When Tobal tracked down Nick later that night, he was with Tara. Tobal congratulated Nick on his solo and proposed his plan. Nick wasn't really interested. He had just soloed and was happy about it. He didn't think he needed anymore training and was partnering up with Tara for the winter anyway. He needed to be helping her get their winter camp together
"Tara, I thought you were training someone this month?"
She regarded him with cool eyes and said, "I thought you were training someone this month too. What does it matter if I have Nick over this month when you are going to have six people at your place. I wouldn't point too many fingers if I were you", she cautioned. "Maybe you should just mind your own business."
With a glum face he found Melanie and Becca and told them Nick wouldn't be joining them. Becca was so excited about the plan she jumped up giving him a big hug and a kiss. As she kissed him, he felt an electric spark that tingled his ears and worked it's way down his spine to his tail bone. She had already turned and was hugging Melanie so she didn't see his face turn white in shock.
He was not at all comfortable with the way he felt around her. She jangled his nerves and shook him up. He still hadn't dared explore his feelings about her. Forcing his mind back to the subject at hand Tobal suggested they all go to his base camp for the next month and prepare for winter by working together. They agreed to start out the next day after breakfast.
His little valley was protected and full of browse. There would be deer and elk in it all winter and trapping fur bearing animals for winter clothing shouldn't be hard if everyone was working at it. They could also work at shelter building and be welcome to stay as long as they needed to. By blind luck his little valley was the perfect location for a training camp.
He had most of it built already and making a few more shelters would go quickly. Together they could make what they needed and share resources. What they really needed was winter clothing and equipment. Making it would be time consuming. This fall furs would be prime enough to make good winter clothing and it was time to start trapping.
Late September brought snow in the mountains but it didn't stay. There was just enough to make things seem white. They worked as a team. Melanie was the best trapper and she worked with the others on getting enough pelts for winter clothing.
They practiced intensely with the bow, making arrows and working on a permanent shelter. In all there were six of them. They were Tobal and his trainee, Sarah; Melanie and her trainee, Butch; Becca and her trainee, Mike. At first they thought the best type of shelter would be a log cabin but that presented difficulties since they had no axes to cut the trees. In addition finding and laying rock for a fireplace and chimney would be too time consuming. Thatching material for a roof was no longer available. They had waited too long and winter was too close.
What they did settle on was to continue using the teepee shelters and further insulate them with furs on the outside.