The joyous, exhilarating call of the wilderness and the forest camp is surely and steadily penetrating through the barriers of brick, stone, and concrete; through the more or less artificial life of town and city; and the American girl is listening eagerly. It is awakening in her longings for free, wholesome, and adventurous outdoor life, for the innocent delights of nature-loving Thoreau and bird-loving Burroughs. Sturdy, independent, self-reliant, she is now demanding outdoor books that are genuine and filled with practical information; books that tell how to do worth-while things, that teach real woodcraft and are not adapted to the girl supposed to be afraid of a caterpillar or to shudder at sight of a harmless snake.
In answer to the demand, "On the Trail" has been written. The authors' deep desire is to help girls respond to this new, insistent call by pointing out to them the open trail. It is their hope and wish that their girl readers may seek the charm of the wild and may find the same happiness in the life of the open that the American boy has enjoyed since the first settler built his little cabin on the shores of the New World. To forward this object, the why and how, the where and when of things of camp and trail have been embodied in this book. Thanks are due to Edward Cave, president and editor of Recreation, for kindly allowing the use of some of his wild-life photographs.
Lina Beard, Adelia Belle Beard.
Flushing, N. Y., March 16, 1915.
What the Outdoor World Can Do for Girls. How to Find the Trail and How to Keep It
There is a something in you, as in every one, every man, woman, girl, and boy, that requires the tonic life of the wild. You may not know it, many do not, but there is a part of your nature that only the wild can reach, satisfy, and develop. The much-housed, overheated, overdressed, and over-entertained life of most girls is artificial, and if one does not turn away from and leave it for a while, one also becomes greatly artificial and must go through life not knowing the joy, the strength, the poise that real outdoor life can give.
What is it about a true woodsman that instantly compels our re-spect, that sets him apart from the men who might be of his class in village or town and puts him in a class by himself, though he may be exteriorly rough and have little or no book education? The real Adirondack or the North Woods guide, alert, clean-limbed, clear-eyed, hard-muscled, bearing his pack-basket or duffel-bag on his back, doing all the hard work of the camp, never loses his poise or the simple dignity which he shares with all the things of the wild. It is bred in him, is a part of himself and the life he leads. He is as conscious of his superior knowledge of the woods as an astronomer is of his knowledge of the stars, and patiently tolerates the ignorance and awkwardness of the "tenderfoot" from the city. Only a keen sense of humor can make this toleration possible, for I have seen things done by a city-dweller at camp that would enrage a woodsman, unless the irresistibly funny side of it made him laugh his inward laugh that seldom reaches the surface....