We walked through the main room into the kitchen. Bob introduced me to Behmie Turcis, official cook for Mr. Dickey's fishing party. Behmie was dressed in a white apron and trousers, and his pale blue eyes were afire with anticipation. He took loaves of fresh bread from the oven of his wood stove and they smelled wonderful.
Beyond the kitchen, at the end of the building, was Bob Monahan's woods office. There were a desk, two beds, a shuffle of maps and papers, a telephone and two men. One of the men held the receiver of the telephone to his ear.
"He's been like that for three days," Bob said. "They're trying to put through a direct line to the White House. These guys won't even let me into my own office."
In a clearing near the river Bob showed me the big tent where the press, the Secret Service, state police and game wardens were to eat. Near the tent Ross McKenney, Maine guide and woodcraft advisor to the Dartmouth Outing Club, was splitting birch to feed a fire in a pit where the bean-hole beans were to be buried for cooking. Walter Prager, the college's famous ski coach, was lending a hand. John Rand, director of the Dartmouth Outing Club and secretary of the luncheon committee, drove up in a station wagon loaded with gear and accouterments. John said he had butterflies in his stomach as big as young mice. I sympathized with him.
"Anything you want in Errol?" Bob Monahan asked Ross McKenney.
Ross, his face wet with bone labor in the heat, looked up from his fire and said: "Ice."
Bob asked me if I wanted to start fishing. I said I was too excited. So we went in his car toward Errol to get ice. In the five miles of wilderness road back to the bridge and Gate Camp we must have stopped 30 times. If there was a rock in the road much bigger than a ball bearing, we picked it up and chucked it into the brush. We cut overhanging branches. We sometimes stopped to trace the telephone cable lying in the grass by the roadside. We halted on a blind curve to study an ominous, dead birch tree. It was rooted on a cliff to our left. It was 50 feet high. It might weigh half a ton, and was leaning toward the road.
"That's no good at all," Bob said.
We met Sanders of the River and his student crew, which included Lincoln Yu, Tom Nichols, Franklin Gould and Mamoru Mitsui. Bob told the boys what a whale of a good job they were doing. Then he spoke to Sanders of the River about the menacing dead birch.
"We'll get it," Sanders of the River said.