Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 20, 1908
Tete Jaune Cache.
Thursday, Aug. 20.
Laid over today to give the horses and ourselves a rest after the hard road we have been travelling so long – and we have to go straight back over it again. W. does not cease to wish for an air ship, and is occasionally heard to exclaim in the most heartfelt tone “oh Lord, I wish I were ten thousand miles from here!”
Visitors dropped in during the morning, Mr. Reading and Mr. Finch. They took us for a gentle stroll to see the ruins of what may be the original Tete Jaune cache – two heaps of stones which might once have been chimneys and a slight ridge on the ground which might have been a banked up foundation of a shack – all overgrown with brush. And a little way off in the thick woods some cribwork of very old rotting logs enclosing a space perhaps 8 ft. square, a good deal larger than any cache an Indian would build nowadays, as if it might really be it. It was about a hundred years ago that the Yellowhead had his cache. We stopped on the way back where one of the prospector men was examining the sort of fishing lines they keep dangling in the river. The bull trout are not at all sporty and don’t rise to anything, the lines were baited with pieces of fish and a chicken gizzard, but there was nothing doing today. They say it is time for the salmon to be here, and while we were loafing around Mr. R’s shack we heard a splash which they thought might be one jumping. The salmon are said to arrive as regularly as hay fever on the 15th of Aug., but this year they did not come up to date. We were invited down there to supper tonight and the whole population of the town was invited down there to meet us – in other words the two Chicago prospector men. They had both had a shave for the occasion and ate supper with their hats off not being afflicted with baldness – bugs not quite so bad as last night anyway. The dining room was about 6 X 6 ft. – a little roof projecting at one end of the shack, and a real table made of split logs, and benches around it. Eight people squeezed in with a pinch, M. and I having the seats of honor on the longest bench, with our backs to the shack, and the two prospectors, Mr. Kaecks and Mr. Sommer opposite us. M. was very much dressed up. She had on a pair of new moccasins Mrs. Swift made, and was carrying a clean pocket handkerchief never used before, of a bright lilac color, which was anything but harmonious with the red bandanna she wears around her neck. We had fish, bacon, beans, potatoes, tea and cocoa, and peach tapioca for dessert; the viands, after the fry pans and cooking pots had been passed around, being placed upon the ground behind, where someone could make a long grab for them if needed. Muggins behaved like an angel, and even when the scraps on the plates were scraped on the ground prepatory to the second course, he did not offer to touch them until invited. Mr. Reading is prospecting too, as well as the others. He is going on a trip to the big bend of the Columbia with Johnny, one of the Indians across the river, as soon as they got back from their hunting trip. Johnny it appears, is quite a character – a “good Indian” who really works and whose word can be depended upon. He is going to try going by way of Cranberry Lake and the Canoe River; if they can’t take horses that way he will go across the Yellowhead Pass down to the Athabasca and up the Whirlpool to Ath Pass, and then if they can’t take horses down the Wood River, he will take a pack on his back and hoof it from there. The two Chicago men were both in the Klondike rush – started out from Edmonton on the Dawson trail – Mr. Kaeke was 2 ½ years trying to get though and finally landed up at Port George. Mr. Sommer – after various stunts from Edmonton, rescue parties, etc. And going down the Athabasca 2 days by boat, and then tracking up it again, which took two months, when they decided they did not care for that route – went by steamer. He said that while there, whenever there was a small rush to a new place, he was right in it every time. He also occasionally made a few odd pennies in other ways besides digging gold – happened to be at Nome when the rush came there, and earned two dollars an hour by working unloading lighters in the surf. In the course of the evening he made what he called “Klondike lemonade”, a citric acid mixture flavoured with ginger – very excellent. As we sat around, M. and Mr. Reading perched on boxes, some on the bench by the table, and some on the ground, swapping yarns amicably with those four mild and harmless individuals, and with the sound of Indian tom-toms from across the river – the peaceful scene was certainly a contrast to what we had expected of the “T John Cache” before we arrived, and at the moment when we first have in sight of the queer place.