Spring was manifest in the vast big-timber country of Mendocino County. "Uncle" Sebastian Burris felt the moist warmth of it oozing from the slowly drying road as he trudged along. The smell of it emanated from the white, pale-yellow, and pink fungi that flourished on the soaked and ancient logs along the way. He heard the voice of it in the soft murmuring of the South Fork of the Eel, which went twinkling down Bear Valley through firs and redwoods straight as telegraph poles; in the caress of the soft south wind soughing in the tree-tops. Chipmunks and gray squirrels darted across his path. A quarter of a mile from Wharton Bixler's store he turned off on a narrow road which led into the deeper forest. He passed through groves of redwoods which towered three hundred feet above him, and whose girth was over sixty feet. A half mile more the old man trudged on sturdily, muttering occasionally to himself. Then he struck a cross trail which paralleled Ripley Creek, and this he followed into the sunshine of an open spot.