Part 3 - The Last of the Plainsmen Audiobook by Zane Grey (Chs 12-17)

Uploaded by CCProse on 14.11.2011

At daybreak our leader routed us out. The frost mantled the ground so heavily
that it looked like snow, and the rare atmosphere bit like the breath of winter.
The forest stood solemn and gray; the canyon lay wrapped in vapory slumber.
Hot biscuits and coffee, with a chop or two of the delicious Persian lamb meat, put a
less Spartan tinge on the morning, and gave Wallace and me more strength--we needed not
incentive to leave the fire, hustle our
saddles on the horses and get in line with our impatient leader.
The hounds scampered over the frost, shoving their noses at the tufts of grass
and bluebells.
Lawson and Jim remained in camp; the rest of us trooped southwest.
A mile or so in that direction, the forest of pine ended abruptly, and a wide belt of
low, scrubby old trees, breast high to a horse, fringed the rim of the canyon and
appeared to broaden out and grow wavy southward.
The edge of the forest was as dark and regular as if a band of woodchoppers had
trimmed it.
We threaded our way through this thicket, all peering into the bisecting deer trails
for cougar tracks in the dust. "Bring the dogs!
Hurry!" suddenly called Jones from a thicket.
We lost no time complying, and found him standing in a trail, with his eyes on the
"Take a look, boys. A good-sized male cougar passed here last
night. Hyar, Sounder, Don, Moze, come on!"
It was a nervous, excited pack of hounds.
Old Jude got to Jones first, and she sang out; then Sounder opened with his ringing
bay, and before Jones could mount, a string of yelping dogs sailed straight for the
"Ooze along, boys!" yelled Frank, wheeling Spot.
With the cowboy leading, we strung into the pines, and I found myself behind.
Presently even Wallace disappeared.
I almost threw the reins at Satan, and yelled for him to go.
The result enlightened me. Like an arrow from a bow, the black shot
Frank had told me of his speed, that when he found his stride it was like riding a
flying feather to be on him.
Jones, fearing he would kill me, had cautioned me always to hold him in, which I
had done.
Satan stretched out with long graceful motions; he did not turn aside for logs,
but cleared them with easy and powerful spring, and he swerved only slightly to the
This latter, I saw at once, made the danger for me.
It became a matter of saving my legs and dodging branches.
The imperative need of this came to me with convincing force.
I dodged a branch on one tree, only to be caught square in the middle by a snag on
Crack! If the snag had not broken, Satan would
have gone on riderless, and I would have been left hanging, a pathetic and drooping
monition to the risks of the hunt.
I kept ducking my head, now and then falling flat over the pommel to avoid a
limb that would have brushed me off, and hugging the flanks of my horse with my
Soon I was at Wallace's heels, and had Jones in sight.
Now and then glimpses of Frank's white horse gleamed through the trees.
We began to circle toward the south, to go up and down shallow hollows, to find the
pines thinning out; then we shot out of the forest into the scrubby oak.
Riding through this brush was the cruelest kind of work, but Satan kept on close to
the sorrel. The hollows began to get deeper, and the
ridges between them narrower.
No longer could we keep a straight course. On the crest of one of the ridges we found
Jones awaiting us. Jude, Tige and Don lay panting at his feet.
Plainly the Colonel appeared vexed.
"Listen," he said, when we reined in. We complied, but did not hear a sound.
"Frank's beyond there some place," continued Jones, "but I can't see him, nor
hear the hounds anymore.
Don and Tige split again on deer trails. Old Jude hung on the lion track, but I
stopped her here. There's something I can't figure.
Moze held a beeline southwest, and he yelled seldom.
Sounder gradually stopped baying. Maybe Frank can tell us something."
Jones's long drawn-out signal was answered from the direction he expected, and after a
little time, Frank's white horse shone out of the gray-green of a ledge a mile away.
This drew my attention to our position.
We were on a high ridge out in the open, and I could see fifty miles of the shaggy
slopes of Buckskin.
Southward the gray, ragged line seemed to stop suddenly, and beyond it purple haze
hung over a void I knew to be the canyon.
And facing west, I came, at last, to understand perfectly the meaning of the
breaks in the Siwash.
They were nothing more than ravines that headed up on the slopes and ran down,
getting steeper and steeper, though scarcely wider, to break into the canyon.
Knife-crested ridges rolled westward, wave on wave, like the billows of a sea.
I appreciated that these breaks were, at their sources, little washes easy to jump
across, and at their mouths a mile deep and impassable.
Huge pine trees shaded these gullies, to give way to the gray growth of stunted oak,
which in turn merged into the dark green of pinyon.
A wonderful country for deer and lions, it seemed to me, but impassable, all but
impossible for a hunter.
Frank soon appeared, brushing through the bending oaks, and Sounder trotted along
behind him. "Where's Moze?" inquired Jones.
"The last I heard of Moze he was out of the brush, goin' across the pinyon flat, right
for the canyon. He had a hot trail."
"Well, we're certain of one thing; if it was a deer, he won't come back soon, and if
it was a lion, he'll tree it, lose the scent, and come back.
We've got to show the hounds a lion in a tree.
They'd run a hot trail, bump into a tree, and then be at fault.
What was wrong with Sounder?"
"I don't know. He came back to me."
"We can't trust him, or any of them yet. Still, maybe they're doing better than we
The outcome of the chase, so favorably started was a disappointment, which we all
felt keenly.
After some discussion, we turned south, intending to ride down to the rim wall and
follow it back to camp.
I happened to turn once, perhaps to look again at the far-distant pink cliffs of
Utah, or the wave-like dome of Trumbull Mountain, when I saw Moze trailing close
behind me.
My yell halted the Colonel. "Well, I'll be darned!" ejaculated he, as
Moze hove in sight. "Come hyar, you rascal!"
He was a tired dog, but had no sheepish air about him, such as he had worn when lagging
in from deer chases.
He wagged his tail, and flopped down to pant and pant, as if to say: "What's wrong
with you guys?" "Boys, for two cents I'd go back and put
Jude on that trail.
It's just possible that Moze treed a lion. But--well, I expect there's more likelihood
of his chasing the lion over the rim; so we may as well keep on.
The strange thing is that Sounder wasn't with Moze.
There may have been two lions. You see we are up a tree ourselves.
I have known lions to run in pairs, and also a mother keep four two-year-olds with
her. But such cases are rare.
Here, in this country, though, maybe they run round and have parties."
As we left the breaks behind we got out upon a level pinyon flat.
A few cedars grew with the pinyons.
Deer runways and trails were thick. "Boys, look at that," said Jones.
"This is great lion country, the best I ever saw."
He pointed to the sunken, red, shapeless remain of two horses, and near them a
ghastly scattering of bleached bones. "A lion-lair right here on the flat.
Those two horses were killed early this spring, and I see no signs of their
carcasses having been covered with brush and dirt.
I've got to learn lion lore over again, that's certain."
As we paused at the head of a depression, which appeared to be a gap in the rim wall,
filled with massed pinyons and splintered piles of yellow stone, caught Sounder going
through some interesting moves.
He stopped to smell a bush. Then he lifted his head, and electrified me
with a great, deep sounding bay. "Hi! there, listen to that!" yelled Jones
"What's Sounder got?
Give him room--don't run him down. Easy now, old dog, easy, easy!"
Sounder suddenly broke down a trail. Moze howled, Don barked, and Tige let out
his staccato yelp.
They ran through the brush here, there, every where.
Then all at once old Jude chimed in with her mellow voice, and Jones tumbled off his
"By the Lord Harry! There's something here."
"Here, Colonel, here's the bush Sounder smelt and there's a sandy trail under it,"
I called.
"There go Don an' Tige down into the break!" cried Frank.
"They've got a hot scent!"
Jones stooped over the place I designated, to jerk up with reddening face, and as he
flung himself into the saddle roared out: "After Sounder! Old Tom!
Old Tom! Old Tom!"
We all heard Sounder, and at the moment of Jones's discovery, Moze got the scent and
plunged ahead of us. "Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!" yelled the Colonel.
Frank sent Spot forward like a white streak.
Sounder called to us in irresistible bays, which Moze answered, and then crippled Jude
bayed in baffled impotent distress.
The atmosphere was charged with that lion. As if by magic, the excitation communicated
itself to all, and men, horses and dogs acted in accord.
The ride through the forest had been a jaunt.
This was a steeplechase, a mad, heedless, perilous, glorious race.
And we had for a pacemaker a cowboy mounted on a tireless mustang.
Always it seemed to me, while the wind rushed, the brush whipped, I saw Frank far
ahead, sitting his saddle as if glued there, holding his reins loosely forward.
To see him ride so was a beautiful sight.
Jones let out his Comanche yell at every dozen jumps and Wallace sent back a
thrilling "Waa-hoo-o!"
In the excitement I had again checked my horse, and when Jones remembered, and
loosed the bridle, how the noble animal responded!
The pace he settled into dazed me; I could hardly distinguish the deer trail down
which he was thundering.
I lost my comrades ahead; the pinyons blurred in my sight; I only faintly heard
the hounds.
It occurred to me we were making for the breaks, but I did not think of checking
Satan. I thought only of flying on faster and
"On! On! old fellow! Stretch out!
Never lose this race! We've got to be there at the finish!"
I called to Satan, and he seemed to understand and stretched lower, farther,
The brush pounded my legs and clutched and tore my clothes; the wind whistled; the
pinyon branches cut and whipped my face.
Once I dodged to the left, as Satan swerved to the right, with the result that I flew
out of the saddle, and crashed into a pinyon tree, which marvelously brushed me
back into the saddle.
The wild yells and deep bays sounded nearer.
Satan tripped and plunged down, throwing me as gracefully as an aerial tumbler wings
his flight.
I alighted in a bush, without feeling of scratch or pain.
As Satan recovered and ran past, I did not seek to make him stop, but getting a good
grip on the pommel, I vaulted up again.
Once more he raced like a wild mustang. And from nearer and nearer in front pealed
the alluring sounds of the chase.
Satan was creeping close to Wallace and Jones, with Frank looming white through the
occasional pinyons. Then all dropped out of sight, to appear
again suddenly.
They had reached the first break. Soon I was upon it.
Two deer ran out of the ravine, almost brushing my horse in the haste.
Satan went down and up in a few giant strides.
Only the narrow ridge separated us from another break.
It was up and down then for Satan, a work to which he manfully set himself.
Occasionally I saw Wallace and Jones, but heard them oftener.
All the time the breaks grew deeper, till finally Satan had to zigzag his way down
and up.
Discouragement fastened on me, when from the summit of the next ridge I saw Frank
far down the break, with Jones and Wallace not a quarter of a mile away from him.
I sent out a long, exultant yell as Satan crashed into the hard, dry wash in the
bottom of the break. I knew from the way he quickened under me
that he intended to overhaul somebody.
Perhaps because of the clear going, or because my frenzy had cooled to a thrilling
excitement which permitted detail, I saw clearly and distinctly the speeding
horsemen down the ravine.
I picked out the smooth pieces of ground ahead, and with the slightest touch of the
rein on his neck, guided Satan into them. How he ran!
The light, quick beats of his hoofs were regular, pounding.
Seeing Jones and Wallace sail high into the air, I knew they had jumped a ditch.
Thus prepared, I managed to stick on when it yawned before me; and Satan, never
slackening, leaped up and up, giving me a new swing.
Dust began to settle in little clouds before me; Frank, far ahead, had turned his
mustang up the side of the break; Wallace, within hailing distance, now turned to wave
me a hand.
The rushing wind fairly sang in my ears; the walls of the break were confused blurs
of yellow and green; at every stride Satan seemed to swallow a rod of the white trail.
Jones began to scale the ravine, heading up obliquely far on the side of where Frank
had vanished, and as Wallace followed suit, I turned Satan.
I caught Wallace at the summit, and we raced together out upon another flat of
We heard Frank and Jones yelling in a way that caused us to spur our horses
frantically. Spot, gleaming white near a clump of green
pinyons, was our guiding star.
That last quarter of a mile was a ringing run, a ride to remember.
As our mounts crashed back with stiff forelegs and haunches, Wallace and I leaped
off and darted into the clump of pinyons, whence issued a hair-raising medley of
yells and barks.
I saw Jones, then Frank, both waving their arms, then Moze and Sounder running wildly,
airlessly about.
"Look there!" rang in my ear, and Jones smashed me on the back with a blow, which
at any ordinary time would have laid me flat.
In a low, stubby pinyon tree, scarce twenty feet from us, was a tawny form.
An enormous mountain lion, as large as an African lioness, stood planted with huge,
round legs on two branches; and he faced us gloomily, neither frightened nor fierce.
He watched the running dogs with pale, yellow eyes, waved his massive head and
switched a long, black tufted tail. "It's Old Tom! sure as you're born!
It's Old Tom!" yelled Jones.
"There's no two lions like that in one country.
Hold still now. Jude is here, and she'll see him, she'll
show him to the other hounds.
Hold still!" We heard Jude coming at a fast pace for a
lame dog, and we saw her presently, running with her nose down for a moment, then up.
She entered the clump of trees, and bumped her nose against the pinyon Old Tom was in,
and looked up like a dog that knew her business.
The series of wild howls she broke into quickly brought Sounder and Moze to her
side. They, too, saw the big lion, not fifteen
feet over their heads.
We were all yelling and trying to talk at once, in some such state as the dogs.
"Hyar, Moze! Come down out of that!" hoarsely shouted
Moze had begun to climb the thick, many- branched, low pinyon tree.
He paid not the slightest attention to Jones, who screamed and raged at him.
"Cover the lion!" cried he to me.
"Don't shoot unless he crouches to jump on me."
The little beaded front-sight wavered slightly as I held my rifle leveled at the
grim, snarling face, and out of the corner of my eye, as it were, I saw Jones dash in
under the lion and grasp Moze by the hind leg and haul him down.
He broke from Jones and leaped again to the first low branch.
His master then grasped his collar and carried him to where we stood and held him
choking. "Boys, we can't keep Tom up there.
When he jumps, keep out of his way.
Maybe we can chase him up a better tree." Old Tom suddenly left the branches,
swinging violently; and hitting the ground like a huge cat on springs, he bounded off,
tail up, in a most ludicrous manner.
His running, however, did not lack speed, for he quickly outdistanced the bursting
hounds. A stampede for horses succeeded this move.
I had difficulty in closing my camera, which I had forgotten until the last
moment, and got behind the others. Satan sent the dust flying and the pinyon
branches crashing.
Hardly had I time to bewail my ill-luck in being left, when I dashed out of a thick
growth of trees to come upon my companions, all dismounted on the rim of the Grand
"He's gone down! He's gone down!" raged Jones, stamping the
ground. "What luck!
What miserable luck!
But don't quit; spread along the rim, boys, and look for him.
Cougars can't fly. There's a break in the rim somewhere."
The rock wall, on which we dizzily stood, dropped straight down for a thousand feet,
to meet a long, pinyon-covered slope, which graded a mile to cut off into what must
have been the second wall.
We were far west of Clarke's trail now, and faced a point above where Kanab Canyon, a
red gorge a mile deep, met the great canyon.
As I ran along the rim, looking for a fissure or break, my gaze seemed
impellingly drawn by the immensity of this thing I could not name, and for which I had
as yet no intelligible emotion.
Two "Waa-hoos" in the rear turned me back in double-quick time, and hastening by the
horses, I found the three men grouped at the head of a narrow break.
"He went down here.
Wallace saw him round the base of that tottering crag."
The break was wedge-shaped, with the sharp end off toward the rim, and it descended so
rapidly as to appear almost perpendicular.
It was a long, steep slide of small, weathered shale, and a place that no man in
his right senses would ever have considered going down.
But Jones, designating Frank and me, said in his cool, quick voice:
"You fellows go down. Take Jude and Sounder in leash.
If you find his trail below along the wall, yell for us.
Meanwhile, Wallace and I will hang over the rim and watch for him."
Going down, in one sense, was much easier than had appeared, for the reason that once
started we moved on sliding beds of weathered stone.
Each of us now had an avalanche for a steed.
Frank forged ahead with a roar, and then seeing danger below, tried to get out of
the mass.
But the stones were like quicksand; every step he took sunk him in deeper.
He grasped the smooth cliff, to find holding impossible.
The slide poured over a fall like so much water.
He reached and caught a branch of a pinyon, and lifting his feet up, hung on till the
treacherous area of moving stones had passed.
While I had been absorbed in his predicament, my avalanche augmented itself
by slide on slide, perhaps loosened by his; and before I knew it, I was sailing down
with ever-increasing momentum.
The sensation was distinctly pleasant, and a certain spirit, before restrained in me,
at last ran riot.
The slide narrowed at the drop where Frank had jumped, and the stones poured over in a
I jumped also, but having a rifle in one hand, failed to hold, and plunged down into
the slide again. My feet were held this time, as in a vise.
I kept myself upright and waited.
Fortunately, the jumble of loose stone slowed and stopped, enabling me to crawl
over to one side where there was comparatively good footing.
Below us, for fifty yards was a sheet of rough stone, as bare as washed granite well
could be.
We slid down this in regular schoolboy fashion, and had reached another restricted
neck in the fissure, when a sliding crash above warned us that the avalanches had
decided to move of their own free will.
Only a fraction of a moment had we to find footing along the yellow cliff, when, with
a cracking roar, the mass struck the slippery granite.
If we had been on that slope, our lives would not have been worth a grain of the
dust flying in clouds above us.
Huge stones, that had formed the bottom of the slides, shot ahead, and rolling,
leaping, whizzed by us with frightful velocity, and the remainder groaned and
growled its way down, to thunder over the
second fall and die out in a distant rumble.
The hounds had hung back, and were not easily coaxed down to us.
From there on, down to the base of the gigantic cliff, we descended with little
difficulty. "We might meet the old gray cat anywheres
along here," said Frank.
The wall of yellow limestone had shelves, ledges, fissures and cracks, any one of
which might have concealed a lion. On these places I turned dark, uneasy
It seemed to me events succeeded one another so rapidly that I had no time to
think, to examine, to prepare. We were rushed from one sensation to
"Gee! look here," said Frank; "here's his tracks.
Did you ever see the like of that?"
Certainly I had never fixed my eyes on such enormous cat-tracks as appeared in the
yellow dust at the base of the rim wall. The mere sight of them was sufficient to
make a man tremble.
"Hold in the dogs, Frank," I called. "Listen.
I think I heard a yell."
From far above came a yell, which, though thinned out by distance, was easily
recognized as Jones's.
We returned to the opening of the break, and throwing our heads back, looked up the
slide to see him coming down. "Wait for me!
Wait for me!
I saw the lion go in a cave. Wait for me!"
With the same roar and crack and slide of rocks as had attended our descent, Jones
bore down on us.
For an old man it was a marvelous performance.
He walked on the avalanches as though he wore seven-league boots, and presently, as
we began to dodge whizzing bowlders, he stepped down to us, whirling his coiled
His jaw bulged out; a flash made fire in his cold eyes.
"Boys, we've got Old Tom in a corner. I worked along the rim north and looked
over every place I could.
Now, maybe you won't believe it, but I heard him pant.
Yes, sir, he panted like the tired lion he is.
Well, presently I saw him lying along the base of the rim wall.
His tongue was hanging out. You see, he's a heavy lion, and not used to
running long distances.
Come on, now. It's not far.
Hold in the dogs. You there with the rifle, lead off, and
keep your eyes peeled."
Single file, we passed along in the shadow of the great cliff.
A wide trail had been worn in the dust. "A lion run-way," said Jones.
"Don't you smell the cat?"
Indeed, the strong odor of cat was very pronounced; and that, without the big fresh
tracks, made the skin on my face tighten and chill.
As we turned a jutting point in the wall, a number of animals, which I did not
recognize, plunged helter-skelter down the canyon slope.
"Rocky Mountain sheep!" exclaimed Jones.
"Look! Well, this is a discovery.
I never heard of a bighorn in the Canyon."
It was indicative of the strong grip Old Tom had on us that we at once forgot the
remarkable fact of coming upon those rare sheep in such a place.
Jones halted us presently before a deep curve described by the rim wall, the
extreme end of which terminated across the slope in an impassable projecting corner.
"See across there, boys.
See that black hole. Old Tom's in there."
"What's your plan?" queried the cowboy sharply.
We'll slip up to get better lay of the land."
We worked our way noiselessly along the rim-wall curve for several hundred yards
and came to a halt again, this time with a splendid command of the situation.
The trail ended abruptly at the dark cave, so menacingly staring at us, and the corner
of the cliff had curled back upon itself.
It was a box-trap, with a drop at the end, too great for any beast, a narrow slide of
weathered stone running down, and the rim wall trail.
Old Tom would plainly be compelled to choose one of these directions if he left
his cave.
"Frank, you and I will keep to the wall and stop near that scrub pinyon, this side of
the hole. If I rope him, I can use that tree."
Then he turned to me:
"Are you to be depended on here?" "I?
What do you want me to do?" I demanded, and my whole breast seemed to
sink in.
"You cut across the head of this slope and take up your position in the slide below
the cave, say just by that big stone. From there you can command the cave, our
position and your own.
Now, if it is necessary to kill this lion to save me or Frank, or, of course,
yourself, can you be depended upon to kill him?"
I felt a queer sensation around my heart and a strange tightening of the skin upon
my face! What a position for me to be placed in!
For one instant I shook like a quivering aspen leaf.
Then because of the pride of a man, or perhaps inherited instincts cropping out at
this perilous moment, I looked up and answered quietly:
"Yes. I will kill him!"
"Old Tom is cornered, and he'll come out. He can run only two ways: along this trail,
or down that slide. I'll take my stand by the scrub pinyon
there so I can get a hitch if I rope him.
Frank, when I give the word, let the dogs go.
Grey, you block the slide. If he makes at us, even if I do get my rope
on him, kill him!
Most likely he'll jump down hill--then you'll HAVE to kill him!
Be quick. Now loose the hounds.
Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!"
I jumped into the narrow slide of weathered stone and looked up.
Jones's stentorian yell rose high above the clamor of the hounds.
He whirled his lasso.
A huge yellow form shot over the trail and hit the top of the slide with a crash.
The lasso streaked out with arrowy swiftness, circled, and snapped viciously
close to Old Tom's head.
"Kill him! Kill him!" roared Jones.
Then the lion leaped, seemingly into the air above me.
Instinctively I raised my little automatic rifle.
I seemed to hear a million bellowing reports.
The tawny body, with its grim, snarling face, blurred in my sight.
I heard a roar of sliding stones at my feet.
I felt a rush of wind.
I caught a confused glimpse of a whirling wheel of fur, rolling down the slide.
Then Jones and Frank were pounding me, and yelling I know not what.
From far above came floating down a long "Waa-hoo!"
I saw Wallace silhouetted against the blue sky.
I felt the hot barrel of my rifle, and shuddered at the bloody stones below me--
then, and then only, did I realize, with weakening legs, that Old Tom had jumped at
me, and had jumped to his death.
Old Tom had rolled two hundred yards down the canyon, leaving a red trail and bits of
fur behind him.
When I had clambered down to the steep slide where he had lodged, Sounder and Jude
had just decided he was no longer worth biting, and were wagging their tails.
Frank was shaking his head, and Jones, standing above the lion, lasso in hand,
wore a disconsolate face. "How I wish I had got the rope on him!"
"I reckon we'd be gatherin' up the pieces of you if you had," said Frank, dryly.
We skinned the old king on the rocky slope of his mighty throne, and then, beginning
to feel the effects of severe exertion, we cut across the slope for the foot of the
Once there, we gazed up in disarray. That break resembled a walk of life--how
easy to slip down, how hard to climb!
Even Frank, inured as he was to strenuous toil, began to swear and wipe his sweaty
brow before we had made one-tenth of the ascent.
It was particularly exasperating, not to mention the danger of it, to work a few
feet up a slide, and then feel it start to move.
We had to climb in single file, which jeopardized the safety of those behind the
Sometimes we were all sliding at once, like boys on a pond, with the difference that we
were in danger. Frank forged ahead, turning to yell now and
then for us to dodge a cracking stone.
Faithful old Jude could not get up in some places, so laying aside my rifle, I carried
her, and returned for the weapon.
It became necessary, presently, to hide behind cliff projections to escape the
avalanches started by Frank, and to wait till he had surmounted the break.
Jones gave out completely several times, saying the exertion affected his heart.
What with my rifle, my camera and Jude, I could offer him no assistance, and was
really in need of that myself.
When it seemed as if one more step would kill us, we reached the rim, and fell
panting with labored chests and dripping skins.
We could not speak.
Jones had worn a pair of ordinary shoes without thick soles and nails, and it
seemed well to speak of them in the past tense.
They were split into ribbons and hung on by the laces.
His feet were cut and bruised.
On the way back to camp, we encountered Moze and Don coming out of the break where
we had started Sounder on the trail.
The paws of both hounds were yellow with dust, which proved they had been down under
the rim wall. Jones doubted not in the least that they
had chased a lion.
Upon examination, this break proved to be one of the two which Clarke used for trails
to his wild horse corral in the canyon.
According to him, the distance separating them was five miles by the rim wall, and
less than half that in a straight line.
Therefore, we made for the point of the forest where it ended abruptly in the scrub
oak. We got into camp, a fatigued lot of men,
horses and dogs.
Jones appeared particularly happy, and his first move, after dismounting, was to
stretch out the lion skin and measure it. "Ten feet, three inches and a half!" he
sang out.
"Shore it do beat hell!" exclaimed Jim in tones nearer to excitement than any I had
ever heard him use. "Old Tom beats, by two inches, any cougar I
ever saw," continued Jones.
"He must have weighed more than three hundred.
We'll set about curing the hide. Jim, stretch it well on a tree, and we'll
take a hand in peeling off the fat."
All of the party worked on the cougar skin that afternoon.
The gristle at the base of the neck, where it met the shoulders, was so tough and
thick we could not scrape it thin.
Jones said this particular spot was so well protected because in fighting, cougars were
most likely to bite and claw there.
For that matter, the whole skin was tough, tougher than leather; and when it dried, it
pulled all the horseshoe nails out of the pine tree upon which we had it stretched.
About time for the sun to set, I strolled along the rim wall to look into the canyon.
I was beginning to feel something of its character and had growing impressions.
Dark purple smoke veiled the clefts deep down between the mesas.
I walked along to where points of cliff ran out like capes and peninsulas, all seamed,
cracked, wrinkled, scarred and yellow with age, with shattered, toppling ruins of
rocks ready at a touch to go thundering down.
I could not resist the temptation to crawl out to the farthest point, even though I
shuddered over the yard-wide ridges; and when once seated on a bare promontory, two
hundred feet from the regular rim wall, I felt isolated, marooned.
The sun, a liquid red globe, had just touched its under side to the pink cliffs
of Utah, and fired a crimson flood of light over the wonderful mountains, plateaus,
escarpments, mesas, domes and turrets or the gorge.
The rim wall of Powell's Plateau was a thin streak of fire; the timber above like grass
of gold; and the long slopes below shaded from bright to dark.
Point Sublime, bold and bare, ran out toward the plateau, jealously reaching for
the sun. Bass's Tomb peeped over the Saddle.
The Temple of Vishnu lay bathed in vapory shading clouds, and the Shinumo Altar shone
with rays of glory.
The beginning of the wondrous transformation, the dropping of the day's
curtain, was for me a rare and perfect moment.
As the golden splendor of sunset sought out a peak or mesa or escarpment, I gave it a
name to suit my fancy; and as flushing, fading, its glory changed, sometimes I
rechristened it.
Jupiter's Chariot, brazen wheeled, stood ready to roll into the clouds.
Semiramis's Bed, all gold, shone from a tower of Babylon.
Castor and Pollux clasped hands over a Stygian river.
The Spur of Doom, a mountain shaft as red as hell, and inaccessible, insurmountable,
lured with strange light.
Dusk, a bold, black dome, was shrouded by the shadow of a giant mesa.
The Star of Bethlehem glittered from the brow of Point Sublime.
The Wraith, fleecy, feathered curtain of mist, floated down among the ruins of
castles and palaces, like the ghost of a goddess.
Vales of Twilight, dim, dark ravines, mystic homes of specters, led into the
awful Valley of the Shadow, clothed in purple night.
Suddenly, as the first puff of the night wind fanned my cheek, a strange, sweet, low
moaning and sighing came to my ears. I almost thought I was in a dream.
But the canyon, now blood-red, was there in overwhelming reality, a profound, solemn,
gloomy thing, but real.
The wind blew stronger, and then I was to a sad, sweet song, which lulled as the wind
I realized at once that the sound was caused by the wind blowing into the
peculiar formations of the cliffs. It changed, softened, shaded, mellowed, but
it was always sad.
It rose from low, tremulous, sweetly quavering sighs, to a sound like the last
woeful, despairing wail of a woman.
It was the song of the sea sirens and the music of the waves; it had the soft sough
of the night wind in the trees, and the haunting moan of lost spirits.
With reluctance I turned my back to the gorgeously changing spectacle of the canyon
and crawled in to the rim wall. At the narrow neck of stone I peered over
to look down into misty blue nothingness.
That night Jones told stories of frightened hunters, and assuaged my mortification by
saying "buck-fever" was pardonable after the danger had passed, and especially so in
my case, because of the great size and fame of Old Tom.
"The worst case of buck-fever I ever saw was on a buffalo hunt I had with a fellow
named Williams," went on Jones.
"I was one of the scouts leading a wagon- train west on the old Santa Fe trail.
This fellow said he was a big hunter, and wanted to kill buffalo, so I took him out.
I saw a herd making over the prairie for a hollow where a brook ran, and by hard work,
got in ahead of them. I picked out a position just below the edge
of the bank, and we lay quiet, waiting.
From the direction of the buffalo, I calculated we'd be just about right to get
a shot at no very long range.
As it was, I suddenly heard thumps on the ground, and cautiously raising my head, saw
a huge buffalo bull just over us, not fifteen feet up the bank.
I whispered to Williams: 'For God's sake, don't shoot, don't move!'
The bull's little fiery eyes snapped, and he reared.
I thought we were goners, for when a bull comes down on anything with his forefeet,
it's done for. But he slowly settled back, perhaps
Then, as another buffalo came to the edge of the bank, luckily a little way from us,
the bull turned broadside, presenting a splendid target.
Then I whispered to Williams: 'Now's your chance.
Shoot!' I waited for the shot, but none came.
Looking at Williams, I saw he was white and trembling.
Big drops of sweat stood out on his brow his teeth chattered, and his hands shook.
He had forgotten he carried a rifle."
"That reminds me," said Frank. "They tell a story over at Kanab on a
Dutchman named Schmitt.
He was very fond of huntin', an' I guess had pretty good success after deer an'
small game.
One winter he was out in the Pink Cliffs with a Mormon named Shoonover, an' they run
into a lammin' big grizzly track, fresh an' wet.
They trailed him to a clump of chaparral, an' on goin' clear round it, found no
tracks leadin' out. Shoonover said Schmitt commenced to sweat.
They went back to the place where the trail led in, an' there they were, great big
silver tip tracks, bigger'n hoss-tracks, so fresh thet water was oozin' out of 'em.
Schmitt said: 'Zake, you go in und ged him.
I hef took sick right now.'" Happy as we were over the chase of Old Tom,
and our prospects for Sounder, Jude and Moze had seen a lion in a tree--we sought
our blankets early.
I lay watching the bright stars, and listening to the roar of the wind in the
pines. At intervals it lulled to a whisper, and
then swelled to a roar, and then died away.
Far off in the forest a coyote barked once. Time and time again, as I was gradually
sinking into slumber, the sudden roar of the wind startled me.
I imagined it was the crash of rolling, weathered stone, and I saw again that huge
outspread flying lion above me.
I awoke sometime later to find Moze had sought the warmth of my side, and he lay so
near my arm that I reached out and covered him with an end of the blanket I used to
break the wind.
It was very cold and the time must have been very late, for the wind had died down,
and I heard not a tinkle from the hobbled horses.
The absence of the cowbell music gave me a sense of loneliness, for without it the
silence of the great forest was a thing to be felt.
This oppressiveness, however, was broken by a far-distant cry, unlike any sound I had
ever heard. Not sure of myself, I freed my ears from
the blanketed hood and listened.
It came again, a wild cry, that made me think first of a lost child, and then of
the mourning wolf of the north. It must have been a long distance off in
the forest.
An interval of some moments passed, then it pealed out again, nearer this time, and so
human that it startled me. Moze raised his head and growled low in his
throat and sniffed the keen air.
"Jones, Jones," I called, reaching over to touch the old hunter.
He awoke at once, with the clear-headedness of the light sleeper.
"I heard the cry of some beast," I said, "And it was so weird, so strange.
I want to know what it was."
Such a long silence ensued that I began to despair of hearing the cry again, when,
with a suddenness which straightened the hair on my head, a wailing shriek, exactly
like a despairing woman might give in death agony, split the night silence.
It seemed right on us. "Cougar!
Cougar!" exclaimed Jones. "What's up?" queried Frank, awakened by the
Their howling roused the rest of the party, and no doubt scared the cougar, for his
womanish screech was not repeated. Then Jones got up and gatherered his
blankets in a roll.
"Where you oozin' for now?" asked Frank, sleepily.
"I think that cougar just came up over the rim on a scouting hunt, and I'm going to go
down to the head of the trail and stay there till morning.
If he returns that way, I'll put him up a tree."
With this, he unchained Sounder and Don, and stalked off under the trees, looking
like an Indian.
Once the deep bay of Sounder rang out; Jones's sharp command followed, and then
the familiar silence encompassed the forest and was broken no more.
When I awoke all was gray, except toward the canyon, where the little bit of sky I
saw through the pines glowed a delicate pink.
I crawled out on the instant, got into my boots and coat, and kicked the smoldering
fire. Jim heard me, and said:
"Shore you're up early."
"I'm going to see the sunrise from the north rim of the Grand Canon," I said, and
knew when I spoke that very few men, out of all the millions of travelers, had ever
seen this, probably the most surpassingly beautiful pageant in the world.
At most, only a few geologists, scientists, perhaps an artist or two, and horse
wranglers, hunters and prospectors have ever reached the rim on the north side; and
these men, crossing from Bright Angel or
Mystic Spring trails on the south rim, seldom or never get beyond Powell's
The frost cracked under my boots like frail ice, and the bluebells peeped wanly from
the white.
When I reached the head of Clarke's trail it was just daylight; and there, under a
pine, I found Jones rolled in his blankets, with Sounder and Moze asleep beside him.
I turned without disturbing him, and went along the edge of the forest, but back a
little distance from the rim wall.
I saw deer off in the woods, and tarrying, watched them throw up graceful heads, and
look and listen.
The soft pink glow through the pines deepened to rose, and suddenly I caught a
point of red fire.
Then I hurried to the place I had named Singing Cliffs, and keeping my eyes fast on
the stone beneath me, trawled out to the very farthest point, drew a long, breath,
and looked eastward.
The awfulness of sudden death and the glory of heaven stunned me!
The thing that had been mystery at twilight, lay clear, pure, open in the rosy
hue of dawn.
Out of the gates of the morning poured a light which glorified the palaces and
pyramids, purged and purified the afternoon's inscrutable clefts, swept away
the shadows of the mesas, and bathed that
broad, deep world of mighty mountains, stately spars of rock, sculptured
cathedrals and alabaster terraces in an artist's dream of color.
A pearl from heaven had burst, flinging its heart of fire into this chasm.
A stream of opal flowed out of the sun, to touch each peak, mesa, dome, parapet,
temple and tower, cliff and cleft into the new-born life of another day.
I sat there for a long time and knew that every second the scene changed, yet I could
not tell how.
I knew I sat high over a hole of broken, splintered, barren mountains; I knew I
could see a hundred miles of the length of it, and eighteen miles of the width of it,
and a mile of the depth of it, and the
shafts and rays of rose light on a million glancing, many-hued surfaces at once; but
that knowledge was no help to me.
I repeated a lot of meaningless superlatives to myself, and I found words
inadequate and superfluous. The spectacle was too elusive and too
It was life and death, heaven and hell. I tried to call up former favorite views of
mountain and sea, so as to compare them with this; but the memory pictures refused
to come, even with my eyes closed.
Then I returned to camp, with unsettled, troubled mind, and was silent, wondering at
the strange feeling burning within me.
Jones talked about our visitor of the night before, and said the trail near where he
had slept showed only one cougar track, and that led down into the canyon.
It had surely been made, he thought, by the beast we had heard.
Jones signified his intention of chaining several of the hounds for the next few
nights at the head of this trail; so if the cougar came up, they would scent him and
let us know.
From which it was evident that to chase a lion bound into the canyon and one bound
out were two different things.
The day passed lazily, with all of us resting on the warm, fragrant pine-needle
beds, or mending a rent in a coat, or working on some camp task impossible of
commission on exciting days.
About four o'clock, I took my little rifle and walked off through the woods in the
direction of the carcass where I had seen the gray wolf.
Thinking it best to make a wide detour, so as to face the wind, I circled till I felt
the breeze was favorable to my enterprise, and then cautiously approached the hollow
were the dead horse lay.
Indian fashion, I slipped from tree to tree, a mode of forest travel not without
its fascination and effectiveness, till I reached the height of a knoll beyond which
I made sure was my objective point.
On peeping out from behind the last pine, I found I had calculated pretty well, for
there was the hollow, the big windfall, with its round, starfish-shaped roots
exposed to the bright sun, and near that, the carcass.
Sure enough, pulling hard at it, was the gray-white wolf I recognized as my "lofer."
But he presented an exceedingly difficult shot.
Backing down the ridge, I ran a little way to come up behind another tree, from which
I soon shifted to a fallen pine.
Over this I peeped, to get a splendid view of the wolf.
He had stopped tugging at the horse, and stood with his nose in the air.
Surely he could not have scented me, for the wind was strong from him to me; neither
could he have heard my soft footfalls on the pine needles; nevertheless, he was
Loth to spoil the picture he made, I risked a chance, and waited.
Besides, though I prided myself on being able to take a fair aim, I had no great
hope that I could hit him at such a distance.
Presently he returned to his feeding, but not for long.
Soon he raised his long, fine-pointed head, and trotted away a few yards, stopped to
sniff again, then went back to his gruesome work.
At this juncture, I noiselessly projected my rifle barrel over the log.
I had not, however, gotten the sights in line with him, when he trotted away
reluctantly, and ascended the knoll on his side of the hollow.
I lost him, and had just begun sourly to call myself a mollycoddle hunter, when he
He halted in an open glade, on the very crest of the knoll, and stood still as a
statue wolf, a white, inspiriting target, against a dark green background.
I could not stifle a rush of feeling, for I was a lover of the beautiful first, and a
hunter secondly; but I steadied down as the front sight moved into the notch through
which I saw the black and white of his shoulder.
Spang! How the little Remington sang!
I watched closely, ready to send five more missiles after the gray beast.
He jumped spasmodically, in a half-curve, high in the air, with loosely hanging head,
then dropped in a heap.
I yelled like a boy, ran down the hill, up the other side of the hollow, to find him
stretched out dead, a small hole in his shoulder where the bullet had entered, a
great one where it had come out.
The job I made of skinning him lacked some hundred degrees the perfection of my shot,
but I accomplished it, and returned to camp in triumph.
"Shore I knowed you'd plunk him," said Jim very much pleased.
"I shot one the other day same way, when he was feedin' off a dead horse.
Now thet's a fine skin.
Shore you cut through once or twice. But he's only half lofer, the other half in
plain coyote. Thet accounts fer his feedin' on dead
My naturalist host and my scientific friend both remarked somewhat grumpily that I
seemed to get the best of all the good things.
I might have retaliated that I certainly had gotten the worst of all the bad jokes;
but, being generously happy over my prize, merely remarked: "If you want fame or
wealth or wolves, go out and hunt for them."
Five o'clock supper left a good margin of day, in which my thoughts reverted to the
I watched the purple shadows stealing out of their caverns and rolling up about the
base of the mesas.
Jones came over to where I stood, and I persuaded him to walk with me along the rim
Twilight had stealthily advanced when we reached the Singing Cliffs, and we did not
go out upon my promontory, but chose a more comfortable one nearer the wall.
The night breeze had not sprung up yet, so the music of the cliffs was hushed.
"You cannot accept the theory of erosion to account for this chasm?"
I asked my companion, referring to a former conversation.
"I can for this part of it.
But what stumps me is the mountain range three thousand feet high, crossing the
desert and the canyon just above where we crossed the river.
How did the river cut through that without the help of a split or earthquake?"
"I'll admit that is a poser to me as well as to you.
But I suppose Wallace could explain it as erosion.
He claims this whole western country was once under water, except the tips of the
Sierra Nevada mountains.
There came an uplift of the earth's crust, and the great inland sea began to run out,
presumably by way of the Colorado. In so doing it cut out the upper canyon,
this gorge eighteen miles wide.
Then came a second uplift, giving the river a much greater impetus toward the sea,
which cut out the second, or marble canyon. Now as to the mountain range crossing the
canyon at right angles.
It must have come with the second uplift. If so, did it dam the river back into
another inland sea, and then wear down into that red perpendicular gorge we remember so
Or was there a great break in the fold of granite, which let the river continue on
its way?
Or was there, at that particular point, a softer stone, like this limestone here,
which erodes easily?" "You must ask somebody wiser than I."
"Well, let's not perplex our minds with its origin.
It is, and that's enough for any mind. Ah! listen!
Now you will hear my Singing Cliffs."
From out of the darkening shadows murmurs rose on the softly rising wind.
This strange music had a depressing influence; but it did not fill the heart
with sorrow, only touched it lightly.
And when, with the dying breeze, the song died away, it left the lonely crags
lonelier for its death.
The last rosy gleam faded from the tip of Point Sublime; and as if that were a
signal, in all the clefts and canyons below, purple, shadowy clouds marshaled
their forces and began to sweep upon the
battlements, to swing colossal wings into amphitheaters where gods might have warred,
slowly to enclose the magical sentinels.
Night intervened, and a moving, changing, silent chaos pulsated under the bright
stars. "How infinite all this is!
How impossible to understand!"
I exclaimed. "To me it is very simple," replied my
comrade. "The world is strange.
But this canyon--why, we can see it all!
I can't make out why people fuss so over it.
I only feel peace. It's only bold and beautiful, serene and
With the words of this quiet old plainsman, my sentimental passion shrank to the true
appreciation of the scene. Self passed out to the recurring, soft
strains of cliff song.
I had been reveling in a species of indulgence, imagining I was a great lover
of nature, building poetical illusions over storm-beaten peaks.
The truth, told by one who had lived fifty years in the solitudes, among the rugged
mountains, under the dark trees, and by the sides of the lonely streams, was the simple
interpretation of a spirit in harmony with
the bold, the beautiful, the serene, the silent.
He meant the Grand Canyon was only a mood of nature, a bold promise, a beautiful
He meant that mountains had sifted away in its dust, yet the canyon was young.
Man was nothing, so let him be humble.
This cataclysm of the earth, this playground of a river was not inscrutable;
it was only inevitable--as inevitable as nature herself.
Millions of years in the bygone ages it had lain serene under a half moon; it would
bask silent under a rayless sun, in the onward edge of time.
It taught simplicity, serenity, peace.
The eye that saw only the strife, the war, the decay, the ruin, or only the glory and
the tragedy, saw not all the truth.
It spoke simply, though its words were grand: "My spirit is the Spirit of Time, of
Eternity, of God. Man is little, vain, vaunting.
To-morrow he shall be gone. Peace!
As we rode up the slope of Buckskin, the sunrise glinted red-gold through the aisles
of frosted pines, giving us a hunter's glad greeting.
With all due respect to, and appreciation of, the breaks of the Siwash, we
unanimously decided that if cougars inhabited any other section of canyon
country, we preferred it, and were going to find it.
We had often speculated on the appearance of the rim wall directly across the neck of
the canyon upon which we were located.
It showed a long stretch of breaks, fissures, caves, yellow crags, crumbled
ruins and clefts green with pinyon pine.
As a crow flies, it was only a mile or two straight across from camp, but to reach it,
we had to ascend the mountain and head the canyon which deeply indented the slope.
A thousand feet or more above the level bench, the character of the forest changed;
the pines grew thicker, and interspersed among them were silver spruces and balsams.
Here in the clumps of small trees and underbrush, we began to jump deer, and in a
few moments a greater number than I had ever seen in all my hunting experiences
loped within range of my eye.
I could not look out into the forest where an aisle or lane or glade stretched to any
distance, without seeing a big gray deer cross it.
Jones said the herds had recently come up from the breaks, where they had wintered.
These deer were twice the size of the Eastern species, and as fat as well-fed
They were almost as tame, too.
A big herd ran out of one glade, leaving behind several curious does, which watched
us intently for a moment, then bounded off with the stiff, springy bounce that so
amused me.
Sounder crossed fresh trails one after another; Jude, Tige and Ranger followed
him, but hesitated often, barked and whined; Don started off once, to come
sneaking back at Jones's stern call.
But surly old Moze either would not or could not obey, and away he dashed.
Bang! Jones sent a charge of fine shot after him.
He yelped, doubled up as if stung, and returned as quickly as he had gone.
"Hyar, you white and black coon dog," said Jones, "get in behind, and stay there."
We turned to the right after a while and got among shallow ravines.
Gigantic pines grew on the ridges and in the hollows, and everywhere bluebells shone
blue from the white frost.
Why the frost did not kill these beautiful flowers was a mystery to me.
The horses could not step without crushing them.
Before long, the ravines became so deep that we had to zigzag up and down their
sides, and to force our horses through the aspen thickets in the hollows.
Once from a ridge I saw a troop of deer, and stopped to watch them.
Twenty-seven I counted outright, but there must have been three times that number.
I saw the herd break across a glade, and watched them until they were lost in the
My companions having disappeared, I pushed on, and while working out of a wide, deep
hollow, I noticed the sunny patches fade from the bright slopes, and the golden
streaks vanish among the pines.
The sky had become overcast, and the forest was darkening.
The "Waa-hoo," I cried out returned in echo only.
The wind blew hard in my face, and the pines began to bend and roar.
An immense black cloud enveloped Buckskin.
Satan had carried me no farther than the next ridge, when the forest frowned dark as
twilight, and on the wind whirled flakes of snow.
Over the next hollow, a white pall roared through the trees toward me.
Hardly had I time to get the direction of the trail, and its relation to the trees
nearby, when the storm enfolded me.
Of his own accord Satan stopped in the lee of a bushy spruce.
The roar in the pines equaled that of the cave under Niagara, and the bewildering,
whirling mass of snow was as difficult to see through as the tumbling, seething
I was confronted by the possibility of passing the night there, and calming my
fears as best I could, hastily felt for my matches and knife.
The prospect of being lost the next day in a white forest was also appalling, but I
soon reassured myself that the storm was only a snow squall, and would not last
Then I gave myself up to the pleasure and beauty of it.
I could only faintly discern the dim trees; the limbs of the spruce, which partially
protected me, sagged down to my head with their burden; I had but to reach out my
hand for a snowball.
Both the wind and snow seemed warm. The great flakes were like swan feathers on
a summer breeze. There was something joyous in the whirl of
snow and roar of wind.
While I bent over to shake my holster, the storm passed as suddenly as it had come.
When I looked up, there were the pines, like pillars of Parian marble, and a white
shadow, a vanishing cloud fled, with receding roar, on the wings of the wind.
Fast on this retreat burst the warm, bright sun.
I faced my course, and was delighted to see, through an opening where the ravine
cut out of the forest, the red-tipped peaks of the canyon, and the vaulted dome I had
named St. Marks.
As I started, a new and unexpected after- feature of the storm began to manifest
The sun being warm, even to melt the snow, and under the trees a heavy rain fell, and
in the glades and hollows a fine mist blew. Exquisite rainbows hung from white-tipped
branches and curved over the hollows.
Glistening patches of snow fell from the pines, and broke the showers.
In a quarter of an hour, I rode out of the forest to the rim wall on dry ground.
Against the green pinyons Frank's white horse stood out conspicuously, and near him
browsed the mounts of Jim and Wallace. The boys were not in evidence.
Concluding they had gone down over the rim, I dismounted and kicked off my chaps, and
taking my rifle and camera, hurried to look the place over.
To my surprise and interest, I found a long section of rim wall in ruins.
It lay in a great curve between the two giant capes; and many short, sharp,
projecting promontories, like the teeth of a saw, overhung the canyon.
The slopes between these points of cliff were covered with a deep growth of pinyon,
and in these places descent would be easy.
Everywhere in the corrugated wall were rents and rifts; cliffs stood detached like
islands near a shore; yellow crags rose out of green clefts; jumble of rocks, and
slides of rim wall, broken into blocks, massed under the promontories.
The singular raggedness and wildness of the scene took hold of me, and was not
dispelled until the baying of Sounder and Don roused action in me.
Apparently the hounds were widely separated.
Then I heard Jim's yell. But it ceased when the wind lulled, and I
heard it no more.
Running back from the point, I began to go down.
The way was steep, almost perpendicular; but because of the great stones and the
absence of slides, was easy.
I took long strides and jumps, and slid over rocks, and swung on pinyon branches,
and covered distance like a rolling stone.
At the foot of the rim wall, or at a line where it would have reached had it extended
regularly, the slope became less pronounced.
I could stand up without holding on to a support.
The largest pinyons I had seen made a forest that almost stood on end.
These trees grew up, down, and out, and twisted in curves, and many were two feet
in thickness.
During my descent, I halted at intervals to listen, and always heard one of the hounds,
sometimes several.
But as I descended for a long time, and did not get anywhere or approach the dogs, I
began to grow impatient.
A large pinyon, with a dead top, suggested a good outlook, so I climbed it, and saw I
could sweep a large section of the slope. It was a strange thing to look down hill,
over the tips of green trees.
Below, perhaps four hundred yards, was a slide open for a long way; all the rest was
green incline, with many dead branches sticking up like spars, and an occasional
From this perch I heard the hounds; then followed a yell I thought was Jim's, and
after it the bellowing of Wallace's rifle. Then all was silent.
The shots had effectually checked the yelping of the hounds.
I let out a yell. Another cougar that Jones would not lasso!
All at once I heard a familiar sliding of small rocks below me, and I watched the
open slope with greedy eyes.
Not a bit surprised was I to see a cougar break out of the green, and go tearing down
the slide. In less than six seconds, I had sent six
steel-jacketed bullets after him.
Puffs of dust rose closer and closer to him as each bullet went nearer the mark and the
last showered him with gravel and turned him straight down the canyon slope.
I slid down the dead pinyon and jumped nearly twenty feet to the soft sand below,
and after putting a loaded clip in my rifle, began kangaroo leaps down the slope.
When I reached the point where the cougar had entered the slide, I called the hounds,
but they did not come nor answer me.
Notwithstanding my excitement, I appreciated the distance to the bottom of
the slope before I reached it.
In my haste, I ran upon the verge of a precipice twice as deep as the first rim
wall, but one glance down sent me shatteringly backward.
With all the breath I had left I yelled: "Waa-hoo!
From the echoes flung at me, I imagined at first that my friends were right on my
ears. But no real answer came.
The cougar had probably passed along this second rim wall to a break, and had gone
down. His trail could easily be taken by any of
the hounds.
Vexed and anxious, I signaled again and again.
Once, long after the echo had gone to sleep in some hollow canyon, I caught a faint
But it might have come from the clouds. I did not hear a hound barking above me on
the slope; but suddenly, to my amazement, Sounder's deep bay rose from the abyss
I ran along the rim, called till I was hoarse, leaned over so far that the blood
rushed to my head, and then sat down.
I concluded this canyon hunting could bear some sustained attention and thought, as
well as frenzied action.
Examination of my position showed how impossible it was to arrive at any clear
idea of the depth or size, or condition of the canyon slopes from the main rim wall
The second wall--a stupendous, yellow-faced cliff two thousand feet high--curved to my
left round to a point in front of me.
The intervening canyon might have been a half mile wide, and it might have been ten
miles. I had become disgusted with judging
The slope above this second wall facing me ran up far above my head; it fairly
towered, and this routed all my former judgments, because I remembered distinctly
that from the rim this yellow and green
mountain had appeared an insignificant little ridge.
But it was when I turned to gaze up behind me that I fully grasped the immensity of
the place.
This wall and slope were the first two steps down the long stairway of the Grand
Canyon, and they towered over me, straight up a half-mile in dizzy height.
To think of climbing it took my breath away.
Then again Sounder's bay floated distinctly to me, but it seemed to come from a
different point.
I turned my ear to the wind, and in the succeeding moments I was more and more
baffled. One bay sounded from below and next from
far to the right; another from the left.
I could not distinguish voice from echo. The acoustic properties of the amphitheater
beneath me were too wonderful for my comprehension.
As the bay grew sharper, and correspondingly more significant, I became
distracted, and focused a strained vision on the canyon deeps.
I looked along the slope to the notch where the wall curved and followed the base line
of the yellow cliff. Quite suddenly I saw a very small black
object moving with snail-like slowness.
Although it seemed impossible for Sounder to be so small, I knew it was he.
Having something now to judge distance from, I conceived it to be a mile, without
the drop.
If I could hear Sounder, he could hear me, so I yelled encouragement.
The echoes clapped back at me like so many slaps in the face.
I watched the hound until he disappeared among broken heaps of stone, and long after
that his bay floated to me.
Having rested, I essayed the discovery of some of my lost companions or the hounds,
and began to climb.
Before I started, however, I was wise enough to study the rim wall above, to
familiarize myself with the break so I would have a landmark.
Like horns and spurs of gold the pinnacles loomed up.
Massed closely together, they were not unlike an astounding pipe-organ.
I had a feeling of my littleness, that I was lost, and should devote every moment
and effort to the saving of my life. It did not seem possible I could be
Though I climbed diagonally, and rested often, my heart pumped so hard I could hear
A yellow crag, with a round head like an old man's cane, appealed to me as near the
place where I last heard from Jim, and toward it I labored.
Every time I glanced up, the distance seemed the same.
A climb which I decided would not take more than fifteen minutes, required an hour.
While resting at the foot of the crag, I heard more baying of hounds, but for my
life I could not tell whether the sound came from up or down, and I commenced to
feel that I did not much care.
Having signaled till I was hoarse, and receiving none but mock answers, I decided
that if my companions had not toppled over a cliff, they were wisely withholding their
Another stiff pull up the slope brought me under the rim wall, and there I groaned,
because the wall was smooth and shiny, without a break.
I plodded slowly along the base, with my rifle ready.
Cougar tracks were so numerous I got tired of looking at them, but I did not forget
that I might meet a tawny fellow or two among those narrow passes of shattered
rock, and under the thick, dark pinyons.
Going on in this way, I ran point-blank into a pile of bleached bones before a
I had stumbled on the lair of a lion and from the looks of it one like that of Old
Tom. I flinched twice before I threw a stone
into the dark-mouthed cave.
What impressed me as soon as I found I was in no danger of being pawed and clawed
round the gloomy spot, was the fact of the bones being there.
How did they come on a slope where a man could hardly walk?
Only one answer seemed feasible.
The lion had made his kill one thousand feet above, had pulled his quarry to the
rim and pushed it over.
In view of the theory that he might have had to drag his victim from the forest, and
that very seldom two lions worked together, the fact of the location of the bones as
Skulls of wild horses and deer, antlers and countless bones, all crushed into
shapelessness, furnished indubitable proof that the carcasses had fallen from a great
Most remarkable of all was the skeleton of a cougar lying across that of a horse.
I believed--I could not help but believe that the cougar had fallen with his last
Not many rods beyond the lion den, the rim wall split into towers, crags and
I thought I had found my pipe organ, and began to climb toward a narrow opening in
the rim. But I lost it.
The extraordinarily cut-up condition of the wall made holding to one direction
impossible. Soon I realized I was lost in a labyrinth.
I tried to find my way down again, but the best I could do was to reach the verge of a
cliff, from which I could see the canyon. Then I knew where I was, yet I did not
know, so I plodded wearily back.
Many a blind cleft did I ascend in the maze of crags.
I could hardly crawl along, still I kept at it, for the place was conducive to dire
A tower of Babel menaced me with tons of loose shale.
A tower that leaned more frightfully than the Tower of Pisa threatened to build my
Many a lighthouse-shaped crag sent down little scattering rocks in ominous notice.
After toiling in and out of passageways under the shadows of these strangely formed
cliffs, and coming again and again to the same point, a blind pocket, I grew
I named the baffling place Deception Pass, and then ran down a slide.
I knew if I could keep my feet I could beat the avalanche.
More by good luck than management I outran the roaring stones and landed safely.
Then rounding the cliff below, I found myself on a narrow ledge, with a wall to my
left, and to the right the tips of pinyon trees level with my feet.
Innocently and wearily I passed round a pillar-like corner of wall, to come face to
face with an old lioness and cubs.
I heard the mother snarl, and at the same time her ears went back flat, and she
The same fire of yellow eyes, the same grim snarling expression so familiar in my mind
since Old Tom had leaped at me, faced me here.
My recent vow of extermination was entirely forgotten and one frantic spring carried me
over the ledge. Crash!
I felt the brushing and scratching of branches, and saw a green blur.
I went down straddling limbs and hit the ground with a thump.
Fortunately, I landed mostly on my feet, in sand, and suffered no serious bruise.
But I was stunned, and my right arm was numb for a moment.
When I gathered myself together, instead of being grateful the ledge had not been on
the face of Point Sublime--from which I would most assuredly have leaped--I was the
angriest man ever let loose in the Grand Canyon.
Of course the cougars were far on their way by that time, and were telling neighbors
about the brave hunter's leap for life; so I devoted myself to further efforts to find
an outlet.
The niche I had jumped into opened below, as did most of the breaks, and I worked out
of it to the base of the rim wall, and tramped a long, long mile before I reached
my own trail leading down.
Resting every five steps, I climbed and climbed.
My rifle grew to weigh a ton; my feet were lead; the camera strapped to my shoulder
was the world.
Soon climbing meant trapeze work--long reach of arm, and pull of weight, high step
of foot, and spring of body. Where I had slid down with ease, I had to
strain and raise myself by sheer muscle.
I wore my left glove to tatters and threw it away to put the right one on my left
I thought many times I could not make another move; I thought my lungs would
burst, but I kept on.
When at last I surmounted the rim, I saw Jones, and flopped down beside him, and lay
panting, dripping, boiling, with scorched feet, aching limbs and numb chest.
"I've been here two hours," he said, "and I knew things were happening below; but to
climb up that slide would kill me. I am not young any more, and a steep climb
like this takes a young heart.
As it was I had enough work. Look!"
He called my attention to his trousers. They had been cut to shreds, and the right
trouser leg was missing from the knee down.
His shin was bloody. "Moze took a lion along the rim, and I went
after him with all my horse could do. I yelled for the boys, but they didn't
Right here it is easy to go down, but below, where Moze started this lion, it was
impossible to get over the rim. The lion lit straight out of the pinyons.
I lost ground because of the thick brush and numerous trees.
Then Moze doesn't bark often enough. He treed the lion twice.
I could tell by the way he opened up and bayed.
The rascal coon-dog climbed the trees and chased the lion out.
That's what Moze did!
I got to an open space and saw him, and was coming up fine when he went down over a
hollow which ran into the canyon.
My horse tripped and fell, turning clear over with me before he threw me into the
brush. I tore my clothes, and got this bruise, but
wasn't much hurt.
My horse is pretty lame." I began a recital of my experience,
modestly omitting the incident where I bravely faced an old lioness.
Upon consulting my watch, I found I had been almost four hours climbing out.
At that moment, Frank poked a red face over the rim.
He was in shirt sleeves, sweating freely, and wore a frown I had never seen before.
He puffed like a porpoise, and at first could hardly speak.
"Where were--you--all?" he panted.
"Say! but mebbe this hasn't been a chase! Jim and Wallace an' me went tumblin' down
after the dogs, each one lookin' out for his perticilar dog, an' darn me if I don't
believe his lion, too.
Don took one oozin' down the canyon, with me hot-footin' it after him.
An' somewhere he treed thet lion, right below me, in a box canyon, sort of an
offshoot of the second rim, an' I couldn't locate him.
I blamed near killed myself more'n once.
Look at my knuckles! Barked em slidin' about a mile down a
smooth wall. I thought once the lion had jumped Don, but
soon I heard him barkin' again.
All thet time I heard Sounder, an' once I heard the pup.
Jim yelled, an' somebody was shootin'. But I couldn't find nobody, or make nobody
hear me.
Thet canyon is a mighty deceivin' place. You'd never think so till you go down.
I wouldn't climb up it again for all the lions in Buckskin.
Hello, there comes Jim oozin' up."
Jim appeared just over the rim, and when he got up to us, dusty, torn and fagged out,
with Don, Tige and Ranger showing signs of collapse, we all blurted out questions.
But Jim took his time.
"Shore thet canyon is one hell of a place," he began finally.
"Where was everybody? Tige and the pup went down with me an'
treed a cougar.
Yes, they did, an' I set under a pinyon holdin' the pup, while Tige kept the cougar
treed. I yelled an' yelled.
After about an hour or two, Wallace came poundin' down like a giant.
It was a sure thing we'd get the cougar; an' Wallace was takin' his picture when the
blamed cat jumped.
It was embarrassin', because he wasn't polite about how he jumped.
We scattered some, an' when Wallace got his gun, the cougar was humpin' down the slope,
an' he was goin' so fast an' the pinyons was so thick thet Wallace couldn't get a
fair shot, an' missed.
Tige an' the pup was so scared by the shots they wouldn't take the trail again.
I heard some one shoot about a million times, an' shore thought the cougar was
done for.
Wallace went plungin' down the slope an' I followed.
I couldn't keep up with him--he shore takes long steps--an' I lost him.
I'm reckonin' he went over the second wall.
Then I made tracks for the top. Boys, the way you can see an' hear things
down in thet canyon, an' the way you can't hear an' see things is pretty funny."
"If Wallace went over the second rim wall, will he get back to-day?" we all asked.
"Shore, there's no tellin'."
We waited, lounged, and slept for three hours, and were beginning to worry about
our comrade when he hove in sight eastward, along the rim.
He walked like a man whose next step would be his last.
When he reached us, he fell flat, and lay breathing heavily for a while.
"Somebody once mentioned Israel Putnam's ascent of a hill," he said slowly.
"With all respect to history and a patriot, I wish to say Putnam never saw a hill!"
"Ooze for camp," called out Frank.
Five o'clock found us round a bright fire, all casting ravenous eyes at a smoking
supper. The smell of the Persian meat would have
made a wolf of a vegetarian.
I devoured four chops, and could not have been counted in the running.
Jim opened a can of maple syrup which he had been saving for a grand occasion, and
Frank went him one better with two cans of peaches.
How glorious to be hungry--to feel the craving for food, and to be grateful for
it, to realize that the best of life lies in the daily needs of existence, and to
battle for them!
Nothing could be stronger than the simple enumeration and statement of the facts of
Wallace's experience after he left Jim. He chased the cougar, and kept it in sight,
until it went over the second rim wall.
Here he dropped over a precipice twenty feet high, to alight on a fan-shaped slide
which spread toward the bottom.
It began to slip and move by jerks, and then started off steadily, with an
increasing roar. He rode an avalanche for one thousand feet.
The jar loosened bowlders from the walls.
When the slide stopped, Wallace extricated his feet and began to dodge the bowlders.
He had only time to jump over the large ones or dart to one side out of their way.
He dared not run.
He had to watch them coming. One huge stone hurtled over his head and
smashed a pinyon tree below.
When these had ceased rolling, and he had passed down to the red shale, he heard
Sounder baying near, and knew a cougar had been treed or cornered.
Hurdling the stones and dead pinyons, Wallace ran a mile down the slope, only to
find he had been deceived in the direction. He sheered off to the left.
Sounder's illusive bay came up from a deep cleft.
Wallace plunged into a pinyon, climbed to the ground, skidded down a solid slide, to
come upon an impassable the obstacle in the form of a solid wall of red granite.
Sounder appeared and came to him, evidently having given up the chase.
Wallace consumed four hours in making the ascent.
In the notch of the curve of the second rim wall, he climbed the slippery steps of a
At one point, if he had not been six feet five inches tall he would have been
compelled to attempt retracing his trail-- an impossible task.
But his height enabled him to reach a root, by which he pulled himself up.
Sounder he lassoed a la Jones, and hauled up.
At another spot, which Sounder climbed, he lassoed a pinyon above, and walked up with
his feet slipping from under him at every step.
The knees of his corduroy trousers were holes, as were the elbows of his coat.
The sole of his left boot, which he used most in climbing--was gone, and so was his
The mountain lion, or cougar, of our Rocky Mountain region, is nothing more nor less
than the panther.
He is a little different in shape, color and size, which vary according to his
environment. The panther of the Rockies is usually
light, taking the grayish hue of the rocks.
He is stockier and heavier of build, and stronger of limb than the Eastern species,
which difference comes from climbing mountains and springing down the cliffs
after his prey.
In regions accessible to man, or where man is encountered even rarely, the cougar is
exceedingly shy, seldom or never venturing from cover during the day.
He spends the hours of daylight high on the most rugged cliffs, sleeping and basking in
the sunshine, and watching with wonderfully keen sight the valleys below.
His hearing equals his sight, and if danger threatens, he always hears it in time to
skulk away unseen.
At night he steals down the mountain side toward deer or elk he has located during
the day. Keeping to the lowest ravines and thickets,
he creeps upon his prey.
His cunning and ferocity are keener and more savage in proportion to the length of
time he has been without food.
As he grows hungrier and thinner, his skill and fierce strategy correspondingly
A well-fed cougar will creep upon and secure only about one in seven of the deer,
elk, antelope or mountain sheep that he stalks.
But a starving cougar is another animal.
He creeps like a snake, is as sure on the scent as a vulture, makes no more noise
than a shadow, and he hides behind a stone or bush that would scarcely conceal a
Then he springs with terrific force, and intensity of purpose, and seldom fails to
reach his victim, and once the claws of a starved lion touch flesh, they never let
A cougar seldom pursues his quarry after he has leaped and missed, either from disgust
or failure, or knowledge that a second attempt would be futile.
The animal making the easiest prey for the cougar is the elk.
About every other elk attacked falls a victim.
Deer are more fortunate, the ratio being one dead to five leaped at.
The antelope, living on the lowlands or upland meadows, escapes nine times out of
ten; and the mountain sheep, or bighorn, seldom falls to the onslaught of his enemy.
Once the lion gets a hold with the great forepaw, every movement of the struggling
prey sinks the sharp, hooked claws deeper.
Then as quickly as is possible, the lion fastens his teeth in the throat of his prey
and grips till it is dead. In this way elk have carried lions for many
The lion seldom tears the skin of the neck, and never, as is generally supposed, sucks
the blood of its victim; but he cuts into the side, just behind the foreshoulder, and
eats the liver first.
He rolls the skin back as neatly and tightly as a person could do it.
When he has gorged himself, he drags the carcass into a ravine or dense thicket, and
rakes leaves, sticks or dirt over it to hide it from other animals.
Usually he returns to his cache on the second night, and after that the frequency
of his visits depends on the supply of fresh prey.
In remote regions, unfrequented by man, the lion will guard his cache from coyote and
buzzards. In sex there are about five female lions to
one male.
This is caused by the jealous and vicious disposition of the male.
It is a fact that the old Toms kill every young lion they can catch.
Both male and female of the litter suffer alike until after weaning time, and then
only the males. In this matter wise animal logic is
displayed by the Toms.
The domestic cat, to some extent, possesses the same trait.
If the litter is destroyed, the mating time is sure to come about regardless of the
Thus this savage trait of the lions prevents overproduction, and breeds a hardy
and intrepid race.
If by chance or that cardinal feature of animal life--the survival of the fittest--a
young male lion escapes to the weaning time, even after that he is persecuted.
Young male lions have been killed and found to have had their flesh beaten until it was
a mass of bruises and undoubtedly it had been the work of an old Tom.
Moreover, old males and females have been killed, and found to be in the same bruised
A feature, and a conclusive one, is the fact that invariably the female is suckling
her young at this period, and sustains the bruises in desperately defending her
It is astonishing how cunning, wise and faithful an old lioness is.
She seldom leaves her kittens.
From the time they are six weeks old she takes them out to train them for the
battles of life, and the struggle continues from birth to death.
A lion hardly ever dies naturally.
As soon as night descends, the lioness stealthily stalks forth, and because of her
little ones, takes very short steps. The cubs follow, stepping in their mother's
When she crouches for game, each little lion crouches also, and each one remains
perfectly still until she springs, or signals them to come.
If she secures the prey, they all gorge themselves.
After the feast the mother takes her back trail, stepping in the tracks she made
coming down the mountain.
And the cubs are very careful to follow suit, and not to leave marks of their trail
in the soft snow.
No doubt this habit is practiced to keep their deadly enemies in ignorance of their
existence. The old Toms and white hunters are their
only foes.
Indians never kill a lion. This trick of the lions has fooled many a
hunter, concerning not only the direction, but particularly the number.
The only successful way to hunt lions is with trained dogs.
A good hound can trail them for several hours after the tracks have been made, and
on a cloudy or wet day can hold the scent much longer.
In snow the hound can trail for three or four days after the track has been made.
When Jones was game warden of the Yellowstone National Park, he had
unexampled opportunities to hunt cougars and learn their habits.
All the cougars in that region of the Rockies made a rendezvous of the game
Jones soon procured a pack of hounds, but as they had been trained to run deer, foxes
and coyotes he had great trouble.
They would break on the trail of these animals, and also on elk and antelope just
when this was farthest from his wish. He soon realized that to train the hounds
was a sore task.
When they refused to come back at his call, he stung them with fine shot, and in this
manner taught obedience. But obedience was not enough; the hounds
must know how to follow and tree a lion.
With this in mind, Jones decided to catch a lion alive and give his dogs practical
A few days after reaching this decision, he discovered the tracks of two lions in the
neighborhood of Mt. Everett. The hounds were put on the trail and
followed it into an abandoned coal shaft.
Jones recognized this as his opportunity, and taking his lasso and an extra rope, he
crawled into the hole. Not fifteen feet from the opening sat one
of the cougars, snarling and spitting.
Jones promptly lassoed it, passed his end of the lasso round a side prop of the
shaft, and out to the soldiers who had followed him.
Instructing them not to pull till he called, he cautiously began to crawl by the
cougar, with the intention of getting farther back and roping its hind leg, so as
to prevent disaster when the soldiers pulled it out.
He accomplished this, not without some uneasiness in regard to the second lion,
and giving the word to his companions, soon had his captive hauled from the shaft and
tied so tightly it could not move.
Jones took the cougar and his hounds to an open place in the park, where there were
trees, and prepared for a chase. Loosing the lion, he held his hounds back a
moment, then let them go.
Within one hundred yards the cougar climbed a tree, and the dogs saw the performance.
Taking a forked stick, Jones mounted up to the cougar, caught it under the jaw with
the stick, and pushed it out.
There was a fight, a scramble, and the cougar dashed off to run up another tree.
In this manner, he soon trained his hounds to the pink of perfection.
Jones discovered, while in the park, that the cougar is king of all the beasts of
North America. Even a grizzly dashed away in great haste
when a cougar made his appearance.
At the road camp, near Mt. Washburn, during the fall of 1904, the bears, grizzlies and
others, were always hanging round the cook tent.
There were cougars also, and almost every evening, about dusk, a big fellow would
come parading past the tent. The bears would grunt furiously and scamper
in every direction.
It was easy to tell when a cougar was in the neighborhood, by the peculiar grunts
and snorts of the bears, and the sharp, distinct, alarmed yelps of coyotes.
A lion would just as lief kill a coyote as any other animal and he would devour it,
As to the fighting of cougars and grizzlies, that was a mooted question, with
the credit on the side of the former.
The story of the doings of cougars, as told in the snow, was intensely fascinating and
How they stalked deer and elk, crept to within springing distance, then crouched
flat to leap, was as easy to read as if it had been told in print.
The leaps and bounds were beyond belief.
The longest leap on a level measured eighteen and one-half feet.
Jones trailed a half-grown cougar, which in turn was trailing a big elk.
He found where the cougar had struck his game, had clung for many rods, to be dashed
off by the low limb of a spruce tree.
The imprint of the body of the cougar was a foot deep in the snow; blood and tufts of
hair covered the place. But there was no sign of the cougar
renewing the chase.
In rare cases cougars would refuse to run, or take to trees.
One day Jones followed the hounds, eight in number, to come on a huge Tom holding the
whole pack at bay.
He walked to and fro, lashing his tail from side to side, and when Jones dashed up, he
coolly climbed a tree. Jones shot the cougar, which, in falling,
struck one of the hounds, crippling him.
This hound would never approach a tree after this incident, believing probably
that the cougar had sprung upon him. Usually the hounds chased their quarry into
a tree long before Jones rode up.
It was always desirable to kill the animal with the first shot.
If the cougar was wounded, and fell or jumped among the dogs, there was sure to be
a terrible fight, and the best dogs always received serious injuries, if they were not
killed outright.
The lion would seize a hound, pull him close, and bite him in the brain.
Jones asserted that a cougar would usually run from a hunter, but that this feature
was not to be relied upon.
And a wounded cougar was as dangerous as a tiger.
In his hunts Jones carried a shotgun, and shells loaded with ball for the cougar, and
others loaded with fine shot for the hounds.
One day, about ten miles from the camp, the hounds took a trail and ran rapidly, as
there were only a few inches of snow.
Jones found a large lion had taken refuge in a tree that had fallen against another,
and aiming at the shoulder of the beast, he fired both barrels.
The cougar made no sign he had been hit.
Jones reloaded and fired at the head. The old fellow growled fiercely, turned in
the tree and walked down head first, something he would not have been able to do
had the tree been upright.
The hounds were ready for him, but wisely attacked in the rear.
Realizing he had been shooting fine shot at the animal, Jones began a hurried search
for a shell loaded with ball.
The lion made for him, compelling him to dodge behind trees.
Even though the hounds kept nipping the cougar, the persistent fellow still pursued
the hunter.
At last Jones found the right shell, just as the cougar reached for him.
Major, the leader of the hounds, darted bravely in, and grasped the leg of the
beast just in the nick of time.
This enabled Jones to take aim and fire at close range, which ended the fight.
Upon examination, it was discovered the cougar had been half-blinded by the fine
shot, which accounted for the ineffectual attempts he had made to catch Jones.
The mountain lion rarely attacks a human being for the purpose of eating.
When hungry he will often follow the tracks of people, and under favorable
circumstances may ambush them.
In the park where game is plentiful, no one has ever known a cougar to follow the trail
of a person; but outside the park lions have been known to follow hunters, and
particularly stalk little children.
The Davis family, living a few miles north of the park, have had children pursued to
the very doors of their cabin. And other families relate similar
Jones heard of only one fatality, but he believes that if the children were left
alone in the woods, the cougars would creep closer and closer, and when assured there
was no danger, would spring to kill.
Jones never heard the cry of a cougar in the National Park, which strange
circumstance, considering the great number of the animals there, he believed to be on
account of the abundance of game.
But he had heard it when a boy in Illinois, and when a man all over the West, and the
cry was always the same, weird and wild, like the scream of a terrified woman.
He did not understand the significance of the cry, unless it meant hunger, or the
wailing mourn of a lioness for her murdered cubs.
The destructiveness of this savage species was murderous.
Jones came upon one old Tom's den, where there was a pile of nineteen elk, mostly
Only five or six had been eaten. Jones hunted this old fellow for months,
and found that the lion killed on the average three animals a week.
The hounds got him up at length, and chased him to the Yellowstone River, which he swam
at a point impassable for man or horse.
One of the dogs, a giant bloodhound named Jack, swam the swift channel, kept on after
the lion, but never returned.
All cougars have their peculiar traits and habits, the same as other creatures, and
all old Toms have strongly marked characteristics, but this one was the most
destructive cougar Jones ever knew.
During Jones's short sojourn as warden in the park, he captured numerous cougars
alive, and killed seventy-two.
It seemed my eyelids had scarcely touched when Jones's exasperating, yet stimulating,
yell aroused me. Day was breaking.
The moon and stars shone with wan luster.
A white, snowy frost silvered the forest. Old Moze had curled close beside me, and
now he gazed at me reproachfully and shivered.
Lawson came hustling in with the horses.
Jim busied himself around the campfire. My fingers nearly froze while I saddled my
At five o'clock we were trotting up the slope of Buckskin, bound for the section of
ruined rim wall where we had encountered the convention of cougars.
Hoping to save time, we took a short cut, and were soon crossing deep ravines.
The sunrise coloring the purple curtain of cloud over the canyon was too much for me,
and I lagged on a high ridge to watch it, thus falling behind my more practical
A far-off "Waa-hoo!" brought me to a realization of the day's stern duty and I
hurried Satan forward on the trail.
I came suddenly upon our leader, leading his horse through the scrub pinyon on the
edge of the canyon, and I knew at once something had happened, for he was closely
scrutinizing the ground.
"I declare this beats me all hollow!" began Jones.
"We might be hunting rabbits instead of the wildest animals on the continent.
We jumped a bunch of lions in this clump of pinyon.
There must have been at least four.
I thought first we'd run upon an old lioness with cubs, but all the trails were
made by full-grown lions. Moze took one north along the rim, same as
the other day, but the lion got away quick.
Frank saw one lion. Wallace is following Sounder down into the
first hollow. Jim has gone over the rim wall after Don.
There you are!
Four lions playing tag in broad daylight on top of this wall!
I'm inclined to believe Clarke didn't exaggerate.
But confound the luck! the hounds have split again.
They're doing their best, of course, and it's up to us to stay with them.
I'm afraid we'll lose some of them.
Hello! I hear a signal.
That's from Wallace. Waa-hoo!
There he is, coming out of the hollow." The tall Californian reached us presently
with Sounder beside him. He reported that the hound had chased a
lion into an impassable break.
We then joined Frank on a jutting crag of the canyon wall.
"Waa-hoo!" yelled Jones.
There was no answer except the echo, and it rolled up out of the chasm with strange,
hollow mockery. "Don took a cougar down this slide," said
"I saw the brute, an' Don was makin' him hump.
A--ha! There!
Listen to thet!"
From the green and yellow depths soared the faint yelp of a hound.
"That's Don! that's Don!" cried Jones. "He's hot on something.
Where's Sounder?
Hyar, Sounder! By George! there he goes down the slide.
Hear him! He's opened up!
Hi! Hi! Hi!"
The deep, full mellow bay of the hound came ringing on the clear air.
"Wallace, you go down. Frank and I will climb out on that pointed
Grey, you stay here. Then we'll have the slide between us.
Listen and watch!"
From my promontory I watched Wallace go down with his gigantic strides, sending the
rocks rolling and cracking; and then I saw Jones and Frank crawl out to the end of a
crumbling ruin of yellow wall which
threatened to go splintering and thundering down into the abyss.
I thought, as I listened to the penetrating voice of the hound, that nowhere on earth
could there be a grander scene for wild action, wild life.
My position afforded a commanding view over a hundred miles of the noblest and most
sublime work of nature.
The rim wall where I stood sheered down a thousand feet, to meet a long wooded slope
which cut abruptly off into another giant precipice; a second long slope descended,
and jumped off into what seemed the grave of the world.
Most striking in that vast void were the long, irregular points of rim wall,
protruding into the Grand Canyon.
From Point Sublime to the Pink Cliffs of Utah there were twelve of these colossal
capes, miles apart, some sharp, some round, some blunt, all rugged and bold.
The great chasm in the middle was full of purple smoke.
It seemed a mighty sepulcher from which misty fumes rolled upward.
The turrets, mesas, domes, parapets and escarpments of yellow and red rock gave the
appearance of an architectural work of giant hands.
The wonderful river of silt, the blood-red, mystic and sullen Rio Colorado, lay hidden
except in one place far away, where it glimmered wanly.
Thousands of colors were blended before my rapt gaze.
Yellow predominated, as the walls and crags lorded it over the lower cliffs and tables;
red glared in the sunlight; green softened these two, and then purple and violet,
gray, blue and the darker hues shaded away into dim and distinct obscurity.
Excited yells from my companions on the other crag recalled me to the living aspect
of the scene.
Jones was leaning far down in a niche, at seeming great hazard of life, yelling with
all the power of his strong lungs.
Frank stood still farther out on a cracked point that made me tremble, and his yell
reenforced Jones's.
From far below rolled up a chorus of thrilling bays and yelps, and Jim's call,
faint, but distinct on that wonderfully thin air, with its unmistakable note of
Then on the slide I saw a lion headed for the rim wall and climbing fast.
I added my exultant cry to the medley, and I stretched my arms wide to that
illimitable void and gloried in a moment full to the brim of the tingling joy of
I did not consider how painful it must have been to the toiling lion.
It was only the spell of wild environment, of perilous yellow crags, of thin, dry air,
of voice of man and dog, of the stinging expectation of sharp action, of life.
I watched the lion growing bigger and bigger.
I saw Don and Sounder run from the pinyon into the open slide, and heard their
impetuous burst of wild yelps as they saw their game.
Then Jones's clarion yell made me bound for my horse.
I reached him, was about to mount, when Moze came trotting toward me.
I caught the old gladiator.
When he heard the chorus from below, he plunged like a mad bull.
With both arms round him I held on. I vowed never to let him get down that
He howled and tore, but I held on. My big black horse with ears laid back
stood like a rock.
I heard the pattering of little sliding rocks below; stealthy padded footsteps and
hard panting breaths, almost like coughs; then the lion passed out of the slide not
twenty feet away.
He saw us, and sprang into the pinyon scrub with the leap of a scared deer.
Samson himself could no longer have held Moze.
Away he darted with his sharp, angry bark.
I flung myself upon Satan and rode out to see Jones ahead and Frank flashing through
the green on the white horse.
At the end of the pinyon thicket Satan overhauled Jones's bay, and we entered the
open forest together. We saw Frank glinting across the dark
"Hi! Hi!" yelled the Colonel. No need was there to whip or spur those
magnificent horses.
They were fresh; the course was open, and smooth as a racetrack, and the impelling
chorus of the hounds was in full blast. I gave Satan a loose rein, and he stayed
neck and neck with the bay.
There was not a log, nor a stone, nor a gully.
The hollows grew wider and shallower as we raced along, and presently disappeared
The lion was running straight from the canyon, and the certainty that he must
sooner or later take to a tree, brought from me a yell of irresistible wild joy.
"Hi! Hi! Hi!" answered Jones.
The whipping wind with its pine-scented fragrance, warm as the breath of summer,
was intoxicating as wine.
The huge pines, too kingly for close communion with their kind, made wide arches
under which the horses stretched out long and low, with supple, springy, powerful
Frank's yell rang clear as a bell. We saw him curve to the right, and took his
yell as a signal for us to cut across.
Then we began to close in on him, and to hear more distinctly the baying of the
"Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!" bawled Jones, and his great trumpet voice rolled down the forest
glades. "Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!"
I screeched, in wild recognition of the spirit of the moment.
Fast as they were flying, the bay and the black responded to our cries, and
quickened, strained and lengthened under us till the trees sped by in blurs.
There, plainly in sight ahead ran the hounds, Don leading, Sounder next, and Moze
not fifty yards, behind a desperately running lion.
There are all-satisfying moments of life.
That chase through the open forest, under the stately pines, with the wild, tawny
quarry in plain sight, and the glad staccato yelps of the hounds filling my
ears and swelling my heart, with the
splendid action of my horse carrying me on the wings of the wind, was glorious answer
and fullness to the call and hunger of a hunter's blood.
But as such moments must be, they were brief.
The lion leaped gracefully into the air, splintering the bark from a pine fifteen
feet up, and crouched on a limb.
The hounds tore madly round the tree. "Full-grown female," said Jones calmly, as
we dismounted, "and she's ours. We'll call her Kitty."
Kitty was a beautiful creature, long, slender, glossy, with white belly and
black-tipped ears and tail.
She did not resemble the heavy, grim-faced brute that always hung in the air of my
dreams. A low, brooding menacing murmur, that was
not a snarl nor a growl, came from her.
She watched the dogs with bright, steady eyes, and never so much as looked at us.
The dogs were worth attention, even from us, who certainly did not need to regard
them from her personally hostile point of view.
Don stood straight up, with his forepaws beating the air; he walked on his hind legs
like the trained dog in the circus; he yelped continuously, as if it agonized him
to see the lion safe out of his reach.
Sounder had lost his identity. Joy had unhinged his mind and had made him
a dog of double personality.
He had always been unsocial with me, never responding to my attempts to caress him,
but now he leaped into my arms and licked my face.
He had always hated Jones till that moment, when he raised his paws to his master's
And perhaps more remarkable, time and time again he sprang up at Satan's nose, whether
to bite him or kiss him, I could not tell.
Then old Moze, he of Grand Canyon fame, made the delirious antics of his canine
fellows look cheap.
There was a small, dead pine that had fallen against a drooping branch of the
tree Kitty had taken refuge in, and up this narrow ladder Moze began to climb.
He was fifteen feet up, and Kitty had begun to shift uneasily, when Jones saw him.
"Hyar! you wild coon hyar! Git out of that!
Come down!
Come down!" But Jones might have been in the bottom of
the canyon for all Moze heard or cared.
Jones removed his coat, carefully coiled his lasso, and began to go hand and knee up
the leaning pine. "Hyar! dad-blast you, git down!" yelled
Jones, and he kicked Moze off.
The persistent hound returned, and followed Jones to a height of twenty feet, where
again he was thrust off. "Hold him, one of you!" called Jones.
"Not me," said Frank, "I'm lookin' out for myself."
"Same here," I cried, with a camera in one hand and a rifle in the other.
"Let Moze climb if he likes."
Climb he did, to be kicked off again. But he went back.
It was a way he had.
Jones at last recognized either his own waste of time or Moze's greatness, for he
desisted, allowing the hound to keep close after him.
The cougar, becoming uneasy, stood up, reached for another limb, climbed out upon
it, and peering down, spat hissingly at Jones.
But he kept steadily on with Moze close on his heels.
I snapped my camera on them when Kitty was not more than fifteen feet above them.
As Jones reached the snag which upheld the leaning tree, she ran out on her branch,
and leaped into an adjoining pine. It was a good long jump, and the weight of
the animal bent the limb alarmingly.
Jones backed down, and laboriously began to climb the other tree.
As there were no branches low down, he had to hug the trunk with arms and legs as a
boy climbs.
His lasso hampered his progress. When the slow ascent was accomplished up to
the first branch, Kitty leaped back into her first perch.
Strange to say Jones did not grumble; none of his characteristic impatience manifested
I supposed with him all the exasperating waits, vexatious obstacles, were little
things preliminary to the real work, to which he had now come.
He was calm and deliberate, and slid down the pine, walked back to the leaning tree,
and while resting a moment, shook his lasso at Kitty.
This action fitted him, somehow; it was so compatible with his grim assurance.
To me, and to Frank, also, for that matter, it was all new and startling, and we were
as excited as the dogs.
We kept continually moving about, Frank mounted, and I afoot, to get good views of
the cougar.
When she crouched as if to leap, it was almost impossible to remain under the tree,
and we kept moving. Once more Jones crept up on hands and
Moze walked the slanting pine like a rope performer.
Kitty began to grow restless.
This time she showed both anger and impatience, but did not yet appear
She growled low and deep, opened her mouth and hissed, and swung her tufted tail
faster and faster. "Look out, Jones! look out!" yelled Frank
Jones, who had reached the trunk of the tree, halted and slipped round it, placing
it between him and Kitty. She had advanced on her limb, a few feet
above Jones, and threateningly hung over.
Jones backed down a little till she crossed to another branch, then he resumed his
former position. "Watch below," called he.
Hardly any doubt was there as to how we watched.
Frank and I were all eyes, except very high and throbbing hearts.
When Jones thrashed the lasso at Kitty we both yelled.
She ran out on the branch and jumped.
This time she fell short of her point, clutched a dead snag, which broke, letting
her through a bushy branch from where she hung head downward.
For a second she swung free, then reaching toward the tree caught it with front paws,
ran down like a squirrel, and leaped off when thirty feet from the ground.
The action was as rapid as it was astonishing.
Like a yellow rubber ball she bounded up, and fled with the yelping hounds at her
The chase was short. At the end of a hundred yards Moze caught
up with her and nipped her.
She whirled with savage suddenness, and lunged at Moze, but he cunningly eluded the
vicious paws. Then she sought safety in another pine.
Frank, who was as quick as the hounds, almost rode them down in his eagerness.
While Jones descended from his perch, I led the two horses down the forest.
This time the cougar was well out on a low spreading branch.
Jones conceived the idea of raising the loop of his lasso on a long pole, but as no
pole of sufficient length could be found, he tried from the back of his horse.
The bay walked forward well enough; when, however, he got under the beast and heard
her growl, he reared and almost threw Jones.
Frank's horse could not be persuaded to go near the tree.
Satan evinced no fear of the cougar, and without flinching carried Jones directly
beneath the limb and stood with ears back and forelegs stiff.
"Look at that! look at that!" cried Jones, as the wary cougar pawed the loop aside.
Three successive times did Jones have the lasso just ready to drop over her neck,
when she flashed a yellow paw and knocked the noose awry.
Then she leaped far out over the waiting dogs, struck the ground with a light, sharp
thud, and began to run with the speed of a deer.
Frank's cowboy training now stood us in good stead.
He was off like a shot and turned the cougar from the direction of the canyon.
Jones lost not a moment in pursuit, and I, left with Jones's badly frightened bay, got
going in time to see the race, but not to assist.
For several hundred yards Kitty made the hounds appear slow.
Don, being swiftest, gained on her steadily toward the close of the dash, and presently
was running under her upraised tail.
On the next jump he nipped her. She turned and sent him reeling.
Sounder came flying up to bite her flank, and at the same moment fierce old Moze
closed in on her.
The next instant a struggling mass whirled on the ground.
Jones and Frank, yelling like demons, almost rode over it.
The cougar broke from her assailants, and dashing away leaped on the first tree.
It was a half-dead pine with short snags low down and a big branch extending out
over a ravine.
"I think we can hold her now," said Jones. The tree proved to be a most difficult one
to climb.
Jones made several ineffectual attempts before he reached the first limb, which
broke, giving him a hard fall. This calmed me enough to make me take
notice of Jones's condition.
He was wet with sweat and covered with the black pitch from the pines; his shirt was
slit down the arm, and there was blood on his temple and his hand.
The next attempt began by placing a good- sized log against the tree, and proved to
be the necessary help. Jones got hold of the second limb and
pulled himself up.
As he kept on, Kitty crouched low as if to spring upon him.
Again Frank and I sent warning calls to him, but he paid no attention to us or to
the cougar, and continued to climb.
This worried Kitty as much as it did us. She began to move on the snags, stepping
from one to the other, every moment snarling at Jones, and then she crawled up.
The big branch evidently took her eye.
She tried several times to climb up to it, but small snags close together made her
She walked uneasily out upon two limbs, and as they bent with her weight she hurried
Twice she did this, each time looking up, showing her desire to leap to the big
Her distress became plainly evident; a child could have seen that she feared she
would fall. At length, in desperation, she spat at
Jones, then ran out and leaped.
She all but missed the branch, but succeeded in holding to it and swinging to
safety. Then she turned to her tormentor, and gave
utterance to most savage sounds.
As she did not intimidate her pursuer, she retreated out on the branch, which sloped
down at a deep angle, and crouched on a network of small limbs.
When Jones had worked up a little farther, he commanded a splendid position for his
Kitty was somewhat below him in a desirable place, yet the branch she was on joined the
tree considerably above his head. Jones cast his lasso.
It caught on a snag.
Throw after throw he made with like result. He recoiled and recast nineteen times, to
my count, when Frank made a suggestion. "Rope those dead snags an' break them off."
This practical idea Jones soon carried out, which left him a clear path.
The next fling of the lariat caused the cougar angrily to shake her head.
Again Jones sent the noose flying.
She pulled it off her back and bit it savagely.
Though very much excited, I tried hard to keep sharp, keen faculties alert so as not
to miss a single detail of the thrilling scene.
But I must have failed, for all of a sudden I saw how Jones was standing in the tree,
something I had not before appreciated.
He had one hand hold, which he could not use while recoiling the lasso, and his feet
rested upon a precariously frail-appearing, dead snag.
He made eleven casts of the lasso, all of which bothered Kitty, but did not catch
her. The twelfth caught her front paw.
Jones jerked so quickly and hard that he almost lost his balance, and he pulled the
noose off. Patiently he recoiled the lasso.
"That's what I want.
If I can get her front paw she's ours. My idea is to pull her off the limb, let
her hang there, and then lasso her hind legs."
Another cast, the unlucky thirteenth, settled the loop perfectly round her neck.
She chewed on the rope with her front teeth and appeared to have difficulty in holding
"Easy! Easy!
Ooze thet rope! Easy!" yelled the cowboy.
Cautiously Jones took up the slack and slowly tightened the nose, then with a
quick jerk, fastened it close round her neck.
We heralded this achievement with yells of triumph that made the forest ring.
Our triumph was short-lived. Jones had hardly moved when the cougar shot
straight out into the air.
The lasso caught on a branch, hauling her up short, and there she hung in mid-air,
writhing, struggling and giving utterance to sounds terribly human.
For several seconds she swung, slowly descending, in which frenzied time I, with
ruling passion uppermost, endeavored to snap a picture of her.
The unintelligible commands Jones was yelling to Frank and me ceased suddenly
with a sharp crack of breaking wood. Then crash!
Jones fell out of the tree.
The lasso streaked up, ran over the limb, while the cougar dropped pell-mell into the
bunch of waiting, howling dogs. The next few moments it was impossible for
me to distinguish what actually transpired.
A great flutter of leaves whirled round a swiftly changing ball of brown and black
and yellow, from which came a fiendish clamor.
Then I saw Jones plunge down the ravine and bounce here and there in mad efforts to
catch the whipping lasso. He was roaring in a way that made all his
former yells merely whispers.
Starting to run, I tripped on a root, fell prone on my face into the ravine, and
rolled over and over until I brought up with a bump against a rock.
What a tableau rivited my gaze!
It staggered me so I did not think of my camera.
I stood transfixed not fifteen feet from the cougar.
She sat on her haunches with body well drawn back by the taut lasso to which Jones
held tightly. Don was standing up with her, upheld by the
hooked claws in his head.
The cougar had her paws outstretched; her mouth open wide, showing long, cruel, white
fangs; she was trying to pull the head of the dog to her.
Don held back with all his power, and so did Jones.
Moze and Sounder were tussling round her body.
Suddenly both ears of the dog pulled out, slit into ribbons.
Don had never uttered a sound, and once free, he made at her again with open jaws.
One blow sent him reeling and stunned.
Then began again that wrestling whirl. "Beat off the dogs!
Beat off the dogs!" roared Jones. "She'll kill them!
She'll kill them!"
Frank and I seized clubs and ran in upon the confused furry mass, forgetful of peril
to ourselves.
In the wild contagion of such a savage moment the minds of men revert wholly to
primitive instincts.
We swung our clubs and yelled; we fought all over the bottom of the ravine, crashing
through the bushes, over logs and stones. I actually felt the soft fur of the cougar
at one fleeting instant.
The dogs had the strength born of insane fighting spirit.
At last we pulled them to where Don lay, half-stunned, and with an arm tight round
each, I held them while Frank turned to help Jones.
The disheveled Jones, bloody, grim as death, his heavy jaw locked, stood holding
to the lasso.
The cougar, her sides shaking with short, quick pants, crouched low on the ground
with eyes of purple fire. "For God's sake, get a half-hitch on the
saplin'!" called the cowboy.
His quick grasp of the situation averted a tragedy.
Jones was nearly exhausted, even as he was beyond thinking for himself or giving up.
The cougar sprang, a yellow, frightful flash.
Even as she was in the air, Jones took a quick step to one side and dodged as he
threw his lasso round the sapling.
She missed him, but one alarmingly outstretched paw grazed his shoulder.
A twist of Jones's big hand fastened the lasso--and Kitty was a prisoner.
While she fought, rolled, twisted, bounded, whirled, writhed with hissing, snarling
fury, Jones sat mopping the sweat and blood from his face.
Kitty's efforts were futile; she began to weaken from the choking.
Jones took another rope, and tightening a noose around her back paws, which he
lassoed as she rolled over, he stretched her out.
She began to contract her supple body, gave a savage, convulsive spring, which pulled
Jones flat on the ground, then the terrible wrestling started again.
The lasso slipped over her back paws.
She leaped the whole length of the other lasso.
Jones caught it and fastened it more securely; but this precaution proved
unnecessary, for she suddenly sank down either exhausted or choked, and gasped with
her tongue hanging out.
Frank slipped the second noose over her back paws, and Jones did likewise with a
third lasso over her right front paw. These lassoes Jones tied to different
"Now you are a good Kitty," said Jones, kneeling by her.
He took a pair of clippers from his hip pocket, and grasping a paw in his powerful
fist he calmly clipped the points of the dangerous claws.
This done, he called to me to get the collar and chain that were tied to his
saddle. I procured them and hurried back.
Then the old buffalo hunter loosened the lasso which was round her neck, and as soon
as she could move her head, he teased her to bite a club.
She broke two good sticks with her sharp teeth, but the third, being solid, did not
While she was chewing it Jones forced her head back and placed his heavy knee on the
club. In a twinkling he had strapped the collar
round her neck.
The chain he made fast to the sapling.
After removing the club from her mouth he placed his knee on her neck, and while her
head was in this helpless position he dexterously slipped a loop of thick copper
wire over her nose, pushed it back and
twisted it tight Following this, all done with speed and precision, he took from his
pocket a piece of steel rod, perhaps one- quarter of an inch thick, and five inches
He pushed this between Kitty's jaws, just back of her great white fangs, and in front
of the copper wire.
She had been shorn of her sharp weapons; she was muzzled, bound, helpless, an object
to pity. Lastly Jones removed the three lassoes.
Kitty slowly gathered her lissom body in a ball and lay panting, with the same brave
wildfire in her eyes. Jones stroked her black-tipped ears and ran
his hand down her glossy fur.
All the time he had kept up a low monotone, talking to her in the strange language he
used toward animals. Then he rose to his feet.
"We'll go back to camp now, and get a pack, saddle and horse," he said.
"She'll be safe here. We'll rope her again, tie her up, throw her
over a pack-saddle, and take her to camp."
To my utter bewilderment the hounds suddenly commenced fighting among
themselves. Of all the vicious bloody dog-fights I ever
saw that was the worst.
I began to belabor them with a club, and Frank sprang to my assistance.
Beating had no apparent effect. We broke a dozen sticks, and then Frank
grappled with Moze and I with Sounder.
Don kept on fighting either one till Jones secured him.
Then we all took a rest, panting and weary. "What's it mean?"
I ejaculated, appealing to Jones.
"Jealous, that's all. Jealous over the lion."
We all remained seated, men and hounds, a sweaty, dirty, bloody, ragged group.
I discovered I was sorry for Kitty.
I forgot all the carcasses of deer and horses, the brutality of this species of
cat; and even forgot the grim, snarling yellow devil that had leaped at me.
Kitty was beautiful and helpless.
How brave she was, too! No sign of fear shone in her wonderful
eyes, only hate, defiance, watchfulness.
On the ride back to camp Jones expressed himself thus: "How happy I am that I can
keep this lion and the others we are going to capture, for my own.
When I was in the Yellowstone Park I did not get to keep one of the many I captured.
The military officials took them from me."
When we reached camp Lawson was absent, but fortunately Old Baldy browsed near at hand,
and was easily caught. Frank said he would rather take Old Baldy
for the cougar than any other horse we had.
Leaving me in camp, he and Jones rode off to fetch Kitty.
About five o'clock they came trotting up through the forest with Jim, who had fallen
in with them on the way.
Old Baldy had remained true to his fame-- nothing, not even a cougar bothered him.
Kitty, evidently no worse for her experience, was chained to a pine tree
about fifty feet from the campfire.
Wallace came riding wearily in, and when he saw the captive, he greeted us with an
exultant yell. He got there just in time to see the first
special features of Kitty's captivity.
The hounds surrounded her, and could not be called off.
We had to beat them.
Whereupon the six jealous canines fell to fighting among themselves, and fought so
savagely as to be deaf to our cries and insensible to blows.
They had to be torn apart and chained.
About six o'clock Lawson loped in with the horses.
Of course he did not know we had a cougar, and no one seemed interested enough to
inform him.
Perhaps only Frank and I thought of it; but I saw a merry snap in Frank's eyes, and
kept silent. Kitty had hidden behind the pine tree.
Lawson, astride Jones' pack horse, a crochety animal, reined in just abreast of
the tree, and leisurely threw his leg over the saddle.
Kitty leaped out to the extent of her chain, and fairly exploded in a frightful
Lawson had stated some time before that he was afraid of cougars, which was a weakness
he need not have divulged in view of what happened.
The horse plunged, throwing him ten feet, and snorting in terror, stampeded with the
rest of the bunch and disappeared among the pines.
"Why the hell didn't you tell a feller?" reproachfully growled the Arizonian.
Frank and Jim held each other upright, and the rest of us gave way to as hearty if not
as violent mirth.
We had a gay supper, during which Kitty sat her pine and watched our every movement.
"We'll rest up for a day or two," said Jones "Things have commenced to come our
If I'm not mistaken we'll bring an old Tom alive into camp.
But it would never do for us to get a big Tom in the fix we had Kitty to-day.
You see, I wanted to lasso her front paw, pull her off the limb, tie my end of the
lasso to the tree, and while she hung I'd go down and rope her hind paws.
It all went wrong to-day, and was as tough a job as I ever handled."
Not until late next morning did Lawson corral all the horses.
That day we lounged in camp mending broken bridles, saddles, stirrups, lassoes, boots,
trousers, leggins, shirts and even broken skins.
During this time I found Kitty a most interesting study.
She reminded me of an enormous yellow kitten.
She did not appear wild or untamed until approached.
Then she slowly sank down, laid back her ears, opened her mouth and hissed and spat,
at the same time throwing both paws out viciously.
Kitty may have rested, but did not sleep.
At times she fought her chain, tugging and straining at it, and trying to bite it
through. Everything in reach she clawed,
particularly the bark of the tree.
Once she tried to hang herself by leaping over a low limb.
When any one walked by her she crouched low, evidently imagining herself unseen.
If one of us walked toward her, or looked at her, she did not crouch.
At other times, noticeably when no one was near, she would roll on her back and extend
all four paws in the air.
Her actions were beautiful, soft, noiseless, quick and subtle.
The day passed, as all days pass in camp, swiftly and pleasantly, and twilight stole
down upon us round the ruddy fire.
The wind roared in the pines and lulled to repose; the lonesome, friendly coyote
barked; the bells on the hobbled horses jingled sweetly; the great watch stars
blinked out of the blue.
The red glow of the burning logs lighted up Jones's calm, cold face.
Tranquil, unalterable and peaceful it seemed; yet beneath the peace I thought I
saw a suggestion of wild restraint, of mystery, of unslaked life.
Strangely enough, his next words confirmed my last thought.
"For forty years I've had an ambition.
It's to get possession of an island in the Pacific, somewhere between Vancouver and
Alaska, and then go to Siberia and capture a lot of Russian sables.
I'd put them on the island and cross them with our silver foxes.
I'm going to try it next year if I can find the time."
The ruling passion and character determine our lives.
Jones was sixty-three years old, yet the thing that had ruled and absorbed his mind
was still as strong as the longing for freedom in Kitty's wild heart.
Hours after I had crawled into my sleeping- bag, in the silence of night I heard her
working to get free. In darkness she was most active, restless,
I heard the clink of her chain, the crack of her teeth, the scrape of her claws.
How tireless she was.
I recalled the wistful light in her eyes that saw, no doubt, far beyond the campfire
to the yellow crags, to the great downward slopes, to freedom.
I slipped my elbow out of the bag and raised myself.
Dark shadows were hovering under the pines.
I saw Kitty's eyes gleam like sparks, and I seemed to see in them the hate, the fear,
the terror she had of the clanking thing that bound her!
I shivered, perhaps from the cold night wind which moaned through the pines; I saw
the stars glittering pale and far off, and under their wan light the still, set face
of Jones, and blanketed forms of my other companions.
The last thing I remembered before dropping into dreamless slumber was hearing a bell
tinkle in the forest, which I recognized as the one I had placed on Satan.
Kitty was not the only cougar brought into camp alive.
The ensuing days were fruitful of cougars and adventure.
There were more wild rides to the music of the baying hounds, and more heart-breaking
canyon slopes to conquer, and more swinging, tufted tails and snarling savage
faces in the pinyons.
Once again, I am sorry to relate, I had to glance down the sights of the little
Remington, and I saw blood on the stones. Those eventful days sped by all too soon.
When the time for parting came it took no little discussion to decide on the quickest
way of getting me to a railroad.
I never fully appreciated the inaccessibility of the Siwash until the
question arose of finding a way out.
To return on our back trail would require two weeks, and to go out by the trail north
to Utah meant half as much time over the same kind of desert.
Lawson came to our help, however, with the information that an occasional prospector
or horse hunter crossed the canyon from the Saddle, where a trail led down to the
"I've heard the trail is a bad one," said Lawson, "an' though I never seen it, I
reckon it could be found.
After we get to the Saddle we'll build two fires on one of the high points an' keep
them burnin' well after dark.
If Mr. Bass, who lives on the other side, sees the fires he'll come down his trail
next mornin' an' meet us at the river. He keeps a boat there.
This is takin' a chance, but I reckon it's worth while."
So it was decided that Lawson and Frank would try to get me out by way of the
canyon; Wallace intended to go by the Utah route, and Jones was to return at once to
his range and his buffalo.
That night round the campfire we talked over the many incidents of the hunt.
Jones stated he had never in his life come so near getting his "everlasting" as when
the big bay horse tripped on a canyon slope and rolled over him.
Notwithstanding the respect with which we regarded his statement we held different
Then, with the unfailing optimism of hunters, we planned another hunt for the
next year. "I'll tell you what," said Jones.
"Up in Utah there's a wild region called Pink Cliffs.
A few poor sheep-herders try to raise sheep in the valleys.
They wouldn't be so poor if it was not for the grizzly and black bears that live on
the sheep. We'll go up there, find a place where grass
and water can be had, and camp.
We'll notify the sheep-herders we are there for business.
They'll be only too glad to hustle in with news of a bear, and we can get the hounds
on the trail by sun-up.
I'll have a dozen hounds then, maybe twenty, and all trained.
We'll put every black bear we chase up a tree, and we'll rope and tie him.
As to grizzlies--well, I'm not saying so much.
They can't climb trees, and they are not afraid of a pack of hounds.
If we rounded up a grizzly, got him cornered, and threw a rope on him--there'd
be some fun, eh, Jim?" "Shore there would," Jim replied.
On the strength of this I stored up food for future thought and thus reconciled
myself to bidding farewell to the purple canyons and shaggy slopes of Buckskin
At five o'clock next morning we were all stirring.
Jones yelled at the hounds and untangled Kitty's chain.
Jim was already busy with the biscuit dough.
Frank shook the frost off the saddles. Wallace was packing.
The merry jangle of bells came from the forest, and presently Lawson appeared
driving in the horses.
I caught my black and saddled him, then realizing we were soon to part I could not
resist giving him a hug. An hour later we all stood at the head of
the trail leading down into the chasm.
The east gleamed rosy red. Powell's Plateau loomed up in the distance,
and under it showed the dark-fringed dip in the rim called the Saddle.
Blue mist floated round the mesas and domes.
Lawson led the way down the trail. Frank started Old Baldy with the pack.
"Come," he called, "be oozin' along."
I spoke the last good-by and turned Satan into the narrow trail.
When I looked back Jones stood on the rim with the fresh glow of dawn shining on his
The trail was steep, and claimed my attention and care, but time and time again
I gazed back. Jones waved his hand till a huge jutting
cliff walled him from view.
Then I cast my eyes on the rough descent and the wonderful void beneath me.
In my mind lingered a pleasing consciousness of my last sight of the old
He fitted the scene; he belonged there among the silent pines and the yellow