standing
upon its hind legs it had galloped off as hard as
it could go. It was too late and too dark to
think of attacking any of the five bears above
us, whilst it would take until the small hours of
the morning   to   reach  Camp  9  again  by setting
f n 86
out immediately. On re-descending into the valley
we found that the bear, on coming to our tracks,
had bounded away without crossing them, and had
clone so somewhat hurriedly, as could be seen by the
heavy traces of his backward spring. We had a hard
march back to camp, nor does repetition reconcile a
person to wading deep, swift glacier streams. At
one point we followed a bear-track at the base of
a steep earth-cliff, which threatened to bury us,
and which the river was gradually undermining.
The following day we commenced packing a
few necessaries, together with as much food as
could conveniently be carried. If the weather
should not allow us to proceed across the pass, I
determined to devote a day or more to reducing
the number of these bears, which we were enabled
to do, as circumstances turned out. A cold rain
continued to fall all day, and at sunset we were
able to pitch Camp 11 about a mile from the
glacier in a thick patch of timber. Though in a
land of running streams, water was unfortunately
three hundred yards from camp, which caused
some inconvenience until the idea was conceived
of carrying it to camp in an oil-bag, as those
useful oil-skin sacks are named in which miners
often carry their flour. THE GREAT BEAR-HUNT.
In the evening I climbed to the identical spot
on the moraine whence I had previously seen the
six bears, and observed three now feeding on the
same slope. One bear seemed to offer a chance for
a nearer approach without being seen, and accompanied by Hammond, I made a lengthy and
.fatiguing scramble, creeping and insinuating oneself upwards through the matted stems of the
brush, until I supposed that we were in the
vicinity. But now the wind played us false, and
conveyed warning of our approach, for Bruin was
nowhere to be seen. We descended by a different
route, seeing only a large porcupine which allowed
us to approach it within a distance of a couple of
yards without showing any inclination to stir from
the bush to which it was clinging. Twenty-four
hours later I was once more upon my old post at
the edge of the great moraine. High up on the
mountain-side above me were a couple of black
bears disporting themselves, but my attention was
concentrated on a huge brown bear, whose skin,
skull, and paws are before me as I write (together
with the skins of three others), pegged out to its
full capacity. This bear was fully eight times as
heavy, to all appearance, as any of the black bears,
and I had an  opportunity of  comparing them at
ill 88
that very moment, since one of the latter was
feeding not more than a stone-throw away. The tape
measurements of the skin give it an area of sixty-
five square feet, including head and paws ; across
the narrowest portion it measures six feet, and in
length nine without the head, the claws of the
fore paws measure four inches round the curve,
and in fur, size, and texture the hide strongly resembles that of a buffalo. But meanwhile one of
the black bears scented danger, scampered upwards,
and passing across the face of an apparently inaccessible precipice, disappeared from view. The
brown  bear  continued feeding, sometimes standing
O' O
still to gaze down upon the moraine and valley
below, or sitting up to reach some of the sour
red berries which yet lingered, or pawing up the
For several hours I watched the animal's movements, hoping it might take a fancy to descend,
but it continued mounting, mounting upwards, the
angle of the slopes being about two in one, or
twenty-five degrees from the perpendicular. So
colossal was it that I took the black bear at the
first   glance   to   be   its  cub,  the second bear  con-
tinuing to feed, without shifting ground, in an
open  glade   between   some   rocks.    About dusk it THE GREAT BEAR-HUNT.
disappeared from view into the thicket. To be
able during an entire afternoon to observe wild
bears in their native haunts, under such favourable
circumstances, would be considered by many sportsmen a great privilege. But while I had passed
the day alone upon the glacier, John Hammond
had been more successful in a narrow ravine upon
the opposite side of the valley. After climbing
sufficiently high to obtain a good view, he sighted
one black bear below him and another upon the
opposite side of the gulch. Climbing down to
find the former, he encountered a cinnamon bear
upon the same ridge and promptly fired, upon
which it leaped aside, and vanished in the brushwood with  a tremendous  crashing   of   twigs   and
o o
branches. Not supposing it wounded, he abandoned
further pursuit temporarily in order to recover his
hat, which had rolled some 500 feet towards the
watercourse below, showing the extreme abruptness
of the declivity, but on reascending the bear was
discovered  stone   dead,   having   received   a  bullet
' O
through the spine. The black bear on the opposite
face had remained in the same locality as when
first seen. After a severe climb he arrived at a
spot about twenty yards to leeward of it, and
discovered the animal lying down;  upon the first
I 90
shot striking its  shoulder it  seemed as  though it
might succeed in escaping, but a second gave it
the quietus, after which the successful Nimrod returned triumphantly to camp, as proud and happy
a man as I have ever seen in my life, or expect
to see.
These were the first bears he had ever killed, and
few men would have ventured on to more dangerous
declivities than he. The character of these mountains
is entirely different from the Alps; the smooth and
slippery twigs and blades of grass, and the steepness
of the mountain-sides, make the foothold perilous
in the extreme.
These two bears were in poor condition, but
their fur was astonishingly thick and fine. The
following morning I ascended to the spot where the
big brown bear had last entered the brush on the
previous evening, and waited for several hours
impatiently hoping for its appearance. The view
was considerably impeded by the vegetation and the
unevenness of the ground, while the wind blowing
in treacherous gusts from different directions may
have given it the alarm ; above me there stretched a
long wall of cliffs, and as it was impossible to see more
than a very circumscribed portion of the ground, I
found that I should have done better had I waited THE GREAT BEAR-HUNT. 91
patiently below. The climb accorded more with my idea
of chamois or wild-goat hunting than that of bears,
and every footstep had to be well considered. It
requires some time to elapse for a man to become
accustomed to the extreme loneliness of these
portions of British Columbia, especially in such
situations as these, when he feels that in no eventuality can he hope for assistance from any human
being but himself.
Before quitting Camp 11, I ascended the
mountain on which I had seen so many specimens
of the bear, as far as snow-level, seeing in different
places two more bears, but not in such a position
as to render it possible to approach them.
This block of snow-peaks is enclosed between the
Klaheena and Marble rivers, and is included in the
White Mountains, which name was originally given
to the range between the Chilcat country and Glacier
The same day on which I left Camp 11 the big
brown bear and a fine black bear met their death at
the hand of Michael. His inclination led him to
select the same spot upon the Marble moraine whence
I had watched the big grizzly for so long, and waited
in vain for him to descend from his almost inaccessible retreat.    Diana smiled upon him, and the 92       BEAR-HUNTING IN THE  WHITE MOUNTAINS.
monster descended the slope lower than it had ever
done before, and actually came to within one hundred
and seventy yards of where he was lying in wait.
This proximity was becoming uncomfortable, and
Michael fired at the brute hoping that it would retire,
because a much pleasanter adversary in the shape of
a harmless black bear was feeding near at hand. The
big bear did retire—mortally wounded, but it was
not discovered until next morning that the bullet
had entered the neck, and after traversing the chest
had lodged somewhere in the neighbourhood of the
heart. Whether Michael really wanted to frighten
the grizzly rather than wound it, no man will ever
know; but so Hammond declared in chaff, and many
a true word is spoken in jest. But it turned out
no joke for the grizzly. After routing the brute
Michael next attacked the black bear, and killed
it in two shots at a distance of about fifty yards,
and leaving further operations till next day, returned to camp.
Chilcat Country, Camp 15, June 15th, 1890.
How we killed four bears in the White Mountains
was described in my last letter while we were
camped at the junction of the Klaheena River and
that which issues from what I named the Marble
Glacier. From this point I found little or no
defined Indian trail in the direction of the pass
which leads over to Dry Bay and Yakutat, although parties of Indians had frequently been met
by us passing to and fro; the reason being that
they keep as much as possible to the dry portions of the river beds and avoid the brush, preferring to wade. But wherever we cairn e across it
we have left the Indian trail three or four times
easier than we found it by a liberal use of
the axe. 1
In its upper reaches the Klaheena entirely changes
its character, and becomes a mere mountain torrent
confined in a narrow rocky channel. The trail disappears, but the timber is moderately " clean."
A wide valley is next crossed in which flows a
tributary of the Chilcat, after which two canyons
have to be passed, and then bare open ground above
timber-line with temporary fields of snow; in the
latter portion of the pass the ground is broken up
into steep ridges along which it is difficult to find the
way. One evening I was greatly astonished at the
sudden appearance of a white man in camp, whose
clothes were all in rags. I found that he was a
" prospector" who had become separated from his
two companions on their way over the pass at the
foot of which we were now encamped, and that
he had already crossed it in 1887, on which occasion he had descended the Altsehk to Dry Bay.
I  gained the following particulars from him.    The
O ox
valley of the Altsehk once entered, the smaller
streams are found flowing west instead of east, and
the way becomes comparatively easy as one reaches
the wide flat bottom in which the river meanders
with a current as rapid and a fall as great as that
of the Klaheena. Below timber-line a deep canyon
is passed, and at a distance of about thirty miles SHOOTING THE  RAPIDS.
from the divide the main branch of the Altsehk is
. met in the shape of a broad stream about the size
of the Chilcat, and with a slow current, which,
according to my informant, appears from this point
upwards to be suitable for steamboat navigation.
I  now learned   again  that   the   natives rarely
descend the Altsehk in canoes, thus confirming what
I had been told by the Yakutat Indian chief, and
by white men who had been to the mouth of the
river at Dry Bay.     This  large,  deep,  slow river,
flowing in from the north-west, is clearer than the
other branches.    At this point are four or five houses
used by the Chilcats as storehouses for purposes of
trade with the interior or Stick Indians, whom they
will not suffer to carry their own furs to the coast
at Chilcat.     There are other trading posts of the
Chilcats higher up the river, some of whom have
amassed   considerable   wealth   by   acting   thus   as
middle-men.     At the point where these rivers join
there appears to be land available for agriculture—
a rare thing in these regions.    He  also  said that
the inland tribe was burning off the timber, so as
to form a trail from the divide down the Altsehk,
in anticipation that the advent of white men would
deliver them  from the oppression  of the Chilcats.
Below the forks there is a dangerous canyon, which 96
forms  the  chief impediment to  the navigation  of
-*- O
the Altsehk; consequently, travel up and down the
river is chiefly confined to the winter months, when
it can be traversed on the ice.
There are, however, portions of the river which,
owing to the rapid current, are not frozen over.
On nearing Dry Bay the Altsehk valley appears to
be completely blocked by a great glacier (evidently
the Grand Plateau Glacier of the U.S. coast survey),
but on approaching it the river abruptly swerves
to the right, and, running alongside the edge of the
ice, emerges at Dry Bay—a great tidal lagoon and
network of mud channels, with a dangerous bar and
a few Indian hovels.
There are other Indians resident between Dry
Bay and Yakutat, which places are connected by a
chain of lagoons forming a water communication
between them. At the canyon west of the divide
(which is many hundred feet in depth) wild goats
are abundant. One of the Indians of the party
killed a cariboo on the pass. Salmon, of course,
run in the Altsehk in the same profusion as in other
rivers on this coast.
These discoveries may be summarised briefly as
follows : The Altsehk is reached in nine days on
foot from the' sea at Chilcat; at the great canyon
a fine river comes in from the north-westward, with
deep slow current, apparently rising in the heart
of the St. Elias Alps; the climate is dry; and the
Indians are friendly, and less offensive in their
dealings than the Chilcats.
To bring our heavy bear-hides and baggage down
we constructed a raft, for the brown bear's skin
alone weighed fifty pounds. Before it had proceeded
far, however, the raft capsized. Michael got ashore
without delay, but John Hammond clung to a tree,
which presently broke, and he disappeared below
tbe surface. with two guns strapped to his back.
The first things that appeared were the black muzzles
of the firearms. Lower down the river our two
canoes were waiting, one of which we had hewn
from a fine cottonwood. The latter still required
some completion. After supporting the ends on
two logs, it was partly filled with water. We next
made a huge fire, and heated forty or fifty round
stones, of the largest size we could find, until they
were almost red-hot, and, seizing them in a wood-
tongs or split stick, we placed them in the canoe
until the water was boiled, which made the sides
so pliable that we were able to stretch them to a
greater width, and fix them in that position with
cross-pieces.    Into this I placed Hammond and the a x
furs, which were secured with ropes. The remainder of
the baggage was placed in the other. We took the
wrong channel, and got into a dangerous predicament, where the river pressed against the bank
and turned over upon itself, while great trees,
uprooted and bending downwards, formed veritable
canoe-traps, interspersed with others under the
surface against which the rushing waters foamed.
o o
I shot by safely with Michael in the larger canoe,
in fear and trembling, but the other was capsized
and turned a complete somersault endways, but
presently ran aground, and was recovered. A few
packages became loosened from the lashings, and
floated down-stream, but were fortunately picked up.
Thus twice within three days did Hammond suffer
shipwreck, attended by considerable risk.
There had appeared no signs of the two other
white men, the lost companions of the miner who
had joined my party. They were Norwegians, named
Louis Lund and Thomas Johnson, and, as I learned
afterwards from the survivor, were likewise capsized
in the same whirlpool. These men were no inexperienced landlubbers, but sailors from Arendal,
below Christiansand. Johnson held on to a snag
for a few moments, and was then swept away and
quickly drowned, doubtless stunned by the violence SHOOTING THE RAPIDS.
of the water. The other searched in vain for several
days for the body, with the help of an Indian whom
he paid to assist him. We continued steadily upon
our way southwards, floating down the river, now
no longer a brawling cataract, and thus took our
revenge upon it for many days of labour.
H  2 I
Sitka, Alaska, July 1st, 1890.
The weather, was rainy as we paddled down the
swollen Chilcat River, which was turbid and high,
and bore us southwards at a rapid rate, about three
times as fast as we had travelled while ascending.
Near the mouth of it we visited a party of
Indians camped on the site of our first stopping-
place, consisting of a dozen families, who were
employing themselves in boiling masses of small
fish in a putrefying condition in their canoes, by
means of heated stones. The oil which floated
was then skimmed off, and collected in old paraffin
cans to serve as an article of diet. These fish were
not the oolachan or candle-fish, which they resembled
in oiliness; real oolachan-oil, however, is brought
up for sale to these Indians from places where this OUR RETURN.
fish is found, such as the estuary of the Naas
River. One and all were dabbling and luxuriating
in the rancid fluid, the scent of which impregnated
the surrounding air.
We reached Pyramid Harbour Cannery after a
calm   crossing   of   the   Chilcat   Inlet.   Hammond
o *
gallantly paddling  the   small   canoe.     The   south
O <J        J- O
wind frequently blows with great force up this
long salt - water channel, which is named Lynn
Canal. On either hand rise steep rocky peaks,
from three to five thousand feet in height, with
a few glaciers, some hanging on the slopes, others
coming down as low as the shore, and extending
themselves in fan-shaped segments at the valleys'
Here I remained for some days waiting for the
steamer, camped with my men, Hammond and I
indulging our mountaineering propensities by occasionally attacking the steep hill behind the camp.
One day some wild (white) goats were seen in an
almost inaccessible position, but, fortunately for
them, it was Sunday.
Every day we had long lines out across the
little harbour, baited with fresh fish, on which we
caught more flat-fish and rock-cod than we could
eat.    I also  caught a few sea-trout with rod and BEAR-HUNTING IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
line, using mussels as bait, by standing on the
small wharf of the cannery.
The salmon were not expected for two or three
weeks, though a few might have been taken even
' o o
then; but it was not considered worth the wear
and tear to the nets and gear. The fishing-boats
(large safe craft belonging to the owners of the
cannery, carrying a single sail, and fitted with
centre-board) were still anchored near the shore,
while the men were employed in making the tins,
and in building, and in other ways ashore, a large
number of them being Chinese.
At length the steamer arrived, on which we
embarked for our journey southward—my men for
Vancouver Island, myself for Sitka. But first we
visited Glacier Bay, with its giant snow-peaks, its
innumerable icebergs, and its ice-cliffs, where frozen
masses are continually breaking off and falling into
the ocean below.
The forested shores at the entrance give way
to bare granite slopes, from which the glacier masses
have so recently melted that no soil or vegetation
has had a chance to grow. Bergs as large as a
house floated with only their seventh part above
water, their surfaces weather-worn and honeycombed
until they shone with the dazzling whiteness of snow. p*
The following day we reached the sea-girt capital
of Alaska, quaint and hospitable, in the island-
studded Sound, where I disembarked, intending to
stay for a while at Sitka. Of course I meant to
sketch as much as the rainy weather would permit,
notwithstanding the annual rainfall of eighty-three
inches on the coast, and, as a humble disciple of
Izaak Walton, had hopes of a few Alaska trout.
The Alaska salmon disdain a fly, and seldom take
a spoon. The trout, too, sometimes will not rise
to a fly, but I had brought a few with me. We
had a number of anglers on board, but almost all
o *
had left their tackle at home, and had to content
themselves with fishing over the side of the steamer
at every stopping-place with hand-lines for tom-
cod, flounders, and halibut. One stout old gentleman fished comfortably from a steamer-chair, taking
naps between the bites, waking when the tug on his
line warned him that he had a fish.
The first evening I tried black-bass fishing, which
o o?
I had found good sport during previous visits to
Sitka. A white artificial sand-eel thrown like a
salmon-fly I found an admirable bait. The scientific
name for these so-called bass is Sebastichthys melanops,
but they are commonly known as sea-bass, rock-fish,
and black-fiBh.    At first glance they resemble the
- ^v
fresh-water black-bass, and have many of the game
qualities of that fish. They do not jump from the
water when on the line, but make a very determined
resistance, darting backward and forward and towards
the boat, jerking the line violently, and trying all
the usual ways of freeing themselves from the hook.
One beautiful fish, weighing four and a half pounds,
tested my tackle severely. We had a hard fight
for fifteen minutes, and I was glad that he gave
' o o
up when he did, for I was almost as tired as he
was when at last he turned on his side and let us
slip the landing-net under him.
I caught one mysterious fish that took the hook,
settled down on the bottom, and was as immovable
as a boulder; once in a while he sprang into activity.
Finally, the line broke. It may have been a halibut,
as these are frequently taken on the coast, generally
in favourite spots in deep water, and sometimes of
enormous size. I also caught a few sea-trout at the
mouth of Indian River.
Mount Edgecumbe, Sitka's weather prophet, rose
in grand sweeping curves from the ocean, eighteen
miles away, the late afternoon sun turning its snow-
and-lava-streaked sides to a pure rose colour. We
engaged rooms at the comfortable little hotel, where
O   O *
Lady   Franklin  stayed years  ago,  and transferred OUR RETURN.
our luggage from the steamer to our new quarters.
OO    O J-
Next day I strolled out to the Mission to visit the
Indian school and hospital, and climbed the rickety
stairs to the old castle. I ascended through the
great rooms, all but one unoccupied and fast falling to
ruin, to the cupola. The sleepy little town lay below
me. The roofs of the old Russian houses are green
with moss, and most of them time-stained and
dilapidated. The cross on St. Michael's, the Russian
church, shone in the rays of the setting sun, and
around the spire hovered the ravens that are such
a feature of Sitka. A mile east of the town was
Mount Verstovia, over 3,000 feet high, the summit
of gray rock looking as sharp and clear-cut as an
Indian stone arrow. On the east and north, as
far as the eye could see, stretched the islands of
Sitka Sound, 130 in number. The castle itself is
built on what was once an island, which the Russians
joined to the town site by an artificial parade-ground.
On this cliff once stood a strong fort of the Sitkan
Indians, which was destroyed in 1804 in revenge
for the cruel massacre at the Fort of Archangel,
the first Russian settlement, six miles from the
present site of Sitka.
Those that have never visited Alaska can have
no  idea  of   the  wonderful   growth  of  vegetation
there. It is impossible to make with comfort any
excursions on foot in the neighbourhood of Sitka.
The only road is that to Indian River, three-quarters
of a mile away. The mountains slope steeply to
the water's edge, and a dense growth of evergreens,
o O O
covering earth, rock, and fallen trees, makes walking
a very difficult matter. There are a few trails on
the mountains; but they are seldom visited, except
by mining prospectors. But with the large canoes,
paddled by natives, delightful excursions can be
made for many miles around the town. In the
Indian village there are several Hydah canoes, with
good rowers; but a Sitkan wishes to be paid for
every trifling service rendered in addition to the
labour of paddling.
A pleasant excursion from Sitka by canoe is
to Russian Redoubt. The narrow Fjord is enclosed
on three sides by bold mountain peaks, and at its
head we saw the old Russian earthworks and the
dam built across the rapids that connect the waters
of Ozerskoi Lake with the bay. An old blockhouse and the foot-bridges are still standing, but
the fort, chapel, saw-mill, and other buildings erected
in the time of the Russian-American Company have
fallen into ruin. A salmon cannery has been built
here recently. OUR RETURN.
The lake is twelve miles long and one wide, and
winds about like a river. At its head rises a grand,
snow-capped mountain, about 2,500 feet in height,
bearing a glacier on its rocky sides.
We walked across the foot-bridges and saw the
little Indian boys catching salmon. With a long,
stout pole and a strong gaff fastened to one end
they bent down over the rushing water, and, as the
salmon darted up the stream, with a skilful motion
they struck the gaff into their silvery sides and
brought them struggling up to the bridge above.
Below the rapids, in the little coves, great Hydah
canoes filled with natives were awaiting the arrival
of the salmon from the outer bay. The fish seem
to come in schools at uncertain intervals, all bound
for the spawning grounds in the lake above the
rapids. Each canoe was manned by eight Indians,
with their heads tied up in bright-coloured handkerchiefs to keep off the swarms of gnats and
black flies. Six rowers sat in their places, with
oars in readiness, while one Indian stood in the
bows watching the movements of the fish and ready
to give the signal of starting,
piled up in the stern of the boat, with one end
held fast on shore.
On a previous visit I had found that the salmon 108     BEAR-HUNTING IN  THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
took a spoon-bait readily in  salt water, and had
experienced good sport here.
The wonderful growth of the giant kelp and
other seaweed shows the influence of the warm
Japan current that bathes these shores and makes
the sea life have almost tropical luxuriance. The
stems of this kelp sometimes attain a length of
three hundred feet, while the broad, crinkled leaves
are often thirty and forty feet long. We passed
through great beds of the weeds surging up and
down in the waves, and suggesting stories of the
' oo o
sea-serpent as the immense coils showed from time
to time above the surface of the water.
In the days of the Russian occupation a hospital
and other buildings stood near the Hot Springs.
The hospital was destroyed by the Indians in 1852
and the inmates turned adrift, to make their way,
with many hardships, over the mountains to Sitka.
Only a few small buildings are now standing, which
have been turned into rough lodgings for picnic-
parties from Sitka and Juneau, who stay here sometimes for several weeks. An old man lives here and
takes care of the place; but visitors have to bring
their own provisions, bedding, and camp outfit. We
found a tiny cooking stove, two broken chairs, and a
table in one of the little houses, and took possession.
1/ ^^p
Four springs bubble out of the hillside only a
few yards from the houses, the principal spring
having a temperature of 155-|0 Fahrenheit. They
contain sulphur, iron, magnesia, salt, and other
substances, and are very beneficial in cases of rheumatism and cutaneous diseases. A clear cold spring,
slightly impregnated with iron, is very near one of
the hot springs. In our cabin we found several
neat little bath-rooms, to which the hot and cold
water had been brought in pipes, and even here the
water was too warm to bear one's hand in it.
Adams Lake, Shushwap District, British Columbia,
July 15th, 1890.
After a few days in Victoria, I joined, by invitation,
an excursion, on July 4th, by steamer across Puget
Sound to the new town of Anaeortes, promoted by
an enterprising real estate agent, which was now
l>eing "boomed." There were orations, sports, and
canoe-races between whites and Indians, and various
other amusements. After which experience, so characteristic of the West, I went eastwards, by the
Canadian Pacific Railway, in search of " angling
experiences" on the almost unknown waters of the
upper Thompson River.
Nothing can be a greater contrast in scenery,
climate, modes of locomotion, and methods of travel
than the coast ranges of British Columbia (more
especially the northern parts) and those regions of  n
V i 7
the interior from which I date this letter. I passed
the last two months in the former, in the neighbourhood of latitude 61° N., entering by the
■Chilcat River, meeting every day some new and
difficult obstacle to progress, in the shape of rapid
rivers, impenetrable thickets, rugged mountains, or
driving mists. But here the rivers are less rapid,
and interspersed with long lakes, the timber is thinly
scattered, and occasionally the country consists of
patches of prairie; the hills are low and rounded,
and can be climbed in any direction, even when no
paths exist; continual damp no longer festoons the
trees with moss, but the climate is comparatively dry.
A corner of the so-called great American desert
(shown to be no desert at all) has been insinuated
like a wedge into Columbia, broken up into patches,
and diluted, so to speak, with an admixture of timber
An explorer has a right to travel comfortably
sometimes, even when engaged in exploring. I share
with others a passion for exploring the angling capacities of this region, although no one seems to have
tabulated any reliable information on the subject,
and except one or two prospectors, no one seems to
have visited Adams Lake.
The daily apprehensions and perils we had under-
gone during the last two months in the far and misty
north had become monotonous, and I was in search
of a region where we could travel out of the beaten
track, yet with some degree of comfort, and it is to
be found in the drainage basin of the North and
South Thompson rivers. It must also be recollected
that in Alaska and Northern Columbia, with two
insignificant exceptions, there are no horses, nor
would the difficult nature of the country allow of
their being used if there were; whereas here pack-
horses form the usual means of transport.
I commenced my investigations as an angler so
near New Westminster as the Coquitlam River, but
without any success worth chronicling, owing to the
fact of its being so well known and the absence
of any trail up the bank. I remained a day en route
at Harrison Hot Springs, and without wishing to
intrude any remarks upon so comparatively civilised
a spot in my descriptions of the wild places of
Columbia, I might remark that, while I have visited
many warm and boiling springs in different parts of
Europe, Africa, and Asia, I found this one exceedingly interesting, issuing below the surface of the
lake itself, and rising in level only a few inches
above it, within the enclosing woodwork of the bathhouse.    A desirable addition would be the means of «*=**
enjoying a cold plunge in the lake, so conveniently
near, after coming out of the hot water, this forming
the safest and best of baths for the robust, though
ignorant persons generally suppose the contrary.
This forms the principle of the Indian, the Russian,
the Persian, and the Turkish baths, though not
always carried out in practice—all of which I have
experienced in the countries named—and was also
adopted in the baths of the ancient Romans.
It much resembles the hot baths of Miyanoshita,
in Japan, taken in conjunction with the scenery
except that in place of a lake there is a deep valley.
More recently I visited Hammam Meskoutine, in
Algeria, where the water issues from numerous openings on the summit of an immense dome of white
carbonate of lime, which it has deposited, and at a
temperature two degrees above boiling-point; in the
vicinity is a large underground lake with numerous
ramifications, which one navigates in a small iron boat
capable of containing just two persons and a lamp.
I remained for a day at Spence's Bridge, where
the train arrives in the early hours of the morning,
and there is an inn, but no one remains out of
bed in connection with it; the arriving guest finds
his way down the hill, enters the first house he
sees (which is the  hotel), and  chooses a room for
mmm r Hr
himself, provided that it is not already occupied.
This proceeding struck me as an original idea,
which might with advantage be adopted in some
larger towns than this hamlet upon the banks of
the South Thompson.
Some persons connected with a survey of the
line were camped here, and informed me that
they had angled with natural fly every evening
in the main river, but had never succeeded in
capturing more than one trout apiece. However,
with artificial fly I took eleven, the largest about
a pound in weight, on the only evening I was
there; they were so bright and silvery in colour
that I supposed them to be salmon-trout fresh
from the sea, whereas two others I took in the
afternoon in a small tributary stream were dark
in colour, with black or green spots, and a red
band down the sides (Salmo purpuratus). I was
informed that the Indians occasionally fished in
the latter stream, and often brought back long
strings of trout; but I found the bushes uncomfortably thick on either bank, whereas on the
South Thompson the banks are usually bare. One
has to climb round a picturesque waterfall which
the aforesaid stream makes close to its entry with
the Thompson, which occurs half a mile or so below mge*m
the bridge, whence is drawn the supply of water
which irrigates the picturesque fruit and flower
garden on the north bank of the former. This
reminds one how dry the climate is, the rainfall
annually ranging from seven to twelve inches. A
similar phenomenon, but with more abrupt demarcation, can be observed in the Himalayas, where
the line of change in some places is so defined that
from a region of rain one enters one of continual
sunshine, the transformation being confined to within
a mile of the same spot.
Though rain falls so seldom at Spence's Bridge,
yet it rained heavily for a couple of hours on the
single afternoon I remained there; indeed, I am unfortunate in this respect, for so recently as February,
1890, I found myself in the oasis of Biskra,
situated on the edge of the Sahara Desert, where
for two years together no rain may chance to fall,
or where in any case no more than an occasional
shower of rain can be anticipated. On the very
day of my arrival there came some hours of very
brisk rain, to the astonishment of the nomad Arabs.
But on the distant Aures Mountains rain is
frequently observed, while the dry bed of the
Oued Biskra becomes filled with water brought
down from these heights.
This reminds me that, if a few palm trees
could be made to grow at Yale, the resemblance
would be perfect to the celebrated pass of Chabet-
el-Akhira,  between   Bougie and Setif,  in  Algeria;
O O 7
and I take this opportunity to recommend pedestrians who are admirers of the grand in nature,
to follow the old waggon-road on foot from the
flag station of Spuzzum—where the west-bound
train is due at a quarter after nine in the morning
—as far as Yale, a distance of twelve miles, comprising some of the finest portions of the Fraser
River canyon, the advantage of stopping at Spuzzum
for the purpose being that at this point the old
road crosses the Fraser and joins the railway on
the right bank, while above Spuzzum as far as
Lytton (near which place the railway crosses, the
Fraser), the road keeps the opposite bank, and is
consequently not to be reached except by crossing
in a canoe.
A few words on the subject of the game fish
of British Columbia may not be out of place. If
there is one thing more than another that will
attract the attention of the stranger on his arrival
here, it is the excellence and variety of the food
fish, while the gameness of some of them will
especially commend them to the sportsman.    There *w
are five varieties of salmon in British Columbian
waters; three of them may be spoken of as game
fish, viz., the Cohoe, the Sockeye, and the Tyhee, or
spring salmon. These are emphatically angling fish,
and are plentiful in March and April, and when the
rivers are full. They may be taken with the fly,
minnow, or spoon-bait, in the sea, almost at all
The trout of British Columbia are of two kinds,
the ordinary trout (Salmo purpuratus), having black
spots, and the steel-head (Salmo Gairdneri). The
former occasionally attains the weight of ten pounds,
but three or four pounds may be considered the
weight of a good fish. The steel-head attains from
twenty to twenty-five pounds.
In this province there are two varieties of char,
one with red spots, and the other brown with yellow
stripes. It is not often that either of these fish
are caught with the fly, the last named variety
having a fancy for the spoon-bait, the minnow, or
a piece of bacon.
The grayling is seldom seen in British Columbia,
it being only found, so far as known, in the Cassiar
district. On the other side of the Rockies, notably
in the tributaries of the Peace River and streams
having their outlet in the Arctic Ocean, it is com-
■m r
paratively common. Although its average, weight
is from a half to three quarters of a pound, it
sometimes reaches from three to four pounds. It
takes the fly well, and is full of fight. It is in the
best condition in winter.
The result of my visit to Spence's Bridge was
to show that fair bags of trout can be caught with
fine tackle and small fly (people in this country are
in the habit of fishing with very large artificial flies
compared to those we use in Europe) in the afternoon in those parts of the South Thompson which
are rocky and not too swift, but not so much
where the current is deep and rapid and the bottom
With regard to my next stopping-place, I took
a leap in the dark, not having any reliable advice,
though in accepting advice one is usually mistaken.
I chose Shushwap, situated two and a half miles
below the outlet of the Lesser Shushwap Lake,
finding that a store existed there, and that the
east-bound train reached it at half-past five in
the   morning,   careless  whether   or  no there were
any accommodation obtainable, provided as I was
with camp outfit, and quite independent of anything
in the shape of an inn.
Meanwhile, let me proceed to give the particulars aw«
of a three days' journey which circumstances led me
to make from Shushwap to the unexplored Adams
Lake, where I obtained first-rate trout fishing, completely justifying my choice of Shushwap as a base
The Shushwap Lake is a very large and irregularly
shaped body of water, resembling in its form a four-
armed star-fish, or otherwise it might be described as
two long parallel lakes connected with each other
about their centres. From the west end of the north
arm the water flows into the Lesser Shushwap Lake
through a sluggish channel about two miles in length.
The latter lake is five miles long, and is drained by
the South Thompson. At Shushwap I found a
few scattered farms along the south bank of the
river, many of the settlers having married Indian
wives, one instance being that of the settler in
whose house I found accommodation. Others I
found living with, but not married to, squaws.
The opposite bank of the South Thompson is the
Shushwap Indian reserve, where the natives are
largely engaged in cultivating hay, oats, and potatoes ; they also possess large numbers of handsome ponies and a few head of cattle, the country
being comparatively free from timber in places, and
suitable in consequence for pastoral purposes.    The 120    BEAR-HUNTING IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
hills are rounded in form, in height rising to 2,000
feet above the valley, and sparsely covered towards
the summits and round the Shushwap Lake with
trees of moderate size, chiefly varieties of fir.
The water of the South Thompson is very clear
at this point, more so than lower down its course;
the current seems to vary from one to two miles
per hour, the depth ranging from about ten to
twenty feet. There is another small store at the
point where the Thompson leaves the Lesser Shushwap, probably for the purpose of trade with the
Indians from the village immediately opposite in
the reserve. I was told that a boat might be procured here, but found after walking thither — a
distance of three miles — that this was not the
case. The settlers, in fact, are not well provided
with boats.
By reaching a point immediately opposite the
Shushwap Indian village at the outflow of the lesser
lake and shouting, a canoe came across, and I was
able to make arrangements with an Indian to come
down with the horses on the following morning to a
point opposite Shushwap, in order to transfer myself
and camp to Adams Lake, a distance of fifteen
miles northwards, for the consideration of two and
a half dollars a day and food. mmiu'M.
The canoes in use on the Shushwap lakes seem
very much inferior to those in use on the' coast,
being narrow, roughly hewn, and easily capsizable,
not having been " spread" by placing water and
hot stones in the interior and stretching them with
cross-pieces. But the Shushwap tribe, being an
equestrian one, never walking when they can ride,
can hardly be familiar with the art of making saltwater canoes, though trees large enough in circumference are to be found in the neighbourhood.
As it was Sunday, the , whole tribe, almost
without exception, was present, and as I reached
the village the bell commenced to ring to summon
them to attendance in the very diminutive building,
measuring about twenty feet by ten feet, which
formed the church. One of the Indians performed
the office of a priest. The interior boasted no
ornamentation except a few tawdry pictures of the
Virgin ; but a larger church is in process of erection,
and nearly completed, made by themselves.
The land on the Indian reserve side of the
South Thompson is much higher than that on the
opposite bank, and stretches back as a bare plateau
about half a mile in width, which, as before mentioned, is being largely cultivated. There is also
an Indian village, which I  visited  on my way to
Lake Adams, at the bead of the Lesser Shushwap
Lake, but the Indians are now taking up and
clearing ground along the river between the upper
and the lower lakes. The profusion of wild berries
in the vicinity of the lakes is very large. I was
able to gather as many as I wanted without
searching far—gooseberries, a few strawberries, two
kinds of raspberries, a purple berry, popularly
known in the neighbourhood as service - berry, a
bright red berry of a tart and peculiar taste, and
other kinds not perfectly matured.
After chapel many of the Indians resumed a
game they were playing, resembling draughts, others
bathed in the lake.
The number of grasshoppers this year was unusually large, but in the neighbourhood of the
Indian houses their quantity was something phenomenal.
On July 1st, the Indian having kept his appointment and made his appearance with the horses,
I set out for Adams Lake, having first to be ferried
across the river in a canoe (of white man's manufacture, and more stable than the average Shushwap
article). I placed everything in a pair of saddlebags, made in London, of light, strong, waterproof
canvas, which are much more  easily packed than AN ANGLERS EDEN.
a pack-saddle, and can be thrown across a riding-
saddle and easily secured, as was done in this
instance. For the first three . miles the road was
excellent, as far as the village; then came five miles
along the border of the lake, the first two of which
were exceedingly rough, as the usual path was yet
under two foot of water. Only an Indian pony
•could have managed to keep its foothold among the
loose boulders without falling. After this the path
became excellent, and I have rarely travelled a
better pack trail than the seven miles which intervene between the second Indian village and Lake
Adams. Adams River runs into the upper or
large Shushwap Lake near its outlet, on the north
bank: the Indians say there is sometimes a dan-
gerous whirlpool where it enters, but I observed
nothing of the kind from the opposite side, though
perhaps I was too fax away to see with certainty.
Adams River is a very swift stream, only available for canoe navigation at lowest water, and rarely
.attempted by the Indians. There are good pack
trails on both banks between Adams and Shushwap
lakes, that on the east side being rather the better
but the less used of the two; the route along the
west or right bank being the one I employed. The
way at first rises gradually and mostly keeps along 124    BEAR-HUNTING IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
terraces, high above Adams River, which can be
heard thundering below, but is not approached until
the lake is almost in sight. The woods are thick
with scented underbrush, and I picked as much fruit
as I wanted from the saddle without drawing rein.
At one spot an Indian log bridge is passed which
has been thrown across a small stream. Signs of
the district having once been more thickly populated
by Indians than at present are observed, in the
shape of very old salmon-drying frames, chiefly near
Adams Lake, and the square excavations which mark
the site of ancient, partly underground houses, so
old that firs sixty or seventy feet in height and four
feet in circumference have grown in these curious
rectangular hollows in a compact cluster and almost
filled them up. Then there are also discernible the
holes, now overgrown with brushwood, in which
salmon refuse was boiled or roasted to extract the
The path descends and Adams Lake bursts suddenly upon the view. This body of water probably
took its name from some more ordinary person than
our common ancestor; but the Garden of Eden
might well have been situated in a less pleasing
spot. One of its chief negative recommendations,
■ especially to persons in the garb of primeval man, mm
is the fact that.there are hardly any mosquitoes at
Adams Lake. We reached the water at the outflow
of the river and camped upon a large grassy promontory projecting into the lake in a horn-shaped
curve, enclosing a pool about an acre in extent,
from which the river commenced its course in a
series of white-crested rapids, while a steady stream
from the lake flowed into the pool through its
wide end. The surface was of glassy smoothness,
reflecting   the  wooded   hills   and   high   bare bank
upon the opposite side; but upon the breast of the
rapids, where the water toppled over and sank
rushing away with gradually increasing speed, the
surface seemed elongated and furrowed with changing
o o     o
lines as though drawn and sucked downwards with
the growing velocity. Collected by the concentration of the waters from all parts of the lake,
were floating to destruction myriads of large and
small moths and flies, unable to rise from the surface.
The smoothness of the water above this point was
constantly being broken by the splash of the great
trout as they fed greedily upon the plentiful harvest
of the air.
After having picketed one horse and belled the
other, my Shushwap uncovered a canoe which he
possessed/concealed in the bush.   As the deeper water M
where the trout were rising lay under the farther
shore, I had myself ferried across, as the sun had
barely set, and there remained at least half an hour
before it would become too dark for fishing.
The canoe was as cranky and dangerous as any
of those on the lower lake, and if some one were
to build a boat on this lake it would prove a great
convenience, as the trout fishing here is undoubtedly
the best in the district, and future anglers would
then be able to ply their craft in safety, because
the best fishing is on the very brink of the rapids,
where any delay or accident might result in one's
being carried down a mile in five minutes.
On landing I immediately set to work, with a
fine cast and moderate-sized brown flies, and enjoyed
the best sport I have met with since I fished the
Shellefteo River in North Sweden, the Vuoksa in
Finland, or the Sardinian Fluemendosa, or the Umeo,
or the Saguenay, or other of the best pleasure-
grounds of the enthusiastic angler.
I found a large, bright spoon-bait for the Indian,
with which he caught nearly as many as I did, but
of rather larger size.
The slopes of the mountain above descended in
a bare bank steeply into the crystal stream, and
left a clear hundred yards in the best portion free «—■*
from any bushes to hamper the casting of the flies.
The banks, however, are so abrupt that the centre
of the river, which was the best part, could only be
reached safely by means of a steady boat, of which
there was none. My rod was of greenheart, one of
the most durable kinds of wood of which rods are
made, twelve feet in length and as many years in.'
age. Many large trout fought stubbornly in the-
rapid current and tore themselves loose; while, from
the excited exclamations of the Siwash I knew he-
was having as much success as myself.
In half an hour we returned to camp in the
canoe with the total of eleven trout and one white
fish; the largest trout weighed three and a quarter
pounds on a small pocket scale which I carried, while
the aggregate weight of the twelve fish wTas twenty-
one and a quarter pounds, being an average weight
of a little under two pounds each.
The hills round Adams Lake seem to vary in
height from one to   two   thousand feet,  and   are
O *
closely timbered; but along the east shore, up to
a height of nearly one thousand feet, there are
fine open* grassy slopes, where numerous Indian
ponies are turned out to pasture. The length of
the lake is said to be about forty miles, but it
rarely exceeds  two   miles in width at   any part,
J s
the general direction being north and south. One
mile from the lower end, on the east bank, a wide
promontory of flat grass land, rising from the water
at a gradual slope, affords a good situation for a
village, of which the Indians have taken advantage
O    ' O
by building several houses at convenient spots,
and raising several patches of potatoes, of which
they are very proud. About two miles farther
on, upon the same side, some high cliffs descend
abruptly into the lake. Upon the side opposite
our camp, the other trail, to which I previously
alluded, reaches the lake at a convenient- place
for landing, and a hundred  feet above the water
is one of the most charming places for camping
grounds imaginable—a small bare plateau partly
shaded by a few pines, and commanding an exquisite panorama of the foaming rapids below as
they, issue from the lake, together with a view of
the distant reaches of the lake itself to the northwards, and the timbered valley to the south as
far as its junction with the Shushwap. Wild
raspberries were as numerous here as lower down,
together with wild currants and gooseberries ; but
while the flavour of the first-mentioned hardly
equalled that of the cultivated fruit, this deficiency
was atoned for by its abundance, j AN  ANGLERS   EDEN.
I endeavoured to make up next day for the
lack of a steady boat by lashing two canoes together
alongside with cross-pieces, but not firmly enough
to warrant any rough usage, as the Indian was
unwilling to do it permanently or securely, and
used merely some small bits of string, which
soon gave way, being passed through small holes
which we bored in the edge of the .canoe. The
better way would have been to have passed ropes
round the underside of the crafts.
Our largest trout the next day scaled four
and a quarter pounds. Some Indians passed, to
whom I gave a plentiful supply of fresh fish, and
they reiterated the statement I had previously
heard, that very much larger trout are found at
the north end. I also salted a large number of
trout and brought them down in a sack on one
of the horses, as I have a disinclination to wasting
fine fish of one's own capture.
John, the Siwash, spoke a bastard English of
the dullest description, but perfectly understandable,
which he had picked up while working for white
people in the Spallumcheen district, with which
he enlivened the return journey. The day of our
arrival I had barely pitched the tent when a
severe thunderstorm commenced;   but the weather
was now cloudless and exceedingly sultry, apropos
of which John remarked that it was "too much
hot"  for him.    I suggested   it must   likewise be
uncomfortable for the horses, upon which he said :
" Nothing for hot horse." The elucidation of this
curious sentence is easy when the key has once
been found to the grammatical arrangement of
similar sentences, of which this one is an example.   OP-
Vancouver, B.C., September 5th, 1890.
After returning once more to Victoria to fetch the
remainder of my outfit, I again travelled eastward
in order to hunt wild sheep in the interior. On
the way I " stopped over" at several places on
the line which I had omitted on my previous
journey. The first place was the Catholic school
at Mission for Indian boys and girls, a flourishing
farm at the mouth of the Fraser Valley, commanding a magnificent view of the delta. The Father
Director showed me all there was to see, the garden
was one mass of colour; most of the boys were
absent with the tribe, at work; the other Brother
was drowned a few days later while saving the life
of one of the pupils who was in danger. The next
place was Hope, a few miles further on.
There is  no edifice in   the  immediate  vicinity
1 2
; k
of Hope Station. The entire population dwells upon
the farther bank of the Fraser. A few Indian
families have the monopoly of ferrying people across
for a consideration, but at other times of the day
there is no certainty about being able to find Charon.
In fact, I stood and shouted for fifteen minutes
without producing any sign of human life visible
to the naked eye in the neighbourhood of the
Siwash shanty across the water, from which a blue
smoke was curling upwards, while amongst the trees
I could distinguish the red flesh of the split salmon
hung up to dry, and some canoes hauled up upon
the beach. But it is doubtful if I should have
done well, even had I succeeded in getting over on
* O O
the evening of my arrival. The mail-carrier had
already gone, and there was nothing left but to
pitch my tent beside the railway track. Comfortable accommodation for the night at the little hamlet
of Hope—the ambitious Fort Hope of former days
—would have been problematical, because there were
only two inns there, and these had both been burned
to the ground the previous day. Similarly the
young city of Vancouver was razed to the ground
by the destructive element on the very eve of my
arrival in 1886. In the morning, however, I discovered an Indian family encamped near the landing- WP
place, and a man with a canoe willing to be hired.
Hope is one of the most beautiful and picturesque
villages I have seen on the Fraser, or indeed anywhere. But its glory has passed away, it is a
dead-and-alive hamlet. It is surrounded by mountains not so rugged as to be repellent, but high
enough to lend a grandeur to the scenery.
Here the Fraser Valley first commences to narrow,
but the actual canyon does not commence till one
reaches Yale. I first visited the black and still
smoking ruins of the two inns, and heard the tale
O 7
of woe from the lips of their once proprietors. It
seems that male assistance was scarce on the outbreak of the conflagration, but women and children
worked with a will in saving what effects were within
reach, and the result was seen in piles of household
goods. The only street or highway in Hope is paved
with the greenest and closest of turf, for wheeled
vehicles are scarce. For a consideration a small
boy accompanied me for about a mile to the banks
of the Coquehahla River, as guide to a place where
fly-fishing might be had. He bore a small can of
salmon-roe and rod of his own, but I caught more
trout than he with the artificial fly—about a dozen
in all, none over half a pound. But the day was
fine, the trail picturesque and flat, and the river "■""•If
easy to fish and very pretty, while there was in
many places a broad expanse of stones and gravel
between the stream and the trees on either bank,
allowing one plenty of elbow-room to cast the line.
From Hope, as every one knows, a good pack trail
leads into the interior of the country eastwards to
Okanagan across the mountains. But snow is apt
to block the pass in the early winter, about the
end of September; but a route is always available
for returning by way of Kamloops.
Has it not yet been discovered; or if discovered,
has the fact not yet been published, that about a
couple of miles southwards from Hope, and facing
that town and the Fraser River Valley, there rises
a conical mountain, apparently about 4,000 feet
or more Id height, bearing upon its dark bosom,
about the centre, and immediately below the notch
in the summit, a magnificent specimen of that freak
of nature of which the renowned mountain of the
Holy Cross is the most celebrated example ? By
walking about twenty yards from Hope Station
towards the river to a point where the path descends
to the water, one of the finest views is to be had
of any upon the Fraser, and in the combination
of dark mountains, verdant valley, and rolling river,
it  is  undoubtedly  the  best  upon  the line.     This HUNTING BIGHORN.
coup d'ceil is framed in by the massive trunks
and dark fronds of enormous cedar-trees; and then
in clear weather in the distance glitters the great
cross of snow. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company have given us observation cars. Let them go
a step further and stop the train for five minutes
at Hope on fine days, to allow tourists to see not
only the mountain of the Holy Cross, but at the
same time the finest scene, of its class, upon the
The finest portion of the Fraser River canyon,
as I stated previously, is that between Yale and
Spuzzum, where the old waggon road crosses the
torrent by a suspension bridge, a distance of ten
miles. Higher up still, between Spuzzum and North
Bend, the canyon continues grand, especially at Hell's
Gate, about half-way between the two latter places,
but is less confined and narrow. I passed a day in
the gorge above Yale, abounding in wild raspberries
and gooseberries, to observe the method employed by
the Indians in netting their supply of salmon, and in
constructing the unstable-looking platforms overhanging the boiling eddies, upon which they crouch while
awaiting the entry of a fish into the huge landing-
net, as well as the places they choose for the
purpose.    I could see the jerk of the rope attached fir
to the mesh, which the Indian held in his hand,
and which informed me of the capture of a salmon,
which he promptly hauled up and clubbed, capturing
enough salmon to keep his squaw busily engaged
the whole day cutting up and hanging them on
the frames. I found North Bend a convenient
stopping place for visiting Hell's Gate, going by
the morning and returning by the evening train.
The best cuisine upon the line is, I think, to be
found here. The angling in the Thompson may be
said to be comprised between Lytton and Savona,
a distance of seventy miles. I was uncertain whether
to stop at Lytton, as in any case angling, I was
told, could be had in a lake twelve miles distant,
or at Spatsum, where no accommodation was to
be had, and where it was even doubtful whether
any human being would be found at the station;
but I finally went on to Ashcroft. I had previously
found fair fishing at Spence's, or Spencer's, Bridge.
My objective point being doubtful, I was allowed
to embark without a ticket, in order to buy one
from the conductor when I should have decided
where I was going to, and the conductor was informed to that effect. My baggage occupied a
considerable amount of space in the first-class car,
but the owner was nowhere to be seen.    When that HUNTING BIGHORN. 137
official did at length find me, I was seated upon
the cow-catcher, and he was in a considerable state
of heat and exasperation.
Below Lytton, the muddy water of the Fraser
debars all use of the rod. The most promising
portion of the Thompson River for fly-fishing, as
far as I could judge without stopping, appears to
me to be that part immediately above Lytton for
a distance of, say, twenty miles, which brings one
almost to Spence's, or Spencer's, Bridge. And this
is a part which seems to be rarely attempted by
the angler, yet for mile after mile I observed a
succession of rocky pools, to all appearance a very
paradise for trout. This portion of the country is
not often seen by persons passing in the train, as
the diurnal communication by rail takes place shortly
before and after midnight in the case of the west
and east-bound trains respectively. Above Lytton
the Thompson is broken up into deep pools and
eddies by great rocks in the river bed, before one
reaches Drynock—where the observation car is detached—whereas in other places there are but few
obstructions in its course. The moon was at the
full, and the landscape was seen almost as distinctly
as by day, while the appearance of the bare and
stony hills—for at Lytton one enters the dry zone 138     BEAR-HUNTING  IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
—was infinitely more attractive than by the garish
light of the sun. I was seated on the front part
of the locomotive, which the entire absence of smoke
and dust renders pleasanter than the observation
car as a place from which to view the scenery. I
have already described the angling at Spence's
At Ashcroft I hooked and lost some fine trout,
but caught many small ones. On all parts of the
Thompson one catches, without wishing to do so,
while fly-fishing, numbers of young salmon from
five to seven inches in length, distinguishable by the
row of dusky bars along the side. Few of the
piscators I met were aware of the fact, but had
always considered them to be some kind of trout.
Some even refused immediately to credit my statement. It is the custom in Scotland to return these
I parr" to their element, but it is doubtful if the
few thousands taken from the stream by anglers
can have any appreciable effect upon the amount
of salmon which return as full-grown fish to the
After passing the hamlet of Spatsum, which
shows no signs of life, and following the Thompson
through several deep, stony gorges, the train stops
at Ashcroft at  1.30  in  the morning,   meeting the HUNTING BIGHORN. 139
cars bound in the contrary direction. Ashcroft is
not an attractive place—hot and dry in summer,
but in the afternoon a breeze invariably springs
up from the southward, dying down at nightfall.
The local anglers flog the water industriously, and
fishing is consequently not so good as elsewhere.
The small Bonaparte River flows into the Thompson
a mile above the town from the northward, in which
small trout and young salmon are fairly numerous.
Some miles up this stream there is a fall, where
I observed a salmon vainly leaping in the attempt
to ascend. The salmon have commenced spawning
in the gravel reaches, and the trout are eagerly
feeding on the ova.
I have had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Dawson,
who has just arrived from the north, and is camped
near the mouth of the Bonaparte; he was interested
in hearing that there is a rival at Hope—as I stated
previously — to the Mountain of the Holy Cross
in Colorado, which latter is best known through
the chromo reproductions of Mr. Moran's great oil
painting of the scene. Dr. Dawson gave me the
particulars of an interesting tour which any one
might make in the summer, but as I shall not have
any opportunity for undertaking it I give the particulars here :   Leave the railway at Ashcroft, and 140     BEAR-HUNTING IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
go by pack-horses or take the mail car to Barkerville
in Cariboo; proceed thence to Quesnelle on the
Fraser, and thence to Fort St. James on Steuart
Lake—a Hudson Bay post. Continue the journey
over the H. B. C. pack-trail over the Pacific-Arctic
water-shed to Fort Macleod on the Parsnip River
—another of the Company's posts. The remainder
of the way is a long and easy canoe trip down the
Parsnip and Peace rivers to Fort Chipewyan on
Lake Athabasca, the only obstacles being some rapids
round which the contents of the canoes may have
to be portaged a short distance. At Fort Chipewyan
the Hudson Bay Company's steamer can be caught,
and the return made the usual way by Fort
From Ashcroft I started northwards on a
shooting trip in order to kill one specimen, and
no more, of the wild sheep of the Rocky Mountains,
or, more correctly, of the Cascade Range of British
Columbia. There are three places from which
people usually start when they are bound on a
hunting expedition in B.C. from the Canadian
Pacific Railway—Hope, Ashcroft, and Kamloops.
I found a freight-waggon, which happened to be
going in the direction I had decided to pursue,
very convenient for  sending on a few stores  and
tents. I bought a quiet horse from two men who
had returned somewhat prematurely, owing to an
accident, from an expedition they contemplated
making northwards, and also secured a saddle, and
O 7 7
made arrangements for disposing of the horse on
my return for half the price originally paid for
it. I also used a pair of light saddle-bags, to
contain what I needed until I should rejoin my
heavy baggage.
J oo   o
I quitted Ashcroft on horseback, keeping with
the waggon containing my supplies. After following
the Bonaparte for some miles, we turned to the
westward up Hat Creek—a small affluent, being
the road to Lillooet, while the main road continues
northwards to Clinton and the Cariboo mining
district—and camped near an Indian farm, where
fodder could be obtained. Further on I found the
bunch-grass plentiful near the road, but in the
neighbourhood of farms and settlements grazing is
very poor. The whole country is exceedingly dry,
being situated in the arid zone, which lies in lee
of the coast ranges of the Cascades, and the streams
are small and few. Timber grows thinly, and
small species of cacti abound. In fact, the contrast to the coast climate is very great, where it
constantly rains.     The   mountains   here  are   also
easier to climb, and can often be traversed on
horseback, while those on the seaboard are extremely difficult, even for a mountaineer on foot.
Indeed, they are too steep even for Ovis montana;
for only bears and wild goats can cope with their
abrupt declivities. Deer, of course, are found upon
the islands.
The road from Ashcroft to Lillooet is unnecessarily hilly and circuitous, for it was paid for
at so much a mile, and resembles in this respect
the railway from Maritzburg to Durban, or Baron
Hirsch's line to Constantinople. Next day, during
which it rained, I rode through the Marble Canyon—
a fine precipitous gorge with tremendous cliffs, which
looked all the wilder from the masses of vapour
drifting across their faces, and  curious rock towers
o *
and pillars; and then along the edge of Pavilion Lake
for six miles, the water of which is the clearest
and most intense blue colour I ever saw. There
are no trout known to exist in this lake, although
some have been turned in. Some men engaged
in repairing the road said they had seen an immense snake swimming across, and the Indians
have a tradition that any one seeing a fish there
is  eroing to   die   at once.   Pavilion Mountain has
several farms and  much grazing land on the sum- =■
mit. No one would guess from below how much
fine grassy table-land there is on the summits of
most of these mountains, where the herbage grows
thick and green. I stayed here several days with
an English family, who have been in the country
some years. The first morning I rode up the
mountain by a cattle trail, and dismounting whenever I put up any blue grouse, killed seven brace
in a short time. These birds invariably fly up
into the branches of the trees, where they are
exceedingly difficult to distinguish.
From here I might have reached Lillooet in a
day, but I was induced to put up for the night
at a farm about ten miles (leaving fifteen miles for
next day) from the lake, in order to examine some
ruins of the ancient semi-subterranean dwellings of
the aboriginal inhabitants.    Next morning I visited
a plateau on the hillside covered with circular excavations   like   diminutive  craters,  now overgrown
7 o
with shrubs;  after excavating in the centre of one
of the largest, I soon came upon cinders, at a depth
of eighteen inches, and turned up a flint arrow-head
nearly perfect. A covey of blue grouse were regarding my proceedings with great curiosity from
a distance of fifteen yards, and at length flew into
a tree.   The heat of the sun was so intense that 144    BEAR-HUNTING IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
I was forced to be  content with  my  arrow-head
and a few bones, and the same  afternoon I rode
on to Lillooet, stopping  at the   Indian village  of
La Fontaine to try and  engage an Indian for my
trip, and bought two fine jade hatchets.   There seems
to be some mystery about these ancient jade implements,   as no jade has yet been found in the
country, except in the shape of knives picked up
round these ruins.    The Indian chief himself followed
me down to Lillooet, and next day I engaged him
and another Indian with a pack-horse, both riding
their own horses, to accompany me into the mountains,   and   the   following   morning,   '■' bright   and
early,"  we set out, the Indians having turned up
at the little inn in good time.
We made a long "drive" that day in order to reach
good grazing for the horses, first following the right
bank of the Fraser upwards for some five miles
(the Fraser has recently been bridged at Lillooet),
as far as Bridge River, which, as its name implies,
has long ago been bridged by the Indians at the
part where it joins the Fraser. At this point is
an Indian village with its small Roman Catholic
chapel. We followed the left bank of Bridge River
upwards for fifteen miles along a narrow path,
across the face of the mountains, where steep slopes
and land-slides left one little choice, and where
I frequently found it advisable to dismount; the
Indians occasionally did the same. Down below
in the canyon roared the river, and small huts and
irrigation channels were frequently observable on
the other side, where Chinese labourers were washing
the alluvial, gravelly strata for the free gold which
it contains. Most of them were using flumes, but
sometimes, owing to the scarcity of water, they
could only use a rocker. The bed of Bridge River
is sure to contain a large amount of gold, but I
should imagine that a capital of five thousand
pounds is needed to get any of it out.
At last, at sunset, we reached the North Fork,
and prepared to ford it. On the other bank lay
the promised land—grass thick and green, flowers,
edible berries of many kinds, and game in plenty.
The Indians affected to make light of the fording
of this turbulent stream; but it was high and
rapid, and the bed was composed of huge, smooth,
round boulders, amongst which the ponies floundered
dreadfully. We camped at once on a flat near a
stream. I picketed my horse with a long rope, the
Indians belled one of theirs and hobbled another;
they take saddle and blanket off their horses as
soon as   they camp,  however   hot   they may be, mm
and it seems to have no ill effect, but the air is
We set off betimes next day; but not before
one Indian had fired at a deer, and the other had
prepared a supply of kanikanik to smoke in his
pipe, mixed with a little tobacco. I had observed
him plucking fronds of this plant (which grows
close to the ground and bears edible red berries),
and roasting them in front of the fire by placing
them in a slit at the end of a stick stuck into
the ground, and could not imagine what he was
about. I smoked some of the mixture, and found
it milder than tobacco alone, and the perfume not
It is wonderful what gifts of nature lie ready
to hand in the woods and forests for those who
know the secrets. What an untold number of
berries, plants, and roots are good for food; only
for fear of being poisoned one is unwilling to make
experiments! Most of these are known to the
Indians; but the race itself is dying out, and the
secrets of the plants and berries is dying out with
them. But now the Indians take white man's food
with them, instead of subsisting, as they used,
wholly from the earth's wild bounty and game.
However, on this trip, Kilipoudken, the Indian tyee HUNTING BIGHORN.
or chief, taught me to eat five kinds of berries new
to me, which, untaught, I should not have ventured
to taste. I also munched the wild celery, and sipped
the sap of the black pine, besides feasting on other
wild fruits which I already knew—some sour, some
sweet—and smoked, as I said before, the dried leaf
of the kanikanik.
On leaving camp, Kilipoudken led the way on
his sorrel pony, his legs, Indian-like, working unceasingly, and thumping against the pony's sides,
as though to urge it to go faster than a walk, which
it never did ; but, as green bunch-grass was growing
in profusion, it kept snatching mouthfuls as it went,
as did all the four; for we were in a grass-heaven
compared to other parts of this arid district. The
trail ascended constantly in a westerly direction,
gradually leaving the clear waters of the North Fork
(the water of Bridge River is thick, coming from
glaciers evidently, in a country which has not yet
been explored). Then we had to cross a deep gully,
which took us down and up at least 500 feet. Here
we saw some bear-tracks. After this the ascent was
continuous, mostly keeping along the summits of
ancient moraine, ridges, through small but close
.timber,' where the Indians pointed out to me on
all sides plenty of deer-tracks.
L 2 «"•
I '/i
At last we reached the table-land on the summit,
and I found myself in a country like a Scotch moor
or deer forest, with bogs, grassy plains, and stony
hills. We camped at the head of a valley, which
led down to Bridge River. After supper I walked
round a hill ridge with the two Indians—one taking
his own Remington rifle — and we saw below us a
great basin, partly wooded, and speckled with small
ponds and marshes. After looking about for some
time, and seeing plenty of tracks on the hill, we
saw some deer feeding about a mile off on the
plateau below. The sun was sinking, so we started
for them at once, the wind favouring us, and after
climbing over much fallen timber, we thought they
must be near at hand, and I went on ahead, and
soon caught sight of a young stag. I fired twice,
and killed it, and at the same time five or six
others bounded away across the rough ground. The
young Indian ran after them, and kept firing shot
after shot, making me anxious lest he should kill
more than we needed, for an Indian's lust for
slaughter is insatiable. He kills for the sake of
killing. I was thankful to find, however, that all
the shots were fired at the same animal, which
he succeeded in bagging—a young stag like mine.
Leaving the Indians to bring in the meat, I took HUNTING BIGHORN.
both rifles and returned alone to camp. Next
morning I cut up most of the meat into strips,
salted it, and hung it on bushes to dry; and
when we returned, four days later, I found it perfectly hard and solid, and likely to keep for years
in that condition, for the weather had continued
fine and sunny. The exterior becomes hard at once
when put out in this manner to dry, preventing
the flies from harming it. Wilful waste of good
venison is inexcusable when there are means of
using or preserving it. 150     BEAR-HUNTING IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
The following day we crossed the mountain, and
halted for some time at the farther edge to spy for
sheep. A bitterly cold wind was blowing from the
Chilcoten Valley below, and from the snowpeaks of
the Cascade range, which fringed the entire horizon
to the westward. Then we commenced the descent,
and immediately scared three fine ewes (Ovis mon-
tana, or bighorn), which we ought to have seen
before. I left the choice of camping-place to Kili-
poudken, and, after descending about a thousand
feet along the old trail, we crossed a ridge to the
O ' O
northwards, and camped in a charming spot near a
brook, amidst slopes covered with the thickest and
greenest grass and flowers knee-deep, in which the
tired ponies luxuriated to their hearts' content.
The view of the snowpeaks and this beautiful
valley, with its abundant food and gentle slopes
so easy to climb and traverse, the abundance of
game and absence of any human signs, made it one
of the most attractive landscapes I have ever seen
in North America; the extremely steep and rugged
mountains I have been accustomed to on my journeys
to Alaska made me enjoy it all the more.
We looked about that evening with field-glass and
telescope, but saw no sheep.
Next day we hunted some of the best ground. HUNTING BIGHORN.
We kept too low down, instead of scaling the heights
above us, skirting the timber line where the deer
love to dwell, of which we saw ten or twelve. The
walking was easy, mostly over grassy slopes, the
scenery superb, and the weather fine. Not having
seen any bighorn, I determined to shoot a deer in
returning, and the chance soon came—a fine stag
standing broadside among some trees. He was first
sighted by Kilipoudken. I do the old man the
justice to say that his eyesight was wonderful, yet
I was the first the following day to sight a band
of bighorn.
While I was creeping laboriously up into position for a shot, the Indians lost patience and advanced, scaring the deer away. It is better to hunt
alone when one once knows the ground, unless a man
is afraid of being lost.
Next morning we shifted camp, but only for a
few miles, intending to hunt the mountains to the
southward, as a last chance, before returning. We
set out about noon. The younger Indian had overeaten himself, and remained in camp, for which I
was not heart-broken, for I felt that two had a
better chance than three. First I allowed Kilipoudken to take the lead, and the old man was
proud and happy; but I soon saw it was useless to 152     BEAR-HUNTING  IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
keep so low down, feeling sure the sheep were upon
the cool and rocky heights above, so I was obliged to
depose him and make him follow me, which he did
very unwillingly, seeming to take no further interest
in the chase. I knew the mountain we were on to
be cone-shaped; it was composed of limestone, which
lay in loose masses upon the slopes, in great blocks
and slabs, which often moved when one stepped
upon them. The wind was blowing across from
below, and I saw the only hope was to climb the
peak and descend the other side. We must already
have scared any sheep there were on this side, and
if there were any upon the other face they would
be less suspicious of danger from above than from
We reached the summit and commenced the
descent upon the other side, which I found was likewise composed of loose pieces of rock. Suddenly,
upon a grassy ledge, I saw four bighorn appear, as
they fed upwards, climbing from the depths. I
made a sign to Kilipoudken, who was some forty
yards behind, and we both sank down as if shot,
not to move a muscle for nearly three hours. Five
more bighorn soon joined the four, and then three
more, making in all a ram, eight ewes, and three
lambs.    After feeding about they presently scratched 5^H5^^B_^^^^^^^^
the stones away with their fore-feet, to make a
smooth place, and all lay down. Then some of
them rose and grazed again, and then lay down
once more. Hoping they might feed nearer yet, I
refrained from firing. One of my legs was cramped
and without any feeling. My seat, so suddenly
chosen among sharp rocks, was most uncomfortable;
in fact, I had almost lost the power of motion for
the time being. Presently a ewe rose and forced
some of the other bighorn to do the same by poking
them in the back with her horns.
The view of the distant snowpeaks and the
whole landscape was superb; it was most interesting
to watch these creatures eating, resting, and playing
together, the lambs taking their natural nourishment (it was near the end of August) exactly
like those domesticated. But three hours was
enough; I was so uncomfortably placed that I
felt that I should be permanently paralysed if I
remained any longer. I determined to end the
The distance was about 200 yards, almost directly
downwards; the ram was lying in the centre, surrounded by the ewes. I pressed the trigger and
fired; in a moment all was confusion. Kilipoudken
sprang yelling to his feet; the ram lay struggling 154    BEAR-HUNTING IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS.
vainly to rise. The band of bighorn, one less in
number than before, were racing across the flat,
followed by the lambs, one of which was unable
to go the pace, and was bleating in a heartrending
manner; next moment they passed from sight. So
ended successfully my six-days' hunt for mountain
sheep. Kilipoudken cleaned the ram, and dragged
it down the mountain to a spot we should pass
on our way back in the morning, taking enough
meat to camp for supper and breakfast. He wanted
to throw the carcase down the slope, so that it
might come bounding and rolling down the precipices to the very door of the tent; but I refused to
permit this for fear it might bruise the horns.
Two days later I was back in Lillooet, after
an absence of just a week, and enjoyed some capital
trout fishing in the three or four miles of river
between Lake Seton and the Fraser. The river
was full of salmon, though this did not prevent
the trout (some up to three pounds), and in the
lake the white fish, from taking the fly freely.
The salmon in the Fraser at this point formed a
sight that was phenomenal. As in other portions
of the river I had not observed such immense
numbers, possibly because they remained entirely
below the surface,  whereas here, on the contrary, HUNTING BIGHORN. 155
the dorsal fins and portions of the backs of myriads
of them projected above the muddy surface of the
stream, which in consequence seemed in places
almost black. They were so plentiful that I managed
to touch several with my hand, and even jerked
some out of water with the handle of my umbrella,
as they swam and drifted near the edge, apparently
tired out, many of them with wounds about the
head, perhaps caused by sharp rocks in the turbid
current. The Indians were, of course, drying some
for winter use. If I had had any need of them I
could have landed plenty with a gaff or spear of
any kind.
I was not surprised also to find that the white
inhabitants of Lillooet were not drying any for
food, as people in British Columbia do not care
much for salmon.
Lillooet is an odd little hamlet. People with
chest complaints sometimes come to stay in the
little inn, for the climate is very warm and dry
in summer. Rain rarely falls, though the sky
sometimes looks threatening. Nothing can be grown
without irrigation, and water for that purpose is
scarce. The scenery round about is exquisitely
beautiful. The clear Seton River joins the Fraser
just below the town, flowing through a gorge with HCP
fine cliffs on either side. The Indians in the
neighbourhood are mostly employed in agricultural
pursuits, farming their own land. Previous to the
completion of the C. P. R. the route to the coast
used to be across the Seton and Anderson lakes,
and thence by waggon to Harrison Lake, and by
steamer down the Fraser.
Since my return to England rumours have reached me of the
death of Messrs. Wells and Price, -within the confines of the unknown district alluded to at the commencement of this volume.
If funds were available I should he ready to enter this part of the
interior in search of them in command of an expedition composed
exclusively of Indians.
The hasis of the map given in this volume is taken from
that published in the Annual Report of the Geological Survey of
Canada to illustrate the journey made hy Dr. Dawson in 1887;
My thanks are due to the Editors of those periodicals who
have allowed me the use of my former contributions as a
correspondent.     [J1
.. >-fj_:A        ->s '
>  . ■ **.•* ~>L^
Purchased £g !_/&<■■#> f9f^-~
FROM^T*^^^^  ft/A.
Place of Purchase jgl-c^n
Price /^/6	
Later Catalogued Prices
W.) Bear-Hunting
vj> of Chilcoot dis-
\^n-o ^^ON^S***^* ^■^^*^yJU**y—J^h
,*rtC-*   ML    /CI   Ml
/?  H. Sfrarbau, Del


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