I think it is as well to pass over the events of the first day lightly. There is nothing particularly enlivening in that story of sand and sagebrush, intense heat and lame horses, parching thirst and dried up sponges. However, after leading Hobble, the “snide” horse, for some distance, and putting him out to pasture till our return, the home of Mr. Carver, beyond Glenville, was finally reached. Here we were greeted by jolly friends and after a hurried camp supper, went to the house for the evening. Maybe “Yep” and “Nope’ (so called because of their substituting those musical words for Yes and No), didn’t feel queer in their bloomer costumes when they got among the other girls.
It was agreed to spend the following day at the same place. A ride to Glenville on horseback was on the programme for the afternoon, and on the road a lively debate was indulged in, to-wit: namely, Resolved, “that it is a noble act to live, when by so doing you can save friend’s life”. tie vote. In the evening a few friends, the family and the campers, indulged in a decidedly informal little dance. A jolly, but eccentric old uncle was persuaded to play the violin and was helped out on the piano by divers young people of the party. Some of the “calls” of the quadrilles are worth recording.
The next morning the horses were saddled and the burro who was affectionately called Jerusalem, was packed till he groaned piteously under the immense load. The party was enriched by the addition of one Samuel Allen, a pious young gentleman who never says anything be doesn’t mean, and never does anything of which he is ashamed. He was dubbed by the girls, Samuel Weller, on the spot.
The road led trough beautiful mountain scenery and the train filed along the winding ways, and presented quite an imposing appearance. Jerusalem’s pack insisted upon turning every few miles, and the bays were cheered on in their labor of repacking by the advice, “the main thing about a pack is to have it balance”, which, sagely remarked one of the party, applies to camping parties as well.
Deep in the forest, two of the party went down the hillside to carry some mail to an old woodsman, found him sitting in a small enclosure, which surrounded a little log hut, warming his feet, which were wrapped in clothes in lieu of shoes, by a small fire. He hewed his logs and lived his solitary life, month after month, and upon being asked why be was making a holiday of Saturday, said, “Why I thought it was Sunday.”
Toward sundown the welcome and well remembered view of the first meadow met our gaze. The festive “Weller” (for short) now became our host and welcomed us to his domain right royally. A sheep was slaughtered, the cows were brought up and milked, and the campers lived on the fat of the land, and slept on fragrant hemlock boughs, until long after “five o’clock in the morning.”
Next day camp was moved from a steep grade to another pretty little meadow. The green grass, the tall pines and the beautiful flowers were duly “raved” over, and, as several days were spent in this camp, and horseback excursions were taken to the numerous meadows, and hills daily the “raving” increased.
One night Weller tried to sleep in the hammock, was too cold to sleep and took his revenge by serenading the girls half the night.
One day they all rode off to salt the cattle and Nope succeeded in getting the “call” to perfection. Now they gathered round the camp fire and made the hills resound with “Upidee” and “Golden Slippers,” and anon Nope stirred up the echoes with the plaintive “Famine from Hiawatha.” Finally Weller’s mother and brother Newt (“The Whaup”, Yep and Nope called him) came up and the O.B.J.’s moved camp back to the ice cold waters of the Tobias, to bear them company. Weller took his departure for Glenville that day and was charged with endless commissions – new shoes, (the kid boots had lasted just one week) needles, pins, quinine for the “B.B.” arid “Pop” (as they had fallen victim to the B’k’sf’ld Fever) and divers other things. The girls did their washing and the camp in general “jabbered” in Spanish. In the afternoon all hands went out for a ride, and Dutch’s exploits in climbing rocks with Jerusalem were only excelled by the “Whaup” and “Nope” who jumped logs and ran down hill till an aged Spaniard at the foot exclaimed, “Este Seniorita buena Vanquero!” Of course no one was to blame, but that night the girls would not move and the boys built the fire closer and higher, and finally had to drag them away to save the comfort, and the smoking girls from being burned.
Bright and early the B.B and the Whaup with favors from the girls in their hats, and a parting blessing in the shape of old shoes thrown after them departed for the river to ruthlessly slay a wild cow, expecting to be gone all night. Dutch and Pop started on an all day’s fishing excursion, and the girls flattered themselves that they would have a long, quiet day, – they would read – they would sew – they would write the journal clear un to date. But, alas, for all such dreams, – about eleven o’clock came riding up Weller, Mr. Jeff Carver, a truthful arid sedate young chap whom we will introduce by his camp name of “Yawoo”, with a friend of theirs and demanded dinner at the point of the bayonet as it were. And, lo! very soon the B.B. and the Whaup, who had heard of the arrival of the other boys came poking back and the Mr. Alex Carver joined the crowd and the quiet day was “N.G.” Now the girls had manufactured a flag, fearfully and wonderfully put together from a red bandanna handkerchief, some blue silesia and red ribbon They now commanded that it be hoisted on the flag staff in front of the cabin. After due speechifying, much hauling and hallooing the flag floated proudly in the breeze and the O.B.J.’s stood afar off and gazed at their handiwork Their enthusiasm was somewhat dampened when Pop discovered that the “J” was turned the wrong way, and the boys insisted ever afterwards, on calling them the “O.B. Fishhooks.” Next morning very early Weller and Yawoo departed for Glenville to get their outfit ready for the trip to Whitney, which was the end and aim of all the O.B.J.’s wanderings. The day was spent in camp making preparations for the journey and drawing up rules and regulations for the “happy family.” The rules ran thusly:-
Every member must read a poem in July number of “Century” in which it is explained that “Chug um whirl” means “its a girl,” – in camp phrase – “A little girl,” – that “Clack whang bog loud” means “It must be drowned,” and that “Clack whang bo quid,” stands for “It must be did”. Also decided that “Chug um whoy” means, “Little boy,” and “Clack bang bo quid” was a more expressive way of wording the thought “It can’t be did.” That night the boys returned arrayed in nobby blue flannel shirts – the uniform adopted by B.B., Dutch and Pop on leaving home. The entire party was up betimes in the morning.
After bidding Mrs. Allen adieu the O.B.J.’s, escorted by the Whaup and Chronic began their march. Poor little Pop was threatened with fever, and when “Dirty Camp” (so called, the boys explained, from a sometime occupant who didn’t wash his face nor hands, nor change his clothes for a year) was reached, and the escort turned their faces homeward he accompanied them to the meadows where they kindly promised the best of care. The rest traveled merrily on, now through beautiful little meadows, now up a steep grade and now down – down – down again, camped at noon – tiniest little green meadow – after a short rest the march was resumed.
The trail wound round the sides of the mountains and the O.B.J.’s yelled with exceeding joy as view after view burst on their eager sight. Yep and Nope were finally reduced to the necessity of calling everything – O-h-!!!!, for all the fitting adjectives in their vocabulary had been exhausted. The objective point for that night was Dry Meadows, ‘twas reached early in the evening and while Yawoo and Weller posted off, the rest of the party moved forward and pitched camp on a grassy point near a grove of willows, where the tuneful voice of the mosquito was heard in the “wee sma” hours of night. The hunters returned at supper time empty handed. Appetites had grown to gigantic size already, but were finally satisfied and all gathered round the fire. The B.B. and Yawoo told wonderful tales of the time when they were the “Bontons” of Glenville. Before the evening ended the chug um whirls found themselves in some unaccountable way, tied down before the fire and heard the B.B. and Yawoo yelling into their ears with might and main, those poetic words – “Way over yonder these old bones gwine to rise again.”
Next morning every one was astir and breakfast ready by sunrise. That sunrise is worthy of notice. To the east of camp rose a tall mountain peak entirely set off from all the surrounding hills and standing like a huge sentinel, keeping watch o’er our little company. The sun could be seen all around us but did not reach the camp, until it had climbed to the utmost top of the peak.
The trail led through a sheep or cattle camp the owners of which were not at home. A quantity of “jerky’ was hanging on lines and in some mysterious way the O.B.J.’s became possessed of a bag of it and thereafter reveled in “jerky” stew, or chowder, as the boys insisted on calling it. The face of the country was much the same as on the preceding day. The raving increased. Deer tracks were frequently seen and followed by the boys, but all to no purpose, nothing was slain. About noon the Dome and Needle rocks were passed. Lunch was eaten near the summit of a “lomas alto” and after giving the horses a short rest, the party travelled on for an hour or two, when they came to a little grove of quivering aspens nestled at the foot of a high mountain with the clearest little stream running through. The beauty of the spot captivated the “Chug um whoys” as well as the more susceptible “Chug um whirls”, and packs were taken off at once.
The afternoon was spent with some washing, reading, sewing, cooking, writing in the journal and an unlimited amount of talking. Dutch, who had constituted himself fireman, built a wigwam of dry sticks and just at dark set fire to it. The aspen trees brightened and trembled under the glare, until there was more raving, and when some aspen branches were thrown on the blaze, and the leaves changing their color to a golden brown, were all carried upward (not one sank into the ashes), still quivering on the breeze, it was said in a low voice “those little leaves seem like spirits trying to soar toward heaven.” A free show by the boys was on the ticket for the evening. Yep and Nope sat in state on the comfort and cheered lustily as each actor performed acme wonderful feat. All were tired at last and as they rested around the fire, which had smouldered low, it was noticed that the stars burned with intense brilliancy and seemed bending down near and nearer to meet the happy little company, who sang, “Good night ladies” and, then betook themselves to their respective couches to dream of distant Whitney.
The following morning, the usual early start was made and a Mr. Simmonds joined the party and promised his escort to Trout Meadows, so called doubtless from the trout, that, in bygone days had haunted the stream, for very few are there now. The B.B. and Dutch interviewed the stranger on ahead. Weller and Yawoo saw a deer and without a word of warning were off in pursuit, so that all at once Yep and Nope found themselves alone with the three pack horses, coming down the back bone of a ridge, out of sight or call of anyone. Then those wicked girls waxed wroth and while Nope led the train Yep prodded the packs on from behind and made them trot up hill and down, heedless whether the packs turned or not. The frying pans flopped wildly in the breeze, the “Chug um whirls” laughed merrily while the coffee pot and water bucket danced a jig upon poor Jerusalem, until the former articles rolled off on the hillside, and because that coffee pot happened to contain the “black bottle” and Yep was found in convulsions of laughter holding it in her hand, by the deer hunters, who, inopportunely rode up at the moment, they ever after cast out unkind insinuations about that same black bottle.
Camped at night in Trout Meadows, ground a little wet and soggy and more mosquitoes. The boys reported a nice old school teacher down at the other camp, so Yep and Weller started off bright and early next morning to get some milk for the coffee and interview the old gentlemen, by name Mr. Merrill. He informed that he spent every summer up among “these sheep and cattle men” who (so he said) were glad to have him stay with them just for company. And indeed he was a pleasant old chap. He told then all about Whitney, gave them many directions as to the route to be pursued, among others the one to take on their return by way of Little Kern, – and of this, more anon. For there came a day when the maledictions of the O.B.J.’s – but we anticipate.
Leaving some extra provisions in charge of the newly formed acquaintances, another day’s journey was begun, over a steep and rugged trail; such as all must be that approach the Kern River Canon. Toward noon the campers concluded to take a walk for their health and the horses wore driven riderless over the slippery paths. Through the underbrush along the bed of a creek, but always down – down they rode, until suddenly they found themselves among the boulders by the banks of the rivers. Quickly were the horses relieved of their burdens. Grasshoppers and anterugiuns captured and all hands started fishing, the boys promising to initiate the girls into the mysteries thereof. But without avail, – Nope caught one sucker, Yen caught nothing – while the boys brought in hosts of speckled beauties.
After dinner, Dutch returned to the river determined to get even with Yawoo, who had made the biggest haul, the girls donned bathing suits and braved the ice cold water of the river while the boys made a hair rope. As evening drew near everyone went fishing again. The boys were successful as usual, but Yep and Nope were found on a slippery rocky with one pole between them, fishing with a hook, that had but one prong, which was baited with one leg of a grasshopper. Weller laughed long and loud when he discovered the fact and talked in “Spoopendyke” fashion. But the girls had their revenge, for, returning from his tour of investigation he fell from the slippery rooks into the river.
All soon returned to camp; the boys bearing their treasures and exhibiting them in triumph. “You boys” quoth Nope “rave as much over your fish as we do over the scenery.” However they could all eat, and that night, when the fish and raspberries, which the girls had discovered and gathered as a surprise, were disposed of, everybody was too tired to get up until after a long rest, and when in time all sought their soft and downy couches and invoked “Come sleep, gentle sleep, natures soft nurse” the voices of Weller and Yawoo rose upon the still night airs. They sang, they preached, they prayed, and finally, after long hours their listeners, with sighs of relief, heard the benediction followed by “Turn over” and then all was silent.
It was only half past three in the morning, when patter fell the rain on the uncovered heads. Capt. Weller started a fire and demanded that everyone “get up” and everybody did so but the B.B., who drew the cover over his head and refused to be comforted. The shower lasted only a few moments, but an early breakfast was the result of it, then everyone was anxious to be “marching along” to the lake. After dinner the previous day, the question had been raised, “whether they should go on to the lake, or stay by the river and fish?” The B.B. had no opinion – Yawoo had, no opinion – Weller had no opinion, so these chivalrous chaps said with one accord “We’ll leave it to the “Chug um whirls” to decide.” The “chug um whirls” were highly flattered and would go on to the lake please. The boys left – it was supposed in search of the horses – and were back in five minutes to coolly announce, that, for reasons which they recounted at length, they had decided to stay by the river. They, now, however, professed themselves ready to advance.
The trail led for some time along the river. Steep bluffs rose on either side, and now and again a beautiful little cascade was seen leaping down the mountain side. The girls stayed behind to rave, so not to annoy the boys, and when they rode up they heard loud exclamations, such as “Oh –h-h-h.” “How grand”, “Oh how lovely” and there stood the “Chug um whoys” with uncovered heads gazing at a small round atone in the road.
Travelling onward, soon a beautiful little lake, shining out from a fresh green meadow, met their gaze. This was probably half a mile across, and far on the other aide, a dark object, which seemed to move from time to time, appeared. “It is – I know it is a bear,” quoth Yawoo, and the report of a rifle resounded among the hills. The bullet was sped with unerring aim and hit – a stump. The last parting backward glance had no sooner been taken of this little gem of a lake, before from the top of the ridge, another and larger lake could be seen. A steep grade led down to edge of this, were four “dug outs” were anchored to the shore. Promising themselves a boat ride in the sweet bye and bye, the O.B.J.’s rode on and struck camp a mile farther on, under the pines on the hillside. “Out of sight of the lake”, moaned the “Chug um whirls”. The beans and dried peaches were cooking finely, when Weller returned to ask if Nope and Yep did not want to move camp down on the river to a fine place – big boats – plenty of wood – and so forth and so on. Remembering the experience of the day before they promptly answered with one voice, “We have no opinion, thank you.” Left to his own sweet will, Weller at once began to pack Jerusalem and Romeo with all the goods and chattels. Cloaks, kettles, buckets, beans, peaches etc. were carried in the hands of Yep, Nope and Weller down a short distance to where Kern River rippled over the rooks. ‘Twas indeed a more pleasant camping pound but those deeply injured “Chug um whirls” would not be soothed and demanded to have the boats produced. Weller silently pointed to the shore, and the girls went for his hair. They were two immense boots!!
Suddenly the sky became overcast, low peals of thunder were heard and all went busily to work stretching a tent for shelter from the storm – which never came. The fishermen cane back with few fish, and the opinion that the lake was a “snide”. After dinner all hands went for a boat ride, which greatly made up for the lack of fish. The “dug outs” wore clumsy contrivances, carrying only two and propelled by means of two short wide paddles. Dutch and Nope rowed – or paddled out ahead, Yep and Weller followed, and Yawoo and B.B. brought up the rear. The occupants of the rear boat soon grew tired of “pulling hard against the stream”, so pulling off their heavy blue outside shirts, they hoisted them as sails in the vain hope of lightening their labor, It proved to be as hard to hold us the two poles which served as masts, as it was to wield the paddles. When at last faces were turned campwards an exciting race tried the strength and endurance of the party. Yawoo and B.B. were victorious. There was a division in camp next morning. The B.B. wanted to fish, Nope and Yawoo longed to stand on the dizzy peak just across the river, while Weller and Yep pined for another boat ride. All went their separate ways. Nope and Yawoo did climb to the height of which the old fisherman had said “Why, no deer in the country could scale it.” Yep and Weller came back from their ride in time to go to the relief of Nope and Yawoo, whose horse had deserted them while they were climbing and had recrossed the river. The B.B. and Dutch caught a few fish and all had tremendous appetites for the fish chowder or “stew” as the boys would call it. Yep made a jelly cake, which, though the layers were rather thick and tough, was pronounced unanimously, “Thebest cake ever tasted.” After dinner it was decided to go on to Whitney Creek.
Rode past the fisherman’s house, and sister, a pleasant German girl, surprised the party with thread and needles (for they had lost theirs) while the boys busied themselves shooing the horses.
Forded the river just below the house and then straightway been to climb up-up-up, until evening. Just as all were looking for a spot on which to pitch camp, a horseman appeared. It proved to be Louis Chittenden, one of the Sumner boys. After mutual shouts of joy and much hands-shaking Louis led the way to a little meadow near their own camp, and packs were off and supper on in double quick time.
The girls were sitting working at something that brought Hoods “Stitch, stitch, stitch, in poverty, hunger, in dirt,” to memory when they were again upset by seeing Mr. Vrooman, (another old friend) in all the glory of a flaming rod shirt, and, (almost flaming red) whiskers all over his face, ride up. More handshaking and an invitation by the “O.B.J.’s” to “Grub Destroyers” to aid them in destroying some that night. A Mr. Carden was of the other party also, and soon all were gathered round the camp fire of the “O.B.J’s” watching the preparations for supper, which was highly enjoyed, being seasoned with a little more laughter and fun than usual, if that were possible. Good night was said early, as all were tired. “The Grub destroyers” concluded next morning to join the party bound for Whitney, and soon all were ready to begin the march. Passed by the Natural Bridge and followed a beautiful little stream called Whitney Creek for a number of miles. The little golden trout that could be seen sporting in the clear water were too enticing to be resisted by Yawoo and B.B. – who lagged behind in order to capture some. After losing the trail, having the pack turned and various other little diversions, camp was struck for dinner near the same little stream. B.B. and Yawoo empty handed, rode up at the moment, and all hands with the exception of Weller and Yawoo who promised to stay in camp and prepare dinner, armed with fishing rods, went fishing. After some time Yep was informed that dinner was all ready. Going up to camp, found a coffee pot full of hot water – only that and nothing more. Yawoo wandered up and down the creek and came back loaded with fish, that had been caught by different ones, and those three ate forty fish, and the rest coming in soon after, brought the number up to one hundred. After such feasting, all were in fine trim for the afternoon’s ride. Weller was in such ecstasy, that at sight of a barren hill covered with rocks, he began – “Oh-h-h-how grand! How perfectly, awfully sublime!” wrung his hands and finally rolled on the ground with his feet and hands still working convulsively, while “Oh-h-h-h” still issued from his mouth.
It grew colder as evening drew near and the B.B. insisted on the girls putting on his coat and vest for warmth. Something, besides, was necessary for comfort so the Chug um whirls entertained the boys with an original song of Whitney of which the chorus ran thusly –
“O dim distant Whitney, O dim distant Whitney,
Distant Whitney we’re going to climb, because we are so brave
O dim distant Whitney, O dim distant Whitney,
Distant Whitney we’re gwine to climb and that You’d better behave.”
Just at nightfall a beautiful little lake was seen nestled at the foot of a high mountain, which it was at once declared was Whitney itself. A ride of a few moments down a steep trail and the borders of the lake were reached. A fire made a thawing process gone through. Early next morning, it was decided to climb the mountain. Lunch was carried by the boys in bags strapped to their waists. After steady climbing until noon, the top ‘was reached, but alas! alas! they sadly read in some papers left there by some surveyors, who had likewise been disappointed, that this was “Duels Peak” and Whitney was 14 miles further on. However, there was nothing to do but to eat lunch and tramp back to camp. All were nearly exhausted when the lake was reached, and glad enough to rest their weary bones. But suddenly some one exclaimed “Where is Louis?” No one knew, and after waiting in vain for a couple of hours for him to appear all but Yawoo and the girls started in quest of him, promising to fire the gun when he was found, and Yawoo was to do the same if he should come into camp before their return. In an hour or so those searching were gladdened by the report of the gun, bringing the welcome news of his being in camp. This occurrence, together with the fact of Mr. Carden’s being sick that night caused Mr. Vrooman to give up the notion of climbing any more mountains in the hope of finding Whitney.
Therefore, next morning, when the O.B.J’s made ready for another all day’s tramp, the “Grub Destroyers” turned their faces South-Fork-wards, bearing letters from the O.B.J’s to their friends at home. It was found that the horses could be used for the first four or five miles. On reaching a little lake at the foot of a precipice, the horses were tied, and all began to clamber briskly up the rocks. At last Nope had the misfortune to remark that she did not feel very strong and those fatherly boys just put their foot down with the declaration that “she should go no farther.” Yawoo and B.B. went on to make sure that thispeak was Whitney, while Weller and Yep stayed with Nope. (Dutch had remained in camp). After a short rest they went back to a little meadow on timber line. Leaving Nope to doze the afternoon away, Weller and Yep mounted their horses and rode back to move camp up to this place. With a few little adventures, such as Button, Sam’s horse, bucking him off on a steep hill side in a pile of rocks, and Jerusalem refusing to cross a little stream, until induced by something more than “moral persuasion” camp was reached and supper ready by the time the two explorers strayed in with tired hands and tired feet, but still happy in the belief that they had found Whitney.
Just at daybreak the following morning, the O.B.J’s might have been seen starting gaily for “Dem distant Whitney.” They marched merrily on, now singing snatches of song, now quoting extracts from stirring poems, now pausing a moment to drink at one of the many little lakes or to snatch a handful of snow from some snow bank, and now resting and trying to catch a breath long enough to reach into the lungs. By eleven o’clock the continual stepping on rocks had grown somewhat monotonous, resting was more frequent, and finally Yep had to lie down and rest before the last hard climB. Yawoo had gone on ahead and when his voice was heard bidding the others to pluck up courage, for he had found proof of its being Whitney, their falling strength seemed to revive and the summit was gained in a short time by all. But – oh, how tired they were, and as they thought of the long ten miles over rocks that had to be passed over, ere carp could be reached again, they sighed “O, would I had the wings of a dove, that I might fly away to camp.” Water was found in a basin in a rock, and this with the lunch carried by the boys refreshed them so much, that, after copying some papers loft there by the Signal Service to serve as proof positive of their being on the top, and picking up a few pebbles as “souvenirs” they were ready to begin the descent.
On they went, down – down, always on rocks ‘till it grew to be perfect agony to move one foot after the other and the “Chug um whirls” despaired of ever getting into camp. Yawoo and Dutch hurried on ahead to look after the horses before dark, while the others came slowly, resting often, then up again and on till forced to rest some more. As darkness came on the way grow more and more perilous, – the girls had to be dragged up the rocks and swung down over the precipices in a way that would have struck terror into the heart of a looker-on. Finally the light from the camp fire, which the boys had built, was seen, and soon the poor tired party cane straggling in with far different looks and feelings than they had had in the morning. Yawoo had tea and beans all read. Appetites were soon satisfied and the whole crowd wrapped in slumber before many minutes.
In the morning all felt somewhat rested and declared they were glad they had gone to the top, but that nothing, could induce them to do it again. The grand object of the O.B.J.’s being accomplished, faces were turned toward home. Provisions were running short and it was necessary to make longer marches than on the up trip. The same route was taken as far as Trout Meadows. The spirits of the O.B.J.’s were soon up to the natural pitch, and the Whitney climb seemed some dreadful dream. Though the days were spent in the saddle, the evenings were always devoted to some jollification.
One evening Nope and Yep performed for the amusement of the others. The next, the camp was visited by the ideal shepherd, with a crook, a flute and all. He played, Yawoo and Yep danced the jig, the other boys cleaned the fish, while Nope lay on a comfort and played invalid.
When the lake was reached, the German girl (as they were told by the one-armed peddler, Nope’s friend) wanted to invite the O.B.J’s to supper, but was unable to put the invitation into English, so they dined on bread and bacon at their own camp. On reaching Trout meadows they turned to the left, in order to pass under the Dome Rock and Needles. Mr. Merrill, the old chap at the camp, had given full directions for this route. They were followed the first day, and after devious wanderings, the O.B.J.’s brought up at Kern River. They were followed the second day, and after climbing an almost perpendicular side of a mountain, where the horses tumbled backwards, and sideways, and saddles were broken, and coffee pots bent, and then down another side where the horses slid, rolled and cut their feet on the sharp tones, the stopping place was Kern river again. The third day and ditto with the added misfortune of the B.B. being visited by one of his “chilly” friends of B. Fourth day determined to strike across regardless of directions. Nearly all the morning was spent in getting the horses out of Kern river canon. One of Yawoo’s horses fell onto a narrow ledge of rock, just above a precipice and ‘twas thought it would have to be shot, but at last, by means of ropes, blankets and brush; it was released from its perilous position and all were driven with bleeding knees and heads to the top of the bluff, where the “Chug um whirls” who had clambored on ahead were awaiting them. Dry meadows near the old camping ground was gained by the middle of the afternoon. A friend of Weller gave the party some “jerky” and that night they reveled in jerky stew, dumplings and tortillas. The B.B. was too sick to enjoy anything. Early next morning all were mounted, and attended by a delegation of three from the other camp on their way to Tobias. Their escort left them soon, and on they rode, happy in the thought that they were so near “home” as Tobias was called. Within a few miles of camp, Weller and Nope left the main party and went around past Chronic’s cabin.
Meanwhile the others had reached Tobias, where they were received with a salute of twenty-five shots, by the Whaup, and Red Cloud, who had came up from B- during the absence of the O.B.J.’s. Chronic was there also. In a few minutes dinner was ready for the travellers, who did justice to the good things spread before them. Nope and Weller with three Glenvillerites, whom they had picked up in their wanderings, made their appearance shortly after. Red Cloud had brought his hammock from B- and the three were swung it the shape of a triangle in front of the cabin, while the words “Camp Hammock, Rest for the weary”, with the “a’s” all turned backward, to match the girl’s “J” the boys declared, were painted on shingle, tacked to the flag mast. Such a cozy time they all had that evening, swinging in the hammocks, until the chill evening air warned them that a rousing camp fire would be a more comfortable. It was straightway built and a merry evening was spent. The next morning all hands, with the exception of the girls, the Whaup and B.B. left for Dunlap Meadows promising to be back at three o’clock, at which time those in camp were to have dinner ready. The morning was spent washing hands, combing hair, reading and snapping yarns. Dinner was ready and the vacqueros back in camp just in time. More swinging in hammocks, and preparations made for spending the last evening together in Tobias. The evening was cold, so a bright fire was lit in the huge fireplace in the cabin and all gathered before it. The B.B. who had not quite recovered from the effects of his chill, took possession of the bed, Yawoo on the foot, Weller stretched on a bench, and the others grouped around on the floor. “Consequences” were played. “Gumbo” was attempted and proved a success and about nine o’clock supper was eaten. The O.B. Joyfuls ceased to be joyful about eleven o’clock, and quiet reigned all round.
Weller, Yawoo and the Whaup were to go as far as the Valley on the homeward way. Chronic rode down as far as the bars, where with many tears and much lamenting, the O.B.J.’s bade him adieu and the last backward glance showed then the poor boy leaning on the bars in the most dejected attitude, and wearing the most forlorn expression possible. The road that had seemed so long in the upward march, now seemed only a few miles and Mr. Carver’s was reached about one o’clock, where a hearty greeting was given to the ragged company, and ‘the best dinner they had ever eaten,” was set before them by Miss Lue. Recitations and singing were indulged in until a late hour, when all sought their respective couches, to dream of all the good tines, past and future, ‘till awakened by old Sol’s friendly face warning them ‘twas time to arise. Breakfast was eaten in the house, the traps were put into the wagon, many thanks were and adieu said to the kind friends whose hospitality knew no bounds, and the Whaup and the O.B.J.’s began the last day’s journey. Made a short call on Mrs. Allen. Dutch and Red Cloud rode through the village to get some things for lunch. Willie and Nope rode through after them just for a last spree, while the others cut across country and met them about a mile below town, where the O.B Joyfuls were doomed to separation. They all felt “’tis sad to part, but Clack whang bo quid,” so adieus were said over and over and Weller, Yawoo and the Whaup went back, leaving the others to pursue their journey homeward.
The boys declared they would not enter B- while daylight lasted, so a stay of seven hours was made at Whismond’s flat, in order to cross the plains after sundown. All rode horseback during the evening, taking it turn about, but the B.B. whose honorable duty it was to check the speed of the fiery steeds, harnessed to the “chariot.” Wabble had been picked up on the road in about the same condition as when left and came hobbling after the wagon, led by whoever happened to be riding at nine in the evening. No further stop was made till Mr. Ropers was reached. The plan was to arouse him with a serenade. The song selected was “golden slippers,” and ‘twas sung with such effect that he soon appeared at the door to welcome home the prodigals. Dutch and Yep being left, the musical band was somewhat smaller when the Jameson mansion was reached. Nevertheless “Dem Golden Slippers” rang out until heads appeared at all points, and voices were herd expressing thankfulness that all were home without any broken bones.