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Chapter Three
A Shelter in the Wilderness

1836, Southwest of Three Forks, in what would later become the State of Montana.

"Thy [God's] righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, Thou preservest man and beast."
~ Psalm 36:6 ~

Leaving the Yellowstone behind, Josiah took Emma deeper into the wild territory of the Northern foothills and mountains of Blackfoot country. By instinct, the trapper said very little, and made no efforts at conversation with Emma. His eyes were focused on his surroundings, his ears trained for signs of Indians, and his mind busy with thoughts of beaver and the approaching winter.

Josiah's cautious silence had a very quieting effect on Emma. As they made camp before nightfall, he realized she hadn't said a single word all day.

"You've bin mighty silent," remarked Josiah, as Emma unpacked some dried meat for their supper.

"No more than you," she replied.

Josiah grunted. He took a bite of his meal and watched as the sun slipped behind the Rocky Mountains.

The sky was almost dark when Josiah unrolled his buffalo robe and then settled down for some rest. Emma huddled against him, for he had decided against a night fire that might betray their presence to any Indians still nearby.

Before long, Josiah heard the soft breathing of the sleeping woman bedside him. With a yawn, he checked his rifle and then shut his eyes to let sleep overtake him.

It was only the snapping of a twig, but Josiah's left eye popped open as though he had only been resting and not sleeping at all. He quickly surveyed the campsite, saw it was a raccoon, and then promptly went back to sleep. Josiah was used to being his own night watch when he trapped by himself in the mountains, and felt more than capable of keeping guard while he slept.

The next several days showed little change, with Josiah and Emma barely exchanging a single word between them. The nights were no different, for Josiah slept in the small snatches of rest he was able to find between awakenings to check the camp.

Emma could no longer count the number of days she had been with Josiah, for one day seemed to blend with another. Her back was sore from sitting in the saddle, and her eyes ached from squinting at mountains, straining to distinguish the blurs to see if they were Indians. They kept no fire at night, and fed on tough buffalo jerky and cold mountain water for supper. Sleep was Emma's one escape, and she looked forward to it with eager weariness.

Then one day, as the sun began to set on the Western horizon, Josiah halted his horses at a creek to make camp. "Look up yonder," he told Emma, pointing to a large mountain with a flattened peak that towered above the others. "That's Ole' Hollowtop," he grinned. "We'll be at the lodge soon."

continued on next page...
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