Friday, September 3, 2010

Chap 5 Travels by the Rails

Louise had been up getting the kids together and cooking breakfast. The small cast iron stove they had been carrying was a godsend for Louise. It could be set down on the ground and it just high enough she didn’t have to bend over it like a campfire. On the back set the dutch oven baking biscuits, a skillet of bacon going and another griddle for hotcakes. It saved so much time.
After the stock and other animals were secured the aroma was throughout camp and after gathering up the stock there were some hungry men. They quickly washed up and found their plates. There was a stack of hotcakes waiting for them, bacon and coffee and Louise was frying some eggs.
Grub boxes or cargo boxes made good seats and soon the camp was quiet as the breakfast was disappearing into some ravenous mouths. There was only the clatter of utensils banging on plates and the slurp of coffee to break the silence. A small bucket of warm water was setting near the stove to use for dishwashing. Coffee cups were refilled and there was discussion of how to proceed.
The fog had settled in pretty thick, the rail town was no longer visible to the west and they could only see the outline of the trees lining the sand creek. It was decided that Evan and one of his brothers would saddle up their horses and look for the missing ox while the rest would continue westward. The ruts of the trail were very clear and one of the prospectors would ride ahead on point to make sure the trail was okay and scout the direction.
The process of breaking camp started and the wagons were hitched up and the gear was secured. It would be great weather fro travel. The sun was blocked by the fog and it was cool. If it hadn’t been for the wandering ox they would be able to make good time. The wagons headed out and Evan and his brother Vern rode off looking for the missing ox.
It was nice traveling today as they walked by the wagons, no dust was being kicked up and the sun was not beating on them. The children were in a playful mood and scampered around the wagons running off the pick a flower growing by the trail. Ruts were very clear and as they rolled up the rise the ruts had been washed deeper by the rain. As they traveled up the hill the sun became brighter and soon they were out of the fog and under clear blue skies. Cresting the rise they could look across the distance and see other hills poking above the fog. It was a thin layer of fog and once out in the sun the intense heat of the day could be felt.
It was a short distance across the ridge and they would drop back into the valley and the cool shade of the fog. The descent began and they had to sit on the wagons to use the brakes to help hold them from running over the oxen. Down the hill they rolled curling to the left.
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