I arrived here nine years ago I spent five years exploring then spending time with the Indians I then did several scouting trips for the army. The weather cleared up and we moved on when we reached the petrified tree Jake said I have got to see the tunnel with the thermal pool and taste the fungus.
We moved down past the rapid cold water to where we launched our canoe then made our way up the hill to where the tunnel was then found that it had collapsed. The exceptionally cold winter must have placed too much snow on the ground.
That pool may now be lost forever as digging this tunnel out could not be done and entering through the freezing water was madness. Jake was disappointed he saw what was left of the canoe tree and was amazed at just what we did Neil said now that I see it again it amazes me too.
The travelling and mapping each day was a real pleasure the scenery just got better as did the weather.
We encountered several Indian tribes Jake and Hinmar were able to communicate with some of them and at no time were we threatened. After we reached the end of the river I confirmed its length to be just over twenty-three hundred miles.
It's just what the Governor's looking for a wide deep river boats will be able to open up the land as he anticipated.
Jake said we have to travel back by going south now out of the high country unless you want to go back with the Indians and spend the winter with them.
We will travel on foot hoping to find a cattle ranch to get horses and supplies then on to Washington.
Jake Neil and I left with our backpacks fully loaded the country was easy to walk and was changing each day.
After two weeks we were approached by Indians they escorted us to their village not being able to communicate with them or knowing what they're intentions were Jake said just go along with their demands.
They wanted to see what was in our backpacks luckily I had my charts wrapped in a deer hide which was to protect them.
They took everything of worth to them our suppliers blankets Jakes rifle my handgun compass and sextant but a deer hide was of no value to them.
The chief then looked at the strange bow Neil carried, pointing to it then pointed to one of the braves.
Jake said I have seen this before it's a challenge he wants you to test yourself and bow against his brave if his brave wins he gets the bow. Neil fancied himself now and indicated that if I win you will give three horses the chief agreed.
Neil and the brave then stood back to back, took fifty paces turning to face each other Jake said, the object is for each to take turns landing an arrow near the feet of the other.
Three arrows will be shot after each shot they take ten paces closer to each other.
Neil could see that the brave was well beyond any shots he had done before the brave raised his bow high in the air.
The arrow landed about thirty feet away from Neil.
Neil loaded the strange looking bow he looked like he would shoot the sun the arrow fell well short.
The chief smiled and nodded they both took ten paces towards each other the brave shot again this time the arrow lands four feet away from Neil.
Neil was happier with the range his arrow now lands closest they take ten more paces towards each other the brave shoots his last arrow it lands ten inches away from Neils boot.
The chief nods to the brave Neil paused took a deep breath took his shot the brave jumped as the arrow clips his moccasin.
We all breathed a sigh of relief the chief delivered the horses we left but not quickly as these old nags we were given couldn't.
We just hoped that they would get us to a ranch we had no food and the only weapon we had was Neils bow but he didn't let us down we found streams to drink from.
The horses, could not carry us any further so we then travelled on foot some of the sights of this magnificent land was simply breathtaking. The changes in the scenery sunrises and sunsets the spectacle of a moving mountain of Buffalo.
Then just on dusk, the sky darkened lightning started flashing all around then the earth started trembling.
I heard endless thunder Jake said run back to the stream lay up against this steep bank.
It was a stampede of buffalo they leapt over the stream bank we were laying against the noise was deafening.
It was difficult to breathe and we were just hoping that the bank would hold up.
When the massive herd finally passed all we could see was the whites of each other's eyes we dusted ourselves off.
Then found many of the buffalo dead in the stream they had been trampled in the stampede we thanked Jake for saving us from that fate. Making the most of the dead animals we tore off as much flesh as we could then light a fire and filled our bellies.
We finally arrived at a ranch a bit worse for wear we had been robbed so had nothing to trade no money for food supplies or horses. I told Col Manson, the ranch owner of our plight I told him of the mission and if he could help us.
I would see that payment will be sent to them once I reach Washington.
Col said happy to do so I read the Washington Post story of your first attempt.
I repeated the same speech at two other ranchers along the way then after many months we finally arrived back in Washington. Neil told Daisy he could settle down now that the mission is completed he returned the bow to the trading post.
Once again the governor put on a hero's welcome he was overwhelmed with the news and couldn't thank us enough.
He said five weeks after we left, the two Italian prospectors arrived I was so glad that they had survived.
Mike said they found gold dug a mine and lived in it through the winters.
After living it up and resting for a few weeks they restocked with supplies and went back to their mine.
They were saddened by the news of the ill-fated mission and said that they had not seen any of the others.
They saw Indians on several occasions but not near the mine which is high up in a gully.
I said Mike what will you do now?
He said I will build a settlement where the pilgrim's built the cabins then send new pilgrims out from there maintain a good relationship with the Indians and open up this land now that it is tamed and charted.
Mike said what about you Brett what are your plans now?
I said not sure yet but I may go back to England and write a book.
I have a lot to write about I have all the notes and drawings from my past experiences.
A book now instead of the short story published in the past may be the thing though I may have trouble staying grounded for too long. Mike said that he could see that being a problem for me he then said please send me a copy of your book and come back here in a few years and see how we have progressed.
Please read Part 13 The final challenge
PLEASE ❗️ vote ✅. Comment. 🆒. Then read my book 🔰. Moon Disaster