The company’s progress slowed as they struggled to find a navigable route though the Great Divide, a term bestowed upon the Rocky Mountains, the most formidable obstacle in any mans journey to the west coast. The situation became exceedingly dire as worst of winter began to descend upon the company. Snow drifts, the depth of which many of the men had only read about began to accumulate, making even the most basic functions necessary for survival exponentially more difficult. The winds became so unrelenting and so fridge when relieving one’s self you could be at risk of serious permanent damage to any exposed skin. At some points a man could hold out his hand and it would disappear into the eternity of the white that surrounded him. This weather continued for days at a time. In-between the episodes of white outs and arctic winds the men attended to seemingly menial tasks such as emptying the pots that held their excrement, or to patch a hole in their shelters. But they also attended to more important tasks such as their dwindling food supply. It was on one such mission that Pete and Jedediah met their most formidable challenge to date.
The group of six men had been stalking a pair of deer for the past couple of miles, in a hope to obtain a clear shot within the limited range of their muskets. Every time the deer had stayed put long enough for one of the group to line up a shot the deer had become spooked. As the ventured farther and farther from their shelters the sun began to make its daily journey down toward the horizon. But darkness, and to cold that followed were not the only foes that they feared. Stories from men that had spent time in the rookies described a great beast, the Grizzly Bear, which could kill a grown man with a single swipe from one of its large paws. Finally a large buck stooped down to pick that last remaining berries form a small shrub. Jedediah raised his rifle and fired. Crack! The sound of the shot rang crisply and clearly in the valley, to sound reverberating off the dense snow. The buck took a few more steps and collapsed. The men cheered wildly, finally realizing the fruits of their labor. Jedediah walked over with his men to inspect the kill. Jedediah then knelt, and began to pray for the bounty and for the animal that provided it. After they had given thanks, the men began to butcher the buck as the six hundred pound behemoth was too heavy to carry. Already the meat began to stiffen. The men’s knives worked quickly, butchering it in an hour. Jedediah became increasingly worried, the blood soaked snow was beginning to smell, and this could attract predators, so he told each man to remain vigilant. Each man took on a pack filled one hundred pounds of meat and they began their trek back through the darkness that had now descended upon the Rockies.
Halfway back the men needed a rest. As the men sat resting Jedediah and two others went ahead to scout the way. As they broke through the brush that surrounded the rest area a great beast blocked their path. Its head turned, its eyes locked with Jedediahs. As the men slowly backed up, tying to avoid any conflict the great Grizzly Bear erected its self to its full height. Jedediah and the two others were awestruck by the ten foot giant. The men turn their backs and ran towards the others yelling to them at the same time. Jedediah felt the ground shudder, and he didn’t have to look back to understand what was going on. The two other men began to pull ahead of Jedediah, and he could feel the beast bearing down on him. Just beyond the brush he could see his men readying their weapons. As he leapt through he felt his leg snag on something. He collapsed to the ground exhausted. Then he felt its presence. With each breath great bear took