Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
when he sits in comfort by the camp fire at the close of the day. Following a Trail
Jake and I were following a blazed trail through the woods most of the day. A “trail” means, as a rule, a path, but there wasn’t much path to be seen where we went, we were simply following a line through the forest, which he had taken some years before, to get to the next lake, some five miles away.
He had blazed his way by chipping slices of bark off the trees with his axe. This left a light- coloured patch or “blaze” on the side of each tree, and time and weather had worn the colour down to a dirty grey, so they were not so very easy to see ; and in many places the underbrush had grown up so as to hide the tree-stems from view. So it was slow work, moving along from blaze to blaze.
Often, too, the trail would turn sharply off in an unexpected direction, so that, after looking at all the trees ahead of you for a blaze, you would at last find it on one away to your right or left.
Such a turn had probably been made in order to go round a fallen tree or branch, which had since rotted away.
As we went along, Jake kept his axe going to renew the old blazes, and to add new ones on to trees which had not already been blazed, and he repeated the blaze on the back of each tree, so that one could see the trail equally well on the return journey.
Then every bush or branch of underbrush that came in our way was broken down, partly to show the line we had gone, and also to discourage its growth, which would cover the tree-stems and their blazes.
Three ways of telling other Scouts to turn to the right.
Some fellows seem to think that there are different ways of bending twigs over to show the trail. Well, this is true in a way, but the most usual system is to break the twig forwards, that is, with the head of it pointing the way in which you are going.
At the same time the Canadian-Indians, as a rule, break it the other way; they pull the twig towards them and make it point backwards – in the direction that they have come.
They say that this makes it easier to find your trail home again, because when you are returning, you see the underside of the leaves, which are usually lighter in colour and easier to notice.
A blaze is made about the height of your shoulder above the foot of the tree, on the face of it, not