There then remained open, to any animal that might enter the enclosure, only the narrows leading into Sand Lake, where I and the camera would be hidden.
It was night when we had finished and returned to camp. Camp was made snug against the keen wind and bitter frost by building the usual barricade of spruce boughs and snow in a half-circle, backing the wind; and within the circle, just beyond the length of an outstretched man, a great log-fire was built to blaze merrily (and to die out long after the fur-blanketed forms had gone to sleep). All the ten sled-dogs were tied up "this night-an unusual proceeding-to keep them from wandering to the traps on Philip's line, and from chasing any Caribou that they might scent in the night. They were then given the whole of the Caribou that had been killed, and twenty fish-a repast intended to keep them drowsily contented and quiet on the morrow.
The following morning we were moving about camp before daylight, preparing in earnest for deer-stalking. Any of the dogs that showed inclination to howl or whimper was securely muzzled with rope : the morning fire burned low : the ordinary quiet voices of the Indians sank to hushed whisperings-those precautions even although our camp was well back from the shore and in the shelter of forest where there was but slight likelihood of smoke or sound reaching the senses of any animals that might approach.
A hide for the camera and myself was built of spruce boughs on the outskirts of the point of land, and commanding the lake at the entrance to the narrows where the Caribou were expected to pass. The hide was built as small and insignificant as possible, and the outside-that which might be apparent from the lake-was sprayed with snow until it resembled the natural surroundings. The first two hours of daylight passed uneventfully, and it was not until about 10 a.m. that two Caribou were sighted. These animals came on to the ice south of the narrows -they had come off the shore past the camera -but the cunning Indians had foreseen the possibility of this, and a few spruce boughs barred the narrows, some distance beyond my outlook. At this fence the two Caribou were turned, and after a long wait they began to approach the hide. Of the leading buck I obtained one good exposure, and though slight was the click of the release the animal heard it, and swung round as if he had been shot at: there he paused for a second, proud head up and great eyes alarmed, while I remained motionless; but in a moment more he turned and retraced his steps, smelling the ground suspiciously, while his companion followed.
After this there was a long period of patient waiting-not an easy matter in the numbing cold-and it was noon when the next Caribou were seen. It was then that a small herd of a dozen came on to the lake, and within the enclosure, from the west shore. They were very nervous, probably because of the " fence," and they made one or two short rushes as if they meant to risk galloping through the barrier that lay across the lake-only to come to a halt in the end, and to look about wonderingly. The wind was from the north, hence their inclination was to get beyond the fence across the lake, but each time they " funked " crossing between those harmless bits of spruce. Twice the buck that was the leader came half the distance forward to the narrows only to turn back again to the northwest, and mingle with the others in frightened bewilderment. Finally the buck made up his mind, and came for the narrows at a long-reaching trot, neck outstretched, head up and horns lying back over the shoulders. Without a halt he came right on, and I allowed him to pass unmolested-he was well ahead of the others- then made some exposures of the following line of does and fawns that filed past the hide. They were fine fat deer, Philip decided, after they were past-he had, in his keenness, come quietly beside me to watch also-and he ran back to camp for my rifle to shoot at them, but luckily they were gone ere he returned and he couldn't spoil, by the noise of shooting, what chance there might be of other animals approaching. However, it was then getting late, and the light was failing, and we were on the point of leaving off for the day, when Philip, who had been moving around the shore a little way, came to tell me that a single fawn was approaching. This animal walked all along the fence, smelling the ground where the others had previously passed, and uncertain where to go. Finally it got on the fresh track leading to the narrows and came ahead quickly. As the animal passed I made two exposures, though the light was by then very poor. A little beyond me Eaglefoot dropped the poor brute, for food was wanted for the dogs ; but one felt one would have been glad if it could have run on, and found the herd it had strayed from. It paid the full penalty for loitering behind.
It was now 3 p.m. and too dark for further camera work. It had been snowing lightly all day, and the light was not very good for making rapid exposures. However, what was really worrying me was the action of the intense frost on the focal-plane shutter. Twice it had absolutely stuck in the middle of an exposure, and twice, also, it had refused to act at all when beautiful Caribou pictures were possible. I was beginning to fear the shutter was going to spoil everything, and that I wanted a very simple instrument to replace this complicated mechanism, to which tiny frost particles clung and jammed the finer workings. Over the evening camp-fire I spent an hour trying to prevent any recurrence of a hitch in the shutter-workings. Before the heat of the fire it worked perfectly, and I laid it aside in the end with renewed hopes for the morrow.
The early hours of night were employed cutting wood, feeding the sled-dogs, and cooking a large meal of Caribou meat. Then we lay for an hour or two before turning in, the meditative Indians smoking, and from time to time piling fresh logs on the huge fire. Over the fire, in the upper flames, hung the ghost-like, blackened head of a Caribou, spiked on to a long green staff that was stuck back in the snow to hold the head up in position-and this was the manner of roasting our final tit-bit before going to sleep for the night. They are glorious, those night fires of a winter camp, not only warmth and light, but cheerful withal-the home-fire of the trail, where there is real content in the mind of the wayfarer as he watches the flames that incessantly shoot upward in bright spiral lines to wriggle like snakes into space or snap into tiny floating sparks which die out in the blackness and chillness of the surrounding night.