I wrote to Mr. Eldridge Wheeler, of Montesano, my summer Normal school instructor, for advice. A sentence in his reply struck my fancy. "The happiest time of a teacher's life is sometimes spent in the far back-woods." I took the school. Mrs. McKinnon, school clerk of the district, made all arrangements for my trip, and sent Ray Northup, of Clearwater, to meet me at the Indian Agency, now called Taholah. A trip to the Hoh and back in 85 minutes by air recently, suggested this story of a one-way trip that took nearly a week.
My father accompanied me to Oyehut. There he turned me over to an Indian who had come with a wagon from the Agency (Taholah). It took us the rest of the day to get to the Agency. It was a lonely drive along the north beach coast. Just an occasional house to pass. It was dark before we reached Taholah. There were high cliffs to the right, and the ocean waters right under the wagon wheels. The tide was up high. Seemed as though the ocean was going to take us. I was deathly scared. The driver hurried his horses for all they were worth and presently we saw lights from the village.
There I was taken to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Reader. The Readers, the Indian Agent, and the Schoolmaster, were the only white people in the village. Reader kept a store. I met Ray Northup. He decided we better stay over a day, hoping the weather would be better for our journey on foot from the Quinault River to the Queets, along the beach, a distance of fourteen miles. Next day I visited the Indian School and looked over the village.
On the third day in the morning we started our tip northward. Ray carried a heavy pack. We just "mushed on" in the soft sand all day long. The ocean wind was cold and it rained, too. Every once in a while we came to big creeks, swollen from heavy rains. Hand in hand we plunged right in. The currens were strong. At the Raft River we couldn't plunge in. Ray constructed a raft, somehow, and we crossed safely on it. This is a dangerous crossing for inexperienced hands. Before this, we came to a tunnel through the high cliffs whose points extended out into the sea. The water was so high we couldn't get through it, so had to take a long round-about way, by trail, over the bluffs. Somewhere on top we ate our lunch. A thermos bottle of hot coffee (as we have now) wouldn't have been so bad. But we didn't have one.