The stream which cuts your trail is not always provided with bridges of fallen trees. It may be a river too deep to ford and too wide to be bridged by a chance log. Of course it is a simple matter to swim, but the weather may be cold and the water still colder; besides this, you will probably be encumbered with a lot of camp equipageÑyour gun, rod, and cameraÑnone of which will be improved by a plunge in the water. Or it may so happen that you are on the shores of a lake unsupplied with boats, and you have good reasons for supposing that big fish lurk in some particular spot out of reach from the shore. A thousand and one emergencies may arise when a craft of some kind will be not only a great convenience, but almost a necessity. Under these circumstances a Logomaran may be constructed in a very short time which can bear you and your pack safely to the desired goal.
In the Rocky, Cascade, and Selkirk Mountains, the lakes and streams have their shores plentifully supplied with "whim sticks," logs of fine dry timber, which the freshets have brought down from the mountain sides and which the rocks and surging torrents have denuded of bark. These whim sticks are of all sizes, and as sound and perfect as kiln-dried logs. Even in the mountains of Pennsylvania, where the lumberman's axe years ago laid waste the primeval forest, where the saw-mills have devoured the second growth, the tie-hunter the third growth, the excelsior-mills and birch-beer factories the saplings, I still find good sound white pine-log whim sticks strewn along the shores of the lakes and streams, timber which is suitable for temporary rafts and logomarans.
In the North Woods, where in many localities the original forest is untouched by the devouring pulp-mills, suitable timber is not difficult to find; so let the green wood stand and select a log of dry wood from the shore where the floods or ice have deposited it. Cut it into a convenient length, and with a lever made of a good stout sapling, and a fulcrum of a stone or chunk of wood, pry the log from its resting-place and roll it into the shallow water.
This lamentable state of affairs caused the writer so much real pain and concern that he then and there inaugurated a personal crusade for the benefit of the boys, a crusade with the avowed object of winning for them the peoples' interest in the big outdoors.
The most difficult part of his task was to convince the men of the swivel chairs that boys' leisure should be spent in the open; that the blue sky is the only proper roof for a normal boy's playground; also that the open spaces are the places where God intended young people to live, work and play.
No great crusade, no great movement of any kind is one man's work, nevertheless, every successful movement must have one enthusiast in the front rank, one who knows the trail and comprehensively envisions the objectiveÑobjectum quod complexum. Others may and will join him, and occasionally spurt ahead of the leader, like the hare in the fable, but the enthusiast keeps right on just the same.
Pray do not understand by this that the writer claims that he alone is responsible for this bloodless revolution. No, no, his propaganda work did however win for him the moral support of the editorial staff of St. Nicholas, Youth's Companion and Harpers. Later he was openly backed and encouraged by such distinguished sportsmen as President Roosevelt, his chief forester Governor Pinchot, and his Chief of Staff Major General Bell. While the stalwart men of the Camp Fire Club of America worked hand and glove with him, all similar organizations failed not in voicing their approval. Furthermore he was always helped by his loyal friends of the daily press. Many famous writers lent their influence, all working consciously or unconsciously to help the great cause of boyhood.