Tenting To-night A Chronicle of Sport and Adventure in Glacier Park and the Cascade Mountains

#History #United States
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Excerpt THE TRAIL The trail is narrow—often but the width of the pony's feet, a tiny path that leads on and on. It is always ahead, sometimes bold and wide, as when it leads the way through the forest; often narrow, as when it hugs the sides of the precipice; sometimes even hiding for a time in river bottom or swamp, or covered by the débris of last winter's avalanche. Sometimes it picks its precarious way over snow-fields which hang at dizzy heights, and again it flounders through mountain streams, where the tired horses must struggle for footing, and do not even dare to stoop and drink. It is dusty; it is wet. It climbs; it falls; it is beautiful and terrible. But always it skirts the coast of adventure. Always it goes on, and always it calls to those that follow it. Tiny path that it is, worn by the feet of earth's wanderers, it is the thread which has knit together the solid places of the earth. The path of feet in the wilderness is the onward march of life itself.   Trail over Gunsight Pass, Glacier National Park City-dwellers know nothing of the trail. Poor followers of the pavements, what to them is this six-inch path of glory? Life for many of them is but a thing of avenues and streets, fixed and unmysterious, a matter of numbers and lights and post-boxes and people. They know whither their streets lead. There is no surprise about them, no sudden discovery of a river to be forded, no glimpse of deer in full flight or of an eagle poised over a stream. No heights, no depths. To know if it rains at night, they look down at shining pavements; they do not hold their faces to the sky. Now, I am a near-city-dweller. For ten months in the year, I am particular about mail-delivery, and eat an evening dinner, and occasionally agitate the matter of having a telephone in every room in the house. I run the usual gamut of dinners, dances, and bridge, with the usual country-club setting as the spring goes on. And each May I order a number of flimsy frocks, in the conviction that I have done all the hard going I need to, and that this summer we shall go to the New England coast. And then—about the first of June there comes a day when I find myself going over the fishing-tackle unearthed by the spring house-cleaning and sorting out of inextricable confusion the family's supply of sweaters, old riding-breeches, puttees, rough shoes, trout-flies, quirts, ponchos, spurs, reels, and old felt hats. Some of the hats still have a few dejected flies fastened to the ribbon, melancholy hackles, sadly ruffled Royal Coachmen, and here and there the determined gayety of the Parmachene Belle. I look at my worn and rubbed high-laced boots, at my riding-clothes, snagged with many briers and patched from many saddles, at my old brown velours hat, survival of many storms in many countries. It has been rained on in Flanders, slept on in France, and has carried many a refreshing draft to my lips in my "ain countree." I put my fishing-rod together and give it a tentative flick across the bed, and—I am lost....
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