All this preparation - and still more, the vexatious delays - had been a heavy tax upon us. We needed a vacation. We took it - six pleasant care-free days - hunting and fishing as we drifted through the sixty miles of southern Wyoming. There were ducks and geese on the river to test our skill with the shot-gun. Only two miles below Green River City Emery secured our first duck, a promise of good sport to follow. An occasional cottontail rabbit was seen, scurrying to cover through the sage-brush, when we made a detour from the boats. We saw many jack-rabbits too - with their long legs, and exaggerated ears - creatures swifter, even, than the coyotes themselves.

We saw few people, though an occasional rancher hailed us from the shore. Men of the open themselves, the character of our expedition appealed to them. Their invitations to "come up to the ranch, and spend the evening" were always hearty, and could seldom be refused if the day was nearly gone.

The Logan boys' ranch, for instance, was our first camp; but will be one of the last to be forgotten. The two Logan boys were sturdy, companionable young men, full of pranks, and of that bubbling, generous humour that flourishes in this Western air. We were amused by their kindly offer to allow Jimmy to ride "the little bay" - a beautiful animal, with the shifty eye of a criminal. But Jimmy, though city-bred, was not to be trapped, and declined; very wisely, as we thought. We photographed their favourite horses, and the cabin; also helped them with their own camera, and developed some plates in the underground storm-cellar, - a perfect dark-room, as it happened.

We took advantage of this pleasant camp to make a few alterations about our boats. Certain mechanical details had been neglected in our desire to be off, our intention being to look after them as occasion demanded. Our short run had already shown us where we were weak or unprepared. The rowlocks needed strengthening. One had come apart in our first brush with a little riffle. The rowlocks were of a little-used type, but very serviceable in dangerous waters. Inside the usual rowlock a heavy ring was hung, kept in place by strong set-screws, but allowing full play in every direction. These rings were slipped over the oars; then the usual leather collar was nailed on the oar, making it impossible for the rings to become separated from the oars. The holes for the set-screws were too shallow, so we went over the entire lot to deepen them. We foresaw where a break might occur, and hung another lock of the open type on a cord, beside each oar, ready for instant use in case of emergency.

The Logan boys, seeing our difficulties in making some of these changes, came to our relief. "Help yourselves to the blacksmith shop," they said heartily. Here was an opportunity. Much time was consumed in providing a device to hold our extra oars - out of the way on top of the deck, but available at a moment's notice. Thanks to the Logan boys and their blacksmith shop, these and many other little details were corrected once for all; and we launched our boats in confidence on the morning of September 10.

A few miles below we came to the locally famous Fire Hole Chimneys, interesting examples of the butte formation, so typical of the West. There were several of these buttes, about 800 feet high, composed of stratified rock; in colour quite similar to the rocks at Green River City, but capped with rock of a peculiar burnt appearance, though not of volcanic origin. Some of the buttes sloped up from the very edge of the river; others were separated from the river by low flats, covered with sage-brush and bunch-grass, - that nutritious food of the range stock. At the water's edge was the usual fringe of willows, cottonwoods, and shrubs innumerable, - all mirrored in the limpid surface of Green River.

At the foot of the cliffs were a number of wild burros, old and young - fuzzy little baby-burros, looking ridiculously like jack-rabbits - snorting their indignation at our invasion of their privacy. Strange, by the way, how quickly these wild asses lose their wildness of carriage when broken, and lapse into the utmost docility!

Just below the Chimneys Emery caught sight of fish gathered in a deep pool, under the foliage of a cottonwood tree which had fallen into the river. Our most tempting bait failed to interest them; so Emery, ever clever with hook and line, "snagged" one just to teach them better manners. It was a Colorado River salmon or whitefish. That evening I "snagged" a catfish and used this for salmon bait, a fourteen-pound specimen rewarding the attempt.

These salmon were old friends of ours, being found from one end to the other of the Colorado, and on all its tributaries. They sometimes weigh twenty-five or thirty pounds, and are common at twenty pounds; being stockily built fish, with large, flat heads. They are not gamey, but afford a lot of meat with a very satisfying flavour.

On September 11, about forty miles below Green River, we passed Black's Fork, a tributary entering from the west. It is a stream of considerable length, but was of little volume at that time. The banks were cliffs about 300 feet high, rugged, dark, and overhanging. Here were a half dozen eagles and many old nests - proof enough, if proof were needed, that we were in a little visited country. What strong, splendid birds they were; how powerful and graceful their flight as they circled up, and up, into the clear blue sky!

Our next camp was at the Holmes' ranch, a few miles below Black's Fork. We tried to buy some eggs of Walter Holmes, and were told that we could have them on one condition - that we visit him that evening. This was a price we were only too glad to pay, and the evening will linger long in our memories.

Mr. Holmes entertained us with stories of hunting trips - after big game in the wilds of Colorado; and among the lakes of the Wind River Mountains, the distant source of the Green River. Mrs. Holmes and two young ladies entertained us with music; and Jimmy, much to our surprise, joined in with a full, rich baritone. It was late that night when we rolled ourselves in our blankets, on the banks twenty feet above the river.

Next morning we were shown a group of Mrs. Holmes' pets - several young rabbits and a kitten, romping together in the utmost good fellowship. The rabbits had been rescued from a watery grave in an irrigation ditch and carefully nursed back to life. We helped her search for a lame wild duck that had spurned the offer of a good home with civilized ducklings, and had taken to the sage-brush. Mrs. Holmes' love of wild animals, however, failed to include the bald-headed eagle that had shown such an appetite for her spring chickens.

A few miles below this ranch we passed Bridger Crossing, a ford on an old trail through southern Wyoming. In pioneer days Jim Bridger's home was on this very spot. But those romantic days are long since past; and where this world-famous scout once watched through the loopholes of his barricade, was an amazed youngster ten or eleven years old who gazed on us, then ran to the cabin and emerged with a rifle in his hands. We thought little of this incident at the time, but later we met the father of the boy and were told that the children had been left alone with the small boy as their only protector, and that he stood ready to defend the home against any possible marauders. No doubt we looked bad enough to him.

Just below the ford the channel widened, and the river became very shallow, the low rolling hills falling away into a wide green prairie. We camped that night on a small island, low and treeless, but covered with deep, rank grass. Next morning our sleeping-bags were wet with frost and dew. A hard pull against a heavy wind between gradually deepening rocky banks made us more than glad to pitch camp at noon a short distance above the mouth of Henry's Fork, a considerable stream flowing from the west. In the afternoon Emery and I decided to walk to Linwood, lying just across the Utah line, four miles up Henry's Fork. Jimmy preferred to remain with the boats.

Between the river and a low mesa lay a large ranch of a different appearance from those others which we had passed. Those past were cattle ranches, with stock on the open range, and with little ground fit for cultivation, owing to the elevation. Here we found great, broad acres, fenced and cultivated, with thoroughbred stock - horses and cattle - contentedly grazing.

This pastoral scene, with a background of rugged mountains, appealed strongly to our photographic instincts. After three or four exposures, we climbed the farthest fence and passing from alfalfa to sage-brush in one step, were at the foot of the mesa.

Climbing to the summit, we beheld the village in the distance, in a beautiful green valley - a splendid example of Mormon irrigation and farming methods. Linwood proved to be the market-place for all the ranchers of this region. Dotting the foot-hills where water was less plentiful were occasional cabins, set down in the middle of hay ranches. All this husbandry only emphasized the surrounding desolation. Just beyond, dark in the southern sky, rose the great peaks of the Uintah range, the mountains we were so soon to enter.

Storm-clouds had been gathering about one great snow-covered peak, far in the distance. These clouds spread and darkened, moving rapidly forward. We had taken the hint and were already making all possible haste toward the town, hoping to reach it before the storm broke. But it was useless. Long before we had gained the edge of the valley the rain had commenced in the mountains, - small local storms, resembling delicate violet-coloured veils, hung in the dense pall of the clouds. There were far flashes of lightning, and the subdued roar of distant thunder, rapidly growing louder as the storm approached. Unable to escape a drenching, we paused a moment to wonder at the sight; to marvel - and shrink a little too - at the wild, incessant lightning. The peaks themselves seemed to be tumbling together, such was the continuous roar of thunder, punctuated by frequent deafening crashes.

Then the storm came down upon us. Such torrents of rain we have seldom witnessed: such gusts of driving wind! At times we could scarcely make headway against it, but after most strenuous effort we neared the village. We hoped to find shelter under a bridge, but found innumerable muddy streams running through the planks. So we resumed our plodding, slipping and sliding in the black, bottomless mud.

The storm by this time had passed as quickly as it came. Wet to our skins, we crawled into the little store and post-office combined, and found it filled with ranch hands, waiting for the weekly mail. We made a few purchases, wrote some letters, then went to a large boarding-house near by and fortified ourselves with a generous, hot supper.

There were comments by some of the men on our venture, but they lacked the true Green River tang. Here, close to the upper canyons, the unreasonable fear of the rapids gave way to a reasonable respect for them. Here we heard again of the two young men from St. Louis, and the mishaps that had befallen them. Here too we were to hear for the first time of the two Snyders, father and son, and the misfortunes that had overtaken them in Lodore Canyon, twenty years before. We were to hear more of these men later.

We made what haste we could back to our boats, soon being overtaken by a horseman, a big-hearted Swede who insisted on carrying our load as long as we were going in his direction. How many just such instances of kindliness we were to experience on our journey down the river! How the West abounds with such men! It was dark when he left us a mile from the river. Here there was no road to follow, and we found that what had been numerous dry gullies before were now streams of muddy water. Two or three of these streams had to be crossed, and we had a disagreeable half hour in a marsh. Finally we reached the river, but not at the point where we had left our boats. We were uncertain whether the camp was above or below us, and called loudly for Jimmy, but received no answer.

Emery felt sure that camp was upstream. So upstream we went, keeping back of the bushes that fringed the banks, carefully searching for a sign. After a few minutes' hunt we heard a sound: a subdued rumble, not unlike the distant thunder heard that afternoon, or of boats being dragged over the pebbles. What could it be? We listened again, carefully this time, and discovered that it came from a point about thirty feet away, on the opposite side of the bushes. It could be only one thing. Jimmy's snore had brought us home!

Hurriedly securing some dry clothes from the rubber sacks, which contained our sleeping-bags as well, we made a quick change, and slid into the beds, inflating the air mattresses with our lungs after we were inside. Then we lay down contentedly to rest.