Camp and Trail

By Stewart Edward White (1907). What a gem this Project Gutenberg ebook is. Though you may be ‘ultralight’ in your hiking/hunting methodology now there is much you owe to strategies outlined here so long ago, or which you may have forgotten, and should re-learn.  Anyway it will make an excellent Xmas holiday read if you download it to your phone for free. The contents and list of illustrations may give some hint of the joys within.

I The Wilderness Traveler 3
II Common Sense in the Wilderness 23
III Personal Equipment 35
IV Personal Equipment (Continued) 63
V Camp Outfit 79
VI The Cook Outfit 97
VII Grub 115
VIII Camp Cookery 135
IX Horse Outfits 149
X Horse Packs 169
XI Horses, Mules, Burros 203
XII Canoes 221


The home of the Red Gods (Frontispiece)
On the trail (from a painting by N. C. Wyeth) 16
The Author doing a little washing on his own account 32
“Mountain on mountain towering high, and a valley in between” 48
One of the mishaps to be expected 64
“Bed in the bush with stars to see” 80
“We may live without friends, we may live without books,
but civilized man cannot live without cooks”
When you quit the trail for a day’s rest 120
In the heat of the day’s struggle 144
Nearing a crest and in sight of game 160
A downward journey 176
In mid-day the shade of the pines is inviting 208
Getting ready for another day of it 224
Like me he thinks: ‘What is the most valuable quality a wilderness traveler can possess. Always I have replied unhesitatingly; for no matter how useful or desirable such attributes as patience, courage, strength, endurance, good nature, and ingenuity, may prove to be, undoubtedly a man with them but without the sense of direction, is practically helpless in the wilds.

A sense of direction, therefore, I should name as the prime requisite for him who would become a true woodsman, depending on himself rather than on guides. The faculty is largely developed, of course, by much practice; but it must be inborn.

The sense of direction in its simplest and most elementary phase, of course, leads a man back to camp, or over a half-forgotten trail. The tenderfoot finds his way by little landmarks, and an attempt to remember details. A woodsman adds to this the general “lay” of the country, the direction its streams ought to flow, the course the hills[5] must take, the dip of strata, the growth of trees. So if the tenderfoot forgets whether he turns to right or left at a certain half-remembered burnt stub, he is lost. But if at the same point the woodsman’s memory fails him, he turns unhesitatingly to the left, because he knows by all the logic of nature’s signboards that the way must be to the left. A good mountaineer follows the half-obliterated trails as much by his knowledge of where a trail must go, as by the sparse indications that men have passed that way…’

Worth a read, don’t you think?

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