Tex shook his bloody head. “I can’t let my mind wander” he muttered. Slowly, with determined effort, began to pull his battered weight up the little tree, using his good leg as best he could. It seemed like agonizing hours before he was upright. Leaning onto the tree to support his mangled body, he could not resist squinting across the valley he had been happily crossing just a short time ago. He wondered if the stories of Alaskan gold that had brought him here were for real. He knew he would never know. Holding onto the little tree, weaving and unsteady, he looked puzzled. He tried to remember why he had chosen to come through this particular valley. How had he gotten between the old sow grizzly and her two mischievous cubs? If only he had gone a different route.
Pulling the Colt from his belt Tex spat at the dead bear. “Ha, old bitch, you got me but you were no match for my “Forty-Niner.”
Twisting around, using his last bit of strength he jammed the Colt into the tight fork of the tree.
“Good-by, my friend” he gasped, as the lifeless body slumped to the ground.
A warm Chinook wind began to blow and the little tree waved gently, firmly grasping Tex’s revolver.
It was in 1897 that Tex, with his last breath, placed the revolver in the forks of the young tree. It wasn’t until 1977 that a young trapper crossed a vast wilderness valley and up a slope to where a tall group of trees grew. He was exploring this country to expand his trap line for that fall. Reaching the trees he decided to sit down and take in the beautiful valley as he rested. He started to sit next to a large tree with a forked trunk when he saw the rusty metal sticking out from the fork. On the back side he saw the rusty grip frame of an old Colt pistol.
For the next hour he studied the tree and the antique it held, trying to figure out how to remove it. His mind raced as he wondered just how an old pistol wound up in such an unlikely place. He could only image. He took an ax from his pack and started to carefully remove the wood that held the old revolver tight. “If I can get the remains of this old pistol from the tree,” he thought, “what a gift it will make my young son.”
A warm Chinook wind began to blow.