CHAPTER VII. JIMMY GOES OVER THE MOUNTAIN
The Yampa, or Bear River, was a welcome sight to us in spite of its disagreeable whitish yellow, clay colour; quite different from the red water of the Green River. The new stream meant more water in the channel, something we needed badly, as our past tribulations showed. The recent rise on the Green had subsided a little, but we now had a much higher stage than when we entered Lodore. Quite likely the new conditions gave us six feet of water above the low water on which we had been travelling. Would it increase or diminish our dangers? We were willing, Emery and I, even anxious, to risk our chances on the higher water.
Directly opposite the Yampa, the right shore of the Green went up sheer about 700 feet high, indeed it seemed to overhang a trifle. This had been named Echo Cliffs by Powell's party. The cliffs gave a remarkable echo, repeating seven words plainly when shouted from the edge of the Yampa a hundred yards away, and would doubtless repeat more if shouted from the farther shore of the Yampa. Echo Cliffs, we found, were in the form of a peninsula and terminated just below this point where we stood, the river doubling back on the other side of the cliff. On the left side of the river, the walls fell back, leaving a flat, level space of about twenty-five acres. Here was a little ranch of which Mrs. Chew had told us. The Chew ranch lay back from the river on top of the cliffs. We found no one at home here at this first ranch, but there was evidence of recent habitation. There were a few peach trees, and a small garden, while beyond this were two buildings, - little shacks in a dilapidated condition. The doors were off their hinges and leaned against the building, a few logs being placed against the doors. Past the dooryard, coming out of a small canyon above the ranch, ran a little brook; up this canyon was a trail, the outlet to the ranch above. We camped near the mouth of the stream.
It had been agreed upon the night before, that we should endeavour to make arrangements to have Jimmy taken out on horseback over the mountains. Before looking for the ranch, however, we asked him if he did not wish to reconsider his decision to leave here. We pointed out that Jensen, Utah, was only fifty miles away, half that distance being in quiet water, and that the worst canyon was behind us. But he said he had enough of the river and preferred to see what could be done. While I busied myself about camp, he and Emery left for the ranch.
About seven o'clock that evening they returned in great spirits. They had found the ranch without any trouble nearly three miles from our camp. Mrs. Chew was there and gave them a hearty welcome. She had often wondered what had become of us. She invited the boys to remain for supper, which they did. They talked over the matter of transportation for Jimmy. As luck would have it, Mrs. Chew was going to drive over to Jensen, and Vernal, Utah, in two days' time, and agreed to take Jimmy along.
Early the next morning two boys, one about fourteen years old the other a little older, rode down from the ranch. Some of their horses were pastured across the river and they had come after these. After a short visit they got into the Edith with Emery and prepared to cross over to the pasture, which was a mile or more downstream. They were soon out of our sight. Jimmy and I remained at the camp, taking pictures, packing his belongings, and finding many odd jobs to be done. In about three hours the boys returned with their horses. The horses were quite gentle, and they had no difficulty in swimming them across. A young colt, too feeble to swim, placed its fore feet on its mother's flanks and was ferried across in that way. Then they were driven over a narrow trail skirting the cliff, 300 feet above the river. No one, looking from the river, would have imagined that any trail, over which horses could be driven, existed.
The boys informed us that we were expected at the ranch for dinner, and would listen to no refusal so up we went, although we would have to make a second trip that day. The view of the ranch was another of those wonderful scenic changes which we were to meet with everywhere in this region. The flat on which we stood was simply a pocket, shut in by the round-domed mountains, with a pass, or an opening, to the east side. A small stream ran down a mountain side, spreading over the rocks, and glistening in the sunlight. This same stream passed the ranch, and ran on down through the narrow canyon up which we had come. The ranch itself was refreshing. The buildings were new, some were under construction; but there was considerable ground under cultivation. Cattle were scattered up the valley, or dotted the rocky slopes below the mountains. A wild spot this, on the borderland of the three states. None but people of fortitude, or even of daring, would think of taking up a homestead in this secluded spot. The same rumours of the escaped prisoners had drifted in here. It was Mr. Chew who gave us the information we have previously quoted concerning the murdered man. He had found the body in the boat, in front of the post-office. He further stated that others in the mountains would not hesitate at anything to drive out those who were trying to improve a homestead as he was doing, and that it was a common event to find the carcasses of his own horses or cattle which had been ruthlessly slaughtered. This was the reason for putting the horses across the river. There they were safe, for none could approach them save by going past the ranch, or coming through Lodore Canyon.