BLTC Press Titles

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll

Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle

Alone in the wilderness

by Joseph Knowles


The sportsmen and professional men who were interested in my departure joked with me, and laughingly said that they would see me back again that night. Everyone was in the best of spirits.

Shortly after nine o'clock we all left the camps for the opposite side of King and Bartlett Lake.

The drizzle had increased to a steady downpour, and the brown suit of clothes which I wore became wet through.

The time for my entering the forest was about ten o'clock.

The boats landed at the foot of what is known as the Spencer Trail, which rises straight up the side of Bear Mountain and winds its way up over the crest and down the other side for five miles through the woods to Spencer Lake.

"Here's your last cigarette," cried someone, offering me the smoke as I began to take off my clothes.

I took it and lit it, and then went on undressing. Presently I stood naked.

I took two or three final puffs of the cigarette, tossed it to the ground, and began to shake hands with everyone.

My body was already glistening with the rain but it did n't bother me any.

I waved my hand as a last farewell to human companionship for two months, and started up the trail. At the top of the incline, where, in another moment, I would be out of sight among the trees, I paused and waved once more to the waiting crowd below. Then I struck out straight along the trail.

I had left civilization!

I don't remember a great deal of that fivemile trip. My mind was filled with all kinds of thoughts. I kept saying to myself, "I shall keep on going straight ahead into the woods, where I shall not see anyone or talk with anyone for two months." Then the realization BREAKING THE LFTT LINK. ENTERING THE WOODS AT THE FOOT OF SPENCER TRAIL, AUGUST 4, 1913

would come over me that what food and comfort I obtained would have to come through my own resourcefulness.

By now I had reached the ridge of Bear Mountain and swung along down the other side, where I easily recognized the lay of the land, though I had not seen it for ten years. Presently I saw the surface of Spencer Lake through the trees below me.

In order to avoid the Twin Camps I swung off the trail to the right, crossing over deadfalls and plunging through the tangled underbrush.

When I reached Spencer Lake I looked across that sheet of water, with its background of endless trees that rose up, up, up, and then to the sky line, way beyond, and saw a rugged picture. The sweep of rain hung like a filmy curtain between me and the distant mountain forest, softening the lights and shadows of everything.

For fully fifteen minutes I stood there in the rain and studied that wild stretch of nature. Three ducks flew around in a circle over the water.

I wasn't cold even then. Unconsciously I began to walk slowly along the Spencer shore, wondering just what I should do first.

To save my life I couldn't seem to make any connected plans. So I wandered aimlessly along for some time, finally reaching a point some distance below the Kempshall Camp.

Then I faced the heavy growth of woods and plunged in. I had no particular destination; I was just going anywhere.

Perhaps I had gone two miles when I found myself in a spruce thicket. By now the afternoon was well along, and I hadn't done a thing but wander about!

I had thought about building a fire, but saw there was little chance with everything dripping wet about me. However, I decided to make a try. First I hunted for a good piece of pine root to be used as a base; then a stick for a spindle. Next I ripped off a piece of bark of the cedar. I tore the inner bark into small strips, which I braided into a kind of rope. This I looped about the spindle, tying the ends to a bow-stick I had snapped off a dead tree.

I had to get my fire through friction, caused by whirling the spindle on the pine base by sawing back and forth with my crude fire-bow.

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