On the Trail
An Outdoor Book for Girls
By LINA BEARD
ADELIA BELLE BEARD
With Illustrations by the Authors
Charles Scribner's Sons
COPYRIGHT, 1915, BY
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
Published June, 1915
TO ALL GIRLS WHO LOVE THE LIFE OF THE OPEN WE DEDICATE THIS BOOK
The joyous, exhilarating call of the wilderness and the forest camp is surely and steadily penetrating through the barriers of brick, stone, and concrete; through the more or less artificial life of town and city; and the American girl is listening eagerly. It is awakening in her longings for free, wholesome, and adventurous outdoor life, for the innocent delights of nature-loving Thoreau and bird-loving Burroughs. Sturdy, independent, self-reliant, she is now demanding outdoor books that are genuine and filled with practical information; books that tell how to do worth-while things, that teach real woodcraft and are not adapted to the girl supposed to be afraid of a caterpillar or to shudder at sight of a harmless snake.
In answer to the demand, "On the Trail" has been written. The authors' deep desire is to help girls respond to this new, insistent call by pointing out to them the open trail. It is their hope and wish that their girl readers may seek the charm of the wild and may find the same happiness in the life of the open that the American boy has enjoyed since the first settler built his little cabin on the shores of the New World. To forward this object, the why and how, the where and when of things of camp and trail have been embodied in this book.
Thanks are due to Edward Cave, president and editor of Recreation, for kindly allowing the use of some of his wild-life photographs.
LINA BEARD, ADELIA BELLE BEARD. FLUSHING, N. Y., March 16, 1915.
CHAPTER PAGE I. TRAILING 3 II. WOODCRAFT 21 III. CAMPING 44 IV. WHAT TO WEAR ON THE TRAIL 84 V. OUTDOOR HANDICRAFT 106 VI. MAKING FRIENDS WITH THE OUTDOOR FOLK 119 VII. WILD FOOD ON THE TRAIL 138 VIII. LITTLE FOES OF THE TRAILER 165 IX. ON THE TRAIL WITH YOUR CAMERA 187 X. ON AND IN THE WATER 205 XI. USEFUL KNOTS AND HOW TO TIE THEM 233 XII. ACCIDENTS 244 XIII. CAMP FUN AND FROLICS 255 XIV. HAPPY AND SANE SUNDAY IN CAMP 269
Over-night camp Frontispiece
PAGE One can generally pass around obstructions like this on the trail 5
Difficulties of the Adirondack trail 9
Blazing the trail by bending down and breaking branches 11
Returning to camp by the blazed trail 13
Footprints of animals 17
Footprints of animals 19
Ink impressions of leaves 23
Ink impressions of leaves 24
Ink impressions of leaves 25
Pitch-pine and cone 26
Sycamore leaf and fruit of sycamore 26
How to use the axe 29
The compass and the North Star 37
A permanent camp 49
Outdoor shelters 51
Dining-tent, handy racks, and log bedstead 53
A forest camp by the water 55
In camp 57
The bough-bed, the cook-fire, and the wall-tent 59
Soft wood 63
Hard wood 65
Bringing wood for the fire 69
Camp fires and camp sanitation 81
Trailers' outfits 87
The head-net and blanket-roll 91
Some things to carry and how to carry them 101
Handicraft in the woods 107
Outdoor dressing-table, camp-cupboard, hammock-frame, seat, and pot-hook 109
Camp-chair, biscuit-stick, and blanket camp-bed 111
The birch-bark dish that will hold fluids. Details of making 115
A bear would rather be your friend than your enemy 118
Making friends with a ruffed grouse 120
Found on the trail 122
Timber wolves 124
Baby moose 126
Stalking wild birds 128
The fish-hawk will sometimes build near the ground 131
Antelopes of the western plains 135
Good food on the trail 143
Fruits found principally in the south and the middle west 147
Fruits found principally in the north and the middle west 151
Fruits common to most of the States 155
Hickory nuts, sweet and bitter 159
Nuts with soft shells. Beechnut and chestnut 161
Poisonous and non-poisonous snakes 173
Plants poison to the touch 181
Plants poison to the taste 185
The white birch-tree makes a fine background for the beaver 191
Blacktail deer snapped with a background of snow 193
The skunk 195
The porcupine stood in the shade but the background was light 197
Photographing a woodcock from ambush 199
The country through which you pass, with a trailer in the foreground 201
Method of protecting roots to keep plants fresh while you carry them to camp for photographing 203
A rowboat is a safer craft than a canoe 206
Keep your body steady 208
Canoeing on placid waters 210
Bring your canoe up broadside to the shore 212
How to use the paddle and a flat-bottomed rowboat 215
The raft of logs 219
Primitive weaving in raft building 221
Learn to be at home in the water 225
For dinner 229
The veteran 231
Bends in knot tying 235
Figure eight knot 237
Overhand bow-line knot 237
Underhand bow-line knot 239
Sheepshank knot 239
Parcel slip-knot 241
Cross-tie parcel knot 241
Fisherman's knot 241
The halter, slip-knot, and hitching-tie 243
The fireman's lift 245
Aids in "first aid" 247
Restoring respiration 253
When darkness closes in 259
Yellow-throated vireo 262
Fire without matches 264
Fire without the bow 267
ON THE TRAIL
What the Outdoor World Can Do for Girls. How to Find the Trail and How to Keep It
There is a something in you, as in every one, every man, woman, girl, and boy, that requires the tonic life of the wild. You may not know it, many do not, but there is a part of your nature that only the wild can reach, satisfy, and develop. The much-housed, overheated, overdressed, and over-entertained life of most girls is artificial, and if one does not turn away from and leave it for a while, one also becomes greatly artificial and must go through life not knowing the joy, the strength, the poise that real outdoor life can give.
What is it about a true woodsman that instantly compels our respect, that sets him apart from the men who might be of his class in village or town and puts him in a class by himself, though he may be exteriorly rough and have little or no book education? The real Adirondack or the North Woods guide, alert, clean-limbed, clear-eyed, hard-muscled, bearing his pack-basket or duffel-bag on his back, doing all the hard work of the camp, never loses his poise or the simple dignity which he shares with all the things of the wild. It is bred in him, is a part of himself and the life he leads. He is as conscious of his superior knowledge of the woods as an astronomer is of his knowledge of the stars, and patiently tolerates the ignorance and awkwardness of the "tenderfoot" from the city. Only a keen sense of humor can make this toleration possible, for I have seen things done by a city-dweller at camp that would enrage a woodsman, unless the irresistibly funny side of it made him laugh his inward laugh that seldom reaches the surface.
To live for a while in the wild strengthens the muscles of your mind as well as of your body. Flabby thoughts and flabby muscles depart together and are replaced by enthusiasm and vigor of purpose, by strength of limb and chest and back. To have seems not so desirable as to be. When you have once come into sympathy with this world of the wild—which holds our cultivated, artificial world in the hollow of its hand and gives it life—new joy, good, wholesome, heartfelt joy, will well up within you. New and absorbing interests will claim your attention. You will breathe deeper, stand straighter. The small, petty things of life will lose their seeming importance and great things will look larger and infinitely more worth while. You will know that the woods, the fields, the streams and great waters bear wonderful messages for you, and, little by little, you will learn to read them.
The majority of people who visit the up-to-date hotels of the Adirondacks, which their wily proprietors call camps, may think they see the wild and are living in it. But for them it is only a big picnic-ground through which they rush with unseeing eyes and whose cloisters they invade with unfeeling hearts, seemingly for the one purpose of building a fire, cooking their lunch, eating it, and then hurrying back to the comforts of the hotel and the gayety of hotel life.
At their careless and noisy approach the forest suddenly withdraws itself into its deep reserve and reveals no secrets. It is as if they entered an empty house and passed through deserted rooms, but all the time the intruders are stealthily watched by unseen, hostile, or frightened eyes. Every form of moving life is stilled and magically fades into its background. The tawny rabbit halts amid the dry leaves of a fallen tree. No one sees it. The sinuous weasel slips silently under a rock by the side of the trail and is unnoticed. The mother grouse crouches low amid the underbrush and her little ones follow her example, but the careless company has no time to observe and drifts quickly by. Only the irrepressible red squirrel might be seen, but isn't, when he loses his balance and drops to a lower branch in his efforts to miss nothing of the excitement of the invasion.
This is not romance, it is truth. To think sentimentally about nature, to sit by a babbling brook and try to put your supposed feelings into verse, will not help you to know the wild. The only way to cultivate the sympathy and understanding which will enable you to feel its heart-beats, is to go to it humbly, ready to see the wonders it can show; ready to appreciate and love its beauties and ready to meet on friendly and cordial terms the animal life whose home it is. The wild world is, indeed, a wonderful world; how wonderful and interesting we learn only by degrees and actual experience. It is free, but not lawless; to enter it fully we must obey these laws which are slowly and silently impressed upon us. It is a wholesome, life-giving, inspiring world, and when you have learned to conform to its rules you are met on every hand by friendly messengers to guide you and teach you the ways of the wild: wild birds, wild fruits and plants, and gentle, furtive, wild animals. You cannot put their messages into words, but you can feel them; and then, suddenly, you no longer care for soft cushions and rugs, for shaded lamps, dainty fare and finery, for paved streets and concrete walks. You want to plant your feet upon the earth in its natural state, however rugged or boggy it may be. You want your cushions to be of the soft moss-beds of the piny woods, and, with the unparalleled sauce of a healthy, hearty appetite, you want to eat your dinner out of doors, cooked over the outdoor fire, and to drink water from a birch-bark cup, brought cool and dripping from the bubbling spring.
You want, oh! how you want to sleep on a springy bed of balsam boughs, wrapped in soft, warm, woollen blankets with the sweet night air of all outdoors to breathe while you sleep. You want your flower-garden, not with great and gorgeous masses of bloom in evident, orderly beds, but keeping always charming surprises for unexpected times and in unsuspected places. You want the flowers that grow without your help in ways you have not planned; that hold the enchantment of the wilderness. Some people are born with this love for the wild, some attain it, but in either case the joy is there, and to find it you must seek it. Your chosen trail may lead through the primeval forests or into the great western deserts or plains; or it may reach only left-over bits of the wild which can be found at no great distance from home. Even a bit of meadow or woodland, even an uncultivated field on the hilltop, will give you a taste of the wild; and if you strike the trail in the right spirit you will find upon arrival that these remnants of the wild world have much to show and to teach you. There are the sky, the clouds, the lungfuls of pure air, the growing things which send their roots where they will and not in a man-ordered way. There is the wild life that obeys no man's law: the insects, the birds, and small four-footed animals. On all sides you will find evidences of wild life if you will look for it. Here you may make camp for a day and enjoy that day as much as if it were one of many in a several weeks' camping trip.
However, this is not to be a book of glittering generalities but, as far as it can be made, one of practical helpfulness in outdoor life; therefore when you are told to strike the trail you must also be told how to do it.
When You Strike the Trail
For any journey, by rail or by boat, one has a general idea of the direction to be taken, the character of the land or water to be crossed, and of what one will find at the end. So it should be in striking the trail. Learn all you can about the path you are to follow. Whether it is plain or obscure, wet or dry; where it leads; and its length, measured more by time than by actual miles. A smooth, even trail of five miles will not consume the time and strength that must be expended upon a trail of half that length which leads over uneven ground, varied by bogs and obstructed by rocks and fallen trees, or a trail that is all up-hill climbing. If you are a novice and accustomed to walking only over smooth and level ground, you must allow more time for covering the distance than an experienced person would require and must count upon the expenditure of more strength, because your feet are not trained to the wilderness paths with their pitfalls and traps for the unwary, and every nerve and muscle will be strained to secure a safe foothold amid the tangled roots, on the slippery, moss-covered logs, over precipitous rocks that lie in your path. It will take time to pick your way over boggy places where the water oozes up through the thin, loamy soil as through a sponge; and experience alone will teach you which hummock of grass or moss will make a safe stepping-place and will not sink beneath your weight and soak your feet with hidden water. Do not scorn to learn all you can about the trail you are to take, although your questions may call forth superior smiles. It is not that you hesitate to encounter difficulties, but that you may prepare for them. In unknown regions take a responsible guide with you, unless the trail is short, easily followed, and a frequented one. Do not go alone through lonely places; and, being on the trail, keep it and try no explorations of your own, at least not until you are quite familiar with the country and the ways of the wild.
Blazing the Trail
A woodsman usually blazes his trail by chipping with his axe the trees he passes, leaving white scars on their trunks, and to follow such a trail you stand at your first tree until you see the blaze on the next, then go to that and look for the one farther on; going in this way from tree to tree you keep the trail though it may, underfoot, be overgrown and indistinguishable.
If you must make a trail of your own, blaze it as you go by bending down and breaking branches of trees, underbrush, and bushes. Let the broken branches be on the side of bush or tree in the direction you are going, but bent down away from that side, or toward the bush, so that the lighter underside of the leaves will show and make a plain trail. Make these signs conspicuous and close together, for in returning, a dozen feet without the broken branch will sometimes confuse you, especially as everything has a different look when seen from the opposite side. By this same token it is a wise precaution to look back frequently as you go and impress the homeward-bound landmarks on your memory. If in your wanderings you have branched off and made ineffectual or blind trails which lead nowhere, and, in returning to camp, you are led astray by one of them, do not leave the false trail and strike out to make a new one, but turn back and follow the false trail to its beginning, for it must lead to the true trail again. Don't lose sight of your broken branches.
If you carry a hatchet or small axe you can make a permanent trail by blazing the trees as the woodsmen do. Kephart advises blazing in this way: make one blaze on the side of the tree away from the camp and two blazes on the side toward the camp. Then when you return you look for the one blaze. In leaving camp again to follow the same trail, you look for the two blazes. If you should lose the trail and reach it again you will know to a certainty which direction to take, for two blazes mean camp on this side; one blaze, away from camp on this side.
To Know an Animal Trail
To know an animal trail from one made by men is quite important. It is easy to be led astray by animal trails, for they are often well defined and, in some cases, well beaten. To the uninitiated the trails will appear the same, but there is a difference which, in a recent number of Field and Stream, Mr. Arthur Rice defines very clearly in this way: "Men step on things. Animals step over or around things." Then again an animal trail frequently passes under bushes and low branches of trees where men would cut or break their way through. To follow an animal trail is to be led sometimes to water, often to a bog or swamp, at times to the animal's den, which in the case of a bear might not be exactly pleasant.
Lost in the Woods
We were in the wilderness of an Adirondack forest making camp for the day and wanted to see the beaver-dam which, we were told, was on the edge of a near-by lake. The guide was busy cooking dinner and we would not wait for his leisure, but leaving the rest of the party, we started off confidently, just two of us, down the perfectly plain trail. For a short distance there was a beaten path, then, suddenly, the trail came to an abrupt end. We looked this side and that. No trail, no appearance of there ever having been one. With a careless wave of his arm, the guide had said: "Keep in that direction." "That" being to the left, to the left we therefore turned and stormed our way through thicket and bramble, breaking branches as we went. Sliding down declivities, scrambling over fallen trees, dipping beneath low-hung branches, we finally came out upon the shore of the lake and found that we had struck the exact spot where the beaver-dam was located.
It was only a short distance from camp and it had not taken us long to make it, but when we turned back we warmly welcomed the sight of our blazed trail, for all else was strange and unfamiliar. Going there had been glimpses of the water now and then to guide us, returning we had no landmarks. Even my sense of direction, usually to be relied on and upon which I had been tempted to depend solely, seemed to play me false when we reached a place where our blazing was lost sight of. The twilight stillness of the great forest enveloped us; there was no sign of our camp, no sound of voices. A few steps to our left the ground fell away in a steep precipice which, in going, we had passed unnoticed and which, for the moment, seemed to obstruct our way. Then turning to the right we saw a streak of light through the trees that looked, at first, like water where we felt sure no water could be if we were on the right path; but we soon recognized this as smoke kept in a low cloud by the trees—the smoke of our camp-fire. That was our beacon, and we were soon on the trail again and back in camp. This is not told as an adventure, but to illustrate the fact that without a well-blazed trail it is easier to become lost in a strange forest than to find one's way.
You may strike the trail with the one object in view of reaching your destination as quickly as possible. This will help you to become agile and sure-footed, to cover long distances in a short time, but it will not allow of much observation until your mind has become alert and your eyes trained to see quickly the things of the forests and plains, and to read their signs correctly. Unless there is necessity for haste, it is better to take more time and look about you as you go. To hurry over the trail is to lose much that is of interest and to pass by unseeingly things of great beauty. When you are new to the trail and must hurry, you are intent only on what is just before you—usually the feet of your guide—or if you raise your eyes to glance ahead, you notice objects simply as things to be reached and passed as quickly as possible. Unhurried trailing will repay you by showing you what the world of the wild contains.
Walking slowly you can realize the solemn stillness of the forest, can take in the effect of the gray light which enfolds all things like a veil of mystery. You can stop to examine the tiny-leafed, creeping vines that cover the ground like moss and the structure of the soft mosses with fronds like ferns. You can catch the jewel-like gleam of the wood flowers. You can breathe deeply and rejoice in the perfume of the balsam and pine. You can rest at intervals and wait quietly for evidences of the animal life that you know is lurking, unseen, all around you; and you can begin to perceive the protecting spirit of the wild that hovers over all.
To walk securely, as the woodsmen walk, without tripping, stumbling, or slipping, use the woodsmen's method of planting the entire foot on the ground, with toes straight ahead, not turned out. If you put your heel down first, while crossing on a slippery log as in ordinary walking, the natural result will be a fall. With your entire foot as a base upon which to rest, the body is more easily balanced and the foot less likely to slip. When people slip and fall on the ice, it is because the edge of the heel strikes the ice first and slides. The whole foot on the ice would not slip in the same way, and very often not at all.
Trailing does not consist merely in walking along a path or in making one for yourself. It has a larger meaning than that and embraces various lines of outdoor life, while it always presupposes movement of some kind. In one sense going on the trail means going on the hunt. You may go on the trail for birds, for animals, for insects, plants, or flowers. You may trail a party of friends ahead of you, or follow a deer to its drinking-place; and in all these cases you must look for the signs of that which you seek.
Footprints or Tracks
In trailing animals look for footprints in soft earth, sand, or snow. The hind foot of the muskrat will leave a print in the mud like that of a little hand, and with it will be the fore-foot print, showing but four short fingers, and generally the streaks where the hard tail drags behind. Fig. 4 shows what these look like. If you are familiar with the dog track you will know something about the footprints of the fox, wolf, and coyote, for they are much alike. Fig. 9 gives a clean track of the fox, but often there is the imprint of hairs between and around the toes. A wolf track is larger and is like Fig. 8. The footprint of a deer shows the cloven hoof, with a difference between the buck's and the doe's. The doe's toes are pointed and, when not spread, the track is almost heart-shaped (Fig. 7), while the buck has blunter, more rounded toes, like Fig. 10. The two round lobes are at the back of the foot, the other end points in the direction the deer has taken. Sometimes you will find deer tracks with the toes spread wide apart. That means the animal has been running. All animals' toes spread more or less when they run. A bear track is like Fig. 11, but a large bear often leaves other evidences of his presence than his footprints. He will frequently turn a big log over or tear one open in his search for ants. He will stand on his hind legs and gnaw a hole in a dead tree or tall stump, and a bee-tree will bear the marks of his climbing on its trunk. It is interesting to find a tree with the scars of bruin's feet, made prominent by small knobs where his claws have sunk into the bark. Each scar swells and stands out like one of his toes. When you see bark scraped off the trees some distance from the ground, you may be sure that a horned animal has passed that way. Where the trees are not far apart a wide-horned animal, like the bull moose, scrapes the bark with his antlers as he passes.
The cat-like lynx leaves a cat-like track (Fig. 6), which shows no print of the claws, and the mink's track is like Fig. 2. Rabbits' tracks are two large oblongs, then two almost round marks. The oblongs are the print of the large hind feet, which, with the peculiar gait of the rabbit, always come first. The large, hind-feet tracks point the direction the animal has taken. Fig. 1 is the track of the caribou, and shows the print of the dew-claws, which are the two little toes up high at the back of the foot. It is when the earth is soft and the foot sinks in deeply that the dew-claws leave a print, or perhaps when the foot spreads wide in running.
Fig. 3 is the print of the foot of a red squirrel. Fig. 5 is the fisher's track, and Fig. 12 is that of a sheep. Pig tracks are much like those of sheep, but wider. When you have learned to recognize the varying freshness of tracks you will know how far ahead the animal probably is. Other tracks you will learn as you become more familiar with the animals, and you will also be able to identify the tracks of the wild birds.
Trees. Practical Use of Compass. Direction of Wind. Star Guiding. What to Do When Lost in the Woods. How to Chop Wood. How to Fell Trees.
While on the trail you will find a knowledge of trees most useful, and you should be able to recognize different species by their manner of growth, their bark and foliage.
One of the most important trees for the trailer to know is the balsam-fir, for of this the best of outdoor beds are made. In shape the tree is like our Christmas-trees—in fact, many Christmas-trees are balsam-fir.
The sweet, aromatic perfume of the balsam needles is a great aid in identifying it. The branches are flat and the needles appear to grow from the sides of the stem. The little twist at the base of the needle causes it to seem to grow merely in the straight, outstanding row on each side of the stem; look closely and you will see the twist.
The needles are flat and short, hardly one inch in length; they are grooved along the top and the ends are decidedly blunt; in color they are dark bluish-green on the upper side and silvery-white underneath. The bark is gray, and you will find little gummy blisters on the tree-trunk. From these the healing Canada balsam is obtained. The short cones, often not over two inches in length, the longest seldom more than four inches, stand erect on top of the small branches, and when young are of a purplish color.
From Maine to Minnesota the balsam-fir grows in damp woods and mountain bogs, and you will find it southward along the Alleghany Mountains from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.
The spruce, red, black, and white, differs in many respects from the balsam-fir: the needles are sharp-pointed, not blunt, and instead of being flat like the balsam-fir, they are four-sided and cover the branchlet on all sides, causing it to appear rounded or bushy and not flat. The spruce-gum sought by many is found in the seams of the bark, which, unlike the smooth balsam-fir, is scaly and of a brown color. Early spring is the time to look for spruce-gum. Spruce is a soft wood, splits readily and is good for the frames and ribs of boats, also for paddles and oars, and the bark makes a covering for temporary shelters.
This tree is good for thatching a lean-to when balsam-fir is not to be found, and its bark can be used in the way of shingles.
The cones are small and hang down from the branches; they do not stand up alert like those of the balsam-fir, nor are they purple in color, being rather of a bright red-brown, and when very young, tan color. The wood is not easy to split—don't try it, or your hatchet will suffer in consequence and the pieces will be twisted as a usual thing. The southern variety, however, often splits straight.
The pine-tree accommodates itself to almost any kind of soil, high, low, moist, or dry, often growing along the edge of the water.
The gray pine is sometimes used for making the skeleton of a canoe or other boats, and the white pine for the skin or covering of the skeleton boat; but for you the pine will probably be most useful in furnishing pine-knots, and its soft wood for kindling your outdoor fire.
The trees mentioned abound in our northern forests. The birch in its different varieties is there also, but rarely ventures into the densest woods, preferring to remain near and on its outskirts. However, none of these trees confine themselves strictly to one locality.
Oaks, hickory, chestnut, maples, and sycamore are among the useful woods for campers.
Learn the quality and nature of the different trees. Each variety is distinct from the others: some woods are easy to split, such as spruce, chestnut, balsam-fir, etc.; some very strong, as locust, oak, hickory, sugar-maple, etc.; then there are the hard and soft woods mentioned in fire-making.
When you once understand the characteristics of the different woods, and their special qualifications, becoming familiar with only two or three varieties at a time, the trees will be able to help you according to their special powers. You would not go to a musician to have a portrait painted, for while the musician might give you wonderful music he would be helpless as far as painting a picture was concerned, and so it is with trees. They cannot all give the same thing; if you want soft wood, it is wasting your time to go to hardwood trees; they cannot give you what they do not possess. Know the possibilities of trees and they will not fail you.
How to Chop Wood
Trailing and camping both mean wood-chopping to some extent for shelters, fires, etc., and the girl of to-day should understand, as did the girls of our pioneer families, how to handle properly a hatchet, or in this case we will make it a belt axe. There is a small hatchet modelled after the Daniel Boone tomahawk, generally known as the "camp axe." It is thicker, narrower, and has a sharper edge than an ordinary hatchet. It comes of a size to wear on the belt and must be securely protected by a well-fitted strong leather sheath; otherwise it will endanger not only the life of the girl who carries it, but also the lives of her companions. With the camp axe (hatchet) you can cut down small trees, chop fire-wood, blaze trees, drive down pegs or stakes, and chop kindling-wood. Every time you want to use the hatchet take the precaution to examine it thoroughly and reassure yourself that the tool is in good condition and that the head is on firm and tight; be positive of this.
Great caution must be taken when chopping kindling-wood, as often serious accidents occur through ignorance or carelessness. Do not raise one end of a stick up on a log with the other end down on the ground and then strike the centre of the stick a sharp blow with the sharp edge of your hatchet; the stick will break, but one end usually flies up with considerable force and very often strikes the eye of the worker, ruining the sight forever. Take the blunt end of your hatchet and do not give a very hard blow on the stick you wish to break; exert only force sufficient to break it partially, merely enough to enable you to finish the work with your hands and possibly one knee. It may require a little more time, but your eyes will be unharmed, which makes it worth while. Often children use a heavy stone to break kindling-wood, with no disastrous results that I know of. The heavy stone does not seem to cause the wood to fly upward.
How to Chop Logs
Practise on small, slender logs, chopping them in short lengths until you understand something of the woodsman's art of "logging up a tree"; then and not until then should you attempt to cut heavier wood.
If you are sure-footed and absolutely certain that you can stand firmly on the log without teetering or swaying when leaning over, do so. You can then chop one side of the log half-way through and turn around and chop the other side until the second notch or "kerf" is cut through to the first one on the opposite side, and the two pieces fall apart. While working stand on the log with feet wide apart and chop the side of the log (not the top) on the space in front between your feet. Make your first chip quite long, and have it equal in length the diameter of the log. If the chip is short, the opening of the kerf will be narrow and your hatchet will become wedged, obliging you to double your labor by enlarging the kerf. Greater progress will be made by chopping diagonally across the grain of the wood, and the work will be easier. It is difficult to cut squarely against the grain and this is always avoided when possible. After you have cut the first chip in logging up a tree, chop on the base of the chip, swinging your hatchet from the opposite direction, and the chip will fall to the ground.
Having successfully chopped off one piece of the log, it will be a simple matter to cut off more. Chop slowly, easily, and surely. Don't be in a hurry and exhaust yourself; only a novice overexerts and tries to make a deep cut with the hatchet.
Be careful of the blade of your hatchet; keep it free from the ground when chopping, to avoid striking snags, stones, or other things liable to nick or dull the edge.
How to Fell a Tree
Content yourself with chopping down only slender trees, mere saplings, at first, and as you acquire skill, slightly heavier trees can be felled. Begin in the right way with your very first efforts and follow the woodsman's method.
Having selected the tree you desire to cut down, determine in which direction you want it to fall and mark that side, but first make sure that when falling, the tree will not lodge in another one near by or drop on one of the camp shelters. See that the way is free of hindrance before cutting the tree, also clear the way for the swing of your extended hatchet. If there are obstacles, such as vines, bushes, limbs of other trees, or rocks, which your hatchet might strike as you raise and lower it while at work, clear them all away, making a generous open space on all sides, overhead, on the right and left side, and below the swing of the hatchet. Take no chance of having an accident, as would occur should the hatchet become entangled or broken.
You may have noticed that the top surface of most stumps has a splintered ridge across its centre, and on one side of the ridge the wood is lower than on the other; this is because of the manner in which a woodsman fells a tree. If he wants the tree to fall toward the west he marks the west side of the trunk; then he marks the top and bottom of the space he intends chopping out for the first kerf or notch (Fig. 13, A and B), making the length of space a trifle longer than one-half of the tree diameter. The kerf is chopped out by cutting first from the top A, then from the bottom B (Fig. 14). When the first kerf is finished and cut half-way through the tree, space for the kerf on the opposite side of the tree is marked a few inches higher than the first one (Fig. 15, C and D) and then it also is cut (Fig. 16).
After you have chopped the two kerfs in a tree, you will know when it is about to fall by the creaking and the slight movement of its top. Step to one side of the falling tree, never behind or in front of it; either of the last two ways would probably mean death: if in front, the tree would fall on you, and if at the back, you would probably be terribly injured if not killed, as trees often kick backward with tremendous force as they go down; so be on your guard, keep cool, and deliberately step to the side of the tree and watch it fall.
Choose a quiet day, when there is no wind, for tree-felling. You cannot control the wind, and it may control your tree.
Never allow your hatchet to lie on the ground, a menace to every one at camp, but have a particular log or stump and always strike the blade in this wood. Leave your hatchet there, where it will not be injured, can do no harm, and you will always know where to find it (Fig. 17).
Etiquette of the Wild
Translated this means "hands off." The unwritten law of the woods is that personal property cached in trees, underbrush, beneath stones, or hidden underground must never be taken, borrowed, used, or molested.
Canoes and oars will often be discovered left by owners, sometimes fastened at the water's edge, again suspended from trees, and the temptation to borrow may be strong, but remember such an act would be dishonorable and against the rules that govern the outdoor world.
Provisions, tools, or other articles found in the forests should be respected and allowed to remain where they are. It is customary for campers to cache their belongings with the assurance that forest etiquette will be held inviolate and their goods remain unmolested.
Every one has the privilege of examining and enjoying the beauties of mosses, berries, and wild flowers, but do not take these treasures from their homes to die and be thrown aside. Love them well enough to let them stay where they are for others also to enjoy, unless you need specimens for some important special study.
A man who had always lived in the Adirondack forests, and at present is proprietor of an Adirondack hotel, recently reforested many acres of his wooded wild lands by planting through the forests little young trees, some not over one foot high, and his indignation was great when he discovered that many of his guests when off on tramps returned laden with these baby trees, which were easily pulled up by the roots because so lately planted.
Finding Your Way by Natural Signs and the Compass
An important phase of woodcraft is the ability to find your way in the wilderness by means of natural signs as well as the compass. If, however, you do not know at what point of the compass from you the camp lies, the signs can be of no avail. Having this knowledge, the signs will be invaluable.
Get your bearings before leaving camp. Do not depend upon any member of the party, but know for yourself.
If you have a map giving the topography of land surrounding the camping-grounds, consult it. Burn into your memory the direction from camp of outlying landmarks, those near and those as far off as you can see in all directions. The morning you leave camp, ascertain the direction of the wind and notice particularly the sun and shadows. If it is early morning, face the sun and you will be looking toward the east. Stretch out both arms at your sides and point with your index-fingers; your right finger will point to the south, your left to the north, and your back will be toward the west. What landmarks do you see east of the camp? South? North? West? And from what point of the compass does the wind blow? If it comes from the west and you trail eastward, the wind will strike your back going away from camp and should strike your face returning, provided its direction does not change. Again, if you go east, your camp will lie west of you, and your homeward path must be westward. Consult your compass and know exactly which direction you take when leaving camp, and blaze your trail as you go, looking backward frequently to see how landmarks should appear as you face them returning.
With all these friends to guide you, first, the map; second, sun; third, shadows; fourth, wind; fifth, compass; sixth, your bent-twig blazing, there will be little, if any, danger of being lost. But you must constantly keep on the alert and refer frequently to these guides, especially when deflecting from the course first taken after leaving camp. At every turning, stop and take your bearings anew; you cannot be too careful.
These signs are for daylight; at night the North Star will be your guide.
Sunlight and Shadow
Bearing in mind that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, it will be comparatively easy to keep your right course by consulting the sun. A fair idea may also be gained of the time of day by the length of shadows, if you remember that shadows are long in the morning and continue to grow shorter until midday, when they again begin to lengthen, growing longer and longer until night.
To find the direction of the sun on a cloudy day, hold a flat splinter or your knife blade vertically, so that it is absolutely straight up and down. Place the point of the blade on your thumb-nail, watch-case, or other glossy surface; then turn the knife or splinter around until the full shadow of the flat of blade or splinter falls on the bright surface, telling the location of the sun.
An open spot where the sun can cast a clear shadow, and an hour when the sun is not immediately overhead, will give best results.
The wind generally blows in the same direction all day, and if you learn to understand its ways, the wind will help you keep the right trail. Make a practise of testing the direction of the wind every morning. Notice the leaves on bush and tree, in what direction they move. Place a few bits of paper on your open hand and watch in which way the wind carries them; if there is no paper, try the test with dry leaves, grass, or anything light and easily carried by the breeze. Smoke will also show the direction of the wind.
When the wind is very faint, put your finger in your mouth, wet it on all sides, and hold it up; the side on which the wind blows will feel cool and tell from what quarter the wind comes: if on the east side of your finger, the wind blows from the east, and so on. Keep testing the direction of the wind as you trail, and if at any time it cools a different side of the finger, you will know that you are not walking in the same direction as when you left camp and must turn until the wet finger tells you which way to go. The wind is a good guide so long as it keeps blowing in the same direction as when you left camp.
Use of Compass
Should you be on the trail and sudden storm-clouds appear, the sun cannot help you find your way; the shadows have gone. Moss on tree-trunks is not an infallible guide and you must turn to the compass to show the way, but unless you understand its language you will not know what it is telling you. Learn the language before going to camp; it is not difficult.
Hold the compass out in a level position directly in front of you; be sure it is level; then decide to go north. Consult the compass and ascertain in which direction the north lies. The compass needle points directly north with the north end of the needle; this end is usually black, sometimes pearl. Let your eye follow straight along the line pointed out by the needle; as you look ahead select a landmark—tree, rock, pond, or whatever may lie in that direction. Choose an object quite a distance off on the imaginary line, go directly toward it, and when intervening objects obscure the landmark, refer to your compass. If you have turned from the pathway north, face around and readjust your steps in the right direction. Do not let over two minutes pass without making sure by the compass that you are going on the right path, going directly north.
Practise using the compass for a guide until you understand it; have faith in it and you may fearlessly trust to its guidance. Try going according to various points of the compass: suppose you wish to go southeast, the compass tells you this as plainly as the north; try it. Naturally, if you go to the southeast away from camp, returning will be in exactly the opposite direction, and coming back to camp you must walk northwest. After learning to go in a straight line, guided entirely by the compass, try a zigzag path. A group of girls will find it good sport to practise trailing with the compass, and they will at the same time learn how to avoid being lost and how to help others find their way. It is possible to
Make a Compass of Your Watch
Besides keeping you company with its friendly nearness, its ticking and its ready answers to your questions regarding the time, a watch in the woods and fields has another use, for it can be used as a compass. It will show just where the south is, then by turning your back on the south you face the north, and on your right is the east and on your left the west. These are the rules:
With your watch in a horizontal position point the hour-hand to the sun, and if before noon, half-way between the hour hand and 12 is due south. If it is afternoon calculate the opposite way. For instance, if at 8 A. M. you point the hour-hand to the sun, 10 will point to the south, for that is half-way between 8 and 12. If at 2 P. M. you point the hour-hand to the sun, look back to 12, and half the distance will be at 1, therefore 1 points to the south.
An easy way to get the direction of the sun without looking directly at it is by means of the shadow of a straight, slender stick or grass stem thrown on the horizontal face of your watch. Hold the stick upright with the lower end touching the watch at the point of the hour-hand, then turn the watch until the shadow of the stick falls along the hour-hand. This will point the hand undeviatingly toward the sun.
The campers should go together to climb the mountain, never one girl alone.
Before starting, find a strong stick to use as a staff; stow away some luncheon in one of your pockets; see that your camera is in perfect order, ready to use at a moment's notice; that your water-proof match-box is in your pocket filled with safety matches, your pocket-knife safe with you, also watch and compass, and that the tin cup is on your belt. Your whistle being always hung around your neck will, of course, be there as usual.
When you are ready, stand still and look about you once more to make sure of your bearings; close your eyes and tell yourself exactly what you have seen. After leaving camp and arriving at the foot of the mountain, take your bearings anew; then look up ahead and select a certain spot which you wish to reach on the upward trail. Having this definite object in view will help in making better progress and save your walking around in a circle, which is always the tendency when in a strange place and intervening trees or elevations obstruct the view, or when not sure of the way and trying to find it.
Begin blazing the trail at your first step up the mountain side. Even though there may be a trail already, you cannot be sure that it will continue; it is much safer to depend upon your own blazing.
Often in trailing along the mountain you will find huge rocks and steep depressions, or small lakes which you cannot cross over but must go around, and in so doing change your direction, perhaps strike off at an angle. Before making the detour, search out some large landmark, readily recognized after reaching the other side of the obstruction, a tall, peculiarly shaped tree or other natural feature. Now is the time to try earnestly to keep the landmark in sight as long as possible and to be able to recognize it when you see it again. Watch your compass and the sun that you may continue in the right direction after circling the obstruction. Go slow in climbing, take your time and don't get out of breath.
On many mountains the possibility of unexpected fogs exists, and safety requires that the party be linked together with a soft rope; the same precaution should be taken when the trail is very rough, steep, and rocky. The camper at the head of the line should tie the rope in a bow-line around her waist, with knot on left side, and eight or ten feet from her the next girl should link herself to the rope in the same manner; then another girl, and another, until the entire party is on the rope.
The leader starts on the trail and the others, holding fast to their staffs, carefully follow, each one cautious to keep the rope stretching out in front of her rather taut; then if one girl stumbles the others brace themselves and keep her from falling.
When descending the mountain, be careful to get a firm footing. Instead of facing the trail, it is safer to turn sideways, so that you can place the entire foot down and not risk the toes only, or the heels. Often coming down either a steep hill or a mountain is more difficult than going up.
Lost in the Woods
It is not at all probable that you will lose your way while on the trail, but if you should find yourself lost in the woods or in the open, the first thing to do is to remember that a brave girl does not get into a panic and so rob herself of judgment and the power to think clearly and act quickly. Believe firmly that you are safe, then sit down quietly and think out a plan of finding your way. Try to remember from which direction you have come and to recall landmarks. If you cannot do this, do not be frightened and do not allow any thought of possible harm to get a foothold in your mind. If there is a hill near, from which you can see any distance, climb that and get an outlook. You may be able to see the smoke of your camp-fire, which, after all, cannot be so far away. You may find a landmark that you do remember. If you see nothing which you can recognize, make a signal flag of your handkerchief and put it up high, as high as you can. Your friends will be looking for that. Then give the lost signal, one long blast with your whistle, and after a short pause follow with two more blasts in quick succession. If you have no whistle shout, loud and long, then wait a while, keeping eyes and ears open to see and hear answering signals. If there is none, again shout the lost signal and continue the calls every little while for quite a time. Another call for help is the ascending smoke of three fires. This, of course, is for daylight. Build your fires some distance apart, twenty-five feet or more, that the smoke from each may be clearly seen alone, not mingled with the rest. Aim to create smoke rather than flame; a slender column of smoke can be seen a long distance, therefore the fire need not be large. Choose for your fires as clear a space and as high an elevation as can be found, and in the relief and excitement of rescue do not forget to extinguish every spark before leaving the ground.
If you decide to keep moving, blaze your trail as you go, so that it may be followed and also that you may know if you cross it again yourself. You can blaze the trail by breaking or bending small branches on trees and bushes, or by small strips torn from your handkerchief and tied conspicuously on twigs. If you are where there are no trees or undergrowth, build small piles of stones or little hills of earth at intervals to mark your trail.
If night overtakes you, look for the North Star. That will help if you know at what point of the compass your camp lies, and if you remember whether your course in leaving camp was to the north, south, east, or west, you can calculate pretty accurately whether the camp is to the north, south, east, or west of you.
In case the night must be spent where you are, go about making a shelter, prepare as comfortable a bed as possible, and do not be afraid. You will probably be found before morning, and you must be found in good physical condition.
If you can kindle a fire, do it; that will help to guide your friends and will ward off wild creatures that might startle you. Keep your fire going all night and take care that it does not spread.
It is better to remain quietly in one spot all night than to wander about in the dark and perhaps stumble upon dangerous places. If, when you find the points of the compass by the North Star, you mark them plainly on a stone or fallen log, they will be a ready guide for you as soon as daylight breaks.
The last word on this subject is: Do not be afraid.
To Find Your Way by the North Star
At night you will have the same reliable guide that has ever been the mariner's friend, and if you do not know this star guide, lose no time in finding it.
Polaris or pole-star is known generally as North Star, and this star is most important to the outdoor girl. At all times the North Star marks the north, its position never changes, and seeing that star and knowing it, you will always know the points of the compass. Face the North Star and you face the north. At your right hand is the east, at your left hand is the west, and at your back is the south.
The North Star does not look very important because it is not very bright or very large, and were it not for the help of the Big Dipper, which every one knows, the North Star would not be easy to find. The diagram given on page 37 shows the relative position of the stars and will help you to find the North Star. The two stars forming the front side of the bowl of the Great Dipper point almost in a direct line to the North Star, which is the last one in the handle of the Little Dipper, or the tail of the Little Bear, which means the same thing.
Camp Sites. Water. Wood. Tents. Shelters. Lean-Tos. Fires. Cooking. Safety and Protection. Sanitation. Camp Spirit.
Whether your camp is to be for one day, one week, or a longer period of time, the first question to be decided is: "Where shall we go?" If you know of no suitable spot, inquire of friends, and even if they have not personally enjoyed the delights of camping and sleeping in the open, one or more of them will probably know of some acquaintance who will be glad to give the information. Write to the various newspapers, magazines, railroads, and outdoor societies for suggestions. The Geological Survey of the United States at Washington, D. C., will furnish maps giving location and extent of forests and water-ways, also location and character of roads; you can obtain the maps for almost any part of every State. Most public automobile houses supply maps of any desired region. Send letters of inquiry to these sources of information, and in this way you will probably learn of many "just the right place" localities. Select a number of desirable addresses, investigate them, and make your own choice of location, remembering that the first three essentials for a camp are good ground, water, and wood; the rest is easy, for these three form the foundation for camping.
Wherever you go, choose a dry spot, preferably in an open space near wooded land. Avoid hollows where the water will run into your shelters in wet weather; let your camp be so located that in case of rain the water will drain down away from it. Remember this or you may find your camp afloat upon a temporary lake or swamp should a storm arise.
Pure drinking water you must have, it is of vital importance, so be sure to pitch your camp within near walking distance of a good spring, a securely covered well, or other supply of pure water.
Henry David Thoreau's method of obtaining clear water from a pond whose surface was covered with leaves, etc., was to push his pail, without tipping it in the least, straight down under the water until the top edge was below the surface several inches, then quickly lift it out; in doing this the overflow would carry off all leaves and twigs, leaving the remaining water in the pail clear and good. But you must first be sure that the pond contains pure water under the floating debris.
Always be cautious about drinking water from rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes though they may appear ever so clear and tempting, for the purity is by no means assured, and to drink from these sources may cause serious illness. Unless you are absolutely sure that water is free from impurities, boil it; then it will be safe to use for drinking and cooking.
Next in importance to good water is good fire-wood and woodsy material for shelters and beds. Bear this in mind when deciding upon the site for your camp.
Because your companions can make or mar the happiness in camp, it is safer to have in your party only those girls who will take kindly to the camp spirit of friendly helpfulness, those always ready to laugh and treat discomforts as jokes. This means that though fun-loving and full of buoyancy and life, each girl will willingly do her part and assume her share of responsibilities.
You should also count among your companions two or more camp directors—possibly mothers of the girls, teachers, or older friends of whom the parents approve—who will enter heartily into all phases of outdoor life and while really being one with you in sport and work, will at the same time keep careful oversight and assure protection.
Avoid localities where there is a possibility of tramps or undesirable characters of any description, and do not wander from camp alone or unaccompanied by one of the directors. If your camp is in the forest it will be the part of wisdom to secure also a reliable guide who knows the forest ways.
The day before you leave for your camping-ground, have everything in readiness that there may be no delay when it is time to go. Be prompt, for you want to play fair and not keep the other girls waiting, causing them to lose valuable time.
The stimulating exhilaration which comes with trailing through the forests to camp, the keen delight of adventure, the charm of the wilderness, the freedom and wonder of living in the woods, all make for the health and happiness of the girl camper, and once experienced, ever after with the advent of spring comes the call of the untrammelled life in the big outdoors.
The One-Day Camp
Even a one-day camp fills the hours with more genuine lasting enjoyment than girls can find in other ways; there is a charm about it which clings in your memory, making a joy, later, of the mere thought and telling of the event.
That every moment of the day may be filled full of enjoyment for all, have a good programme, some definite, well-thought-out plan of activities and sports previously prepared, and if possible let every girl know beforehand just what she is to do when all arrive at camp.
With an older person in charge, the party could be divided, according to its size, into different groups, and as soon as the grounds are reached the groups should begin the fun of preparing for the camp dinner.
If the party consists of eight, two can gather fire-wood, two build the fireplace, two unpack the outfits, placing the provisions and cooking utensils in order conveniently near the fire, and two can bring the drinking water and cooking water.
Provisions and cooking utensils should be divided into as many packs as there are campers, and every camper carry a pack. Count in the outfit for each one a tin cup, preferably with open handle for wearing over belt.
In the one-day camp very few cooking utensils are needed; they may consist of two tin pails, one for drinking water, the other for boiling water, one coffee-pot for cocoa, one frying-pan for flapjacks or eggs, one large kitchen knife for general use, and one large spoon for stirring batter and cocoa.
Counting on a keen outdoor appetite for wholesome substantials, the provision list includes only plain fare, such as: Lamb chops, or thinly sliced bacon packed in oil-paper. Dry cocoa to which sugar has been added, carried in can or stout paper bag. One can of condensed milk, unsweetened, to be diluted with water according to directions on can. Butter in baking-powder can. Dry flour mixed with salt and baking-powder in required proportions for flapjacks, packed in strong paper bag and carried in one of the tin pails. Bread in loaf wrapped in wax-paper. Potatoes washed and dried ready to cook, packed in paper bag or carried in second tin pail. Pepper and salt each sealed in separate marked envelopes; when needed, perforate paper with big pin and use envelopes as shakers. One egg for batter, buried in the flour to prevent breaking, and one small can of creamy maple sugar, soft enough to spread on hot cakes, or a can of ordinary maple syrup.
While resting after dinner is the time for story-telling; then, before taking part in sports of any kind, every particle of debris, even small bits of egg-shell and paper, should be gathered up and burned until not a vestige remains. To be "good sports," thought must be taken for the next comers and the camping-ground left in perfect order, absolutely free from litter or debris of any kind.
When breaking camp be sure to soak the fire with water again and again. It is criminal to leave any coals or even a spark of the fire smouldering.
Be positive that the fire is out.
Shelters and Tents. Lean-To
For a fixed camp of longer or shorter duration your home will be under the shelter of boughs, logs, or canvas. The home of green boughs is considered by many the ideal of camp shelters. This you can make for yourself. It is a simple little two-sided, slanting roof and back and open-front shed, made of the material of the woods and generally known as a lean-to, sometimes as Baker tent when of canvas.
There are three ways of erecting the front framework.
The first is to find two trees standing about seven feet apart with convenient branches down low enough to support the horizontal top cross pole when laid in the crotches. Lacking the proper trees, the second method is to get two strong, straight, forked poles of green wood and drive them down into the ground deep enough to make them stand firm and upright by themselves the required distance apart. The third way is to reinforce the uprights by shorter forked stakes driven firmly into the ground and braced against the uprights, but this is not often necessary.
Having your uprights in place, extending above ground five feet or more, lay a top pole across, fitting its ends into the forked tops of the uprights. Against this top pole rest five or six slender poles at regular distances apart, one end of each against the top pole and the other end on the ground slanting outward and backward sufficiently to give a good slope and allow sleeping space beneath. At right angles to the slanting poles, lay across them other poles, using the natural pegs or stumps left on the slanting poles by lopped-off branches, as braces to hold the cross poles in place (Fig. 18).
When building the frame be sure to place the slanting poles so that the little stumps left on them will turn up and not down, that they may hold the cross poles. Try to have spaces between cross poles as regular as possible. A log may be rolled up against the ground ends of the slanting poles to prevent their slipping, though this is rarely necessary, for they stand firm as a rule.
You can cover the frame with bark and then thatch it, which will render the shelter better able to withstand a storm, or you may omit the bark, using only the thatch as a covering. Put on very thick, this should make the lean-to rain-proof.
With small tips of branches from trees, preferably balsam, hemlock, or other evergreens, begin thatching your shelter. Commence at the bottom of the lean-to, and hook on the thatch branches close together all the way across the lowest cross pole, using the stumps of these thatch branches as hooks to hold the thatch in place on the cross pole (Fig. 19). Overlap the lower thatches as you work along the next higher cross pole, like shingles on a house, and continue in this way, overlapping each succeeding cross pole with an upper row of thatch until the top is reached. Fill in the sides thick with branches, boughs, or even small, thick trees.
The lean-to frame can be covered with your poncho in case of necessity, but boughs are much better.
Permanent Camp. Lean-To. Open Camp
Another kind of lean-to intended for a permanent camp is in general use throughout the Adirondacks. It is built of substantial good-sized logs put together log-cabin fashion, with open front, slanting roof, and low back (Fig. 20). This shelter has usually a board floor raised a few inches above the ground and covered thick, at least a foot deep, with balsam. Overspread with blankets, the soft floor forms a comfortable bed. A log across the front of the floor keeps the balsam in place and forms a seat for the campers in the evenings when gathered for a social time before the fire. The roof of the log lean-to can be either of boards or well-thatched poles which have first been overlaid with bark.
One of the most comfortable and delightful of real forest camps which I have ever been in, was a permanent camp in the Adirondacks owned and run by one of the best of Adirondack guides. The camp consisted of several shelters and two big permanent fireplaces.
Over the ground space for the large tent outlined with logs was a strong substantial rustic frame, built of material at hand in the forest and intended to last many seasons (Fig. 21). The shelter boasted of two springy, woodsy beds, made of slender logs laid crosswise and raised some inches from the ground. These slender logs slanted down slightly from head to foot of the bed, and the edges of the bed were built high enough to hold the deep thick filling of balsam tips, so generously deep as to do away with all consciousness of the underlying slender-log foundation (Fig. 22). Each bed was wide enough for two girls and the shelter ample to accommodate comfortably four campers. There could have been one more bed, when the tent would have sheltered six girls.
In the late fall, the guide removed the water-proof tent covering and kept it in a safe, dry place until needed, leaving the beds and bare tent frame standing.
There was a smaller tent and also a lean-to in this camp.
The dining-table, contrived of logs and boards, was sheltered by a square of canvas on a rustic frame (Fig. 23). The camp dishes of white enamel ware were kept in a wooden box, nailed to a close-by tree; in this box the guide had put shelves, resting them on wooden cleats. The cupboard had a door that shut tight and fastened securely to keep out the little wild creatures of the woods. Pots, kettles, frying-pan, etc., hung on the stubs of a slender tree where branches and top had been lopped off (Fig. 24). The sealed foods were stowed away in a box cupboard, and canned goods were cached in a cave-like spot under a huge rock, with opening secured by stones.
The walls of the substantial fireplace, fully two feet high, were of big stones, the centre filled in part-way with earth, and the cook-fire was made on top of the earth, so there was not the slightest danger of the fire spreading.
The soft, warm, cheerful-colored camp blankets when not in use were stored carefully under cover of a water-proof tent-like storehouse, with the canvas sides dropped from the ridge-pole, both sides and flaps securely fastened and the entire storehouse made proof against intrusion.
This camp was located near a lake in the mountain forest and its charm was indescribably delightful.
Tents in almost endless variety of shapes and sizes are manufactured and sold by camp-outfitters and sporting-goods shops. The tents range from small canoe-tents, accommodating one person only, to the large wall-tents for four or more people. When using tents, difficulties of transportation and extra weight can be overcome by having tent poles and pegs cut in the forest.
If you purchase tents, full instructions for erection go with them. Write for illustrated catalogues to various outfitters and look the books over carefully before buying. Your choice will depend upon your party, length of stay, and location of camp.
You may be able to secure a discarded army-tent that has never been used, is in good condition, and has been condemned merely for some unimportant blemish. Such tents are very serviceable and can be purchased at Government auctions, or from dealers who themselves have bought them from the Government.
A large square seven by seven feet, or more, of balloon silk, water-proof cloth, or even heavy unbleached sheeting, will be found most useful in camp. Sew strong tape strings at the four corners and at intervals along the sides for tying to shelters, etc. The water-proof cloth will serve as a drop-curtain in front of the lean-to during a hard storm, or as carpet cloth over ground of shelter, also as an extra shelter, either lean-to or tent style; any of the three materials can do duty as windbreak, fly to shelter, or dining canopy, and may be used in other ways.
To derive joy and strength from your outing it is of serious importance that you sleep well every night while at camp, and your camp-bed must be comfortable to insure a good night's rest.
A bough-bed is one of the joys of the forest when it is well made, and to put it together properly will require about half an hour's time, but the delight of sleeping on a soft balsam bed perfumed with the pungent odors of the balsam will well repay for the time expended.
Tips of balsam broken off with your fingers about fourteen inches long make the best of beds, but hemlock, spruce, and other evergreens can be used; if they are not obtainable, the fan-like branches from other trees may take their place. Of these you will need a large quantity, in order to have the bed springy and soft. Always place the outdoor bed with the head well under cover and foot toward the opening of shelter, or if without shelter, toward the fire. Make the bed by arranging the branches shingle-like in very thick overlapping rows, convex side up, directly on the ground with thick end of stems toward the foot. Push these ends into the ground so that the tips will be raised slantingly up from the earth; make the rows which will come under the hips extra thick and springy. Continue placing the layers in this manner until the space for single or double bed, as the case may be, is covered with the first layer of your green mattress. Over it make another layer of branches, reversing the ends of these tips from those underneath by pushing the thick ends of branches of this top layer slantingly into the under layer toward the head of the bed with tips toward the foot. Make more layers, until the bed is about two feet thick (Fig. 25); then cover the mattress thus made with your poncho, rubber side down, and on top spread one of the sleeping blankets, using the other one as a cover. Be sure to allow plenty of time for this work and have the bed dry and soft.
When the camp is located where there is no material for a bough-bed, each girl can carry with her a bag three feet wide and six and one-half feet long, made of strong cloth, ticking, soft khaki, or like material, to be filled with leaves, grass, or other browse found on or near the camp-grounds. Such a mattress made up with poncho and blankets is very satisfactory, but it must be well filled, so that when you lie on the mattress it will not mash flat and hard.
For an entire summer camp army cots which fold for packing are good and very comfortable with a doubled, thick quilt placed on top for a mattress.
The sporting-goods stores show a great variety of other beds, cots, and sleeping-bags, and a line to them will bring illustrated catalogues, or, if in the city, you can call and see the goods.
Any of the beds I have described, however, can be used to advantage, and I heartily endorse the well-made bough-bed, especially if of balsam.
Make a bag one-half yard square of brown linen or cotton cloth, and when you reach camp, gather the best browse you can find for filling, but be careful about having the pillow too full; keep it soft and comfortable. If there is no browse, use clean underwear in its place. Fasten the open end of the bag together with large-sized patent dress snappers.
One of the pleasantest phases of a season's camping are the little side trips for overnight. You hit the trail that leads to the chosen spot located some two or three, perhaps six or seven, miles distant; a place absolutely dry, where you can enjoy the fun of sleeping on the ground without shelter, having merely the starry sky for a canopy. Each girl can select the spot where she is to sleep and free it from all twigs, stones, etc., as the smallest and most insignificant of these will rob her of sleep and make the night most uncomfortable. When the space is smooth mark the spot where the shoulders rest when lying down and another spot immediately under the hips, then dig a hollow for each to fit in easily; cover the sleeping space with poncho, rubber side down, and over this lay a folded blanket for a mattress, using the second blanket as a cover. Your sleep will then probably be sound and refreshing.
Establish watchers, for this temporary camp, in relays to keep guard through the night and care for the fire, not allowing it to spread, grow too hot, or die down and go out.
If there are eight in the party, the first two, starting in at 10 P. M., will keep vigil until 12 midnight. These may chance to see a porcupine or other small wild animal, but the little creatures will not come too near as long as your camp-fire is burning. The next two watchers will be on duty until 2 A. M., and will doubtless hear, if not see, some of the wild life of the forest. The third couple's turn lasts until 4 A. M.; then the last two will be awakened in time to see the sun rise, listen to the twittering and singing of the wild birds, and possibly catch a glimpse of wild deer. With 6 A. M. comes broad daylight, and the ever-to-be-remembered night in the open is past and gone.
These side trips bring you into closer touch with nature, quicken your love for, and a desire to know more of, the wild; and, much to the delight of the campers keeping guard through the hours of the night, there comes a keen sense of the unusual, of novel experience, of strangeness and adventure.
While wholesome camping calls for sufficient physical exercise to cause a girl to be blissfully tired at night, and yet awaken refreshed and full of energy the next morning with a good appetite for breakfast, until you become accustomed to the outdoor life, it is best to curb your ambition to outdo the other girls in strength and endurance. It is best not to overtax yourself by travelling too far on a long trail at one stretch, or by lifting too heavy a log, stone, or other weight.
The outdoor fire in camp bespeaks cheer, comfort, and possibilities for a hot dinner, all of which the camper appreciates.
How to Build a Fire
Choose an open space, if possible, for your fire. Beware of having it under tree branches, too near a tent, or in any other place that might prove dangerous. Start your fire with the tinder nearest at hand, dry leaves, ferns, twigs, cones, birch bark, or pine-knot slivers. As the tinder begins to burn, add kindling-wood of larger size, always remembering that the air must circulate under and upward through the kindling; no fire can live without air any more than you can live without breathing. Smother a person and he will die, smother a fire and it will die.
Soft woods are best to use after lighting the tinder; they ignite easily and burn quickly, such as pine, spruce, alder, birch, soft maple, balsam-fir, and others. When the kindling is blazing put on still heavier wood, until you have a good, steady fire. Hard wood is better than soft when the fire is well going; it burns longer and can usually be depended upon for a reliable fire, not sending out sparks or sputtering, as do many of the soft woods, but burning well and giving a fine bed of hot coals. The tree belonging exclusively to America, and which is the best of the hardwoods, comes first on the hardwood list. This is hickory. Pecan, chestnut-oak, black birch, basket-oaks, white birch, maple, dogwood, beech, red and yellow birch, ash, and apple wood when obtainable are excellent.
Make the cook-fire small and hot; then you can work over it in comfort and not scorch both hands and face when trying to get near enough to cook, as would be the case if the fire were large.
When in a hurry use dry bark as wood for the cook-fire. Hemlock, pine, hickory, and other bark make a hot fire in a short time, and water will boil quickly over a bark fire.
Start this fire with two good-sized short sticks or logs. Place them about one foot apart parallel to each other. At each end across these lay two smaller sticks, and in the hollow square formed by the four sticks, put the tinder of cones, birch bark, or dry leaves.
Across the two upper sticks and over the tinder, make a grate by laying slender kindling sticks across from and resting on top of the two upper large sticks. Over the grate, at right angles to the sticks forming it, place more sticks of larger size. Continue in this way, building the log-cabin fire until the structure is one foot or so high, each layer being placed at right angles to the one beneath it. The fire must be lighted from beneath in the pile of tinder. I learned this method when on the Pacific slope. The fire burns quickly, and the log-cabin plan is a good one to follow when heating the bean hole, as the fire can be built over the hole, and in burning the red-hot coals will fall down into it, or the fire can be built directly in the hole; both ways are used by campers.
Fire in the Rain
To build a fire in the rain with no dry wood in sight seems a difficult problem, but keep cheerful, hum your favorite tune, and look for a pine-knot or birch bark and an old dead stump or log. In the centre of the dead wood you will find dry wood; dig it out and, after starting the fire with either birch bark or pine-knot, use the dry wood as kindling. When it begins to burn, add larger pieces of wood, and soon the fire will grow strong enough to burn wet wood. If there happens to be a big rock in your camp, build your fire on the sheltered side and directly against the stone, which will act as a windbreak and keep the driving rain from extinguishing the fire. A slightly shelving bank would also form a shelter for it. A pine-knot is always a good friend to the girl camper, both in dry and wet weather, but is especially friendly when it rains and everything is dripping wet.
You will find pine-knots in wooded sections where pine-trees grow; or, if you are located near water where there are no trees, look for pine-knots in driftwood washed ashore. When secured cut thin slices down part way all around the elongated knot and circle it with many layers of shavings until the knot somewhat resembles a toy tree. The inside will be absolutely dry, and this branching knot will prove reliable and start your fire without fail. Birch bark will start a fire even when the bark is damp, and it is one of the best things you can have as a starter for an outdoor, rainy-day fire.
Take your cue from the forest guides, and while in the woods always carry some dry birch bark in your pocket for a fire in case of rain.
One way to make the outdoor fireplace is to lay two green logs side by side on the ground in a narrow V shape, but open at both ends; only a few inches at one end, a foot or more at the other. The fire is built between the logs, and the frying-pan and pail of water, resting on both logs, bridge across the fire. Should the widest space between the logs be needed, place two slender green logs at right angles across the V logs, and have these short top cross logs near enough together to hold the frying-pans set on them (Fig. 26).
When there are no green logs, build the fireplace with three rectangular sides of stone, open front, and make the fire in the centre; the pots and pans rest across the fire on the stones.
If neither stones nor logs are available, dig a circle of fresh earth as a safeguard and have the fire in its centre. Here you will need two strong, forked-top stakes driven down into the ground directly opposite each other, one on each side of the circle. Rest the end of a stout green stick in the forked tops of the stakes, and use it to hang pots and pails from when cooking. A fire can also be safeguarded with a circle of stones placed close together. Another method of outdoor cooking may be seen on page 81, where leaning stakes are used from which to hang cooking utensils over the fire.
One more caution about possibilities of causing forest fire. Terrible wide-spread fires have resulted from what was supposed to be an extinguished outdoor fire. Do not trust it, but when you are sure the camp-fire is out, pour on more water over the fire and all around the unburned edge of surrounding ground; then throw on fresh earth until the fire space is covered. Be always on the safe side. Tack up on a tree in the camp, where all must see it, a copy of the state laws regarding forest fires, as shown in photograph frontispiece.
On forest lands much of the ground is deep with tangled rootlets and fibres mixed in with the mould, and a fire may be smouldering down underneath, where you cannot see it. Have a care.
The permanent-camp fireplace, built to do service for several seasons, is usually of big, heavy, green logs, stones, and earth. The logs, about three and one-half feet long, are built log-cabin fashion, some twenty-eight inches high, with all crevices filled in and firmly padded with earth and stones. Big stones are anchored securely along the top of the earth-covered log sides and back of the fireplace, raising these higher than the front. The space inside the walled fireplace is very nearly filled up with earth, and the fire is built on this earth. Surfaces of logs which may have been left exposed where the fire is to be made are safeguarded with earth (Fig. 27).
Such a fireplace is big, substantial, firm, and lasting. Many of them may be seen in the Adirondacks. They usually face the camp shelter, but are located at a safe distance, fully two yards, from it. Fires built in these are generally used as social cheer-fires, but you can have the cheer-fire even though the substantial fireplace be non est, if in the evening you pile more wood on the cook-fire, making it large enough for all to gather around and have a good time, telling stories, laughing, talking, and singing.
An excellent rule in camp is to have always on hand plenty of fire-wood. Replenish the reserve stock every day as inroads are made upon it, and have some sort of shelter or covering where the wood will be kept dry and ready for immediate use.
Camp Cooking. Provisions
In the woods one is generally hungry except immediately after a good meal, and provisions and cooking are of vital interest to the camper. The list of essentials is not very long and, when the camp is a permanent one, non-essentials may be added to the larder with advantage.
Bread of some kind will form part of every meal, and a few loaves freshly baked can be taken to camp to start with while you are getting settled.
The quickest bread to cook is the delectable flapjack, and it is quite exciting to toss it in the air, see it turn over and catch it again—if you can.
Mix dry flour, baking-powder, and salt together, 1 good teaspoonful of Royal baking-powder to every 2 cups of flour, and 1 level teaspoonful of salt to 1 quart (4 cups) of flour. To make the batter, beat 1 egg and add 1-1/2 cups of milk, or 1 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of water; unsweetened condensed milk diluted according to directions on can may be used. Carefully and gradually stir in enough of the flour you have prepared to make a creamy batter, be sure it is smooth and without lumps; then stir in 1 heaping teaspoonful of sugar, better still molasses, to make the cakes brown. Grease the frying-pan with a piece of fat pork or bacon, have the pan hot, and, with a large spoon or a cup, ladle out the batter into the pan, forming three small cakes to be turned by a knife, or one large cake to be turned by tossing. Use the knife to lift the edges of the cakes as they cook, and when you see them a golden brown, turn quickly. Or, if the cake is large, loosen it; then lift the pan and quickly toss the cake up into the air in such a way that it will turn over and land safely, brown side up, on the pan. Unless you are skilled in tossing flapjacks, don't risk wasting the cake by having it fall on the ground or in the fire, but confine your efforts to the small, knife-turned cakes. Serve them "piping hot," and if there are no plates, each camper can deftly and quickly roll her flapjack into cylinder form of many layers and daintily and comfortably eat it while holding the roll between forefinger and thumb.
Keep the frying-pan well greased while cooking the cakes, rubbing the pan with grease each time before pouring in fresh batter.
Flapjacks are good with butter, delicious with creamy maple-sugar soft enough to spread smoothly over the butter. The sugar comes in cans. Ordinary maple-syrup can be used, but is apt to drip over the edges if the cake is held in the hand.
Well-cooked cold rice mixed with the batter will give a delicate griddle-cake and make a change from the regular flapjack.
Biscuits are more easily made than raised bread and so are used largely in its place while in camp. The proportions of flour and baking-powder are the same as for flapjacks. To 4 cups of flour mix 2 teaspoonfuls of Royal baking-powder and 1 level teaspoonful of salt; add shortening about the size of an egg, either lard or drippings. Divide the shortening into small bits and, using the tips of your fingers, rub it well into the dry flour just prepared; then gradually stir in cold water to make a soft dough, barely stiff enough to be rolled out 3/4 inch thick on bread-board, clean flat stone, or large, smooth piece of flattened bark. Whichever is used must be well floured, as must also the rolling-pin and biscuit cutter. A clean glass bottle or smooth round stick may be used as rolling-pin, and the cutter can be a baking-powder can, or the biscuits may be cut square, or 4 inches long and 2 inches wide with a knife. The dough may also be shaped into a loaf 3/4 inch thick and baked in a pan by planting the pan in a bed of hot coals, covering it with another pan or some substitute, and placing a deep layer of hot coals all over the cover. The biscuits should bake in about fifteen minutes. For a hurry meal each camper can take a strip of dough, wind it spirally around a peeled thick stick, which has first been heated, and cook her own spiral biscuit by holding it over the fire and constantly turning the stick. Biscuits, in common with everything cooked over a hot wood-fire, need constant watching that they may not burn. Test them with a clean splinter of wood; thrust it into the biscuit and if no dough clings to the wood the biscuits are done.
Served hot, split open and buttered, these Kentucky johnny-cakes with a cup of good coffee make a fine, hearty breakfast, very satisfying and good.
Allow 1/2 cup of corn-meal for each person, and to every 4 cups of meal add 1 teaspoonful of salt, mix well; then pour water, which is boiling hard, gradually into the meal, stirring constantly to avoid having any lumps. When the consistency is like soft mush, have ready a frying-pan almost full of hot drippings or lard, dip your hands into cold water to enable you to handle the hot dough, and, taking up enough corn-meal dough to make a large-sized biscuit, pat it in your hands into a 3/4-inch-thick cake and gently drop it into the hot fat; immediately make another cake, drop it into the fat, and continue until the frying-pan is full. As soon as one johnny-cake browns on the lower side turn it over, remove each cake from the fat as soon as done, and serve as they cook.
Corn-meal must be thoroughly scalded with boiling water when making any kind of corn bread in order to have the bread soft and not dry and "chaffy."
For baked corn bread add 2 full teaspoons of baking-powder and stir in 2 eggs, after 4 cups of meal and 1 teaspoonful of salt have been thoroughly scalded and allowed to cool a little. Pour this corn-meal dough into a pan which has been generously greased, and bake.
Corn-meal needs a hot oven and takes longer to bake than wheat-flour biscuits.
Corn-meal mush does not absolutely require fresh cream or milk when served. It is good eaten with butter and very nourishing. Many like it with maple-syrup or common molasses.
Time is required to make well-cooked mush; at least one hour will be necessary. To 2 quarts of boiling, bubbling water add 1 teaspoonful of salt, and very slowly, little by little, add 2 cups of corn-meal, stirring constantly and not allowing the water to cease boiling. Do not stop stirring until the mush has cooked about ten minutes. It may then be placed higher up from the fire, where it will not scorch, and boiling water added from time to time as needed to keep the mush of right consistency. The cold mush may be made into a tempting dish, if sliced 1/2-inch thick and fried brown in pork fat. Many cold cooked cereals can be treated in the same way; sprinkled with flour these will brown better.
Kentucky bread is made of flour, salt, and water. It is generally known as beaten biscuit. Mix 2 scant teaspoonfuls of salt with 1 quart of flour, add enough cold water to make a stiff, smooth dough and knead, pull, and pound the dough until it blisters; the longer it is worked and beaten the better. Roll out very thin, cut round or into squares and bake. These biscuits may be quickly made, are simple and wholesome.
Good cocoa may be made by substituting cold milk and cold water for hot. Follow directions on the can as to proportion, and add the cold liquids after the cocoa is mixed to a smooth paste; then boil. Either unsweetened condensed milk or milk powder can take the place of fresh milk.
For every camper allow 1 tablespoonful of ground coffee, then 1 extra spoonful for the pot. Put the dry coffee into the coffee-pot, and to settle it add a crumbled egg-shell; then pour in a little cold water and stir all together; when there are no egg-shells use merely cold water. Add 1 cupful of cold water for each camper, and 2 for the pot, set the coffee-pot over the fire and let it boil for a few moments, take it from the fire and pour into the spout a little cold water, then place the coffee where it will keep hot—not cook, but settle.
Allow 1 scant teaspoonful of tea for each person, scald the teapot, measure the tea into the pot, and pour in as many cups of boiling water as there are spoonfuls of tea, adding an extra cupful for the pot. Never let tea boil.
Wash potatoes, cut out any blemish, and put them on to cook in cold water over the fire. They are much better boiled while wearing their jackets. Allow from one-half to three-quarters of an hour for boiling, test them with a sliver of wood that will pierce through the centre when the potato is done. When cooked pour off the boiling water, set off the fire to one side where they will keep hot, and raise one edge of the lid to allow the steam to escape. Serve while very hot.
Wrap each potato in wet leaves and place them all on hot ashes that lie over hot coals, put more hot ashes on top of the potatoes, and over the ashes place a deep bed of red-hot coals. It will require about forty minutes or more for potatoes to bake. Take one out when you think they should be done; if soft enough to yield to the pressure when squeezed between thumb and finger, the potato is cooked. Choose potatoes as near of a size as possible; then all will be baked to a turn at the same time.
Bean Soup and Baked Beans
Look over one quart of dried beans, take out all bits of foreign matter and injured beans; then wash the beans in several waters and put them to soak overnight in fresh water. Next morning scald 1-1/2 pounds salt pork, scrape it well, rinse, and with 1 teaspoonful of dried onion or half of a fresh one, put on to boil with the beans in cold water. Cook slowly for several hours. When the water boils low, add more boiling water and boil until the beans are soft.
To make soup, dip out a heaping cupful of the boiled beans, mash them to a paste, then pour the liquid from the boiled beans over the paste and stir until well mixed; if too thin add more beans; if too thick add hot water until of the right consistency, place the soup over the fire to reheat, and serve very hot. To bake beans, remove the pork from the drained, partially cooked beans, score it across the top and replace it in the pot in midst of and extending a trifle above the surface of the beans, add 1 cup of hot water and securely cover the top of the pot with a lid or some substitute. Sink the pot well into the glowing coals and shovel hot coals over all. Add more hot water from time to time if necessary.
Beans cooked in a bean hole rival those baked in other ways. Dig the hole about 1-1/2 feet deep and wide, build a fire in it, and keep it burning briskly for hours; the oven hole must be hot. When the beans are ready, rake the fire out of the hole; then sink the pot down into the hole and cover well with hot coals and ashes, placing them all over the sides and top of the pot. Over these shovel a thick layer of earth, protecting the top with grass sod or thick blanket of leaves and bark, that rain may not penetrate to the oven. Let the beans bake all night.
Sliced bacon freshly cut is best; do not bring it to camp in jars or cans, but cut it as needed. Each girl may have the fun of cooking her own bacon.
Cut long, slender sticks with pronged ends, sharpen the prongs and they will hold the bacon; or use sticks with split ends and wedge in the bacon between the two sides of the split, then toast it over the fire. Other small pieces of meat can be cooked in the same way. Bacon boiled with greens gives the vegetable a fine flavor, as it also does string-beans when cooked with them. It may, however, be boiled alone for dinner, and is good fried for breakfast.
Game birds can be baked in the embers. Have ready a bed of red-hot coals covered with a thin layer of ashes, and after drawing the bird, dip it in water to wet the feathers; then place it on the ash-covered red coals, cover the bird with more ashes, and heap on quantities of red coals. If the bird is small it should be baked in about one-half hour. When done strip off the skin, carrying feathers with it, and the bird will be clean and appetizing. Birds can also be roasted in the bean-pot hole, but in this way, they must first be picked, drawn, and rinsed clean; then cut into good-sized pieces and placed in the pot with fat pork, size of an egg, for seasoning; after pouring in enough water to cover the meat, fasten the pot lid on securely and bury the pot in the glowing hot hole under a heap of red-hot coals. Cover with earth, the same as when baking beans.
Fish cooked in the embers is very good, and you need not first remove scales or fins, but clean the fish, season it with salt and pepper, wrap it in fresh, wet, green leaves or wet blank paper, not printed paper, and bury in the coals the same as a bird. When done the skin, scales, and fins can all be pulled off together, leaving the delicious hot fish ready to serve.
To boil a fish: First scale and clean it; then cut off head and tail. If you have a piece of new cheesecloth to wrap the fish in, it can be stuffed with dressing made of dry crumbs of bread or biscuits well seasoned with butter, or bits of pork, pepper, and a very small piece of onion. The cloth covering must be wrapped around and tied with white string. When the fish is ready, put it into boiling water to which has been added 1 tablespoonful of vinegar and a little salt. The vinegar tends to keep the meat firm, and the dressing makes the fish more of a dinner dish; both, however, can be omitted. Allow about twenty minutes for boiling a three-pound fish.
The sooner a fish is cooked after being caught the better. To scale a fish, lay it on a flat stone or log, hold it by the head and with a knife scrape off the scales. Scale each side and, with a quick stroke, cut off the head and lower fins. The back fin must have incisions on each side in order to remove it. Trout are merely scraped and cleaned by drawing out the inside with head and gills. Do this by forcing your hand in and grasping tight hold of the gullet.
To clean most fish it is necessary to slit open the under side, take out the inside, wash the fish, and wipe it dry with a clean cloth.
If the camping party is fond of fish, and fish frequently forms part of a meal, have a special clean cloth to use exclusively for drying the fish.
Provisions for One Person for Two Weeks. To be Multiplied by Number of Campers, and Length of Time if Stay is over Two Weeks
Outdoor life seems to require certain kinds of foods; these we call essentials; others in addition to them are in the nature of luxuries or non-essentials.