Isabella is just starting her three day ascent of Long’s Peak.
“We rode upwards through the gloom on a steep trail blazed through forest, all my intellect concentrated on avoiding being dragged off my horse by impending branches…. The dense, ancient, silent forest is to me awe inspiring. On such an evening it is countless, except for the branches creaking in the soft wind, the frequent snap of decaying timber, and a murmur in the pine tops as of a not distant waterfall, all tending to produce EERINESS* and a sadness ‘hardly akin to pain.’”
The four of them are reaching the area of the climb where the weather can get weird. A gentlemen who’d attempted the climb just before Isabella arrived camped for a week where she is as he waited out the storms. Eventually, he gave up and came back down. They are hoping for better weather.
Now this crew will camp in the same spot. They’ve unpacked and picketed the horses, made beds of pine branches, and dragged over logs for a fire. She sounds content. “It didn’t matter much that we had to drink our tea out of the battered meat tins in which it was boiled, and eat strips of beef reeking with pine smoke without plates or forks.”
This was the night when Isabella met Ring, Jim’s dog that tags along wherever he goes. Ring has “the body and legs of a collie, but a head approaching that of a mastiff, a noble face with a wistful human expression, and the most truthful eyes I ever saw in an animal.”
Ring is devoted to Jim and obeys his every command.
“In a tone as if speaking to a human being, Jim, pointing at me, said ‘Ring, go to that lady, and don’t leave her again tonight.’ Ring at once came to me, looking into my face, laid his head on my shoulder, and then lay down beside me with his head on my lap, but never taking his eyes from Jim’s face.”**
** dogs are so great, you guys.