written by Alfred Foulds to Mary Ilene Gallacher Foulds (wife
of Alfred's grandson, Thomas Charles Foulds) in 1968 when Alfred was 95
years old. Alfred died the following year. Letter found by Bob Foulds,
Alfred's great-grandson, in May, 2002 and transcribed by Bob's
sister-in-law, Lyndall Penney Foulds in December, 2003:
(note by the transcriber -- "In my transcription, I made revisions only
for the sake of clarity or comprehension. Words I could not read are
followed with a question mark or
are merely underlined blanks. Since I have never been to the area, I
some research to come up with the correct individual and place names,
I'm sure some errors are still in the account.")
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| I went into the
Big Santa Anita
Canyon in the summer of 1914 for a vacation as work was not plentiful
in L. A. I was a stonemason by trade and there was lots of
it to do in
the canyon. I stayed there; I built what was known as First
for a man. In time fall came, the business fell off, he walked
had to take over the place to get out what I had in it by paying him
what he had in it. By that I became one of the all time
the canyon. I was right across the crick of the ranger
station, so I
soon got well acquainted with the ranger and other forest service men.
The canyon was only opened up for cabin sites in 1912, so it was quite new. Once in a while someone would get lost or some kids would climb up some cliff and could not get down. Then somebody would come to the station for the ranger to get him to get them out of their trouble. If the ranger was not there, they would come to me as being the closest to this. Of course, the other men that was living there steadily or working would go and did go, but I got the most of it because I was so close to the station.
Then there [were] some people, mostly young people, climbing around cliffs [who] would fall and hurt themselves that bad they had to be carried out on a stretcher. It took all the men that were there to do that and always did. Then someone would die and had to be carried out to Sierra Madre. There was no road then, just a horse trail; everything [that] came in or out was done on pack train.
But [these things] only occurred once in a while. As a rule, things went on nice and smooth until 1922, the year of the big snow. The people came up to see the snow. It was the biggest storms [sic] I had ever seen in California before or since and a lot of them got lost or snowed in, but the ranger and the other steadys [sic] and myself got them all out without much trouble. It was all the same along the front from Mount Wilson to Mount Baldy, but no casualties. There were four or two (not sure which) boys back in the West Fork that had [not] been accounted for yet, but Johnny Oped was after them. If anybody could find them, he could. So everybody was happy and settled down thinking our trouble was over.
Then one evening Ranger Fletch came over to my place with the news that Ranger Bodine was not heard of since he left Big Horn Trail camp and that Charlton, [the] L. A. District Ranger was sending in two other rangers with snowshoes to go on through the mountains to look for him and would I go with them to show the boys how to use snowshoes. There is not much to learn about but you have got to know that I was raised in northeastern Canada [and] was as familiar with snowshoes, skates, and mogens[?] as I was with shoes. Sure, I would go, but the idea of Bodine being lost sounded like a big joke.
He had worked in that part of the country cutting trails, government work, and been ranger for several years. The idea of him being lost was out of the question. And everybody that knew him thought the same thing, but the mother was worried sick about him. Everybody else from the camp had got out and accounted for, but no Bodine. The only thing [that] could happen to him [was] that he had got disabled so he could not walk and in that case he would of froze to death and snowed under and we would not have found him anyway. But his mother was so worried and she was a very influential person in Pasadena, so between her and her friends, they put the pressure on Charlton til he had to send out the party.
The government was building the rim trail going from Newcomb Ranch around Buck, coming out Buckhorn Canyon, dropping into the Mojave Desert. They had got as far as Buckhorn Camp when the big storm stopped all work. They had had snow before, but they went on with the work, expecting it to clear up. It was getting along in March when [it] should clear up. They expected rain, but no more snow, but the unexpected happened, so they all pulled out. Bodine was their packer, packing the supplies to the camp. There was quite a crowd of men working there. Nobody had any trouble getting out, but they could not find Bodine. That's how come [they formed] the searching party.
Smith and Vile came in the next morning with snowshoes. We provisioned up at Roberts Camp. We did not take any blankets because we intended to stop at the ranger stations as we went along. The stations were only used in the summer time, but there was stoves, blankets, and wood at all of them. In the winter, they were far out; we had keys to them all. Roberts lent us one of his mules. We packed him with our packs and started out. There was only about a foot of snow from where we started. It kept getting deeper as we went on. [By the] time we got to Sturdevant's Camp it was deep, the mule up to his belly, but he was plowing in. We got half way to Newcomb's Pass [and] the mule was just making it by jumps, so the first place we came to where [we] could turn him around, we unloaded and told him "Go home, Charley," and did he go! He went down that hill like a snowplow.
We loaded up our knapsacks and went on, got over the pass, started down to West Fork. We did not go far before we got into a tangle of trees. ____ were for about a mile the trail was littered by bent-over and broke trees, mostly all oak. We crawled under and over and chopped our way through. After we got through that mess, we had good going to the West Fork ranger station. There was lots of blankets and wood. Got our supper and had a comfortable night.
Next day, we struck out for Pine Flats (Charlton Flats now). That's where we found the dead horse. He had come all [the way] from Buckhorn in that deep snow to be stopped at Pine Flats by a gate and a fence we walked over. If the horse had not plunged around there and exposed some of it we would not have seen it, but we knew it was there. We went over to the station and fixed things up for the night.
Next morning we started for Chelow [Chilao] Flats. We followed the horse's tracks for quite a while and of all the wandering that horse did, the snow was fresh. It had not rained on it. He could shove himself through, but what he got to eat from Pine Flats? There was nothing above snow but the big trees. The horse will eat good size brush if he has to. If he had just got through that fence, there was some brush sticking up here and there. He could of made [it]. He had not been there long. It snowed a little the night we stayed at the West Fork. There was none on the horse, so he must have got there some time after it stopped snowing.
So we went on to Chelow [Chilao] Flats. We came into the flats at one end. There was a cabin about a mile down and off to one side. We talked it over about going down, but it was such an unlikely place for him to hole up in and it was a big joke to us about Bodine being lost that we decided not to go and we were right. He was not there, but those boys that was lost on the West Fork, they were there. So if we had gone down, we could of got them brought up to Newcomb Cabin [and] started them back over our tracks. They could have got out by Robert's Camp where the four of us had tramped over the snow one behind the other on snowshoes [with] a night's frost on it - that would make it as hard as pavement. With the good going like they would have had, they could have made Robert's Camp in a day. The way we know they were, they had written a note, left it on the table begging the cabin owner's pardon for breaking into his cabin and eating his provisions and as soon as they got out, they would look him up and pay him for what they had done. They were going to get down to Lumer's Ranch [probably Loomis Ranch] according to the date on the note they left. The next morning that we were debating about going down that night, but they never made Lumer's Ranch. The snow was so deep it was so hard going they got exhausted and just expired right there. Johnny Oped finally found them, but the mountain lions found them first. They were in such a state that they just buried the remains right there after getting permission to do so.
We went on to Newcomb's cabin; stayed that night; next morning we went over to Sulphur Springs. There was a man by the name of Elma Hurtwick trapping there that winter. We thought that would be the likely place, but we were very skeptical. When we got within a mile or so of the place we ran into steps in the side of the hill. Knowing they led in the direction of the camp, we took off our snowshoes, walked in them. They was froze hard. It was good going. We could see them ____ all over, could not see very far, but where we could see, they were there. We got to the camp after the greetings and no Bodine.
After telling them why we were here, we wanted to know what all that nice steps [were that] we saw all over the hills and how they made them. They were their snowshoe tracks. Well, [we] would like to see the snowshoes that made such tracks. They had taken the ends out of apple boxes, nailed straps on them to tie them to their feet, nailed cement sacks around the edges [to] draw them up to their knees and adjust them to keep the snow out. They made a deep dent in the snow but they worked fine. I tried them out myself and for a makeshift [snowshoe] were very good. They fed us a good meal. We told them all the news, [then] left back to Newcomb's cabin. We got there early.
We left there next morning as soon as we could see as that would be our last cabin til we got to Buckhorn Camp, so we took off up Square Canyon. There was no use looking for trails. We just followed the canyons up til we got over the divide into Buckhorn. We got into trail camp just in time. It started to rain before we got unpacked. Up til then, the weather had been real nice: sunshine every day, cold at night - but you could not expect anything else up that high. It rained all that night and all the next day, not a downpour, but a good steady rain [with] no let up at all. Some time the next morning, it quit. I was awake at two o'clock and it was raining, then I went back to sleep and did not wake til Walver called us. That was the man who was left in care of the camp. It was sure cold, every thing frozen stiff. Then we got our breakfast, packed a lunch, got ready to start. The ranger started talking about the best way to go. There was a big flat spot below us looked to be about 4 miles across. We could see the divide that was Burkhart's Canyon on the desert side, Pleasant View Ridge just above us. It did not seem so far around that way either. I had never been over there before, did not know what was best so I offered no suggestions. If they go down in the flat what would [it] be like after a 33-hour rain and the way it rained? But if we climb up to the ridge, we could have good going all the way around. It would be quite a bit further but we would make better time as they knew what was on top but they did not [know] what was in the flat below. Smith still thought the flat would be the best but Fletcher and Jake thought the ridge would be the best. Either one would have been all right. If it had not been for the snowstorm, we would have got to Valleyarm ranger station early in the afternoon.
So we started. That was the first of our troubles. We had to start chopping footholds in the frozen snow here and there to get to the top, but we made it and was going along fine when it started to snow and blow. But it was good footing. Some places the ridge was real narrow. A couple places I got down on my knees to give the wind less hold on me. It was snowing so hard we could not see anything. That's the way it went on til about noon. The storm let up. We began to see a little more around. We came to a fairly good-looking canyon with a big pine tree in the middle of it. There was a nice easy dip in the ridge there and that big pine tree in the center of the canyon. Jake said he would know that tree anywhere. We could not see anything else around to give us our bearings. We could not see the top of the pine tree, so we started down.
We were going down fast to the desert and that's all we did know when it began to get toward night. Fletcher said as soon as we can find some, we will camp and build a fire. It was not long til we came among some trees, one that was down. We dug the snow out with our snowshoes. Jake and Fletcher chopped wood. There was only one small ax in the party. Smith was tired, so he watched us. We got a good fire, banked the snow up over the downed tree, the wind died down to gusts, but it was still snowing. After we got a good fire going it cleared or melted the snow. We had dug it down to the ground. We had a little bit of good footing. Smith just knelt down by the fire and did not move. When the gusts of wind would tear around, he would get a lot of it on him. Then the fire would melt it and it would soak in to his clothes. None of us had any waterproof clothes, but when the gusts would come, the rest of us would back up from the fire and avoid what we could before we went back. But not Smith; he took it all. I tried to get him to get up and stamp around. He just looked at me [and] said nothing. Fletcher tried to rouse him up, but he told him he was saving his strength for the long walk to the desert. I did a lot of trumping and jumping around, wallaying my arms around my body. And so the night wore on.
After a while it stopped snowing. None of us ever thought to look at the time. Then the moon came out. Jake said there it should be on the other side of us so we knew we had the wrong canyon, the canyon to the right instead of the left. That took us a long way from Burkhart Ranch, but there was nothing to do but keep on going downhill as we would get to the desert. It must have been long after midnight. The moon was so bright on the white snow that [we] could see every thing. So I said to Fletch we might as well start walking; it won't be any harder walking than jumping around here to keep warm and we will be going some place. He guessed that was the thing to do, so we roused up Smith and started.
Everything was on the slant and frozen. We could not use the snowshoes. The crust would carry us. We would break through once in a while, but not bad. Just about the time it was showing signs of daylight, the canyon narrowed down to a long steep slope and froze as hard as pavement. [The] ditch ran out to a big flat. Fletcher said, "How are we going to going to get down there?" I said, "If I have any to say about [it] we tie our snowshoes together, sit on them for a sleigh, ride them down. We will be going fast, but there is a big flat down there to slow us up." "Go on," he said, "we will follow you."
So I started off. About three-quarters or more down, there was a big pile of loose snow about 5 feet high more than half way across the canyon. Right in front of there was a big lump about 3 feet high froze hard. If it had been good daylight, we might have seen it from the top. We did not. It looks all smooth all the way down. When I got to that hard lump, I was going fast. I hit square in the middle. It threw me up in the air. I came down head first in that bunch of loose snow. I just got out of it when Fletch came down. He missed the bump, but drove hard in the loose snow about 5 feet. I helped him out, then Jake came down. He made the best of all, yet he ran into the outer edge of the loose pile. Just did get stopped without getting covered up. He had a laugh at us for getting so messed up.
Smith had not come yet. We were beginning to think we would have to go up after him. I had my back toward the top of the canyon crouched over digging snow out from around my neck when he was there. He hit the same bump I did [and] landed right on my shoulders, bounced off me into the snow pile. It was a good job that his shoulders hit mine. If he had hit me with any other part of his body, he would have been badly hurt. Fletch and Jake got him up on his feet. He was badly shaken up. They dug the snow off of him. In the tumble, we lost our ax, the brush knife handle, [and] Fletcher's gun; where they got to the Lord only knows.
Moved all the snow that we disturbed. We found the brush knife with the handle broken. The gun and ax we could not find, so we went on without them. Almost at the foot of the canyon, a tree had fallen across the canyon. The trunk was all covered with snow, but there was a lot of limbs sticking up. We did not see that from the top or I don't think I would have started. When I saw them, I felt kind [of] thankful to that snowbank for stopping me. But Jake started off on his snowshoes and he made it, but he came so close to not making [it] that all you could say [was] he did. Fletch and I decided we would chop our way out.
Fletch took Smith snow [sic] and mine and the knapsacks. They were light. We had been eating very sparing since the noon before. We had very little left. I wrapped a woolen sock around what was left of the handle of the brush knife. Making foot holes on the side of the canyon. I cut a hole, put my foot in it, reach over, cut another and so on til we got out of the canyon to the flat. Smith was groggy and that was one of the things that stopped us from following Jake down the rest of the canyon.
By the time we got down the sun was up. It was comfortable. We took off coats, shook off what snow was still on them. Took off our guns, cleaned the ______ out, took the cartridges out, wiped them all dry. But Smith sat there, did not do anything nor say a word til we were putting the cartridges back in the chambers. Then he said, "Be sure to save the last bullet for yourselves". That was the last thing I heard him say. We all had guns. Fletch insisted on us having a gun so we could signal to each other if by any chance we got separated.
So we got started. That was the nicest piece of going we had til we got to the desert. It was flat and froze hard. Smith couldn't keep up. We were carrying all of his gear, even his coat, but we had to slow down. None of knew how far back we were. We did not want to put in another hungry night in the hills.
We came to the end of the marsh. There was a nice little creek running out of it with steep sides. We followed it. We were ___. There was[n't] any footing on the sides and [we] waded the creek where when there wasn't. We were getting along all right. Got a couple of glimpses of the desert through turns in the canyon. But finally the creek got too deep to wade and sides too steep to walk on, so we had to go back to chopping foot holes again. If we had our ax, it would have been a lot easier, but the brush knife with no handle wasn't too good. But I got a sock wound around it and started out.
I took the lead with the chopping, Jake next with all the knapsacks, and Smith next, Fletch helping him along. We were not making very good time, but we were getting out. Then we came to a little flat place at the side of the creek. Right down close to the creek with a big standing cedar tree and one just as big down. Jake and I stopped there waiting for them to catch up. We were only there a few minutes when Fletch came along and said Smith had gone over the side. He was only with us a few minutes when we heard three shots in quick succession. That helped[?] so we followed the water back up the canyon. We did not go far til we came to him. He was standing in a pool up to his waist with his gun in his hand. I told him to put up his gun and work over to the side so I could get a hold of him and pull him out. He put up his gun but made no effort to move. I got hold of a bush. I had my socks with me that I had been wearing for mits. I dangled one out to him, told him to take a hold of that and I would pull him out. He just stood there and stared. I got down a little further til I touched him with the sock, then he took a hold of it. I pulled him up to the bank. Then the three of us got him out of the water and on the bank and down to the little flat.
We sat him down at the foot of the tree and got a fire started. It was a good bit of luck that that dead tree was there and down. If there was not any other wood around it was covered with snow and we needed a quick fire. Smith was tired, shivering, and no wonder. He must have been standing in that very cold water for close to half an hour. That ended any chance of him walking out.
After we got a good fire going and some more wood cut and Smith was showing no signs of coming to, Fletcher said, "Get out as fast as you can and bring ___ for he has got to be carried out. I'll stay with him and keep the fire going til you get back." That would be quite a job, for all he had to cut wood was the blade of a brush knife. If it had a handle on it it would have been bad enough. After he got all of the limbs cut up, but that was all he had then.
When we began to think about getting out, we knew it could not be very far as the last glimpse of the desert it looked close. There was a big mountain in front of us. I thought it was big and steep. Jake said, "If we go up that we will drop right down into the desert, but if we follow the creek around we have no idea where it will twist to." Fletch said, "I don't care which way you go, but get out there fast and back fast as you can." So we started up over the top.
The sun was out and had been all day and softened up the crust so that we were breaking through to our knees every step. I would break trail for a while, then Jake would. We got about half way up, stopped for to get our wind. Jake took off his knapsack, shoved his hand into it, came out with a small package of raisins. He broke it in two, gave me the half of it. I did not know he had it and by the look on his face when he brought it out, he didn't know either. We could look back at Pleasant View Ridge and [it] was still snowing there. After eating the raisins, we started off again, me in the lead. After it came Jake's turn to break trail, he only went a little way. He stopped and said he could not stand that breaking trail any more. If he had to break any more he would not be able to make [it]. It is quite a lot easier to step into another man's tracks after he made a hole for you by breaking the crust and sinking to your knees, so I did not want to have him play out so I kept on breaking trail to the top.
Looked down - Jake was sure right. There was the desert - not a bit of snow on it and we could see a few green spots with a very long and very steep hill and a wide swift stream between us and it. We did not know how deep it was, but would find that out when we got there. "Now how are we going to get down it?" Jake wanted to know. It was too steep to walk. There wasn't a bush in sight, [just] a big tree here and there. Too slushy to ride our snowshoes like we rode the other steep canyon. Too long to take a chance; if we could, we would have been running a hundred miles an hour by the time we hit the water. We could not see how high the bank was from the water. There [would] probably be a bank and a stony bottom to the stream. At the rate we would be going, we would fly off the bank, strike the bottom of the stream all rocks, and it would have been all over for Jake and Al. We had nothing to dig foot holes. We left the brush knife with Fletch to cut wood to keep Smithy warm.
I said, "Sit down, Jake, and do as I do. If this don't work, we will have to find some other place to get down." The sun had melted the snow about two or three inches on top til it was quite soft and sticky. We gathered a bunch of it between our legs, shove off, keep your legs hard down and well apart and trust to luck. We got going. That soft wet snow would pile up in front of us until it stopped us. We would crawl over the top of the heap [and] do the same thing over again. We made a good long shot every time, so it did not take long to get down.
Fortunately, the bank was low at that point, so we did not have much trouble getting stopped. The next thing was to get across the water. It did not look very deep, only in a few places. I tried it out a few places and could not make it, so I came back to shore. Got a stone as big as I could handle that would hold me down in the water. "Get yourself a rock, Jake, and follow me. I got a place we can make it." Jake was getting pretty tired, but he was game - he didn't hesitate. So we got across the help of the rocks holding us down in the water.
As we were coming down the hill [we] saw this house and barn close to the bank, but no sign of life at all. The bank was high on that side, but they had cut a wagon road in the bank so they could get down to get water. We thought we were at Big Rock Creek, but found out later that it was Pallate [?] Creek. We went up to the house - nobody home. But the door was open. It was just sundown and our troubles was over. There was a good stove and wood, two lamps, and a lantern all half full of coal oil, a lot of blankets [and] some clothes. So we got a fire started in the stove and a lamp lighted. I had a waterproof matchbox and some tobacco in it in my knapsack. It was a good job I did or we would have put in a cold wet night. While I was getting a fire started, Jake was hunting around for something to eat. He found a little bit of rice in one package, some oatmeal in another, two or three other little bits of breakfast food. We dumped them all together in a frying pan and stewed them all up. There was some knives and forks [and] spoons, so we ate it out [of the] frying [pan] with spoons. It don't sound good, but we ate it and wished for more. But before that, we wrung out our clothes, hung them around the fire to dry, put on some of the clothes that was there while our own were drying. When they were dry [we] put our own clothes on and went to bed. There were four bunks, then more blankets and quilts than we needed.
Woke up early next morning. Jake looked up while he was still in bed. There was a little cupboard over the door. He got up to see what was in it. There was a big can full of brown beans. If we had only known they were there, we would not of gone to bed hungry. So we got out those beans. We did not take time to cook them good. We ate enough to get started on. Didn't know how long before we would get anything else.
We got started again. The brush was high. We could not see over it. Then we came to a wagon track. We knew that could lead somewhere, so we followed that. It led away from the house. It was not long before we came to a road [that] had not been traveled since the snow went off. Before long, [we] came to [a] road that had been traveled. Boy, it felt good to be walking on level ground with no snow! I don't know how long we were on that road when we came to a sign: Burkhart's Ranch. So we knew we were close to something tangible. We followed that about a mile and there was the ranch that we should have been at two days before. The owner was home. We told our trouble and how we wanted to get to the ranger station as soon as possible. While we were talking, he was cooking up ham and eggs. We told [him] never mind that, all we wanted was to know how to get to Lewy Dors. He said' "Eat your breakfast and I will take you over in my car." While we were eating, he got out his 1912 Ford and as soon [as we] swallowed the last bite, we were on our way.
I almost forgot...besides ham, eggs, toast, and applesauce, he stewed up a pan full of deer meat that was two years old. He had planted a apple orchard the deer came down to from the hill and he could not keep them away. So he called in the ranger, showed him what they were doing. So he told him to shoot them and he did. [He] kept on shooting them. He did not know whether he got them all, but what was left stayed. He canned the meat that he could not eat. He had been eating on it for two years and still had a lot left. He did not get them all for there is lots of deer in that country yet, although we did not see any wildlife of any kind all the way through the mountains and no tracks but mountain lions, only them around Chelow [Chilao].
Well, to our trip in the Ford...we just got out on the Muir Road when we met Lewy Dors' wife going to Palmdale to get the doctor. Smith had died shortly after we left. Fletch had made his way down, got to Shoemaker's Ranch. His feet was frozen. He was near blind and thoroughly exhausted. She said, "Go on over. They will tell you all about it. I got to get the doctor." So we went over. They had him in bed in a dark room. They did not want to let us in. [He] heard us and called us in. He wanted to know how we were, if we were all right. We assured him we were all right and as soon as he was rested up, he could tell how he got out. We would tell him what we done the same.
About an hour after we left, Smith jumped up, kicked the fire all over, started [to] kick snow on it. Fletch was up at the other end of the downed tree cutting wood. He was expecting to stay all night. He wanted to get all he could cut before dark. With that brush knife with no handle he had a big job. He ran down, grabbed him, stopped him from putting the fire out entirely. He got him quieted down, sat him up against the tree again, but he never said a word, just stared up at him with [a] glassed sleepy look. So he got the fire together again and going good. He went back to his wood chopping, but he got on the other side of the tree so he could watch him. It wasn't long before he did the same thing again, but he was no so wild and Fletch got to him quicker so he did not harm the fire so much. So he stayed with him a little while. He thought he had gone to sleep, so he went back to his wood. In a little, he got up again, made a few passes at the fire and fell down. Fletch came back, got him back against the tree, but never a word out of him in all that time. He watched for a while, then went back to his wood chopping, taking a look every once in a while. He noticed he had lolled over to one side. He thought he would straighten him out and make him more comfortable. As he moved him, he just flopped around, just let him do as he liked. Still had that glassy stare. [Fletch] felt his pulse; didn't have any. He was dead. So he straightened him out, watched him til he was sure he was dead.
There was no use of him staying there and dying, too. So he started out, but he followed the stream down. He kept on the west side of the stream, so he did not have it to cross when it got big. Long near dark, he came to a cabin. It was padlocked. He got his brush knife behind the hasp and tore it off. There was a stove and wood, lamps with oil in them, a bed, and blankets. He found a can of corned beef [and] a package of graham crackers. He ate them and dried off, then went to bed.
He got up next morning; his feet was swollen and his eyes sore. He could hardly see . He had eaten every thing he could find the night before, so there was nothing for him to do but start out. There [was] a road leading from the cabin. He followed it out til he came to a well-used road. His feet got so sore he was down on his hands and knees. He was not making very good time, but he expect[ed] to come to something pretty soon. Then a man came along on horseback. He looked down at Fletch and said "Say, fellow, I didn't notice you at the party last night, but you must have been there. I thought I had a big ___ load on myself, but I was able to get on my horse and ride away." Fletch rolled over to sitting and told he was not drunk, that his feet was froze and he could not walk. Then the man noticed his badge. "Are you a ranger?" He told him he was and him and three others had been in the mountains hunting for another lost ranger. "Holy cow," he exclaimed. He jumped off his horse, got Fletch on it, and took him to Shoemaker Ranch and they took him over to the ranger station. [Then] we got together.
Well, it was too late to go on after Smith that night. Lewy Dore got a party together to make an early start in the morning. He asked Jake and I about the place. We told them all we could. They looked at our tracks come down to the hill. There was two young fellows in the party that said they had hunted and trapped for years in those hills; they knew just where the body was. They also knew where the cabin was that Fletch stayed that night. They would go there and take his trail up the creek. They left at daylight and were back by noon, so it could not have been very far. I asked one of the fellows just how far it was. He said eight or ten miles, but you can't tell about mileage in a hilly country like that. With no trails, you have to go by time. Sometimes you can make four miles an hour and other times you will be lucky to make two without any snow to bother you. I offered to go with the party. Lewy Dore said, "You fellows had done enough; to stay around, rest up til Fletch got able to travel," and I was not hard to persuade. While the party was up the creek after the body, Jake and I went over to the store. It was not far from the ranger station. There was a young woman running [the] store. She said, "If you boys need whiskey for medical purposes I have some here." Jake said" "I do, look at my arms." I said, "I could find a lot of things wrong with me in a case like that." She gave us a nice big smile, but no whiskey. It was Prohibition times, but there was still lots of whiskey if you had the price.
So we hung around til Fletch's eyes got so he could see and we checked on our injuries. Fletch had frozen feet, almost blind. Smith was dead. Jake' legs were swelled up big from his ankles to his knees and arms from his wrists to his elbows, but he had no pain. He looked like Popeye. I had the tips of my fingers froze, not bad. I would not have known it if my fingernails had not turned brown. That is one for ___ 33 years in northeastern Canada where 65 below is not uncommon, outdoor work all the time on the farm, most of that in the lumber woods and never got tetched with the frost and got my fingers froze in southern sunny California. Fletch's feet still hurt, but he had no more walking to do, so we started for L.A.
They drove us to Palmdale.
the train [to] L.A. and a taxi to head office where we made our
There was a lot of emotions about Smith's condition, how he was not
____ or broken. He did not lose his hat. I wondered
how he had tumbled
all the way down that bank and not lost his hat. It was
some kind of
woolen affair that fit him tight. It was a long
tumble. He must have
been coming fast when he struck the water. That would jar
him up badly.
But there was no blood, no broken bones. That was all we could
them, but they didn't satisfied [sic]. But that's all we could
that was the end. We all went back to our homes.
The sad part of it is that it was all for nothing. When we got back to Big Santa Anita canyon, they got word that Bodine was in L.A. and had been there all the time. Instead of going home to Pasadena which was his home, he went right through to Los Angeles, never thinking that anybody would worry about him being lost. It was about eight hours after we started that they got word that Bodine was all right, but if we had not been so sure that he was all right, we would [have] gone to that cabin in Chelow [Chilao] and started those boys out on our trucks back to Robert's Camp and the trip would not have been for nothing.Fletcher Haywood was the ranger in Santa Anita canyon and boss of the job. Lewy Dore was ranger at Valley Forge. Jake Vile was a ranger at Mount Wilson. Smith, the man that died, [was] another ranger. The reason I was there was to show them all how to handle snowshoes. None of the rangers had ever been on them before. Then Ranger Bodine and I were close friends and there could be a possible chance of him getting strayed off in a blinding snowstorm. Although it was hard to believe, I was quite willing to go when the head of the Angeles Forest at Los Angeles asked me to go. When Bodine broke camp, instead of going to his home in Pasadena, the whole lot of them went to L.A. for a good time and had it.