A Trek From Pierre’s Hole – Part 2
The game eagle sometimes kills the coyote but he, the latter as often defies the bird’s attacks by throwing himself on her back, ready to lay hold of the eagle in his descending pass. And the chief of the air flies on afraid of this hairy little sneak in that way of defense.
I The wild striped little bee that hides his two stands of honey in the cracks of the mountain rocks was hard at his work and as I rode aside and alone his moans made me sadder and I wondered if ever I would return. He was up from his winter’s sleep – an old and new life was around me on foot and on wing, an old and new life out in leaf and blade. The earth required more space. The sky grew higher with the sun. The sun himself looked not so old 6 or pale. The big splendid solitude of my Indian fathers looked glad, but all our friends [who had] gone to join the dead did not heed this at all. All came back but [those] dead. No, no, they would not come.
The first river we crossed was a swift stream of about 70 paces broad. The men made rafts to carry their little baggage. The women stripped and, heightening their saddles on their best horses, plunged into the stream with them, having tied their children one-by-
one on their backs. And, swimming along with their horses on the lea side, [they] made several trips that way across the river before they had their children all landed safely, as they would not trust their little ones to the rafts. l swam bearing my little brother whilst my stepmother swam with her young child, my sister. The women were stripped to their cotton shirts. The water was very cold, rushing from its parent springs and higher peaks. Our hands and limbs were red. as wild roses from the burning chill of the waters, but the air was healthy and thin. The sun was cloudless and strong. And coming at once [was] the boiling and broiling to soup, and roasting of the choicest bits of venison and faring graciously thereon, we were soon comfortable and joked on the different contours of the women, whose drenched shirts stuck to their bodies, shaping them as if entirely nude. And on the various pranks of our horses, some of whom delighted in this
serious fun and plunged and snorted in the cold foam with more presence of mind than many men when death is near them.
The second river was a little narrower and deeper and of a7 more violent pass. Before crossing the first river on the mountain . plain, we saw a little cloud of dust as far as the eye could discern it. It was in advance of a much larger cloud which made us very uneasy.
Was it our persistent enemy that never gave us rest? Or was it some friendly tribe? Our courage grew after looking to our arms, as the clouds and preceding black points (formed of men) drew nearer us and our five Indian hunters said that by their motions they must be friends. ‘Tis strange to the white man how far the Indian eye can perceive his enemy and distinguish him from his friends, and how far that knowledge is conveyed with other signs in return by the motions with his horse. The dusty clouds were soon up to us, following a band of 150 warriors on the path of blood for their enemy. \Ve smoked heartily with them, as they met us kindly.
Their simple story was soon told and they passed on – armed as usual in quiver turd bow and shield of buffalo-bull hide with guns and lance and knife and their garniture of bits of brass and game eagle’s feathers and rare shells of the ocean and the land. [It all] made
them look pretty as they passed on in the shining sun. One hundred of them were horsed and fifty were footmen.