Unknown Mexico A Record of Five Years' Exploration Among the Tribes of the Western Sierra Madre; In the Tierra Caliente of Tepic and Jalisco; and Among the Tarascos of Michoacan
Carl Lumholtz, M.A.
Member of the Society of Sciences of Norway; Associe Etranger de la Societe de l'Anthropologie de Paris; Author of "Among Cannibals," Etc.
To Morris K. Jesup, M.A., LL.D. President of the American Museum of Natural History of New York The Patron and Friend of Science This Work Is Respectfully Dedicated As a Token of Gratitude and Regard
In the course of my travels in Australia, and especially after my arrival at Upper Herbert River in Northern Queensland, I soon perceived that it would be impracticable for me to hunt for zoological specimens without first securing the assistance of the natives of the country. Thus it came about that for over a year I spent most of my time in the company of the cannibalistic blacks of that region, camping and hunting with them; and during this adventurous period I became so interested in these primitive people that the study of savage and barbaric races has since become my life's work.
I first conceived the idea of an expedition to Mexico while on a visit to London in 1887. I had, of course, as we all have, heard of the wonderful cliff-dwellings in the Southwest of the United States, of entire villages built in caverns on steep mountain-sides, accessible in many cases only with the aid of ladders. Within the territory of the United States there were, to be sure, no survivors of the race that had once inhabited those dwellings. But the Spaniards, when first discovering and conquering that district, are said to have come upon dwellings then still occupied. Might there not, possibly, be descendants of the people yet in existence in the northwestern part of Mexico hitherto so little explored?
I made up my mind, then and there, that I would answer this question and that I would undertake an expedition into that part of the American continent. But my ideas were not realised until in 1890 I visited the United States on a lecturing tour. On broaching the subject of such an expedition to some representative men and women, I met with a surprisingly ready response; and interest in an undertaking of that kind being once aroused, the difficulties and obstacles in its way were soon overcome.
Most of the money required was raised by private subscription. The principal part of the fund was, however, furnished by a now deceased friend of mine, an American gentleman whose name, in deference to his wishes, I am bound to withhold. The American Museum of Natural History of New York and the American Geographical Society of New York contributed, each, $1,000, and it was arranged that I should travel under the auspices of these two learned institutions. Many scientific societies received me most cordially.
The Government in Washington readily furnished me with the official papers I required. The late Mr. James G. Blaine, then Secretary of State, did everything in his power to pave my way in Mexico, even evincing a very strong personal interest in my plans.
In the summer of 1890, preparatory to my work, I visited the Zuni, Navajo, and Moqui Indians, and then proceeded to the City of Mexico in order to get the necessary credentials from that Government. I was received with the utmost courtesy by the President, General Porfirio Diaz, who gave me an hour's audience at the Palacio Nacional, and also by several members of his cabinet, whose appreciation of the importance and the scientific value of my proposition was truly gratifying. With everything granted that I wanted for the success of my expedition—free passage for my baggage through the Custom House, the privilege of a military escort whenever I deemed one desirable, and numerous letters of introduction to prominent persons in Northern Mexico who were in a position to further my plans—I hurried back to the United States to organise the undertaking. My plan was to enter, at some convenient point in the State of Sonora, Mexico, that great and mysterious mountain range called the Sierra Madre, cross it to the famous ruins of Casas Grandes in the State of Chihuahua, and then to explore the range southward as extensively as my means would permit.
The western Sierra Madre may be considered a continuation of the Rocky Mountains and stretches through the greater part of Mexico into Central and South America as a link of the Cordilleras, which form a practically uninterrupted chain from Bering Strait to Cape Horn. The section occupying Northwestern Mexico is called Sierra Madre del Norte, and offers a wide field for scientific exploration. To this day it has never been surveyed.
The northernmost portion of the Sierra Madre del Norte has from time immemorial been under the dominion of the wild Apache tribes whose hand was against every man, and every man against them. Not until General Crook, in 1883, reduced these dangerous nomads to submission did it become possible to make scientific investigations there; indeed, small bands of the "Men of the Woods" were still left, and my party had to be strong enough to cope with any difficulty from them.
Inasmuch as my expedition was the first to take advantage of the comparative security prevailing in that district, I thought that I could best further the aims of Science by associating with me a staff of scientists and students. Professor W. Libbey, of Princeton, N. J., took part as the physical geographer, bringing with him his laboratory man; Mr. A. M. Stephen was the archaeologist, assisted by Mr. R. Abbott; Messrs. C. V. Hartman and C. E. Lloyd were the botanists, Mr. F. Robinette the zooelogical collector, and Mr. H. White the mineralogist of the expedition.
All the scientific men were provided with riding animals, while the Mexican muleteers generally rode their own mounts. Our outfit was as complete as it well could be, comprising all the instruments and tools that might be required, besides tents and an adequate allotment of provisions, etc. All this baggage had to be transported on mule-back. We were, all in all, thirty men, counting the scientific corps, the guides, the cooks, and the muleteers, and we had with us nearly a hundred animals—mules, donkeys, and horses—as we crossed the sierra.
It was a winter campaign, and from Nacori, in Sonora, to Casas Grandes, in Chihuahua, we were to make our own trail, which we did successfully. Ancient remains were almost as rare as in the rest of the Sierra Madre del Norte; yet traces of ancient habitations were found in the shape of stone terraces, which had evidently served agricultural purposes, and at some places rude fortifications were seen. In the eastern part we came upon a considerable number of caves containing house Croups, the builders of which, generally, rested in separate burial-caves. In the same locality, as well as in the adjacent plains of San Diego, Chihuahua, we found numerous mounds covering house groups, similar in construction to those in the caves. From underneath their floors we unearthed about five hundred beautifully decorated pieces of pottery.
Among the further results of the expedition may be mentioned the gathering of large collections of plants, among them twenty-seven species new to science; fifty-five mammals, among which the siurus Apache was new to science, and about a thousand birds. A complete record was made of meteorological observations.
Thus far, although the question regarding surviving cliff-dwellers was answered negatively, the field southward in the sierra was so promising that I was eager to extend my explorations in that direction. The funds of the expedition, however, began to run low, and in April, 1891, I had to return to the United States to obtain more money with which to carry on a work that had opened so auspiciously. I left my camp in San Diego in charge of one of my assistants, instructing him to go on with the excavations during my absence. This work was never interrupted, though the force of men was now considerably reduced. The law prohibiting excavations without the special permit of the Government of Mexico had not yet been promulgated.
I was so absolutely confident of the ultimate success of my efforts, in spite of discouragements, that I twice crossed the entire continent of North America, went down to the City of Mexico and came north again—a journey of over 20,000 miles—seeing prominent people and lecturing to arouse a public interest. Finally, the American Museum of Natural History of New York decided to continue the explorations, the funds being this time supplied mainly through the munificence of the late Mr. Henry Villard, and toward the end of that year I was able to return to my camp, and in January, 1892, lead the expedition further south. My scientific assistants were now: Mr. C. V. Hartman, botanist; Mr. C. H. Taylor, civil engineer and photographer, and Mr. A. E. Meade, mineralogist and zoological collector.
This time we came upon Cave-Dwellers. The Tarahumare Indians of the Sierra Madre, one of the least known among the Mexican tribes, live in caves to such an extent that they may properly be termed the American Cave-Dwellers of to-day. I determined to study these interesting people, especially the so-called gentiles  (pagans), and as this was not practical, even with the present reduced size of the expedition, I gradually disbanded the entire company and at last remained alone.
By selling most of my animals, and a large part of my outfit, and through the untiring efforts of two American ladies, whose friendship I highly esteem, I was enabled to continue my researches alone until August, 1893, when I took my Tarahumare and Tepehuane collections to Chicago and exhibited them at the World's Fair. Extensive vocabularies of the Tarahumare and Tepehuane languages, as well as a vocabulary of the now almost extinct Tubares, were among the results of this expedition, besides anthropological measurements, samples of hair and osseous remains.
The great possibilities Mexico offers to ethnology proved an irresistible incentive to new researches, and seeing the results of my previous expeditions, the American Museum of Natural History of New York again sent me out on what was to be my third and most extensive Mexican expedition, which lasted from March, 1894, to March, 1897. During these three years I again travelled alone, that is, without any scientific assistants, at first with two or three Mexicans. Soon, however, I found that my best companions were the so-called civilised Indians, or even Indians in their aboriginal state, who not only helped me by their mere presence to win the confidence of their tribesmen but also served me as subjects of observation. As before, I stopped for months with a tribe, discharging all alien attendants, and roughing it with the Indians. In this way I spent in all a year and a half among the Tarahumares, and ten months among the Coras and Huichols. At first the natives persistently opposed me; they are very distrustful of the white man, and no wonder, since he has left them little yet to lose. But I managed to make my entry and gradually to gain their confidence and friendship, mainly through my ability to sing their native songs, and by always treating them justly.
Thus I gained a knowledge of these peoples which could have been procured in no other way. When after five or six months of such sojourns and travel my stock of "civilised" provisions would give out, I subsisted on what I could procure from the Indians. Game is hard to get in Mexico, and one's larder cannot depend on one's gun. As in Australia, my favourite drink was hot water with honey, which, besides being refreshing, gave a relish to a monotonous diet.
All along my route I gathered highly valuable material from the Tarahumares, the Northern and the Southern Tepehuanes, the Coras, the Huichols, and the Tepecanos, all of which tribes except the last named dwell within the Sierra Madre del Norte; also from the Nahuas on the western slopes of the sierra, as well as from those in the States of Jalisco and Mexico; and, finally, from the Tarascos in the State of Michoacan. Of most of these tribes little more than their names were known, and I brought back large collections illustrating their ethnical and anthropological status, besides extensive information in regard to their customs, religion, traditions, and myths. I also completed my collection of vocabularies and aboriginal melodies. On my journey through the Tierra Caliente of the Territory of Tepic, and the States of Jalisco and Michoacan, I also obtained a number of archaeological objects of great historical value and importance.
In 1898 I made my last expedition to Mexico under the same auspices, staying there for four months. On this trip I was accompanied by Dr. Ales Hrdlicka. I revisited the Tarahumares and Huichols in order to supplement the material in hand and to settle doubtful points that had come up in working out my notes. Sixty melodies from these tribes were recorded on the graphophone.
Thus from 1890 to 1898 I spent fully five years in field researches among the natives of northwestern Mexico. The material was collected with a view to shedding light upon the relations between the ancient culture of the valley of Mexico and the Pueblo Indians in the southwest of the United States; to give an insight into the ethnical status of the Mexican Indians now and at the time of the conquest, and to illuminate certain phases in the development of the human race.
So far the results of my expeditions to Mexico have been made public in the following literature:
CARL LUMHOLTZ: "Explorations in Mexico," Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, 1891.
CARL LUMHOLTZ: Letters to the American Geographical Society of New York, "Mr. Carl Lumholtz in Mexico," Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, Vol. III., 1893.
J. A. ALLEN: "List of Mammals and Birds Collected in Northeastern Sonora and Northwestern Chihuahua, Mexico, on the Lumholtz Archaeological Expedition, 1890-1892," Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. V., Art. III., 1893.
B. L. ROBINSON and M. L. FERNALD: "New Plants Collected by Mr. C. V. Hartman and Mr. C. E. Lloyd upon the Archaeological Expedition to Northwestern Mexico under the Direction of Dr. Carl Lumholtz," Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. XXX., 1894.
CARL LUMHOLTZ: "American Cave-Dwellers; the Tarahumares of the Sierra Madre," Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, Vol. III., 1894.
CARL LUMHOLTZ: "The Cave-Dwellers of the Sierra Madre," Proceedings of the International Congress of Anthropology, Chicago, 1894.
CARL LUMHOLTZ: Four articles in SCRIBNER'S MAGAZINE: "Explorations in the Sierra Madre," November, 1891; "Among the Tarahumares, the American Cave-Dwellers," July, 1894; "Tarahumare Life and Customs," September, 1894; "Tarahumare Dances and Plant Worship," October, 1894.
C. V. HARTMAN: "The Indians of Northwestern Mexico," Congres International des Americanistes, Dixieme Session, Stockholm, 1894.
CARL LUMHOLTZ: "Blandt Sierra Madres huleboere," Norge, Norsk Kalender, Kristiania, 1895.
CARL LUMHOLTZ and ALES HRDLICKA: "Trephining in Mexico," American Anthropologist, December, 1897.
CARL LUMHOLTZ: "The Huichol Indians in Mexico," Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. X., 1898.
TARLETON H. BEAN: "Notes on Mexican Fishes Obtained by Carl Lumholtz." Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. X., 1898.
CARL LUMHOLTZ and ALES HRDLICKA: "Marked Human Bones from a Prehistoric Tarasco Indian Burial-place in the State of Michoacan, Mexico," Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. X., 1898.
ALES HRDLICKA: "Description of an Ancient Anomalous Skeleton from the Valley of Mexico, with Special Reference to Supernumerary Bicipital Ribs in Man," Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. XII., 1899.
CARL LUMHOLTZ: "Symbolism of the Huichol Indians," Memoir of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. III., May, 1900; 228 royal quarto pages and 3 coloured plates.
CARL LUMHOLTZ: "Conventionalism in Designs of the Huichol Indians," Memoir of the American Museum of Natural History.
The present volumes give a succinct account of my travels and work among the remote peoples of the Sierra Madre del Norte and the countries adjacent to the south and east as far as the City of Mexico. Most of what I tell here refers to a part of the Republic that is never visited by tourists and is foreign even to most Mexicans. Primitive people are becoming scarce on the globe. On the American continents there are still some left in their original state. If they are studied before they, too, have lost their individuality or been crushed under the heels of civilisation, much light may be thrown not only upon the early people of this country but upon the first chapters of the history of mankind.
In the present rapid development of Mexico it cannot be prevented that these primitive people will soon disappear by fusion with the great nation to whom they belong. The vast and magnificent virgin forests and the mineral wealth of the mountains will not much longer remain the exclusive property of my dusky friends; but I hope that I shall have rendered them a service by setting them this modest monument, and that civilised man will be the better for knowing of them.
That I have been able to accomplish what I did I owe, in the first place, to the generosity of the people of the United States, to their impartiality and freedom from prejudice, which enables foreigners to work shoulder to shoulder with their own advance guard. I wish to extend my thanks in particular to the American Geographical Society of New York, and still more especially to the American Museum of Natural History of New York, with whom I have had the honour of being connected more or less closely for ten years. To its public-spirited and whole-souled President, Mr. Morris K. Jesup, I am under profound obligations. I also take pleasure in acknowledging my indebtedness to Mr. Andrew Carnegie, who initiated my Mexican ventures with a subscription of $1,000; furthermore to the Hon. Cecil Baring, Mr. Frederick A. Constable, Mr. William E. Dodge, Mr. James Douglass, Mrs. Joseph W. Drexel, Mr. George J. Gould, Miss Helen Miller Gould, Mr. Archer M. Huntington, Mr. Frederick E. Hyde, Mr. D. Willis James, Col. James K. Jones, the Duke of Loubat, Mr. Peter Marie, Mr. Henry G. Marquand, Mr. F. O. Matthiessen, Mr. Victor Morawetz, Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan, Mrs. Edwin Parsons, Mr. Archibald Rogers, Mr. F. Augustus Schermerhorn, Mr. William C. Schermerhorn, Mr. Charles Stewart Smith, Mr. James Speyer, Mr. George W. Vanderbilt, Mr. William C. Whitney, of New York; to Mr. Frederick L. Ames, Mrs. John L. Gardner, Mrs. E. Mason, Mr. Nathaniel Thayer, Mr. Samuel D. Warren, Dr. Charles G. Weld, of Boston; to Mr. Allison D. Armour and Mr. Franklin MacVeagh, of Chicago; to Mrs. Phoebe Hearst, Mr. Frank G. New. lands, Mrs. Abby M. Parrot, Mr. F. W. Sharon, of San Francisco; to Mr. Adolphus Busch, of St. Louis; to Mr. Theo. W. Davis, of Newport; and to the late Mr. E. L. Godkin.
Much valuable support or assistance I have also received from Mrs. Morris K. Jesup; Mrs. Elizabeth Hobson, of Washington, D. C.; Miss Joanna Rotch, of Milton, Mass.; Mrs. Henry Draper, of New York; Mrs. Robert W. Chapin, of Lenox; the late Mr. E. L. Godkin; Professor Alexander Agassiz; Professor F. W. Putnam, Curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York; Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, of Philadelphia; Professor Franz Boas, Curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York; Dr. B. L. Robinson and Dr. M. L. Fernald, of Harvard University; Professor J. A. Allen and Mr. L. P. Gratacap, Curators of the American Museum of Natural History.
I am under obligation to Mr. Marshall H. Saville, Curator of the American Museum of Natural History, especially for the placing of the names of the ruins of Southern Mexico on one of the maps; to Miss Alice Fletcher, of Washington, D. C., and Mr. Edwin S. Tracy for transcribing from the graphophone three of the songs rendered in this book, and to Mrs. George S. Bixby for aid in transcribing the native music. Finally I desire to express my appreciation of the untiring services of my private secretary, Mrs. H. E. Hepner.
The upper illustration on page 65 is a reproduction of a photograph kindly furnished me by Mr. Frank H. Chapman, and the illustration in Vol. I., pages 145-146, is made from a photograph acquired through the late Dr. P. Lamborn. The illustration in Vol. II., pages 464-465, I owe to the courtesy of Mr. D. Gabriel Castanos, of Guadalajara.
The coloured illustrations are represented as the objects appear when the colours have been brought out by the application of water.
The maps do not lay claim to an accuracy which, under the circumstances, it was impossible to obtain, but they will, I hope, be found to be an improvement on the existing ones.
Dr. Ales Hrdlicka, who has just returned from the Hyde expedition, informs me that in visiting the western part of Sonora he found pure Opata spoken west of Rio de Sonora and north of Ures, e.g., in Tuape.
Wherever dollars and cents are given Mexican currency is meant.
In the Indian Songs II., 10 and 18, I have made an attempt at rendering the native words in English in such a form that the translations could be sung, without, however, deviating from the original.
In the native words "x" should be given the sound of the Greek chi.
Preparations for the Start—Our Dry Goods Relished by the Cattle—I Become a "Compadre"—Beautiful Northern Sonora—Mexican Muleteers Preferable in Their Own Country—Apache Stories—Signs of Ancient Inhabitants—Arrival at Upper Yaqui River—Opata Indians now Mexicanised—A Flourishing Medical Practice—Mexican Manners—Rock-carvings—How Certain Cacti Propagate, Pages 1-16
A Remarkable Antique Piece—A New Species of Century Plant—Arrival at Nacori, at the Foot of the Sierra Madre—Trincheras—A Mammoth Tusk Secured—Climbing the Sierra Madre—A New Squirrel Discovered—Solitude—Apache Monuments—Arrival at Upper Bavispe River, Pages 17-40
Camping at Upper Bavispe River—Low Stone Cabins, Fortresses, and Other Remains Indicating Former Habitation—The Animals Starve on the Winter Grass of the Sierra and Begin to Give Out—A Deserted Apache Camp—comfort at Last—The Giant Woodpecker—We Arrive at the Mormon Settlements of Pacheco and Cave Valley, Pages 41-59
A Splendid Field Prepared for Us by the Ancient Agriculturists of Cave Valley—House Groups in Caves Along a Pretty Stream—Well-preserved Mummies Found in Caves—More Trincheras—Our Excavations in Caves and Mounds Confirm to the Mormons their Sacred Stories—We Move to the Plains of San Diego—Visit to Casas Grandes and the Watch-tower—Successful Excavations of the Mounds near San Diego, Pages 60-98
Second Expedition—Return to the Sierra—Parrots in the Snow—Cave-dwellings at Garabato, the most Beautiful in Northern Mexico—A Superb View of the Sierra Madre—The Devil's Spine Ridge—Guaynopa, the Famous Old Silver Mine—Aros River—On Old Trails—Adventures of "El Chino"—Cure for Poison Ivy, Pages 99-117
Fossils, and One Way of Utilising Them—Temosachic—The First Tarahumares—Ploughs with Wooden Shares—Visit to the Southern Pimas—Aboriginal Hat Factories—Pinos Altos—The Waterfall near Jesus Maria—An Adventure with Ladrones, Pages 118-135
The Uncontaminated Tarahumares—A Tarahumare Court in Session—The Power of the Staff—Justice has its Course—Barrancas—Excursion to the Gentiles—Tarahumare Costumes Simple and Inexpensive—Trincheras in Use Among the Tarahumares, Pages 136-155
The Houses of the Tarahumares—American Cave-dwellings of To-day—Frequent Changes of Abode by the Tarahumare—The Patio or Dancing Place—The Original Cross of America—Tarahumare Storehouses, Pages 156-178
Arrival at Batopilas—Ascent from Batopilas to the Highlands of the Sierra—A Tarahumare who had been in Chicago—An Old-timer—Flight of Our Native Guide and its Disastrous Consequences—Indians Burn the Grass All Over the Country—Travelling Becomes too Difficult for the Animals—Mr. Taylor and I Go to Zapuri—Its Surroundings—The Pithaya in Season, Pages 179-189
Nice-looking Natives—Albinos—Ancient Remains in Ohuivo—Local Traditions, the Cocoyomes, etc.—Guachochic—Don Miguel and "The Postmaster"—A Variety of Curious Cures—Gauchochic Becomes My Head-quarters—The Difficulty of Getting an Honest Interpreter—False Truffles—The Country Suffering from a Prolonged Drought—A Start in a Northwesterly Direction—Arrival at the Pueblo of Norogachic, Pages 190-202
A Priest and His Family Make the Wilderness Comfortable for Us—Ancient Remains Similar to those Seen in Sonora—The Climate of the Sierra—Flora and Fauna—Tarahumare Agriculture—Ceremonies Connected with the Planting of Corn—Deterioration of Domestic Animals—Native Dogs of Mexico, Pages 203-217
The Tarahumares Still Afraid of Me—Don Andres Madrid to the Rescue—Mexican Robbers Among the Tarahumares—Mode of Burial in Ancient Caves—Visit to Nonoava—The Indians Change their Minds about Me, and Regard Me as a Rain-god—What the Tarahumares Eat—A Pretty Church in the Wilderness—I Find at Last a Reliable Interpreter and Proceed to Live a l'Indienne, Pages 218-234
The Tarahumare Physique—Bodily Movements—Not as Sensitive to Pain as White Men—Their Phenomenal Endurance—Health—Honesty—Dexterity and Ingenuity—Good Observers of the Celestial Bodies and Weather-forecasters—Hunting and Shooting—Home Industries—Tesvino, the Great National Drink of the Tribe—Other Alcoholic Drinks, Pages 235-257
Politeness, and the Demands of Etiquette—The Daily Life of the Tarahumare—The Woman's Position is High—Standard of Beauty—Women Do the Courting—Love's Young Dream—Marriage Ceremonies, Primitive and Civilised—Childbirth—Childhood, Pages 258-275
Many Kinds of Games Among the Tarahumares—Betting and Gambling—Foot-races the National Sport—The Tarahumares are the Greatest Runners in the World—Divinations for the Race—Mountains of Betting Stakes—Women's Races, Pages 276-294
Religion—Mother Moon Becomes the Virgin Mary—Myths—The Creation—The Deluge—Folk-lore—The Crow's Story to the Parrot—Brother Coyote—Beliefs about Animals, Pages 295-310
The Shamans or Wise Men of the Tribe—Healers and Priests in One—Disease Caused by Looks and Thoughts—Everybody and Everything has to be Cured—Nobody Feels Well without His "Doctor"—Sorcery—The Powers of Evil are as Great as those of Good—Remarkable Cure for Snake-bite—Trepanning Among the Ancient Tarahumares, Pages 311-329
Relation of Man to Nature—Dancing as a Form of Worship Learned from the Animals—Tarahumare Sacrifices—The Rutuburi Dance Taught by the Turkey—The Yumari Learned from the Deer—Tarahumare Rain Songs—Greeting the Sun—Tarahumare Oratory—The Flowing Bowl—The National Importance of Tesvino—Homeward Bound, Pages 330-355
Plant-worship—Hikuli—Internal and External Effects—Hikuli both Man and God—How the Tarahumares Obtain the Plant, and where They Keep It—The Tarahumare Hikuli Feast—Musical Instruments—Hikuli Likes Noise—The Dance—Hikuli's Departure in the Morning—Other Kinds of Cacti Worshipped—"Doctor" Rubio, the Great Hikuli Expert—The Age of Hikuli Worship, Pages 356-379
The Tarahumare's Firm Belief in a Future Life—Causes of Death—The Dead are Mischievous and Want Their Families to Join Them—Therefore the Dead Have to be Kept Away by Fair Means or Foul—Three Feasts and a Chase—Burial Customs—A Funeral Sermon, Pages 380-390
Three Weeks on Foot Through the Barranca—Rio Fuerte—I Get My Camera Wet—Ancient Cave-dwellings Ascribed to the Tubar Indians—The Effect of a Compliment—Various Devices for Catching Fish—Poisoning the Water—A Blanket Seine, Pages 391-407
Resumption of the Journey Southward—Pinus Lumholtzii—Cooking with Snow—Terror-stricken Indians—A Gentlemanly Highwayman and His "Shooting-box"—The Pernicious Effect of Civilisation Upon the Tarahumares—A Fine Specimen of the Tribe—The Last of the Tarahumares, Pages 408-421
Cerro de Muinora, the Highest Mountain in Chihuahua—The Northern Tepehuanes—Troubles Cropping Out of the Camera—Sinister Designs on Mexico Attributed to the Author—Maizillo—Foot-races Among the Tepehuanes—Influence of the Mexicans Upon the Tepehunaes, and Vice Versa—Profitable Liquor Traffic—Medicine Lodges—Cucuduri, the Master of the Woods—Myth of the Pleiades, Pages 422-436
On to Morelos—Wild and Broken Country—The Enormous Flower-spike of the Amole—Subtropical Vegetation of Northwestern Mexico—Destructive Ants—The Last of the Tubars—A Spectral Ride—Back to the United States—An Awful Thunder-storm—Close Quarters—Zape—Antiquities—When an "Angel" Dies—Mementos of a Reign of Terror—The Great Tepehuane Revolution of 1616—The Fertile Plains of Durango, Pages 437-450
Winter in the High Sierra—Mines—Pueblo Nuevo and Its Amiable Padre—A Ball in My Honour—Sancta Simplicitas—A Fatiguing Journey to the Pueblo of Lajas and the Southern Tepehuanes—Don't Travel After Nightfall!—Five Days Spent in Persuading People to Pose Before the Camera—The Regime of Old Missionary Times—Strangers Carefully Excluded—Everybody Contemplating Marriage is Arrested—Shocking Punishments for Making Love—Bad Effects of the Severity of the Laws, Pages 451-470
Pueblo Viejo—Three Languages Spoken Here—The Aztecs—The Musical Bow—Theories of Its Origin—Dancing Mitote—Fasting and Abstinence—Helping President Diaz—The Importance of Tribal Restrictions—Principles of Monogamy—Disposition of the Dead, Pages 471-483
Inexperienced Help—How to Acquire Riches from the Mountains—Sierra del Nayarit—The Coras—Their Aversion to "Papers"—Their Part in Mexican Politics—A Dejeuner a la Fourchette—La Danza, Pages 484-495
A Glimpse of the Pacific from the High Sierra—A Visionary Idyl—The Coras Do Not Know Fear—An Un-Indian Indian—Pueblo of Jesus Maria—A Nice Old Cora Shaman—A Padre Denounces Me as a Protestant Missionary—Trouble Ensuing from His Mistake—Scorpions, Pages 496-507
A Cordial Reception at San Francisco—Mexicans in the Employ of Indians —The Morning Star, the Great God of the Coras—The Beginning of the World—How the Rain-clouds were First Secured—The Rabbit and the Deer—Aphorisms of a Cora Shaman—An Eventful Night—Hunting for Skulls—My Progress Impeded by Padre's Ban—Final Start for the Huichol Country—A Threatened Desertion, Pages 508-530
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Portrait of the Author Frontispiece A Dasylirion, 1 Cottonwood, 4 Cereus Greggii, a small cactus with enormous root, 5 Fronteras, 7 Remarkable Ant-hill, 8 Church Bells at Opoto, 10 Also a Visitor, 11 A Mexican from Opoto, 12 Rock-carvings near Granados, 15 The Church in Bacadehuachi, 17 Aztec Vase, Found in the Church of Bacadehuachi, 18 Agave Hartmani, a new species of century plant, 19 Ancient Pecking on a Trachyte Boulder one foot square, 20 In the Hills of Northeastern Sonora, 24 Adios, Senor! 27 View toward the Northwest from Sierra de Huehuerachi, 29 Our Principal Guide Leaving Us, 32 A Mule with its Pack of Crates, 33 The Photographic Mule, 34 On the Crest of the Sierra, 37 Apache Monument, 39 Camp in the High Sierra, 47 Bringing in Deer, 51 The Largest Woodpecker in the World, 54 Distant View of Cupola-shaped Granary in Cave, 58 Single Wall in Cliff, 61 Ground Plan of House Groups in Granary Cave, 62 Cupola-shaped Granary in Cave, 64 Granary in Tlaxcala, 65 Bases of Granaries in Cave, 65 Ground Plan of House Groups in Cave on East Side of the River, 66 Sandal Plaited from Yucca Leaves, 67 Heel of a Sandal, Showing Plaiting, 68 Piece of Wood Showing Drill Mark, 68 Pendant of Wood, 69 Implement for Throwing, 69 Burial Caves in Cave Valley, 70 A Mummified Body, 71 Rock Paintings in White on the Inside of a Burial Cave in Cave Valley, 72 A Trinchera in Cave Valley, 73 Ancient Cave-dwellings in Strawberry Valley, 75 Interior View of Cave-dwellings Shown on Page 75, 76 Exterior View of Cave-dwellings in Strawberry Valley, 77 Objects Found in Mounds at Upper Piedras Verdes River, 81 Painting on Rock on Piedras Verdes River, 82 Figures on Walls of a Cave-house on Piedras Verdes River, 83 Figure on Rock on Piedras Verdes River, 83 Hunting Antelope in Disguise, 84 Casas Grandes, 85 Ceremonial Hatchet with Mountain Sheep's Head. From Casas Grandes. Broken, 88 Earthenware Vessel in Shape of a Woman. From Casas Grandes, 89 Cerro de Montezuma and the Watch Tower Seen from the South, 91 Double Earthenware Vessel, from San Diego, with Hollow Connection at Base, 92 Extension of Designs on Plate I., a, 95 The Horned Toad Jar, Seen from Above and Below. Plate I., c, 95 Extension of Designs on Plate I., d, 95 Extension of Designs on Plate III., e, 95 Extension of Designs on Plate V., e, 97 Black Ware, Highly Polished, 97 Extension of Design on Plate IV., a, 98 Extension of Design on Plate IV., b, 98 Extension of Designs on Plate IV., c, 98 Extension of Designs on Plate IV., f, 98 Extension of Designs on Plate V., c, 98 Ancient Cave-dwelling at Garabato, 101 Part of Cave-dwellings at Garabato, 103 Design in Red on Second-story Wall, 105 Piece of Matting from Garabato Cave, 107 Ancient Cave-houses and Granaries near Aros River, 111 Tarahumare, 119 Tarahumare Plough with Wooden Share, 121 Tarahumare Ploughshare Made of Oak, 122 Tarahumare Ploughshare of Stone, 122 Young Southern Pima, 123 Middle-aged Southern Pima, 124 Southern Pimas Living in a Brushwood Inclosure, 125 Pine Cone Serving as a Comb, 127 Southern Pima Arrow Release, 128 Small Crosses Placed in a Log in Front of Southern Pima House, 128 The Waterfall of Basasiachic, 129 Tarahumare Ploughman, 133 Ancient Stone Hammer Seen in the Presidente's Yard, 134 Tarahumare Indians from Pino Gordo, 137 Tarahumare Court in Session at Cusarare, 140 Barranca de Urique, 145 Our Tarahumare Carriers and the Gobernador, 148 Tarahumare Men, 149 Tarahumare Woman, 150 Necklace of Seeds of Coix Lachryma-Jobi, 151 Tarahumare Ear-ornament: one seed Coix Lachryma-Jobi at top. Natural size, 151 Tarahumare Ranch near Barranca de Cobre, showing ploughed fields supported by stone walls, 152 Tarahumare Ranch near Barranca de Cobre, showing agriculture on terraces, 152 Tarahumare House near Barranca de Cobre, 157 Tarahumare House in the Hot Country, 158 Cappe of Sandstone Pillar, showing effect of erosion, 159 Tarahumare Family Camping under a Tree, 161 Inhabited Cave, the Home of a Tarahumare Belle, 162 The Belle of the Cave, 163 Side View of Cave on Page 165, Showing Store-houses and Inclosure, 164 Inhabited Cave, Showing Store-houses, Inclosure, and Extended Floor, 165 Cave with Wooden Ladder Leading to a Store-room, 169 Crosses Made from the Natural Growth of Pine-trees in Front of Tarahumare House, 172 Crosses in Front of Tarahumare House, 173 Cross, 174 Tarahumare Store-house of Stones and Mud, 175 Caves Used as Store-houses, 176 Tarahumare Store-houses Made of Logs, 178 Cactus Flowers, 179 Making Larvae Ready for the Pot, 182 Gathering Pithaya, 188 In the Highlands of the Sierra, 194 Tarahumare Interpreters, 201 Indian Trail Cut in a Ridge of Tuff, 202 Pecking on Rock in the Neighbourhood of Norogachic, 203 Tarahumare Girl from the Neighbourhood of Norogachic, 205 Pecking on Rock in the Neighbourhood of Norogachic, 207 Winter Morning in the Sierra, 209 Dogs of Chihuahua, 216 Tarahumare Girdles, 219 Aspect of the Tarahumare Country in Humarisa, 227 Taking My Baggage Down an Indian Trail in the Barranca de San Carlos, 231 Tarahumare Woman, 236 Tarahumare Man, 237 Usual Crouching Position of the Tarahumare, 238 Tarahumare Man, 239 Tarahumares Sunning Themselves, 240 Tarahumare Girl. The Hair Worn in Mexican Fashion, 242 Weaving a Girdle, 249 Patterns of Tarahumare Belts, 249 Woman Pottery Maker and Some Results of Her Labour, 250 Tarahumare Pottery from Panalachic, 252 Basket for Straining Tesvino, 254 Tarahumare Blanket, 259 A Tarahumare Call, 260 Tarahumare Arrow Release, 262 Tarahumare Baskets, 263 Tarahumare Girl Carrying Water, 265 Tarahumare, Showing Mode of Wearing Blanket, 268 Tarahumare Blankets, 274 Stone Disk for Playing, 277 Sticks Used by Tepehuanes for Playing, 278 Value of the Different Sides of a Knuckle-bone, 278 Tarahumares Playing Quinze, 279 Cross Marking the Track of the Foot-runners, 283 Tarahumares Racing by Torch-light, 285 Making Wagers at a Foot-race, 288 Part of Tarahumare Rattling Belt, 290 Tarahumare Foot-runners, Photographed after the Race, 291 Tarahumare Women Crossing a Stream in Their Race, 293 Fork and Wooden Ball Used in Women's Game, 294 Stick and Ring Used in Women's Game, 294 The Coyote, Canis Latrans, 303 Tarahumare Shaman's Rattles, 313 Rubio, the Shaman, 316 Rubio, the Shaman, and His Wife at Home in Their Cave, 319 Shaman Rubio's Cave, Seen from the Outside, 320 Rubio, the Shaman, Examining a Man Accused of Sorcery, 324 Trepanned Tarahumare Skull, Female, 328 The Beginning of the Rutuburi and the Yumari Dance, 335 Dancing Yumari, 341 Sacrificing Tesvino after a Yumari Dance, 345 Ready to Begin Eating and Drinking after a Night's Dancing of Rutuburi, 349 Echinocactus, 357 Hikuli or Peyote, the principal sacred cacti, 358 Dry Hikuli, 359 Shaman's Notched Stick, 366 Ancient Notched Sticks, 366 Tarahumare Women Dancing Hikuli at Guajochic Station, 369 Mammilaria fissurata, 373 Shaman Rubio and His Company at a Hikuli Feast. Photographed after a Night's Singing and Dancing, 376 Tarahumare Medicine Figure, Mexico, 378 Ancient Ritualistic Petrograph, Arizona, 378 Mourning, 380 View from the North across Barranca de San Carlos, near Guachochic, 392 Barranca de San Carlos, in its Upper Part, 395 One of My Companions in Barranca de San Carlos, 397 The Widow Grinding Corn in Her Camp, 399 Bow and Throwing-stick for the Fish-spear, 401 The Amole, a Species of Agave, 402 Tarahumares on the Rio Fuerte Fishing with Their Blankets, 405 Pinus Lumholtzii, 409 Civilised Tarahumare Boy, 417 Juan Ignacio and His Son, Pagan Tarahumares, 419 A Tepehuane Family, 423 Old Log-houses near Nabogame, 424 Tepehuanes from Nabogame, 427 Tepehuane Medicine Lodge near Mesa de Milpillas, 432 A Well-known Tepehuane Shaman, 434 Salvia elegans, var. sonorensis, 438 The Flower-spike of the Amole, 439 Cereus caespitosus, 440 Tubar Man, 442 Tubar Women, 443 Beads of Burnt Clay, from Tubar Tombs, 444 Tepehuane Sling made from Maguey Fibre, 458 Tepehuane Pouch made from Maguey Fibre, 459 Tepehuane Store-house, near Lajas, 461 The Musical Bow of the Tepehuanes of the South, and of the Aztecs, 475 Rattle for Ankle, made from Empty Pods of a Palm, 477 Cora Men and Women from Santa Teresa, 489 Cora Pouch, of Unusual Shape, made of Wool. Patterns represent Flying Birds and a row of Deer, 492 Cora Indians from Mesa del Nayarit, 501 The Sacred Dancing-place of the Coras, called Towta, the supposed residence of the great Taquat of the East of the same name. Photographed after the Dancing was over, 517 God's Eye, made by the Cora Tribe as a Prayer for My Health and Life, 521
PLATES I., II., III., IV. Pottery from San Diego at end of volume PLATE V. Pottery from San Diego and Casas Grandes at end of volume PLATE VI. A Tarahumare Beauty facing page 266
Preparations for the Start—Our Dry Goods Relished by the Cattle—I Become a "Compadre"—Beautiful Northern Sonora—Mexican Muleteers Preferable in Their Own Country—Apache Stories—Signs of Ancient Inhabitants—Arrival at Upper Yaqui River—Opata Indians now Mexicanised—A Flourishing Medical Practice—Mexican Manners—Rock-carvings—How Certain Cacti Propagate.
Heavy floods in the southern part of Arizona and New Mexico, with consequent wash-outs along the railroads, interfered with my plans and somewhat delayed my arrival at Bisbee, Arizona, a small but important mining place from which I had decided to start my expedition. It is only some twenty odd miles from the Mexican border, and the Copper Queen Company maintains there well-supplied stores, where the necessary outfit, provisions, etc., could be procured. The preparations for the start consumed more than two weeks. Animals had to be bought, men selected and hired, provisions purchased and packed. In the meantime I was joined by the various scientific assistants appointed to take part in the expedition.
The horses and mules were bought in the neighbourhood. In purchasing animals much caution is required in that part of the country, as even men who pose as gentlemen will try to take advantage of the situation. One such individual not only raised his prices, but delivered unbroken animals. Much loss of time and endless annoyance were caused, first in the camp and later on the road, by unruly mules, that persistently threw off their packs and had to be subdued and reloaded.
Gradually, I had succeeded in finding the necessary men; This was another hard task to accomplish. There are always plenty of fellows, ready for adventures, greedy to earn money, and eager to join such an expedition. But to select the right ones among the cow-boys and miners of the border lands is most difficult.
By what appears, furthermore, to be the compensating justice of Nature, the treasures of the earth are always hidden in the most unattractive, dismal, and dreary spots. At least all the mining places I ever visited are so located, and Bisbee is no exception. To get away from the cramped little village and its unsavoury restaurant, I established my first camp four miles south of it on a commodious and pleasant opening, where we could do our own cooking. But here a new annoyance, and rather a curious one, was met with. The cattle of the region evinced a peculiar predilection for our wearing apparel. Especially at night, the cows would come wandering in among our tents, like the party who goes about seeking what he may devour, and on getting hold of some such choice morsel as a sock, shirt, or blanket, Mrs. Bossie would chew and chew, "gradually," to quote Mark Twain, "taking it in, all the while opening and closing her eyes in a kind of religious ecstasy, as if she had never tasted anything quite as good as an overcoat before in her life." It is no use arguing about tastes, not even with a cow. In spite of this drawback, it was pleasant to be out in the country, which was growing delightfully green after the rains, and gave us a foretaste of what we might expect.
The last thing to do, after all other preparations had been completed, was to get into the camp three small bags containing seven hundred and fifty Mexican dollars, since among the Mexican country population paper money is hardly of any use. There was some talk about a raid on the camp by some toughs in the neighbourhood, but we made our start unmolested, on September 9, 1890.
Thanks to my letters from the Mexican Government, I had no trouble at the custom-house in San Pedro. I stopped a few days there, nevertheless, to buy some Mexican pack-saddles, called aparejos, which, roughly speaking, are leather bags stuffed with straw, to be fastened over the mules' backs. Through the courtesy of the Mexican custom officials I also secured two excellent and reliable Mexican packers, to take the place of some Americans who had been fighting in the camp and proved themselves unfit for my purpose.
As a mark of regard, one of the custom officers invited me to act as godfather to his child. I had to support the baby's head during the ceremony, while an elderly woman held the little body. According to custom, I gave twenty-five cents to every member of the party, and to the child a more adequate present. From now on I was called compadre by most of the people in the village, and that sacred relationship was established between myself and the baby's family, which is deemed of so much importance in the life of the Mexicans. During ten years of travel and ethnological activity I have never met the child again, but I hope that he is getting on well.
How beautifully fresh the country looked as we travelled southward in Northern Sonora! The dreary plains of Arizona gave way to a more varied landscape, with picturesque hills studded with oaks and mountain cedars. Along the rivers cottonwood was especially noticeable. There was also an abundance of wild-grape vines. Everywhere near the shady creeks I saw the evening primrose, brilliantly yellow, while the intense, carmine-red flowers of the lobelia peeped out from under the shrubs. But of all the flowers on the banks of the streams, the most remarkable was the exquisitely beautiful Datura meteloides, with its gorgeous white crown, six inches long and four inches wide. We saw one cluster of this creeper fully fifty feet in circumference. It is well known among the Navajo Indians that the root of this plant, when eaten, acts as a powerful stimulant; but the better class among the tribe look upon it with disfavour, as its use often leads to madness and death. The effect of the poison is cumulative, and the Indians under its influence, like the Malays, run amuck and try to kill everybody they meet.
There is also found a species of cactus, with a root which looks like an enormous carrot. One small plant had a root four feet long. It is used as soap.
Among the birds, doves and flycatchers were most commonly seen, one species of the latter frequently dazzling our eyes with its brilliant vermilion plumage.
The men I had hired before crossing the border did not work at all well with the Mexicans. They generally considered themselves vastly superior to the latter, whom they did not recognise as "white men." Personally, I preferred the Mexicans, who were obedient, obliging, and less lawless than the rough, mixed-white citizens of the American Southwest. As an illustration of the moral status of the frontier population, I may relate that when about sixty miles south of the border, a custom-house official stationed in the neighbourhood insisted upon examining all my baggage, which, of course, would have involved a lot of trouble. He was neither worse nor better than other custom officers, who seem to exist only to annoy people, and by the exertion of a little patience I succeeded in settling the matter satisfactorily. But one of my foremen, who had noticed my annoyance, came up to me and asked if I desired "to get rid" of him; if I did, said he, he knew how he could serve me so that nothing more would be heard from the Mexican!
I gradually weeded out this unscrupulous element among the men, and replaced most of the American with Mexican muleteers, who are far superior in that particular line of business. In hiring them, only one precaution had always to be observed: never to accept one unless he had a good recommendation from his village authorities or some prominent man in the neighbourhood.
The first village of any importance we passed was Fronteras. It is built on the summit and slopes of an elevated plateau and looks extremely picturesque at a distance. Seen close, however, it turns out to be a wretched little cluster of adobe, or sun-dried brick, houses. Not only the town itself, but also all the ranches in the neighbourhood are erected on elevations, a precaution from former days against the bloodthirsty Apaches.
Not so very long ago Fronteras was quite an important place, numbering, it is said, some 2,000 inhabitants. But the Apaches, by their incessant attacks, made the life of the villagers so miserable that the place became depopulated. Once it was even entirely abandoned. Many stories of the constant fights with these savages are related by the survivors of those struggles. Never was it safe in those days to venture outside of the town limits. Yet the conflicts did not always end in one way, and the Mexicans sometimes got the better of the raiders, although it may be doubted whether the methods by which these results were brought about would come under the rules of modern warfare.
One bright moonlight night an old man, who had himself taken part in many an Apache fight, led me to a deep gorge where seven Apaches once met their doom. The story he told was as follows:
A large band of warriors came threateningly into the town. They had killed two hawks and, decorated with their feathers, were on the warpath. As they were in such numbers the Mexicans realised that it would be useless to attempt resistance, and therefore sued for peace, which was granted. A peace-banquet followed, during which mescal, the Mexican brandy, flowed freely, distributed without stint to the warriors by their wily hosts, who were abiding their time. When the Apaches were intoxicated the villagers fell upon them and captured seven men; most of the band, however, managed to escape. Next day the prisoners were taken to the ravine and speared, charges of powder being deemed too good for them. Only el capitan, pointing to his head, requested, as a special favour, to be shot, which was done. Their bodies were buried in the ravine where they fell, but too long a time had already elapsed since the event to enable me to secure for my collections the specimens for which I had been on the lookout. Yet I was told by the inhabitants that the ground about the town was so full of Apache remains that I should have no difficulty in gaining my object in places close by. A number of Apaches, men and women, I was informed, had once been dumped into a well. I set to work at the place indicated, and our efforts were rewarded by the exhumation of eight skulls in perfect condition, besides many typical bones. The last raid of the Apaches on Fronteras was in 1875.
Passing Cochuta about a hundred miles south of Bisbee, we came upon a deposit of fossils. It was scarcely more than a mile in extent, but many bones were said to have been taken away from it as curiosities. I had already observed isolated fossil bones along the creeks on several occasions during our travels, but we could find nothing here of value.
Signs that the country was in former times occupied by another race than its present inhabitants are seen everywhere throughout the region we traversed following the road to the south. Here they appear frequently as remarkable groupings of stones firmly embedded in the ground. Only the tops of the stones (the total length of which is about one foot) are seen above the surface, much as stones are used in parks and gardens for ornamental purposes. They are arranged in circles or in rectangles. I saw two circles close to each other, each six feet in diameter. One rectangle measured fifty feet in length by half that in width. Low walls divided it into three indistinct partitions. There was never any wall built underneath these surface stones, nor were there any traces of charring. Among the ruins found on top of the hills we collected a lot of broken pottery and some flint arrowheads. In several places in this district we found gold and coal, but not in paying quantities.
Some forty miles south of Cochuta we turned in a southerly direction, ascending a hilly plateau 3,200 feet above sea-level. Here we observed the first orchids, yellow in colour and deliciously fragrant, and in the canon below we met the first palms. The rocks continued to show volcanic and metamorphic formation.
About 130 miles south of Bisbee we caught the first glimpse of the Sierra Madre rising above the foot-hills, some forty miles off to the east. Its lofty mountain peaks basking in the clear blue ether, beckoned to us inspiringly and raised our expectations of success. This, then, was the region we were to explore! Little did I think then that it would shelter me for several years. It looked so near and was yet so far, and as we travelled on southward the sight of it was soon lost again.
We gradually descended to the Bavispe River, a name here given to the Yaqui River, in accordance with the custom which the Mexicans have in common with people in other parts of the world of giving different names to one river in its course through different districts. It was a treat to catch the first sight of the magnificent sheet of water the river forms near the town of Opoto, as it slowly wends its way through green shrubs. It is the largest river of the west coast of Mexico and is here about 1,400 feet above the level of the sea.
Following the river to the south, we soon passed the towns of Guasavas and Granados. The vegetation along the river banks is in strong contrast to the land in general. Here are fields of sugar-cane, and in the orchards, orange, fig, and lime trees grow in abundance. The country, though fertile, is dry, and the heat is great. Even at the end of October the thermometer sometimes registered 100 deg. F. in the shade. The grass had become dry and scarce, and it was difficult to keep the animals in satisfactory condition.
This territory was once in the possession of the large tribe of Opata Indians, who are now civilised. They have lost their language, religion, and traditions, dress like the Mexicans, and in appearance are in no way distinguishable from the labouring class of Mexico with which they are thoroughly merged through frequent intermarriages.
As we passed the hamlets, our large party and outfit created quite a sensation and aroused the people from the uneventful routine of their daily existence. They used to surround my tent, especially mornings and evenings, as if an auction had been going on inside. Some of them wanted to sell things that would come in handy, such as fowls or panoche (brown sugar). One woman offered me three chickens for one dollar. I told her she charged too high a price, as chickens were not worth more than twenty-five cents apiece; but she insisted that she wanted a dollar, because she had promised that amount to the padre for reading a mass for a man who had died in the time of Hidalgo at the beginning of the century.
But most of the crowd flocked to my tent to consult me about their ailments. It was useless to tell them that I was not a medical man, or that I had not much medicine to spare, carrying only what I expected to use for my own party. If I had given them all they wanted, our little stock would have been exhausted on the first day; but in order to soften my heart they would send me molasses, sugar-cane, and similar delicacies. One poor old woman who was suffering from cancer even offered me her donkey if I would cure her—an offer in a way equivalent to a Wall Street magnate's millions, for the donkey was her sole possession on earth.
They all were anxious to have me feel their pulse, whether there was anything the matter with them or not. They firmly believed that this mysterious touch enabled me to tell whether they were afflicted with any kind of disease and how long they were going to live. A woman in delicate condition wanted me to feel her pulse and to tell her from that when her child was going to be born. I only hope that my practical advice and the little medicine I could give them relieved some of their backaches and sideaches, their felons, croups, and fevers and agues, and above all, their indigestion, which is the prevailing trouble in that section of the country. But I confess that I was nearly tired out with these consultations. In consequence of frequent intermarriages there are many deaf and dumb persons among them, and epilepsy and insanity are by no means rare.
On the other hand, I was assured that such a character as a thief was here unknown. However this might be, it was certain that the Mexicans of Eastern Sonora were a nice class of people. They were pleasant to deal with, very active and obedient, and I never wish for better men than those I then had in my camp, nearly all of whom were from these parts. The people were poor, but genuinely hospitable. Of course they were ignorant, and might not, for instance, recognise a check unless it was green. In each town, however, I found one or two men comparatively rich, who knew more of the world than the others, and who helped me out in my difficulties by going from house to house, collecting all the available cash in town, or what coffee and sugar could be spared to make up the deficiency. One thing is certain, I should never have gotten on so well had it not been for the friendly and obliging attitude of the Mexicans everywhere. As an instance, when the great scarcity of grass began to tell seriously on the animals, I was efficiently helped out by the courtesy of some influential men. Without any personal letters of introduction I received many services whenever I showed my letters of recommendation from the Governor of the State, and had a hearty welcome.
I was so much impressed with the readiness of the people to accommodate and serve me that my notebook contains the remark: "I find the Mexicans more obliging than any nation I have ever come in contact with." It has been my lot to travel for years in Mexico, and my experience with her people only tended to deepen the pleasant impression I received at the outset. Anyone who travels through Mexico well recommended and conducts himself in accordance with the standard of a gentleman is sure to be agreeably surprised by the hospitality and helpfulness of the people, high and low, and it is not a meaningless phrase of politeness only by which a Mexican "places his house at your disposal."
It is of the utmost importance to have as your chief packer a man who thoroughly understands how to take care of the animals. It is not the custom in Mexico, as it is everywhere in Australia, to wash the backs of the animals as soon as the packs or saddles are taken off—a precaution which is very beneficial, as it strengthens the skin and prevents inflammation and sores. In the Southwest they do not wash their beasts of burden until the mischief is done and they have to allay the swelling and heal up the cuts. If not properly cared for from the beginning, the animals will soon be ailing; some grow unfit for service, and much time is lost mornings and evenings curing their sores. Through the carelessness of some packers I lost several valuable mules from such wounds. In summer the blue-bottle fly aggravates the annoyance, as it lays its eggs in the open spaces of the skin, and maggots develop in a very short time. Of course there are many ways of ridding an animal of this pest, but here, as everywhere, the proverbial ounce of prevention is better than the pound of cure.
A curious case of a man whose life was threatened by a blue-bottle fly and its maggots came to nay notice. He was a soldier, and once in a fight he had his nose cut off so that the nostrils became entirely exposed. One night when he was asleep, drunk, a fly laid its eggs in his nose, and when these were hatched it seemed as if the man was to be eaten up alive. I gave him some relief by syringing the parts with a solution of corrosive sublimate. Then an intelligent Mexican, who had an extensive knowledge of the numberless native medicinal plants (many of which, no doubt, are very valuable), treated the patient, and in two days the poor wretch seemed to be in a fair way to be saved.
Near Granados I heard of some petroglyphs, or rock-carvings, and sent Mr. Stephen to examine them. The Mexicans called them "Painted Face." They were to be found only two miles and a half to the northwest of the town, and were interesting. The designs were rudely pecked on the moderately smooth felsite cliffs on a nearly perpendicular wall in the foot-hills, about forty feet above the bed of the arroyo, or gulch. All the human figures were drawn in the characteristic style that we find farther north, the hands and feet being defined with three radiating lines, like a bird's track. The size of the figure, carved in something like a frame, is about twenty by twenty-four inches, and each of the three figures in the group close below is about eighteen inches high. Some of the drawings evidently represent the deified dragon-fly found almost everywhere among the ruins of Arizona and Northern Mexico. There are also the concentric circles, the conventionalised spiral, and the meander design, so common among the North American Indians, and still in use among the Moquis.
Our botanist, Mr. Hartman, drew my attention to an interesting cactus, which is beautifully shaped like a candelabra, and attains a height of three to five feet. As it grows old, the top joints of the branches become thick and heavy and are easily broken off by the wind. The joints, like all other parts of the plant, are beset with numerous inch-long spines, and many of them fasten in the loose, moist soil and strike root. In this way many new plants are formed, standing in a circle around the mother plant. On sloping ground the young plants form rows, some forty feet long. There was a fruit to be observed, but very scarce in comparison with that of other species of Cereus growing in the vicinity.
A Remarkable Antique Piece—A New Species of Century Plant—Arrival at Nacori, at the Foot of the Sierra Madre—Trincheras—A Mammoth Tusk Secured—Climbing the Sierra Madre—A New Squirrel Discovered—Solitude—Apache Monuments—Arrival at Upper Bavispe River.
From Granados we took an easterly course, being at last able to cross the Bavispe River, which, owing to heavy rains in the sierra, had for some time been overflowing. Starting from this point, the ground gradually rising, we arrived at Bacadehuachi, a small village remarkable for its church, a massive adobe structure, the grand style of which looked somewhat out of proportion in these mountains. It had been built by the Franciscans more than 100 years ago, on the site of an older Jesuit church, remains of which are still in existence, and which in turn had been erected on the ruins of an ancient temple.
While inspecting the church Professor Libbey discovered that one of the holy water fonts or stoups was a piece of great antiquity, and we were informed that it had been dug up from the debris of the ancient temple when the foundations for the present building were laid. Its aesthetic value appealed even to the unscientific builders of the church, who deemed the vessel worthy of a place in the new cathedral, where it served as a benitier. Unfortunately, it had been found necessary to engrave on the ancient carving some Roman letters dedicating the vessel to its new purpose. Though this somewhat mars its general character, the vase is a most valuable relic of prehistoric Mexico, not only as a masterpiece of ancient art, but still more as a way-mark or sign-post showing the trend of Aztec migrations.
It was not possible to obtain it right away, but a few days later I sent a messenger to a gentleman in Granados, whose wife had been relieved from illness by some remedy of mine, requesting him to use his influence with the priest, and in due course I had the satisfaction of possessing this valuable relic of history. The vase is made of a soft, unctuous stone resembling steatite (soapstone); it is true agalmatolite, a mineral popularly called pagoda stone. Through the mouth of the human head carved out in front passes a copper tube, which once no doubt pierced the thick wall of the vessel and penetrated into its interior. This tube had been stopped up to make the piece available for its new purpose.
Marching for several days through oaks and mesquites, over hills and rising country, we reached Nacori, a poor village in the foot-hills of the Sierra Madre. It is scarcely forty miles from Granados, and lies at an elevation of 3,700 feet. Our camp, about two miles outside of the village, was permeated with a delicious odour of acacia blossoms, and water in the neighbouring mountains, though strongly impregnated with iron, was quite palatable.
In this region Mr. Hartman found a new form of agave with delicate stripes of white on the lanceolate leaves that constitute the basal rosette of the plant. The flower stalk is only twelve or thirteen inches high, and I should not wonder if this diminutive and beautiful century plant some day became fashionable in greenhouses. It grows in large numbers in the crevices of the rocks, the perpendicular walls of canons often being studded with the bright little rosettes when the drought has withered all herbaceous vegetation.
From here I made an excursion to an ancient pueblo site. As usual, there were traces of small dwellings, huts of undressed stone, and fragments of pottery. We found three mortars and one pestle, a remarkable number of metates (the stone on which corn is ground), and the corresponding grinding stones, showing that a large population must have once lived here, huddled together in a small space.
But the most striking feature of antiquity met thus far on our journey were curious stone terraces built across the small gullies. They are called trincheras (trenches). Some of them do not appear to be very old, and many present the appearance of tumble-down walls, but the stones of which they are constructed were plainly used in their natural state. Although many of the boulders are huge and irregular in shape, they were used just as they were found. The building material always conformed to the surroundings: in places where conglomerate containing water-worn boulders abounded, this was used; where porphyry was prevalent, blocks of that material were employed. There is no trace of dressing or cutting, but in the mason work considerable skill is evident. The walls are not vertical, but incline somewhat toward the slope on which they are erected. The terrace thus formed is often filled with soil to the height of the wall-top for a space of from fifteen to twenty feet. Earth taken from them does not show any colours. Some of these trincheras measure thirty feet in length by four feet in height, while the smallest ones I saw were only five feet long and three feet high. Naturally enough, the largest ones are in the lower part of the gullies; then, some twenty-five feet back and above, others almost as large may be found. As the arroyo rises and narrows, the walls, each placed a little higher up the slope than the preceding one, are necessarily smaller.
In the mountains near Nacori, especially on their eastern and southeastern sides, trincheras were encountered in every gulch as high up as six thousand feet, though steep crests and the mountain tops bear no traces of them. In one arroyo, which was about a thousand feet in length and of comparatively gentle slope, twenty-nine trincheras were counted from the bed of the main drainage to the summit of the mountain. Some of them were quite close together, three being within eighteen feet of one another.
These trincheras somewhat resemble the small terrace gardens of the Moqui Indians, and have undoubtedly been used for agricultural purposes, just as they are used by the Tarahumares to this day (page 152). It is true that they are built in great numbers, sometimes in localities that would appear unsuitable for farming; but, on the other hand, they are seldom, if ever, found far from the remains of habitations, a fact from which it may also reasonably be inferred that the ruined houses, as well as the trincheras, were originally built by the same race. Some of the terraces were, no doubt, erected as a protection of the crop against enemies and wild animals; but it is impossible to think that they were intended for irrigation dams, though we did see water running through some, coming out of a marsh. Still less likely is it that they had been used as mining dams.
As soon as the plains of Northern Sonora were left behind, and the country became hilly and broken, these peculiar structures were conspicuous. At first they appeared more like walls built simply along the slopes of the hills, and not crossing gulches. They seem to be more numerous in the western and central part of the sierra, its spurs and foot-hills, than in the eastern part of the great range. As regards their southern extent, they are not found further south than the middle part of the state of Chihuahua. Captain Bourke, in his book, "An Apache Campaign," mentions that "in every sheltered spot could be discerned ruins, buildings, walls, and dams, erected by an extinct race once possessing these regions." Mr. A. F. Bandelier, on his journey to the Upper Yaqui River, in 1885, which took him as far as Nacori, also refers to them, and Professor W. J. McGee, on his expedition in 1895, found in Northeastern Sonora ruins locally known as Las Trincheras, which he considered the most elaborate prehistoric work known to exist in Northwestern Mexico. They comprise, he says, terraces, stone-walls, and inclosed fortifications, built of loose stones and nearly surrounding two buttes.
I must not omit to mention that in a week's exploration in the mountains near Nacori, Mr. Stephen and his party did not find any pottery fragments, nor flint flakes, nor grinding stones. They reported that there was in that region no other trace of an early people than the hundreds of trincheras in the lower portions of the arroyos.
Noteworthy, however, was the frequent occurrence of old trails across the hills, some quite plainly traceable for three and four hundred yards. Old oaks stretched their limbs across many of them quite close to the ground.
While at Nacori I learned from the inhabitants that at no great distance from their town there were several deposits containing huesos giganteos (giants' bones), a name given to fossils in this part of the world, where the people imagine that the large bones were originally those of giants. I had then neither time nor men to make excavations of any importance; but Mr. White, the mineralogist of the expedition, whom I sent to look into the matter, and who devoted a week to the examination of the deposits, reported that one of them, in a valley sixteen miles south of Nacori, was a bed of clay thirty feet thick and about a mile and a half long. On the edge of this field he discovered a tusk six feet eight inches long and twenty-six inches at its widest circumference, and having almost the curve of a circle. It was not petrified and had no bone core, but the hole filled in with clay, and its colour was a rich mahogany. It was undoubtedly the tusk of a mammoth.
From the beginning it had surprised me how very ignorant the people of Sonora were regarding the Sierra Madre. The most prominent man in Opoto, a town hardly forty miles from the sierra, told me that he did not know how far it was to the sierra, nor was he able to say exactly where it was. Not even at Nacori, so close to this tremendous mountain range, was there much information to be gotten about it. What the Mexicans know about that region may be briefly summed up thus: That it is a vast wilderness of mountains most difficult of approach; that it would take eight days to climb some of the high ridges; that it contains immense pine forests alive with deer, bear, and wonderfully large woodpeckers, able to cut down whole trees; and that in its midst there are still existing numerous remains of a people who vanished long ago, but who once tilled the soil, lived in towns and built monuments, and even bridges over some of its canons.
This general ignorance is mainly due to the fact that until very recently this entire part of the sierra, from the border of the United States south about 250 miles, was under the undisputed control of the wild Apache Indians. From their mountain strongholds these marauders made raiding expeditions into the adjacent states, west and east, sweeping down upon the farms, plundering the villages, driving off horses and herds of cattle, killing men and carrying off women and children into slavery. Mines became unworkable; farms had to be deserted; the churches, built by the Spaniards, mouldered into decay. The raiders had made themselves absolute masters, and so bold were they that at one time a certain month in the year was set apart for their plundering excursions and called "the moon of the Mexicans," a fact which did not prevent them from robbing at other seasons. Often troops would follow them far into the mountains, but the "braves" fought so skilfully, and hid so well in the natural fortresses of their native domain, that the pursuit never came to anything, and the Mexicans were completely paralysed with fear. The dread of the terrible pillagers was so great that even at the time when I first went into the district, the Mexicans did not consider it a crime to shoot an Apache at sight.
Such a scourge did this tribe become that the Governor of Chihuahua had a law passed through the Legislature, which put a certain price upon the head of every Apache. But this law had soon to be repealed, as the Mexicans, eager to get the reward, took to killing the peaceful Tarahumares, whose scalps, of course, could not be distinguished from those of the Apaches.
It was not even now safe for a small party to cross the Sierra Madre, as dissatisfied Apaches were constantly breaking away from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, and no Mexican could have been induced to venture singly into that vast unknown domain of rock and forest, about which lingered such painful memories of bloodshed and terror.  In the early part of our journey a Mexican officer had called on me to offer, in the name of the Governor of the State of Sonora, his services as escort and protection against the Apaches; but I declined the courtesy, preferring to depend rather upon my own men. I am happy to say that I had no personal encounter with the dreaded "Shis Inday," or Men of the Woods, as they call themselves, though on one occasion we came upon fresh tracks near one of our camps, and also upon small bunches of yucca leaves tied together in a peculiar way known to the Mexicans as signs intelligible only to the Apaches.
The only precaution I had taken against possible attacks was to augment my force of trustworthy Mexican muleteers. Among the new recruits was an honest-looking Opata Indian, who joined the camp one evening, clad in the national costume of white cotton cloth, and carrying in his hand a small bundle containing his wife's petticoat (probably intended to do duty as a blanket) and a pair of scissors. This was his whole outfit for a winter campaign in the Sierra Madre. They are hardy people, these Indians! This man told me that he was thirty years old; his "senora," he said, was twenty-five; when he married her she was fifteen, and now they had eleven children.
Finally I succeeded in securing two guides. One of them was a very intelligent man, who had been several times in the sierra; the other one had been only as far as Chuhuichupa, and, although he did not remember the way very well, still he thought that with the help of the other man he would be able to make out the route. As we could do no better, we had to take him as the best guide available.
After having received some supplementary provisions from Granados, I at last, on December 2, 1890, began the ascent. It was a beautiful day; the air was clear and warm and the sun shone bright, as it always does at this time of the year in this favoured region. The genius of spring seemed to hover about, and snow, frost and scarcity of grass seemed far removed contingencies. Everything looked promising.
As I left the town, following the pack-train after having made the last settlements with the natives, I passed a little hut, the last homestead on this side of the sierra. In front of it stood a young girl, her hand raised to shade her eyes against the rays of the sinking sun. She had watched the expedition go by, and was much excited by the strange sight of so many men, the wonderful array of animals and great quantity of baggage never before seen in those parts of the world. With her fine dark eyes, her loose wavy hair and graceful figure, she made a strikingly beautiful picture, and as she called out in a sweet, melodious voice, "Adios, Senor!" I took this kindly greeting from a pretty girl as a good omen for my journey. On the spur of the moment I dismounted and perpetuated the auspicious scene by means of a kodak which I carried fastened to the pommel of my saddle. I wish it had been possible for me to send her that picture as a token of my gratitude for her cheery greeting. She surely would have appreciated it, as all Mexicans delight in seeing their photographs. Then I turned my face to the east and soon overtook my men.
To reach the Sierra Madre from the Bavispe River by way of Nacori, two—or, as the Mexicans consider it, three—sierras have to be crossed, all running, generally speaking, in a northwesterly to southeasterly direction. The first two ranges are quite easy to climb. The third is the Sierra Madre proper, which the Mexicans here call Sierra de Nacori, as the upper Bavispe River from its source makes a great detour toward the north around it, thereby partly separating it from the main chain. Even this range does not really present any unsurmountable difficulties if the weather is fine; in bad weather, I admit, some parts of the trail we made would be all but impracticable.
Having reached the second range called the Sierra de Huehuerachi, near its northern terminus, and looking backward, we see the Sierra de Bacadehuachi lying farthest to the west. On its eastern flank tower steep-tilted broken masses of conglomerate, and the frowning row of hog-backs just north and east of Nacori are only a continuation of that range. But looking east from where we were we obtained the first close view of the main range of the Sierra Madre (Sierra de Nacori). It rises bold and majestic on the opposite side of the valley, at the bottom of which runs the little river of Huehuerachi.
In this valley we camped for two days, being delayed by rains. It was early in December, but we found Helianthus ten to twelve feet high in bloom everywhere in the canons. A Salvia with a blue corolla, dotted with red glands, was very striking, a new variety, as it proved. We also observed elders with flowers and leaves at the same time, and the Bambusa formed a thick light-green undergrowth in beautiful contrast to the darker shades of the oaks, elders, and fan palms. The latter were the last of their kind we saw on this side of the sierra.
We then went six miles further to the northeast. At first the trail followed the little river, whose clear and rapid water is about a foot deep and on an average six feet wide. Frequently its bed had to be cleared of palm trees to make it passable for the pack train, and big boulders and heavy undergrowth made travel rough. Then, ascending a cordon which led directly up to the main range, we followed for a while a dim trail on which the Apaches used to drive the herds of cattle they had stolen, and which is said to lead to a place so inaccessible that two Indians could keep a whole company at bay. The surface soil we had lately been travelling over was covered with boulders and fragments of conglomerate.
The Sierra Madre was now so close that the tilted masses of its rocks seemed to overhang our tents threateningly where we had pitched them at its foot. From this camp we had about the same splendid view as from the ridge of Huehuerachi we had just left behind; and between us and the foot-hills of the Sierra de Bacadehuachi stretched out a vast mass of barren-looking rocks and hills. The Mexicans call them agua blanca, a designation also applied to the small water course that runs through them in a northerly and southerly direction, but which from our point of view could not be made out in the chaotic confusion. Away off toward the north, at a distance of from fifteen to twenty miles, could be seen a high chain of sharp peaks.
I may mention here that I found the water of many streamlets and brooks throughout the western mountains of Mexico to have a slightly whitish colour and a dull, opalescent look, like a strong solution of quinine. The Mexicans call it agua blanca, or agua zarca, and consider it the best water they have. Many places, especially ranches, are named after it. In the locality where we now found ourselves the water had a slightly bitter taste, owing to a strong admixture of iron and other minerals, but generally it was very palatable.
Here, only twenty-three miles from Nacori, and at an elevation of 4,000 feet, we were obliged to make camp for three days. Dense fogs and occasional hard showers made travel impossible. Besides, our principal guide, Agustin Rios, became dangerously ill. He was sixty-five years old, and I decided to send him back.
When I hired him I had not been aware that he was afflicted with an incurable disease, and that on this account his wife had tried to keep him at home. Now he had to be carried on a sort of palanquin constructed for the occasion, and I regret to state that he died before he reached his home in Nacori. He had been a reliable man, and his loss was very deplorable.
Before he left he gave me directions for finding a rather large ancient pueblo, which he had come across once in the sierra, and of which he frequently spoke to us. However, our search for it proved fruitless, and I am inclined to think that it would probably not have differed much from those we found later on Bavispe River.
From now on I made it a rule to send three or four men about two days ahead of the main body of the expedition, to make a path. Occasionally they were guided by Apache tracks, but for the most part we cut our own way through the wilderness. Instead of adopting the Mexican method of going uphill as straight as practicable, I had the trail cut zigzag, and to this I attribute the fact that I was able to pull through at all, as it saved the animals an immense amount of strain. The steepest inclination we ascended was 40 deg., while for the most part we climbed at an angle of about 30 deg.. On some of the ridges, in order to help an animal up, one man had to drag it by a line, while two others pushed it from behind. In many places the mules had to be led one by one along the narrow edge of chasms.
To look at these mountains is a soul-inspiring sensation; but to travel over them is exhaustive to muscle and patience. And the possibility of losing at any moment perhaps the most valuable part of your outfit is a constant and severe strain on your mind. Nobody except those who have travelled in the Mexican mountains can understand and appreciate the difficulties and anxieties attending such a journey. Not only the animals themselves, but everything they carry is vital to the success of the expedition, and there is always a danger that, for instance, your camera and photographic outfit, and the priceless collection of negatives already taken, may roll down a precipice.
A mule with its bulky pack is, to a certain extent, helpless on these narrow mountain trails. Old and experienced animals often manoeuvre their packs with a cleverness that is almost human: yet, whenever a mule runs accidentally against some projection, or its foot slips, the poor beast invariably loses its balance, and over it goes, down the hill with ever-increasing velocity.
On one occasion I heard a noise coming from above without being at first able to discern what caused it. A few stones came tumbling down, and were presently followed by a donkey, pack and all, turning over and over with astounding speed. It cleared a perpendicular rock some twenty feet high and landed at its base, rolling over twice. Then, to my amazement, it rose to its feet in the midst of its scattered cargo. And do you know what that cargo consisted of?—a case of dynamite and our tool chest! As fast as their legs could carry them, two Mexicans were by its side, promptly reloading the donkey and leading it up to the trail as coolly as if nothing had happened. A very fine mule, raised on the plains of Arizona, was naturally giddy, and met with such a mishap three times in one day, tumbling down 150 to 200 feet without, however, being seriously hurt. At first I was greatly shocked to see the animals thus rolling over and over with their packs, down the mountain sides, never stopping until checked by some large tree or rock, sometimes 200 feet below. But the Mexicans were evidently quite accustomed to such happenings, which seemed to be in the regular line of their travel.
I could not help admiring the agility as well as the valour of my Mexican packers and muleteers on such occasions. They moved about as sure-footed and quick as sailors on their ship, and always on the alert. Whenever one of the poor beasts lost its foothold, the men would instantly run after it, and as soon as some obstacle stopped its downward career they would be by its side and relieve it of its burden. Of course, sometimes the animal was badly bruised about the head, and unable to carry a pack for a few days; but, mira-bile dictu! in the majority of cases it rose to its feet. Then, after giving it a few moments' respite, the packers would strap the cargo again on its back, unless they deemed it proper to take a part of it upon themselves, so that the beast might more safely climb the declivity. The men really seemed indefatigable. One of them once took upon his head a large case of honey and carried it up the ridge on a run. Strange as it may sound, on my first journey across the Sierra Madre I did not lose one animal by such accidents.
Climbing, climbing, climbing, one massive cordon after another, at the start through dense oak thickets, and over hills flattened and eroded with countless deep, precipitous gashes seaming the rock in every direction. Numerous springs oozed and trickled from the stratified conglomerate along the edges, sides, and bottoms of the ravines. The tops of some of these truncated knolls were quite swampy in the depressions, and covered with a thin-stemmed feathery grass. Here and there was a clump of scrub oaks; sparsely scattered about were small pines. We found great numbers of Opuntia Missouriensis, called by the Mexicans nopal; small mesquite shrubs, too, are seen everywhere, while the resurrection plant covers great areas, like the heather on the Scotch hills. Here are also found century plants, or agaves, and many species of small ferns, such as the graceful maidenhair. In the larger water-courses are poplars and maples, now presenting their most brilliant hues, and carrying the thoughts of the Americans back to their Northern homes.
Thus we advanced for about six miles and made camp, at an elevation of 6,300 feet, on some old trincheras, with a fine view over the vast country we had left below. Large flocks of gray pigeons of remarkable size squatted on the pine trees nearby, and two specimens of the gigantic woodpecker we here observed for the first time. Here, too, Mr. Robinette shot a new species of squirrel, Sciurus Apache. It was large, of a pale grayish-yellow color varied with black, and having a long, full and bushy tail.
We had now arrived in the pine region of the sierra. The Mexican scouts reported that the country ahead of us was still more difficult of access; but the track having been laid out well by Professor Libbey along the pine-covered slopes, we safely arrived at the crest of the sierra, which here has an elevation of 8,200 feet. The steep slopes of the valleys and crevices were covered with slippery pine needles eight to twelve inches long, while the pines rose up to a height of a hundred feet or more. The forest, never touched by a woodman's axe, had a remarkably young and fresh look about it. Now and then, however, at exposed places we came upon trees broken off like matches, telling of what terrific storms may rage over these solitary regions that received us calmly enough. Not until we had reached the top did we feel the wind blowing pretty hard from the east and encouraging us in our hopes that the fine weather would continue, although the moon appeared hazy.
Having ascended the sierra, we made a picturesque camp on the top of the cordon, in the midst of forests so dense that we did not get any view of the landscape. While here, Mr. Stephen discovered, on the summit of a peak, about four hundred and twenty feet above the brow of the ridge, a small, circular structure about four feet in diameter. Four or five large fragments of scoria, each about fifteen inches high, were set around in a circle, and the space between them was filled in with small fragments. No nicety was shown in the work, but the arrangement of the stones was not accidental. It was, however, quite old, for in several places the fragments were cemented together with a thick coat of lichen. The purpose of the circle is a matter of conjecture.
We were now obliged, as the guide did not seem to know any more of the country, to explore ahead of us before the main body of the expedition could proceed further. Several of us went out in different directions, and I happened to strike the right course, which here unexpectedly goes first northward. Accompanied by my dog "Apache," I walked in the fresh morning air through the sombre pine woods, the tops of which basked in glorious sunshine, and along the high cordon, which ran up to a height of 8,900 feet (the highest point reached on my first expedition over the Sierra Madre), until I came to a point where it suddenly terminated. But I soon ascertained that a spur branching off to the east would lead us in the right direction.
I sat down to gaze upon the magnificent panorama of the central part of the Sierra Madre spread out before me. To the north and northeast were pine-covered plateaus and hills in seemingly infinite successions; on the eastern horizon my eyes met the dark, massive heights of Chuhuichupa, followed towards the south by ridge upon ridge of true sierras with sharp, serrated crests, running mainly from northwest to southeast. And between them and me was an expanse of gloomy, pine-hidden cordons, one succeeding close upon another, and running generally in the same direction as the sierras. Primeval stillness and solitude reigned all over the woodland landscape. I like the society of man, but how welcome and refreshing are occasional moments of undisturbed communion with Nature!
On the following day the pack train moved along the path I had walked over. We were pleasantly surprised to find at this season, the middle of December, and at this elevation, a species of violet in bloom, while Lupinus and Vicia were already in seed. We made our camp at a place 7,400 feet above sea level, and here we noticed trincheras close by, with water running through them from a marsh.
We also happened to come upon some stone piles made of rough stones laid on top of each other to a height of about three feet. The Mexicans called them "Apache Monuments," and I saw here eight or ten, three at a distance of only twenty yards from each other and lying in a line from east to west. On the next day we found an Apache track with similar monuments. Some of these piles did not seem to be in places difficult to travel, and therefore could hardly have been intended for guide-posts, though others might have served that purpose; nor is it easy to see how they could have been meant for boundary marks, unless they were erected by some half-castes who kept company with the Apaches, to divide off the hunting grounds of various families. It seems to me more likely that they are connected with some religious rite.
We had some little difficulty in making our descent to the Bavispe River, but at last we discovered, and travelled down, an old but still practicable trail, dropping nearly 1,000 feet. A little further northward we came down another 1,000 feet, and thus we gradually reached Bavispe, which is here a rapid, roaring stream, girth-deep, and in many places deeper. It here flows northward, describing the easterly portion of the curve it forms around the Sierra de Nacori.
I selected as a camping ground a small mesa on the left bank of the river, among pines and oaks and high grass, about forty feet above the water edge. A meadow set park-like with pines extended from here nearly three-quarters of a mile along the river, and was almost half a mile wide. Near our camp we found several old and rusty empty tin cans, such as are used for putting up preserved food. One of them was marked "Fort Bowie." Doubtless this spot had been used before as a camping ground, probably by some of General Crook's scouts.
Camping at Upper Bavispe River—Low Stone Cabins, Fortresses, and Other Remains Indicating Former Habitation—The Animals Starve on the Winter Grass of the Sierra and Begin to Give Out—A Deserted Apache Camp—comfort at Last—The Giant Woodpecker—We Arrive at the Mormon Settlements of Pacheco and Cave Valley.
At Bavispe River we had to remain for some little time to allow the animals to recuperate, and to get them, as far as possible, in condition for the hard work still ahead. I also had to send back to Nacori for fresh provisions. Of course, not much was to be gotten there, but we got what there was in the line of food stuffs, panoche (brown sugar) and corn. My messengers had orders to bring the latter in the form of pinole, that is, toasted corn ground by hand into a fine meal. This is the most common, as well as the most handy, ration throughout Mexico. A little bag of it is all the provisions a Mexican or Indian takes with him on a journey of days or weeks. It is simply mixed with water and forms a tasty gruel, rather indigestible for persons not accustomed to it. When boiled into a porridge, however, pinole is very nourishing, and forms a convenient diet for persons camping out. Aside from this we still had a supply of wheat flour sufficient to allow the party fifteen pounds a day, and our stock of canned peas and preserved fruit, though reduced, was not yet exhausted. The jerked beef had given out even before we reached the main sierra, and we had to depend on our guns for meat. Luckily, the forest was alive with deer, and there were also wild turkeys. Thus there was no difficulty about provisions, although the Americans sighed for their beloved bacon and hot biscuits.