Read CHAPTER ELEVEN - A CANOE TRIP of Girl Scouts in the Adirondacks , free online book, by Lillian Elizabeth Roy, on ReadCentral.com.

The scouts were so busy with canoeing, swimming, and hiking, during the week following the dinner-party that they saw very little of Mr. Gilroy, although they knew whenever he called at the camp, because he generally brought feed for the calf and pig. These two unusual pets were becoming quite sociable, and would follow the girls around the clearing when meals were being prepared. Jake always went wherever the scouts went, and he particularly enjoyed the long walks. But he ignored the calf and pig completely when in camp.

About a week after the Grey Fox boys had visited Dandelion Camp, Mr. Gilroy came down early in the morning.

“I have to get up at dawn if I want a word with you scouts, these times,” laughed he, as he caught them eating breakfast.

“Sit down and have some,” Julie invited, making room for him beside her.

“Can’t haven’t time. I’ve got an important engagement with the Grey Fox boys, but you were first on my calling list.”

The girls all halted further progress on the breakfast and listened intently. “What have you plotted, now?” asked Julie.

Mr. Gilroy laughed as he remembered the tracking joke. “I’m almost afraid to tell you.” But after much coaxing he spoke.

“Well, then, I am going on a little fishing trip to Racquette Lake, so I wondered if you scouts wouldn’t like to canoe with the party and spend a few days that way?”

The girls gave such a chorus of approval that Mr. Gilroy pretended to stop both ears.

“Oh, do tell them all about it, Gilly, or we’ll be deaf!” begged Mrs. Vernon, laughing at the commotion.

So Mr. Gilroy described the itinerary to the great delight of his hearers. “But remember, girls, no extra baggage is allowed. You wear your uniforms, take bathing suits, and sandals, a wide soft hat that will stick to your head, as few toilet requisites as possible; individual eating outfit, blanket and sleeping-bag, fishing tackle, and your powder puffs.”

The last item caused a jeer, for the girls hadn’t thought of beautifiers, other than those Nature presented, since they joined the scout organization. Nor did they need any, they were all fine and rosy, with perfect complexions and good health.

“My Indian, Yhon, is going in a canoe with the cooking outfit and other necessities for so large a party. He is a splendid guide, you know, and knows the country like a book.”

“What can we do about our pets?” Betty asked, concernedly.

“Oh, Jake will go with us, of course, and Julia and Anty will have to depend on Gilly’s man for meals. They will learn to appreciate us if we are absent a few days,” replied Julie, audaciously.

“When did you plan to start?” now asked the Captain.

“Day after to-morrow, as early in the morning as we can. That gives you all day to-morrow to get ready and come up to the bungalow for supper at night. Yhon will be ready with the canoes at dawn in the morning, and we start from our boathouse. The canoe-wagon is coming here to-day to carry your three canoes over to First Lake so as to be in good shape for the trip. Yhon will overhaul them all, and look after any caulking or repairs.”

“Dear me, I can’t wait for the time to come!” exclaimed several of the scouts.

“And if you become seasick on the voyage, you’ll be just as anxious to get back,” laughed Mr. Gilroy, causing the girls to giggle in chorus at his ridiculous speech.

So on the morning mentioned, a merry crowd of girls and boys followed the Captain and Mr. Gilroy to the boathouse on the lake. Yhon was waiting with everything ready, but it was still dim and misty over the water, as the daylight was not yet strong.

Jake instantly jumped into Yhon’s canoe as if he knew it paid to be near the larder. Mr. Gilroy arranged the party so that one lightweight member was in each canoe with one of the heavier girls, and one of the boys. He took charge of another canoe with two girls in it, while the Captain managed still another one with two in it. Thus they started in a line, Yhon leading.

As they moved noiselessly out from the shadow of the overhanging rocks and foliage, the dew sparkled like silver drops on all the leaves; every now and then a hungry fish would leap up to bite the paddles, and then whisk its tail angrily as it flashed away again.

The newly awakened sun had not yet risen high enough to cast its rays upon the lake, and the mountain that threw somber shadows over the face of the lake, still hid the shining of the orb of day. The expectancy and hush that always precedes the bursting forth of shining light, enthralled all the wild creatures in the woods.

Yhon had been silently guiding his flock over the water, closely hugging the shore all the way, when the high treble call of a young fawn echoed far over the lake. It was so unexpected that the scouts were startled, but the Indian called over his shoulder, “Li’l deer lose mammy call her back!”

Then, not twenty yards further on, Yhon stopped paddling, and pointed with a long finger towards the shore. There stood the fawn on a rock near the water’s edge, its head held high as it gazed with consternation at so many queer things floating on the lake.

Mrs. Vernon took a splendid picture of the deer, before a crashing of branches and the rattle of pebbles announced that the doe was leaping to the rescue of her little one. But she could not be seen, as she was wise in woodlore and remained safely screened from men. Possibly she knew that a human carried a death-dealing weapon when he sought her in the forests.

The canoes passed through First Lake, then through Second Lake, and at last through Third Lake all of which were really one large continuous sheet of water. Where Third Lake Creek emptied into the large body of water, Yhon led the canoes close to shore. He knew that the best lake trout were to be caught where the creek emptied, and here he proposed to fish for the dinner supply.

“But we don’t want dinner, yet, Yhon,” called Mrs. Vernon.

“We eat on Cedar Islan’ but him got no fish dere. Get my fish here,” explained Yhon, as he jumped ashore.

All were glad of an opportunity to stretch their legs, and then they tried their luck at fishing, also. After a time this became monotonous for the active young ones, and they started up the Creek to adventure. The Third Lake Creek came down over moss-covered rocks, which were held in place by gnarled roots of giant trees. These ancient foresters stood looking benignly down upon the placid waters of the lake, as if watching the play of a little child.

Where the Creek swirled out to join Third Lake, the purplish circles made there gradually lost their foaming haste and gently merged into the wavelets of clear cold water.

As the scouts climbed up the rugged bank of the Creek, the towering trees were not the only things that watched silently. Although the happy young mortals were deaf and blind to the many alert curious eyes that followed their movements, still those eyes were there, wondering at this daring trespass over their domains. Some of these wildwood inhabitants were furtively anxious, some hostile, but all were curious to follow the movements of these queer creatures.

Finally the scouts could not penetrate further, and they retraced their steps. Yhon had caught enough fish for the day’s needs, and was ready to continue the trip.

From Third Lake Creek he paddled across to the opposite shore and thence through Fourth Lake. They stopped at Skensowane to purchase crackers, candy, and other sweets, while Yhon took on a supply of staples.

Cedar Island was at the extreme upper end of Fourth Lake, and long before the scouts saw the green knob standing plainly up from the water, they were hungry enough to eat the grass on the island. So every one assisted with the dinner to facilitate the eating of it.

Yhon was one of the best guides in the mountains, and his experience in cooking was unsurpassed; hence the scouts enjoyed an exceptional dinner.

When all were ready to continue the trip, Yhon led across from Cedar Island to Inlet, where there was a “carry” of a mile to reach Sixth Lake.

“Phew! Carry the canoes a mile in the hot sun!” cried Bob.

“That’s part of the fun in canoeing,” remarked Mr. Gilroy, as they disembarked and prepared to carry.

“I’m glad of the change,” said Judith. “My knees are all out of joint from sitting with them doubled under me.”

Thereupon every one declared it a relief to walk and get the kinks out of the leg-muscles. But after a mile in the heat, with canoe and outfit to carry, every one was just as glad to get back and sit down in the canoes.

The trip through Sixth and Seventh Lakes was wonderful. The grandeur of the mountains and the marvelous greens of their verdure reflected in the narrow lakes, made the water seem a dark emerald green as clear and transparent as a perfect jewel.

Occasionally, faint shadows of birds flying overhead, or deer leaping on the rocks on the banks were reflected in the water as the canoeists silently paddled along, and such entrancing pictures seen in the placid lake thrilled the scouts with delight.

Here and there, where a stream rushed down into the lake, the scouts could look up through the wide rifts cleft between the forest-trees, and the eye could follow up where falls tumbled over boulders; or to the higher view, where the blue sky showed a tiny streak between the pines.

Once a flight of wild ducks suddenly rose from the lake, quacking noisily. The boys called to Yhon to shoot, but he held up a warning hand to show that this was no season for duck-hunting.

In nearing the upper end of Seventh Lake where the inlet empties into it, Yhon called out, “Nudder carry mile to Eight Lake.”

But before they reached land, the Captain called for a halt. She wanted to take a snapshot of the picture made by the inlet, seemingly in such a hurry to reach the lake, yet making no noise nor showing any froth in its haste. The Lake seemed to draw its shores close together to hug the Inlet, just as a mother draws her babe to her bosom in love. In small coves on either side of the Inlet were patches of green marsh grass and cattails, the home of the wild ducks which rose to escape the coming of the canoeists.

As the faint odorous whiff of marshgrass reached the nostrils of the scouts, they wanted to paddle in and cut cattails, but Yhon said there was no time then. “Plenty time on home trip.”

Through Eighth Lake to Brown’s Inlet Carry was a distance of about two miles, and when they reached shore on Brown’s Inlet, Yhon called out, “Nudder carry mile-half dis time to Brown Tract Inlet.”

The command to carry began to sound tiresome to the scouts, and they were glad to hear Mr. Gilroy say that this carry would be the last one, as Brown’s Tract Inlet brought them right to Racquette Lake where they planned to camp for the night.

It was quite late when they reached the lower end of Racquette Lake, because the progress had been slow and safe. Mr. Gilroy had not telephoned for accommodations at any hotel, as they planned to camp at night.

But the wind that came with the setting of the sun also threatened a storm during the night, and Mr. Gilroy thought it best to find a place near a large hotel, in case they had to seek shelter. So they paddled to find a grove quite near one of the larger hotels. The scouts were eager to land and get their camp ready before darkness handicapped them, so when within a few yards of land, Hester turned to pull out her blankets.

The sudden motion overturned the canoe, and all three occupants went headlong into the water. The frightened screams of the three scouts caused consternation in the others, and many turned around quickly to see what had happened behind them. Thus, two more canoe-loads were unexpectedly emptied into the lake.

They were soon out on shore, but drenched and shivering from the cold water. “Now, isn’t that the worst thing that could happen to us, at night!” sighed Mrs. Vernon.

“We’ll have to stop at a hotel, now, and let the scouts get in bed while their clothing dries,” said Mr. Gilroy.

So the wet ones were advised to dance about to keep warm, while Alec and Mr. Gilroy hurried over to the hotel to engage rooms. But they soon came back with surprised looks.

“Not a corner to be had, and the manager called up other large places along the shore only to get the same answer no room. He said there was a family boarding-house some distance along, where we might get in. The woman, a Mrs. Dickens, was a nice landlady and might tuck us in somewhere. Shall we try it?” said Mr. Gilroy.

“It is so dark now, and we haven’t started supper or found a spot to camp, so I think we had best try Mrs. Dickens,” replied the Captain.

In chilly silence the entire party got back into its canoes and skirted the shore until Mr. Gilroy called out to Yhon, “This must be the spot where I was told to land. The house is back from the lake, a bit.”

The canoeists had no difficulty in locating the boarding-house, but they were too late for a hot dinner, although the cold supper served was very good, especially to hungry young people.

“I haven’t any rooms left in the main house,” explained Mrs. Dickens, “but I can give you several rooms in the annex. That used to be the help’s cottage, but I had it done over to rent this season.”

“‘Any port in a storm,’ madam, and our ‘storm’ consists of several soaking suits that have to be dried,” returned Mr. Gilroy.

“The cottage has a small kitchen where you can quickly light a fire in the stove and dry everything. I think you will be very comfortable there,” said Mrs. Dickens. So arrangements were made for the use of the cottage for that night.

As they planned to start early in the morning again, the entire party retired soon after supper. The wet clothing had been hung on lines about the kitchen, where a servant had built a roaring fire. Although they had to “double up” in bed, or sleep on the floor, they were too healthily sleepy to mind such little things, and before ten o’clock every one was asleep.