Landmarks

A party of men accompanying the writer followed a seven-mile trail on foot to a cabin at the base of a steep hillside. On this slope lay one hundred and sixty acres of Government timberland which they must examine in order to qualify as witnesses for one of their number who desired to buy it. After stowing their packs in the cabin, they followed the guide nearly two miles through the virgin forest, until they reached the farthest corner of the quarter section. This had been carefully marked out by Government surveyors a few years before. The party had gone but a short distance up the trail when they crossed the snow line, and the rest of the way was over deep drifts which obscured the course. On their return, they set their direction so as to intersect the trail which they would follow to the camp. Unfortunately the heavy snow so concealed the path that the guide failed to recognize it, and not until the party was nearly exhausted by climbing for miles over fallen trees and heaped up rocks, did they stop for a council.

The guide stoutly maintained that a continuation of their course would bring them out near the starting point. One of their number, however, had lived in the timber country for many years, and as a college president he had learned how to convince men, so he presented his thoughts clearly and ably. He described so well the relation of the slopes over which they were climbing to the topography of the country at large as his auditors knew it, that they chose him for their leader. He took them in a different direction and presently brought them to a surveyor's monument. Then after an hour's hard climbing they reached a brook which flowed by their cabin. Soon they were seated around a cheerful fire eating a well earned meal.

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Poem
The Ascent
April 20, 1918
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