As he crossed the floor of the canyon he saw something lying close to the base of the side wall he was approaching-something that stood out in startling contrast to all the surroundings and yet seemed so much a part and parcel of the somber scene as to suggest an actor amid the settings of a well-appointed stage, and, as though to carry out the allegory, the pitiless rays of flaming Kudu topped the eastern cliff, picking out the thing lying at the foot of the western wall like a giant spotlight.
Again and again he slipped back from sheer exhaustion and would have fallen to the floor of the canyon but for merest chance.
Ahead he scanned the rough landscape for sign of another canyon which he knew would spell inevitable doom.
Had this hole existed in the bed of a canyon a mile long, or several miles long, it would have been well known.
Dawn caught us on the northern brow, and in the gray light we dropped down through chaparral into redwood canyons deep and warm with the breath of passing summer.
Oh, I had all kinds of hankerings--to follow up the canyon
beds and slosh around from pool to pool, making friends with the water-dogs and the speckly trout; to peep on the sly and watch the squirrels and rabbits and small furry things and see what they was doing and learn the secrets of their ways.
Across the rubble-covered flats, up the dark canyon to Sheep Camp, past the over-hanging and ever-threatening glaciers to the Scales, and from the Scales up the steep pitches of ice-scoured rock where packers climbed with hands and feet, Old Tarwater camp-cooked and packed and sang.
Next morning they planned to load and start, squarely into the teeth of the north, on their perilous traverse of half a thousand miles of lakes and rapids and box canyons.
So quietly did the little stream drip and ripple its way through the canyon that it spoke only in faint and occasional gurgles.
The motion of all things was a drifting in the heart of the canyon.
It was ribbed with sharp, steep ridges and cloven with narrow canyons
, and here and there on the heights, rocky upheavals shaped themselves into mimic battlements and castles; and out of rifted clouds came broad shafts of sunlight, that painted summit, and slope and glen, with bands of fire, and left belts of somber shade between.
I had encountered them the preceding year when my mother had taken me to the hazelnut canyons