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ng these rocks a man needn’t leave any tracks if he didn’t want to,” Elliott pointed out.
“The bogy-man’s after you,” said Bob.
Elliott laughed. Nevertheless, as the work progressed, from time to time he would freeze to an attitude of listening.
“It’s like feeling that there’s somebody else in a dark room with you,” he told Bob.
“You’ll end by giving me the willy-willies, too,” complained Bob. “I’m beginning to feel the same way. Quit it!”
By the end of the week it became nece cheap nike air max trainers ssary to go to town after more supplies. Bob volunteered. He saddled his riding horse and the pack animal, and set forth. Following California John’s directions he traced the length of the river through the basin to the bald rock where the old trail was said to begin. Here he anticipated some difficulty in picking up the trail, and more in following it. To his surprise he ran immediately into a well-defined path.
“Why, this is as plain as a strip of carpet!” muttered
Bob to himself. “If this is his idea of a dim trail, I’d like to see a good one!”
He had not ridden far, however, before, in crossing a tiny trickle of water, he could not fail to notice a clear-cut, recent hoof print. The mark was that of a barefoot horse. Bob stared at it.
“Now if I were real _good_,” he reflected, “like old what-you-may-call-him–the Arab nike air max classic ian Sherlock Holmes–I’d be able to tell whether this horse was loose and climbing for pasture, or carrying a rider, and if so, whether the rider had ever had his teeth filled. There’s been a lot of travel on this trail, anyway. I wonder where it all went to?” He paused irresolutely. “It isn’t more than two jumps back to the rock,” he decided; “I’ll just find out what direction they take anyway.”
Accordingly he retraced his steps to the bald rock, and commenced an examination of its circumference to determine where the trail led away. He found no such exit. Save from the direction of his own camp the way was closed either by precipitous sides or dense brush. The conclusion was unavoidable that those who had travelled the trail, had either ended their journeys at the bald rock or actually taken to the bed of the river.
“W nike air max 90 sale ell,” concluded Bob, “I’m enough of a sleuth to see that that barefoot horse had a rider and wasn’t just looking pasture. No animal in its senses would hike uphill and then hike down again, or wade belly deep up a stream.”
Puzzling over this mystery, he again took his way down the trail. He found it easy to follow, for it had been considerably travelled. In some places the brush had been cut back to open easier passage. Examining these cuttings, Bob found their raw ends only slightly weathered. All this might have been done by the men who had staked the mineral claims, to be sure, but even then Bob found it difficult to reconcile all the facts. In the first place, the trail had indubitably been much used since the time the claims were staked. In the second place, if the prospector had wished to conceal anything, it shoul air max 90 d have been the fact of his going to the Basin at all, not his whereabouts after arriving there. In other words, if desiring to keep his presence secret, he would have blinded the _beginning_ of the trail rather than its end.
He kept a nike air max sharp lookout. Near the entrance to the canon he managed to discover another clear print of the barefoot horse, but headed the other way. Clearly the rider had returned. Bob had hunted deer enough to recognize that the track had been made within the last twenty-four hours.
At Sycamore Flats he was treated to further surprises. Martin, of whom he bought his supplies, at first greeted him with customary joviality.
“Hullo! hullo!” he cried; “quite a stranger! Out in camp, eh?”
“Yes,” said B nike air max 95 ob, “they’ve got us working for a change.”
“Where you located?”
“We’re estimating timber up in the Bas Nike Air Max in,” replied Bob.
The silence that followed was so intense that Bob looked up from the bag he was tying. He met Martin’s eyes fixed on him.
“The Basin,” repeated Martin slowly, at last. “Since when?”
“About ten days.”
“We! Who’s we?”
“Elliott and I,” answered Bob, surprised. “Why?”
Martin’s gaze shifted. He plainly hesitated for a next remark.
“How’d you like it there?” he asked lamely, at length. “I thought none of you fellows ever went there.”
“Fine timber,” answered Bob, cheerfully. “We don’t usually. Somebody does though. California John told me that trail was old and out of use; but it’s been used a lot. Who gets up there?”
“The boys drive in some cattle occasionally,” replied Martin, with an effort.
Bob stared in surprise. He knew this was not so, and started to speak, but thought better of it. After he had left th cheap nike air max e s tore, he looked back. Martin was gazing after him, a frown between his brows.
Before he left town a half-dozen of the mountain men had asked him, with an obvious attempt to make the question casual, how he liked the Basin, how long he thought his work would keep him there. Each, as he turned away, followed him with that long, speculative, brooding look. Always, heretofore, his relations with these mountain people had been easy, sympathetic and cordial. Now all at once, without reason, they held him at arm’s length and regarded him with suspicious if not hostile eyes.
Puzzling over this he rode back up the road past the Power House. Thence issued Oldham to hail him. He pulled up.
“I hear you’re estimating the timber in the Basin,” said the gray man, with more appearance of disturbance than Bob had ever seen him displa cheap nike air max 90 y.
Bob acknowledged the accuracy of his statement.
“Indeed!” said Oldham, pulling at his clipped moustache, and after a little, “Indeed!” he repeated.
So the news had run ahead of him. Bob began to think the news i cheap nike air max mportant, but for some reason at which he could not as yet guess. This conviction was strengthened by the fact that from the two mountain cabins he passed on his way to the beginning of the trail, men lounged out to talk with him, and in each case the question, craftily rendered casual, was put to him as to his business in the Basin. Before one of these cabins stood a sweating horse.
“Look here,” he demanded of nike air max 90 the Carrolls, “why all this interest about our being in the Basin? Every man-jack asks me. What’s the point?”
Old man Carroll stroked his long beard.
“Do they so?” he drawled comfortably. “Well, I reck nike air max sale on little things make news, as they say, when you’re in a wild country. They ain’t been no work done in the Basin for so long that we’re all just nat’rally interested; that’s all.”
He looked Bob tranquilly in the eye with the limpid gaze of innocence before which Bob’s scrutiny fell abashed. For a while his suspicions of anything unusual were almost lulled; the countryside _was_ proverbially curious of anything out of the course of events. Then, from a point midway up the steep trail, he just happened to look back, and just happened through an extraordinary combination of openings to catch a glimpse of a rider on the trail. nike air max 1 The man was far below. Bob watched a long time, his eye fixed on another opening. Nothing appeared. From somewhere in the canon a coyote shrilled. Another answered him from up the mountain. A moment later Bob again saw the rider through the same opening as before, but this time descending.
“A signal!” he exclaimed, in reference to the coyote howls.

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