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Synopsis

It was a wet, bad year on the Old Western Trail. From Red River north
and all along was herd after herd waterbound by high water in the
rivers. Our outfit lay over nearly a week on the South Canadian, but
we were not alone, for there were five other herds waiting for the
river to go down. This river had tumbled over her banks for several
days, and the driftwood that was coming down would have made it
dangerous swimming for cattle.

We were expected to arrive in Dodge early in June, but when we reached
the North Fork of the Canadian, we were two weeks behind time.

Old George Carter, the owner of the herd, was growing very impatient
about us, for he had had no word from us after we had crossed Red
River at Doan's crossing. Other cowmen lying around Dodge, who had
herds on the trail, could hear nothing from their men, but in their
experience and confidence in their outfits guessed the cause--it was
water. Our surprise when we came opposite Camp Supply to have Carter
and a stranger ride out to meet us was not to be measured. They had
got impatient waiting, and had taken the mail buckboard to Supply,
making inquiries along the route for the _Hat_ herd, which had not
passed up the trail, so they were assured. Carter was so impatient
that he could not wait, as he had a prospective buyer on his hands,
and the delay in the appearing of the herd was very annoying to him.
Old George was as tickled as a little boy to meet us all.

The cattle were looking as fine as silk. The lay-overs had rested
them. The horses were in good trim, considering the amount of wet
weather we had had. Here and there was a nigger brand, but these
saddle galls were unavoidable when using wet blankets. The cattle were
twos and threes. We had left western Texas with a few over thirty-two
hundred head and were none shy. We could have counted out more, but on
some of them the Hat brand had possibly faded out. We went into a
cosy camp early in the evening. Everything needful was at hand, wood,
water, and grass. Cowmen in those days prided themselves on their
outfits, and Carter was a trifle gone on his men.

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