Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/190

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being kindled, are either alternately exposed and shrouded from view, or suffered to burn steadily, as occasion may require. All travelers in Arizona and New Mexico are acquainted with the fact that if the grass be pressed down in a certain direction during the dry season, it will retain the impress and grow daily more and more yellow until the rainy season imparts new life and restores it to pristine vigor and greenness. The Apaches are so well versed in this style of signalizing that they can tell you, by the appearance of the grass, how many days have elapsed since it was trodden upon, whether the party consisted of Indians or whites, about how many there were, and, if Indians, to what particular tribe they belonged. In order to define these points, they select some well marked footstep, for which they hunt with avidity, and gently pressing down the trodden grass so as not to disturb surrounding herbage, they very carefully examine the print. The difference between the crushing heel of a white man's boot or shoe, and the light imprint left by an Indian's moccasin, is too striking to admit of doubt, while the different styles of moccasin used by the several divisions of the Apache tribes are well known among them. The time which has elapsed since the passage of the party is determined by discoloration of the herbage and breaking off a few spires to ascertain the approximate amount of natural juice still left in the crushed grass. Numbers are arrived at by the multiplicity of tracks. Signalizing by bent twigs, broken branches and blazed trees, is too well known to deserve special mention here. In these respects the Apaches do not differ from other Indian tribes of this continent.

If a mounted party has been on the road, their numbers, quality and time of passage are determined with