Archive for the ‘29 Cowboy Up -Part 4’ Category

When Zack handed Steve the camp shovel, he slid off the log and scooted over to a slight depression in the ground. He pulled away a couple handfuls of scrub grass then began to dig. He looked to see Penny watching and smiled as he wiped the moisture from his brow.

“You want to help?” Steve asked.

“Uh-huh,” Penny answered.

“I need lots of little pieces of wood.” He held his hands apart about six inches. “About this long and no bigger than your thumb, can you do that?”

Penny grinned. “Uh-huh.” She ran to a nearby tree to begin picking up sticks.

When she brought the first handful, Steve pointed at a place nearby. “There’ll be fine. Don’t wander far.”

Penny skipped away giggling while Steve completed the first hole when he had gotten down twenty inches. He cleaned to hole of the last of dirt then slid over to begin a second smaller hole. When he got to the same depth, he reached into the first hole and joined the two.

Zack hung the green tarp while Della and Darlene began sorting supplies for an evening meal. He walked over to Steve carrying an armful of small limbs and branches.

“Thought you were building a fire. What’s the hole for?”

“It’s a Dakota fire hole. Remember all the fires we saw? No one will see our fire below ground,” Steve answered.

“Want me to help?”

“Sure.” Steve passed Zack the shovel. “We need to expand the bottom of the big hole a little more. Make it about the size of a five-gallon bucket. Don’t open the top any larger if you can help it. We’re going to use that grating to cook on.”

Steve sat back and began weaving together the dried grass into a tight ball.

Zack shoveled and scooped dirt then sat back. “I think I got it.”

“Put this in the center and add sticks around it in the shape of a T-pee. Add bigger sticks as you work your way out. Leave access to light the tender.”

Della and Darlene walked over. Della sat down a pot of water. Have you got a fire going? We need to start boiling water.”

Zack stuck a lighter into the hole for a minute, then sat up just as smoke wafted from the hole in front of him.

“What are you two doing?”

“A Dakota Fire takes less fuel and burns hotter. Did you bring that metal grating?”

“We should have brought more supplies,” Della commented as she handed him the camp grill.

“A little trapping or hunting and we’ll be fine,” Steve answered. “Even at just twelve miles a day, we can be there in less than a week.”

“How far did we ride today?”

“Seven, maybe eight miles. No more than that.” Steve answered.

Della interrupted. “The way my legs and butt feel, I can’t imagine going further than we did today.

Darlene echoed Della’s sentiment then added. “Besides, I don’t think Penny can take riding more than we did today.”

“Then we’ll go as far as we can,” Steve answered.