At the time I made the trip to Yellowstone Park with President Roosevelt in the spring of 1903, I promised some friends to write up my impressions of the President and of the Park, but I have been slow in getting around to it. The President himself, having the absolute leisure and peace of the White House, wrote his account of the trip nearly two years ago! But with the stress and strain of my life at "Slabsides,"—administering the affairs of so many of the wild creatures of the woods about me,—I have not till this blessed season found the time to put on record an account of the most interesting thing I saw in that wonderful land, which, of course, was the President himself.
When I accepted his invitation I was well aware that during the journey I should be in a storm centre most of the time, which is not always a pleasant prospect to a man of my habits and disposition. The President himself is a good deal of a storm,—a man of such abounding energy and ceaseless activity that he sets everything in motion around him wherever he goes. But I knew he would be pretty well occupied on his way to the Park in speaking to eager throngs and in receiving personal and political homage in the towns and cities we were to pass through. But when all this was over, and I found myself with him in the wilderness of the Park, with only the superintendent and a few attendants to help take up his tremendous personal impact, how was it likely to fare with a non-strenuous person like myself, I asked? I had visions of snow six and seven feet deep where traveling could be done only upon snowshoes, and I had never had the things on my feet in my life. If the infernal fires beneath, that keep the pot boiling so out there, should melt the snows, I could see the party tearing along on horseback at a wolf-bunt pace over a rough country; and as I had not been on a horse's back since the President was born, how would it be likely to fare with me there ?