Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/116

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at having so easily escaped the well meant but revolting hospitality of the savages.

Twelve miles further on we entered the Gila Bend desert. At this point the Gila river trends to the north and describes a curve of one hundred and twenty miles around the northern base of a long range of mountains, resuming its original course westward about fifty miles from the point of departure. This space of fifty miles is entirely without water, and is the highway for the Coyoteros and some of the Sierra Blanca Apaches making raids upon Sonora. The probabilities were very much in favor of meeting one or more war parties of those tribes, and we kept a strict lookout during the transit, but failed to see any, although we may have been observed by them.

On the afternoon of the third day after leaving the Pimos, we came upon the scene of the Oatman massacre, and as the coyotes had dug up the remains of the murdered party, they were carefully and safely re-interred by us. Here was another caution to beware the treachery and malice of the Apaches. The lesson was well heeded by our little band; but we felt ourselves able to whip five times our number in fair fight, and the strictest vigilance was observed in passing any place which could shelter an ambush. Next day we camped on the Gila, under a splendid grove of high and clear cotton-wood trees. There was no underbrush for hundreds of yards in every direction, and our rifles could easily reach the surrounding expanse, in case of attack, while the friendly trees would afford us good shelter. Every one was busy—some collecting dry wood for the guard fire, others in cooking, others again in securing the animals and providing their food—when I suddenly perceived an Indian running toward us with both arms raised above his head.