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darkness falls." This was at once agreed to, so I left them and hurried back to our own

camp, where Mac and Stewart were anxiously awaiting the result of my inquiries.


Our tent was struck before daybreak on the following morning, and all our goods lay scattered in 50-lb. sacks on the top of the snow. Leaving my companions to arrange matters and choose their respective loads, I went off to gather my pack team. I had some difficulty in rousing them: they were not at all anxious for the job, and if it had not been for the promise given the night before by their leader, I believe I should not have got one of them, even at their own extravagant price. They, however, got ready and came, sullenly enough, to our camping-ground to get their burdens. Most of them drew aside two fifties and at once proceeded to fix them into their pack-straps. One got our three sleighs as his load, while another contented him self with the stove and blankets. Before their arrival on the scene Mac had packed for himself the tent and two fifties. "A'm no gaun to be beat by ony man," he grunted, as he adjusted his pack-straps to his satisfaction; and Stewart, not wishing to be excelled, surreptitiously undid his pack, which had contained the orthodox weight, and inserted another sack. "If he can dae it, a' can dae it,” he remarked firmly; and no remonstrance of mine had any effect. Even Dave was requisitioned, and had all the

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cooking utensils strapped to his broad shoulders. As for myself, I carried my snow-shoes, three rifles, and all the ammunition, the latter no trifle,-yet altogether my load was the lightest, and allowed me more freedom of movement than was possible to the others. At eight o'clock we started: the chief packer went first; I followed with Dave at my heels, struggling nobly with his load; then came Mac and Stewart, while the main body straggled erratically behind. If the route to Sheep Camp was bad, the continuation to the base of the summit was a hundred times worse. The mountains gradually closing in on each side, we were forced to keep in the riverbed, and move upwards over its almost dry rocky channel as best we could. The acclivity was now exceedingly steep and seemed to lead right into the clouds; and as we slowly climbed, stopping every few hundred yards to rest, I wondered if the "Summit" could be much more difficult. Great glaciers hung all around, and their enormous masses of blue ice stretched half-way down the mountains. No trace of vegetation was visible: truly it was a scene of the most extreme desolation. After three hours of very hard work we reached the scales, as the base of the "Summit " is called. The last

climb was over the summit of the joining ridge of the "Great Barrier Ranges" that unite at this point, and from which many lesser spurs radiate.

For nearly 1000 feet the frowning barrier rose at an angle of almost 90°. No place for foothold could be seen, and the snow had covered any markings that might have been there previously. The snow was falling in large soft flakes as we sat down to rest before making the final effort, and the sound of the wind whistling fiercely above came to our ears as a soft sighing moan of varying cadence. A few minutes passed in contemplation, and we started to the seemingly impossible task before us. The chief packer went first to pick out the snowcovered trail, but this he found to be impossible, owing to the depth of snow on the ledges. Several unsuccessful attempts were made, and my pack team began to show evident signs of mutiny: some were even prepared to return to Sheep Camp. Just then Dave scrambled past us, his pots and pans rattling furiously as he leapt upwards, and in a short time he was well above us, slowly yet surely getting nearer to the top.

"Hurrah! the dog's found it," shouted the chief packer, who had been anxiously watching Dave's progress. "Come on, boys, before his trail is covered; and he was soon leading the way after Dave, I following in his tracks. "Good old Dave!" came from Stewart below in laboured accents. "A'll never kick him again," solemnly spoke Mac. But the

rest of the packers did not seem at all pleased, and gave vent to their dissatisfaction at every step. With hands and feet clutching at the snow-covered rocks, and straining every nerve to keep from falling backwards, we struggled up the face of the awful mountain. At times we had to depend on strength of arm alone to drag ourselves over the jutting crags that stood out above us at intervals; and occasionally, when no foothold or chance crevice offered itself, progress could only be made by lying flat against the snow and writhing upwards until some welcome projection appeared to aid us. We seemed to make scarcely any progress, and when an hour had passed we were not more than half-way to the top; but so steep had been the ascent that a stone could be dropped to the point from which we started. A little more than half-way up the mountain we came to a small cave, and out of a fissure in its rocky floor gurgled a stream of crystal water. Here we rested for a few minutes and then started again to our difficult task. It was getting late in the afternoon, and I was much afraid that darkness would be on us before we reached our destination. This way, then that way, in every conceivable manner, we twisted and zigzagged. Now we came to a narrow snow-covered ledge only a few inches in width, over which we moved carefully, not daring to look down: again a small glacier presented its slippery surface, and to it would

succeed the usual stiff climb joining in this exercise, so I over snow-covered rocks. I had to be content with the have already noted the absence more commonplace method of of vegetation, but above the walking down on my snowscales a very curious-looking shoes. plant finds root in the crevices, and twists and twines its long creeping roots and stems over the rocks, and one is sometimes tempted to grasp it as a means of aid to progression; but what an irony of nature this seems to be, for the innocent-looking plant stings like an adder, and the hands are rendered useless by its poison for days after touching it. Although aware of its dangerous properties, I could scarcely refrain from making use of it occasionally. As we neared the top the whistle of the wind increased in shrillness and the air grew keener, and two hours after leaving the scales, amid blinding showers of snow, we arrived at the height of the notorious Chilcoot Pass. We floundered on through the snow, first into a small hollow, then over another sharp ascent, now called the second summit, and at last we looked down on the other side. Our pack team gave a yell of delight which I echoed heartily, and Mac and Stewart betrayed the depth of their emotion by muttered ejaculations of extraordinary fervour. The descent on this side was fairly steep, but without rocks, and an even depth of snow spread downwards into the mists below. The packers undid their loads and let them roll, while they themselves lay down on the snow and rolled after. My load of rifles, &c., prevented me

We must have descended about 500 feet before reaching what in the dusk appeared to be a level table-land. It was almost dark when we got down, and my pack team departed hurriedly to get back over the summit before nightfall, and we three were left alone in an awful solitude. Our first discovery was that there was no timber, consequently we could have no fire. Then I anathematised myself for not bringing the tent-poles; but we could not better ourselves, so we dined on pilot biscuits, and afterwards proceeded to dig a hole in the snow wherein to pass the night. We could do nothing in the darkness, and, as we were beginning to suffer much from the cold, we rolled ourselves up in our blankets, lay down in our snowy excavation, and tried to sleep. We shivered all night. My companions each wished to appropriate Dave as a pillow; but Dave objected to being a pillow for either of them, and sprang out of the snow shelter, sending a small avalanche down on our faces. Mac was much annoyed: "A'll hae that dug's life," he growled. Dave, however, found it too cold outside, and came quickly back, jumping down with a thud on Mac's chest. After much argument I managed to save him from Mac's just indignation, and Dave showed his appreciation by nestling his big warm body close to me all night. It was

a long dreary night, and the encampment




glimmering stars looked plain- Stewart said, "did a mighty tively down on our snowy big freeze."


Next morning I looked on a frozen lake set between two noble mountain - ranges that circled round and almost enclosed it. Behind me lay the Chilcoot Pass, with all its terrors and hidden dangers, while in the distance in front I could distinguish the lofty mountains that formed the magnificent Yukon Valley.

The small lake before me was Crater Lake, the real source of that vast waterway that drains the heart of North-West Canada and Alaska. I was much impressed by the natural beauty and rugged grandeur of the scene; but I was hastily recalled from my sublime reflections by Stewart whispering gently in my ear something to the effect that "he couldna see hoo he was to cook the breakfast!"

"I rather guess we'll have to do without any this morning, Stewart; the best plan is to have our goods divided over the three sleighs and get as quickly as we can into a lower latitude, where we may find some timber, and heaven only knows how far off that may be." Stewart and Mac quickly loaded the sleighs, and without losing any time we started to make our way over the glassy surface of Crater Lake. Dave had a small sleigh to himself, and pulled his 200 lb. without difficulty.

We very quickly got over the lake, which was about two miles long, and then we had some hard pulling over the rough ice of the small river that flowed from it. This small

stream continued for about two miles, and took us through a dark narrow gorge that looked quite eerie in the dim light. Great stalactites

and icicles hung from the rocks, making the gully look like the icy cavern of some Demon of the Mountains.

We were making very fair progress, and if Mac and Stewart seemed to lag for a moment, as well they might, the mere mention of breakfast would make them them redouble their efforts. We now entered another frozen water, called Long Lake. It was also about two miles long, but only a few hundred yards wide. We were all feeling very hungry by the time we had traversed it, and were beginning to wonder how much farther it would be necessary to go before reaching timber. It must be remembered that the descent had been scarcely noticeable since leaving Crater Lake, and we were still fully 3000 feet above sealevel. I had heard that Lake Linderman was surrounded with fine timber, but we were still several miles from its shores. Long Lake ends in a a small frozen river similar to that


which issues from Crater Lake but slightly larger: it is, however, of no great length, and after crossing a few hundred yards of comparatively flat country, it broadens out into yet another lake, also a small one and bearing the name of Deep Lake. It was two hours since we had left our "snow dug-out" on the shore of Crater Lake, and I calculated that we were now within four miles of Lake LinderThe ice on Deep Lake was soft and wet, and the sleigh - runners stuck hard in the slush, causing us much delay as a matter of fact, it took us fully half an hour to get over this lake, and yet it was but half a mile long. We were becoming very much exhausted, but were somewhat cheered to notice small scraggy brushwood appear above the snow on the hillside. Soon we came to fairly large timber, and with one accord Stewart and Mac unhitched themselves from their sleighs and rushed with axes at the larger trees, bent on their instant destruction.


Soon a huge fire blazed up cheerfully, and we drew our sleighs close to the glowing logs, and making a seat of the sacks, we enjoyed the genial warmth with feelings of profound thankfulness. Mac and Stewart now busied themselves in making breakfast, and while they were engaged in this pleasurable occupation Dave and I had a look round. I saw that we would have some difficulties to overcome before reaching Linderman, as the river below us again disap

peared into a deep gorge and rushed over some great rocks. Its surface was now free from ice, and the roar of the water could be plainly heard even at our camp-fire. I saw that our only plan was to strike a trail over the side of the mountain, which, unfortunately, was at this point very precipitous. I afterwards found that this was not the chief drawback, as the snow lay deep on the mountain and was a factor to be considered; but, in blissful ignorance of the toilsome work that lay before us, I went back to the fire and smoked the pipe of contentment while breakfast was being got ready. I can hardly say that the cold affected us very much, even although my thermometer kept well below zero: so long as we moved about we did not feel uncomfortable, but if we were inactive for a moment a benumbing sensation was felt all over the body, particularly in the nose and fingers. The season had only commenced, and I confess that I looked forward with feelings of great trepidation to the time when our thermometer would register 60° below zero.

We did not trouble to pitch our tent at this place, as it was yet quite early, and we hoped to reach Linderman before nightfall. There was no sign of animal life in this district, but the want of vegetation fully explained the circumstance.

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