A Lady's Life In The Rocky Mountains By Isabella L. Bird
























































































































 - A LADY'S LIFE IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS

By Isabella L. Bird


Introduction by
Ann Ronald
University of Nevada, Reno

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A LADY'S LIFE IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS

By Isabella L. Bird

Introduction by Ann Ronald University of Nevada, Reno

To My Sister, to whom these letters were originally written, they are now affectionately dedicated.

Contents

Introduction, by Ann Ronald

LETTER I

Lake Tahoe - Morning in San Francisco - Dust - A Pacific mail-train - Digger Indians - Cape Horn - A mountain hotel - A pioneer - A Truckee livery stable - A mountain stream - Finding a bear - Tahoe.

LETTER II

A lady's "get-up" - Grizzly bears - The "Gem of the Sierras" - A tragic tale - A carnival of color.

LETTER III

A Temple of Morpheus - Utah - A "God-forgotten" town - A distressed couple - Dog villages - A temperance colony - A Colorado inn - The bug pest - Fort Collins.

LETTER IV

A plague of flies - A melancholy charioteer - The Foot Hills - A mountain boarding-house - A dull life - "Being agreeable" - Climate of Colorado - Soroche and snakes.

LETTER V

A dateless day - "Those hands of yours" - A Puritan - Persevering shiftlessness - The house-mother - Family worship - A grim Sunday - A "thick-skulled Englishman" - A morning call - Another atmosphere - The Great Lone Land - "Ill found" - A log camp - Bad footing for horses - Accidents - Disappointment.

LETTER VI

A bronco mare - An accident - Wonderland - A sad story - The children of the Territories - Hard greed - Halcyon hours - Smartness - Old-fashioned prejudices - The Chicago colony - Good luck - Three notes of admiration - A good horse - The St. Vrain - The Rocky Mountains at last - "Mountain Jim" - A death hug - Estes Park. LETTER VII

Personality of Long's Peak - "Mountain Jim" - Lake of the Lilies - A silent forest - The camping ground - "Ring" - A lady's bower - Dawn and sunrise - A glorious view - Links of diamonds - The ascent of the Peak - The "Dog's Lift" - Suffering from thirst - The descent - The bivouac.

LETTER VIII

Estes Park - Big game - "Parks" in Colorado - Magnificent scenery - Flowers and pines - An awful road - Our log cabin - Griffith Evans - A miniature world - Our topics - A night alarm - A skunk - Morning glories - Daily routine - The panic - "Wait for the wagon" - A musical evening.

LETTER IX

"Please Ma'ams" - A desperado - A cattle hunt - The muster - A mad cow - A snowstorm - Snowed up - Birdie - The Plains - A prairie schooner - Denver - A find - Plum Creek - "Being agreeable" - Snowbound - The grey mare.

LETTER X

A white world - Bad traveling - A millionaire's home - Pleasant Park - Perry's Park - Stock-raising - A cattle king - The Arkansas Divide - Birdie's sagacity - Luxury - Monument Park - Deference to prejudice - A death scene - The Manitou - A loose shoe - The Ute Pass - Bergens Park - A settler's home - Hayden's Divide - Sharp criticism - Speaking the truth.

LETTER XI

Tarryall Creek - The Red Range - Excelsior - Importunate pedlars - Snow and heat - A bison calf - Deep drifts - South Park - The Great Divide - Comanche Bill - Difficulties - Hall's Gulch - A Lord Dundreary - Ridiculous fears.

LETTER XII

Deer Valley - Lynch law - Vigilance committees - The silver spruce - Taste and abstinence - The whisky fiend - Smartness - Turkey Creek Canyon - The Indian problem - Public rascality - Friendly meetings - The way to the Golden City - A rising settlement - Clear Creek Canyon - Staging - Swearing - A mountain town.

LETTER XIII

The blight of mining - Green Lake - Golden City - Benighted - Vertigo - Boulder Canyon - Financial straits - A hard ride - The last cent - A bachelor's home - "Mountain Jim" - A surprise - A night arrival - Making the best of it - Scanty fare.

LETTER XIV

A dismal ride - A desperado's tale - "Lost! Lost! Lost!" - Winter glories - Solitude - Hard times - Intense cold - A pack of wolves - The beaver dams - Ghastly scenes - Venison steaks - Our evenings.

LETTER XV

A whisky slave - The pleasures of monotony - The mountain lion - "Another mouth to feed" - A tiresome boy - An outcast - Thanksgiving Day - The newcomer - A literary humbug - Milking a dry cow - Trout-fishing - A snow-storm - A desperado's den.

LETTER XVI

A harmonious home - Intense cold - A purple sun - A grim jest - A perilous ride - Frozen eyelids - Longmount - The pathless prairie - Hardships of emigrant life - A trapper's advice - The Little Thompson - Evans and "Jim."

LETTER XVII

Woman's mission - The last morning - Crossing the St. Vrain - Miller - The St. Vrain again - Crossing the prairie - "Jim's" dream - "Keeping strangers" - The inn kitchen - A reputed child-eater - Notoriety - A quiet dance - "Jim's" resolve - The frost-fall - An unfortunate introduction.

Letter I

Lake Tahoe - Morning in San Francisco - Dust - A Pacific mail-train - Digger Indians - Cape Horn - A mountain hotel - A pioneer - A Truckee livery stable - A mountain stream - Finding a bear - Tahoe.

LAKE TAHOE, September 2.

I have found a dream of beauty at which one might look all one's life and sigh. Not lovable, like the Sandwich Islands, but beautiful in its own way! A strictly North American beauty - snow-splotched mountains, huge pines, red-woods, sugar pines, silver spruce; a crystalline atmosphere, waves of the richest color; and a pine-hung lake which mirrors all beauty on its surface. Lake Tahoe is before me, a sheet of water twenty-two miles long by ten broad, and in some places 1,700 feet deep. It lies at a height of 6,000 feet, and the snow-crowned summits which wall it in are from 8,000 to 11,000 feet in altitude. The air is keen and elastic. There is no sound but the distant and slightly musical ring of the lumberer's axe.

It is a weariness to go back, even in thought, to the clang of San Francisco, which I left in its cold morning fog early yesterday, driving to the Oakland ferry through streets with side-walks heaped with thousands of cantaloupe and water-melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, pears, grapes, peaches, apricots - all of startling size as compared with any I ever saw before. Other streets were piled with sacks of flour, left out all night, owing to the security from rain at this season. I pass hastily over the early part of the journey, the crossing the bay in a fog as chill as November, the number of "lunch baskets," which gave the car the look of conveying a great picnic party, the last view of the Pacific, on which I had looked for nearly a year, the fierce sunshine and brilliant sky inland, the look of long RAINLESSNESS, which one may not call drought, the valleys with sides crimson with the poison oak, the dusty vineyards, with great purple clusters thick among the leaves, and between the vines great dusty melons lying on the dusty earth.

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