It snowed heavily overnight, and we awoke in the morning to thrust our heads through the foot of snow that covered us in our sleeping bags : the thermometer had dropped also overnight ; and altogether it was in no way pleasant in camp before we got a roaring fire kindled. Fire and tea and breakfast soon warmed us up; and about daylight the sky cleared, and the snow, while a strong biting north wind sprung up.
At breakfast I amused and interested Philip in telling him of a strange dream I had had in the night. It was this : He (Philip) was driving his dog-team in a strange foreign country, when, while he stopped to shoot at something, his dogs ran away with the driverless sled, and it was finally seen careering through the streets of a great city. At this time, by arrangement of the strange freak settings with which dreams are embodied, Eaglefoot and I were coming along a side street in the same strange city when we saw Philip's dog-team tearing past on the main street like animals possessed; both of us gave chase. At a corner, where the sled slewed awkwardly, some bales and blankets were thrown out, and with those the exhausted Eaglefoot remained while I careered on. Finally I caught the dogs, but when I came to drive them they would not go. The difficulty-in the dream- seemed to be all because I could not recall the name of Philip's lead-dog. Think as I might I could not recall it. Meantime crowds had collected who had never seen a sled and dog-train before. They were strange, tall, delicate people who spoke no words I could understand. In the end I led the dogs back to where Eaglefoot waited, and was again loading up the bales and blankets so that we might go in search of Philip-when I awoke . . . and my first conscious thought was intensely concentrated on Musquaw-the name of Philip's lead-dog. The old Indian was intensely interested in this yarn. In many ways Indians have the naive receptive intellect of children.
But, to return to the work of the day. The drifting snow on the lake had, when we looked out from our hide after breakfast, partly covered the spruce boughs of the " deer fence," and our first task was to travel round them all, lifting them, shaking them, and replacing them. After this we had a very long wait before any Caribou came, probably because our movements around the " fence " had frightened any that chanced to be in the immediate neighbourhood at the time. However, about noon, a single male Caribou came slowly on to the lake from the forest on the west shore, and then, apparently surprised, stood long, watchfully alert. Philip, who was with me at the camera, remarked in a whisper, " Him not alone, that's why he wait," and sure enough a little later a doe and fawn followed out of the forest, whereupon the buck lay down to rest on the lake surface. But when the others joined him they walked around uncertainly, not seeming to find the resting place comfortable, and so, in a little time, the buck rose and led on across the lake to the east shore, where all lay down in content. They were now, however, too comfortable for my liking, for after more than an hour's wait at the camera hide, the animals still showed no inclination to move. At last it was decided that Philip should make a wide detour through the timber on the east shore with a view to getting beyond the Caribou, and disturb and drive them toward the narrows. When Philip got round into position (he afterwards gave me the details of his movements) he snapped a small dry twig. Instantly the buck's head, which had been resting, turned in toward the body, flashed sharply upright, and he looked steadfastly in the direction from whence the sound had emanated. Again Philip snapped a twig, and at this the buck rose and faced the sound, then fully satisfied that danger lurked in the wood he half-turned and commenced to trot in my direction. Soon the others rose also and followed, but not before the buck was well away in the lead.
The buck passed very close to the camera, and I repeatedly tried to make exposures, but, alas! the shutter was frosted and refused to work. Then followed the doe and fawn, and renewed heartbreaking failure on the part of the camera, while the unalarmed animals even approached the hide to investigate the click of the shutter release, a sound which was apparently curious to them.
This was the end of patience. What use to continue ? It needed no further trial to teach me that my focal plane shutter was useless in the intense cold. For the time I must give up. If I lived to return in other years I would know what to bring to overcome the cold.
So the dogs were harnessed into their traces, and we prepared to leave for Reindeer Lake. But before vacating camp the wily Philip set two traps-one for Marten at the foot of a tree, and one for Fox at the remains of a Caribou carcass. The observant old native had seen Marten tracks on the snow near camp, and he told me "he come seek about camp after we go, that's their way."
About 3.30, when dusk was falling, we led the dogs from the forest to the lake and, muffled in our robes, started grimly homeward over withering snowfields. No one spoke-it was too cold -and the dogs laboured on unguided, knowing the home trail, while their deep breathing blew back and froze whitely to their shaggy coats.
Caribou and Caribou pictures were soon forgotten ; indeed, every ambition seemed trifling -everything sxcept the awful cold and the boundless, ice-locked land.