30. Bering Lake to Seattle

August 28, 2011

The 1905 US Geological Survey trip to Alaska inspired Hayes with natural beauty and disgusted him with human folly.  By the end of the trip, the generally mild, hard working young man from Oregon finds himself pushed too far by a shirker named Small under the protection of the trip’s leaders Martin and Maddren.  Hayes did not break his hand, and Small couldn’t see through swollen eyes to strike back with the axe he grabbed – but Hayes knows this will be his last USGS trip to Alaska.

The map below won’t appear in an email.  The current chapter appears as the green path down from Alaska, preceded by the blue  up to Alaska, and followed by the short (funny) pink path around Northern Washington State.

]

Click here to download chapters 1-30 on Google Earth.  

Here and There Synopsis:

30.1 Wolverines and Colonialists

August 12, 1905

To this far place in Alaska come newspapers from Seattle in which Brooks “somewhat drew a long bow.” Hayes reads with interest about Brooks and Martin exploring the ice fields, climbing mountains, and rowing in swift water and ocean breakers – why, he even describes shooting white water with Martin. “Strange, but I was not mentioned at all. But I do wish the reading public could have seen Messrs. Brooks and martin walking down the bank while I turned the nose of the boat upstream and shot the water all alone… Martin doesn’t mention this article to me.”

Hayes is up Canyon creek cooking for Hill and McDonald who are surveying around the nearby ranges. The rest of the survey team remains camped near Behring Lake. They’ve measured a 47 square mile coal area east of Copper River flats. If these rich fields are to be exploited, a deepwater port must be located; a coast and geodetic survey boat sounds Controller Bay while the survey team works.

Unloading on the immense flats along the coast can be quite dangerous. Once while lining a boat against the rip tide, quicksand sucked Martin in to his waist. Hayes and Hamilton got to him on oars and the false bottom of the boat, literally pulling him out of his boots. (Hopefully not the ones in the picture in segment 28.) “He was covered with mud and slime, and was badly frightened. Martin is always having marvelous adventures.”

In the hills, Hayes encounters a new animal, “a fairly formidable beast called a carcajou, or wolverine.”

Carcajou or Wolverine

Wolverines are the curse of trappers. “One will follow a trap line for miles destroying bait, springing traps, eating any fox or marten in a trap and will rob a cache, spraying a frightful scent over such goods as he may not eat.” A member of the skunk family, “the Indians say they can whip a bear.”

Hayes’ comments on colonialism are contradictory and always fascinating. On this date he writes a long rant beginning, “The Indians are better than white men. They never steal from us, are quiet, mind their own affairs, but are debauched by the renegade whites who have brought drink and disease that is rapidly wiping out the entire people.” Noting that still habitable native houses stand empty near the beaches, he continues, “So it is and always has been before the Anglo-Saxon. He decimates the people aboriginal to the countries he conquers by whiskey, by debauching their womenfolk and by crowding them all off into corners considered worthless, where they lose heart and soon perish.” Then he goes on about how the Spaniards enslaved the Mexicans and South Americans – inadvertently hardening them for survival – and the methods of the Catholic church: conversion followed by execution to prevent backsliding. He ends with, “The Anglo-Saxon is not so concerned about the native’s soul, but does get everything else he has.”

30.2 Naming Berg Lake

August 30,1905

Hayes together with some in the survey party “have crossed the range to Behring Glacier, where there is a log cabin beside the ice field and where we can see away into infinity across the ice. It is the most majestic scene I have ever witnessed.” On days of unusual clarity long comet tails of windblown snow can be seen howling off Mounts St. Elias and Logan more than one hundred miles distant but looking more like ten.

Mt. St. Elias

Mt. Logan

Martin is “chary” of christening the unnamed peaks nearby; he’s afraid “He might offend the powers that be in Washington if he did.” Already such luminaries as Foraker, Dall, and Tillman – all men in positions to give Martin his job – denominate peaks nearby.

Maddren, the fossil collector, not so chary as Martin, names a small lake half a mile below their cabin Berg Lake. “Martin received his subordinate’s decision with shrieks of silence, and it was felt by all assembled here.” Martin’s reaction aside, the name seems apt. Every night gigantic bergs break off the glacier thundering into the lake sometimes roaring for minutes on end when successive bergs break from the main mass of ice.

30.3 Winter Coming

September 6, 1905

Now Hayes and several others are camped, “high above the gorge of Canyon Creek and at the timberline.” In early September this high up, winter approaches. “Daily the snow line creeps down the big range to the north of us, and in a few days will be at the ice fields for the winter.” Returning up the hill from a hike to the main camp for supplies, Hayes saw that wolverine tracks covered his own downward footprints on the entire path.

September 10,1905

A foot of snow has fallen and the college boys “take it good naturedly.” Some of the prospectors are clearing out for the winter, carrying one hundred pound packs down the rugged mountains. Hayes’ main concern is keeping the large outfit fed. He must pack in food from base camp a thousand feet below, “and it keeps me humming to feed them and get food in. They don’t seem to realize it either.”

30.4 Back at Berg Lake

September 26, 1905

Hayes and company return the cabin above Berg Lake for the geologists to mop up work here. “Nightly now the bergs break off the glacier with tremendous roarings, and the grinding after, when the newly born berg grinds among its fellows, is awesome to hear.” New ice an inch thick forms on the lake at night only to be broken to bits every time a new chunk of ice breaks from the main sheet. Hayes speculates that, “It must be this lake that sometimes breaks out down Behring river and floods the entire country.”

Berg Lake breaking down the gorge in 1956

Hayes laughs at the engineers who all carry gold watches they love to show off to the impoverished miners. But when anyone wants to know the correct time, they all ask Hayes who owns a dollar Ingersoll whose timekeeping improved after falling to the floor where it was stepped on by some heavy Alaskan in hob-nailed boot.

30.5 “Too bad one has to have trouble.”

October 5, 1905

The reader will recall a member of the survey party named Small who was hired in the same cook/handyman capacity to the crew as Hayes. For the past several months Small, under the protection of the topographer Maddren, has been shirking his duties and bullying Hayes. Maddren has convinced Martin that Hayes is responsible for shortages of food – when Maddren himself took a good bit from Hayes’ allotment. “Other than these three, Martin, Maddren, and Small, I get on well with the rest of the crowd.”

These very three, Martin, Maddren, and Small, moved together with Hayes, “up river to another camp, where are some miners coming and going, together with their Indian packers.” Feeling covered by Martin and Maddren, Small began berating Hayes before some of the miners packing out. “We came to blows a couple of mornings since, and Small is in bed with both eyes shut, while I have a badly smashed left hand. Small lead with his nose, breaking my thumb, but it was worth it. Martin rushed to the rescue of his protégé, who got an axe, but could not see to use it.”

The “grizzled miners” readily size up the situation and the two men. One asks Small, “What’s the matter with your eye? Limb strike it?” (Hayes’ quote.) Small, in reply: “Yes, Struck me right hin the heye!” (Hayes’ quote.) Then the grim faced Alaskan glancing at his mates: “Gee! Must have give you a hell of a lick!” (Hayes’ quote.) But Martin cannot immediately judge the situation fairly, “He promises to see me out of the country, has already secured the services of a Chilean in case.”

After a couple of days with Hayes doing all the “slop-up jobs” and Small recovering his sight, Martin, Maddren, and the two combatants rejoined the main party at Behring Lake. When the rest of the crew “proclaimed their joy at Small’s take down,” Martin finally realized he’d “backed the wrong horse.” One of the company, Billy Hill went so far as to quote scripture “Behold, he that seeketh earnestly shall find!” (Hayes’ quote.) All but the two bosses had seen Small’s bullying and are glad Hayes evened the score.

30.6 An Apology of Sorts

October 10, 1905

With winter coming in earnest the entire crew waits at Wingham Island for the steamer Excelsior.

Steamer Excelsior

Martin has apologized for his attitude but Hayes sees only a feeble attempt to pick the strongest side: all in the party except Maddren back Hayes, and Martin wants to appear their leader. “Small tried to smirk and make up, but I turned from him.” Hamilton or maybe some of the rodmen from among the college students are all right, but as for the rest, “[I] never want to see any of them again.”

30.7 Sitka

October 14,1905

The survey party barely made the Excelsior, rowing out in a blinding gale. Once aboard Hayes found a cache of apples and pears under the pillow in his four-man cabin. “The steward had swiped these off the ship to sell to passengers, and we scoffed the lot free.”

At a stopover at Yakutat, one of the young survey members, Bill McDonald, “got a crush on an Indian maid named Judith Johnson.” Judith returned his affection and only the ship’s departure cut short a budding romance.

“Sitka is as picturesque as ever.” As when he had been here before, Hayes is favorably impressed with the Indian school. The students from Ketchikan to Nome and Behring Strait, “seem an earnest lot, and surely some good will come out of this school.” Technical training and book work for the boys, domestic science for the girls.

30.8 Adrift in Seattle

October 24, 1905

At Seattle, Hayes parts from the survey crew. “Martin … has been trying to square things. But it is the end, I know that. I would be afraid to go with him again.”

Immediately following his first survey trip to Alaska in 1903, Hayes: turned down a place at Stanford; learned of his father’s death; sailed fruitlessly to Liverpool and back to Galveston; walked across the Southwestern United States desert; broke rocks in Tacoma, and hopped logs for a winter in Eureka. He calls all that “My last disaster after leaving Alaska.” Fearing a repeat, he’s determined to save what he earned this past summer in Alaska.

He knows what he doesn’t want to do – but, “what to do, what to do, is always the question for a wanderer, and I am one at heart, even if I am not so good at it. I’m 27 now, and have not made much of a splash in the world. Perhaps I never will.”

Advertisements

29. Seymour Narrows to Behring Lake

August 20, 2011

After missing the 1904 trip, Hayes catches on with Martin for the 1906 survey trip to Alaska.  Hayes serves as boatman, cook, and general camp roustabout for a much larger party in 1906.

The map below won’t appear in an email.  The current chapter appears as the blue path up the Alaska coast, preceded by the pink  from California, and followed by the green south back down the Alaska coast.

Click here to download chapters 1-29 on Google Earth.  

Here and There Synopsis:


29.1 Mapping Wingham Island

May 26, 1905

After the long trip north from Seymor Narrows, Hayes and the party land at Wingham Island to do some mapping. “We have instead of the light and handy skiff I induced Martin to bring last trip, a heavy dory that requires all one’s strength to row even in still water. Against these tide rips and river currents it is going to be impossible to handle.”

Big Fishing Dory

Hayes is to cook for the party, assist the topologists and geologists in their daily work, and must “look after the boats, packing, wood getting and so on.” The other assistant, Small, should have the same assignment but has the favor of Maddren so, “It is the usual thing. If one has influence as this man has, work is left to another.”

29.2 Fossils at Behring River

June 2, 1905

Martin says he and Hayes will press on to Manatuska, “But I wonder, for these college boys are helpless to do anything but eat and complain.”

The fossils in the nearby hills indicate a tropical climate reigned here at one time: Hayes found some magnolia leaves and Martin found palm fronds that will be sent back to Washington.

And one more note about Small, Maddren’s man. “I don’t like to complain unduly of my companions, but it is apparent I am to do two men’s work on this job from now on. If I can I will, but it is discouraging.”

29.3 With Brooks at Katallah

June 10,1905

Alfred H. Brooks, head of the Alaska Survey, “the big shot,” has joined Martin’s group and is pressing to explore the Katalla region as quickly as possible.

Alfred H. Brooks Alaska 1899

So Brooks and Martin set off down river with Hayes to “cook and camp hand while they prospect about the country.”

29.4 Coal at Shepard Creek

June 17, 1905

At Shepard Creek, near the Martin River Glacier, “good grade bituminous and semi anthracite” coal show immense seams wherever the ice recedes. Four companies have claimed it all and their owners “are now towing to Brooks and Martin like these men were demigods.”

“There are some wonderfully pretty lakes in this region.” Hayes claims that one is “as neat a square as a body of water could be naturally”; Lake Kushtacah has its own demon according to the natives; Lake Charlotte is as green as an emerald and discharges into Shepard Creek as “clear and as transparent as water ever is.”

Lake Kushtaka

In all the water, millions of salmon and millions of mosquitoes spawn. The party has too few nets to protect from the latter, “so I have invented one to hang to the flap of my sleeping bad, and Brooks has done me the signal honor to discard his net and make one like mine for him.”

29.5 Stillwater Creek

June 17, 1905

At Katallah, Hayes pitched the party’s tent on “an old Indian shack … and we had a splendid floor made of hewn planks.” He remarks that he, Martin and Brooks “line well together”: Hayes and Martin tow the boat and Brooks steers. “There can be no deadheads in Alaska unless it be near the coast. Every tub must stand in a measure on its own bottom here.” According to Hayes, “Brooks has seen a good deal of the wilderness, but no man can understand very much about it unless he is constantly in it.” Hayes seems to include himself in this assessment as he says, “Therefore we have made a few blunders since wandering about the country.” At Stillwater Creek, which is only still where it enters the Behring River, a horse some coal company men hobbled to shoe, broke its rope, backed into the rushing river, and drown. Brooks, Martin and Hayes came upon its corpse while lining up the Behring.

29.6 Beneath Behring Glacier

June 25, 1905

(Perhaps a reader can help me with the Geography here. It seems likely to me that the glacial geography of Alaska has changed since 1905. I’m locating Hayes where I think he says he was and in the order he says it, but I’m not at all sure I’ve got him correctly placed.)

Brooks, Martin and Hayes, seem to have formed a functioning trio. Hayes says the three of them went to the face of the Behring Glacier for a few days. “I stayed with the goods on the flats near the ice fields while Brooks and Martin Looked over the coal prospects about Canyon Creek, which roars–yes, literally roars down a gorge and spreads over its boulder strewn bed into the Behring.” Hayes is twitchy the whole four days he’s camped on the flat; an old timer told him of tremendous floods that roar down the gorge when an ice dam bursts from lakes that form on the ice fields.

The late June heat melts snow and raises the river levels until Hayes thinks he will have to abandon camp and climb a tree. Fortunately no ice dams give way. During Hayes’ tense four days, Martin and Brooks ate mountain goat shot by miners living on the edge of the ice flow. “The goat rolled down hundreds of feet to the talus slope, and must have been fairly tender after this fall.”

The trio returned to the main camp shooting a river running full with blocks of ice. “The two geologists walked down the bank while I shot the rapids, the boat being too heavily laden to carry the lot of us safely when there are so many rocks sticking up in the bed of the stream.” Martin and Hayes rejoined the rest of the survey team near Behring Lake while Brooks returned to Washington glad to be free of the mosquitoes. A full paragraph describing the number, tenacity, and means of battling “these voracious insects” ensues.

29.7 Pie at Behring Lake

July 12, 1905

Some new hands have joined the survey including Valdemar Georgesen, the son of the head of the agricultural department of Alaska. Valdemar is seventeen, soft and carries a big appetite. Martin starts west for Matanuska alone, deciding that Hayes better stay with the camp of new men under the direction of Hamilton the topographer. Hamilton splits the crew into two groups: his larger crew to boat around charting the lake on day excursions from a comfortable cabin, and a smaller group, for which Hayes cooks, to “do the scouting duty where access to the country is difficult.” All the canned fruit went with Hamilton, so Hayes picks gallons of wild berries for pies. With fresh berry pie, a light peterboro canoe, and competent companions, “Our gang get on well, and are glad to be away from the main bunch under Hamilton.”

29.8 Kayak Island

July 18, 1905

Most of the green hands are catching on to the work, “though the college students, who enlisted as camp hands, are so much dead wood.” A group of five including Hayes, Billy Hill, and Bill McDonald did a survey of Kayak Island. Hayes reports doing double duty: all the rowing and all the cooking. “It almost killed me.” All this work would be fine if equally shared as at the mining camps nearby, but “These government parties are made up chiefly of men whose lives are spent in offices, at desks where they wear white collars and do their adventure vicariously.” Somebody with a little practical experience has to do the work – and to Hayes that somebody usually seems to be Hayes – the “human camel.”

29.9 Wild Alaska

July 25, 1905

Martin came back from Matanuska and the “first thing he did was to roust Hamilton out of the soft spot he had dug into and shoved him off to the Copper River Flats.” Maddren is hardened to the work having been in Alaska previously, but he only does fossils. Martin is an expert geologist, honest and hard working but not yet capable of making good leadership decisions; “His money has already run out, and he is at wits end to know what to do to keep us going until the end of the work season.” So Hayes keeps picking berries – raspberries, salmon berries, blue berries, huckleberries, and strawberries – five gallons at a time. “These, with condensed milk and sugar make a wonderful dessert and laxative.”

“We get little news here in the wilderness. … The wildlife interests me more than the people.” The glaciers shut out deer, moose and caribou from this region, but the area is thick with bears: brown bears, similar to the giants on Kodiak Island; black bears smaller than the browns; and occasionally, out on the ice, a blue bear, said to be more savage than all the rest. Porcupines eat the tender bark of spruce trees and are eaten by hungry miners but “they are rather gamey to an unaccustomed tongue.” Marmots, resembling large prairie dogs, whistle sharply when surprised. And Martin reports seeing sea otters off Cape Elias on the southern tip of Kayak Island.

Gulls, cormorants, puffins, murres, sandpipers, snipes, plovers curlews, oyster catchers, eagles, ducks, geese, ptarmigan, mergansers … “but for the interest of the wildlife, I would find it difficult to stick this place.”

And the mountains: “The magnificent ranges covered with snow, extending from far west of the Copper River to St. Elias on the east. This is called the Chugach Range, and it is always covered with snow.”

Chugach Mountains

While none of this austere natural beauty quite adds up to happiness or contentment for Hayes, he certainly expresses awe.


28. Seattle to the Seymour Narrows

August 14, 2011

Entries in Hayes’ diary become sparse when he is “settled.”  In this chapter Hayes spent a year in two places: breaking rocks at a quarry in Tacoma Washington, and running logs at a mill pond in Eureka California.  Hayes writes in his diary only about once a month as he finds the settled life “dull, dull DULL.”  To this reader who grew up in Oregon and has seen those great rafts of logs bobbing in the sloughs, skipping logs in the dark would seem anything but dull.

Jean, Hayes mentions a cousin Edith Carlson in Marshfield Oregon.

The map below won’t appear in an email.  The current chapter appears as the pink path, preceded by the yellow from California, and followed by the blue north back to Alaska.

Click here to download chapters 1-28 on Google Earth.  

Here and There Synopsis:

28.1 Breaking Rocks on the Duamish

May 17, 1904

For want of a razor, Hayes missed re-connecting with Martin for the 1904 summer survey of Alaska. He checked around Seattle and was told Martin would be through almost at once. Back at the quarry on the Duamish, “some bewhiskered gentleman who needed [my razor] more than I do took it… When Payday came and I was able to buy one, Martin had gone.”

At least Hayes’ young back is welcome at the quarry. The boss cleaned house by calling out the names of those he wanted on the job. Hayes did not hear his name called and because he had laid off the previous day when, “my leg was half broken by a flying scale of rock,” he gathered his possessions together and lined up to be paid off with those dismissed. To which the boss said “Wotta yuh doin’ here? You’re workin’. Git back to your bunk, I’ll tell yuh when I want yuh to go!” (Hayes’ quote)

May 26, 1904

In fact, Hayes’ writes that his name had not been called because he was hiding out hoping to be overlooked – it’s a job, and he needs the money – but swinging a 14-pound hammer all day qualifies as poor second to exploring Alaska and just barely above tramping down the road to see what else might turn up. But he’s “getting hardened now and can take it with the rest.” Among the steady workers kept on after the house cleaning are Tiddley, an Englishman 42 years old, who cracks rocks “to earn enough to satisfy his longing for booze,” and “Pete, an ancient Swede, 52 years old, [who] keeps up the lick and breaks immense stones better than the younger men.” Pete doesn’t drink, prefers an 18-pound hammer, “and is rumored to have saved his money for the evening of life.”

According to their chatter, some of these men “have been seated among the mighty but have fallen.” Old Jack who runs the crusher claims to have owned most of Mercer Island but lost it speculating. Irish Donnelly says he held title on the site of the Dexter-Horton Bank before coming to the Duamish to break rocks. Not all the men were once wealthy, but all are interesting: Chris, a seaman; Scotty, a British soldier who served in South Africa; Nels, a Swede with the Boer army sent to St. Helena as a prisoner of war. “Not an uninteresting lot of men if one can take it with them.”

July 4, 1904

Price, the genial superintendent of the quarry who visits frequently from his home in the city, worries that the men “will be disorganized and weak from dissipation for a week or so after today [the national holiday], and it is an even bet many of them will be in the can tonight at Seattle.”

Only Hayes, Old Jack “who has had his day,” and Pete the big Swede, “too cautious and too penurious to spend,” remain at the quarry looking out across the valley to the countryside, “charming in its summer beauty.” It’s good to have a rest day from the heavy work. Hayes figures he’ll stay on another month then head back to Eureka.

Riverton Bridge, Duwamish River.
built in 1903

July 23, 1904

As Price predicted, “Some of the men never returned from their celebration of the nation’s birthday.” But Tiddley came back – and suddenly he’s stopped complaining about the cook, “a sturdy Finnish widow, who always boils the eggs hard and makes the coffee strong.” Romance is in the air – so accordingly the men are sending Tiddley “quotations on baby carriages, bedroom sets and such.” But Tiddley has a rival, a twenty year old lad from Mississippi, “who learned to admire the widow.” The younger man comes in for chafing about being adopted by the widow “who is not an hour less than forty.” Hayes reports it all rather distractedly, laughing at the cook’s two nightly auxiliary dishwashers. We never find out who prevailed.

28.2 To San Francisco: Sea Sick as always

August 4, 1904

After July payday, Hayes left the quarry bound for San Francisco on the Umatilla, “an ancient wooden vessel long since antiquated, but will run until she sinks if her owners can make profit from her.” The little money he’s earned won’t go even for second class; he travels “steerage” the cheapest ticket and worst accommodations possible. “The smells emanating from the steerage quarters turned my stomach before we left the dock,” then the old boat started rolling brining on four days of his old friend “mal-de-mer.”

He toured the park at San Fransicso “and to Cliff House to see the sights of the city.”

Cliff House circa 1900

The sightseeing tour may have been to settle his stomach in preparation for another 216 nautical miles north to Eureka. At the time, a ship was the only way to get from San Francisco to Eureka, “and I will be seasick again, for the northwest winds are constant now, lashing the sea into a fury.”

28.3 Winter in Eureka

August 16, 1904

Back in Eureka, Hayes’ old boss George Glynn “is now the big shot of the company.” Glynn hires Hayes on to a clannish Italian gang working “on a roadway spur where the road runs through a tunnel.” This is heavy work, loading scrapers, and Hayes weighs just enough to “bring down the beam.” Glynn gives Hayes this punishing work and an admonition: “He tells me he wants me to deep the lick, and to stay on the job this time instead of running off across the world, then coming back broke.” The new position has changed Glynn who used to be congenial overseer into an authoritative company man: “Sorry, but George is a good boss gone wrong.”

September 24, 1904

After a month under the sharp tongue of the “straw boss on the railway job,” Glynn transferred Hayes back onto the pond working logs but not before giving him another hectoring, “I want you to stay on the job, not be leaving when everything is going smooth.”

Returning right back to the job he held two years ago, without a penny to show for his wondering, prompts a brief self-examination: “I am now 26 years of age, and should be getting something together if ever.” The standard plan for a man his age would be to raise a little money, marry, rear a family and live happily. But that path his not for Hayes – not that he couldn’t if he wanted to – “As always, I have a lot of pretty girl-friends, but none of them serious” – it’s just that “I have a deal of trouble caring for myself.”

Self-assessment over – back to work. Running logs on the pond requires a great deal of skill and Hayes is good at it.

Logs on a Mill Pond

Saltwater surges back and forth into the bay daily, floating the logs higher than in fresh water. Hayes picks up where he left off two years ago: pushing logs back into the sloughs for sawing in the winter when the logging camp cannot run. The men on the pond use the high tides at full moon to push the logs upstream. This means they must go skipping out onto the floating logs in the dark. “Logs seem all the same level in the moonlight, and we have some sharp falls by making a wrong estimate of their heights in the dim light of the moon.” But all the men are skilled at the work and seldom fall in. “Unless [a] man’s head goes under, it is not counted against him. He must be wholly under to count.”

October 7, 1904

A shingle mill under construction nearby causes extra work storing light logs, so Glynn sends down “green” men from the mill who don’t know how to run the logs. They constantly fall into the bay and when hauled out by the experienced men find the “head clear” scoring system not particularly funny. When the green men quit, “George Glynn, cusses us for our ill-timed humor.”

Steady work but it’s “dull, dull, DULL!” To church on Sundays and some evenings where the food is excellent, “but there is a larger crowd now and it takes the edge off it all.”

The local duck hunters are in a squabble because a number of wealthy “sportsmen” (Hayes’ quote) have incorporated the common ground into a private reserve, excluding “all the men who have hunted these grounds ever since they were able to carry a gun.” But Hayes has no gun, no desire to shoot ducks, and is tired after a day running logs anyway, so he stays out of the quarrel.

November 23, 1904

When Hayes is working steadily the diary entries become sparse. “Time slips by but there is little of interest to chronicle here.” He’d leave but, “There is little of interest in the world now other than the Russo-Japanese war.”

Depiction of Japanese Warships besieging Port Arthur

Hayes believes that most citizens in the United States sympathize with the Japanese because the Russians “bullying of their own subjects has alienated the other white against them.” But he won’t travel to Port Arthur; “War doesn’t interest me. I want Africa, though I know not what it means. One of these days I am going to see it if I live.”

December 20, 1904

Another month slips by with nothing to write about but the work. The redwood trees sent by the cutting outfit are magnificent. “We had one tree 27 (twenty-seven) feet in diameter formerly. It was hollow and had been burned out until a waterboy mounted on a pony rode his mount in eighty feet, then turned and came back out again.” By the time it was blasted to pieces, 35 logs were sawn from that single tree.

The cutters up in the woods ship logs to the millpond by rail. Before a load is tipped into the water, Hayes and the other men on the pond amuse themselves predicting which on the load will be “sinkers,” butts of the tree so impregnated with water they won’t float. Then to work: “We match every log with another of like diameter and hang them off with topes. We bore holes on either side, drive the ropes in and set pegs on top of the ropes, forming batteries and placing them in rafts.” All this –all day – in the rain.

Incredibly, some of the men doing work on the logs with Hayes cannot swim. One such, a “genial Pole” named Jack Zientara. fell into the rushing flood and would have perished but for the “nimble feet” and pike of Ed Johnson.

January 17, 1905

For the first time in six months Hayes himself fell into the pond. A good deal of razzing ensued but “the boys sympathized saying my head never went under, and that saved the day, even if it was cold.” With all the cold January rain, a man on the logs is about as wet whether he falls in or not. All the good-natured levity cannot disguise the real peril of the logs: “The great danger is, to get a piece of bark speared on one’s calks and not know it. Then a man will slip and fall heavily, perhaps strike his head on a log. Once under the milling logs in a swift current, there is little chance of life.”

Calk Boots

At the holiday, Hayes took in a Christmas tree “because there was no alibi to keep it out.” He’s still attending the mission church where John Walker, an old man Hayes quite admires, preaches nightly at the street meetings then later at the hall. “He is wealthy, but a sincere Christian.” Hayes, on the other hand, is still broke because he’s still sending out all his earnings to pay past debts. “This is what takes everything I make, for I am slowly settling all, even the railway fare I beat the Southern Pacific, Santa Fe and other roads out of when a boy.”

February 10,1905

A little more self-reflection at his 27th birthday: “My relatives all say I am a failure, and this hurts, for they get every extra cent I make.” His mother says he should have gone to Stanford when offered the chance, but what’s done is done. Hayes will try again for Alaska with Martin this summer – though George Glynn will be mad.

The preacher John Walker died. Hayes went to hear him preach in the street then the two talked on about earthly versus heavenly riches until about 10:00. Walker was stricken with an aneurism around midnight and died peacefully the next evening with Hayes standing over him. It is hard to lose “the one sincere friend I had in Eureka.

March 5, 1905

Only constant hard work keeps Hayes warm on the millpond in the sleet driving hard off the hills. Out on the cold bay, he dreams of Africa: “To me getting ahead is to get established in some way in Africa.” By now he reckons he’s made full restitution to anyone he ever cheated “and will be able to save a few dollars for Africa.”

And a letter has come from Martin: “He is to head a considerable party that will fully map the region round Controller Bay, and that he expects to take a trip to the Matanuska region near the head of Cook’s Inlet to investigate the coal beds there.” Martin wants Hayes along and will pay several hundred dollars!

April 2, 1905

With Alaska waiting, time drags on the millpond for Hayes. The local duck hunters refused to allow their traditional hunting ground to be restricted: “Despite the warden resident on the reserve, hunters invaded it from every side. When the warden chased men out on one side, others came over the farther boundary, shooting at every duck, far or near.” Hayes thinks: Bully for them; Alaska has plenty of ducks.

28.4 Finally, north to Seatle

May 6, 1905

With no remark about what George Glynn said about Hayes leaving the mill in Eureka, Hayes strikes out north for Seattle by way of Marshfield where he saw an old shipmate apparently hiding out and dropped a note to his cousin Edith Carlson, then to Portland where the World’s Fair will open shortly. Seattle still booms on trade to miners heading to the Klondike. A few friends amuse Hayes in Seattle and Martin will be here in two weeks.

25.5 Seymour Narrows

May 16, 1905

Six members of Martin’s 1905 survey crew, “Martin, Hamilton, a topographer, three university students and me,” sail north crowded together with miners headed to the Yukon. “We will be joined later by Maddren, who is to collect fossils, and a chap named Small, who will be as I am. I don’t like the setup much, but one must take it and like it as it is.”

The photo below is from the 1904 expedition, the trip Hayes missed for want of a razor. GC Martin wears the tall boots on the left.

G.C. Martin, Stanton, L. Martin, Brown, and Keyes

“Martin is slightly swelled up over his bigger party,” and will no longer listen to Hayes about provisioning. Hayes says he saved the party $1500 on the 1903 trip, but now that Martin considers himself fully qualified to lead, “he is slinging away money on useless equipment, and will go short unless he considers matters more carefully.”

Running the narrows a bit late on the slack tide was exciting. “But all is well, and we are out in the gulf beyond.”

(to get to the Martin photo: go to the USGS photographic library and search Alaska Martin, it is photo number 87 on p. 4.)


27. Los Angeles to Seattle

August 7, 2011

Sailing North to Seattle in ragged clothing and dubbed the ship’s “Jonah,” Hayes learns of the death of his childhood hero, Henry M. Stanley.  Perhaps some of the flaws he reads concerning Stanley’s ethical conduct at the Battle of Shiloh, very near where Hayes father William Morrison grew up, allow Hayes to find some more mature assessments, of both Henry M. Stanley and William M. Perkins.

The map below won’t appear in an email.  His trip north following the green desert walk shows as the yellow path.


Click here to download chapters 1-27 on Google Earth.  

Here and There Synopsis:


27.1 No Work In Los Angeles

March 29, 1904

By his own reckoning, Hayes walked 925 miles between El Paso and Los Angeles starting on February 26 and arriving on March 29 of 1904. He counts only two “rest periods” (Hayes’ quote), the five days work at Douglas for $1.40 and the road construction job he quit over mistreatment of the horses. He says even the missionaries he knows in Los Angeles, “look at me askance because of my tattered clothing and weather beaten appearance. … My shoes are almost gone. My feet are so swollen they little resemble feet, and my clothes are in keeping with the rest of my appearance.”

It is interesting to compare this 1904 hike across the desert with his trai-hopping trip across a similar path in June of 1900 (segment 13.8). In 1904, after his conversion experience at Victor, he chose to walk because he had resolved to stop stealing from the railroad companies.

Given his ragged appearance, no one will consider Hayes for a job. He got a haircut, but the shearing didn’t help, and the barber cheated him. Near desperation, he writes, “Today I saw a large gang of men working on the street. It looked worth a try, but on approaching near to them I saw they wore a sort of uniform, and that each was shackled with a chain with a ball attached.” It was a gang of hoboes rounded up for vagrancy. With his appearance, a closer approach might have landed Hayes a job and a ball and chain of his own.

One bit of luck: “Phillip Lang, an old time acquaintance from San Francisco, pressed a dollar on me. I’ll never forget it, though I wonder how I will ever return it.” One wonders how Phillip had a dollar to spare for Hayes who writes of him, “He has been badly broken in the whalers chasing bow-heads in the Arctic, and will never recover from the hardships and brutal beatings there.”

27.2 No Work in San Pedro

March 31, 1904

With no prospects in Los Angeles, Hayes hikes down to the wharves at San Pedro. Had he arrived a day earlier a “big square rigger” was looking for sailors to Puget Sound paying $25 for the trip. But he missed her and spends two futile days beating around the port looking for a ship. At night he sleeps in an abandoned building already occupied by several Japanese abalone fishermen who are none too cordial toward their guest. “What to do, what to do?”

27.3 Finally a ship North

April 5, 1904

Now completely broke, Hayes writes, “I had no food the last day in San Pedro, but was fortuned to find a few half rotten oranges in a dump outside the town.” In 1904 Los Angeles wasn’t its current sprawl so he “hiked the thirteen miles across the sun burned hills to Redondo, and found myself at the end of things.” Meaning, I suppose, no money and no food.

After a day in Redondo without food, he hiked back into the hills above the city and found a ranch where he hoped to trade his purse for a meal. When a young girl answered the door, Hayes was “too starved to explain myself, but I heard her call to her mother – “Oh Mama, come and look at this poor man!” (Hayes’ quote.).”

The girl’s mother offered Hayes a pitcher of buttermilk – which he drank to the bottom hitting his stomach “as if I had swallowed a cannonball.” Renewed by a hearty meal following the cannonball, Hayes took up a hoe to clean the weeds from half an acre of potatoes. The man of the house paid Hayes 75¢ for hoeing the potatoes and some vegetables, then cleaning all the mustard out of his grain.

Back in Redondo the four-masted schooner John A. Campbell lay at the wharf. Fortunately, he signed on to sail for Puget Sound before the skipper asked him to run into town for a bottle of whiskey – because, of course, Hayes refused to buy whiskey. Explaining the moral grounds for his refusal, Hayes says of the captain, “He looked at me hard and long, but in the end said it was right.” It’s a rough crew and the work is heavy but at least Hayes is at sea again and “Maybe I will be in time to make the geological survey party [back to Alaska] after all.”

27.4 Some Friendly Advice

April 12, 1904

A bitter wind blowing from the Northwest makes the John A. Campbell tack morning and evening in order to sail upwind. Dressed only in the rags left him by the desert, with no oilskins to keep off the weather, Hayes jumps up into the rigging happy for the warmth of vigorous work. At least it isn’t raining.

When not hauling sails, Hayes works below deck as assistant to the black cook who delivers some advice about religiosity, whiskey, and the captain: “Say, kid, yuh wants to be sorta cahful ‘bout dis ‘ligious business. W’en I’m ashoah, I takes duh sacrament, prays, and all dem tings. I’se ‘ligoius dah, but heah I forgits all ‘bout it. Dese sailah men doan’ wan’ ay ob dat stuff.”

Hayes reports being duly impressed by the advice and very happy with his assignment as cook’s assistant where he’s out of the wind and has plenty to eat.

27.5 Ship’s Jonah

April 22, 1904

As the wind continues to blow against the ship, Hayes “heard the skipper say he was sorry he let the Salvation Army man come on board.” Worse yet, disregarding the cook’s advice, Hayes walked out on the men in the forecastle when they were telling “salacious stories.” So now the men have named Hayes Jonah of the ship – his cursed presence on board explains for the ceaseless headwind blowing continually stronger as the ship beats its way north.

Only the cook, who can neither read nor write, remains friendly toward Hayes the Jonah because he’s also Hayes the secretary. The cook instructs Hayes to write “Deah li’l Pet,” (Hayes’ quote) which gets transcribed, ““My darling Maud” (Hayes’ quote) in one of the cooks “letters to various sweet young things he has loved and left behind in various places in the world. He has a wife too but why devote all one’s affections to one woman?” The cook is “frankly suspicious” about the fidelity of transcription but he cannot consult any other on this “profligate crew” so he reluctantly seals Hayes’ free rendition of “everything else as I think a girl should know from a love sick swain.”

27.6 Cape Flattery

April 29, 1904

Finally the winds calm as the ship pulls even with Cape Flattery. “And about us we see strange things.” Enormous sharks cruise by the ship, every one with its mouth wide open “to catch whatever these great fish eat for sustenance.” The skipper and the cook take turns firing revolvers “point blank” at the sharks who writhe for a moment, dive and then resurface seeming “no worse for the bullets in their bodies.”

Fuca Pillar at Cape Flattery, Washington

27.7 A Dollar for the Jonah

May 2, 1904

No man leaves a ship faster than its Jonah: “The schooner, the John A. Campbell, anchored at Port Townsend, and I was set on shore like I was a plague.” American law commands every sailor receive at least a dollar for service, so that’s exactly the pay handed Hayes. This will pay passage to Seattle, 90 miles distant, leaving him 15¢ in pocket and considerably downcast: “I have done all possible to get any sort of job, to earn my way, to keep decent. But it is futile. … There are times when a fellow don’t care what happens, and this is one of them, at least in my case.”

27.8 Death of a Childhood Hero

May 5, 1904

Hayes first went to the employment offices in Seattle, but these charge a fee for placement “and I had none of that.” So he went up to Ballard to some sawmills where “I might as well have tried to break into a bank as get a job there.” A Swedish clan operates the mills, passing the jobs only to sons at the death of their fathers. After sleeping a night in the woods, most of Hayes’ last 15¢ went for bread and bologna. “The other five cents, not being of special worth went for a paper.” This extravagant expense can only have been prompted by the paper’s headline – an announcement of the death of Hayes’ childhood hero, the Welsh adventurer in Africa, Henry M. Stanley.

Henry M Stanley 1872

On reading the news, Hayes writes a long wistful paragraph mixing three dark thoughts – his musings on Stanley’s death: “As a child in Oregon he was my ideal, and somehow has always seemed to be more than a man.” – with his thoughts about the death of his own father who was born in the same year as Stanley, “As my father died last autumn, they made the same life span, tho under such totally different conditions.” – and finally his bleak assessments of his own achievements, “The Africa that I have loved seems beyond me. Surely no man can reach a lower rung on the ladder, for everything I have tried has failed.”

Hayes’ father, William Morrison Perkins grew up in Southern Tennessee. “The Battle of Shiloh [1862], one of the engagements of the Civil War, was fought hard by my father’s home. So often he has told me of the crash of cannon, of the many wounded, the heaps of severed limbs of men and the screams of those under the knife with no other anesthetic than a shot of whiskey.”

The Battle of Shiloh 1862

From the paper Hayes learns that his hero Stanley fought at the Battle of Shiloh – in a manner that tarnishes some of Stanley’s luster: “Serving under Beauregard of the southern army, he was captured there. But politics meant nothing to Stanley. Later he joined the northern forces and served until the end of the war. It would seem that a man must have no scruples if he is to win in life’s battles.” Hayes draws this lesson from Stanley – while steadfastly refusing its application to his own life.

Setting aside the ghosts of his father and his childhood hero Stanley, Hayes must turn to the business at hand; he’s still broke and without work. Hiking south out of Seattle toward Tacoma, he was “sitting on the bridge across the Duamish River trying to tie some of my rags together when men came running round a bend shouting “fire!” These were warning shouts from a rock quarry nearby. After the blasts, Hayes found his way to the quarry boss at the cookhouse and wouldn’t take no for an answer to his job request/demand, “a man is insistent when his belly is touching his backbone.”

The work is hard: “We are not driven, … but no slacking can be done.” Hayes and the 15 other men working in the quarry blast rock from a basalt outcropping then crush it by hand swinging massive hammers. “I am sore all the way thru, but the life I have led has hardened me until I can stand it.” A flea-ridden bunkhouse where, “We sleep the sleep of exhaustion,” a woodstove with plenty of wood for warmth, and good food in large quantities at the cookhouse make the place tolerable enough for a wandering man – at least until he can raise a stake.