One day in the road ahead we saw a wagon which had traveled with us all the way from Iowa The wagon was so small that it had seemed foolish to start on that tri p with such an outfit.
"How did Mr. Crump get so far ahead?" I asked Florence.
"He was behind a while ago," she said. "When did he pass?" We ran back and asked Win if he had seen Mr. Crump pass.
"No," he said, "he's away behind."
"But we saw his wagon in the road ahead," I insisted.
When we reached the spot where we had seen the wagon we looked about, surprised at what we saw. There in the road were the immense tracks of some animal, tracks so big that when Win turned a bucket used for watering horses over one, the track was barely covered.
Puzzled and wondering as to what creature could have made such tracks, we waited for the other wagons.
"Mr. Hampton," Win hailed the first to arrive, "look at these tracks. What are they?"
"A grizzly!" the man exclaimed, "A whopper, too."
A group soon gathered. Some of the men wanted to go into the swamp at once hunting the bear but were finally dissuaded. I certainly did not want to hunt for that creature. A bear big enough to look to me like a covered wagon was an animal that I wanted to see only from a distance.
The road we were following led us once more across great lava beds, though here we found no lack of water. Our chief trouble was the swarms of locusts. Everywhere the ground was covered. We couldn't walk without stepping on them; the ruts of the road were filled. For two days we were sickened by the sound of the wheels crushing them, by the sight of the wriggling masses.
The Indians, however, did not show our squeamishness, for here was a valuable source of food. Beside the road we saw pits about three feet in depth. Squaws beating lightly on the ground with bushes urged the locusts toward the pits. When a trench was filled, they tossed dried grass and light bushes over the top and set them afire. Killed by the quick heat and partially roasted the grasshoppers were taken out and dried. Such soups and stews they must have made! Many of the insects, Uncle Isaac told us, were ground, mixed with pond lily seeds and made into a meal, cakes of which were great delicacies, but tidbits we were willing to leave to the Indians.