Kategorie-Archiv: diary

diary entries of Franz Ferdinand

Northport — Spokane, 19 September 1893

Early in the morning close to Fort Shepherd we crossed the border between British Columbia and the United States and are now on the territory of the state of Washington.

In the morning the steamer moored at Northport, the final destination of our river journey. As there existed a wise custom of letting a train depart only on those days that there was no steamer, I was forced to take a special train that consisted only of the machine,  baggage wagons and a Pullmann salon wagon. I just then rented the latter one for the full journey onward. This wagon had a kitchen, comfortable sleeping spots and offered the advantage that we could hope to stay among ourselves and thus be spared to come into contact with unkind fellow passengers.

The transfer from the landing to the station at Northport is strange as the track runs straight into the river. The steamer moves so close to it that it is beached. The train literally drives into the water up to half its axis height. The traveller thus takes a big step from the ship to the train wagon while tiny fishes are swimming around the steamer and the train. Our baggage was quickly loaded into the train and now the journey went very quickly, despite the construction of the Spokane Falls and Northern Railway not inspiring much confidence, alongside the steeply falling lake shore to Marcus where the train leaves the lake behind and turns towards Spokane.

The landscape here is markedly different than that of the day before. Not very tall pine trees growing at considerable distance from each other. The ground is covered by dry yellow grass. Instead of the earlier so numerous burnt places there are here corn [maize], oats and wheat fields. Close to the farms herds of beautiful cattle and studs of well formed horses are cavorting. Noticeably many steam saws lay next to the tracks and giant stacks of cut and planed boards prove that here the value of wood is much appreciated. The possessions of the individual farmers were enclosed by barbed wire. We saw some game too as from smaller lakes and reed covered ponds rose flocks of ducks into the air an flew swift as an arrow past the windows of our compartment.

Already in Northport I had received a telegram from Colonel Cook who asked me to his regiment and camp located near the city of Spokane as there would be a two hour stop in that place. I thankfully declined this somewhat strange invitation in consideration of my incognito which led to a vituperative article in the Spokane evening newspaper that was handed to us in the wagon. The article had the laconic title „Franz is here„, illustrated with my image and was filled with mean falsehoods that did in no way attain their intended goal of offending me.  To the contrary, I found this old canard only ridiculous all the more so as various parts were unintentionally funny. Thus, for example,  the bad tempered reported exerted himself about our too numerous pieces of baggage and posed the question how this would be after I had been married . Then he criticized the „nonchalant“ knocking off of the cigar and other nonsense of this kind.

Instead of attending the parade I used the stay for a visit of the city of Spokane whose tasteless buildings painted green or red presented a not so pleasing sight. The center of a rich agricultural district, Spokane was founded in 1878 and rebuilt after a great fire in 1889. Traces of the latter can still today be perceived in the city center. The streets were full with an extraordinary amount of droppings, a situation that reminded me of small villages in Eastern Europe (Halbasien).

The two waterfalls within the city, Spokane Falls, are praised as natural beauties but are actually only weirs from which the water drops out of a total height of 45 m and which powers an lighting system numerous factories and other enterprises in the vicinity.

After a two hour stay out wagon was coupled to the main train that was fully packed with passengers despite its length and the journey onward started on the Northern Pacific Railway.

Spokane_Daily_Chronicle_TitleLinks

Revelstoke — Northport, 18 September 1893

Noise, rumbling and the whiny howls of the steamer’s whistle announced the departure of the steamer to us at 4 o’clock in the morning, and we steered already at full speed in the Columbia river when I entered the gallery. The river is in general very narrow and runs in numerous often very sharp turns through a narrow valley enclosed on both sides on steep hills and mountain ranges. The navigation is furthermore made more difficult by banks and rocks in the river bed. I thus had to admire the skill and audacity of the captain who drove on his hard to steer ship at full speed through these obstacles; the depth of the steamer however was shallow which reduced the difficulties of navigation a bit and lessens the danger. On the other hand the vehicle is equipped with numerous life-belts which was apparently deemed sufficient for all eventualities as it is well known that human lives do no to count for all that much in America.

Soon the fire-burnt woods left us and we entered into a region that had been spared such destruction up to now. Here too a railway was to be built, thus putting an end to the splendid forest. The territory of the Columbia River used to be up to recent times one of the least known and explored parts of North America and white people only have been entering this wilderness since the establishment of river shipping. Currently they are mostly gold diggers who enter as the first pioneers and spend their days partly by washing for gold in the river partly by prospecting for metals in the mountains. Some farmers too have tried their fortune in clearing a wood lot and then cultivating the ground. Our steamer was transporting the first plow for one of these farmers. The settlers at first can sustain their life only by hunting which is said to be very plentiful as there is much big game and numerous bears.

For some time our steamer was driving in the midst of the forest without a settlement in the vicinity and stopped at the shore to disembark some gold diggers there who then entered into the wilderness. One can thus imagine without difficulty the strange company assembled on board. Ugly and rough fellows were milling around on deck and in the salons in threadbare torn clothes with large hats on their heads and a revolver near their hands. This gave us the opportunity to acquaint ourselves already here with the American ruthlessness. Everywhere these fellows were lounging around, putting their feet upon couches and chairs, spitting everywhere and taking possession of books that had been left for just a moment in the salon.

The river runs, still in Canada, twice into lakes called the Upper and Lower Arrow Lake what we could however perceive by the lighter color of the water as we would have taken the lakes to be just a wider river bed.

The only bigger settlement along our route owes its existence to a silver mine that had been opened in the Selkirk Range and is said to be quite rich. Due to the current devaluation of silver the level of activity had been reduced and one employs the workers present to build a railway line from the mine to the lake shore. In this settlement that consisted of multiple small log huts with the inescapable shop and a steam saw we saw all workers united at the landing pier as it just was pay day for which our steamer brought the money. The loading of the wood for our boiler furnace seemed to go on forever. Large wood logs were stacked at the edge of the forest, the captain beached the steamer nearby into the mud and sent a few people on land who carried the logs piece by piece on board.

Bad weather was following us here too. And while dense fog lay over the mountains in the morning that prevented any clear view, it even started to rain during the afternoon. It turned bitterly cold so that staying outside became impossible and we had to remain together with the spitting sons of the wilderness in the salon. Fortunately a fellow travelling American woman who was by the way very pretty had sufficient mercy with us and permitted us to smoke for which we were greatly thankful.

Links

Priests‘ Landing to Revelstoke, 17 September 1893

During the night the rain stopped again. A fresh wind coming from the mountains brought beautiful if cold weather. As it was Sunday today, there would be no train today and I only managed to get a special train thanks to the outstanding courtesy of the railway administration. The train was set to depart at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Up to then, I stayed on board due to the cold I was still afflicted with, while my gentlemen undertook an armed promenade to the heights situated above the station and returned with some grouses of a smaller species. Later we tried to fish with rods but remained mostly without success even though some Englishmen we had observed at the same spot the evening before had caught beautiful salmon trouts there.

In the special train that consisted of two sleeping cars and a monster of a locomotive we were greeted friendly by smiling Mr. Fisher, a mulatto who had served us already during the railway journey from Vancouver. We flew through the already known pretty region towards the main line which we reached at Sicamous. About an hour before this station the railway comes close to the shore of a bulge of Shuswap Lake, that lies elongated and earnest between dark forests. Only a bark canoe steered by Indians, some individual great loons and now and then a flock of ducks were to be seen on the smooth surface of the lake. New snow that had fallen during the night covered the mountain ridges. The bleak fir trees looked quite delightful in their white dress that they probably put on the first time in this year. After Sicamous station we soon turned away from the lake shore into a densely filled forest landscape that is criss-crossed in many bends of the small Spallumsheen River. It is pleasant to see large stretches of forest here that had not yet been touched by fire.

The sunset brought a surprise, namely a kind of alpenglow, I had not seen before during this week and which was incomparably beautiful. In an otherwise cloudy sky the heights were glowing in the most intense red that bled into a purple at the lower end and stood out sharply against the already shadowed parts of the forests, while the snowy peaks were tinted in light pink. This gorgeous color effect lasted for nearly half an hour.

Late in the evening we were in Revelstoke where we left the wagons and embarked on the river steamboat „Columbia“ owned by the Columbia and Kootenay Steam Navigation Company. With it we would drive down on the Columbia river in order to take the railway again at Northport that would transport us to our next destination, Yellowstone Park. „Columbia“ is built according to the same system as „Aberdeen“ only bigger in all its dimensions so that it could take in up to 100 first class passengers. But it seems to be quite old and in need of repairs, as everywhere it was posted that the life-belts were to be found under the beds in each cabin. In my cabin I discovered that I could look through yawning gaps in the ship’s side while it directly rained through the deck on the bed of one of the other gentlemen.

Links

  • Location: Revelstoke, Canada
  • ANNO – on 17.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Die Welt, in der man sich langweilt“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Manon“.

Penticton — Priests‘ Landing, 16 September 1893

In the morning I felt a bit better but still stayed on board whiling away the time by buying leather moccasins and gloves from the Indians.  The Indian ladies were so curious and really wanted to have a look at the foreign prince so that they dared to come on board guided by the missionary. I was then just occupied with entries into my diary when they arrived and stared at me. Imhof used this moment to photograph the dainty beauties who had very energetic facial features and strong bodies. The Indian women soon became aware of it but this realization produced various results. Some cried and covered up their brown faces with a shawl whereas others less shy and apparently quite vain, took off their shawl to accentuate their dense black hair.

At the pier a vivid trade had developed as the travel organizer was selling off at a considerable loss all the objects acquired for the expedition and now unnecessary such as field beds, cooking utensils etc, then the remaining tins and alcoholic beverages. Most of it was bought by Mr. Ellis, who celebrated the acquisition by getting fully drunk on the spot.

Towards noon, shortly before departure, a heavy stormy wind came up that churned up the lake so that the departure of the bulky steamer became almost impossible.  A rope with which the aft of the ship should have been swung free snapped and we drifted again to the pier and hit it booming, to the greatest pleasure of Mr. Ellis under alcoholic influence who was howling with joy about this failure of the vehicle of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company he hated thoroughly and was waving his hat.

The maneuver was repeated, the rope snapped again and this time the rebound and crash into the pier was even harder so that the pier was screeching in all its joints and we too on the ship had to absorb a mighty hit.  The excitement was now general, the wind was blowing stronger and stronger, the captain was shouting and swearing, Mr. Ellis was rejoicing, the missionary told me that he intended to come along to prepare me for death and the journey to the next world, a kind offer that I however thankfully declined for now. A third rope was launched to shift the ship. As the crew on board was insufficient, a colorful company of in part quite ludicrous guys was thronging at the gangway working eagerly for the common good. The paymaster, the passengers, the waiter in  shirtsleeves — all were pulling strongly until the joint effort proved successful. The aft turned towards the lake, the machine started and we could gain the open water.

At the station of Kelowna, which consisted of a few settler houses, I used the stay of a quarter hour to inspect a steam saw at the shore that was driven by a machine with 42 horsepower. There five circular saws and a planer turned the mighty spruce trunks of the virgin forest within the shortest time into plain boards. In a small merchant store we bought still a few leather Indian costumes and gloves. Towards 6 o’clock we were at Priests‘ Landing and stayed on board of „SS Aberdeen„. Late in the evening the rain started again.

Links

  • Location: Penticton, Canada
  • ANNO – on 16.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the tragedy „Der Erbförster“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Excelsior“.
Die Neue Presse reports that Franz Ferdinand will depart from New York on 14 October to England and pay a visit to Queen Victoria. Apart from the New York departure, the information is completely wrong.

Die Neue Presse reports on 16 September 1893 that Franz Ferdinand will depart from New York on 14 October to England and pay a visit to Queen Victoria. Apart from the New York departure, the information is completely wrong.

Shingle Creek — Penticton, 15 September 1893

As if our memories of the hunting expedition to the Gold Range should be especially imprinted and the departure from the Rocky Mountains made quite difficult, we enjoyed one of rare beautiful days today. A deep blue cloudless sky arched itself above us. The sun sent warming rays and the delightful fresh mountain air was filled with balsamic pine and fir scent. Numerous butterflies were flying around enjoying the last days of their lives. Colorful gleaming bugs were crawling on the bark of the fallen trees.

Until noon we still stayed in camp and took various photographic images. Then we mounted and off we went towards Penticton; it was quite hot, the path sincerely bad and our otherwise wild but no already tired mustangs were only made to go forward by the constant use of spurs and whip.

In the Indian village, I asked Charley to show me one of the houses and soon I was led by him into his own home where I was received by his very corpulent better half who was wearing some sort of negligee and carried a child on her back in a canvas strap. How astonished was I, however, when entering the log house I saw, instead of the expected weapons, hides and scalps of slain enemies, a sewing machine and a coffee mill and the walls plastered with illustrations cut out of newspapers so that my beautiful ideas which I had developed by reading famous stories about the Indian people had led me astray. Charley’s marriage seems to be particularly blessed as children of all age ranges were crying, shouting and running around in the small room while the eldest daughter was using the sewing machine. The good folk did apparently not consider cleanliness highly. That’s way I did not dare to touch the objects that had made me curious and soon left the living room escaping from the sticky air. In front of the house a couple of old wives had assembled in the mean time, true shrews, that showed themselves highly pleased with our visit, pointing at us with their fingers and were vividly talking among themselves in their guttural language.

The catholic missionary of the place, an old Frenchman who has spent the last 25 years in these regions arrived in a hurry on his horse and not only fully praised the parishioners but knew much interesting things to tell about the Indians, adding many remarks about his life and his new homeland. He especially praised the intelligence of the redskins, that I however never doubted without having by the way given a good impression of it even though or because I had been observing them with a scientific mind.

The Indians of North America, the aboriginal people of the land, had been numerous and powerful still during the last century but have seen an unstoppable decline during the present era, as the prospering of the redskins as hunter, fishermen and warrior peoples seemed incompatible with the rapid advance of modern civilization. Forced to put away their weapons and displaced from their hunting grounds once so rich in game to designated places, reservations,  this people is decaying more and more and faster, for whose blossoming apparently freedom is a vital requirement as the evils of civilization have reached it much faster than the blessings of civilization. Illnesses of all kinds, alcoholism and corruption made a quick entrance and gained distribution among the redskins in the modern period of North America. In contrast only in a limited way were efforts successful to civilize the Indians, to convert them to Christianity, to make them sedentary and turn them into efficient tillers.

In Canada, by the way, the situation of the Indians is much more favorable and their progress in civilization much greater than in the United States. This expresses itself not only in the numerical, moral and material relations of the Indians but also through their attitude they display towards the owners of the territories. While insurrections of Indian tribes in Canada, such as that of the „Blackfoot“ in 1886, against the Whites are happening only rarely, the United States has been almost continuously in small wars against the redskins during the last decades. Here too in the North-east and the Rocky Mountains the fire of insurrection is stoked from time to time.

As in the United States, Indians are also restricted to reservations in Canada. Whereas, however, the 423 Canadian reservations represent mostly productive land valued by the Indians, the Indian reservations in the United States are mostly in worthless or still poor and inhospitable lands whose area is furthermore reduced from time to time. In total numbers, as stated before, the Indians in North America are in a constant decline.

It needs to be mentioned that this dwindling is experienced especially by those tribes known to Europeans through history and novels. Who would not think about Huron, Iroquois, Mohawks, Tuscarora etc. if he reads about the English and French wars in North America during the years from 1744 to 1748 and 1754 to1763? The famous „six nations“ have shrunken so much in numbers that in 1892 there were only 13.621 Indians in the United States, an a mere 8508 living in Canada who were descendants of those tribes whose names are familiar to us from the struggles of Chingachgook and Uncas, the last of the Mohicans, as friends or enemies of the immortal Nathanael Bumppo, the pathfinder and leatherstocking.

The steamer „Aberdeen“ arrived towards 5 o’clock at the wooden pier in Penticton and I then immediately went on board and soon afterwards to bed.

Links

  • Location: Penticton, Canada
  • ANNO – on 15.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der Prophet“.

Black Mountain — Shingle Creek, 14 September 1893

Due to the stormy cold night spent in the open my cold had grown worse again and, upon the advice of my gentlemen, I had to accept to give the order with a heavy heart to march back as in fact we could not have stayed here for long. We had actually planned to stay two more days on Black Mountain, and I wanted especially to go for a hunt with Charley to a distant rocky mountain. But I believe it myself that I would have been unable to do it given my current condition. Thus we went back to Shingle Creek. I planned to hunt with Wurmbrand along the way down, while Clam was to get down to the valley from one and Imhof and Prónay from another nearby ridge. Slowly we went down to the valley until the path split and Charley explained that it would be better for me to take the more comfortable path on the left, while Wurmbrand and the hunters who carried the rifles and were on foot would take the other path that was in any case rejoining the other one soon.

In an unknown wild region one should never separate oneself from one’s companions and foremost never leave one’s rifle. This was proved right here too. One could hardly speak about a reunion of the paths. The Indian led me across unbelievable slopes and ledges so that I had to admire the dexterity of my dun horse. Soon we met high game but I had no rifle. All calls for Wurmbrand and the hunters were in vain.  Furthermore during this rifleless hunt a dozen grouses sat down only a few paces in front of me and looked at me with wonder. Now my patience was at an end and I ordered Charley in not a very delicate tone to take me the fastest way possible to the camp at Shingle Creek where I found Wurmbrand awaiting me. Without a guide, he too had lost his way for some time.

After the train arrived, the camp was set up. In longer intervals did first arrive Imhof and Prónay with some grouses and then Clam with a bagged mule deer.

To describe the extreme stupidity of the grouse one has to add that some of the Indians accompanying the train column managed to hit some grouses with sticks from their horseback.

Cooking again required our full attention and we composed with united forces a splendid meal of six courses that in our view tasted much better in the wilderness than the finest dinner at Sacher. Apart from the tins there were game cooked in all possible ways, namely however grouse that taste even better than our hazel grouses. As I personally had not yet made much progress in the noble art of cooking, I was mostly asked to pluck the grouses and to compose a stylish French menu while Imhof proved himself as an excellent chef. At a large fire kept up by mighty blocks of felled balsam firs we spent a very agreeable evening. Hodek had to give a speech and so many hunting story from home entertained us. The night was not as cold as the one spent on Black Mountain.

Links

  • Location: Penticton, Canada
  • ANNO – on 14.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Rantzau“.

Shingle Creek — Black Mountain, 13 September 1893

According to our original plan we should have stayed for the full duration of our expedition, that is five days, at the camping place at Shingle Creek. But the Indians insisted that we should march further and higher already today to the Black Mountain as they were of the opinion that more game would be found there. They themselves had set the fourth hour of the morning as the time for departure. But they only laughed when we admonished them at 5 o’clock to earnestly think about the departure and started to cook their breakfast and then started without haste to catch their horses and also saddled them slowly so that we could only move out towards 7 o’clock. Unfortunately there existed no means to incite these phlegmatic people apart from the fact that any use of force probably would have only the opposite effect. There was nothing left than exercise ourselves in patience.

During the ride we no longer regretted the late departure as it would not have been possible to advance in darkness on the narrow paths and steep slopes. Here we were given ample opportunities to admire the skill of the horses that climbed up on only a foot wide paths without a single misstep which in any case would have had fatal consequences. Often enough fallen trees of considerable dimensions had to be passed over.

Today it was again necessary to cross deeply cut gorges but the mountain ledges were at the beginning at least densely wooded. We could also notice tracks of game whose paths crossed ours. From a dense cowberry bush, a grouse flew up into the air that in behavior and appearance was similar to the European black grouse. Finally we saw also on young poplars how the bark had often been stripped an torn off.

The higher we climbed the rougher the current of the air and the more inhospitable the scenery became. To my displeasure, everywhere one could more and more see the signs of horrible forest fires with arid, half burnt, partly still standing, partly fallen trees.  That we were getting close to the forest line was revealed by smaller but more resistant trees, a delightful species of  balsam firs with their characteristic cone-shaped growth and dense short branches which as true all weather fir tree were defending themselves against all atmospheric influences. Between the trees were mighty rock clefts that impeded the view. The air turned frosty and a cold, biting wind was blowing towards us.

After we had just completed a very difficult passage the leading Indian suddenly jumped off his horse like a cat, crouched low and pointing towards the opposite ledge while shouted „deer, deer“. Dismounting too, I became aware of a mule grazing at no fewer than 300 paces. As a closer approach did not seem practical due to the unfavorable wind and terrain I tried a shot but without result as the animal disappeared into the dense pine forest.

It was now necessary to overcome a very difficult ascent that led very steeply to a high ridge so that our brave mustangs had great difficulties to reach that place. Just below the ridge there was a windswept basin where we should establish our new camp. But the train could only arrive in a few hours time so that we dismounted from the steamy horses in order to hunt immediately in the vicinity. An Indian stayed with the horses, a second one was intended as my guide, my gentlemen entrusted themselves in pairs to the guidance of redskins. Then we determined the territories where each of us was to hunt and split up with a hearty „Waidmannsheil!“

Led by my Indian named Charley who had recently broken his arm and carried it in a sling, I turned to the West and hunted first next to the camping ground for two grizzly bears, it looked like a happy mother with its young that must have passed here a short time ago — a happy discovery that made my pulse beat quicker and increased my eagerness for the hunt. Also not far from us a piece of high game ran away of which I however was only able to see its legs. Sneaking up without noise was not easy here. We often had to climb over broken trees and jump and surpass great difficult terrain. The mountain landscape in front of us offered much that was attractive and interesting:  the, for the most part, arid forest at the limit of the forest line, strange rock and stone formations, multi-colored mosses and lichen, swampy spots that looked like a high moor in miniature and finally a mountain flora that showed many similarities to the one at home. I found Achillea, red Aquilegia, purple Christmas rose, tiny juniper, some species of Arnica etc. Stripes of fog rushed across the heights but soon disappeared and an ice-cold cutting wind came up.

Turning around a corner we suddenly saw a piece of game flee in front of me and run back to a ridge reverting back towards me. Despite the distance being rather large I dared to shoot, the piece was hit in the shoulder and disappeared beyond the ridge. Alarmed by the shot, a second piece appeared and stopped, however covered by branches, nearly in the same place. Here too I fired and started my search for it where I at first found much bloody tracks and then about a hundred paces further the first piece hit in the shoulder and finally in the vicinity also the second one. Both pieces were strong mule animals that was in size between our high and fallow deer with strangely formed nearly bat-like ears. A further characteristic of these animals is the complete absence of upper teeth.

Shaking his head the Indian observed the two pieces and said that these had been good shots, then made the usual sign for eating and continuously talked about the camp. The communication with this man was very difficult as he only spoke a mixture of English and Indian, but there was no doubt that he only wanted to return to the camp to which I did not agree at all as I wanted to continue hunting. U succeeded after the application of suitable means to suppress my redskin’s desire for the camp and create an understanding for the continuation of the hunt.

We arrived to a beautifully situated spot from where one could admire the rocky mountains on the opposite side separated from us by a deep gorge and many hundred hectares of forest that was delimited by a blue mountain range. Here too important lots had been destroyed by fires but I learned that not only the Indians, railway workers and colonists had created these destructions but also the gold diggers in this region whose mountains carry significant names such as Gold Range. The burn the wood to be able to examine the ground more closely.

When I slowly advanced in a very overgrown ledge, two more mules ran past. I shot and the first one tumbled after a few steps and died while the second one, apparently well hit, fled towards the valley and soon disappeared among the trees. Now the Indian was no longer willing to remain and uttered often the ominous word „camp“ and walked straight towards it even though I wanted to extend the hunt and foremost look for the second animal as we were unable to find it after the first few hundred paces. But he was unwilling to do that and I ha finally to give in and thus we climbed up to a steep ridge above the forest line that revealed eternal snow in two places and descended on the other side. To retard the return to camp, I sat down and marked a rest. Even though I thought to be at least an hour distant from the camp, I suddenly heard shots fired in the vicinity and bullets flew over my head, proof that I had entered into the hunting ground of another party. When I walked in the direction from which the shots had come, I met Prónay and Imhof who shot at grouse from the camp and did not expect me in the direction that was actually part of their hunting territory.

The Indians had led us fully criss-cross and showed little eagerness for their task. I had wanted to stay for the full day and still had been back at the camp at noon. The same happened to Imhof and Prónay who involuntarily met Wurmbrand and Clam and had all been led back to camp. They now set out to hunt grouse. As my Indian could not be moved to continue hunting, I at least gave the order to fetch the killed animals and joined the grouse hunt.

It is nearly unbelievable how trusting, or better said, how stupid those animals are: If they are flushed out from the ground, they fly only a short distance and land again. If they land on a tree, one can approach almost without cover and shoot them down. If multiple animals sit next to each other, one can catch them all as they remain sitting despite of the shots. Of a flock that had landed on a big fir tree above the horses and the camp fire Imhof shot three one after another. One fell into the fire, a second on a horse. After half an hour we closely examined the tree again and discovered another two grouses pressed to the trunk which I then shot. Unfortunately they had been killed with bullets and thus shot to pieces but still enriched our table.

In the mean time the train column under the command of Sanchez who had well and bravely performed his first attempts as a rider. The difficulties of the march had delayed and tired the column that had arrived with the tents and the provisions. The tents were set up at an altitude of more than 2000 m at the selected spot that however was exposed to storms. I rested for some time as I still did not feel well. When I asked three hours later about the condition of the shot animals, I was informed that the unreliable Indians had not yet departed to get them.

Finally I no longer wanted to remain at the camp fire. I took my rifle and hunted alone, as no Indian was ready, across the closest heights and forests and soon heard the shout of an Indian when I was taking observations from a boulder. Upon my answer, Charley worked his way through a tangle of tree trunks and reported that two grizzly bears had been observed in a valley nearby. This message made me rush forward despite being tired as quickly as the fallen trees permitted and soon I found still fresh tracks but unfortunately not the bears. My hope too was dashed of cutting off their path. The evening arrived and I had to return to the camp. Only rarely did I have such a bad and tiring path home as here as we were exposed to a big wind and snow breakage where we were forced to continuously climb and jump over a true labyrinth of wildly distributed fallen trunks. Soon our feet were hurting so much that we were barely able to continue and arrived at the camp only by dragging ourselves forward with great effort. A grouse constituted my only catch. In the mean time the party of Wurmbrand and Clam had returned after a six hour march with a mule calf and a grouse.

After sunset I became still colder and more uncomfortable. An icy wind blew mercilessly into our face coming directly from the close snow fields. We could only warm up a bit at the camp fire as the place offered no protection due to the lack of tall trees.

Links

  • Location: Penticton, Canada
  • ANNO – on 13.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der fliegende Holländer“.

Penticton—Shingle Creek, 12 September 1893

The news we received were good: They said that excellent successes would not fail to materialize. They even stated that a flock of 100 mountain sheep had been confirmed by the Indians and a man had been ordered to keep track of that rare game. Faced with such exaggerated promises I have learned by the experience of various hunting expedition failures among different peoples to be very cautious as the actual results have taught me every time that the proclaimed abundance of game was often far from reality.

It had been decided to send the baggage — rifles, tents, provisions and the most necessary clothes — ahead just at the break of dawn packed on horses while we wanted to follow towards 10 o’clock in the morning. Unfortunately here too punctuality seemed to be an unknown virtue, as when I left my cabin after 9 o’clock neither pack horses nor Indians were to be seen. Finally individual redskins appeared, riding totally unhurriedly, and Mr. Ellis too, the only owner of property in this region, who was responsible for the supply of horses and Indians acting as guides and hunters did not seem eager and was quite disconcerted about our whole expedition. This Mr. Ellis, born in Scotland, owns the whole surrounding area, including thousands of square kilometers. All the Indians living in the vicinity are in some sort of vassal relationship to him and he loves to feel and show himself as the king of this small country. With suspicious eyes does he observe the advances and successes of the Canadian Pacitic railway company into this endless wilderness where he up to now had been the unique ruler and could act as he pleased during the last 28 years. This makes it understandable that he considers every stranger as an intruder. His disapproval extended thus upon us too. We had however to grin and bear it as we were fully dependent upon him to supply men and horses and had to ask the mighty man with keen requests and beautiful phrases. Towards 10 o’clock the train column finally was ready and took off into the mountains under the command of our travel organizer and Hodek. Multiple Indians who had burdened their animals with almost unbelievable loads followed driving the animals in front of them with their lassos.

In a suitable relation to the delay of the baggage train our own horses also arrived only after 11 o’clock so that lmhof had all the time necessary to take down one of the four ospreys that were flying around our ship with a lucky shot. The death of one among their midst did have little effect upon his comrades who continued again and again to fly around us. But we could not pay them further attention as we were bound to depart.

Everybody chose one of the not really beautiful but strong Indian horses and strove to get as well acquainted with the Mexican saddle as possible, an instrument of torture that made sitting in no way comfortable and put off even a passionate rider from a long ride. The high saddle rack where there is a knob in front to attach the lasso forces the rider to sit very stiffly at the front of the saddle prong in the manner of the so called „old Hussar seat“ which I hated intensely. The side extensions were only six inches wide and are attached not to the saddle but hang from the stirrup straps; the stirrups themselves are large and without form. The saddle is attached with belts similar to our lady saddle. The horses use bits of the most different imaginable kinds among the individual horses.

Our guides who were set to act as our hunters tomorrow were pureblood Indians and mixed bloods from the Okinagan tribe of about 150 heads who lived in the surrounding areas and are said apparently to be distinguished by their industry and good behavior. Also almost all have converted to the Catholic faith. Two cowboys who accompanied us too were clad just like the Indians. They wore broad-rimmed felt hats, wool shirts and long fringed leather trousers, leather moccasins and strangely also thick leather gloves that reminded of fencing gloves made out of deer leather and were decorated with flashy stitched designs.

Our caravan now started from the edge of the wet low-lying lake shore to the farm of Mr. Ellis who gave here the necessary instructions to the Indians. The farm consist of multiple small houses and barns and is very prettily situated under tall trees in a friendly green valley surrounded by meadows and individual fields at the shore of Okinagan river whose especially clear waters were quickly flowing past. Mr. Ellis is mostly occupied with raising cattle and horses that spend all year high in the mountains in a half-wild life. A large percentage of animals is lost due to falls or become victims of bears so that one can discover carcasses of dead animals everywhere. But at least it must be profitable for Mr. Ellis as he incurs almost no costs for sustaining his herds.

Up to the highest spot of the steepest mountain slopes one sees the animals climb up that combine to larger herds at streams and other places were drinking water is available. I was astonished to a high degree about the good appearance of the herds as I had assumed that the animals would not find sufficient fodder in the burnt and dried ledges. But nature has provided for them as between the fallen tree trunks there were many Alpine herbs and in the lower areas grew an unremarkable blue-grey plant that especially during wintertime supplies the cattle with a healthy and highly sought fodder. If a farmer needs to sell a larger number of cattle or horses, he sends out his mounted cowboys and Indians into the mountains where they catch the required number of animals and drive them down to the valley.  The cultivation of fields is only done to fulfil the demands of the farms. When we asked Mr. Ellis whether he is growing wheat too he affirmed with the addition that he did only for the sake of his chickens.

On the opposite river shore we entered into the Indian village that consisted partly out of huts partly of wigwams, that are tents. The former are simple log houses covered by grass tiles. The latter are distinguished only by the chaos ruling in their interior. The main source of income is raising cattle that is performed like the farmers and is said to have allowed individual Indians to amass notable fortunes. Around the huts are small fields and even fruit garden where we saw to our surprise trees carrying very many fruits.

On a narrow cattle track leading along the ledges we rode towards the mountains. This part of our journey was rather monotonous as the conifers were mostly pine trees that stood at a large distance on the yellow sandy ground and never built a close forest. Only after some time we came to a narrow valley where we had a beautiful view upon the distant mountain ranges. Many deeply cut gorges where clear streams offered horses and riders a welcome refreshing drink had to be passed. Due to the bad narrow tracks we could mostly only ride at a walk and only on some small high plains was it possible to gallop for a short time. Our keen watch for game was unsuccessful, as we discovered nothing except some falcons and representatives of some grey-black chicken species. In contrast the view of the region was again more agreeable and illuminated by the glint of the setting sun a dense forest was showing itself off to us. Soon we had overtaken our train that moved forward only slowly and with difficulties as the just caught mustangs were not used to carrying burdens and lay down at any moment so that our wine reserves, the rifles and the photographic apparatus were in great danger.

Two hours later we reached a small valley where our camp was set up under fir and pine trees many hundreds of years old at the edge of a small stream at Shingle Creek. After unpacking the horses the tents were pitched and soon there developed a very active and happy life. Trees were felled, wood split and in no time a mighty fire was burning at which multiple members of the expedition had to try their skills in cooking as we had not engaged an expert for the expedition. While the temperature during the day had been quite agreeable, it became quite cool in the evening. That’s why everyone crowded quite close around the camp fire.

The horses unloaded from their burdens and saddles and driven together into a herd grazed under the trees eating the sparse grass. These animals did not receive any grain fodder despite the great exertions. Overall, the bad treatment the horses had to experience from the Indians was notable.  To the inadequate feeding despite hard work one has to add foot kicks and hits at every opportunity as the Indian did not seem to show any love towards his horses and only exploits them as much as possible. If one can find despite this and even though the horses are forced to serve from a very young age among them still remarkably good specimens and the animals have not only clean feet but also not a bad exterior, this speaks for the quality of their race. The redskins not always make us of a saddle. They often sit upon only a blanket without a belt and only pass a rope through the mouth of the horse as a bridle or limit themselves to a halter so that it is a strange attractive sight to see a rider dash across the ground with only such a primitive riding equipment.

To our side the Indians had made their camp. They achieved the goal of their cooking faster than we as we did not have the necessary practice and we lost much time experimenting. A truly oversalted soup and goulash, both a demonstrative proof of the well known saying that  too many cooks spoil the broth. This was the result and lesson for our culinary education today. But we enjoyed it nevertheless with a smile and joking and sat together at the camp fire for a long time. The fire cast ghost-like lights upon the old fir trees while the stars were clearly twinkling down upon us.

Such expeditions have their one charms. As one learns to accept every situation and to help oneself on one’s own and is a guest of mother nature at any moment. If I had the choice between an official voyage where an excellent dinner, a comfortable bed as well as all comforts imaginable would await after finally having completed a long row of receptions and festivities on the one hand and a happy hunting trip as we are undertaking now on the other hand, so I would decide myself without hesitation for the latter.

For me, my gentlemen and the servants one tent for each had been set up. As the canvas was very thin and without a double fold and mainly intended to be laid on a horse, we had to wrap ourselves well in our furs in order not to freeze during the cold night.

Links

  • Location: Penticton, Canada
  • ANNO – on 12.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Romeo und Julie“.

Penticton, 11 September 1893

Awakened and looking out of the window of our compartment we saw that the countryside had taken on a different character: our eye was no longer looking upon giant mountains and glaciers but glanced over rolling low mountain ranges, long-winded densely wooded ridges above valleys in which wood lots alternated with cultivated areas and numerous farms demonstrated a certain level of wealth in this region. Various lakes enlivened the view all the more by the presence of game, namely geese, ducks and grebes. If one may call the Rocky Mountains as romantic wild then this landscape deserves the commendable epithet „delightful“.

Unfortunately we could not enjoy this sight for long. Soon the forest grew more sparsely and dry yellow grass covered the bare looking slopes. We still continued to drive past many lakes but missed the fresh green that we had earlier found so congenial.

In Sicamous we switched onto the tracks of the only recently opened branch line of Sicamous to Vernon. The latter final station is situated at Lake Okinagan that extends similar to a river for 121 km in a Southern direction across the land. At Priests‘ Landing we changed from the carriages to the wild stern wheeler „Aberdeen“. Our cabins were on its upper level. The vehicle is also owned by the Canadian Pacific railway and it achieves a speed of 12 knots if it is only burning wood.

„Aberdeen“ started moving, its mighty wheel stirred the water masses and we steered out onto the lake that was smooth as glass. The day was gorgeous. The sun was shining upon us and provided pleasant warmth. The especially clear air allowed us to distinguish every detail on both shores of the not very broad lake. The surrounding low mountain range was only sparsely wooded, partly in large areas that are said to be in a luxurious green in spring but now were covered with yellow grass. Numerous herds were grazing on the slopes. I could unfortunately not enjoy much of the beautiful journey. I was feeling unwell due to a severe cold and thus had to lie down in my cabin during most of the journey. Only from time to time I managed to catch a glance of the surrounding area through a small window.

The journey took six hours to Penticton at the Southern end of the lake. There soon would be constructed a railway connection to the North Pacific railway of the United States but in the mean time there is only demarked the space of the future station and a wooden hotel is under construction. With respect to the projected railway construction and the predicted rapid growth of the future „town“ of Penticton the Canadian Pacific railway company already offers now a daily connection by steamboat albeit at a loss only in order to uphold the first mover right of shipping on Lake Okinagan and pre-empt any potential competitors. At the moment only rarely does a passenger use the line, most often a hunter or squatter. On our journey too we had only two fellow passengers. The American entrepreneurial spirit does not shy away from spending important sums if profits can be expected in the future.

Until late in the evening everything for our planned hunting expedition to the Gold Range was discussed, determined and prepared.

Links

  • Location: Penticton, Canada
  • ANNO – on 11.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. Empress Elisabeth is currently staying incognito as „Countess Hohenems“ in Venice’s Hotel Europa while her husband the Emperor is visiting Hungary.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Die goldene Märchenwelt“.

Banff — Penticton, 10 September 1893

The beautiful if cold morning stirred me to make an excursion in a four-horse coach to the lake Pamasae-wapta (Lake Minneswanka) or devil’s lake to the East of Banff. On the way we passed first a police station consisting of a row of log cabins in which a detachment of the Canadian Mounted Police was stationed. Then the journey continued for about one and a half hours through a wide valley basin flanked by mighty imposing mountains that were unfortunately nearly completely bare of any vegetation. Bare walls were alternating with uncountable rock and rubble piles.

At the lowest point of the valley lies the blue lake embedded between the mountains. At its shore blinks a small white house in which an unsophisticated Canadian is catering for the foreigners by offering bad sherry, antlers and furs at fabulous prices. An osprey flies fast above the water level pouncing now and then upon its prey. A festive silence reigns on the mountain lake out of which flows a small river that has to thunderously fight its way through narrow gorges toward Banff. In the valley are some pine forests whose trees have strange short branches so that the forest looks like as if the brave Tyroleans had cut them back („g’schnatzelt“) according to their strange bad habit.

Returned to the hotel we learned that the train that was to take us towards noon to a hunting expedition at Gold Range was delayed by three hours — a quite common occurrence here. We thus had to be patient and await the delayed train that brought us back on the same track we had come but only to the station at Sicamous Junction, from which we were to use a line of the Canadian Pacific railway going South.

Links

  • Location: Sicamous, Canada
  • ANNO – on 10.09.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der Templer und die Jüdin“.