Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Colorado Trails
by [?]

Riding and tramping trails would lose half their charm if the motive were only to hunt and to fish. It seems fair to warn the reader who longs to embark upon a bloody game hunt or a chronicle of fishing records that this is not that kind of story. But it will be one for those who love horses and dogs, the long winding dim trails, the wild flowers and the dark still woods, the fragrance of spruce and the smell of camp-fire smoke. And as well for those who love to angle in brown lakes or rushing brooks or chase after the baying hounds or stalk the stag on his lonely heights.

The next bear chase we had was entirely different medicine.

Off in the basin under the White Slides, back of our camp, the hounds struck a fresh track and in an instant were out of sight. With the cowboy Vern setting the pace we plunged after them. It was rough country. Bogs, brooks, swales, rocky little parks, stretches of timber full of windfalls, groves of aspens so thick we could scarcely squeeze through–all these obstacles soon allowed the hounds to get far away. We came out into a large park, right under the mountain slope, and here we sat our horses listening to the chase. That trail led around the basin and back near to us, up the thick green slope, where high up near a ledge we heard the pack jump this bear. It sounded to us as if he had been roused out of a sleep.

“I’ll bet it’s one of the big grizzlies we’ve heard about,” said Teague.

That was something to my taste. I have seen a few grizzlies. Riding to higher ground I kept close watch on the few open patches up on the slope. The chase led toward us for a while. Suddenly I saw a big bear with a frosted coat go lumbering across one of these openings.

“Silvertip! Silvertip!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. “I saw him!”

My call thrilled everybody. Vern spurred his horse and took to the right. Teague advised that we climb the slope. So we made for the timber. Once there we had to get off and climb on foot. It was steep, rough, very hard work. I had on chaps and spurs. Soon I was hot, laboring, and my heart began to hurt. We all had to rest. The baying of the hounds inspirited us now and then, but presently we lost it. Teague said they had gone over the ridge and as soon as we got up to the top we would hear them again. We struck an elk trail with fresh elk tracks in it. Teague said they were just ahead of us. I never climbed so hard and fast in my life. We were all tuckered out when we reached the top of the ridge. Then to our great disappointment we did not hear the hounds. Mounting we rode along the crest of this wooded ridge toward the western end, which was considerably higher. Once on a bare patch of ground we saw where the grizzly had passed. The big, round tracks, toeing in a little, made a chill go over me. No doubt of its being a silvertip!

We climbed and rode to the high point, and coming out upon the summit of the mountain we all heard the deep, hoarse baying of the pack. They were in the canyon down a bare grassy slope and over a wooded bench at our feet. Teague yelled as he spurred down. R.C. rode hard in his tracks.

But my horse was new to this bear chasing. He was mettlesome, and he did not want to do what I wanted. When I jabbed the spurs into his flanks he nearly bucked me off. I was looking for a soft place to light when he quit. Long before I got down that open slope Teague and R.C. had disappeared. I had to follow their tracks. This I did at a gallop, but now and then lost the tracks, and had to haul in to find them. If I could have heard the hounds from there I would have gone on anyway. But once down in the jack-pines I could hear neither yell or bay. The pines were small, close together, and tough. I hurt my hands, scratched my face, barked my knees. The horse had a habit of suddenly deciding to go the way he liked instead of the way I guided him, and when he plunged between saplings too close together to permit us both to go through, it was exceedingly hard on me. I was worked into a frenzy. Suppose R.C. should come face to face with that old grizzly and fail to kill him! That was the reason for my desperate hurry. I got a crack on the head that nearly blinded me. My horse grew hot and began to run in every little open space. He could scarcely be held in. And I, with the blood hot in me too, did not hold him hard enough.